Hotel Ella

Where everybody knows your name… I cannot say enough amazing things about this hotel. It’s… wonderful. The hotel itself is an old mansion in Austin which they have restored and added onto. The staff greet you by name when you arrive, I love all the valet’s but I must say Devon, you are just the best, and because I stay there so much, a couple of the girls who love hearing my stories will actually jump up and down and say, “Ms. Matthews is back, How are you Ms. Matthews?” Megan, Shelbie, Chelsea, you girls rock! 


The pool is outstanding… you feel away from all troubles and worries and any care in the world.


The chandelier  tree/seating area is perfect for working on the lap top, smoking a cigarette, meeting other cool people staying at the hotel, or having a cocktail whipped up for you by one of the fabulous bar tenders at Goodall’s Kitchen, the restaurant on site.


One of my favorite things about this hotel is that they offer free rides from the hotel {you can cab or uber it back}. I think they will take you anywhere within a five-mile radius, but don’t quote me on that. This works perfect for me, because I love to go see my friends play on South Congress, and I’m not going to drive, so I only have to pay for a ride back. So nice.


The other night, no shocker, I was at the Continental Club and… my phone died. Thankfully, they have an ultra hip sister property, Hotel Congress, just up the street. So I just walked up the street, greeted Elliot by name, and ask him to please call me a cab.

“Of course Ms. Matthews! Did your fridge end up working the other night?” He ask.

Good memory… last time I was at the hotel my fridge wasn’t working at Elliot had been sent up and promptly fixed it.

The next morning I was walking out of the hotel and one of the managers stopped me and ask what I did, and ask for the name of my blog. I told him I had just finished up writing the ‘Skid Row’ post and had to get on the road.

“Leaving too soon,” he assured me. “Come back soon, I’m gonna check out your blog!”

So until next time Hotel Ella, the ‘Cheers’ of my world.

*And if you find yourself at The South Congress, look for Andrew at the front desk and Nick at the bar. Nick… who I was about to ask if he remembered me goes, “You’re not still with that Chicago guy are you? Please say no!” The answer was a resounding Hell No. But the Mormon sister wives prevailed!!! More on that in another post. 

Golden Dawn Arkestra

The only fight me and my friend, let’s call her Holly in case she doesn’t want to be named, have ever been in was over music. Let’s just say she’s a little country and I’m more rock and roll.

After what seemed like 10 hours I politely ask if maybe we could listen to something other than the Turnpike Troubadours, and she agreed.

I put on Golden Dawn Arkestra, and my ears were instantly grateful and happy.

“You know,” Holly says after less than one song, “It’s sad a band like this will never make it.”

“Excuse me?” Certainly I had heard her wrong. “They have an entire horn section. Multiple drummers. The most talented musicians in the ‘live music capital of the world’ play in this band.”

“Right,” Holly continues, “but it’s not Texas country, that’s whats popular. Only those musicians make money… I’m just saying it’s sad, I mean, they sound talented, but will never be as popular as country music.”

And this is where I lose my shit…

“I don’t think they want to be as popular as country. They aren’t country. They are musical geniuses, all in their own right. Let’s just start with Matt Hubbard,”

“Oh, is he Ray Wylie’s son?” Holly ask.

“No. He’s not. His dad invented the crash test dummy and his father’s face is the mold of the crash test dummy which was on the cover of a George Harrison album, so technically his dad is on a Beatles cover.

Matt is one of the most talented musicians I have ever heard. He plays keyboard and horn and runs… what’s that country dude’s name… oh yeah, Willie Nelson, he runs Luck studios for Willie. He’s also married to Willie’s granddaughter Martha and they have a child together.

Now, moving on, Brad Houser, you know he and Matt record with Edie Brickell, so clearly they aren’t talented,” I say sarcastically and roll my eyes.

“Then you have John Speice IV, drummer for Grupo Fantasma, and Brownout… Grupo Fantasma has won a grammy, and Alex Marrero, also in Golden Dawn is the frontman for Brownout. Ozzy Osbourne said on the radio that ‘that dude sounds better than I ever did!’

I haven’t even mentioned the amazing creators of the band yet, Greg Rhodes, Laura Scarborough, and frontman Topaz McGarrigle, whose concept was mythical and magical and undeniably funky, soulful and just delicious.

“Um… John Branch has opened for Sting. So… yeah, no talent there. 

And then there are the other amazing members,  Josh Perdue, who most members claim is the most talented, Robb Kidd, who I cannot possibly keep up with all his gigs, Zumbi… to see that guy play a horn…”

I drifted off knowing I had made my point and Holly just nodded up and down. Well, I’d either made my point or she was sick of listening to my argument…

“I’m not saying John Fullbright and The Turnpike Troubadours aren’t fabulous, but don’t you ever try to tell me Golden Dawn isn’t the shit.”

And with that, the one and only argument ended.

If you have the luxury of being in Austin, you can check them out tomorrow, June 17th, at the Solstice Festival in Pan Am Park. 

ATX{e}ness Part 1

What a crazy week. Jeez. I decided to go to Austin on Sunday and see some friends and interview for a job {freelance writing} and some crazy stuff happened. Like… Got back together with an ex, which, is usually a bad decision, and it was. I told him this clearly wasn’t going to work and I was going to drop him off at his friends, after I checked into my hotel. Which was Hotel 11 on east 11th. I love the east side and east Austin, and this quaint little hotel, with only 11 rooms is precious and in a great location.

So, I go to check in, and the now ex follows me inside. The sweet girl at the desk, Taylor, was asking me how many key’s I needed and I said, just one. It’s just me staying here, and don’t you DARE give a key to this guy, he is NOT with me and certainly NOT allowed up to my room.

This pissed my ex off, so he grabs my keys and goes and jumps in my car and leaves. I am speechless, but when I regain my composure I looked at Taylor and said, Um… did that actually just happen? That’s MY car. She looked at me and out the door, and stammered, “Oh my gosh, are you okay?”

I assured her I was fine, that I at least had my purse with me, and I was going to deal with that later. I shook my head, finished checking in, and went upstairs and took a nap. I figured when I woke up my car would be back.

When I woke up, the car was still missing and I was pissed.

But, I wasn’t about to let that ruin my night, so I  got a cab and went to Cboy’s to hear Charlie  Jones, who happens to be my birthday twin, and his band play. It was fun. They are great. I chated with my friends after they played and cabbed it home. Still no car. Hmmm… I call the ex.

I ask him to please return my car. He refuses. I say, “Um, do you think you can just take my car and not bring it back? I need my car, I like, use it for things.” He told me he would NOT return my car and I told him I would be calling the police, which I did, like, 30 times.

Finally the police show up at my hotel and I get the ex on the phone. Ex is still saying how I won’t call the police and I say, “That’s funny, here, why don’t you talk to them,” and handed the phone to one of the officers. The officer explained to my ex that he needed to bring the car back immediately.

Finally. For JC and all things that are holy, we were getting somewhere.

He dropped the car off 6 blocks away, threw the keys in it, and the police took me there and I got to retrieve it.

Tell me that is not fucked up. That is fucked up.

I’ll tell you about the rest of my week in Austin later. I’m late for twerking and must go for now.

Stay safe out there y’all!

Drama for your Mama.

Or whoever. It’s been non stop drama the past few weeks, and I don’t even like drama. So… Drama… be gone! I’m extremely behind on posting, so please bare with me. The good stories are coming soon.

Let me recap the past two weeks… Quit job to pursue my passion which involves writing and opening a studio in a gym. Yes, my own little place for yoga and Twerking and POUND classes and even kids classes. It’s going to be so wonderful, and I am so excited for the opportunity that Shawna Gibson offered me. I’m taking it and running with it. The new Brick Gym will be opening soon, and I cannot wait to see you there!

After quitting my job I decided to spend as much time as possible with one of my best friends who live{ed} in Austin until last week. I was coming home from visiting and was in a wreck. It was a pretty bad wreck and my {then} fiance said he was on his way to get me. Three hours later I called to find out he had changed his mind, but forgot to mention that to me. We broke up right then and there.

That weekend was Utopiafest and I just knew Jamie and I were going to have a great time with all the members of “The Family” that were going. And it was a great weekend, with a major setback. I was slipped drugs. Yes, that means someone gave me drugs I did NOT want to take. However, the festival took care of me better than I could have ever imagined. The head of the festival Aaron Brown, and the entire security team were beyond incredible. I am so grateful for all that they did.

The night of the wreck I met a boy. He ask for my number and I said I was engaged and he could friend me on Facebook, which he did. We started talking and really hit it off. He is an amazing guy and it’s fun looking forward to my phone going off and lighting up when I see it’s him. He’s definitely a bright spot in the midst of all the crazy.

Can’t wait to share more of all these stories with you, it’s just going to take awhile to get it all typed out. Thanks for reading and liking and sharing. Y’all go out there and have a kick ass day.

Wendy Colonna, Austin, and Music, and John Branch too.

I guess if I am going to say anything about Austin and music, I must first mention John Branch. I met John Branch in high school. He was in a band called Spiritual Hum, and it contained my first real life band crush, lead singer Rob Honeycutt. John, being the nice guy that he was and is, let me go on, and on, and on, about how cute I thought Rob was. He would just nod along noting every once in a while that I was not alone, that every girl had a crush on Rob.

Anyway, that was, in like… 1993. John has moved on from Spiritual Hum and now plays for so many bands I cannot keep up. He is a master. And, he is still my friend. I love seeing him play whenever I can. Golden Dawn Arkestra {GDA} is my favorite that he is in {that I know of. Like I said, I can’t keep up with him these days. The other day I was on the old Book of Face and saw he was playing with Leon Bridges…}. Anyway, Golden Dawn is amazing, and if you love to dance, you should check out a show. They are collectively, I dare say, the most talented group of musicians playing together in Austin. I could go on and on, and will… Later.

Because I have known John for so many years I have been fortunate enough to meet and hear some of Austin’s finest musicians. Their talent blows me a way. By meeting and getting know this talented group, I found out about The Austin Daze, and Russ Hartman. Russ needed help transcribing interviews and I jumped at the chance. Through Russ I met and was exposed to more talent, which is how I came across Wendy Colonna, a singer songwriter from Lake Charles, LA, who now lives in Austin.

I had first heard Wendy’s name back in 2012 when I did a sprint triathlon in Austin. I was with my friends Haley and Emily, and I was about to puke. Emily nudged my arm and said, hey, that guy looks like your type. I turned around to see a tall, tattooed, pretty-boy with a man bun, in overalls and noted that he was my type, and ran off to puke.  I heard over the loudspeaker something about local celebrity Wendy Colonna about to enter the water and how Austin had just recently celebrated Wendy Colonna Day that April. And then I puked more. Then it was my turn to get in the water.

We finished the triathlon {barely} and loaded up and went home. Emily and Haley were talking about how much better they had done than in previous years, and I noted I did much worse and was happy I didn’t drown.

We made it back to Fort Worth and I was meeting friends and my then husband at Fred’s, where ironically,  John’s band Mudphonic was playing {Mudphonic consist of John Branch, Alex Marrero, Topaz McGarrigle, and Greg Rhodes, all in GDA as well. Talented group I tell you}.  Anyway, so I am telling John I was in Austin at the Danskin Tri, and he asked me if I knew Chad Pope. “Nope.” I replied. “Oh, I thought you might, he’s from Fort Worth too,” John said. And that was that.

Life is funny… and it turns out Chad Pope was the tattooed boy in overalls behind me at the Danskin. He was there to support his then girlfriend, Wendy Colonna.

In 2014, when I started helping Russ at The Austin Daze, I ask if I could interview her, and I did. It ended up being a series of emails back and forth as we could never seem to be in Austin at the same time. I had done my research and knew her songs from her most recent album Nectar, and that they were being played in Starbucks. I also knew that she had written a song for a little known brand Coca Cola, and you can watch that video here.

What I didn’t know, is that when I actually was able to meet Wendy two more years later, I felt like I was meeting a part of me. I felt like she was my new best friend. I liked her instantly, and fell in love with her music. I have a feeling I am not alone in thinking this. She connects with you on an intimate level with her music. It’s strong. Powerful. Moving. Relatable. She is a powerhouse. An amazing singer songwriter and storyteller. On my recent trip to Colorado {more on that later} Wendy played on a loop for several hours as Jamie and I sang along. You can click here to hear her album.

I will keep you posted on when she will be back in Fort Worth. She usually plays at the Live Oak when she is in town, but she most recently played an intimate show at my house, and we have discussed doing more of these types of shows in Fort Worth, as they are some of Wendy’s favorites, and mine now too.

Do yourself a favor, and listen. Just start with ‘Dirty Things’ and listen through ‘Mother Forgive Us’ and then you can leave a comment here thanking me.

You’re Welcome.