Chelsey Anderson walks past the green space along the Mountain View Acres apartment complex where she lives. Credit: Bonnie Arbittier / San Antonio Report

The Where I Live series aims to showcase our diverse city and region by spotlighting its many vibrant neighborhoods. Each week a local resident invites us over and lets us in on what makes their neighborhood special. Have we been to your neighborhood yet? Get in touch to share your story.

I remember helping my older sister move into campus housing at the University of Texas at San Antonio when she started college and being impressed with the size and design of the space. Later, hearing about her positive experience at the university when she visited us in Killeen convinced me to enroll at UTSA when it was my turn to start college. I moved to San Antonio in 2008 and have been here ever since.

One of the things I picked up on right away when I moved here was the strong sense of family that San Antonians have. It’s such a large city, but it feels like a smaller town because of that sense of community. That warm, small-town feel makes the city welcoming to visitors and newcomers.

My apartment in Mountain View Acres is a great space where I can relax and – now that I’m home more because of the pandemic – a place to be productive. I’m working from home now and working on my master’s degree via online classes, so it was important for me to delineate a space in my home dedicated to my work. I got a desk and dual monitors and did some redecorating to make the space more intentional rather than just a temporary setup. 

I’ve lived on this side of town for the past five years. My apartment complex is very quiet and folks mostly keep to themselves, but we have a really good mix of residents including young professionals, families, and military vets. I love our pool area and being able to go out there to get some sun when it’s not too hot. One of my favorite memories of my time here is of a lazy day by the pool with friends, just catching up over some pizza and Topo Chico.

The apartment complex, pre-pandemic, would often host food trucks, and my favorite was when a taco truck would set up at the entrance of the complex and hand out tacos to residents on our way out to work. People who aren’t from Texas might think Austin has the best tacos, but I firmly believe that San Antonio’s taco game is superior.

Not only do residents get treated to delicious breakfast tacos, but the location of my apartment is so convenient that I don’t have to think too much about how to get where I’m going. I live near my office and a lot of good shopping areas, like Alamo Ranch, where you’ll often find me browsing shops like The High Line Boutique or catching a movie at the Casa Blanca. Also nearby is Summer Moon Coffee, where I would go all the time to work on my fashion website, Venti Fashion.

Chelsey Anderson often works at the Summer Moon Coffee near her apartment. Credit: Bonnie Arbittier / San Antonio Report

Another thing I’ve noticed in my time here is San Antonio fashion is very colorful. I used to wear black all the time but, since being here, I’ve started to incorporate a lot more color into my wardrobe. When I first moved, it felt like there wasn’t a lot of fashion influence in San Antonio, but it was really just me needing to get out more. I’ve discovered a lot of different fashion influencers who share what they like to wear and highlight the city as a nice backdrop, showing that you don’t have to be in New York or Los Angeles to have fun with fashion. I like seeing people embrace San Antonio as a place where you can be fashionable and showcase your style.

My go-to spot to shoot photos for my website is the Pearl. I like shooting outdoors, and the Pearl has a lot of great spots where you can get nice backdrops away from all the activity. And recently, with adjusted shopping hours, La Cantera has been perfect for getting an outdoor shopping backdrop without the crowds.

One of the ways I’ve gotten to know some of my favorite spots in town has been through social media. Just looking through the different San Antonio hashtags on Instagram you’ll find so many local gems. Local Coffee is my number one. I like the homey, cozy vibe and being able to settle in with my coffee and planner to get organized. 

Chelsey Anderson in her living room, which often serves as a backdrop on her fashion website, Venti Fashion. Credit: Courtesy / Chelsey Anderson

The pandemic has forced me to slow down a bit and take a break from posting content to my site. Even though I create fashion content, my mindset around shopping changed during this time. I’m more mindful of what I’m buying and where I’m spending my money. Now I’m more focused on buying pieces I can wear at home comfortably but still remain professional for meetings, as well as versatile pieces I can mix and match to maximize use. Sustainability is increasingly becoming a concern for shoppers, myself included, and it can be overwhelming when you’re looking for sustainable and affordable options. Shopping local is a great option because you are supporting local designers and shops and contributing to the local economy. There’s also a higher chance that the items are sustainable because they are not being mass-produced. 

Now that I’m back into creating content for my site, I’m excited for future projects around fall fashion. When shooting indoors, I like to use my living room area as the backdrop. I position my camera with a tripod in front of the couch and add a ring light to balance out the lighting. Depending on the season, I’ll also swap out the wall art and throw pillows for colors that match the time of year.

Though I’m a natural homebody, I have a newfound appreciation for my apartment, my neighborhood, and my home of San Antonio. As one of the biggest cities in the country, it might seem intimidating, but it’s a community focused on tradition, family, food, and fun. Even if you don’t know a lot of people at first, you’ll never feel alone here.

Chelsey Anderson is an MBA student and fashion blogger sharing her practical style tips with the world as she navigates life. She can often be found at local coffee shops with a latte in one hand and a...