The Grackle

Observations, Reflections and Miscellany from the Wacoan

Scoopapalooza takes Waco

How one social media star is helping boost small businesses in Texas

7 months ago

By Skylla Mumana

Central Texas just got a sweet new upgrade, thanks to Scoopapalooza and the arrival of a new ice-cream-themed Airbnb.

On Oct. 8, Scoopapalooza was held at 109 Springfield St., a free, ice-cream-themed open house event. The event ran from 12–7 p.m., and featured ice cream-themed photo-ops, business vendors, food trucks and numerous family-friendly activities for all to enjoy. The open house showcased the new ice cream-themed rental, Casa Kumwesu, and helped promote small businesses in Waco.

The rental property, Casa Kumwesu, is an ice-cream-themed rental that was the brainchild of Jessica Serna, a blogger and social media influencer who is more commonly known by her iconic online handle @mycurlyadventures. With over 200,000 followers on Instagram and over 500,000 on TikTok, Serna posts about her low-budget travels and adventures throughout the Texas landscape. She first started her blog and social media seven years ago as a fun hobby. She and her husband were full-time employees who were passionate about traveling, yet felt that they just didn’t have time to see the world. So they created their own solution.

“We realized that we couldn’t just hop on a plane and jet set all over the country,” Serna said. “So we were like ‘OK, well what can we do instead?’ And then we realized how many great things there were to do in Texas.”

From sand surfing in Monahans to the English gardens of Weatherford, the pair set out on their own adventures here in Texas. After gaining well-deserved traction, now, years later, the pair have since made this their full-time job.

The name Casa Kumwesu is a testament to her marriage with her husband, Ismail Mpiana, a Dallas lifestyle blogger with the handle @myculinaryadventures_ , who also posts about his travels and the delicious eats he has along the way. The name itself is a fusion of both of their Latino-Zambian cultural backgrounds.

“I come from a mixed background, including Mexican, and my husband is Zambian,” Serna said. “So really, Casa Kumwesu means ‘our house,’ ‘our home,’ ‘our community.’ It’s not just a rental, it’s something where people make memories.”

While traveling is her passion, as an influencer, Serna also enjoys promoting local businesses and events to her audience. To her, Scoopapalooza is just another way to do this. By organizing this event, Serna hoped to encourage the public to shop more locally.

“I think we’re just one piece of helping what other people have dreamed about and worked so hard to create,” she said. “Sure we share, but the community has to take action. They have to share on their stories, tag their friends.”

Aly Paschke is the owner and founder of Hey Lovely Boutique, an online women’s clothing store. Similar to Serna, she started her business three years ago as a hobby, yet grew to love designing and style curation. She enjoys coming to pop-up events like Scoopapalooza to promote her brand, and to meet with other small business owners.

“I just love getting to see everyone set up and all of the different businesses that’s out there,” Paschke said. “There’s a lot locally in Waco and when you support a small business, we can keep going and we can keep doing what we love.” 

Alyssa Smith is the owner and baker at Jimmie Quinns, an online custom bakery that dishes out cakes, cookies, cupcakes and more to Waco residents. Before starting Jimmie Quinns, Smith had moved from Waco to Georgia, but she later came back due to the high demand of cake orders she was receiving from Waco residents. She then decided to open Jimmie Quinns, with the help of her partner and social media curator McKenzie Parker. The pair also enjoy networking at pop-up events like Scoopapalooza, and enjoy seeing the creativity that other businesses have to offer.

“A lot of people do the same things, but they also have such different ideas,” Smith said. “I just think it’s cool to support everyone’s creativity, art and minds.”

Overall, Serna plans to buy and design four more homes in the area and hopes to host more events like Scoopapalooza in the future at Casa Kumwesu. She hopes that the rental will inspire travelers and Waco residents to take in all that the city has to offer.

“We really wanted to encourage people to stop, stay and enjoy,” Serna said. “Visit the local restaurants, try the different attractions. There’s so much to do here.”