Clark’s Oyster Bar & Gabriela’s!

Goooood morning! (or evening, afternoon, whenever you may read this). I do hope you are having a great week. I’m excited in this post to share a couple more date nights we had over the semester!

First up was Clark’s Oyster Bar on the evening of October 26th. This is an Austin favorite. Any time I ask for restaurant recs this one almost always comes up!

c9f9159c-0ae8-47fc-9e89-b1c27497d486

I knew I would love it based on just how cute the exterior of the building was. I would like to go back during the day to get pictures of the bright yellow striped canopy too.

87d84098-da47-431c-8d5d-59cc5a5cb76c

Even though they had reservations booked for the evening I called several hours prior to see if we could still get a spot at their oyster bar. Luckily, they had a spot! That’s one of the biggest lessons I have learned in my 20s- “It doesn’t hurt to just ask!” (well, in most cases, hehe).

5cccfc38-3f4e-43b6-9051-49d77beffe0f27eac37f-25e1-4ad3-8e93-43c4d0d6e038

We decided to split some oysters and french fries with a glass of crisp white wine. It was a tremendous combo!

443e80a1-de7f-47bc-bbe4-916ec7658155

These fries were seasoned with rosemary and had such a distinctly delicious flavor. I have never had fries like them before. The mound was so large, but the fries were so skinny, it was a bit of a feat figuring out how to tackle it… but….where there’s a will there’s a way!! Can I get an Amen?

1cf56fa5-621f-4811-b08c-1ed754eea7c4

On October 30th I ate one of my favorite dinner bowls of quinoa, tofu, coconut oil, roasted zucchini, some yogurt Bolthouse ranch, kale and hummus.

0b007a84-d72c-4c0f-af7e-0f0ac6e9f5c2

On November 1st we had butternut squash pasta with  mozzarella, sun-dried tomatoes, and I believe we added a little Lightlife chicken. I may have used regular for Deej.

e4bba644-0e31-408d-abf3-3c1057672385

November 2nd we were able to sneak in another date night. The first half of the semester we hardly spent time together and realized how intentional we have to be with carving out time together. It’s so important, and while it may not be realistic to do something every week we are going to try to aim for every other week- even if it’s just a coffee date, brunch, a picnic in Zilker– just something intentional!

d1f7bca3-8bb0-4ec5-a53e-dc376dd65cca

This evening we were craving Mexican. We found Gabriela’s and decided to make the trek on foot there. We passed through 6th street which is notoriously known around here as “Dirty 6th”. I thought it had its name from the fact that it’s the main college party street… but as we walked through we realized it quite literally is dirtier and grungier than most other streets in town. We did walk through at a more “tame” hour, so I’m sure we didn’t even see the spectacle that is dirty 6th late into the evening.

Gabriela’s is tucked away on a side street, but so adorable and inviting!

a2932f32-cacd-4542-af31-6bcd53df4030

Since we went at a fairly early hour we were seated immediately. It is so much easier to go out to eat here than in the Bay Area. It was always a project to get into a restaurant there, especially on the weekends, so this is a very welcomed change.

We started with their famous queso. It was just a big cast iron pan of flavor. Holy maloly… the only thing is as time passed the queso congealed a bit as it cooled which made it difficult to dip the chips in after a while. El Alma’s is still my favorite, but this is still a must-order if you find yourself at Gabriela’s.

a53d4d9b-ee12-47e5-915a-73f0a1dbfc9a

I was listening to a comedian special recently and she said how when we take pictures of food with flash it looks like we are holding our food hostage, lol!!! It’s so true. Oh well, gotta do what you gotta do in super dim lighting, right?

So here are my hostage veggie tacos with pretty much an entire avocado. These were tremendous!

929fe2f9-aaaf-4cb4-a7d9-4870280d1940

And DJ’s prisoners were their tacos de carne asada with marinated rib-eye steak with caramelized onions and aguacate. Topped with cilantro and tomatillo salsa. He loved them!

51e216ff-9b56-4d5c-889b-7a9e81db3698

November 3rd I walked my usual loop around Ladybird lake.

6b2335b6-df17-46cd-90a8-ee414f087a758fc6eed2-0d3b-42ea-8d07-58499a516f88

I also discovered I like putting Dateline on in the background while making flashcards. I go through phases with True Crime and usually get into it more around Halloween season. I had never watched Dateline before and gave it a go. I was hooked!

2b239248-ec0f-403d-b246-79ec02a49b06

November 6th I enjoyed these cornbread crisps with some vegan tofu stew. I LOVE the cornbread crisps. Mmmm mmm.

44125c9c-d6a6-4ded-8a29-46cc373d9906

On November 5th I grabbed a cup of joe from Starbucks and walked on the trail while studying flashcards on my Quizlet app on my phone.

35a896da-cfc3-450a-89b6-d0e37355835c2ff874bb-316a-4968-91cd-a5790126f7c1218adf9f-7d77-4eda-b0c7-2988832dfece

November 7th I camped out at Starbucks to get ready to take an exam the next day.

17862fed-1bc6-4984-9ab2-fc73ba9fa6af

November 8th I made us Lobster Ravioli for dinner- WOW, this was good!

e4add0db-fa3e-479c-95cd-87f104fd0b1e0cef7eb2-7827-41e4-800a-19f40c6575a0

November 10th I woke up extra hungry. I whipped up eggs with lots of veggies a slice of Laughing Cow swiss cheese and a slice of toast with cottage cheese, jam and hummus on the side.

d6452807-4249-4a78-bc46-db8258b2be69

That afternoon on a walk we noticed the leaves were starting to change. The leaves definitely change later here than in the midwest.

f505a3fd-361c-456c-bd09-f6d7d98431deb9ad83ae-951c-443c-bdc4-ab5ff0f003d3

We saw a group playing some water game in kayaks. We stopped and watched for a while- it looked challenging!

9de7fe5a-ad84-492a-9dc6-c3dcc3443e49

On the second half of our walk around the lake we did a double take and realized a couple was out walking their pet ponies. Casual.

89095bb5-cb0b-48a0-843a-b74ad91a7449

Below is a flatout flatbread with veggies, tofu, hummus and ranch.

43e75158-4b68-4cbc-a638-be94ece3ccf6

And that’s a wrap for this post! Har-har.

Questions for you: 

  • How is the start to your new year going?

xo <3

signature-1

Advertisements

Skydiving & El Alma’s!

Jumping into this recap- quite literally….

I saw this person putting on a show on the slack line along Lady Bird Lake. There was a little crowd watching him. How fun does this look?!

On October 11th, Deej and I went for a nice walk in the evening. The view of this city never gets old.

601c80c8-edec-48af-acb1-5150bde3e6c3

On October 12th I enjoyed one of my favorite dishes for the fall. It is packed with flavor- sautéed tofu with coconut oil, brown jasmine rice, various Indian inspired spices, wilted veggies and roasted chickpeas. Such a comforting and filling dish.

5dfa0bc8-3370-4834-b010-3522bfc0b71c

Now for the big event of this post!! On October 14th I surprised DJ for his birthday with Skydiving (or sorta surprised because he figured it out almost immediately when I said I had a surprise). He has wanted to go for a while, and we had one single afternoon/evening we could actually do something— so go big or go home right?!

Neither of us had been before, and it was the definition of epic. I think I embarrassingly overuse that word, but if there is any instance to use it, this is it! The scariest part, in my opinion, was just the tiny little rickety plane we were in. I have never been in a plane that small, and it felt like it could fall out of the sky any second. The views were STUNNING- I wish I could share those.

Some things that surprised me: Firstly, it was freezing as we were about to jump out. You can see me shivering right before we jump. I think it was just shocking since minutes prior we were in very warm and balmy temperatures on the ground. Secondly, it’s a much more mental experience than physical. I expected to have the ultimate “stomach drop” feeling like you experience on rollercoasters- but since there is no G-force your stomach doesn’t drop (I don’t entirely know what that means; I’m simply regurgitating what I heard, haha). Lastly, the free fall lasts longer than I’d expect. I didn’t mind though- it’s a great experience. My ears did hurt a bit, but I have always had ear sensitivity with changing pressures, so that wasn’t much of a surprise. We were pretty excited to check it off our bucket list! That’s been at the top for a while.

In order to celebrate both DJ’s birthday and surviving falling from 15,000 feet out of the air (give or take), we headed to El Alma for some great tex-mex.

bd86390b-2393-4a19-91ca-4425d3b3a101cb6f567e-7052-43f8-8b51-e0946eb9c77d

Inside is super cute and upstairs has an outdoor stone patio area. It’s relaxed, but still adorable with twinkling lights everywhere.

56e16a94-de1a-4a29-ba4f-f24a49295f445cc72f35-94c0-4c3e-9b78-b5e45b37658c

We started with their house queso (of course!). It is called queso blanco y rojo with spicy queso, árbol salsa, rajas, onions, mushrooms, and tostadas. This is my favorite queso we’ve had so far in Austin yet. It had mushrooms in it which is a pretty original twist, but oh boyyyy did it work!! It was the creamiest most flavorful queso with a kick and the tostadas they served it with were not your typical tortilla chips- they had more flavor and were more hearty.

513580b7-16d5-4d3b-8930-ef8e77bc4d27

For my main dish I ordered the veggie verde enchiladas with spinach, mushrooms, rajas, smoky tomatillo salsa, raw hemp seeds, white rice, and black beans. It was fine- I probably wouldn’t order it again. I also filled up on a whole lot of queso before so maybe I’m not giving a fair assessment, haha.

9960f184-54e4-4148-996a-fdef9174289d

DJ tried a couple of their tacos which he enjoyed, but probably not the favorite in town. We’ll definitely be returning for that queso though!

97ff7ce0-74e1-451f-917a-9b29b8619e27

October 15th I took an afternoon walk and listened to a podcast per usual.

205a736b-fe20-4399-840d-d597f315d238

In the evening I made DJ some rice and pesto genovese chicken.

6e8ed7e2-86a6-4ded-b6a8-09d914c945ad

I had my leftovers from my enchilada and threw on a fried egg for good measure. If you’re ever not sure what to do with certain leftovers, I recommend throwin’ on an egg! Makes a meal out of just about anything.

7829b00f-e0a5-4655-bf65-86e339c96a63

I had this fun find below at Trader Joe’s. Okay this officially shows how behind I am on these posts, hahah.

751e1fda-9f42-4444-8eb1-968c198360d33cf22c1f-14d8-4901-b384-557401387f8f

We also tried the burrata, prosciutto and arugula pizza from TJ’s on October 19th (I just took the prosciutto off mine). It was so yummy. I have yet to have a bad pizza from TJ’s- they are some of our favorites.

76a54eab-3102-44d4-8fca-11458549d323

On October 21st I chatted a while with one of my friends from my previous nursing job. I put this lasagna in the oven and then decided while it cooked I would walk and chat on the trail. (It bakes for about 45 mins). I totally forgot about the lasagna, and when I realized the time I interrupted my own sentence with “THE LASAGNA”. My friend was like “come again?” I explained I think I was burning our lasagna, potentially down our apartment, and our phone call wrapped up quickly after that. Thankfully DJ took care of it, so we’re all good, and it did not burn down our apartment complex, thank gooooodness.

c275795b-7409-4668-9113-a3586adb2fd3

On October 24th I enjoyed oats with raspberries, Fage and PB2 with some coffee to start the day.

6f8affc7-afa0-4773-bac0-8ceb79219238

Later that day I took a chance taking a walk out on the trail. I did end up getting rained on a bit, but it was fun seeing these dark clouds over the lake.

4c34f37a-10be-4284-8162-9ca9315bafef

The morning of the 26th I had a couple errands to run downtown. I stumbled upon this Day of the Dead Parade and took a moment to line up with the rest of the crowd to watch as the various characters passed. It was a fun surprise to start the Saturday!

a83548f1-9b54-4008-b5f4-d1906fd39514f1d13367-8d04-4b4d-a907-8fc4d02a1bf9

That evening we witnessed one of the first of many gorgeous sunsets.

384518db-c0df-411f-9ff8-465d73081aab

Feels like a good place to stop for now. Thanks for reading 🙂

Questions for you!

  • Any experiences of your own with skydiving?
  • Do you have a preferred meal or restaurant for your birthday?

xo <3

signature-1

Decade Favorites! (And a couple throwback pics).

Happy New Years Eve, all! I have been feeling particularly nostalgic this year as we come to an end of a decade. It’s crazy to see all that has occurred in just ten years. I decided to compile a list of 10 favorites along with some throwback pictures from the start of the decade. It was extremely hard to narrow down, but DJ helped me decide on some fun categories to make it a bit more concise. I’d love if you’d share some of your decade favorites with me too!

1. Favorite Restaurant: Cafe Jacqueline.These soufflés were truly life changing. While it was hard to make a final decision in this category, our experience at Cafe Jacqueline for our anniversary was one of the most unique, delicious, romantic and phenomenal meals of our lives.

cafe jacqueline.jpg

2. Favorite Travel Destination: Bora Bora for our honeymoon. That was a trip to heaven and back.

3. Favorite Beauty Product: They’re Real Mascara. (I oscillated between this and Urban Decay Setting Spray). I usually use cheaper mascaras on the day-to-day, but for special occasions I whip out this winner.

benefit-cosmetics-theyre-real-mascara-autoship-d-2011100613074492_154007

4. Favorite Artist: Tim Cantor. I have never appreciated art as I should despite the “art appreciation” course I took in college. But something about Tim Cantor’s art resonated with me when I saw his exhibit the first time in San Diego. I’ve been obsessed ever since. When I look at his pieces I feel understood. I could do a whole post on this… but for now, I will include my favorite painting: Thieves of May. 

thieves of may.jpg

5. Favorite Team Accomplishment: Running a Marathon Together! DJ completed his first marathon, and I qualified for Boston in the same race. Talk about an event to remember.

marathon.jpg

6. Favorite challenge: completing the RN Residency Program. I think forever that will be one of the most challenging years of my life, but I’m immensely thankful for it. I don’t think I’ve ever grown so much in a single year. Below is a picture from our graduation day.

stanford residency.jpg

7. Favorite Day: Our Wedding.We were married in 2015, but we also began dating at the beginning of the decade on January 19, 2010. (Our first casual date was July 1, 2009). I’ll include a couple of throwback pics from those first few years, because, hey, why not!

wedding.jpg

My one and only <3

8. Favorite TV Show: Game of Thrones. If you know, you know. I still am not totally pleased with how it ended, but the journey was incredible. Succession is a contender for second though!

Game of thrones.jpg

9. Favorite Musical Artist: Ella Vos. I just adore her music. Here’s a link to one of my favorite songs. Florence and the Machine is a close second with Lana Del Rey third.

ella vos.jpg

10. Last, but not least: Favorite New Discovery: Trader Joe’s. I’d be remiss to leave out Trader Joe’s from any type of favorites compilation!

trader joes.png

This was tough to put together! There are a few other general favorites I would include like living in California, beginning this blog, the birth of my niece and nephew, the emergence of podcasts, the friends we have met and relationships we cannot imagine our lives without, memories with our family and the growth of our faith. This last ten years has been formative, and reflecting on all that has happened and can happen in ten years puts things in perspective and helps you count your blessings. Heck, most of what I’ve mentioned has happened in the past five! I would love to hear if you have any favorites that fit in any of these categories or just one of your own. Have a wonderful NYE <3 Sending all my wishes for the most blessed 2020…and next decade… for you all…

xo <3

signature-1

**There is an affiliate link in this post, but all opinions and ideas are my own. I receive a small compensation for any purchases with no additional cost to you!**

Mom’s Cookin’ & Dirt Puddin’!

Good morning!! I am sitting here with a big ol’ bowl of oats a big ol’ cup of coffee on a bright sunny morning. Our December has been pretty beautiful. The more mild weather of the fall and “winter” actually reminds me of the Bay Area weather many times with the warmer temps and less humidity.

…Hold on, someone is knocking…

Okay odd. There was no one at the door. Creepy! *Cue twilight zone soundtrack*. Also, it’s 7:30 am. Too early for maintenance or anyone from our management team. Hmmm. I bet they just had the wrong apartment.

Anyway! I arrived back from my campus visit on September 15th. I was beyond exhausted from the 3 am wake-up call. I think I slept practically the entire afternoon.

2133f683-1b60-43b9-805a-2c923e9e4f28

In the evening I made whatever we had in the fridge. For a snack that day we enjoyed some stuffed jalapeños with cheese.

5c38d5a6-5acc-45e6-8353-10d6928e6ba9

Not much is documented the rest of the week. There are going to be many “holes” in these recaps where is was days entirely spent in the books. I grew kinda apathetic even toward recording the little, fun life details at some points which is sad, but the truth. I presently have my excitement back for the day-to-day, but the stress at that time just made me listless toward pretty much everything for a while.

Anyway, September 19th, we tried out this vegan tikka masala from TJ’s. I was stoked to see they had a vegan version! It was pretty dang good- will be getting it again.

c9487d03-91ba-421b-ade5-5b516bd68933

That evening I took my much needed time outside.

04bb6737-9279-415f-9a4b-c3a41bbb01d0

This wrap below is one of my favorite wraps I’ve made! This September 22nd snack had roasted veggies, vegan “chicken” lightlife tenders, spinach and hummus on a flatout flatbread. Mmmm!

fd49ed46-1981-4915-96ac-489b0001e46f

On September 24th I woke up with some Dave’s Good Seed bread, Fage, peanut butter and honey (and a little dash of stevia).

5f294805-dc54-44c8-94c3-11b358b97f1b

That day I had a group project that I worked practically through the night on. Thank goodness I had some candy corn to keep me company!!

84f3c1a2-3faf-4684-b21a-c6c29e136d4a

Since DJ and Pete were both going to be out of town that week, my mom suggested I come to Fort Worth so I could get out of the apartment, enjoy her Michelin star cooking (not her words, but those are facts), clear my head and just get a change of scenery to study.

When I arrived in the afternoon of September 25th, my mom was still at work and only Jadey was home (this a couple weeks prior to her passing). I didn’t know that would be her last hyper-jump-all-over-me welcome, but I think it’s pretty special that I have that moment clear in my memory since it was just her and I. I think she could sense my general state of dejection and she was as doting and loving as ever.

I worked on some assignments while my mom also did some work with me at the kitchen table. Then for dinner we enjoyed this perfection of a meal of grilled salmon, mixed veggie avocado salad and seasoned brown rice.

453c09b0-569f-4151-92a2-11f557c598a6

The morning of September 26th I woke up extra early to finish up a paper and get it submitted. I enjoyed a cup of coffee out of a mug of the coffee shop I worked at as a barista in college. It was one of those moments where nostalgia crept right up on me!

6656b797-77d9-42c4-b3b0-ac9b12e99a453d6abb03-02f9-4663-a0a5-59600e68f90dFor a mid-morning snack I had some lemonade with a slice of toast, vegan Daiya cheddar cheese, edamame, mixed marinated veggies, avocado and some bolthouse ranch dressing (my new favorite dressing!).

b1f4ee07-65c5-4047-b00a-9e34060c1159

My mom returned earlier than normal from work, so shared some hummus and veggies in the afternoon while continuing to work on our individual tasks at the kitchen table.

d7158eeb-40c2-412c-aed6-cb4753b31510

For dinner we had vegan beef stroganoff with mashed potatoes and broccolini. This meal was insane. One of my absolute favorite “meat recreations”.

c44e6028-0f03-41f2-b9ce-cad0976bdc9e

On September 27th while I worked on Notecards I watched the show Diagnosis. It’s a fascinating show, and I try to figure out what’s going on with them as the show goes on. It’s a bit like a real life House!

Unfortunately, on September 27th I took a nasty tumble while running outside.  I won’t share pics, don’t worry- but I reopened a scar on my knee from a previous fall. Whoopsies. Clumsy Runner Woes.

That evening we enjoyed another awesome meal of teriyaki tofu, fried rice, and spinach beet salad with mandarin oranges. It was tremendous, and I definitely went back for seconds!

161aa1cf-7763-4447-aba9-7d9e64a832e7

I took this last picture I ever would with sweet Jaders <3

a9cb5938-f4de-4a3f-b7ac-a7da88acaf70

I was planning on leaving Saturday evening the 28th, but was not quite ready. I made a lot of progress on Saturday during the day with school and DJ wouldn’t be back until late, so we decided we would have a girls’ night out, and I’d just leave in the AM!

Before heading out we enjoyed apps of roasted eggplant, crab dip and crackers and olives.

9f339eb3-63ec-4c2a-8247-ecbbd9f5b658

We went to a restaurant called Simply Thai in Keller. Keller practically shuts down after dinner time, even on the weekends. We arrived pretty late- around 8 pm, so we had the cute little place to ourselves.

ed49ca3d-18ae-4be8-94d1-10506b36572c

Usually we split two dishes, but with our spice preference difference that makes it a bit more of a challenge. My mom ordered their mixed vegetable pad pak. She got the mild spice and I ordered extra spicy. When we tried them we realized they probably mixed up the spice orders because hers was hot hot hot and mine was not not not.

7085779b-3c78-4846-8648-cfdefd44851d

Thankfully they brought out some extra chili and I spiced it on up! My mom still enjoyed the veggies despite the heat, and I shared my pumpkin curry with her because it was the star of the show. Just writing about it is making me crave it again.

a6d1bb8f-1b7f-44a1-bdcc-a0741f4da0a8

After, we went to the Station Patio Icehouse to watch a live band, enjoy a glass of wine and chat about just everything. A beautiful evening to remember for sure <3

a4736638-2081-4489-975e-0ec30181c997c9a6e7fa-bbd1-4d64-918f-4020e3f038c5

Before heading home in the morning of September 29th, we enjoyed our favorite wood-fire roasted coffee from Summer Moon. If you are a coffee lover and visit Texas Summer Moon is my #1 recommendation. Their “moon milk” will change your life! Ok, that might be a bit of a hyperbole, but I’ll let you decide. I will warn, it is very sweet, so tread carefully.

64434ded-a707-4582-8085-a5463244e894

This meme could not be more accurate!

img_6872

October 5th I made DJ the traditional dirt pudding for his birthday. Even though it’s technically for him, I always enjoy my fair share too 😉

a743bc20-e31e-4df4-a23c-8dc4128c402f

For his actual birthday on October 6th I made DJ pancakes with sample Runamok Maple Syrup’s we received as a gift. They were so yummy! Each different flavor was robust, but not overwhelming.

d9fc7600-fdab-4c71-97a6-a696a1008b77

We had to celebrate DJ’s birthday a week late since he had midterms that week. But I’m pretty excited to show y’all how we celebrated.

In October in general we traded in our Impractical Jokers to watch half an episode of Castle Rock here and there on Hulu. It was great to get in that spoOooOoOky spirit- we watched the first season, although I know a second season is now out. Has anyone seen it?

Thanks for reading!

Question for you:

  • Do you have a special coffee cup that has extra meaning to you?

xo <3

signature-1

On Campus Weekend #1!

Hi everyone! I hope you are having a great weekend. I put on some press-on nails for the first time in everrrr, and these are so tough to type in, lol! I’m sure I’ll get used to them but my hands are currently looking like baby giraffes learning to walk for the first time.

Anyway! In my program, we are required to do on campus intensives multiple times a year. Basically it entails learning hands-on skills, some testing, case studies and simulations with various lectures in between. I was nervous as could be before my first one with no real idea what to expect. However, once we had our first session the nerves were placated a bit. I loved meeting my peers in person. We learned a ton, and it made things feel quite real! Prior, I didn’t know anyone personally, but after the first on-campus I exchanged numbers with several people. They have been such a great source of encouragement, and often it’s just nice to know I’m not alone in feeling out of my depths sometimes. I don’t know how I would have survived this semester without them!

Our sessions started at around 8 am on September 13th and finished around 4 pm each day. I was able to walk back to where I was staying to eat my leftovers for lunch and work on some pharmacology lectures in between sessions. Once the end of the afternoon session rolled around I was in need of some time to unwind. I decided to walk the campus while listening to a podcast. This walk is one of my favorite memories from the last few months, and I’m happy to take you on this walk with me if you are interested!

c0ac731c-c914-482a-b5f8-f757809be9f7

It was a bit overcast, but I love overcast days. It felt like it may rain at any moment, but the temperature was perfectly warm and dewy.

34465991-6cb1-4409-9516-0148f0e6e6ca7344fac8-5df4-47e8-b0fb-3af3573380ea

While walking I spotted this spider that I thought could not possibly be real! Sure enough… it was. The web was massive. There was no one else around me, but I was eager to share the shock of the spider with someone else. I kept thinking, “Am I seeing this thing right?!”. I also wish the camera had captured the web better, but you can get an idea of the proportion based on the size of the eight-legged terror.

715708af-67aa-489e-a5f8-283ef62f4ffa

I was a bit more on guard for crawly creatures the rest of the walk, but we boldly traversed on.

0084740a-fb6a-41c9-bef0-5ce1970e401f4e69bbe4-9e4e-447a-abb2-220b6f6a750b906491d9-6c61-4edb-a5b8-e41954e6029434df7369-eb3d-4d47-be1b-11aebcbbce3c06f4b0d8-1a47-4e28-8531-f87952d52386abe1b1f7-f2fc-4978-8209-3d420d6e79a5279c1811-4110-4e43-bd63-ba906f773fc9442caa07-3b5a-41a6-b426-ad8bfb50640a

I stumbled upon this story circle that was absolutely charming.

98050a48-75e1-4203-8877-9cadfb58a74c

When you entered in there was a book exchange box and a cute little sitting circle. I imagine kids just adore this!

47266af2-d9ad-4a48-8de4-0fa48f64f9e3ef3bf2ca-35fe-4ae4-9abe-662a85229d804e005805-2fe2-4ec8-9bff-1cfdbf33eae9

More walking on…

45e6e7e9-7c78-41b7-bae5-4f13a2d5338dd0aeb6f0-1fc7-4311-a6f6-4f8a39778d8d

When I saw the school buildings I was in awe.

8fdd722a-92db-4ed6-976d-8dfe763d9458f8945489-ad93-45f5-8f87-cd800484125b

And the chapel… wow…

f1962db5-c459-4e31-8a84-1ee574c47bcafdca74dc-ef03-4b5a-8b40-a620eec4a706

I knew the campus was beautiful beforehand… but seeing it in person nearly took my breath away. I was truly amazed.

On September 14th after our morning session I went to the food court with some of my classmates.

2fb8db3f-19a2-4dbd-8441-1133cf3254e2

It was a food court to contend with any top tier food court! I always look forward to trying something new whenever I return.

This time I enjoyed an ahi tuna poke bowl. So refreshing and filling.

2a8982b2-9a60-4f23-9cab-828780c6de1f

I repeated another walk that afternoon, but a more abbreviated version. I chatted on the phone with my family and friends while taking in the serene landscape.

05fd5fff-8d83-4b5b-8d5d-8c2ef403f75f99d634b9-9fa9-4d96-8c0c-df75635919f450220c2a-4083-4893-9b8a-76a6d17368dd

Nothing to calm the nerves like some time outdoors!

783ed94f-2383-4371-a839-5d051b2f8b8beb434598-763a-4ed7-a264-0dcdef3ace07

That evening I enjoyed an Rx bar and some tea to unwind from the high energy of the last couple days.

d81d1a7c-c9c3-498d-b1b1-1f0dd6a4dbcc

Around 3 am I woke up to head to the airport. I settled down to have breakfast at around 5:30 am with Starbucks, a parfait and some of a quest bar.

d4398f72-934c-4641-96a7-e426d680377a

A valiant effort on the spelling, I’ll say.

c46f7cc9-bd4d-474c-a7e9-eb673e77c72f

And that’s a wrap for my first on campus intensive. I left feeling elated and like I had a new drive to survive the daunting semester. I have doubted myself countless times over this semester- almost daily, but the on-campus intensives always help give me a boost of confidence. I am trusting the process and the fact that God has me here for a reason. He doesn’t call the equipped, but equips the called, right? One of my dearest friends and roommates from college reminds me of this often <3 Hope you all are so well! Have a very Merry Christmas and happy holidays!!

Questions for you:

  • Any Christmas traditions?
  • This is a bit deeper: Any times you have doubted yourself, but thrived nonetheless? I’d love to hear!

xo <3 

signature-1

Friday Favorites #26!

It’s Fridayyyy (the 13th)!

friday the 13th.jpg

Hope you all have some fun plans for this weekend. This is the first weekend where I will not be studying in a while and am I ever excited! So why not do a Friday Favorites to kick it off?!

  1. This Pukka Lemon, Ginger and Manuka Honey tea is some of my favorite tea I have ever tried. It’s smooth, comforting and tasty as can beee.

1caf5c38-aeb4-4f98-bfa4-0bb34a2e6c89

2. Red Jalapeño/Fresh Garlic Olive Oil. I was a little unsure what to expect from this olive oil, but I went through nearly the entire bottle in a couple months- it goes with just about anything you could want to sauté, cook, roast, etc. Time for me to stock back up!

a347876f-60b7-403b-b19b-ca5e09c6fe0b

3. Trader Joe’s Cedar Balsam Candle. I initially saw this candle on Kori’s story on IG, and while I was at TJ’s it caught my eye. We were in desperate need of some candles, and this one brought Christmas to our home! We haven’t had a chance to get a tree yet, but this is a great place holder for that scent. It has a piney, calming scent that burns even more beautifully than when you initially smell it in the jar.

e0b136d9-5b78-42b6-b7f2-8c3e35804bee

4. Ettitude Sheets. These bamboo sheets are like absolute butter… so silky smooth like you wouldn’t believe. I grabbed them during a Black Friday sale, and it was the best decision. Highly recommend if you are looking for some new bedding.

3bfe146f-86ee-4721-bcef-3c35c007e3dd

5. Gnocchi Gorgonzola. This is easily a new favorite of ours from TJ’s. If you are going to try one item at TJ’s right now… make it this! The flavor packed in this is just outstanding. Wowzzaaa.

36b2a124-3b6a-4877-8433-246c05dce7ed

6. Younger. I am a bit behind on the bandwagon for this series – but this show is so stinkin’ good!! It’s a great Hulu watch when I just need to turn my mind off at the end of the evening. So light and fun. The concept on paper sounds a bit improbable, so rather than try to sum it up, I’d recommend just giving it a watch (It took me about four episodes to be hooked). I’d say it’s geared toward Millenials, but I think anyone could enjoy it.

bd84ba03-44a3-455b-b5b1-64247be9786a

7. Austin Sunsets. Since it’s been getting darker earlier, I’ve seen more sunsets outside when I’m on my afternoon/evening walks. They are just breathtaking some evenings.

2a6e21bc-bca8-41fd-8cd3-2d800f26b1aafc91d351-b76c-49ad-97d6-7c5b58310de3be98dd44-d198-420f-b42b-48bffa6a588fe3341a21-75f9-407a-9262-03caeecaed97

8. This meme cracked me up. The level of ingenuity is impressive- hahah.

44870f35-d72b-419b-a620-b499b436f7fa

9. invisibobble hair ties.These are quite popular right now for good reason. My hair stylist recommended that I replace my basic hairbands with these since I was having a lot of breakage. I was skeptical based on the look of them, but I took her word for it, and I’m glad I did!! These are surprisingly strong, hold my hair better in place than the traditional hair ties and do not rip my hair out. They come in a variety of colors too. They stretch out over time, but I was told you can put them in hot water to shrink them back up.

ea4bcdcd-10fb-4988-91a6-6ecb8e1898d3

10. Dark mode on Iphone. While it took a little getting used to, I love using Dark mode on my phone. I almost noticed a difference immediately. My eyes have been so dry and irritated this semester with how much I stare at a screen while watching lectures, studying, etc. This definitely helps calm down the intensity of that light, at least while using my phone. Now they just need one for laptops! I also ordered some blue light glasses, so we’ll see how those work too.

img_6781

11. And a little holiday bonus… this video is circulating the internet and if you need a good laugh you must watch it!

Have a Merry weekend, friends! 

xo <3

signature-1

**There are Amazon affiliated links in this post, but all ideas and opinions are my own. I make a small commission off Amazon purchases with no additional cost to you!** 

Corner Restaurant & Flying Bread?!

**Testing one…two…three, Testing…**

Let’s hope I remember how to do this!

Hey all!! Ohhh how it feels good to be back on WordPress. I just took my last final exam (early!) and it went well. The semester is a wrap, and I feel like I can breathe again! Even though quite a bit of time has passed since I’ve actually physically written a recap post (August), I don’t think it’ll take terribly long to catch up since we really have not done a whole bunch. It’s been a tough few months. Some of the toughest. We are depleted- physically and emotionally- so we are definitely looking forward to a tiny bit of a break. I know this is just life and this was a season, but oh man, was it a doozy. However, there were some fun memories along the way that are begging to be written down. Something I have learned through blogging is there is always something good even in the most stressful or difficult of times, we just have to find it. It’s okay, and important, to acknowledge and allow yourself to feel the hard times too, but intentionally being thankful for the good that does exist helps keep things in perspective. Since I haven’t been writing at all I have lost track of that a bit, and it became very easy to fixate on the stressors without any kind of outlet. But here we are, a bit retrospectively, to dig the good out of what has been a trying time.

I currently have on the Great British Baking Show on in the background (ya know I always get a hankerin’ for baking shows at Christmas time) and my cup of coffee… so let’s get on with it, shall we?!

On August 24th, we walked downtown to Corner restaurant for a little date night. We first noticed this restaurant when our family stayed at the hotel attached a couple weeks prior. I loved the whole relaxed, yet modern, feel of it all.

05980a27-6bd9-42e0-a72c-0a4d9c1567ed

It actually reminded me a little bit of Santana Row in San Jose with the outdoor seating. Also, the indoor seating is beautiful! It’s dim lit and very chic- so if you’re going for that ambiance that’s an option too.

b0029578-1c87-47ef-ba9e-9473ed13a4a2cb9e2321-3a73-458f-a0e4-40b0e420ac86

There were a few items on the menu we could not pass up on! The first was the zucchini cornbread. It was actually better than I expected… and I had high expectations based on the reviews! I think this may have been my favorite of everything we tried!

88705cee-88b4-4fa0-ac80-665981662bd6c93742ee-248d-4a2b-81e9-a2afc845f239

We also had the blistered shishito peppers two ways with kaffir lime crema. Now, the peppers were great, but that kaffir lime crema was tremendous!! The mix of flavors that these dishes had were unique, but in a melodious way. It makes me want to try just everything on their menu because even the more “basic” items probably have a delicious spin on them.

cdab07c4-1adf-47f5-b790-658a54d624cc

We also had their roasted kale and farro salad with pickled grapes and miso sesame vinaigrette. I did not know what to expect flavor wise with this…. but once again.. it blew me away! The flavor was certainly different, but it worked so well. Anytime I return this will be a must!

4fa13eaf-e52f-4e35-ad0a-02b7d6b52f99

And for DJ’s main dish- the braised short ribs with mashed potatoes, horseradish cream and seasonal veggies. He loved it.

ee1b8a75-ba8b-4d97-939d-816d466fd44e

On August 25th after church I went for an afternoon jog along Lady Bird Lake trail.

img_3924

And August 26th let the semester commence! Boyy, I had no clue what I was in for.

On August 27th I decided to try out a new cafe while I went into syllabus shock and delved into the first assignments.

ac348f01-6519-4564-b2f8-2ea01a1ec37f896508aa-4cf5-41be-85b7-551abb572e70

It was some strong coffee, but also very delicious!

August 28th through the 29th I studied from home. On August 30th I decided to walk over to Bennu and enjoy one of their oat milk lattes.

67ee59fc-a3e6-4925-aa5c-99826551eaf9

For dinner I made a sweet potato with black bean burger, quinoa, roasted mixed veggies and asparagus.

fbb36a01-3ec3-4d0d-92cf-72f02ffd4f00

September 1st we went to church and after we stopped by Thundercloud Subs, a local sub stop.

I was stoked to see they had “vegan chicken”. I loaded up on that and added some hummus and all the veggies to create a massive salad with some balsamic vinaigrette. It was filling and delicious. 😋

ad3af2fe-90ae-4fe9-8c54-8cc569513bd1

I’m not sure which sub DJ opted for- I think something with Roast Beef- but he liked it. I think he still prefers Jimmy John’s.

02635221-2233-4e79-b71b-5cbdfaea2954

In the evening I did a massive trip to Trader Joe’s since I knew my time to go the store would probably be slim in the coming weeks. I guessed right- I have definitely had to stretch my trips out! Going to the store is such a treat for me–Any excuse to get out of my study den. Whenever I check out the cashier asks how long these groceries will last… It’s always less time than I guestimate. Anyone else?

3ff3db1e-671b-4f1a-9db6-5e4683ae193d

September 2nd I started the day with toast topped with figs, cashews and strawberries.

038b4ba5-6728-4b6b-8de7-2c48c6573761

I also enjoyed some sushi from TJ’s…. I wouuuld recommend this, but there has been a recent recall… so yeah, probably stay away for now, hah.

94ba740e-7836-4e51-b74d-148da2ba5047

In the evening I spotted this gorgeous view outside the workout room so I snuck outside to snag a picture of the picturesque sky.

a4f7030b-8492-4cb9-a36f-806eaedfb1af

September 3rd more studying with occasional screen shots of memes I resonate with given my camera roll. September 4th I tried a new area of running near Zilker park! 🏃‍♀️

3b511f63-d347-4894-8e93-392ce1aa7d26

On September 4th Christmas came early! These are all instruments I used to practice for my head-to-toe that I just completed a couple weeks ago (more on that later). DJ was the most gracious letting me test his reflexes, hearing, and look at his eyes/eardrums 938130958309 times. Haha. He’s the best.

7bb2b139-b91a-4efa-be8b-d83589bbfaff

That evening I made some salmon with sun-dried tomato, an artichoke heart, quinoa and asparagus.

0b74e8e8-34c7-4f93-8634-84ad80432e35

September 7th I started the day with a delicious paratha topped with smoked salmon, capers, and a poached egg. I think I finally have that poached egg down! It only took 25 years. Thank you for the tips, Kori!

7d6774eb-2422-469b-aaea-4ae1820c6dcd

On September 9th I started the day with some buttered naan with a fried egg and yellow lentil daal from TJ’s.

9edce91b-efec-4d98-8b77-e627125975b2

In the afternoon I took a walk out on LadyBird lake. Gosh, I love love love this trail. You can find me on it pretty much every day (unless the weather prohibits it). I love turning on a podcast and walking or running a lap. I took DJ on the trail recently, and he was pretty amazed at how lovely the trail was. We try to get out and have a walk together on the weekends if we can because it’s so relaxing.

deb28e02-a712-492c-aa8e-357f3c6cc52d24536549-70c6-4450-8476-4e1742d43f9c

Also, while crossing a bridge I saw this painting. I couldn’t help and take a pic because…. truth. Bread= An angel? Carbs give you wings? Bread is the wind beneath my wings? Whatever.. they all work.

In the evening I whipped up my go-to sweet potato with beets, avocado, roasted veggies, sun-dried tomatoes, and hummus.

4be01e4b-2c09-4899-95e5-d192038f587d

And then September 12th it was off to my first on campus!! I grabbed some Einstein Bros. coffee to help me wake up a bit.

744cbdd2-fe14-4e1c-964c-b56de2a41b53

I studied on the whole plane ride and was pleasantly surprised to get Popcorners as a snack and a whole can of sparkling water (not just a cup of ice with a questionable dash of liquid). Go, JetBlue! I rarely ever fly with them, but it worked out it was the airline with the best deal for that trip, so I’m not complainin’.

f809192c-8fdd-4670-b539-6e9117e0637b

I arrived to the hotel I’d be staying- it was just fine, no frills, but it had everything you could need. It also had a full empty fridge and microwave which came in handy for my leftovers (and free coffee 24-7 in the lobby!).

ff1be969-74c3-4b72-9076-af4be41639ac3387ecf6-1d88-441a-b09f-b15841cdabf5

I was pretty famished when I arrived, so I popped in a podcast and walked to the nearest food. There was this strip area below that had a mediterranean restaurant that had my name on it. No, I didn’t even consider Chipotle for all you Chipotle fanatics. Chipotle is well…. it’s.. okay… it’s sustenance. I just think it’s overrated. There, I said it. Talk about an unpopular opinion- coming back into blogging with a splash, lol.

cf6d4f2f-3c2e-4fae-80be-50eba5cf3c28

I got enough to feed an army– a side of lentils, tabouleh, marinated cucumbers and tomatoes and tzatziki to go with hummus, baba, pita, and falafel.

ccf775ae-7ac6-473a-9e7a-2da86f504199

In the morning I got up at 5:30 am to get ready for my first OCI day! They offer a complimentary breakfast, nothing too crazy- but I love the Chobani mixed with different cereals and a little danish.

c51882f1-b49d-43bd-b7e6-a203bab8405f

I’ll recap more of the on-campus in the next post. Thanks for reading! Thankful for you all & the WP community. Blogging is more important to me than I even realized; a few months without it certainly brought that to light! I’m going to try to do a better job prioritizing it next semester. I hope you all are having a great holiday season thus far!

Questions for you:

  • What do you think that bread with wings symbolized? Curious if someone has some insight…
  • Chipotle- yay or nay?

xo <3

signature-1

Our Four Year Anniversary Celebration & Homemade Indian!

Present Day: Ok, this is the last back-logged post I have from August!! It won’t take long to catch up the last couple months though because we haven’t done a whole lot, haha. Hope you all are so well 🙂

img_5441

^^Oh. And dat me tryin’ to make it to December! I have another on campus intensive coming up in a couple weeks- I’m both excited to see my peers and a nervous nelly for the testing. I’ve been practicing the skills everyday for two months now. It will be such a relief when that’s over. Welp, here’s the post. It’ll be a surprise to me too, as to what’s in it, since I wrote it three full months ago. 

Original Post: Hey hey!!! Jumpin’ right on in after the last post… Let’s see- August 16th was filled with all the overdue check-ups at the dentist and doctor. August 17th we had set aside to celebrate our anniversary (even though it was over a week late- better late than never!). We discovered the absolutely extraordinary world of soufflé our previous anniversary at Cafe Jacqueline in San Francisco and found ourselves craving them again this time around. I scoured the internet to see if we could find a place that had them near us, but the closest place was Fort Worth- a bit out of the way. So, we decided to just make them at home ourselves. We made homemade soufflés for New Years Eve, and it was one of our favorite nights ever ever, so why not give it another go?

Also, we can’t just have a soufflé… when it’s a special occasion ya have to have appetizers too! I picked up some good meats, cheeses, and veggies from TJs  (yes, this is just for the two of us, haha). I served it all with warm focaccia bread and pita chips.

0c159a28-a804-4c97-8b6e-b258dfa060a9

I added some figs to the meat and cheese tray for a pop of dimension (And flavor as well- have you ever had prosciutto and fig together? It’s a combo I saw here and there on menus in the Bay- the whole sweet and savory experience).

504c6236-0366-4768-9576-43fdca9a4c30

For the veggies, I roasted broccoli to decorate the perimeter of the tray and then included fresh root carrots, marinated beets, artichoke hearts, cooked crimini mushrooms, roasted garlic bulbs, and sun-dried tomatoes with dipping hummus. There are few things that make me happier than preparing food. I just love it.

d97918c0-52b7-4ed8-acbb-8807b592976f

We enjoyed our apps with a glass of champagne and then got to prepping our soufflé. It’s a long, pretty arduous process to make soufflés. Once you make the actual batter you have to let it cool to room temp which can take up to a couple hours. During that time we took a walk around the city.

77c62002-4fea-493a-b1d8-3116251092eb

When we came back from our walk we put it in the oven for about 35 minutes. It came out nearly perfect, but was around 10 pm by the time we finally ate. We both agreed it was even better than the one we made from NYE, and I think we are figuring out the nuances of making a soufflé, slowwwwly but surely. Still working on getting the big “puff” effect on top.

fb6832bf-9312-4c39-a705-dfbd4a8ef9394d20dcb5-2138-4ad8-b256-4915d31c7ef8

It was a wonderful evening, just cooking together, watching some impractical jokers & this is a bit cheesy (and we’re not talking the copious amount of cheese we consumed that evening), but while eating our soufflé we wrote out a life bucket list. We always are talking about things we’d like to do, so we made it concrete and put it all in one place. I will try to type it up here sometime too!

August 18th we had friends in town from college who we went to church with. DJ had a ton of studying in the afternoon so I ran errands, cleaned the apartment.. all that jazz.. before we enjoyed leftovers for dinner in the evening.

August 19th I was in the mood to cook from scratch! I made this pasta from a cooking magazine, but replaced some of the items with healthier ingredients. It had whole wheat pasta, corn, soft boiled eggs, and parm in a delicious garlic olive oil sauce. For DJ’s I added turkey bacon too. Yummmy.

08f2b782-b1cb-477f-b2a8-8af53117de6f

On August 20th I had my car mirror officially fixed! Yay! We are back in business. In the evening I had a massive pizza craving. And a very specific pizza craving- Pizza Hut. Since discovering it in the Miami airport, it has entered my mind many a time since. After chipping away at my to-do list all day, I had worked up quite the appetite. I whipped into Pizza Hut to pick up a large pizza for dinner.

3aeb40e3-59bd-49cc-be5a-ce76f0f69f3b

Before pulling out of the parking lot… something caught my eye….across the street that there was a Dominos that had the same deal as Pizza Hut. Dominos was always my favorite chain growing up (or so I thought- that garlicky crust just got me). I haven’t had it since high school and thought of a brilliant beyond brilliant idea. It may be fun to do a side by side taste test to see if my perceived reality had stood the test of time. Plus then I wouldn’t need to cook dinner for a couple days- win-win!

70c67dc5-c751-4873-86da-c855ce426815

Below is the Dominos.

996401fb-d35c-478c-96dd-5dcc1c67ec68

The verdict? Pizza Hut won by a landslide eating the two side by side- not even a question! I put up a poll on my Instagram and people voted Pizza Hut as the better chain between the two. Now if I were to do this again- a Pizza March Madness bracket if you will, what other chain would you recommend I compare it to side by side? In the mean time, I am going back to eating local pizza since there are insanely good options around here, but it was nice to get my Pizza Hut fix.

On August 21st, I ran outside on the trails in the morning and saw this sweeeet couple in front of me. These shirts were too stinkin’ precious not to share!

04f7ba3a-0651-4bab-992d-334dc24f38c8

August 22nd, out on my run I saw some new cool artwork was displayed on the trails.

83af216b-1725-48d3-95f3-66490936ab3731cc0613-e65f-40ac-85c0-85c19c3da569

& I made sure to say hi to Charlotte.

287658cc-12ac-43ca-8410-38e9ae9eee98

I even saw these cuties by the water.

5865ba32-f7ef-4eb2-8548-62b36edc7f24

On August 23rd I went out by the pool for the first time since we’ve moved here. It was quite nice. I wanted to read my book on my kindle app, but it was to bright to even make out the words, so I just listened to a podcast while dunking my feet in the water.

c9615866-da1e-4c15-9a3b-40cdb14689b1-1

Oh!! And I know I mentioned in the last post our Indian food we had all ready to go- We had sambar, plus I made tofu curry and Idli with my idli maker my mom got us as a wedding gift.

a65ff2fc-b8e8-4d6a-bd7c-392bf77ae6f94cf98247-b2c0-4c7d-aa29-624db795a05c26e577ea-69b3-4a23-b3f5-b8dabbbc2bf7

Gosh, it was all so tasty and satisfying. That sambar transported me right back to Chennai! DJ and I both agreed we have to make it a priority to visit India together. I miss it!

And this brings us to this present moment Saturday August 24th at 3:48 pm. I am sitting at Bennu enjoying an iced oatmilk coffee and anticipating a fun date night in downtown tonight with DJ and church tomorrow. Have a great week everyone 🙂

ae939883-3a43-4e6c-a03f-a22a2b2196e5

Questions for you:

  • Please tell me something going on in your world! Anything at all. I miss reading blogs more than you know!!! Just. have. to. make. it. to. December 16th. Then I’m gonna at least have a couple days to catch up!

xo <3

submark signature

Moonshine Grill, Swift’s Attic, & Merit Coffee!

Present day: Hey all! How is everyone? I accidentally used salt in my coffee this AM before realizing it wasn’t sugar- so that’s how my day’s going! 😆 That’s the real Catch-22 about coffee- how do you even function to make the coffee before you’ve had your coffee?! Yeah soo, anywho, October has not slowed down as I hoped it would. In fact, it’s busier than ever. Probably needless to say I’m counting down to the holidays at this point. I’m not one to wish days away, but this semester I am wishing away for all it’s worth, haha. I just want to get to clinicals!! Alrighty, let’s get to it!!!

Back when I wrote this: Alright, I have 15-minutes until DJ gets home, so let’s see how much of this I can get done before he arrives. I have a full Indian spread ready for us– Sambar, Veggie curry, idli & rice.. I’m quite excited!! I need this post to distract me so I don’t dig in early, lol.

On August 13th I ran in the morning, textbook free!!! I had been running with Smalls, and since I didn’t have any exams to study for I was free to just run on the treadmill or watch a sociologically and psychologically educational TV show (aka….. reality tv)… it was so nice!

For lunch I met up with Amy at Moonshine Bar and Grill. My goal for the day was to brainwash her to move to Austin with us, lol, and this place is supposed to be a local favorite. (I haven’t been able to convince her yet, but I’m happy she can hold down the fort in the Bay Area while we’re away- and it’s giving me extra incentive to go back and visit so I can see her!).

4d6bcfb1-38ff-408b-aa29-4f033af2d8b4

Moonshine has a main restaurant, an outdoor bar, and an outdoor patio. Our wait was going to be about an hour unless we could scour out a spot that was first come, first serve at the outdoor bar (it still had full food service). We decided to go out and see if we could snag a few spots. We lucked out and snatched um’ up with no wait time at all! The service was excellent off the bat. We were off to a great start!

Here is a pic of their cute little patio too, which is right across from the outside bar.

157c0267-9491-466b-8cb8-d6f53c7a872dWe loaded up on food. We saw garlic bulbs on the menu and had to see what they were all about. Being from SF, where the food is absurdly expensive, we expected a single bulb. When the platter of garlic bulbs with goat cheese, roasted peppers and bruschetta were set down our eyes grew about three times their size. The cheaper food prices compared to the Bay area is easily one of my favorite parts of living in Austin.

775063fc-61b7-4c97-bfef-43d9671c2ea7

And 10/10 on flavor. I actually loved this so much I tried to make garlic bulbs again myself after this– they weren’t quite as good as these, but they were still so delicious & easy! I don’t have a specific recipe, but I doused mine in olive oil and pink Himalayan salt then roasted them at 375 for maybe 25 minutes? Maybe longer? I’ll need to do it again so I can remember exactly what I did and write it down.

96d24288-799b-45da-94ae-d9f61766233b

I also had to try their jalapeno grits… in the words of Billie Eilish- DUH!. These were dangerously good.

6ed08a51-4e87-4d3a-bf8f-36827dd3e278

Now, let’s talk their mac and cheese! This is unlike most mac and cheeses- it was placed emphasis on the sharp part of “sharp cheddar”, but I absolutely LOVED the bold flavor. It was unique, but I am all about it. And they topped it with breadcrumbs- they know what’s upppp!

c457323f-997b-42bb-8a22-826547833f9f

It was all reasonably priced, spectacularly delicious, great service with great convo… all around.. I totally see why this is a favorite, and no doubt I’ll have to take DJ back!

After our awesome meal, we went to Pennybacker Bridge (Thank you, Taylor for this rec too!!).

In order to get to the top for the views, we followed some people we saw go into the woods next to the parking lot, hiked up a little trail and then made it to the top!

86c6ac82-f84a-465c-9f91-306ebb82338d

These views did not disappoint!

ba88a1dc-e690-42a7-9d1d-bd93a3c2d562

Austin never ceases to amaze me with its unexpected beauty!

bdc01589-a1a1-4042-ae3d-13693d50bc97

After Pennybacker we decided to find somewhere we could go inside since it was getting a bit too hot to be outside much longer. Where better to go than a movie?

59de4c03-6c76-44b8-8906-b4322a612ff6

We zipped over to Alamo Drafthouse Cinema on South Lamar.

599cd390-8fa9-4044-8f62-dd2c8ca4c238

This place is so much fun! It has almost a Marvel meets a 50s/60s inspired vibe.

595778e9-e0d1-4a5d-8d0c-6c4534f9c17756c29ec0-fd47-49b7-8d67-feda556b2d0bce80bc13-a9af-4e78-8aac-342c7a384c03f95d991e-8781-4e58-9cd7-15dca2575440

We decided on Scary Stories To Tell in the Dark since we both read the stories when we were younger. There is such an 80s/90s resurgence right now with everything media, and I am here for it. Did you guys see even Lizzie McGuire is coming back in November?!

Anyway- When we sat down before the movie started I checked out their food menu just to take note for next time (we were still so stuffed from lunch). I was stoked to see they have an expansive vegan menu.. I can’t wait to go back with DJ too! The movie was a fun watch- it really got me in the mood for Halloween time.

After the movie we were starting to get a bit hungry again. We went to Rainey street and stopped at the food truck Gobble Gobble ATX. I got one of their veggie burgers with chili sauce (yum!) and Amy tried one of their legit chicken sandwiches.

58a0d116-972c-47f2-8c21-deabc4a2488d

In the morning of August 14th, my mom arrived in town for business! She had a couple hours before she had to be at work, so we went to Snooze together, a brunch spot I’ve had my eye on since Jess mentioned it.

360173ef-8c97-4f02-9250-caa903d9db978e774ad8-f2ab-46b0-a960-8e6cbf34642a397a897c-5d7a-4571-b2da-37b814d08cf3

It has such a cute retro vibe! I absolutely adored the decor. It felt like a scene from Austin Powers or something.

a3124244-adb8-4761-aaae-a23f4cf29acc

Coffee first always! It was great coffee. (and this coffee was salt freee!)

7ec91b86-fbe3-4580-b1cc-978fa67dc52f

Whenever my mom and I go out we always order two dishes to split. We decided to first try the lox-n-latke benny with homemade crispy latkes topped with Lox style salmon, poached eggs, cream cheese hollandaise, fried capers, pickled red onions and pistou. Oh me, oh myyyyy this was SO good. The latke itself was such a unique alternative to a bagel, which is traditionally served with a lox. I highly recommend trying this out if you ever find yourself near a Snooze.

4f795047-ba6c-4cec-a2a5-997558045f48

We also split their Goldilock’s Porridge with ancient grain mix of steel cut oats, quinoa, millet, amaranth simmered in almond milk….topped with raspberries, blueberries, blackberries, bananas, toasted almonds and hemp seeds. This is something I could eat every single day for breakfast. Oh so satisfying.

49ae0213-556f-4533-aa16-25e0cca28a0c-1

During the day I had a ton of errands/appointments/etc. I was overdue for getting my oil changed, and the jiffy lube guys were so friendly and helpful. They even left me a smile on my next oil change sticker. There’s that Texas kindness coming through again!

img_5140

In the evening, the whole family reconvened to go to dinner together after DJ finished school for the day! We went to Swift’s Attic in downtown.

45e5d04b-ef60-45d0-8eac-d389132a309b

While we all had certain menu items we wanted to try, but we basically ate the items family style. There was a lazy susan in the center of the table that made it easy (and fun) to share everything! We agreed all dinner tables should probably just have a lazy susan. The only times I have used them is at dim sum restaurants; I had never thought of them existing outside of that context!

To begin we tried their “squid fries” with  roasted garlic aioli, charred lemon, herbs. These were fantastic! The whole fam was sweet to encourage my photo taking- they weren’t even embarrassed when I pulled out my food light. LOL. They’re so supportive <3

6f3703f2-da89-4599-9f11-0a048befce52

Next up were the corn fritters with rum raisin butter. I think this may have been my favorite appetizer. They were sooo tasty.

ceab927a-c0ca-4d94-85df-9296703015fa

Now for a side: The “sweet pots” with sweet potato, tomato curry, coconut curry, brussels leaves, spicy peanuts, and fried onion. This was another favorite. I could have ate this as my meal alone- mmmm mmmm! What inspired flavors.

70afc972-cccd-447e-9d2f-8a1fc851f3ac

Pictured below is the pork cheeks with fig jam, spicy mustard, and sourdough toast. We all thought it was pork butt, but turns out pork cheeks are actually the jowl of pig. This was DJ’s favorite!

f117e735-c063-464e-848a-8135b281fbd9

Another main was the “fire from the attic” with grilled salmon, broccolini, charred zucchini & shishito puree, Fresno chile, and parsnip chips. My mouth is watering again just typing this up!

6a00a3fe-e5f2-4c17-a561-59c6f5ac00f2

Aaaand maybe the most photogenic of all the items: The seared scallops with sweet corn puree, miso pesto, charred corn, asparagus, and fried mushrooms. I think the photo speaks for itself! Corn and scallops isn’t something you see together often, but it really works.

d7c0a6b3-53e5-4c7a-a131-038036bd7a18

And we aren’t done just yet… below is the Mole y Elotes with sweet corn puree, miso pesto, charred corn, asparagus, and fried mushrooms. I did not try this dish, but DJ loved it!

3aa4f036-d469-4e8c-bec9-f3cdf9b4ef4f

Dessert time!! Wow oh WOW these desserts were good… so very unique, but absolutely jam-packed with all the flavor you could imagine.

First: The Banana Pudding Empanadas with burnt banana caramel, milk froth chips, banana & bourbon “lasagna”. This was my favorite of the two– I think I would go back one evening after dinner for this dessert alone (but then we may as well just get dinner there too 😉 ).

06310995-208b-4be2-b743-f2ebd72dbdee

And still soooo dang good was the Mexican Ice Cream sammich with cake batter marshmallow and braised almonds. I loved the little marshmallows! And how adorably plated is it?!

d55e9615-efeb-4210-8b79-2375de95f373

It was such a treat that we were all able to get together this evening, and one of my favorite memories, easily, since living here. With our parents in town for business, me being between semesters, DJ not toooo crazy bogged down by school yet and Amy having time to come for a few days, it all worked out nearly serendipitously! (We did miss Pete though !)

We said our goodbyes and as I was walking my mom back to the car, we caught a lightening store in the distance. I love that Austin has thunderstorms. We never got them in CA, so I’ve missed them! My mom and I took some time to watch the electric streaks light up the sky and city below.

ed4df29e-cf8d-4eec-ad6c-e8a39caf5e9fdb7f9156-2832-4397-8e38-6eab38bd7e19

On August 15th I met with a friend from church for coffee in the morning at Merit Coffee. I walked there from my apartment since it was only about a mile away.

cbc0f81f-a87c-4da4-932c-08c8ed2bc340329ed868-8f52-4fa8-a65f-60249fe8987dd423a696-2e2c-41bd-9833-bc21ceed1cb2

It’s such a modern little coffee shop. I’m going to definitely come back here to study sometime!

8b3f0d43-633c-4cb5-ab80-92c8352352858b25d91c-cb8b-47b9-baf3-577c4f1c1cc21c3e61a1-fd30-4b65-9500-6325445cf045

I was burnin’ up after that walk, so I decided a watermelon sparkling water sounded absolutely refreshing to go along with my hot coffee for when I actually cooled down from the air conditioning.

b526d507-7245-4ca9-a78f-196815524c468ba34e9f-3100-483f-b7fd-338865764259

It was a yummy coffee & great chat! In the evening we had another event for DJ’s class. This time we all met at The Salt Lick, a pretty far drive, but well worth it! We mingled and chatted with his classmates and then had some awesome BBQ once again. Although we both agreed it’s not even in the same ballpark as Terry Black’s BBQ.

3191eb0c-c7d8-4779-8cbd-86150c578756

We spent some time enjoying the gorgeous views outside & chatted with classmates.

c7e1d8e1-6c62-491e-953e-e47faab68d3e

Then we found a spot on these steps and enjoyed some mouth-wateringly, I-could-cry-it’s-so-good peach cobbler. Now that the salt lick takes the cake on.

45d8a1bb-65be-4546-9d9c-3a29823aedbd196b7f88-59a4-477d-a54b-735b2030b6903d93517a-43a7-427f-b2b7-593dcb390fe8

It was a great evening. I had a blast chatting with DJ’s colleagues. One of them is from southern India where I did a nursing trip. He said he’d bring me some sambar (a staple of southern India I haven’t had since visiting there!!) I was beyond excited! (And to bring it full circle.. it’s the sambar we’re about to eat RIGHT now since DJ is home). See ya later!! I hope all is well <3

Question for you:

  • Do you like breadcrumbs on your mac and cheese?

xo <3

submark signature

Great Coffee, Burgers & Texas BBQ!

Present Day: Hey all- wow, I cannot thank you all for your love and support in the last post. It was comforting and healing for me to talk with you all and read your comments – I am just always in awe of how genuine and supportive this community is <3

Currently…I just have a million things running through my head that I’m incredibly eager to get out on paper (electronic paper). I originally wrote an intro for this to give a little update on what’s going on right now, but it ended up being soooo long, I’ll just make a whole other post for it. Life has been quite the rollercoaster- but, gosh, I’ve learned SO much this last couple months.. in all transparency- it’s been challenging and painful in some respects, but also so much growth has taken place. I look forward to articulating all that soon.

Anywayyy. Here is another post I wrote back in August. Who knows what I said, lol:

August-whenever-I-wrote-this:

I’ll just jump right in. July 31st I went on an evening walk before dinner after studying all day and saw the city in all its glory.

d5c06ccd-d78d-430b-b765-566a11c23a37

August 1st and 2nd were also huge study days. A friend I met through blogging reached out when she knew I was going to be moving to Austin and sent me the most wonderful list of places to check out! One of the spots on her list was Bennu 24-7 coffee (yes, you read that right- twentay, fourrr, sevennnn!). I had a long day of studying ahead, so where better to camp out for the day (or night need be)?

a9dc87c9-05f4-4487-b77c-91146e549a65

I had such a delicious cafe au lait with oat milk, and it fueled me to be extra productive that day. This will be a go-to spot once I begin my next semester. It was pretty busy though, should I need to make a note to go early before it fills up! Thank you so much for the awesome rec, Taylor!

0490f714-8a5a-4fe0-8989-8f5524df5fa5

Around 6 pm I called it quits, went home, made dinner and ate dinner with DJ and then took a nice walk out on the trails.

ad9d06a6-2c9e-4cd2-8a33-2e448d2b9d54

On August 3rd I went for an afternoon run (yeahhh, probably should try to stick to morning runs in this heat, lol).. but I saw this Brixton hat on a corn stalk. One of DJ’s favorite brands is Brixton so I had to take a pic and send it to him. It just seemed all very “Texas”.

9620a69b-ac95-4283-8eea-21c2b0927d2c

I decided to explore the city a bit more on foot. On my way I saw a group of kayakers- probably one of the city’s favorite past times, especially on Ladybird Lake. They are everywhere there is water! One of these days DJ and I said we have to wake up early and get out there to rent a kayak.

273a0ac8-069a-434c-9172-a47f90c0d537

In the evening for a date night we went to hopdoddy burger bar. I was having a MAJOR burger/fry/milkshake hankerin’ & this is one of the highest and most frequently reviewed spots on Yelp. We walked to the main one on South Congress ready for a long wait.

437ec1e4-d128-4dc3-86cf-a856b66c67f6

After about 35 minutes we made it in! The vibe inside was upbeat, but laid back.

3c167e0b-dcef-425d-8050-5c15c1e3073b

We started off by sharing their Oreo milkshake. It was an one-of-a-kind delicious milkshake. Maybe my favorite ever… big statement… the only issue is the waitress brought it about over thirty minutes before our food & we like to dip fries in our shake. The second half we saved for that purpose was pretty much melted by the time the food came.. womp womp.

7466e9f9-4fd1-433b-8f0b-6cc101fbd46b

When we finally did get our food, it was well worth the wait. DJ enjoyed their classic burger.

c524dff9-dbe2-4bac-a2cd-c6426cce7dc7

I had their “impossible” vegan philly cheesesteak burger with sweet potato fries to share with DJ. I took one bite and died & went straight to heaven. I told DJ I haven’t experienced that flavor in so long- it tasted just, and I mean, just like a regular burger. (Burgers were one of the few actual meat items I genuinely enjoyed when I ate still ate meat). We were also raving about the sweet potato fries- I mean, just all the flavor was wow oh wow. Service was terrible- but would I go back and wait and endure the awful service for this all over again? You betchya!!!!

cdaf2b68-9e6b-4eaa-97d8-5e113f0918de7aac65cd-9a8b-4836-be83-3714a47012e7

On August 4th I don’t have many pics.. hmm I studied a ton I’m sure. I made us cauliflower gnocchi for dinner.. mmmm mmm !

032725e5-c215-41a4-9fdd-0710b1a4944e

On August 5th I had this scrumptious toast with blackberries, almonds, Fage, stevia, and a dash of PB powder. I love the blend of different textures.

e0085ecc-15fe-4565-9661-a56087d9d30d51630663-7ef1-4c6a-aac2-90d153225e0a

I was going to go to Bennu to study, but I couldn’t find a spot. So I whipped my car around to go to a different coffee shop.. I ended up going to three different places before I found one that served decaf. How wild is that? (I had already hit my caffeine quota for the morning).

Anyways- the place I did find was actually located inside a book shop. It’s called Coffee People and is located within Book People. I had to walk about 1.5 miles from my car to get there, but I had already paid for a couple hours of parking, so I wasn’t going to throw that away for nothing. Smalls pretty much threw my back out carrying that thing around, especially in the heat- lol! I probably should make suuuuure I want to stay before paying for parking… lessons learned.

3d9f44b7-ddcf-4bad-901c-e510b896c623c1bf879d-9db0-416e-bb27-59c5e3448bff

The coffee was really tasty, and it was a productive few hours hanging out there.

69be06c4-6529-40cf-9119-23f224c06f2c

in the evening I went on a walk and saw these turtles swimmin’ around. So cute. I’ve seen quite a few turtles around here.. something else that reminds me of the Towpath.

c8d9241a-1bf1-4226-a81c-b9a91616b75a

For dinner I made “chik’n fried rice” …. one of the tastiest darn concoctions we’ve had from leftovers!!! I had some brown rice, vegan chicken, eggs, and tons of veggies and stir-fried some minced garlic and soy sauce in there. DJ and I gobbled it up like it was our last supper. It’s definitely making its way into the rotation as a staple.

df71d788-85f1-4df7-bdb6-53334246083d

On August 6th I decided to just study in the lobby of our apartment for a change of scenery.

4a285613-8b82-48bd-a020-060bfdc85756

And once again, a walk to clear the ol’ noggin. So my allergies were pretty rough when I first moved here. I couldn’t figure out why, because I usually don’t get allergies. Welllllll below is all the pollen that lined the trail. Makes sense now! Apparently Austin is pretty notorious for bad allergies. They have calmed down since that first couple weeks once my body adjusted, but still act up on occasion.

d1a795d3-fc76-4e4a-b2cb-6421825c57de

August 7th I walked to Starbucks to study and then on the way home enjoyed some of the Austin art. I thought you would all enjoy to see it too 🙂

e4c9f774-c0d8-4926-958c-77fae9b5a4ae

Love these messages.

141b0164-5fa2-4c01-8117-2167bda88cf6

After dropping my books off at home I went out to the trail and saw this beautiful swan.

5e37cf93-cedf-47b5-898f-f43ef7a72201

On August 8th it was our anniversary!! DJ had wanted to try Super Coffee since we moved here, but we have been out of luck whenever we have looked for it. I made it my mission to find some on our anniversary for him. I stocked up on a couple different flavors so that they were there when he returned from orientation. He ended up liking it, but it really just takes like a protein shake. I think I ended up liking them more than he did, lol!

a81d9a55-a9de-47e5-bdf1-eb7f81eb2a47

For dinner I made us brown rice, asparagus, vegan chicken for DJ (per his request) and salmon for myself. I also made us a caprese to share.

eac7bbde-f3f2-4d5a-9fb5-0bc1529d83f8

Aaaand he brought me home these absolutely stunning flowers <3 <3 He’s been the greatest husband I could ever imagine over these last four years. I am so immensely thankful for him and don’t know how I’m so blessed. It’s hard to put into words how much I admire and adore him.

df21e0b2-75c2-4bcb-88bb-2cc4ad990c936dc80a35-95fd-42ab-95f1-c6038bfd4172

On Friday August 9th, I took my final exam first thing in the AM. I was planning on taking it Sunday, but I didn’t want it hanging over my head, and I felt prepared. In the afternoon I made a massive to-do list of everything I had put on the back-burner from the summer/this semester. DJ laughed at how I wrote out my list by hand on notebook paper. Does anyone else still write out their to-do lists by hand instead of on their phones? I just love how satisfying it is to cross it out by hand- I will write things down even after I’ve done them to cross them off sometimes 😆 At this point, I have knocked pretty much everything on it out, and it feels gooood! In the evening we had a spousal/partner banquet for everyone in DJ’s program. It was so much fun to meet some of DJ’s colleagues and put faces with names! I was itching to take a picture of the food because it was absolutely delicious and plated so pretty, but I restrained. I had a chile relleno that was very yummy- I think I’m gonna have to start making them at home, although it probably won’t be even close to as good as that one I had!

b471c297-84e4-462d-a39d-ce517aa4012b

When the banquet wrapped up we still had a ton of energy and the two us decided to go out on the town. We walked to Rainey street from our apartment and headed to Bangers. DJ had been here once before with some colleagues and wanted to take me back. I totally saw why- it was a happenin’ place!!

f3a1dec3-3564-44f7-9933-3271d01b13032cde9d72-c129-4500-8e26-b091cabdfd21

The vibe was utterly relaxed and it was perfectly warm outside. We sat under the stringed lights enjoying a couple sours at a picnic table and watched the live band play.

55dd7f8a-8cec-4096-b9c1-31bcf32ecdb6

On Sunday we decided to watch an online sermon since DJ had quite a bit of school work to get done and family was coming later that day. Once all the fam arrived (My mom in law & Gordie and DJ’s twin sister, Amy!) we showed them our apartment and then set out to get some good BBQ. We had been told Terry Black’s BBQ is some of the best around so we gave it a go since it was within walking distance.

fff6fb57-afd8-4f99-aa19-6ff2b02303b1cd85c038-9f51-40cd-b2ee-6a60ebf5d652615d8e9b-4b60-45bc-ad72-6ba5375b6abd

Here’s the roundup!

0daf3a55-f99b-49b0-8f73-e6feed860c31

To say this BBQ is good would be the understatement of the century. This was phenomenal BBQ. Easily the best we’ve ever had. We couldn’t get over the flavors. Even the green beans were insane… they don’t look like much.. but whatever the heck magic they cook them in… I want the recipe. The mac and cheese was out of this world. And the hot sauces were wildly good. Everyone that ate the meat raved about it- DJ particularly was blown away by the brisket.

b906ef18-3759-4851-accb-b06a543048a2

I may or may not have restaged a photo shoot with the leftovers the next day… LOL. Add this to the list of “most-extra-things-I’ve-ever-done”.

7117abc3-5bac-40ec-8b3e-1b27c379fd23

I have many more adventures to share- I’ll do that in another post so I don’t crash whatever device you’re reading on with all these pics, haha.

Questions for you:

  • What’s your favorite BBQ side item?
  • Do you make your to-do lists on paper by hand or on an electronic device?

xo <3

submark signature