Hey Strangers!

Hellloo! (echo: hello0o helloo hello). Anyone still reading this thing? Ha. I don’t truly know where to begin. Full disclaimer- the back-to-blogging nerves after being gone for three-ish months are in full force. The last few months have been really really challenging for a multitude of reasons. *Insert Taylor Swift’s Cruel Summer soundtrack in the background*. I know we aren’t alone in feeling this. In all seriousness, practically this whole year has been tough for everyone. And my heart goes out to all of you who are going through it too. We are just taking it day by day and counting our blessings. Thank you to everyone who has reached out to check in on us- it means so much that you’ve even noticed an absence and would take the time <3 I feel like I have soo much to discuss with y’all, and yet I don’t really know where to begin. Hmmm…one moment.. something feels a bit off….

**Turns on some background trash reality TV & grabs some ice cream**

Much better. Now it is time to blog!

So, the main things that have kept me from here are just lack of time with clinicals/school coupled with a lack of feeling creative. But right now we are between semesters and without something hanging over my head that I should be studying for the moment, I’m feeling that creativity creep back up, and I’m excited to jump in and try to write some posts.

And now I genuinely ask- how are you?

So without any real segue (those have never been my forte), let’s jump on in!

So let’s see. We are jumping all the way back to early March! And they say time travel isn’t possible. This post was around when we were finishing up our spring semester, so all these are highlights in between the studies! (All our times out on the town in this post were pre-lockdown). First, we started that weekend with some Kodiak Cakes… the pic is pre-syrup. Lotsa lotsa syrup 😉

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Fun fact: I often get teased (lovingly) for the way I say “syrup”. I say SEER-up instead of SIR-up. How do you pronounce it? Anyone else out there speak like me with a little extra emphaSEES on the wrong sylLABle?

That afternoon I went out on a beautiful walk and started seeing some spring blooms!

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It’s not quite the same as the California blooms, but I’ll take these pops of color! <3

That evening we had a dinner planned. We didn’t know it at the time, but DJ and I met up for what would our very last restaurant outing with friends for a long long time. We had about 1.5 miles to walk to the restaurant, but we don’t mind walking through the city one bit.

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We met up with our friends, Alana and Kyle, for some good eats and delicious wine at The Grove (a place highly recommended by my mom and Pete)! The interior here is so stunning.

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We sat out on their twinkling patio- a must if you ever go!

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We laughed because both us girls ordered the exact same dish (scallops) and both guys ordered the same dish (the Impossible burger).

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So thankful for that time with them! Can’t wait to meet up again.

The next day I made some super easy banana pancakes that were sooo dang good. Not sure why we don’t have these more often… especially considering how often our bananas get overripe. And then I throw them in the freezer. And then they never get used. Anyone else just have a lot of never-to-actually-be-used frozen bananas? Also, this is pre-lotsa lotsa SEERUP.

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I also baked some “zucchini” chocolate muffins from some random internet recipe that were so tragically bad I ended up throwing them all away. And I’m not picky, but oh wow, these were not great. Don’t trust all you read on the internet, kids… (even recipes).

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That week was my last food shoot for mackncheeeesy for a while <3. I have temporarily deactivated the account, but I’m thinking of maybe getting back soon. I do have a lot of good ordered-out eats to share!

Anyway- The food from Muro’s Pizza was delicious & the owners we met were so welcoming and friendly.

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You cannot go wrong here. Everything was super yummy, but our favorites were the artichoke dip and the pillowy fries (and the Topo Chico, which we had never had- but holy sparklin’ smokes that is some delish water!!

Now continuing through mid-March:

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Around this time I made us a TJ’s impossible burger + caprese salad (although this mozz. was different than the usual I get- but it still worked). One day we plan to do a side-by-side taste comparison of Impossible brand vs. Beyond vs. TJ’s.

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For myself I had my go-to stuffed sweet potato with Fage, jalapeños, avocado, beets and hummus. YUM

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That same day I went on a nice walk, and saw this gorgeous cascade of flowers outside the YETI store.

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To change things up for breakfast one day, I made toast with avocado and hummus & blackberries. I have been on a berry kick this entire summer. We can’t get enough of alll the raspberries/blackberries/strawberries!

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That afternoon I was craving a walk. It was a bit rainy out that day, but I was determined, and a little drizzle was not about to deter me that day. I grabbed an umbrella and hit Ladybird lake trail.

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It was actually so nice. I loved the calming mist and serene rain. Walking in the rain is so peaceful. I remember around this time listening ferociously to everything I could about the pandemic, but what I remember from this day the most is the sense of stillness and quiet.

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That evening I made a mix of Indian food, paratha and okra. The paratha from Trader Joe’s is my favorite. I just made my first trip back there in three months and restocked on a LOT of it, as well as the cauliflower gnocchi and some of their other snacks!

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Annnnd that’s a wrap 😉

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My rusty bloggin’ fingers love being back to this keyboard!

Question for you: 

  • Bringing it full circle- what do you think of T. Swift’s new surprise album?

xo <3

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The Texas Capitol, Sandy’s & Joann’s!

Hi All! How are ya? I am safely back in Austin. I still cannot believe how quickly a full month went by. I’m definitely still processing through some emotions while diving into this next semester. It is nice to be home though. Oh! some great news- I found out my clinical placement. It’s an hour away, but I’m just so stinkin’ thankful I won’t have to live in a different city this summer.

In this post I’m finishing up our fun little staycation spring break from early March (pre-lockdown, etc.).

After getting some poke, we dropped our car off at our apartment then walked to the Texas State Capitol for a little self-guided tour.

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Jus’ look at the beauty!

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Driving down South Congress and seeing the State Capitol bookend the road is probably my favorite site in the city. If you are curious to read more about the history of the capitol, there is a lot of great info here. 

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I think the the most interesting part was seeing the House of Reps and the Senate Chambers.

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It was pretty neat seeing this national historic landmark.

That afternoon, this package of Magic Spoon cereal came in the mail. I ordered it after hearing about it on a podcast. It’s created based off childhood favorite cereals, but with more protein and cleaner ingredients.

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Our consensus: It was worth the try with the discounted promo code, but we probably won’t pay full price to order again. It’s a nice idea in concept, but didn’t quite translate. It tasted very “protein-ey” and actually kinda sat like a brick in my stomach. I liked the blueberry flavor the most of all of them and the chocolate wasn’t bad either!

Once we unpacked our cereal, we rested our feet for a bit (our dogs were barkiiin’). After a while, spurred on by the heat of the day, we decided to try out the cute little local spot Sandy’s we’ve been eyeing since we moved here.

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They are particularly known for their hamburgers and frozen custard. We went to try out the custard this time.

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I hate to give a negative review, but it was just not our cup of tea. We love a more creamy custard than the frozen. Andy’s is where it’s at 😉 Next time DJ said he’ll have to try one of their burgers!

In the evening, we went to dinner at Joann’s Fine Foods on a whim. This restaurant is on South Congress. You can’t miss the distinctive red lips and bright neon sign.

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They always have the wittiest little sayings up on their letter board too.

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The interior was retro and fun! It makes me wanna go back one summer day in the afternoon and grab a milkshake with DJ while sitting on those stools.

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This time, we opted to sit outside to enjoy the beautifully balmy evening. It was one of those dinners we won’t forget- everything about the night was wonderful. The fact that both DJ and I had nothing too heavy hanging over our heads at the moment, the endless laughter through the evening, the perfect weather, the vibe of the restaurant and the delicious food- an Austin night that will be cherished!

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Joann’s has all these adorable little touches too- I love the little lips on the napkin.

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We started with margaritas and their queso and chips- yuummmy! In our queso rankings it is up there- we debated where it would fall- I think better than Gabriela’s, but maybe just below El Alma’s (I think that’s still my favorite!).

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They also brought out some complimentary biscuits- they were good, but the butter they served it with was necessary. The butter was salted with pink Himalayan sea salt if I had to guess.

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DJ had their barbacoa tacos that he loved.

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And I had one of the all time greatest salads I have ever ordered from a restaurant- the Rainbow Salad with lettuce, fresh veggies, avocado, toasted almonds, cilantro & mint, grated carrot & ginger dressing. The flavors, textures and freshness of it all was satisfying as could be! I’m thankful this is still something on their to-go menu right now.

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We decided to keep walking around town since it was such a gorgeous night. We went all the way to Rainey St., thinking we would be the only ones out and about that late, but we were not!

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The next day, we wanted to go on a big hike. We drove all the way to Hamilton Pool Preserve, which was about 45 minutes away. When we arrived we realized you had to have a reservation to go into the park- whoops! Now we know. We’ll be back with a reservation ready. I quickly looked up other nature spots we could visit, and Mt. Bonnell is supposed to be one of the best hikes in Austin. We drove straight there and jumped out of the car. I know there are great spots outside and around the city to get a true hike in, but this was more of an outlook just as an FYI!

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The views were still awesome though and we were glad we went!

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Immediately after, we decided to go see a matinee at the Alamo Drafthouse. As we were pulling into the theater, I received the first word about the Boston Marathon being postponed. I cried a bit in the car, then pulled myself together enough to head in. I felt silly shedding tears over something like a race when much bigger devastation was/is happening. But again, I’m so thankful it’s postponed and not entirely cancelled.

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We were the only ones in the theater when we arrived, so we ordered up a storm of food.

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We got some yummy sours, chips and queso, a massive chicken sandwich for DJ and a vegan pizza for me.

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I lucked out getting these pics before anyone walked in, hah. It was all so delish! I love the variety of food options at the Alamo & the fact that they have an entire vegan menu.

We saw the movie 1917. If you haven’t seen it, you must. It’s phenomenal. The thing that amazed me about it was the exquisitely simple plot that had a stunningly poignant impact on the viewer. The cinematography is breathtaking as well. I’ll leave the trailer here (idea from Maureen who shares trailers that always pique my interest!).

Question for you: 

  • It seems many new shows have been released lately! What are you watching?

*I finished up LTYH, and I was not super interested the last couple episodes. This last episode was especially over-produced. But I am a huge Rudi fan- hoping she will continue to bless us with her voice now that the show is over.

Have a great rest of the week! Hope y’all are doing well.

xo <3

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A Birthday Brunch, Kayaking & Poké!

Hey, everyone! How are you doing… really doing? I am in my last week here in New Orleans, and I cannot believe how quickly this month has flown. It’ll be an interesting transition back to days as I’ve become accustomed to that raccoon life (night shift) and living between the hospital and my hotel room. I start my next semester a couple days after I return to Austin, so I’m going to try to take one or two days to unpack, decompress and get situated for the semester, and of course, spend time with DJ. He did receive word that his summer internship job (the 14 week one) in OH is going to be virtual for the first half of the summer. Even though it’ll look differently than originally anticipated, I’m selfishly so stinkin’ happy he’ll be home. There is a chance my clinicals will be placed out of town, but I’m hoping that will not be the case.

Picking up on the recap posts!

Right around the first week of March, before the virus had affected much of Texas (that we knew of), it was my sweet Grandma Violet’s 94th birthday (Pete’s side). We worked it out that we would meet halfway between Keller and Austin in Waco for a bday brunch to celebrate! My mom discovered the restaurant Brazos, and it was the most wonderful choice.

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The restaurant is located in the Indigo hotel lobby. I loved their eye catching interior design.

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Some meal snapshots: DJ had their Dr. Ewing burger with cheddar, bacon and a Dr. Pepper BBQ sauce. He said he couldn’t really taste the Dr. Pepper necessarily, but he thought the burger & sauce was very good.

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^^And you know I stole many of those fluffy, yet crispy, fries right off the plate!

I split two dishes with my mom: First up the lox bagel (is it brunch without lox?) and….

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The veggie frittata which was everything. *Side note: My craving for eggs right now is out.of.control. I think the first thing I’ll eat when I get back is a massive omelette. Since I can’t cook while I’m here, I’ve been living off canned goods/non-perishable items, some cafeteria eats, and what little fresh produce I can fit in my fridge… but wowza do I miss eggs!

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Anyway, we had such a lovely time and celebrated my dear Grandma Violet big time. She has a heart of gold, is happy-go-lucky, and has so much spunk! Everyone loves being around her, and even though we only had that afternoon brunch, it was cherished time <3 We are all tremendously thankful we could make that happen before everything was lockdown- we had no idea that this would be the last time we would all see one another in person for a long time.

It’s also a huge blessing that Grandma Vi was here in the first place. She lives back in Ohio on her own, but flew down to visit my mom and Pete. Initially, they didn’t buy a plane ticket back, so she could just stay however long she wanted. When the shelter in place began she was already in TX and just stayed with them (and is still there now). They have been having the best time together. My mom even arranged for her to Facetime her sister in Scotland who she hasn’t seen in 26 years!! Special memories and silver linings <3

That first week was our spring break (the first spring break of grad school I actually didn’t have too many assignments to do). I wrote up a loose schedule of our week with all the places we wanted to see, all the food we wanted to eat and all the things we wanted to do. We decided we would be tourists in our own city, much like we used to do in the Bay Area 🙂

BRB… gonna go make a sweet potato in the microwave, it’s 3 am, but why not? Suddenly sounds so tasty.

OK, back. You know what would go great in this sweet potato right now? An EGG!!

Anywayyy- Our first food stop for the week was Woko Loco. It was a chilly day, so nothing sounded better than some hot wok noodle bowls!

img_1406img_1407DJ had their chicken bowl, and I had their zoodles with alllll the veggies and tofu. It warmed us right up! If you go, I recommend getting their “loco” sauce- mmm mm!

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When we returned home in the afternoon, I did an Insanity workout on Beachbody on demand (don’t worry, I’m not trying to sell it to you, haha, I just genuinely love the workouts) and then made us dinner. I spent the rest of the night writing up some posts.

The next day we went to the Rowing Dock and picked up a kayak around 9 am.

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It was so quiet and peaceful on the water; it is easily one of my favorite memories in Austin to date.

we row, row, rowed our kayak gently down the stream…  And by “we” I mean DJ, because if I learned anything from the experience it is that I have zero upper arm strength.

After a while I was pretty much useless, hah.

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We kayaked all the way out to our apartment and back- it took about an hour or so.

Once back to the Rowing Dock, we hopped off with our sea legs and shuffled back to the car smellin’ like stale lake water the good ol’ outdoors.

ee707d68-020b-420a-8cfe-37119f6d7651After cleaning up and getting ready for the day, we ran some errands. Then in the evening we watched the finale of the Bachelor (duh-v course).

While at the grocery store I saw this “Barbera” wine and thought how perfect it would be for us for Bachelor night. It’s not spelled exactly the same as “Barbara”, but close enough- ha! (If you know, you know 😉 ).

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The next day we drove all the way to Hamilton Pool Preserve, only to find out that you have to reserve a spot in order to enter the park. Whoops!! Now we know for next time.

Our next food stop was Me So Poke, home of the best poke in Austin we’ve had yet! This made up for the little let-down earlier in the day.

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And how cute is this wallpaper?!

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First we tried the California Bowl with rice, spring mix, salmon, wasabi ponzu, crabmeat, avocado, corn, cucumber, seaweed, sesame seed and spicy mayo. It was tasty but….

6c02a4f2-3f90-4016-8d57-3cb46475f220…my favorite was the dragon bowl with rice, spring mix, tuna, spicy tuna, classic sesame shayu, jalapeno, sweet onion, pineapple. cucumber, seaweed salad, edamame, crispy shallot and furikake. This is one of those meals I’ll be back for in the heat of summer!

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More adventures were to come that day, but I’ll save them for the next post!

Question for you:

  • What’s one food staple you wouldn’t want to live without? 🍳🥚

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Friday Favorites: Shameless Series

Hello and welcome to the first unique installment of Friday Favorites: Shameless Series where I share my slightly embarrassing (& admittedly basic) obsessions with ya!

  1. This Coffee Mug. When I arrived in New Orleans, I realized I packed every essential kitchen utensil, except for the most essential… a coffee mug. So I went to a nearby Target to get my groceries and grabbed this one below. It is maybe the most basic thing I own (outside of this blog), but oh wow, oh boy, does it bring me joy!

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2. TikTok. UPDATE: Okay- when I originally published this post I included tiktok. Obviously a lot has changed since this post, and I have since deleted the app off my phone.

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3. Listen to Your Heart. My feelings are still pretty ambivalent with this show (much like the actual contestants’ feelings for one other). But overall, I’m livin’ for the dram’, livin’ for the music, and livin’ for the cringe-factor.

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4. Applesauce on the Go. I’m pretty sure these were created with toddlers in mind, but they are quick sugar and easy to eat when I have to scarf somethin’ down fast. I also stocked up on goldfish and currently have a mean craving for some gushers. Does this mean I’m regressing? It’s quite possible.

img_46575.  Dadsaysjokes on Insta. Contrary to popular belief in the day of TikTok, Instagram does still exist, and if you dust off the ol’ app from time to time, you may as well follow this gem of an account. Without a doubt, you will find some all-stair jokes 😉

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Do you have any shameless Friday Faves?

<3

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Favorite Quotes from Little Fires Everywhere

A fellow blogger and dear friend of mine, Hunida, writes posts where she pulls her favorite quotes from the recent books she has read. I always love reading the quotes she chooses and she has inspired me to do one of my own posts.

You may recognize the title since Little Fires Everywhere is now a show on Hulu based upon the novel by Celeste Ng. I think I have a particular affinity for this book because I grew up near where the story takes place. She mentions various places, restaurants, suburbs that I have a very personal connection to in various ways. She also has a brief portion of the book located in San Francisco. So am I bias toward this book? Yes, objectively I would say so. However, her writing was what captivated me the most, I admired her perspective and portrayal of her characters that resonated in a visceral, nearly Freudian, manner.

I tried to find a way to sum up the story, but there is no great way that captures the intricacies of the tale at hand: I’ll say this- it’s about two families and their children. The story explores the depths of relationships, ethics, pride, desire, choices, regret and youth.

I have been watching the Hulu series, although I am a bit behind. The one thing that does not translate to the screen is the brilliance of Celeste Ng’s writing. The story seemed to be changed slightly in order to create more of a visually dramatic effect where the book rolls you through the various tumultuous emotions you inevitably experience in a much more placated manner. The beauty of her writing almost provides a sense of awe that cushions the intensity of coming to grips with your own lived experiences being mirrored vaguely through the layered plot- at least it felt this way for me.

So without further adieu, I hope to highlight some of the absolute genius that is the author Celeste Ng. Of course, without context it will be difficult to truly appreciate the words in all their glory- but hopefully this lends a taste.

“At that moment Moody had a sudden clear understanding of what had already happened that morning: his life had been divided into a before and an after, and we would always be comparing the two”

“She could see the similarities between the two lonely children, even more clearly than they could: the same sensitive personalities lurking inside both of them, the same bookish wisdom layered over a deep naïveté.”

“But the thing about portraits is, you need to show people the way they want to be seen. And I prefer to show people as I see them. So in the end I’d probably just frustrate us both”.

“Peters felt a brief pang of irritation at their youth, their frivolity, their ease.”

“I don’t have a plan, I’m afraid,” she said lifting the knife again. “But then no one really does, no matter what they say”. 

“Everything she thought she’d forgotten- her body remembered on a cellular level”.

“Though she could never quite articulate it this way, resentment began to sheathe concern. ANGER IS FEAR’S BODYGUARD…”.

“…she found everything had nuance; everything had an unrevealed side or unexplored depths. Everything was worth looking at more closely”.

“…one day crossing the Golden Gate Bridge in a fog so dense she could hear, but not see…The fog mirrored her state of mind so perfectly she felt as if she was walking through her own brain: a haze of formless, pervasive emotion, nothing she could grasp, but full of looming thoughts that appeared from nowhere, startling her, then receded into whiteness again before she was even sure what she had seen.”

“Parents, she thought, learned to survive touching their children less and less…It was like training yourself to live on the smell of an apple alone, when what you really wanted was to devour it, to sink your teeth into it and consume it, seeds, core, and all”

“It terrifies you. That you missed out on something. That you gave up something you didn’t know you wanted” 

“All her life she had learned that passion, like fire, was a dangerous thing. It so easily went out of control. It scaled walls and jumped over trenches. Sparks leapt like fleas and spread as rapidly; a breeze could carry an ember for miles. Better to control that spark and pass it carefully from one generation to the next, like an Olympic torch. Or perhaps, to tend it carefully like an eternal flame: a reminder of light and goodness that would never-could never- set anything ablaze. Carefully controlled. Domesticated. Happy in captivity.”

“She didn’t care, Mrs. Richardson realized, what people thought of her. In a way, that made her dangerous.”

<3

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Gusto, Barrett’s & Austin Art!

Hellllo. How’s it kickin’? It is currently 3:24 AM, and I am feeling a-ok! I am trying to stay up to 5 am today, gonna have breakfast, hit the hay and then get up at 2ish. Side note- the last few weeks I have been having the weirdest dreams. I can’t remember them much, but I was talking to another nurse who said she was too. We had nearly the same dream one night about a tornado. How odd is that?

Okay well I’ll be trudging along in my pre-lockdown recaps, if you’d like to follow along! On February 28th I headed out to meet up with my friend Alana at Gusto for some delicious Italian cuisine.

We made it at the tail end of their happy hour, so almost all our dishes were discounted. We started with their focaccia bread with rosemary + garlic, warm olives, extra virgin olive oil. I mean…. jus’ look at this beauty!

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We also split a cheese board with some sharp and delicious cheeses.

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We also tried the beets and barrata with roasted baby beets, frisee, creamy mozzarella, pistachio, mint, and smoked citrus vinaigrette. This was actually one of my favorites we had that evening. The combination of all the ingredients was delightful.

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Now for the absolute star of the show- the mushroom truffle pizza!!! ‘Nough said.

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We had such a wonderful time chatting. I cannot wait for when we can hangout again ❤️ (Also, if you’re in Austin- gusto is still delivering)

February 29th Austin walk pics: 1d0f2017-e4e1-4856-aa98-770db01698e24a68e480-9b7f-4336-b138-825819947243

March 2nd– time to study for a big exam. I went to Barrett’s Coffee Roasters per the suggestion of some established locals. The coffee was perfect, the staff was super friendly, plenty of seating was available, and it was quiet and comfortable to get lotsa studying done.

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Austin from another view since I took a different walk that evening than usual 🙂

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March 3rd I started the day with some chia seed, PB and yogurt toast with a bit of granola. I’ve noticed if I add chia seeds to my breakfast I tend to stay full longer. I will say they trigger my trypophobia a little, but worth it for the tasty nutrients.

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Clearly I was on a toast kick because on March 4th I had toast with chocolate almonds, raspberries and peanut butter.

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In the evening I made us mahi-mahi burgers from TJ’s (really good!) with wild rice and a mushroom medley.

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More of Austin as spring was springing on March 5th. 

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On March 6th I noticed a new mural going up downtown. It was pretty amazing to watch the painters working on their each individual section- and they were working fast!

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While out on a long run on March 7th for marathon training I saw this mural at the base of one of the power towers. At first I was thinking “how cute!”, but then upon looking closer it’s in memory of those affected by cancer. Very special and touching. I just love the little hidden gems amongst the city.

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I went pretty far out and discovered an awesome new running trail along the lake. It was cool to see the city in the distance around different turns.

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Below was the mural by the end of the day (March 7th)…Yes, they painted this whole thing in just a couple days- how?! Artists astound me.

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Below is the summary of my run.

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I was worried about my stamina since I hadn’t taken training very seriously up to that point. But this run felt great and confirmed I’d be okay at least finishing the race even if it wasn’t as fast as my qualifying time. Obviously, Boston (scheduled about a week ago) did not happen. It’s definitely a bummer that it’s postponed, but I am extremely thankful it’s not cancelled entirely. I am going to do my best to make it in September and re-train before then. For now, I’m letting my body rest a bit. Running is a passion and a form of therapy for me, but the intensity of it has taken a toll. The older I get, the more I feel it too. Right now I’m doing alternatives to running like walking, pilates and super short HITT routines to get the heart rate up. It hasn’t been easy putting running on hold especially with the increased stress of late, but I can tell that my body is appreciating the rest. Hopefully I can come back stronger and healthier than ever this summer when I retrain!

Question for you:

  • I have yet to try the whipped coffee trend, but it looks yummy. Have you tried it? What do you think if so?

 

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Via 313, SoCo Cafe & Nature!

Hi, friends! I don’t think my last post showed up in reader since I reverted it from drafts. If you’re at all interested here it is! Jumpin’ on in to the next recap. It’s 1:00 am, only have to make it four more hours before I’ll allow myself go to sleep (staying on that night shift schedule).

February 9th we had a major cravin’ for some Via313 pizza. I think it’s officially my favorite pizza I’ve ever had.

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The crust is what makes it! It’s got that lightly burnt cheese flavor, and oh mahhhh gooodnesss is it good 😋

On February 12th I took some time to organize the products in my bathroom cabinet as a study break. I used my top drawer to put all the products I want to use up first! It’s fun and satisfying to use up all those little samples too.

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February 14th was Valentine’s Day. We spent the day sending cheesy Valentine’s Day gifs to each other, ha-ha. DJ 10000% does this to humor me, literally. He knows a good pun is my love language.

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We were glad we celebrated Valentine’s Day with a dinner out the week before because we both were pretty overwhelmed with school work on actual Valentine’s Day weekend. But we did enjoy some scrumptious Baked By Melissa mini cupcakes 🧁💕 Mary Berry would approve!

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On February 15th I went on my usual nature walk.

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Due to all the rain we had been having the grass was a beautifully lush green.

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February 15th we had another craving for Via 313. I’m thankful they are still delivering. Might be my first meal when I get back to Austin!

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February 17th was national Cafe Au Lait day!! Kori let me know and I ran over to get one from Starbucks to celebrate (the one at Starbucks is called a misto) ☕️

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Also, more turtle and sunset pics from that day 🙂

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February 19th was my Aunt’s Bday so we chatted on the phone for a bit in the morning 🙂 In the afternoon I did major grocery trip then made a crockpot Greek chicken for DJ to have for the week (and to freeze some). I tried a little bite- it had a delicately light flavor- it was quite nice! And I served it with some rice. Didn’t mean to rhyme, but it happens time to time.

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Another kick we have been on is trying allll the different type of vegan burgers to try to find our favorite. I actually think Trader Joe’s might have the winnner winner non-chicken dinner. It used to be Beyond Meat’s, but when we had them back-to-back, TJ’s may have won out by a hair. We’ll have to do a round 2 to confirm.

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February 22nd I started the day with some delicious avocado toast before getting to studying. Below are pics of me procrastinating said studying by giving my toast a photo shoot. #adayinthelife

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February 23rd was Church followed by a brunch at South Congress Cafe.

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They brought out some complimentary cornbread muffins to start the meal. Anytime free carbs are involved, I’m already a fan!

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The main dish I wanted to try here was their sweet potato beignets- they were better than I even imagined, Absolutely delish.

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DJ ordered their croque madam with a brioche bun, niman ranch ham, gruyere, mornay sauce, sunny side up farm fresh egg, and house cut french fries. All a bunch of words that translate to super yummy.

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I ordered their massive egg white veggie omelette with a potato pancake that was ohhh so tasty.

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As we were leaving, we stumbled upon this spectacle. It’s one of those things that I wasn’t sure what we were watching, but also couldn’t look away, lol. Gotta admire the creativity!

Question for you:

  • Any good books you’ve read lately? I am almost done with Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine, then reading Educated!

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Taj Palace!

Heyyya! How are y’all doing? Lil’ update- I am currently in New Orleans working on a Covid-19 unit. I’m working nights and have this evening off, so I’m looking forward to just catching up on reading and writing posts. I also just wrapped up watching Listen To Your Heart. Can I just say- cringe central?! If you’re watching, we must discuss. Anywho- this is the post I initially published a couple weeks ago, but put back into drafts to publish the Easter post. But here it is again! Deja Vu, eh?! Hope you are well <3 Okey dokey- off to the recap.

Written back in early March: Hi, all!! I am currently at the beginning of my spring break and in my happy place- here, writing. On January 16th I had my first clinical as a Family Nurse Practitioner student. It’s just wild seeing how much I’ve learned in a short time of being there. Kind of like being a new nurse, I am dealing with having to give myself grace for not doing everything perfectly the first time- but I’m there to learn and that’s what I’m doing. I love it.

On January 27th I stumbled upon this piece of wisdom that I’ve thought about often since. It was a great reminder <3

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On February 1st we were having a hankerin’ for some good authentic Indian food- and we found just the spot. Taj Palace is located a little tucked away off the freeway, a hidden gem.

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It wasn’t overly crowded, had a nice calm and beautiful ambiance and kind staff.

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We tried their bread basket with aloo paratha, onion kulcha and naan. If you haven’t had Indian breads, you have to. They are a carb-lover’s dream. DJ ordered their traditional curry with onions, tomatoes, garlic, ginger, spices and condiments and I had the goan fish curry with mahi mahi fish cooked in a spicy sauce with coconut. We also added on a side of veggies that were ah-may-zing!! Everything was terrific. Gosh, writing this is making me crave it again!

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Thanks for reading!

Question for you:

  • What is your lockdown snack of choice?

xo <3

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On Campus Intensive #3 & Roaring Fork!

Hi all! Pulling this one back from drafts as well! Have a great week 🙂 

It’s hard to believe we’re already at the third on campus intensive recap!

On February 5th we had our first day. We were given Panera for breakfast! I had a yummy egg white sandwich and some fruit on the side. It was so nice to see all my frans in person. (edited to add: that sentence hits home a little extra right now, haha). 

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In the evening I worked on some homework and then ordered this delicious mediterranean bowl with falafel, pumpkin hummus and tons of veggies from Happy and Hale. I do not know what it is about being in Durham, but I absolutely crave mediterranean food every time I’m there. I think it’s probably because it was my first ever meal there.

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I also watched Bachelor while I enjoyed this bowl.

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I read some Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine before going to sleep. “Intriguing” is the word I would use to describe this book- I am fascinated by the character of Eleanor and the author’s writing. I’m still only about halfway through, but I usually get in a few pages before falling asleep.

February 6th was day #2! It was an extremely rainy day, so I didn’t get as many pics or time walking around campus like I usually do.

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After wrapping up the educational part of the day, a group of us gathered together and all went to the giftshop to get waterproof ponchos. Fash-un. After, we trekked through the rain to the Campus Pub to grab a beer and just catch-up on life in general before going to support the women’s basketball team in a home game. PS. My roots had no chill in this pic- But I love that we all took this pic together. (Edited to add- you could say I was ahead of the quarantine trends with this hair 😉 )

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When we arrived they were giving out free wings and spirit towels!

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Game time!!! It was an absolute blast.

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After, we were all beyond hungry. We decided to go to Local 22, the cutest little restaurant in Durham! Durham is known as being a great food city, but I would have had no idea if I hadn’t gone there for school. This is my favorite restaurant I’ve tried there yet! There are soo many items on their menu I want to try, so I’ll have to return. Thinking for graduation this would be a great place to take the fam.

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I could not resist their sweet potato fries- and I would say these are like chic-fil-a waffle fries, but sweet potato form. They were a crispy, french-fry dream. 

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I also ordered their beet salad with a mix of golden beets and goat cheese. Gosh, this was tasty. I have a really hard time resisting this salad when it’s on the menu. I also had a bite of the mushroom truffle pizza – I may need to get that myself next time I return because yummmmm.

After dinner I snuck in some marathon training. (Cue the womp womp)

Considering the late night training meant I woke up super hungry! I loaded up with a chocolate croissant, fruit, yogurt and oats.

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This was the last day of our on campus and before everyone went their separate ways we met at It’s a Southern Thing!

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I loved this little message on the receipt! I couldn’t help but take a pic. It’s the little things.

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I didn’t have too much to eat at It’s a Southern Thing since I was still quite full from lunch when we went, but when I returned to the hotel I ran a bit, then was ready to chow. I ordered from my tried and true Mediterra. This time I tried their tabouleh wrap. I can practically taste it. Their pita is especially pillowy and I ate up that whole thing in no time flat.

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Overall, it was a phenomenal on campus intensive. I learned quite a bit and was able to practice some challenging skills, which was very helpful. My favorite part was just seeing my peers and hanging out all together.

February 8th time to head home! I had some yogurt and Belvita with Starbucks, my go-to airport brekky.

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It was a crazy travel day with changing flights and quite a bit of chaos, but finally I made it back. DJ and I hadn’t been able to spend much time together during that month, so we decided to celebrate Valentine’s Day a week early at the Roaring Fork downtown!

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This is an Austin classic. Immediately I was blown away by the beautiful decor and the faux antler chandeliers.

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But the real star of the show was the food. Get ready y’all. This was all just mind-blowingly good.

First up- complimentary jalapeno corn muffins. I had to stop myself from eating the whole basket to leave room from everything else.

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We also had to try their lamb chop fondue. It is “the” item to try. It is made with a white wine fondue, chile-pecan Bread, and roasted butternut squash. I’m not big on meat, as you probably know, but I had to know what all the hype was about. And ho-ly-cow. OUTRAGEOUSLY TASTY. I want to compile a list of “must try” dishes in Austin, and this is going on it.

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My main dish I was eager to try was their…. wait for it…. green chile mac and cheese. Not sure I can ever have regular mac and cheese again (lol, jk, but it was extra-good!). And they had the breadcrumbs!

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Another side we tried was their Mexican street corn- this was awesome too!

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DJ ordered their filet too. He said it was delicious, but not necessarily on the level of the lamb fondue.

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We just loved this place! Can’t speak of it highly enough.

Question for you: 

  • What is something you are looking forward to this week? (Even if it’s the next episode in a show you’re watching or a Zoom call with a friend!)

<3

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*There are Amazon affiliate links in this post. I receive a small percentage of purchases made with no additional cost to you. All opinions and ideas are my own**

Happy Easter!

Happy Easter, friends!!! He has risen!!!

I hope you are having a beautiful day making memories with your family even though it may look a bit different than usual <3

I had a post scheduled to be released last night, but quickly sent it back to drafts (so, if you receive that e-mail but don’t find the post, that’s why). I wanted this post today to only point to Jesus. This morning I was listening to two worship songs on a loop. The first has been my favorite since I can remember- it is a classic, but never seems to lose the power of its words. The second one played a pivotal role in bringing me back to my faith when I was going through a lot of uncertainty and feeling lost. I hope you find encouragement, hope and peace through them this Sunday.

In Christ Alone

Reckless Love

But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. (Romans 5:8)

Don’t be alarmed, he said. You are looking for Jesus the Nazarene, who was crucified. He has risen! He is not here. See the place where they laid him. (Mark 16:6) 

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