NASHVILLE PART TWO!!

Welcome to Part Two of our Nashville Adventures! You can catch Part One here 🙂 We left off after breakfast about to go out on our run. We set out for 8 miles on Stones River Greenway which was only a couple mile drive down the road.

It was an amazing trail & a great run! It was quite hilly in some parts though- so by the time we got back, we were exhausted!

We got ready for the day & then headed out!

For our second day in Nashville, we wanted to avoid some of the more touristy spots and go to the spots the locals frequent. Kels has been to Nashville a few times before, so she knew exactly where to go! 12 South neighborhood was our first stop.

We both had coffee on our minds (can you believe it?), so we went to the frothy monkey coffeehouse, which is a coffee shop I will not soon forget!

You must try their Golden Monkey made with steamed turmeric milk and honey (& add espresso). One of the best coffee drinks I’ve ever had!

We also split a refreshing salad to tide us over before dinner.

Ok, the tourist still came out of us!

We stopped into a couple adorable boutiques along 12 South too. Great place to shop!

We continued to walk around, soaking up the wall art and stopping into a variety of shops-there were several vintage shops with the coolest finds sprinkled among the chic boutiques.

Before we knew it, we were hungryyy. We looked up restaurants around, and decided to try a restaurant in Edgehill Village. It was about a couple mile walk from where we were, crossing through Belmont Campus. The campus was absolutely stunning!

We passed through a few neighborhoods on the way and admired the unique character and architecture of the homes.

When we arrived to Edgehill Village, we walked around a little bit more soaking up all the charm.

Right at the edge of the road was Barcelona, the restaurant we had our eye on.

They didn’t have seating available at the moment, but they said the bar seating was first come, first serve. We lucked out, because as soon as we walked over to check it out we saw two lone seats open. We grabbed them and avoided probably an hour wait!

We started with delicious bread and oil and then chose from a mouth-watering list of tapas. The tapas have Mediterranean, Spanish and South American influences, and I can guarantee, whatever you order, will be spectacular!

We chose to split three dishes- the blistered shishito peppers, patatas bravas and grilled octopus.

Everything was phenYUMenal- but I think our favorite was the patatas bravas. I’m so glad Kels suggested we order these- she had a friend that went to Spain who loved them, so when Kelsey saw them on the menu she said we had to get them!

We enjoyed our meals while admiring the brick walls covered with black and white timeless art, the green plants scattered tastefully around and the rustic lighting that added such a warmth and coziness to the restaurant.

Once again, our spontaneous food venture ended up being the best- could not imagine anything better!

I’ll finish up the trip in Part Three 🙂

<3,

Mackenzie

NASHVILLE PART ONE!

HEY HEY! How are ya doing? I am sitting here with a sleeping Moose snuggled up at my side. Nothing better! I feel like so much has been going on lately that I have had little left to devote to the blog- but today I woke up with a real craving for it. I have been really eager to share about my road trip from TX to OH this past summer with the highlight being a stop in Nashville!

I loaded up sunscreen and an under eye mask and hit the road. I know, wearing an eye mask on a road trip seems a bit extra unnecessary, but trust me, after that semester I needed it 😅

I took off toward Little Rock, Arkansas for my first stop. It was a lovely drive. I listened to medical podcasts and sermons by Tim Keller (thank you for the rec, Taylor!). It was a wonderful way to pass the time.

When I arrived at the hotel, Courtyard by Marriot, for the evening, I was exhausted. I didn’t get there until after 11 pm, so unfortunately I didn’t get to explore the nearby parks like I had planned to. Next time! Something kinda amusing- I accidentally packed up all my bags without leaving one for all my bath stuff (shampoo, conditioner, etc.), so I just used an old “bath tissue”  plastic bag to carry it all. Gotta do what you gotta do, right?

I fell asleep very quickly, and then was up and at em’ early the next day. I squeezed in a short little 20 minute workout to wake up a little and then chugged coffee and ate some Chobani, fruit and oatmeal. I had a great experience at the hotel, and the check-in staff to the cafe staff were so friendly!! The trip was off to a lovely start!

The leg from Little Rock to Nashville was shorter than the day before, and I mostly chatted with friends and family on this leg to pass the time. The drive went off without a hitch! While I was excited to explore Nashville for the first time, I was even more excited to see my friend Kelsey who I hadn’t seen since 2018. You may remember our adventures all over northern CA. I missed her (well I miss her now too) something fierce!

We stayed at the Best Western Plus Nashville Airport Hotel. We had tried to get an Airbnb, but they were mostly picked over when we started looking. This was the most practical in terms of cost and distance from downtown/different areas we wanted to explore. It was a great hotel! Somehow we got upgraded without extra charge?!? I mean, no idea how that happened, but we weren’t about to complain!

My favorite part was this mirror! Well, I guess, the Keurig definitely was very much welcomed too, of course ☕️

Something different about this trip vs. most I take is we didn’t have anything planned. Usually, I have at least a few places/restaurants to try or things to do- but Kels and I were both so busy leading up to the trip, we decided to just be spontaneous and go with the flow. It ended up being one of my favorite trips, and I might have to do more trips this way moving forward!

We chit-chatted while we unpacked (meaning my suitcase exploded all over the place). I tend to be a bit of a tornado when I travel, but I do eventually clean it up, lol.

Once we were ready, we headed out to a place Kelsey suggested- The Hampton Social!

When we arrived, the wait was late into the evening without a reservation (the rooftop was open though, but not for food). We had just passed a super adorable restaurant walking over, so we decided we would go to Hampton Social later and try the other restaurant instead.

Thankfully, Liberty Common (the cute spot that caught our eye) did have some openings. We were seated immediately and our mouths watered looking over the menu.

If oysters are on the menu, I can always count on Kels to share a half dozen with me! And these were goooood!

I ordered their trout salad- which was ah-may-zing. I didn’t realize it came with bacon, but Kels helped me out with that!

I also couldn’t resist a side of the truffle fries, which were divine.

Kels had their Liberty Hot Chicken Sandwich- cannot go wrong with a hot chicken sandwich in Nashville.

While we ate our amazing meals, we soaked up the adorable decor. It ended up being the most perfect unplanned dinner.

Even the bathroom was cute!

And back to The Hampton Social we go!!

The energy of this place was incredible!! It was super chill, yet fun at the same time. Possibly my favorite part was the view!

It’s very much what I expected when I picture Nashville restaurants/hangouts!

After sipping some Rose, we headed to Broadway. To take on Broadway, we both decided some coffee sounded glorious. We went to Mike’s Ice Cream & Coffee bar and were blown away by how good the coffee was! Next time, I’d really like to try the ice cream too- it looked really delicious.

We’re all just gonna pretend I don’t have anything in my teeth, K? lol.

Broadway!We walked up and down Broadway soaking up the tourist feels and energy. On our way, we stopped into a little candy and fudge shop, where we tried a sample of their pecan clusters which were… OH my goodness I can practically taste them… SO GOOD!! They tasted extra good with the side of coffee.

Next up, we wanted to make sure to go to one of the rooftops on Broadway before calling it a night. We decided on Jason Aldean’s and waited probably over an hour to get in.

It was worth it though- it was such an awesome rooftop, they played great music, and Kels and I had the best time!

We headed back to the hotel and had worked up an appetite for a second dinner, so we ordered a stellar margherita pizza to share from Florence Pizza East Nashville.

In the morning we both woke up very much looking forward to the hotel breakfast. I just love a hotel breakfast- I don’t care what it is, there is just something about I so enjoy. This all tasted great- and most importantly we felt fueled up for a long run that morning!

Kelsey was training for a full marathon and that Saturday had an 8-miler. I will recap our run and the next day in part 2!

Question for you: 

  • Do you like to plan your trips out to a T or are you more go with the flow? Somewhere in between?

<3,

Mackenzie

Meet the Newest Member of our Family- Moose!

Hi everyone! I am so excited to introduce you to the newest member of our family- Moose! He has been with us for over three weeks, so this post is long overdue.

When we met him, we were in love immediately.

The last few weeks have been pretty chaotic, but beyond worth it. People often compare having a puppy to having a newborn, and I do think I understand what they mean now 😅

Moose is the sweetest, most loving dog who just wants to be at your side 24-7, or even better snuggling on your lap.

At the same time, he can be very mischievous and stubborn. Like most puppies, he is always looking for trouble, and his stubborn side mostly comes out when trying to take him on walks. He hated walks at the beginning and refused to take a single step.

I mean refused 😅

He has improved a lot over the last few weeks and now seems to enjoy a short walk around our neighborhood loop! He does like some reassurance throughout the walk that he’s doing a good job, and then he’ll trot along happily.

Mr. Moose also can be so dramatic- we call him our little drama king. He makes the funniest growling noises when playing, hates even a slight drop in temperature and refuses to go outside if it’s even sprinkling. We are in for a treat this winter hah. He is quite particular about his food- he likes the tiiiniest bit of water mixed with in- can’t be too soaked or too dry, or he won’t have it. Oh, and he refuses a dog bed- we’ve tried two and he basically used them as pee pads. He pretty much thinks the couch is his bed, or blankets stacked on the floor he will like too. So yes, very particular and maybe a bit spoiled, whoops, lol.

He also makes us laugh constantly- he is such a hoot. His sleeping positions for instance- how are these even comfortable?! 😂

When he’s sleeping more, ahem, normally, he prefers to sleep with something under his neck whether it’s your leg, your arm, a stuffed animal, a folded blanket, etc.

Moose man loves to army crawl and “dive” under couches and his favorite toy is…. cardboard. Yep, all these fresh new toys (which he still enjoys), but he loves nothing more than cardboard. We give him the empty paper towel rolls and he just has a field day.

He did so well in his first day of obedience school! He now knows “sit”, so we’re getting somewhere lol. He socializes well with the other dogs during the puppy socialization hour and now has a best friend named Enzo pictured below hugging Moose.

He has improved SO much with potty training!!! The first week was accidents galore, but by this point, he lets us know he has to go by running down the stairs to the door. We don’t have a walk-out door on our main floor, so we’re impressed how quickly he picked this up. We are working now on teaching him to “ring the bell” to let us know he has to go.

He’s also growing so fast 🥲 We had to carry him over the step into the house coming back inside, but he does it himself now.

I’m sure there is so much more I could write about, but that’s most of it off the top of my head! Moose has added such zest, fun, excitement and joy to our lives in just a few weeks. We can’t imagine our lives without him now!

Final Days in Austin ❤️

Hey hey!! This is my final Austin post (for now), and I am feeling quite emotional about it even now!

August 1st I had a hair appointment to get some brightness added to my hair. I have really toned down the blonde over the years- as much as I miss it sometimes, it is now much lower maintenance. My favorite salon in Austin is the Salon at the Domain. It’s one of the more affordable ones I could find, and it’s always fun to walk around the Domain when there’s time.

I arrived about 30 mins early, so I walked down to Coffee + Crisp to grab a coffee. I ordered their chagaccino (chaga mushroom cacao, cinnamon, vanilla and monk fruit) with oat milk-  oh myyy, it was so creamy & delicious!!

That afternoon I ran some errands around town and studied for an “on call” assignment. This was pretty nerve-racking. It was a simulated situation where a patient called in with an endocrine emergency. Overall, it went well and was a great learning experience!

The On Call took place on August 2nd, and then I was DONE officially with school.. D-O-N-E!!! Surreal. I booked a massage at Viva Day Spa using a giftcard from Christmas.

It was the best massage ever.

After the massage, I was craving a salad. Of course, I stopped by Sweet Green .

After dinner, I went for a magical sunset run, free of school stressors.

August 3rd was a big day of packing & getting rid of our couch I had a real emotional attachment to. We originally bought a set of couches from Big Lots back when we moved into our first Toho in 2015. We wanted to get something that wouldn’t break the bank that we could turn around and sell at the end of the year, thinking we would just get new furniture in CA. Wellllll, we ended up loving our furniture set and taking it across the country with us. Over time we had to get rid of each piece- but in this apartment we were left with our smaller couch. This thing was falling apart through the last year. It started shedding it’s faux leather everywhere, and we knew it was time to part with our final piece of the original Big Lots Lot.

I wasn’t able to move this couch out on my own, so I hired a disposal company to move it out and the big egg basket swing from the porch (the swing was also hard to part with since it’s where I did much of my blogging in CA). Who knew you could become so attached to a couple pieces of furniture?

On August 4th, I went to my last Orange Theory class in Austin.

Across from Orange Theory, there is a Cafe Medici, so I swung in there after class to get my caffeine boost for the day. Anddd since I was both wired and down to the wire with coffee shops I could try, I ventured into downtown after to also try The Hideout Coffee.

Between the two, I preferred Hideout Coffee- yum!!! I like Cafe Medici’s cafe au laits, but their iced cold brew was too strong for my liking.

In the afternoon, my mom and Pete drove into town for one final day in Austin together and to help me with shipping my mattress to Austin (I slept on our guest room mattress through the summer).

Before they arrived, I swung by Fresa’s to pick up some tacos for Pete and had Bouldin Creek Cafe delivered for my mom and me (an all vegetarian cafe!).

We went out into the pool area to enjoy our lunches.

Oh my goodness – this Tarzen’s Big Salad was outstanding… it had roasted portobello strips and stir-fried broccoli tossed in nutritional yeast, organic mixed greens, tomatoes, carrots, sunflower sprouts, avocado & sunflower seeds tossed with chipotle pecan pesto & ginger miso dressing.

After lunch, we lugged the mattress to the drop off spot to be shipped. I could not have done that without the help of my mom and Pete- it was a project!

When we finished up our chore for the day, we headed out for our final Austin dinner (for now)! Perla’s had been on my list of restaurants to try since day one of arriving in Austin, so it was an easy decision when choosing where to go.

We went before the dinner rush, so we were seated right away outside. You must sit out on their patio. It’s adorable. I forgot to get pics when we first got there, but I got them later on after it was dark out, hah.

This meal was insane in the best way from start to finish.

We first tried their octopus with avocado, squid ink ranch, sunflower seed salsa, and lime. This had a unique smoky flavor. I think it’s the type of dish you’d either love it or hate it— I absolutely loved it!

The crowd-pleaser all around were these wood-grilled creole oysters with oregano butter, parmesan, bread crumbs, lemon, & toast. Holy moly. I cannot handle how good these were. Pete ordered their lobster roll, which was close to being on par with some that I’ve seen in the Bay Area!!

My mom and I shared their trout – easily one of the best fish dishes around. 

On the side, we ordered the oak-grilled heirloom carrots, chevre yogurt, & spiced pecans. This was also one of my favorite parts of the meal- these carrots were unreal!

After dinner, we went to Jeni’s for Ice Cream. I was so stuffed, I couldn’t have a full cone, but I shared some of the dairy free orange sorbet with my mom. It was soo creamy. You would have no idea it was dairy free!

We walked back to the apartment, and made it right in time to enjoy one last sunset from the rooftop!

Mom and Pete then had to drive home to Keller before it got too late. We said our goodbyes (I couldn’t hold back the tears), and then it was time for me to finish packing and cleaning to leave the next day.

It took way longer than expected, and I didn’t get to sleep until around 2 AM.

The next day, I couldn’t pass up the chance to try another coffee shop before leaving- so I went to Halcyon and grabbed a coffee to help revive me after getting very little sleep the night prior.

And that’s a wrap. I took down my keys to management, said goodbyes, checked the mail room one last time, did one last run through of the apartment and then hit the road.

On my way out, I saw one last very Austin thing- a guy walking down the road with a rooster on his shoulder. LOL.

Byeeeeee, Austin. Until next time ❤️

When CA and TX Collide!

Hi everyone- I accidentally had this post scheduled for release yesterday, and as soon as I realized it was published I took it down. Yesterday was set aside for remembrance of 9/11, and I did not want to post in reverence of the day. 

Continuing on through the end of July- the week of July 18th was mostly figuring out my road trip from TX to OH, including a stop in Nashville to see my friend Kels from college. I ran to the mall to get a couple new outfits for the trip/make exchanges & returns.

July 27th was my last day of clinical…forever! My emotions were as mixed as could be: sadness leaving my colleagues and patients from the office, excitement about starting a new chapter, sadness leaving Austin, elation about seeing DJ soon and being back in OH, relief in finishing the specialty, apprehension with no clear job lined– you get the picture.

I brought in bagels from Nervous Charlie’s and Starbucks for the office. Nervous Charlie’s bagels are really good- I did some looking around for the best bagels in Austin and these are near the top of the list for a reason!

July 28th, Sara (close friend from CA who you may remember would bring around the spunkiest dog named Foxy Lady!) flew in to visit. This year, she was diagnosed with and survived breast cancer. I have been in awe by her strength, grace, and outlook every step of the way. When planning her trip, it would be a month after she was entirely done with chemo. She has a friend in Houston too, so when she suggested coming to visit us both in a trip it was a no-brainer! More than anything I just couldn’t wait to give her a hug. It was excruciatingly hard being far from her during all her chemo treatments and the whole journey. I thank God for protecting her through it all and for this time together!

When she got in the car at the airport pickup we couldn’t talk fast enough –we were very excited to be actually catching up in person! We were so wrapped up in conversation that I took a few wrong turns and it took us an extra 30 mins to get back- whoooops.

For dinner we had some phenomenal Mexican food!! Matt’s El Rancho boasts they are the “best Mexican Food in the World”, and a la Elf‘s “World’s Best Cup of Coffee”… is this the best Mexican Food in the World? Welllll who knows- but I’d say it’s hands-down the best in Austin! But was I still tempted to congratulate them on having the World’s Best Mexican Food? Sure was.

For food- Sara ordered their fish tacos – I had a bite and seriously the best fish tacos I’ve ever tried. They literally melt in your mouth! I had their shrimp fajitas which were everything and more I could ask for in fajitas, but the fish tacos are where it’s at!

We savored our meals and time seemed to pass so quickly as we were engrossed in conversation. When we finally left, we realized the place was nearly cleared out- a stark contrast to the lack of an empty seats when we arrived.

We came back to the apartment, jammed to some throw back songs and then watched an episode of Are You the One on Netflix. Can’t get enough of that show!

On July 29th, it was time for some brunch! We went to 24-diner after the breakfast rush. Sara had been here once before when she visited Austin years ago. She raved about it, and naturally we had to go!

First- I loved the interior!

I ordered a magical cappuccino and egg white omelette with goat cheese & biscuits. Those biscuits… !

In the afternoon, we went to get our nails done at Enjoy Nails & Spa. It was a great nail salon and much needed R & R for us both!

We drove around Austin for a little bit looking for the Graffiti Park not realizing it was closed (but it does sound like something else is going to replace it soon). We then went back to the apartment to get ready for dinner.

Dinner was at Sway, another Austin favorite! The tables are communal, but it does seem most people just talk with the people in their own party (so if you don’t prefer to socialize, don’t let the communal tables scare you away!).

We shared their som tam salad to start which was the most refreshing, light, delicious start to the meal!

Sara ordered their thai basil eggplant, and sadly, didn’t love it. I tried some too and agreed with her it was a little too sweet. I think it all depends what you want- if you want a sweeter dish, this would be really tasty. But if you want something more savory- definitely try something else!

I ordered their green curry at the spiciest level, and it was one of my favorite thai dishes I’ve ever had! 

Once again, we shut down the place!

We spent the rest of the evening binge-watching Are You The One with some popcorn and ice cream. It was so nice & relaxing!

On July 30th, Silk Sonic released their new song Skate. We were immediately obsessed and played it every time we got into the car or when we were getting ready.

First adventure of the day, we went to brunch at a favorite of mine, South Congress Cafe.

We got mimosas and veryy tasty meals! I was craving another goat cheese omelette after the one the day before and Sara had some of their migas, which she said were amazing. Also if you go here, and you like potato pancakes, you must make sure to try these ones. YUM! After brunch, we walked around South Congress and shopped for a couple hours! We adored the sign at the Tiny Grocer grocery store. Naturally, the rest of the weekend we would break out in song at random songs singing the tune of Tiny Dancer with our new found lyrics.

When we got home, we relaxed for a bit, squeezed in another episode of Are You the One and then ordered pizza from Via 313. I decided to try their vegan pizza this time- it was good vegan pizza, for sure— but nothing beats their classic four cheese!

After pizza, we decided to hit up Rainey and went to Unbarlievable, a place made for millenials. They play the best music, and it’s overall a more tame crowd than on 6th. Oh, another fun little nugget about Unbarlievable- they have a slide inside. The whole vibe is really fun.

Then we walked over to 6th street (lovingly known as Dirty Sixth) to get some Voodoo Donuts. I have never been on 6th at night like that- it was … something to say the least, lol!

I had never had Voodoo donuts before (I know, a crime considering it was right down the road). I think I thought they wouldn’t be very good for some reason?… Maybe because I know them as having such extreme toppings and just saw it as a gimmick shop. Well, I was flat out wrong. These were incredible. I’m so bummed DJ never tried them, because he would have LOVED.

I had their maple cream, and mmmmm, so good.Sara had their Oreo one!! 

We did one more episode of AYTO, and then it was off to sleep. The next day, we met her friend from Houston halfway. It was a hard goodbye, but we packed amazing memories into those few days! <3

June’s in July!…Posted in September

Hey hey!!

Continuing on through July- July 17th was a great day! I met up with a friend I met through the blog, Taylor, for the first time! She is the coolest and actually gave us many suggestions of places to go/things to do when we moved to Austin. I am so thankful we could meet before the move!

We met at June’s All Day on South Congress which is the cutest, quintessential brunch spot.

I had to try a cappuccino even though I’d probably already hit my caffeine limit for the day- it was so worth it though!

I also tried the appetizing platter with pastrami smoked salmon, onion & poppy bialy, red onion, capers, watercress, and wasabi tobiko cream cheese. I didn’t know what a bialy was,  but it’s kind of like a thin bagel… I think I like it even more than a bagel! It was all delicious, even though I ended up eating the platter like a five year old, lol. This was one of my favorite brunches in Austin without a doubt!

I couldn’t believe how quickly the time flew while we chatted away! It was such a nice lunch, and I highly recommend this spot if you visit Austin 🙂

Thanks for poppin’ in, have a great rest of the week!

Austin Explorin’ with my Sis Part 2!

Hey, friends!! Happy Labor Day- I hope you’re having a great one 🙂

Welcome to Part 2 of the weekend with my sister, Andi! Leaving off from Part 1, after we went to reflexology, we were driving back and noticed a Half Price Books in a strip mall. It’s hard for either of us to turn down a bookstore, so we zipped in and then perused the aisles for a while.

After, we both noted we had a sweet tooth acting up. So we drove to South Congress to get some sweet treats from the retro candy store, Big Top.

This place had a little bit of everything you can imagine.

We were particularly amused by these retro decade candy packs! How adorable are these?

We tried a few different kinds of fudge, chocolate bars and truffles! My favorite was the dark chocolate sea salt caramel truffle.

After this, we went back to the apartment and lounged on the rooftop while enjoying the start of the sunset.

Andi took this pic below- I think it’s just so beautiful.

We chatted away for hours, and I think we could have stayed out there for hours more, but we wanted to get down in time to see the bats take off up close! 

The bats were in hiding again that night, sadly. It also started raining and our stomachs were grumbling, so it was an easy decision to give up the waiting and head to dinner instead.

For dinner, we were both craving Asian Cuisine and stumbled upon Lin Restaurant on 6th street.

I was enamored by the beauty of the umbrellas hanging from the ceiling as we walked in.

I took this pic below on the way out after it had cleared out a little, but when we arrived at 9:00 pm there was hardly a seat open!

The water was served in these mugs- my sister loved them so much she purchased one as a souvenir!

Now for an item that will go on a “Must Try Foods in Austin” list (when I make that one day)- this mushroom bao. I dream of this appetizer, and I actually could have easily ate this as my main course.

We also shared some yummy bok choy with mushrooms to get our greens in.

Pictured below is their famous dumpling- I see why, it was delicious. But the mushroom bao is still my personal favorite.

We also split their Seafood Delight Bird Nest – the nest was made out of tarro chips. It was so good- and it was HUGE.

After such a jam-packed day we were exhausted and ready to hit the hay!

In the morning, we went to Picnik before church.

We both had our eye on their muffin basket- yummm! I had a Mayan mocha with all kinds of cozy spices & coconut milk. It went perfectly with the muffins!

We also shared a delicious lox toast to give us a protein boost for the day.

After church at Austin Stone, we drove around downtown Austin for a bit enjoying the murals, then it was time to drop off my sis at the airport. And if you’re wondering- I was surprisingly able to find the South Terminal this time without getting lost! We did leave extra early just to make sure to allow enough time to get lost if needed though 🙂

I returned home to the sweetest card ever from my sis that I’ll treasure forever!! She also left me this most amazing, luxurious goat’s milk soap.

It was a weekend for the books with lots of inside jokes, a list of things/food we classify as “life changing” & the best memories <3 Can’t wait for our next sister weekend in Colorado- hopefully Halston can make that one too 🙂 ! <3 Thanks for visiting me, Sis!!! <3

Austin Explorin’ with my Sis Part 1!

Good morning!! How are you this morning? Moving through July, one of the big highlights was my older sister, Andrea, visiting me in Austin. It’s rare we get to hang out just the two of us outside of holidays, so this was really special!

On July 9th, I had the day off clinical. I ran to get my eyebrows waxed because they were in desperate need of help. Well y’all, I didn’t think about the fact that I use an over-the-counter product with a small bit of retinol in it, and the skin under my eyebrows came right off. It almost looked like I was wearing pink eyeshadow under them. It was painful more than anything, but easy to cover up with makeup and healed quickly with aloe and moisturizer- but I learned my lesson!

Little did I know I had more lessons to be learned that day…

Andi’s flight from Colorado was scheduled to arrive around 7 pm. Unfortunately, it was delayed, but fortunately, only slightly. When she did arrive, I could not find her anywhere at the airport pick-up. We kept exchanging land marks and nothing was linking up. Another passenger mentioned to my sister that they were in an entirely different terminal about 15 minutes from the regular airport- I didn’t even know this terminal existed! So learn from my mistake pro-tip- apparently Frontier and Allegiant fly in and out of the South Terminal if you are ever picking someone up. Even after knowing about the terminal, I could not find it even after entering it into my GPS for at least 30 mins. My GPS just kept taking me in circles. We had a reservation for dinner at 9 pm, so we decided it may be best for her to grab an Uber and meet at the restaurant.

I entered the restaurant into my GPS and only a couple minutes into the route I passed a huge sign that said “South Terminal”, naturally. I frantically called my sister to let her know I was there and luckily she hadn’t called a ride yet. I zoomed in, picked her up, and we booked it to the restaurant.

On the way I realized I didn’t blow out a candle thinking we would be right back to the apartment from the airport before dinner. Aba was really close to our apartment, so I parked in the back lot and sprinted up 6 flights of stairs to put out the candle (my calves were sore the next day). Note taken- always put the candle out before leaving.

We were 15 minutes late to the reservation, but the staff was super understanding when we called to let them know we were on the way!

We finally made it!!

Aba is fairly new to Austin, and it can be tough to get a dinner reservation. I think I had to make ours a solid two months in advance. Shout out to my sister-in-law, Laura, for recommending it!!

Sista sista!This is easily one of the most beautiful restaurants I have ever been to. The decoration was breathtaking. We couldn’t stop commenting how gorgeous it was- these pics could not possibly capture how stunning it was in person!

Not only was it one of the most beautiful restaurants I’ve been to, but it was one of the best meals I had in Austin (which y’all know is saying something because that city knows good food!).We started with a couple of their dips- the hummus and whipped feta. We concluded after trying them that the hummus was spectacular, but the whipped feta was possibly…yes I will go there… life-changing. Gosh, I crave that stuff somethin’ fierce. Also- we ate the hummus and feta with veggies, pita and gluten free crackers (my sis eats gluten free). I tried one of the gluten-free crackers and may have liked them even better than the fluffy pita! The crackers had this wonderful rosemary flavor. Also, they have a full gluten free menu, so if you are gluten free, this is a really solid dinner choice in Austin.

We also tried the side of potatoes and the waiter suggested we dip them in the whipped feta- heaven I tell ya.

And it doesn’t even stop there. Next we tried the squid- which was divine. I am talking melt-in-your-mouth. 

After saying how good the food was about 24908509 times, we walked down South Congress. At this point in the evening (I think it was probably 10:30ish), SoCo was pretty empty. It was fun seeing it this late at night like that- It felt like we had the road to ourselves (and not in the eerie way like early on in the pandemic).

After a nice walk, we drove back to the apartment. My sister’s bday is in late July, but we rarely ever have the chance to celebrate in person, so we deemed this her bday night! I went to Mr. Natural’s in town (where Kevin got the AWESOME vegan muffins for the Baustin Weekend). They also had a wide array of gluten free options- so I grabbed a few for us to enjoy! We could not believe how good they were.

On July 10th we were all carb loaded and ready to do Orange Theory!

We had an excellent workout and after just walked around the South Lamar square for a while admiring the artwork.

After, we zipped over to South Congress again for some post-workout fuel. I had a hankerin’ for some coffee & Andi said a smoothie from Amy’s sounded great! I quickly grabbed an iced coffee from Jo’s.  I can’t believe I hadn’t tried this sooner. This is easily some of the best coffee in Austin. Top 3 favorite coffee shops without a doubt!

Andi loved her smoothie from Amy’s too!

We went back to the apartment, got cleaned up, relaxed for a bit and then walked across the bridge to Cooper’s BBQ in downtown Austin.

Even though I don’t eat meat, these BBQ spots have the best sides! My favorite is still Terry Black’s, but this was darn good. Their coleslaw and mac n’ cheese was my favorite.

If you didn’t use half a stack of napkins, did you even BBQ?!

We grabbed a quick picture of Mr. Cooper himself.

To top off a wonderful afternoon, Andi suggested we go to reflexology. I have never done reflexology before and wasn’t familiar with it. It was awesome though- it’s basically a long foot massage!

And that wraps up our first part of the weekend.

Much more to come in part two 🙂

Thanks for reading!

Alfred, Idlewood & Once Over Coffee!

Hi all! Cruising along on our coffee tour through June- On June 23rd I hit up a nearby Alfred. This was only about a half mile from our apartment, so I am really not sure why it took me so long to venture over there! It’s connected to a hotel, so I think it just wasn’t on my radar. BUT I was so excited to try it again because the last time I had tried it was in LA several years ago!

Decisions decisons!!! It alll sounded oh so delish…. I think I short-circuited overwhelmed by all I wanted to try and ended up just going with my usual (a cafe au lait).

It was very good! Since the shop is located in a hotel, there is a nice little seating area in the lobby. I grabbed a spot and camped out with my books, sipping my the coffee and prepared for my virtual endocrinology intensive.

It was actually a great place to get stuff done, and I wish I had taken advantage of it more while I lived there.

Before walking back, I stopped in the bathroom. Is this not the most unique bathroom wall you’ve seen? I’ve tried to figure out what these words are from, but I haven’t been able to after a quick search. Do you have any ideas?

June 24th our OCI began.. It was a scary one with high-pressure check-offs, but it was also one of my favorites from a learning perspective. We were sent in the mail different technology to spend the weekend wearing so we could understand how to better teach, but primarily, to empathize with our patients considering what this technology requires. I just thought it was the coolest thing our school did this- and it was invaluable – I learned a lot through that intensive and through the tools provided. (None of the equipment went to waste- it was all either given to someone/sent back to the school).

After the second day of the intensive, DJ arrived on June 25th! You can read all about weekend here if you’d like 🙂

In most evenings after clinicals I would go out for a walk/run around Austin to clear my head. I savored every one of these.

And now hopping into July! July 2nd I ventured into Idlewild Coffee shop. It is actually half skate shop and half coffee shop, so there isn’t anywhere to sit and hangout- it’s more coffee on the go.

It wasn’t my favorite coffee- it was okay- but pretty strong- you could tell it was high quality, but a little bit too strong for me. Some people love that, but it just was not my cup of tea… ahem, coffee.

On July 8th, I did find some of my favorite coffee in town from Once Over Coffee Bar. This was also the absolute perfect place to study!

I guess I’ll stop here, but there is lots more from Austin coming soon 🙂

Question for you! DJ and I recently started the The Umbrella Academy. We’re only an episode in, and it is so bizarre, but we have heard it is a really good show. Have you watched? What did you think of it if you did?

Did Someone Say Coffee? Teal House, Mañana, Epoch & Two Hands!

Hey, hey! I was going into this post with the intention of doing a full June recap, and then I realized I had more from June to share than I initially thought, and then I realized mostly all I did in June was go to clinical and study in coffee shops. I had a mission to try as many coffee shops as possible in Austin before leaving. Spoiler Alert- Austin has some good coffee. So, without further a-brew, let’s get into it.

June 2nd I woke up early to walk on the treadmill and get some lectures in before clinical.

On June 3rd, I had a comically unfortunate morning (thankfully it did turn around!). It started by waking up extra-early to be extra-productive. But then I realized I was out of coffee (bad enough, I know). I usually have one cup before going to coffee shops- which I know seems silly, but I have my second cup at the shop and then am set for the day on caffeine. Anyway, I proceeded to burst a tube of makeup all over my bathroom.  Granted, how was I supposed to function without any caffeine in my system? I then went to a coffee shop in town and the barista didn’t arrive to open the shop on time (said another customer standing outside)- so I went to another. I did get a quick laugh out of this stop sign I spotted on my way.

The other shop didn’t open for 40 mins, so I sat in my car and waited while reviewing some of my class notes—  Only to find out once they did open that it was take out only (no sitting in to study). As I was walking back to my car, I watched a bird poop on my driver’s side window. Others in line outside saw it too, so I had to do the walk of shame back to that car being marked by the bird as my own. Then again, isn’t that supposed to be good luck?!

So now I had no option but to go to the car wash. I went to one- it was closed even though it said open online. I went across town to another- they did not accept the only card I had on me. So at this point I went home, got some cash- went back to the car wash and then found another coffee shop.

Things did start to turn around at this point (thank you, bird). The coffee shop (Aka my saving grace that day) was Teal House on South Congress.

It wasn’t crowded at all when I arrived, so I found some perfect study seating. The baristas were exceptionally friendly too. I took one sip of my cafe au lait and the unfortunate morning melted away.

I got to work on my material for class, and then a few minutes later one of the baristas came over with a free cinnamon roll. They are known for them, and wowza- I see why! YUM.

A few minutes after that I received an e-mail from my prof explaining she was pushing back due dates on an a couple assignments. This was a huge blessing since I was heading to spend time with my mom that weekend, so it afforded us more quality time together.

June 4th through the 6th I was in Keller at my mom and Pete’s- I shared about that fun weekend last week if you are interested in reading about it!

The rest of the week was focused on class and clinicals, but my mom was in Austin June 9th for work, and we had an unforgettable dinner at Café Nosé.

She brought with her some storage tubs that she had kept of mine since high school. While going through a photo album, I found these pictures from 2011 of me and DJ. LOLLL. I mean…..the lewks, the running tan lines, the posing. It’s too much. I can’t believe I’m sharing this on the internet.

Here’s one that’s a little more normal I suppose, lol.

Alright, jumping back into this decade. June 11th was a day of running errands. I picked up this Olipop soda at the grocery store- the strawberry vanilla was tasty!

I decided to treat myself to a study-free night that evening. It started with a long walk along Ladybird Lake.

I then did a soothing face mask! Idk if these masks actually do anything, but it completed the illusion of a relaxing night at home.

I also lit up a candle from Whole Foods. I rarely shop at Whole Foods, but I do like to see what fun little finds I can get there when I stop in on occasion. I think I caught up on some blogs that evening and probably watched some trash reality TV if I’m taking an honest guess.

On June 12th, I was craving some baked goods when I woke up. I looked up places with a good bakery selection within walking distance and discovered Mañana.

I walked down South Congress on the beautiful morning and my GPS took me to this coffee shop tucked away off the normal path. I had no idea this was here!

It was so cute and actually had a good amount of open seating.

I had a hard time deciding what to get, so I figured I would get both the turmeric and matcha latte along with their kouign-amann and chocolate croissant and have breakfast set for two days.

They were sooo good. I was pleasantly surprised. I think it’s tough to beat any SF bakeries, but this definitely gave me a good fix!

On June 16th, this ad popped up. I actually was feeling overwhelmed at this point in the summer, so I thought it was kinda cool, but also kinda creepy? I do find it very unnerving when ads read my mind, but this one was sweet, lol.

That evening I went out on a walk on Ladybird enjoying the evening.

June 18th I went to Orange Theory on South Lamar in the morning. I did OT one day per week over the summer. It was gifted to me for Christmas, and I finally was able to use my sessions! I loved it soo much & it really gave me something to look forward to every week. I had to be intentional to stay out of the apartment because too much time in the apartment alone causes me to get in my head.

June 19th I tried another coffee shop a little further away- Epoch.

I enjoyed my iced coffee while working on writing on the blog and getting some school work done.

That evening I went on a nice long run enjoying the absolutely gorgeous evening.I timed my runs around sunset, and they were some runs I will never forget!- the more tamed heat, the spectacular golden hour and good music while running off the stress of the day.

June 21st I walked down South Congress to try a new coffee shop in town- Two Hands.

How adorable is the sitting area?

I tried the mushroom latte, which was actually way too sweet for me. Worth trying, but I would stick to regular coffee next time.

Oh, and last thing- I just got a Nespresso after hearing how much people love it (I also needed to replace my Keurig), but I sadly don’t think it’s for me! The coffee tastes so bitter and strong and the caffeine content seems way too high compared to what I’m used to. I like to have a few cups of coffee through the day, but if I do that with Nespresso I get sick to my stomach and can’t sleep. If you use Nespresso, how do you make it & what are your favorite pods? I’m leaning toward returning but figured I would ask before I do!