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

Weekend with DJ!

Hello hello! I hope you are all having a great week. I had a wonderful weekend with my older sis in town! I can’t wait to share all about it! For now, I’m zooming back a couple weekends to another favorite of the summer when DJ visited me 😊

He flew to town for a couple days the weekend of June 25th. Can you believe it had been over a month since we had seen each other?! At this point we only have a couple weeks to go until no more long stretches apart.

First up on our weekend agenda was breakfast on June 26th at Magnolia Cafe.

As we pulled into our parking spot, we were greeted by this bird mural. When my sister was here, she remarked how fun all the murals were around the city- it really is fun to spot new ones all the time!

I’ve passed Magnolia Cafe more times than I could count! I always get a kick out of their “Sorry We’re Open” sign and knew it’d be a place we’d have to stop in eventually.


I would describe it as a no-frills, solid, reliable breakfast spot (although I believe they have dinner too). The staff was exceptionally friendly and we savored our time out on the back patio.


Even the menu continues on with the apologetic, tongue-in-cheek flare. 🥞

Typically we don’t prefer very fluffy pancakes, but these chocolate chip ones were really good and loaded with chocolate!

We limited our coffee intake at breakfast knowing we were going to try a new coffee shop after breakfast. I’ve heard many people talk about Cosmic, but I didn’t realize how close it was to us, just tucked away on a side road off South Congress.


They have a very expansive menu with some unique options like a lavender matcha latte, or if you’re feeling wild, a nitro espresso cocktail. We grabbed a couple iced coffees and enjoyed the morning sitting in their massive courtyard.

One thing we did not cross off the bucket list in Austin was Franklin BBQ (I know, shameful!). They went to carry out only during the last year, and we kept waiting for it to reopen, but it has not yet. We tried to put in an order for carry out while sitting there at Cosmic- but they were all sold out; procrastination was not our friend here. As the caffeine kicked in, we became more determined to find a way to get our hands on the world’s best BBQ.  Where there is a will and all that, right? We ended up calling Franklin’s to see if there was any chance there was more available than listed online, and they explained we could actually order a whole brisket online and have it delivered chilled to our home through Goldbelly. Also, side note- the staff was so friendly and really did what they could to help us out. We watched a Youtube video of someone who did this to see if it would still be good/worth it even shipped- and he said it was 99% as good as the real thing in person! So we are going to do it- probably have people over, make some veggie dishes and sides- and serve it up as a fun transitional meal from TX to OH as soon as we get off the waitlist!
Anyway, Cosmic is THE perfect place to relax with some coffee on a Saturday morning. And there is plenty of seating… which is a huge plus around here!

They also have several food trucks on site too.

After enjoying our iced coffees, we went back to our apartment. I worked out for about an hour and then got ready for the day.

We had an early dinner reservation at 5:30 on South Congress, so in the afternoon we killed time walking and shopping the tourist trap. We hopped store to store, and it was such a blast. There are gems on that road! Our first stop was Neighborhood Goods– I would love to shop here for gifts for holidays.



Many of the store fronts are beautifully decorated, vying for the next passerby’s attention.

One of my favorite stops was Big Top Candy Shop. I love a vintage candy/soda shop like that.

And of course, we stopped in all the different boot shops! 

Oh, and cannot forget South Congress Books!!
We did have a little (now funny) mishap. It was super hot that day, and I had lathered myself in sunscreen. At some point, my ✨ glisten ✨ turned into straight sweat and the sunscreen ran straight into my right eye. It was annoyingly painful and would not stop watering! I knew my makeup on that eye did not stand a chance, so I ran into a restaurant bathroom to rinse it off. I probably should have taken the other eye makeup off too- because they were hilariously incongruent. But at least my eye wasn’t on fire anymore. We didn’t have time to walk back to the apartment, so I resorted to just keeping my sunglasses on in all the shops. DJ said he didn’t see a big difference between my eyes, and we debated if it was worse wearing my sunglasses indoors or having uneven makeup, ha!

Before we knew it, it was time for dinner. We walked to Central Standard to sit out on their patio.

They are known for their cocktails. I don’t typically order cocktails since the ones I’ve tried have been so sweet, but the waitress recommended the ‘Face Your Fears’ cocktail with mezcal, tequila, aperol, chareu, grapefruit and lemon- so refreshing and not too sweet with a nice smoky flavor! Highly recommend. 

We ordered some delicious oysters. They tasted particularly good given how hot it was outside.

Right before getting the rest of our food, we noticed a wedding was happening right next to us. We watched nearly the whole thing, keeping our conversation at a minimum and a whisper, mesmerized by the ceremony. They had the cutest little pup in the bridal party too. I was getting emotional as the bride walked down the aisle, and I don’t even know the people!!

Back to the food- I ordered a falafel burger which I was obsessssedddd with.

DJ ordered their roasted half chicken- he said it was good but maybe wouldn’t order it again.

After dinner, we walked back to the apartment to give our feet a break and unpack our shopping finds.

Here is a candle we picked up! I also couldn’t resist trying the sour bears from Neighborhood Goods (yum!) & DJ tried the cashews. I really could do some damage in there- I love all the unique finds.

We went on a lovely sunset walk along Ladybird Lake where we had another debate. Right around the time the bats took off, we saw a small swarm of flying creatures above us darting here and there. We had a passionate conversation about whether they were birds or bats. I thought they were bats, and DJ thought the former. Finally some random stranger came near us and said loud enough for us to hear, “those are birds” 🤣. Okay, Deej, you win this one.

Next, we went up to the rooftop for our favorite view of the city! We were saying it was eerily quiet for a Saturday night in Austin. We hypothesized that everyone was just taking the weekend easy with July 4th being the next. But hopefully they didn’t know something we weren’t privy to!

The next morning before dropping DJ off at the airport, we quickly stopped into Gourdough’s Donuts food truck for breakfast. This is another Austin classic.

We sipped on a couple iced coffees while waiting for our order to be called.

These donuts blew away every expectation. We could not believe how good these were. We ordered the Funky Monkey with caramelized bananas, the Mother Clucker with fried chicken over a savory donut (DJ’s favorite & I tried a bite and even liked it- it’s a must order if you like chicken), and the naughty and nice cinnamon donut with honey (the simplest of them all, but very tasty!).

And that wraps up our amazing, amazing weekend together. I was deeply sad the rest of the day after he left and thankful I had clinical the next day to reset and distract my mind.

I’d love to know:

  • If someone visits your city, what is the *must* visit restaurant?

Family Trip to NC & Graduation!

Hello all!! I hope you are having a lovely week so far. I survived my last and probably my favorite intensive yet (content-wise). I learned so much. My head is spinning though- I think I need to go back and rewatch all the lectures because it was a ton of information. We also had to wait until today to find out if we passed our check-offs, and I did- *phew*- huge sigh of relief! More on all that later! For now, I want to jump right into our past April and May.

April was my study month. Okay, yes, every month has been a study month for the last few years- but this was the study month. As soon as I finished up clinicals, I was entirely focused on studying for boards (and I had started my endocrinology specialty, so I had some assignments for that). For those nurses studying for FNP boards out there- I did the Leik book & App- very helpful, the Sarah Michelle review which was my favorite, and the APEA review with Hollier-maybe less helpful for boards, but valuable for practice and review in general. I think I would have done Fitzgerald if I had to do it over because I heard great things about that one. I did not find the Exam Edge questions relevant or helpful at all. I did like Board Vitals though! My main unsolicited advice- do as many questions with rationales as possible!

Anyway- back to things outside of studying!.. April 5th I went to the Magnolia Silos with my mom. You can read about that trip here if you would like.

On April 11th, I drove to Keller when my sister was there visiting my mom and Pete. The first stop was F n G for dinner (one of my fav spots in town).

Our go-to item is off-menu- they have few vegetarian offerings, so if you ask for a vegetarian dish, they have something called Matchstick veggies- always so good. I have started using broccoli slaw in my every day meals because of this dish! It’s really delicious sautéed up with lots of veggies & a bit of olive oil.

And special shoutout to their peach cobbler which is pretty unreal.

April 12th my sister, Halston, had a simulated virtual trial for law school. Lucky for us, family and friends were allowed to watch! My mom and I sat out on the patio while she did her trial inside the house. It was SO cool to see her do her thing & she absolutely killed it! We were insanely impressed.

Sadly, my sister had to leave that evening to go back to Philly, but it was nice to briefly see her!

April 13th, I worked on homework all day, then my mom and I drove to the entirely vegan-comfort food spot, Spiral Diner in Fort Worth, for an early dinner. It was on the way home for me too, so this worked perfectly.

Love the retro vibes here!

We were blown away by how good the food was. We tried the Fajita Quesadilla and the Chef salad. There was a not a single bite leftover.


Then we walked around the cute area near the diner before I headed out to return to Austin.

Throughout the month, I took breaks studying with lots of walks along Lady Bird lake. I do not know what I would have done the last couple years without this trail!!

April 25th DJ and I woke up extra early and went to get some Summer Moon. I think this was the day the Austin Marathon was going on, so we had a hard time getting around town. We weren’t able to go to our usual Summer Moon, but we discovered one not too far away. And it was so nice inside! I love those chandeliers.

We then went for a walk around a park near us enjoying the beautiful morning.

We even climbed to the top of the Doug Sahm hill to get glorious views of the city. It was impossible to not make a few “What in the Sahm Hill jokes” standing up there 😝


Then moving into May! May 7th we arrived in North Carolina for my graduation on site, DJ’s graduation (MBA), Kevin’s graduation (DMD), Halston’s bday and Mother’s day! Lots to celebrate. We were greeted by this rainbow when driving from the airport to the hotel.

For dinner that evening, we went to Firebirds Grill which we all loved. I would highly recommend this restaurant if you are ever in the area! This was deemed Halston’s bday dinner 🎂 🎉

That evening we had a surprise for Halston! My mom brought one of her favorite cake flavors- Italian cream- chilled through security, on a plane and safely to NC.

Happy birthday seeeester! Hal opened her bday cards, and we all enjoyed some of that cake (suhh guuhd) before turning in for the evening.

May 8th was graduation day! I woke up early to get a quick run on the treadmill while watching Cruel Summer (this reminds me I’m very much behind on that show)…. anyway, the morning was going smoothly until I had to deal with the dang graduation hood. I could not figure it out! My group chat from school was buzzing with other people trying to figure it out too. I couldn’t help but laugh, here we are graduating with master’s degrees, but can’t figure out how to do the graduation hood properly, lol. Someone from the group shared a Youtube video and luckily my mom was down the hall and able to help me out with it. This was one of those unexpected special moments- I had flashback to her helping me zip up my dress for the wedding  <3 She’s always got my back both figuratively and literally!

We still weren’t 100% sure it was right, but it didn’t matter after all – and I noticed when I arrived everyone clearly had their own interpretation of how to wear the hood, hah.

We almost didn’t have a graduation, but about a month before they decided to allow us to attend in person. Very thankful it worked out!

Even though family and friends couldn’t attend in person, my family watched back in the hotel on a TV ❤️

After graduation, I caught up with friends for a bit then met up with my fam to walk around campus and take some pics. 

We were famished after all the festivities were over, so we were on the hunt for anywhere to eat. I remembered Bull City Burger and Brewery  being really good from my first intensive, so we headed there. It was just as good this time around! I am obsessed with their sweet potato fries.

That afternoon I took a siesta – I did not sleep a wink the night before since I had consumed wayyy too much caffeine during our travel day and had a lot of excitement over graduation. The nap was perfect, and I woke up refreshed and ready to go for the evening!

We headed to downtown Raleigh for dinner at Oak Steakhouse. Prior to dinner, we stopped in a nearby market to grab some coffee while waiting for our reservation.

The dinner was spectacular! I do have to quickly highlight their Caesar salad. I think it was the best I’ve ever had.

After dinner, we went back to the hotel and opened the sweetest graduation cards <3 Then Kevin, Halston, DJ and I went into downtown Raleigh to go out on the town. We found a cozy little patio to sit outside and played multiple different games like Heads Up, Trivia, etc.

The next day, May 9th and Mother’s Day, we had an awesome jam-packed day planned before we all headed our separate ways that evening.

First, we put our names in at Flying Biscuit – one of the most popular breakfast places around. I think we had around a 2 hr. wait, which we were prepared for. While waiting, we grabbed coffee at Cafe Carolina in the same shopping strip, sat out on their patio, and my mom opened her Mother’s Day cards and gifts. You all already know she is one of the best <3 She is easy to celebrate on Mother’s day- grateful for her beyond words.

We then walked around and stopped into a few of the shops.
And not long after that our name was called!

This is one of the BEST and most memorable brunches and was worth every second of the wait.

We started with perhaps the most unforgettable part of the meal- their biscuits!! Oh. my. goooodnessss. Easily the best biscuits I’ve ever had- and that apple butter with them was wonderful. 

We appreciated how they had vegan options on their menu. My mom and I split a couple dishes- their hollywood omelette with egg whites, spinach, mushrooms, and vegan mozz along with their avo toast. Both tasty as alllll get out.


We also tried their chocolate chip pancakes- YUM.

The guys each ordered the dirty bird bowl with two split biscuits, oven-fried chicken, queso and chicken sausage gravy- they absolutely raved about this dish.

Next up we went on a hike nearby. It was such a wonderful hike and a gorgeous day!

We found a great lake to walk around and at some point all tried our hand at skipping stones. I discovered that is not a talent of mine!

When we said our goodbyes at the airport, I remember being soo sad this highly anticipated weekend was over. It was one for the books, per usual! When don’t we have the best time together?!

If you’d like to explore my previous on campus experiences more I’ll link them here 🙂

On campus #1

On campus #2

On campus #3 

We were supposed to have more intensives in person, but we had to go virtual due to the pandemic.

I’d love to know:

  • Do you have any family trips planned this year?

Austin Staycation!

Hello hello!! I am sitting at Epoch coffee shop sipping on an iced coffee with a pile of school work staring me in the face, but I figured I’d allot myself about 30 mins to blog until the caffeine kicks in. Good plan, right?

I have really been looking forward to writing this post. March 16th DJ and I decided to do a staycation when our spring breaks overlapped.

We booked at the Fairmont in downtown Austin, which was actually within walking distance for us. We packed up for a couple night stay. It was nice that if we forgot anything, we could just walk down the road to pick it up. We were craving a true getaway vacation somethin’ serious, and there just wasn’t time for one… so this was our best alternative. It ended up really feeling like a real vacation and was so refreshing for us both. There was an interesting study done looking at benefits of short-term vacations if you need help convincing someone 😉

Anyway, here we gooo!

We checked in around 3 pm. As we were walking over, DJ said he was pretty sure he saw Dave Chappelle. We googled if he was in town that weekend, and sure enough, he was!

As soon as we dropped off our luggage, we walked over to check out the view.

It did not disappoint. We could see Ladybird Lake, Rainey street and I-35 all from the window.

We quickly realized we were pretty hungry- we had a late dinner scheduled that night but needed something to tide us over. We sauntered down to the restaurant in the lobby, Fulton, and check out their options. It was fun being on “vacation” but not feeling pressure to do everything a city had to offer in a few days. It made it that much more spontaneous and relaxing.

The decor is super eclectic in here, but somehow worked. I feel like I use the word “eclectic” to describe quite a lot around Austin- but it really just fits the city as a whole.

I mean, they even had this massive tree in the middle of the restaurant.

We ordered a cheeseboard with warm olives and a glass of pinot grigio. The whole combination was unreal. We’ve had a lot of luck with good food in hotels- remember when we had some of the best pasta of our life randomly at the Doubletree in El Paso? Anyway- this cheese served with honeycomb was seriously the greatest combination and the warm olives were addictive as all get out. We still talk about this! After our linner, I was hitting an afternoon slump. I noticed they had a coffee shop in their lobby, good things, so it was not even a question. I grabbed a semi-bitter cup of jo’, but it had caffeine and that was all that mattered at that moment.

Once the caffeine kicked in, I had the energy to get ready for the evening.

Then we headed out to explore the city as tourists do!

We walked around with no real plan, just venturing into parts of the city we haven’t yet while enjoying all the artwork.

We had our reservation around 7:30 for dinner that evening. It was at a spot I have wanted to try ever since we’ve moved here located at the end of Rainey street- Emmer & Rye.

This restaurant will appear on pretty much every list you find of “Best Restaurants in Austin”. And for good reason. This was an unforgettable meal from start to finish. We were seated outside on their patio with twinkling string lights which just set a great romantic, cozy ambiance. The weather that evening was particularly lovely too. Their entirely farm-to-table menu changes often, so some of these items are not on their menu anymore- but the one “must try” is a constant.

I started with their beet dish that was soo yummy.

Deej sampled a beef tartare dish (I think that’s what this was)- he loved it, and I think this is still on their menu!

Now for the star of the show. When I compile a “must try” dishes in Austin- this is near the top of the list. This is their famous cacio e pepe (This is the dish I was referring to in a previous post). I think this is perhaps the best pasta dish we have ever tried (sorry Doubletree, you’re a close second). The truffle mushroom pasta from Il Mulino at Disney is in there too.

For dessert we tried their black garlic ice cream, chocolate, orange and tomato. Wait! Before you schedule an eye appointment- yes, you read that all correctly!! We have a theory that if something is on the menu that sounds absolutely disgusting, it must be extra good because how else is it on there? Y’all… wow wow wow…. this was unusually good, meaning both unusual and unusually delicious. I don’t know why the heck it is, and it tasted unlike anything we had tried before- but do yourself a favor and give it a go if you ever are in town.

That night we turned in early. We had said we were going to stay out on the town originally like we would if we were really on vacation, but we’re old now, you see. So we promised ourselves we would stay out later the following evening.

The next morning we slept in a little bit, and around 8 am I went down to workout in the hotel gym. How awesome is this view?

And after working out, we ordered some room service breakfast which is probably our favorite part about staying in hotels.

Those pancakes! Perfection, along with everything else.

We then headed out for our next day adventures. Since we didn’t park at the hotel (we just wheeled our suitcases through town), we walked back to our apartment to pick up the car.

And next on the docket was a hike at the Barton Creek Greenbelt. I can’t tell you how many people have recommended this spot to us, and finally we tried it out.

It was a wonderful walk/hike. Usually there is water and the picture right above shows where little waterfalls form. It was bone dry while we were there, but I bet it’s flowing now given how much rain we’ve had.

After our about 5-mile hike, we drove back to the hotel around one in the afternoon. We lathered up the sunscreen then headed down to the hotel pool. Now this is vacation!!

We listened to podcasts, read books (I was working my way through Hillbilly Elegy– great read- thank you Maureen for the recommendation) and sipped on our margs in the sun.

When we got a bit too warm, we took a dip in the pool.

We didn’t want this day to end!

But then our stomachs started growling.

We had a dinner reservation at odd duck, another restaurant we’ve wanted to try for a while. I loved the whole atmosphere of this place.

We were hungryyy after our day in the sun, so we went all out on this meal.

Once again, the first dish of the night was a delightful beet dish.

Probably my favorite part of the meal was next- Cast iron cornbread with cheddar and green garlic butter. Oh my. I crave this.

We then tried their carrot quesadilla with oaxaca cheese and coriander flower dressing. This was unique and probably my second favorite of all the courses. I think DJ said this was his favorite.

We shared a scallop dish too- can’t go wrong with these. So delicious.

And ever since I tried quail with my mom in San Antonio, if it’s on the menu I feel like we have to get it. I don’t particularly like meat, which is part of why I eat mostly plant-based, but quail is an exception! This quail was fried with creamed corn, peppers, peaches and spicy honey. I think that description speaks for itself!

We were pretty full, but their dessert menu looked too good to pass up.

And it was too good to pass up. We tried their lime panna cotta with almonds, ginger, graham crackers, and toasted meringue. TOP 5 dessert of our lives.

As we promised to force ourselves out on the town, we discussed what to do next over dessert. It was actually St. Patrick’s day, so we thought it’d be fun to go down to Rainey street since we figured it’d be poppin’ and it was close to the hotel. We walked around for a while enjoying the energy that has been absent for so long in the city and then went to Javelina at the end of the street. We were sitting out on the street when we noticed a little visitor near us.

I caught this raccoon out of my periphery scaling the tree to my left. He was clearly not bothered by humans, which is quite the red flag. But he was darn cute. It reminded me of a time in high school when DJ and I were eating Penn Station sandwiches in a park and a raccoon scurried out of a trash can near us- I jumped up on the picnic table and freaked out, protecting my Penn Station with my life.

After trying to make an entrance into the restaurant (he clearly just wanted in on the St. Paddy’s day fun too), our little friend found his place under the porch out of sight. The rest of the evening we played trivia which was so much fun.

It was around 11 before we headed back to the hotel, and as we were walking back we spotted a Via 313 food truck. As soon as the thought of Via crossed our minds, there was no question about putting in an order. It was quite chilly at this point in the evening and the hot, fresh Via 313 was unlike anything else! Side note, but very exciting,…. DJ said he found a pizza place in OH that “is not Via, but is very close”. This was just the greatest news, and I can’t wait to try it out.

And sadly, we had to check out the following morning, March 18th. We weren’t ready to totally go back to studying just yet, so we went to Snooze for brunch. Perfect way to hit the “snooze” button on reality, eh?

And that wraps up our little Austin staycation. It was a wonderful few days and  just what we needed to reinvigorate us for the rest of the semester.

P.S. it has been way more than 30 mins, but oh well, I was having too much fun writing this!

I’d love to know: 

  • What is your favorite staycation or vacation you’ve ever taken?

Magnolia Farms!!

Hey all! I interrupt our catch-up posts from last year with a very recent post from our trip to Magnolia Farms in Waco, TX. I figured since I’m so behind, I’ll start doing a mix of recent posts and catch-up past posts- because I am really darn excited to share some of our recent happenings!

Oh real quick- for some reason my last post did not show up in the Reader, so hopefully it will this time. E-mail subscribers did get the post I believe- if not, let me know so I can work it out 🙂 

Anyyywhoo- enough house keeping bizzness!

Soo full disclosure- I know about Chip and Joanna Gaines, but I really haven’t really watched their show (I think I have seen one episode?)… I know we need to change that– but regardless- this experience was AWESOME, even as someone who isn’t well-versed in Fixer Upper world. I so admire the empire they have built in Waco. Now, if you are like my Mom or my friend Rachel, and are obsessed, I hope you enjoy this post a little extra. 

My mom and I met up on April 5th in the parking lot of Magnolia Table restaurant to get some brunch. While driving into Waco, you are greeted my multiple billboards with quotes from Joanna or Chip- it’s adorable. (Of course, no pics- because safety first 😉 – but still wanted to share!). Waco is a perfect middle point between Austin and Fort Worth too – about 1.5 hours both ways, so it worked out perfectly for a spontaneous day trip for us.

I knew I would like this place from the sign alone!

They do take reservations, but they were pretty booked up, so we were happy to see they still took walk-ins. We met at around 10:30 am, had a 45 minute wait (we just chit-chatted it up in the car) and then were seated.

Before walking in, we were greeted by this gorgeous, almost Venetian-style exterior! 

Once seated we were able to absorb the cute details around the restaurant more closely.

We first ordered lattes. We held off grabbing Starbucks during our wait since we knew we would want to grab some coffee from their coffee bar in the restaurant!

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Annnd holyyy latte goodness- they were absolutely heavenly. I actually ended up ordering a second because it was so stinking delicious.

I had two main things I wanted to try on their menu: The biscuit with strawberry butter & their tater tots!

Nothing disappointed- DELISH. There is nothing these people don’t do to excellence, huh?

Quick pic outside after brunch.

Then we drove a little down the road to the Silos! Kinda hard to miss!

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My mom has been before, but I was wide-eyed trying to soak it all in. There is a large stretch of lawn with relaxing lounge chairs, and I think that is what surprised me the most- just how chill the whole vibe was. I think I expected it to be a hustle-bustle tourist feel, but it felt more like hanging out in a backyard.

First, we ventured into their Seed & Supply shop.

This little shop had so many cute little garden gadgets. Our favorite was a sprout pencil that you can actually plant!

On our way out, we noticed this green house too.

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After walking out and turning to our right (with the wide green space on our left) there was a long line of food trucks that would satisfy any craving! Most people were in line for the Sweet Iced Tea.

After passing the food trucks, we noticed a whole new part to the Silos that were not even built when my mom was last here a couple years ago! First, there is this super cute baseball field with an actual concession stands in the background. That is one thing- the attention to detail in this place is just incredible. We were saying you could go back several times and notice something different every time.

You can probably spot the church past the outfield. We walked over to check it out.

We found a sign explaining its history. I think it is so cool and special they preserved this.

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After, we walked over to their new shops that each had a “theme”. If you caught my last post- I am all about a theme!

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It had notebooks, paints, etc. I could have done some damage ($$) in there, but thankfully I had restraint this time. Next time- no promises.

Where to next?

Their home store, of course!! There are two “big” home stores on site- the first is more furniture and the second is more home decor/kitchen items/smaller home goods.

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On our way out of the two stores we grabbed Kettle Corn for my sis, Halston- she loves Kettle Corn & she was going to be in Fort Worth that week to visit my mom.

After finishing up our tour of the Silos, we had one final stop – The Bakery. We were not about to pass it up! We had about an hour wait, but it was so worth it. 

I took the pic below once I got home since I took the goodies home to share with DJ- we had a lemon cupcake, a cinnamon roll, a brownie cookie & a chocolate chip cookie. I use past tense emphatically because they did not last long. I think my favorite was the cinnamon roll & DJ’s was the brownie cookie- but they all were phenomenal!!

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Although at this point we were “coffeed out” <–(shhhh, I know I shouldn’t say that, but it’s true)… we still wanted to stop in their coffee shop to see what it was all about!

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The smell of roasting coffee made its way outside before you even stepped foot into the shop- mmmm. The shop is as cute as you’d expect, but my favorite part was seeing Baylor students working away on homework assignments here. Can you imagine, just having access to this awesome place to hangout and study whenever you want?! There are even little study lamps on the tables.

And that is Magnolia for ya!!! Like I mentioned earlier, I really do think you could come back here multiple times and notice something different. It is just too cool. Hope you all enjoyed this tour 🙂

Question for you:

  • Have you seen Fixer Upper?

Christmas 2019 *Rewind* 🎄

Hey heyyy! It is a sunny morning here in Austin. I am eager to get out and go for a run. Ohh, JK, I just checked the weather. 37F! We’ll wait a bit till we are at leaasttt in the high 40s, 50s, 60s.

So this post is a recap of our Christmas 2019. I never got around to it last year since I hit the ground running with clinicals in January. I said maybe I’d publish it for “Christmas in July”… welp, that didn’t happen either. I think it’s actually very special that I am just getting to write this post now. This year we are not going back to OH, so getting to relive last year’s festivities, prior to COVID being on our radar, is going to be bittersweet (with more sweet than bitter! <3).

Prior to going back to Ohio last year, DJ and I exchanged gifts. He gifted me this gorgeous Tim Cantor Collection Book. I was ecstatic. He knows Tim Cantor is my favorite artist, and there were many pieces in this book I had not seen yet! I have this book and Affinité on display on our coffee table. I actually just flipped through this yesterday in the morning with my coffee 🙂 

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On December 22nd, we arrived at the ATX airport. I grabbed an almond milk cafe au lait from Ruta Maya while we found our gate.

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I was still pretty full from breakfast, but to get something in our stomachs before flying, we stopped at Haymaker in the airport. I had a veggie salad and we split some poutine fries that were as good as they look!

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We met up with some friends at Burntwood Tavern that evening after landing and just chatted away for hours.

On December 23rd, I think spent most of the morning just hanging out with my MIL and Gordie while wrapping gifts. They are so awesome to let us ship all our gifts there every year.

Around 3 pm, I met up with Rachel to attend a Christmas production by one of the churches downtown. She heard about it from a friend at work, so we thought it would be great to check it out together and get dinner together after to catch up!

When we walked in, it was so cute with little cookie and coffee stands and a photo station.

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After the beautiful Christmas production, we went to Humble Restaurant in downtown Lakewood. it was a long wait, but we didn’t mind since it gave us more time to catch up!

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Also this place is so warm and inviting (I took this pic on our way out- when we got there is was jam-packed!). I had heard of the wine bottle Christmas trees- but I had never seen a chandelier before!

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You know any place with a wood-fired stove is gonna be tasty!

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We started with their roasted beets with saba, pistachias and ricotta. YUM.

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We also tried their roasted stuffed artichokes- oh my gooooodness. Delicious.

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We also split their caprese pizza which was divine. Everything we had there was phenomenal!

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On the morning of Christmas Eve, we woke up to this thick layer of fog to go with our coffee and breakfast. Easily one of my favorite parts of being home is just chatting together in the kitchen while enjoying our breakfast and coffee.

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Pool Noodle was feeling totally relaxed at home for Christmas too!

It was a wonderful Christmas Eve spent with family <3

On Christmas Day we awoke to have a wonderful breakfast and can you believe how stunning this tree is?!

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My Mom-in-law made an absolutely delicious quiche for breakfast. I don’t know if there is any better breakfast food for Christmas morning!

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We enjoyed another full day with great food and family <3

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And, of course, had to get more pics of the sweet Noodle.

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We had a spread of many delicious desserts- I had to try a little bit of everything. I mean how would you choose?! YUM!

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It was also a Christmas of playing code names!! This is probably our favorite game to play. Also, just to go on a little tangent here- I never really enjoyed card or board games growing up, but as an adult I love them. Is that odd? Anyone else experience that?

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We ended the evening with some spectacular ice wine! DJ saw me working on this post and went “that ice wine was SO good!”. We savored each single sip while sitting around a fire outside together. It was a perfect Christmas day!

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We didn’t get too many pics through the weekend, but we did get this one. We laugh at how far apart and from one another we are in it, but hey, it works for memory sake. Lol.

On December 26th, we had the evening planned with my side of the family. On our way to their home, we swung by one of our old stomping grounds with a covered bridge.

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At my cousin’s home, all my siblings and our niece and nephews gathered together to enjoy great conversation, great food, peppernuts (the traditional family Christmas cookie) and so much fun.

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We did a white elephant gift exchange among the adults, and someone was gifted the Beanboozled game. We played the game until every one had a spin, and the reactions were hilarious!

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More white elephant fun… hehe

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More family fun <3

On December 27th, in the afternoon I met up with my friend from childhood- Kylie! We met at the Nervous Dog Coffee Bar, and I ordered this delicious vegan cookie to go with some coffee.

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I probably have mentioned this before, but a little fun fact- Kylie and I have been “pen pals” ever since DJ and I moved out to CA. It’s so much fun to stay up-to-date through snail mail on each other’s lives. I am always on the lookout for a cute card when I’m out and about!

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After, DJ and I had dinner at Mustard Seed Cafe, one of my favorite restaurant in town (which is actually located within a grocery store).

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It was all super yummy!

Later that evening, DJ’s younger sister had a basketball game that we were so stoked we could attend. The game was great! She played amazingly, and it was really sweet to watch DJ beam with pride watching her. We are so thankful we had the chance to watch her play while in town.

On December 28th we went to see my mom, Pete, Halston and Kevin. After catching up for a few hours, we went to Austin’s Woodfire Grill in Brecksville where my Grandma Violet met with us.

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We had a feast of delicious eats!

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After, we went back to my parent’s friends’ home (they graciously offered to let us all stay there while they were away for Christmas). It was so cozy & we spent the night playing games and laughing. A lot.

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And then, sadly, we left to return to Austin the next day. we grabbed Sammy’s in the airport. I still remember how good that salmon salad was!

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It was a Christmas we will never forget. I am incredibly thankful for these memories with friends and family and celebrating the birth of Christ. It was so much fun to relive this post!

I hope you all have a very wonderful holiday season, even if it all looks a bit different this year!

I’d love to know:

  • What is one of your favorite Christmas/holiday traditions?

<3

Halston & Kevin’s Wedding!

Present Day: Hi all! How are you? I am popping in to toss up this post before heading to my on campus festivities. Festivities may be a bit of an euphemism–I am genuinely excited, just nervous ! I took my first exam of the semester yesterday- it went well so I feel immensely relieved about that. It helps to have at least one good grade under the belt. Every day has been sun-up to sun-down studying. We haven’t been out of the apartment in three weeks except for school (for DJ), studying in coffee shops here and there (for me), and Church. I let myself outside a few minutes a day (yes, like a dog 🤣) – I literally feel like a prisoner to these books- but it will be worth it! And this mini trip is probably going to be great for my mental health. Anyways- I am pulling out another post that I have archived. I’m only three months behind 🙈 Hope you enjoy! Back to the books for me..

Back when I originally wrote this:

It’s Wedding Time!!! This post is going to be a lot of blurry photos, but the best of memories. Since I wasn’t able to actually take a lot of pictures this weekend this is a conglomeration of captured moments from friends and family- so thank you to all who did take pics! When we get the professional photos, I’ll do a whole other post going into more details about the ceremony/decor etc. because my sister did a spectacular job–it’ll just be more fun to discuss with the pics too 🙂 On the morning of July 12th, Hal and I slept in and headed down to workout in the hotel gym around 10 am.

After getting some great runnin’ in, we went back to the room and enjoyed some breakfast snacks we had for all the bridesmaids. Then I met up with my older sister, Andrea, for some coffee at the Starbucks at Bayside across the street. It was a short span of time, but one of those special times I won’t forget. I value my time with my older sis so much. I’m very thankful for her <3

After getting ready for dinner in the afternoon, we all headed over to the actual rehearsal in a hotel banquet room. Even though the ceremony was taking place on a boat, we just made do in the hotel since we didn’t actually have access to the boat until the day of. After an easy peasy rehearsal, it was time for the the rehearsal dinner!

This was not your traditional rehearsal dinner… no, no.. this was an epic upon epic rehearsal dinner. It took place in the coolest Peruvian venue, called Candela Gastrobar.

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On various screens across the restaurant, there was a slideshow of pictures from Kevin and Halston’s childhood up to present day. Many of those pictures I had forgotten about or never even seen before- they pulled at all our heart strings! After a beautiful prayer we had an authentic Peruvian dinner. Everything was phenomenal- but that ceviche in particular- yum!

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Both families danced to all types of Latin music late into the evening…DJ and I practiced our salsa (I taught him what I had learned a bit from the day before). Although we did learn later that I, in fact, taught him all wrong- whoopsies! Good thing we had plenty of seasoned salsa dancers to help us out! Most of all, it was just amazing to have so many people we love in one place.

After the dinner, a big group of us went to the Bayside area to just hang out and listen to the live band. It was awesome to get to know some of Halston and Kevin’s friends a bit better. That’s something that’s so great about weddings- you get to know people you may not otherwise and meet these people that have been so formative in the couple’s lives. 282d159c-dfd2-40ae-8cc9-508c35c2a549

Even though this pic is blurry, I love the shot of these two! We had to separate them right before midnight to make sure they didn’t see each other the actual day of their wedding until the alter, of course! hehe. We’re not superstitious… just a little stitious.

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In the morning of July 13th (wedding day!!!) all the bridesmaids gathered in the conjoined rooms around 10:30 am. We had all the snacks set out and Halston had bridesmaids gifts for us all <3 So sweet! She gifted us beautiful robes, sunglasses, notes, and engraved champagne glasses. Truly above & beyond!

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Toasting to the bride <3

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Halston received a gorgeous bouquet from Kevin unexpectedly as we were getting ready. Such a sweet little surprise. Annnnd did you actually get married if you didn’t get a coffee from Starbucks that says “Bride” as your name? 🙂 One of the bridesmaids’s husband so kindly picked up this order for all of us!

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We all got our hair did and then our makeup done. I usually don’t prefer an “up do” but they were entirely necessary for the boat! After getting this particular up do though, I was allll about it! She did a wonderful job with it looking relaxed and not too tight. We also got our makeup done- which was a TREAT. I hardly recognized myself since I struggle to even put on mascara most days haha.

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We Ubered in different cars to get to the venue. But to get to the boat we had to walk across the main downtown pier. So… what did we do? We walked across the pier in our robes of course, lol! People were probably like “What’s happening?!”. We definitely got some confused looks our way. I forgot to get a picture of the back of my hair after it was done, but you can get an idea in this pic.

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Made it to the boat!!

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The bridesmaids all went to the hull of the boat to get ready. We changed into our dresses and then got all weepy as Hal showed off her stunning gown. I have chills just typing this thinking back to that moment.

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I mean holy cow… have you ever seen someone so gorgeous? I know I’m biased… but come n’!! How is this my little seeeester?

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I can’t express how happy I am her for her, or proud of her I am just for the woman she is. The love of a sister goes deeper than is possibly expressible.

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After pics and praying over Halston, we headed to the second floor to wait with the groomsmen to go up the stairs to the main deck where the actual wedding would take place. We won’t mention the fact that we realized last minute the rings and a groomsman were missing… but all that’s important is that they both appeared in time! LOL. Phew. What’s a wedding without a close call?!

Our beautiful Mom of the Bride & Pete <3

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And here are my niece and nephew walking down the aisle! <3 They melt my heart.

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Here she comes with our brother! Hal decided not do a first look, and Kevin’s reaction was priceless when he saw her.

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Y’all, it was the most beautiful wedding. I could hardly keep my cool through it- it was so personal and they really made an effort to glorify God through the entire ceremony. I think my favorite part (besides the actual vows) was the worship. They played a worship song and had everyone face a cross at the stern of the ship while we sang together.

After the wedding, during the cocktail hour, the bridal party went down to the beach for pictures! Here are a couple preview pics we received from the photographer.

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After the photography sesh, we did our entrance into the banquet room, gave our speeches, and then had an absolutely delicious dinner!! I had the salmon and salad- it was probably the best banquet salmon I’ve had. Everyone was raving about the food.

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And of course, I have to share this cake! 😍

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After dinner we went up to the deck where the ceremony was to dance the night away!!! It was an unforgettable experience- cruising along the Bay with music playing, the best energy and the warm, but perfectly breezy, Miami air. Time for the first dance- they had a medley of songs they danced to. Here is a snippet! Can they cut a rug, or what?!

And I was in absolute tears when she danced with our grandpa. Another favorite moment of the entire day.

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Once we re-docked we grabbed a few more pics.

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One of my best friends from childhood, Melissa, was able to make it too! I was so excited to see her, even briefly! ❤️

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One more pic of the view of the city from the dock.

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To both Kevin and Halston’s surprise, they had a Rolls Royce awaiting to take them away for their honeymoon! Talk about taking off in style!

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Ok ok ….One more picture with the South Beach Lady 🙂

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After the wedding we walked back through the main pier, this time actually dressed in societally acceptable clothing.

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We decided to go back to the hotel to get changed and then come back out since the night was still young! (Well, I guess not that young, but it was our last night in Miami so we had to soak it up). On our way, I spotted this popsicle spot called Wonderfruits Bubble Tea & Pop Shop.

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It caught my eye and it sounded so refreshing!!! I was craving something sugary, so DJ and I opted to try the Oreo flavor. Kinda goes against the “fruit” idea, but hey, it was perfect for what we were cravin’! I would like to try that Kiwi one if we ever return- mmm mmmm!

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Picture of the city down the street as we were walking back. Miami is such a vibrant city!

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Back to Bayside we go..

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We hung out in the same place as the night before, and it was such a perfect end to the trip. We found a quiet and peaceful little spot on the stairs near the water and the band and talked allll about how wonderful the wedding was.

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On July 14th we were up and at em’ to catch our flight back to TX. We said goodbye to our family and then grabbed a Lyft to the airport.

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When we made it through security, I scoped out a Starbucks and grabbed a pizza from Pizza Hut for us to share. I just picked the pepperoni off my slices to make it a plain cheese ‘za. In recent years I feel like I have rediscovered a fondness for simplicity with certain foods. I used to think “vanilla” or “plain cheese” was lame (for me personally)…. but sometimes just simple is best, especially when you have that craving! For example, the vanilla bean cheesecake from Cheesecake Factory is one of my favorites on their menu, and a plain cheese pizza can really just hit the spot (especially if ya add a little crumbled parm and crushed red pepper 😉 )<—- does that defeat the purpose of the simplicity? 😆

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Also, Jennie has blogged a couple times about her love of Pizza Hut’s pizza. I haven’t had it probably since I was nine or ten and grew up solely on DiGiorno & a local place called Georgio’s, so I was eager to try it again. It was so delicious. I know this probably isn’t revolutionary- but I was pretty wow-ed. I am all about trying the local gems, but when stuck in an airport with limited options it forced us to try it out, and it surpassed ALL expectations. This makes me question everything- what other food chains are all around me that would just blow my mind? Does truly no one out-pizza the hut? Gripping questions and the existential foodie crisis continues.

Question for you:

  • Are there any “plain” foods that you love?

xo <3

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The Local House & Hal’s Bachelorette Party!

My fingers are buzz, buzz, buzzing—I am soooo excited to write this post! Our weekend in Miami for Halston’s wedding was one of the best weekends of all time. I cannot stop thinking about it! After our morning workout, my mom, sister and I got ready for a girls’ day out!

First stop: The Local House in Miami for Brunch. If you follow my foodstagram, I’m sure you are sick of my endless posts of this place by now.. but alas I can’t help myself, this place is the ultimate brunch spot!

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From the palm tree print scaling the ceilings to the wooden tiki paneling, a tropical vibe was fully realized the moment we stepped through the entrance.

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Even though we sat outside I had to share the inside decor as well… holy maloly–😍

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Whenever the three of us go out to eat we usually order a few dishes and all share. We have similar taste buds & this way we can try more than one thing on the menu.

First up: We tried avocado toast with poached eggs and mixed greens.

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Second up: Fried eggs on avocado toast with mixed greens (We had to make sure we had enough avocado toast to go around, lol). That toast was ohhh so yummy.

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Third up: The Seafood Scramble with gulf shrimp, blue crab, lobster, fine herbs, tobiko, and grilled sourdough. It was packed with flavor. You could tell the seafood was fresh as could be. This is the dish to get- truly kriller 😉

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After our wonderful brunch together, we went to Starbucks to load up on more caffeine while getting our nails done!

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I rarely ever get my nails done … but it felt so nice to get pampered for a day! I went with a super neutral tone on my hands since my bridesmaid dress was a bright color & then tried to match my toes to my dress. I felt so empowered with my nails did- isn’t it funny how that small detail can make a difference?

While we were getting our nails done, I received a text from DJ that he had passed by his all time favorite podcast studio (The Dan Le Batard show on ESPN) and he saw the hosts doing a skit outside as he was listening to the podcast in real time. How stinkin’ cool is that?! Needless to say, that was an all-time moment for him on the trip.

We returned to the Air BnB (which was located inside a hotel), got all our suitcases together, and then headed to the second hotel for the weekend where the bridal party and all the guests were staying for the wedding.

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Time to set up for the Bachelorette party! I couldn’t go too crazy since I had to stuff everything into my suitcase, but it all came together. Since we had conjoined rooms for the bridesmaids I made Hal camp out in the other one until we were done setting up.

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When all the girls arrived I handed out a Bachelorette Bucket List for the evening. Below is a small snippet of the list, hehe, but there was quite a bit on it.

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**Kevin is Halston’s Fiance’s name to clarify for those wondering where that came from!

We then headed out to our first stop for the evening: The Broken Shaker. This place was such an awesome hidden gem. You would have no idea it existed from the street, but when you walk inside what appears to be a standard industrialized building, you enter into a true oasis.

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We had a reserved table– upon arriving we claimed our territory, put in our appetizer order and then strolled the property.

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The drinks were spectacular. The true definition of “refreshing” especially the mojito!

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Even the little tucked away areas were adorable.

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We also had to get tons of pictures with the bride to be before hand- this is a smallllll fraction, hehe.

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Once the appetizers came, we scurried back to our table, ready to chow! We had this lil’ friend waiting for us on the water jug.

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We enjoyed some plantain chips with a delicious aioli and artichoke fries with tzatziki sauce. All tasty & the perfect appetizers!

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During my Bachelorette prep, I looked up a ton of Bachelorette party games before hand, and none of them seemed like they would top What Do You Meme. So I brought this along, and we had so much fun playing it! I dare say it’s my favorite game- it always leaves us belly laughing.

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The “I Do” Crew + The Stunning Bride-to-be!!

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Alright… Dinner time!! For dinner we went to a place called Delores, But You Can Call Me Lolita (Yes, that is the actual full name of the restaurant- quite a mouth full, eh?) (quite literally 😜) . It’s a two story restaurant- we requested to sit on their rooftop that overlooks the city.

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I knew it was beautiful from pictures I had seen of it before hand, but wow- it was more stunning & adorably detail-oriented than I could have even imagined. It is elegant, yet relaxed and has a sophisticated feel without being stuffy. I could not have imagined a better spot for a Bachelorette party dinner! I highly recommend if you are looking for one in Miami.

Even their menu is fun to read and find all the little nuggets of creativity.

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We called this Halston’s Iron Throne. Well, actually, none of the other bridesmaids watched Game of Thrones, so I guess that’s a little inside joke with me, myself, and I. 😆

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The menu was affordable, yet contemporary and chic. It totally gave the feel of eating “fancy” without the price tag. (Which is super hard to find in Miami). I split a salad and the octopus with Halston which was all spectacular.

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After dinner we went back to the hotel room and all gathered around and opened Hal’s gifts 🙂

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On our way out to hit the town round #2, we saw my entire family in the lobby restaurant/bar! Hal got this sweet picture with our grandma and grandpa <3 It was my first time seeing them that weekend, as well as my first time seeing my Aunt and Uncle since they arrived. So fun to have a quick mini fam reunion! DJ hung with them the whole day, so it was great to get a quick hug from him and hear how much fun he was having. My grandma said DJ was her buddy for the day- so sweet.

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Time to get this Bachelorette dancing! Halston requested going to a place that had Salsa or Latina music; she loves Bachata too—  but the one main place we found that was playing it was soooo crowded. Apparently we found the best place in town, it was just not the best kept secret! It made it hard to even move. After deciding to maybe try somewhere else, we wondered around a little and then we found this super hole in the wall spot. Even though there was hardly anyone there we had a blast. The band even gave us instruments and we were given a little dance lesson 💃🏼 . Sometimes it’s the unplanned/spontaneous moments that end up being the best!

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Here is a couple of us attempting to learn to do this dance (but I have no idea which one- Salsa? Bachata?). I was failing miserably either way 🤣 but it was so much fun!

We went back to the hotel and played a few more games, enjoyed our snacks, and I handed out the gift to the Bucket List winner- Vanessa! (One of Halston’s best friends from Colombia!). It was an unforgettable day/ night celebrating Hal! 🥳 💕🎊

Questions for you:

  • Have you been to Miami?
  • Do you like to dance ?

xo <3

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First Days in Austin & Flying to Miami!

Hi everyone! Ok, now I am dipping into my back-logged post reserves. It’s 12 am, I’ve been studying since 7 am… and that’s pretty much how every day this week has gone, and I think this semester is going to go. It is a DOOZY. I do have my on campus intensives soon, so I’ll be traveling for those which I’m excited for – just a lot of prep until then. But, for now, I have a few posts on standby to share :). Hope you all are so well 💕❤️

So now our posts moving forward are all going to be from our time in Austin (well some Miami too). I am so stoked to recap the rest of the summer. It’s been probably the busiest few months I can remember, but all packed with fun (and only a couple moments of panic, hah).

Once we returned home from TJ’s, I whipped us up some Indian Food with their naan. I loveee TJ’s naan (both the fresh & the frozen). They have such a wide variety of options for vegan and vegetarians too (they have a Vegan Tikka Masala that is so yummy!).

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We spent the rest of the night unpacking and getting settled as much as we could.

The morning of July 4th I started the day with a slice of toast with yogurt, strawberries, salted cashews and a dash of stevia. I love the salty/sweet combo, especially with coffee.

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I spent the whole day studying. Kinda a bummer when it is a holiday — but gotta do what you gotta do, ya know? DJ was really understanding & he worked on getting organized/getting ready for his semester too.

In the evening we decided to go clear our heads and walk around outside. Basically upon stepping out our door we were in the audience of the Austin Symphony. Everyone was congregated to hear them play and witness the massive Fireworks display- there was an excitement and anticipation buzzing through the city, vendors lined the sidewalks and food trucks emanated smells of fair food that made us involuntarily salivate. The food truck scene is incredible here!

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We walked along a river and soaked up the views of the city. We even saw our first city rat that scurried past us on the trail. Eep!

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When walking back to find a place to stand and watch the fireworks, we were passing a set of porta potties, and I heard a mom tell her daughter in a scolding tone as they left one of them, “No more peeing till we get back to the hotel, that was traumatizing enough”. It cracked me up.

We found a spot on a bridge to watch and it was nice to turn off my tired brain for a couple moments and to share this moment with DJ. We haven’t had a Fourth of July together since we moved to California (ironically it was actually during our last move too!)- the last few summers he was at the baseball stadium for game nights and fireworks.

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On July 5th, we both went to a nearby Starbucks to crank out work all day. Since we didn’t have Wifi, we changed scenery between the lobby of our apartment and Starbucks. We had a gift card, so we figured we would use that up before venturing out to different local coffee shops.

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In the afternoon we made a Target Run to get a few things we needed like cleaning supplies, bowls to replace some we lost in the cooler, toilet paper, etc.

We found these bowls for .79 a piece & we love them!!! They are dishwasher and microwave safe too. Also, they are the perfect size. (My oatmeal doesn’t overflow, which is the ultimate test, amiright?!)

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For this meal I made a murasaki potato stuffed with roasted artichoke hearts, chik’n from Lightlife, and green goddess dressing from TJs.

July 6th was the same ol’ as the day before… but with one special highlight- we tried Cane’s for the first time! Now, this place is very hyped up. I don’t think I’ve ever heard anyone who doesn’t just rave about it. So naturally we had to try it out!

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We ordered a basic chicken tender basket with fries and their Texas Toast. DJ LOVED their chicken and we were both obsessed with their Texas Toast and fries… but maybe my favorite part… the sauce!!! That doggone Cane’s sauce- oh me, oh my.. so good!! Obviously, we get the hype (it 1000000% lives up to it) & we will be back. I have since found myself craving that Texas Toast & sauce combo– mmm mmmm!