Gusto, Barrett’s & Austin Art!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Below is the summary of my run.

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

Question for you:

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

 

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Via 313, SoCo Cafe & Nature!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Also, more turtle and sunset pics from that day 🙂

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Question for you:

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

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Austin Beauty, Wildlife & Eats!

Hey all! Only a few posts until I’m all caught up! Maybe I’ll get the Christmas posts up in time for Christmas in July, haha. Okay getting straight into it- in between indulging in leftovers  and studying over the weekend, I took advantage of nice long walk out on the lake on December 4th. I was greeted by an array of wildlife!

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Oh, speaking of which, here are the swans…

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This was finals week, and my motivation was at an allll time low. It took everything in me to focus, and I think I was just entirely emotionally depleted by the time the final exam rolled around. I sent this meme to DJ during one point in the week which about summed it up.

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December 12th I took my final-final exam! I actually felt like I could physically breathe again when it was over. I have never been more proud of myself or my classmates for making it through a semester. We really did rely on one another to survive, and I think  that was the worst semester of the program (oh please, Dear Jesus, I pray).

December 13th Once DJ finished his last final, he came back, napped for several hours while I blogged and then we went on a walk outside together.

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It was the most beautiful evening we’ve seen thus far. I was happy we could experience this together. Definitely kicked off the break on a high note 💓

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On Saturday December 14th we had friends in town. We headed into town to go to brunch with them. It never gets old how convenient everything is within walking distance.

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It was a stunning morning.

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We met at the historic Driskill Hotel that has a restaurant right inside called 1886 Cafe and Bakery. We appreciated the historic car parked out front (That still has to apply for legal registration according to the sticker on the windshield!).

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The interior was just spectacular.

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I ordered their lady bird omelet with egg whites, spinach, peppers, tomato, onions, goat cheese, country potatoes and breakfast toast. Oh my, was this good! My favorite omelette ever is from Bill’s… but this is taking a very close second.

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DJ ordered their Hot-Fried chicken with serrano-buttermilk marinade, two eggs sunny-side up, housemade biscuit, and sausage gravy. He raved about it!

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We also took note of their gorgeous lobby before heading out.

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We dropped our friends off at the airport and were home by 2 pm. It was a wonderful morning.

After an awesome church service on December 15th, we had coffee with some new friends, Alana and her husband, Kyle. Alana is one of those rare friends where we just clicked instantly. She also blogs so I will link her blog here! Y’all will love it and her- she is one of the most genuine people I have ever met, and I can’t wait to hangout again 😊

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Anyway, we went to Brentwood Social House. This is one of the coolest little coffee shops I’ve ever been in, and I’ll definitely return to do some studying next semester. Immediately when we walked in we were hit with the aroma of roasting coffee beans and baking pastries.

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The boutiquey decor was adorable too.

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We enjoyed some great conversation over coffee and treats then headed home to get ready for a food shoot in the afternoon (where I go to a restaurant and take pics to promote them on social media). That’ll take a post of its own! Thanks for reading!!

Questions for you: 

  • Anyone still have their Christmas tree up?
  • What’s something you are looking forward to this week?

xo <3

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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These views did not disappoint!

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Austin never ceases to amaze me with its unexpected beauty!

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

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We zipped over to Alamo Drafthouse Cinema on South Lamar.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Question for you:

  • Do you like breadcrumbs on your mac and cheese?

xo <3

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