Baustin Celebration!

Happpyyyy New Year’s Eve!! I have been sooo so stoked to write this post, and I’m hoping reading it will feel like we are ringing in the New Year with a celebration! Leaving off the weekend before starting our fall semester (late August), DJ requested we keep that last Saturday totally free. Fine with me! All I had on the agenda was an 18-mile training run. Little did I know all else he had planned. 

On that Friday, DJ recommended one last trip to Aussie’s, our new favorite spot in town. I was not about to turn down an opportunity for those shrimp tacos! When we arrived I had a moment of utter confusion when I spotted my mom, Pete and Halston sitting at one of the patio tables. I could not wrap my head around what was happening! I quickly learned they had all planned a “Baustin” weekend since I would not have the Boston experience we had planned prior to the marathon since it went virtual rather than in-person. I did not have any idea about all they had planned! They pulled off this surprise so well, and DJ helped coordinate it during a time he knew I wouldn’t be bogged down with school. *Please note, COVID precautions were taken*. 

We enjoyed some apps and meals at Aussie’s while I sat in shock, and then my mom handed me this itinerary for the weekend! 

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is Screen-Shot-2020-12-31-at-9.01.58-PM.png

After dinner, we went our separate ways but then met back up in the morning to let the festivities begin! We picked up some Summer Moon coffee to go, along with some light pastries to tide us over to lunch. I’m telling ya- if you have never had Summer Moon- prioritize trying it if you find yourself in Texas! The “moon milk” will change your life. I like the 1/4 sweet moon milk because I don’t like too much sweetness with my coffee, but you can adjust to your tasting! 

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is f5e8cf62-7d10-4692-8b40-1ec1ec3f42e4-930x1024.jpg

One place we have all wanted to go together since we moved to Austin is The Oasis located on Lake Travis. It is primarily known for its gorgeous views. 

We arrived around 11 am and made it before the lunch rush. Thankfully, there is plenty of outdoor patio seating and we were seated far away from anyone else. 

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is 864980e5-a5a4-4a05-a904-91ca892389bd-1-871x1024.jpg

They don’t have a reputation for having the greatest food around, but I thought was actually pretty dang good!!! 

After soaking up the views and fueling up for the day, we went to a place nearby to pick up a boat rental to take out on Lake Travis. It could not have been a more perfect day for boating.

We had the absolute best time. Those hours out on the lake were not only one of my favorite memories of the year, but of ever. Pete drove the boat and found the best spots to anchor down so we could swim. Swimming is one of my favorite things in the world, and we just swam and swam out there for hours. There is something about being in the water that it feels like the world stops for a second. 

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is 0fb71966-71eb-43e9-8cf9-4750a7adb3e1-1024x768.jpgAfter returning the rental, we returned home and got ready for the evening. My mom then planned a whole “expo”. And she went all out. She had an assortment of “samples” (typically my favorite part of expos, hah) including protein bars and gu, hair-ties, other goodies, a can of New England Clam Chowder (ha!), and a lot of personalized Boston memorabilia including a Nike Boston Tank and Boston bag. A family friend made the coasters, coffee mug and wine glass! There was also the book Run the Mile You’re In. I definitely teared up seeing all they had poured into making this special and all the thought that went into it <3 I still cannot believe it!!! Even now writing about this weekend as a whole is making me emotional! 

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is 17b6dea3-ddc0-4d12-8915-08e63e334351-1024x768.jpgThis image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is 31f2fc17-5f27-45e7-90e8-26f084ea64af-1024x1024.jpgThis image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is dc1945d8-ead1-4758-bd67-95004e55b8f1-1024x1024.jpgKevin, my brother-in-law, sent vegan muffins and cupcakes from Mr. Natural. They were phenomenal, best vegan baked goods out there. And I don’t think they tasted extra good just because I was hungry 24-7 with my training, hehe. 

Next, we headed down to South Congress Bridge to watch the famous 1.5 million bats fly out at sunset. Yup, you read that right! The first time I saw this daily bat exodus happen, I could hardly believe my eyes. There were so many bats flying out that in the distance they almost looked like a cloud or a massive swarm of mosquitoes. It. is. wild. According to the Bats in Austin website, “People are simply batty for Austin’s world-renowned Mexico free-tailed bats and their night flight of 60-plus miles per hour and 2-mile high flight patterns, and feeding frenzy of Austin insects”.

We grabbed a spot on the bridge that wasn’t crowded and hunkered down to watch the flight. You don’t know exactly when it will occur, so you want to be there a bit earlier than sunset to make sure you don’t miss it. Be prepared to wait 30 mins-an hour. It seems like a long wait, but it is worth it to see once! It’s funny because when we first moved here we had no idea about it and asked someone randomly while walking over the bridge “what is everyone waiting for?” LOL. Then we waited forever to see them, and now it seems when we are casually out on a walk or run we see it happen pretty often! One time we were actually under the bridge when they took off, and that was an adventure in itself, haha. 

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is b18eeef2-3ce1-4513-83e4-43c3c6ceab50-819x1024.jpgThis image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is 5511bf66-9d90-4f53-a01e-fbd61362584b-1024x768.jpg

I love this video because you can hear my mom’s natural reaction to the bats which mirrors just about anyone’s who sees this for the first time! 

It’s hard to capture the magnitude of the flight on video or in picture, especially because it’s hard to time up when they will make their first big exit from under the bridge. If you want an idea of the full experience follow this link and watch the video! 

After alll that swimming and bat watching, we were ready for some grub!! We headed to Geraldine’s to get our food on.  This is one of the most wonderful hidden gems in Austin in my opinion.

We entered to live music playing up on the stage of the spacious, industrial and beautiful venue.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is 037564ee-8a27-4929-be31-f1c61cf5ecd0-1024x811.jpg

The dining experience was one of the most memorable we have ever had in Austin. Every single menu item was extremely unique and delicious with a beautiful presentation! They are served tapas style, so we tried a little bit of every magnificent dish! Every bite was… WOW. 

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is 79224eb5-e984-44bf-80d3-1f25ad619e7f-1024x864.jpgThis image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is d39be4d0-e90a-4dc0-93be-e2ae1fcbc77b-1024x858.jpgThis image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is d02faa3b-b68b-47d0-a1fa-246e98115fe3-1024x975.jpgThis image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is 9fb2042d-c2ed-4532-96a6-027b0fb5f69a-1024x913.jpgThis image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is a04d2133-2964-48da-bdb6-8ed58bdeb3a1-1024x768.jpgThis image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is 963930ee-4805-490d-b143-42ece3f00427-1024x1024.jpgAfter our meal, we walked down Rainey street replete with food trucks, and Pete suggested we all try Little Lucy’s mini donuts. We all said we didn’t think we had room after our meal, but after one bite we absolutely found a second stomach! (lol, that kinda sounds like a dad joke, doesn’t it? Whoops)

I am soo stinkin’ grateful to my family for making this weekend so special. What was originally so devastating for me with Boston going virtual ended up being the most unforgettable, special memory. I joked with them that after all this, I better actually do well in the virtual Boston race! Pressure was on! Of course, I will recap the actual race next 🙂

I’d love to know:

  • What are you looking forward to in the New Year?

Walking around ATX & Tacos! 🌮

Good morning, everyone! Hope you all had a great weekend. This last week just flew by! Zooming right through 2020 (some would say quite literally), we find ourselves at the end of May. It was my sister, Halston’s, bday, so we decided to meet outdoors at Keller Park to celebrate her while keeping safe distance.

We played some cornhole (I am still terrible), exploding kittens (I hate the name, love the game) and just caught up! It was really special and easily one of my favorite days of the whole year.

We ordered some awesome eats from Devivo Brothers along with a yummy carrot cake. I know with carrot cake, you love it or you don’t, but our fam loves it. This one was good, but if you want the best carrot cake EVER it is from Gasoline Alley in Bath, Ohio.

Later on our drive back to Austin, DJ and I decided Sonic looked really good (as if we hadn’t had enough sugar already, ha!), so we veered off and grabbed a milkshake to split. It was a great choice (I cannot remember the last time I had Sonic!).

The next day I had to go get my car cleaned- it was just long overdue. During summers in Texas our cars can get dusty pretty quickly. Does anyone get slightly nervous in car washes? I am always irrationally worried my wheels aren’t aligned and that the spinner cleaner thing is just gonna just come through my windows or that my car will get crushed by it. Or maybe it is the claustrophobia of it all. IDK! Anyone else? Just me?

By the beginning of June we were in the thick of school, DJ’s internship, and for me, clinicals. I started out the first half of the summer at an Integrative health site! I learned quite a bit about diseases/illnesses I would not have elsewhere. Some of the complex diseases we managed were Lyme disease, PANDAS/PANS in kids, mold toxicity and chronic pain. I am grateful for the experience. I had a super long drive to get there, but it was a gorgeous route, and I looked forward to the drive each day.

Austin never ceases to amaze me with its beauty. I have said before, but this is the one thing I didn’t not know about Austin before moving here- just how stunning this city is! We have this huge green area pictured below smack dab in the middle of the city that people will exercise on, do work/homework or just hangout with friends. DJ and I have been meaning to do a picnic here. Hopefully we get around to that soon on a warmer day! (For reference, cold= anything under 70). We have grown WEAK!

Walks were our way of getting out of the house and clearing our heads over the summer. We took a lot. It’s funny because when you are so bogged down by school work/work you look forward to anything that isn’t studying- so for example, we would jokingly argue over who got to do the dishes, because doing the dishes meant time to listen to a podcast while doing some mindless task and not be studying for a moment, lol.

On June 4th, I wanted to show Deej this gorgeous bridge on Ladybird lake below at night I had discovered a few days prior. We had been on it many times during the day, but at night the way it’s illuminated with the city in the background is just magical. I remember on this walk we debated the existence of aliens. WoooOOOoOOoo.

When things started opening back up, we did some research into what would be a safe place to eat. We had been to El Alma’s before (after skydiving) and knew they had massive outdoor seating, so we decided to try it out. It was great, and we felt very safe. We were tucked far away from anyone else.

To replace exchange of menus, they used this QR code to access the menu. I think this would actually be a great replacement for material menus moving forward!

I still think they have my favorite queso around. It is so. good. 

DJ had their tacos, and I had their tostadas. Last time, I didn’t love the dish I ordered, but this time it was great!

We weren’t going to make going out to eat a habit, but it was sooooo nice to get out of the house for one night.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is d0dfa1ab-3fc2-4e03-b7d9-e035ad5575ba-1-939x1024.jpg

On another walk during June we noticed these turtles doing some morning yoga. I’ll tell ya what, the critters around here have such personality.

On June 13th we watched The Matrix. I had never seen it before, can you believe that?!

I love when I drive down South Congress at night and see the regal capital lit up.

So, part of the reason this passed summer was so stressful is because clinical sites were extremely hard to find given COVID. I felt majority of my time was just trying to figure out my fall rotations rather than focusing on my school work, which was incredibly frustrating. I was scheduled for my pediatrics rotation for the fall, which was already one of the more challenging sites to get in the program, throw in a pandemic- and woof! I actually heard about this idea on a podcast, so I stole it to confirm a placement: I bought a pack of little mini shoe keychains from Amazon, and in a folder included my resume, cover letter, preceptor benefits and this little shoe. I mailed it out to different sites, and I stated I was “trying to get my foot in the door”.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is 1d4e9acd-7a2d-4892-bace-f7b6ef1bf2aa-1024x719.jpg

It was so well received and the practices loved the idea, but none of them were taking students at the time (understandably so). I am SO thankful my school was able to help me find the site in Fort Worth.

More of Austin in all its glory!

One of the nights I made some chili to serve with Siete chips. We discovered the brand Siete after moving to Austin (they are an Austin based company), and all their products are delish!

Have a great week, and thanks for reading! 🙂

Question for you:

  • Feelings about carrot cake?

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is Blog-signature.png

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!

3c74f2de-a013-441b-b8de-6533fced3e1f

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

43e252d8-4a22-41ea-9174-8e8151b6a589

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.

b1593638-ae01-4fe6-8e00-38a4dd668f40

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

6afdeb87-4b9b-42cc-b7a2-0afe5b55405e

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.

fe01e47e-714e-47f7-b619-533bf2c08eed106491fc-0e83-41c0-8af5-07286c23b407be41fb81-36ad-415b-b426-c92bfe66b9b90a1d69b5-aacb-4f5a-a4e4-c61b515484bc

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

ca6f8dde-4361-4a0f-8b1c-0084d6876302

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.

52f85c1c-9a65-438c-8aa6-5a8cb57b4e96

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

0c266f0a-c7de-4019-b45a-80528ce62a3a

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

9d051109-8555-4f21-9ffc-3286737b21b3

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

e1582e8f-e282-43f1-aa53-82fda38b7e7f

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!

f34b92d3-688d-4c81-a70c-00f7b055c203

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.

af5c3bfe-fd29-4b79-8ab6-0b9d626381c7

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.

e85c7b10-e5f8-4178-ab91-649e687af96d

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.

1c5eb505-9091-432d-b977-233150ee8752

Below is the summary of my run.

a330b7f2-7029-4d48-bc74-8f968fe2123f

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?

 

signature-1

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.

81812280-4b93-45f6-bd8e-8c74b2093a08e4bf4a6b-0a02-44a7-b868-93c2fb3aecd5

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.

46f88852-7dd9-4ac0-83cc-279676a46dc8

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.

img_0178img_0183

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!

fdc23553-a97f-4223-a770-e3998f5e4685

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

36edc20d-1198-4a4e-8b8e-8fc3d9b6533b

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

b190dc3e-b2bd-455f-ac06-0e1c2e52a799

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!

9c02eaa7-72ba-4bbc-bbfd-c0caaad23ead

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) ☕️

16caf878-2140-40f8-a50a-feacd6aec1b9

Also, more turtle and sunset pics from that day 🙂

bfecefe0-9a36-4ebc-aaa3-35cdc4c935da1d1f5d89-f3b8-437e-9a0c-fe6fcaddb3ff

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.

3ac6d149-87e5-48a9-b599-ebb454caff88

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.

ccd14a08-d1b1-4bb1-8ba8-265fa6f031ae

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

44507e78-6f01-4e8a-aad6-6efc45271763d153ca03-acd4-4aa8-9b0b-68b7525572a9

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

85954459-fb47-44fe-a28b-cca30485448f

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

4e3182c1-446b-42af-8304-34211190ab22

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

04e810f1-6b59-4b0b-946f-eb56364e376a

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.

524690bd-cadb-435d-9fb0-c740a46eb9eb

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

bde03401-f874-48c6-8dc4-997f302f461d

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!

signature-1

La Volpe, The Meteor & Antonelli’s Famous Cheese Shop!

So, I’m breaking all the rules right now and sippin’ on a cup of joe past 4 pm. Why? Because it was Daylight Savings this week, which is easily one of the most aggressively exhausting days of the year. How does one hour trip ya up that much? Also, let’s talk about how it was also International Women’s Day on the shortest day of the year… what’s up with that?! (P.S. Shout oooout to every.single.woman out there!). Also… reason #2 for having coffee past 4 pm….. *DRUM ROLL*…. it’s our spriiiing break!

giphy

Somehow, someway we both have a somewhat less intense “spring break” that actually overlaps! With grad school, I’ve always used the “breaks” to get ahead or catch up on work, but this time around I actually can afford to take a couple days off?! What is that madness!  I do still have an assignment or two, but overall I can catch up on sleep and spend some time with my guy <3 I also scheduled in a few restaurant food shoots!

In addition to all the above, something I’m particularly excited to do these next couple of days is catch up on some bloggin’ :’) So without further adieu, I’m transporting us back a decade (and you thought those jokes were over, tehe).

On December 31, 2019, I made this naan panini with the garlic naan from Trader Joe’s for lunch! Highly recommend trying out paninis with it! Mmmmm mmmmm!

2f2be424-573f-4c11-98c1-3f03ad600c4c

That evening, to celebrate New Years Eve, we first went up to the rooftop bar of an apartment complex! These views!!!!

956d97f2-fbe8-40d8-8a8a-3a2495e5e22a

We had a dinner planned at an Italian spot on SoCo. Wellllll, I missed the part where it was only a special prixe fixe dinner for NYE (I thought they’d have the regular menu still). This restaurant is usually extremely reasonably priced, but this night it was about $100 a person.

I thought maybe I needed to go back to the eye doctor when I saw this! Upon this realization, we cancelled our reservation. I will say, they were incredibly gracious about the cancellation, especially with it being last minute.

So, we were standing on SoCo around about 9:00 pm with no dinner plans, extremely hungry (AKA Me: HANGRY, DJ: cool as a cucumber with no emotional reactions determined by his level of hunger, ever). We contemplated what to do- I had done a major grocery store trip that day, so I thought we could cook at home… but we were both so looking forward to a night out on the town together. I went to Open Table, and La Volpe located downtown was the first restaurant that popped up. It’s a newer restaurant in Austin, but had great ratings, so we took a chance on it. We hopped across the bridge and made it in at about 9:30 pm.

452dbbc6-3335-4d6e-b268-56b9672c03e5ff7fc7c1-c426-4c5d-868f-21a7144febdf-1

We stepped inside and were mesmerized by the decor. It’s kind of hard to pin exactly what this restaurant is like— it seems to be inspired by 20s old-fashioned-chic meets modern eclectic (does that make any sense?? Probably not).

a3789179-2c01-489d-b5a5-f17c0966652f109e0f1e-52a1-4f11-91e4-73b143631eec

We sat out on their patio and were surprised it wasn’t poppin’ more given the cozy ambiance.

579e99e5-e7b3-43b0-bf3c-52d8911022cfda0fc047-f3a9-430d-9be7-c42936a565275b46e7e5-2563-4689-9412-85f0f10e3de3-1

^And this is how not to use Portrait Mode, friends!

We ordered a few different dishes, most of which we shared. They had an array of chef selected menu items you could pick and choose from for the evening.

I was cravin’ something green to start, so I had their house mixed salad with their balsamic vinaigrette (I think?). Gee, good thing I took a picture of the menu to actually confirm what we ordered, hah- who put me in charge? Anywhooo, the leafy greens were pretty basic, as you can probably tell, but I did rave about the dressing. If they sold it in a bottle, I’d probably stock up on some!

3060607d-b68e-4629-bc49-f20d1268e681-1Next, we tried their squid ink pasta with I thiiiink grilled swordfish. It was yummy, but probably my least favorite of all the dishes, surprisingly!

bf7d4cfd-d933-40f4-af62-3b531d6aed62

The dish below was a mushroom risotto. YUM! So much flavor.

91d9ee21-18d4-4ed6-bc18-59ee188f3376

And lastly, our favorite dish, the blue crab gnocchi. Goodness gracious, I need to have this again!

c735a92c-532c-471b-98f1-f3f4b4abb522

They even brought out some complimentary champagne. It was a beautiful dinner and we were both pretty happy the original plan fell through. This is definitely a new favorite spot in town of ours. It’ll be a local favorite in no time too, I have no doubt.

We officially rang in the New Year at home, asleep, per usual 😆

January 1st was a day of cleaning/getting everything in order for the year ahead! January 2nd I went to get my car taken in for maintenance, and while I waited I walked over to The Meteor Cafe on South Congress.

2f05ff9d-9a4e-42a3-af3a-e837f0cb6564

I’ve passed by this place countless times, but this was my first time popping in.

It was a great, relaxed vibe- they even had a little shop fully equipped with biking gear.

5bdea3a1-b1ba-479b-8d19-52240e214e54

The food on display was catching my eye! Next time I’m gonna try one of their flatbread slices.

img_8505

I wasn’t initially planning on ordering any food, but when I saw the lemon curd kouign-amann I couldn’t resist!

img_8509

I also ordered a cafe au lait with almond milk. The combo…. can’t dream of anything better.

2d95625b-2154-4d95-ae8d-ddddf146b4c1

The Kouignn Amann was yummy and perfectly flaky. But. Still not on B. Patisserie’s level in SF 😉

fdb47fae-cff0-4819-80f5-2cf49fe6e1a8

On January 3rd I worked on getting ready for the next semester. When going for a walk I realized they painted the bread blue! Do y’all remember from this post?

9c8c0a45-5b9c-4c43-a47a-e7a55063235e

January 4th was a real treat! DJ and I went to Antonelli’s, a local cheese shop, for their “date night” cheesy experience.

Soo… this is not just any cheese shop. This is THE cheese shop. It has been voted as one of the top cheese shops in America.

1fe88d4c-0806-45ec-b609-e8bdaad5dad6

As soon as I saw these signs I knew I would love this place <3

88f0256c-a1e8-4946-a763-aec15b5f95a4

They also had some very education artwork as well!

019be059-c404-478d-8371-ac382103d75127362f61-5eee-4924-9709-182c06345837

Below on the right is the menu for our date night. If you decide to order any of the cheeses you try you just circle the form to the left.

1363fbd3-3af3-45a1-91b0-1a2dbdc24594

Wow oh wow. Some of the best darn cheese of all time. It was the kind of thing where you just wanted to savor each and every bite. They also had pass around marinated olives and bread. Gotta have the fixin’s! I think my favorite of the cheeses was their blue cheese (Roquefort), but it was all tasty.

e850b2e9-f515-4d5b-8aea-155c8bfad1b4

They even brought out a little array of desserts- some gingerbread (my favorite), dried apricots, caramels and sea salt dark chocolate (yum!).

6696cb83-298f-46a1-bb4e-6c78dcb5dece

Questions for you:

  • What’s your favorite kind of cheese?

xo <3

signature-1

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!

1c385ae5-9195-4cf6-b27d-69b109a632b9cac23789-4e93-41e9-9c13-1b45421124ae53d3abcb-3b10-4d42-a663-d53c6c55f8b31fe4e928-0f00-47f0-9cfa-27da538ed78afe6c0fa6-97d2-405b-94e1-fe8ad1d8c53bI have been shocked by the diverse wildlife in Austin. I didn’t realize so many animals (and reptiles) could reside right in the middle of a big city, but due to the lake and climate it’s suitable to lotsa living creatures. I’ve seen parakeets, swans, cranes, snakes (one I almost stepped on-eeeep!)… the list goes on.

76a8d202-980a-4044-815f-b16a6024fe09

Oh, speaking of which, here are the swans…

8188d361-e936-459f-8291-c97967b04ec9

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.

661927f7-3d22-4d8c-966d-9b56de4c749e

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.

46641205-6e97-4ade-b282-b2c7058a8e0774ffab39-42f5-4e1f-9977-0ded48d5233d730387ff-7867-40e2-9676-a66d436b50b5f64ebc54-05f5-4e68-81b1-6e34eeea1efd

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 💓

c3650465-613b-4751-8d8d-1c96895fa3dd14450945-0ae0-4d60-bd8b-e9eca95a2bd5

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.

b76ac6e8-5f98-41da-b885-f84ae6c83e30

It was a stunning morning.

77bdb0da-a5db-451f-9178-21b3d440c260

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!).

808d5d14-2523-41c8-9c9b-8ccb03fedd2932b1af11-badf-43c6-845e-298bac72c70872b2db29-be0e-4492-a416-783126b1b2b6776465f8-38e9-416f-9a38-743b16002c03

The interior was just spectacular.

19e1264e-bbd5-4288-a0db-b0cb947c048f

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.

da7cf940-3970-4282-bc65-408300880b12

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

83e645ce-6b74-4ddd-8aa1-b7f131003b0c

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

4ce7eced-048d-481d-a9f1-95c066bb25e1

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 😊

864d5216-82df-4b21-baa0-8e16d65b33e6

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.

d3089b3e-65c6-40a4-bf1f-b5817b75991ab1a994ee-b18c-4151-82bc-f5b7caec5488

The boutiquey decor was adorable too.

e15255f4-9cad-4da4-ad3d-576ebd346a246b7d286c-ec46-4ca8-9992-027b7655258a

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

signature-1

Second Bar and Kitchen & Second On-Campus!

Hey all!! I am just spammin’ ya with these posts. I start classes next week, so I’m trying to get them out while I have the time. Then, hopefully I can just keep recent updates released during the semester. DJ and I have a date night tonight- we are going to sample a whole buncha cheese at a famous cheese shop in town. We were considering cancelling because we both have a ton we could be doing before the start of the semester (they gave us our reading for the first module early- WHY (?!). I would rather them not have done so because now I feel like I have to do it early. Even though I know they are just trying to help us out, I feel the pressure already! Maybe I’ll just read a chapter or two and call it a weekend. Okay, now I’m just externally processing.) ANYWAY, as I said we were going to cancel, but, we are held accountable by our commitment to spend that intentional time together, so no cancelling for us! I’m sure I’ll be documenting it on @mackncheeeesy if you would like follow along. The new Smalls will have to wait (and yes, there is a Smalls 2.0 this semester).

So.

*Rewind sound* Going alll the way back to…

November 15th. This day I enjoyed savory oatmeal inspired by Kori with cottage cheese, a fried egg and everything but the bagel seasoning from TJ’s. I usually associate oatmeal with sweet due to the traditional combo of brown sugar and cream, but me oh my- this is incredible! I took one bite and announced out loud to myself, “This is soo good!”. Just writing this now, I can’t wait to have it again for breakfast tomorrow. #Teamsavoryoats

74fbe0b8-7ad3-41c3-b90b-c70e5ef82c89

That evening I was running and studying in the workout room and caught a glimpse of this sunset. I had to sneak outside to get a full view and picture. The picture cannot do justice, but I love the way the lifesaver was reflecting into the pool.

9a4c81f5-a477-4ec2-8126-bf4c129fc988

November 16th we were craving some cookies. We usually go for Tollhouse, but the HEB we were at didn’t carry them, so we tried out the Pillsbury instead. DJ says he liked Pillsbury better, but I think Tollhouse still takes the cake, er, cookie! We did a poll on my IG, and Tollhouse won… jus’ sayin’ 😉

a2f7b114-1f16-449d-80fc-0b53110d1650

On November 17th we went out for our first brunch ever in Austin. We’ve passed this place several times, and it was recommended to us from family, so we had to give it a go. (P.S. there is actually a location in the airport, so if you are ever passing through keep an eye out).

9dd58833-8201-4a53-94b0-294ad8b4de26

The decor on the inside was neat, modern yet still warm. I find that’s a hard line for restaurants to navigate. Sometimes the modern look can be kinda cold and sterile. Even though we loved the interior, it was a nice and mild morning so we decided to sit outside.

6a9e1c10-fd1b-4b31-9145-03ae5cd2e9ac

I thought it would be busy at 11 am, but it was a ghost town! I did not mind one bit because them I can be less sheepish about getting my pics, lol.

0815c83a-1d0e-40fb-8dc4-0255c092ecbd

Coffee first, always. I don’t usually add cream to my coffee at home, but for some reason whenever we’re out to brunch it sounds yummy.

c4c727b8-0a6a-46a2-bd78-7e1d5b651f81bcf3e0fc-24e0-4a57-a0f1-3c55d50d840e

The one item we had to try was their Autumn bread pudding french toast with apple curd, spiced pears, sage and whipped cream. We shared an order of it, and it blew away expectations- the flavor of this was absolutely tremendous. I think this surpassed the “best french toast” I’ve ever had from Nopa-— but it’s still a really close call.

6de42692-c68d-42d9-af45-63e88f1cc1c6d61cff3e-af4b-42bf-9fdd-2dc7ede1c19203e0f749-3d97-43b0-bef5-2827f2193525

I also ordered the SBK benedict with poached eggs, hashbrown cakes, tomato, kale and brie cheese mornay. It was also just packed with flavor. I feel like you can’t go wrong here.

cd123f68-76ad-4e81-98a0-25a9301cb887

And DJ’s choice was their pork belly benedict with poached eggs, pork fat biscuit, jalapeño hollandaise and charred frisee. He said the flavor was great, but there was a bit too much sauce for his liking.

e8722fea-932f-41ff-9934-a44cced254394ce424a0-99bb-48b5-9ef7-33a37b841dff

We’ll definitely be back! They have a stellar looking dinner menu that has a truffle & blue cheese pizza I’m itchin’ to try!

On November 18th I chatted with a friend back from OH while doing my loop.

a3ad1469-5a35-45ca-92b4-e4ba64c8317cb341f7c7-072a-45dd-93de-2eb3dd4449494964a4ef-9614-45b9-9f06-63fcc1bb0e00

And November 19th was another walk in the afternoon. I’m telling ya- these walks are just the highlight of my day during the thick of studying. They really give my brain a nice break.

af640348-f604-4084-8922-99cc16ec7e6e

November 20th I arrived at the airport nice and early to head to my next on campus intensive. If you want to see how the first one went head here! I grabbed a calming cafe au lait from Ruta Maya. I’ve found the baristas there always do a lovely job steaming the almond milk, which is more difficult than other types of milk.

bbcf3dc3-4c49-4674-a88e-69483b9d5987

When I arrived, I was excited to return to the same no-fuss hotel I stayed in last time. I walked around the campus to calm my nerves. I had my major testing that weekend so the nerves were heightened even more than the last time.

d51a2b7b-a0b2-4f3e-a1e3-725eb0c4f3c21df1b49d-c45d-49cb-b503-fb12aba0d3e0

I decided to Postmates food since it was getting quite dark out and walking in the area alone may not have been the wisest choice. I found a restaurant called Mellow Mushroom that looked absolutely delicious! They are known for their pizzas, but their vegan options particularly caught my eye. I decided to order a whole bunch of food so I would have leftovers throughout the weekend.

2ab0f496-6b3f-4a4e-ad09-44c24ac95a19

I enjoyed their warm, pillowy pita with homemade hummus, a garden salad with feta, a spinach salad with mushrooms and red peppers, tofu with BBQ and tempeh with pesto. All tasty- although the tofu with BBQ was a bit lackluster comparatively.

77adaaad-cc6d-4500-8f56-2dd347f0e08a

I was up bright and early on November 21st, ate the complimentary breakfast offered with the hotel and headed to our lectures and learning opportunities for the day. We also had some time to practice our head to toes.

In the evening I took a little jog outside and then called it an early night since the next morning was my testing.

78ea8528-c649-4c17-83b5-1ce18c7bbda0

November 22nd was the big day. For the head-to-toe you get an “actor” patient. We all lined up outside the patient rooms, exchanged nervous glances, and when they said to, we all knocked and entered to greet our patients at the same time. We joked that it felt like the Hunger Games the way we were all lined up, haha. Then in the room there is a camera and a clinical instructor is watching you on camera across the hall. It was the most intimidating thing I have ever done in my academic career (next to the panel interview for the residency). It went really well though- I can’t express the relief I felt when that was over. It was a moment of “finally all this hard work is paying off!”.

58a30975-de5c-4624-96c4-8af1dccf7d2d

To celebrate all of us passing our head-to-toes, we went out in the evening to Bull City Burger and Brewery in downtown Durham.

10b0795f-edf7-4f11-822f-e8447e356330

I cracked up when I saw this “Carnverted Vegetarians” on the wall, hah. I wonder if it’s accurate.

5220f31a-ce23-4379-86c5-ed850e5210c0

So thankful for these ladies <3

facetune_20-12-2019-11-28-17-1

I ordered their Joan Jet Veggie Burger with three beans, goat cheese, aioli sauce, and lettuce. I also ordered a sweet potato on the side.

99e4dddd-5277-4074-9f91-6e6aa731fbeb

After dinner we explored the city a bit. Durham gets a bad rep, but we enjoyed our time there and were pleasantly surprised by the downtown area.

5789e153-8404-4219-86e5-a43fb8cb2c73

We also went back on campus to a spot that was supposed to have Karaoke, but it ended up getting delayed due to the basketball game. Once the game wrapped up, we found out it was Bollywood Karaoke night. We enjoyed a few performances, but figured we probably would do a less than stellar job if we attempted ourselves!

640c610e-72d8-45ea-ac21-2844e0688c98

On our way back to the hotel we passed this gorgeous view of the chapel all lit up.

2f41a081-fadd-4d90-9e2f-cfe7d8c6b5be

After some morning sessions on  I went to the cafeteria through the rain to grab some lunch.

28d9ec33-d8a1-4eaf-ac38-269b0d0e50d5

That ended the second on campus intensive! I had to leave around 4 am the next day for my flight, so after the afternoon session I just went back to the hotel, took a hot shower to warm up from the chilling rain and then went to bed early. I tried to watch The Crown, but I fell asleep before getting through the first episode. Has anyone watched- is it worth getting into?

Questions for you:

  • Do you enjoy Karaoke? If so- do you have a go-to Karaoke song?

xo <3

signature-1

Corner Restaurant & Flying Bread?!

**Testing one…two…three, Testing…**

Let’s hope I remember how to do this!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

img_3924

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

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

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

It was some strong coffee, but also very delicious!

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

67ee59fc-a3e6-4925-aa5c-99826551eaf9

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

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

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

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

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

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

02635221-2233-4e79-b71b-5cbdfaea2954

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

a4f7030b-8492-4cb9-a36f-806eaedfb1af

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

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

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

7bb2b139-b91a-4efa-be8b-d83589bbfaff

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

f809192c-8fdd-4670-b539-6e9117e0637b

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

c51882f1-b49d-43bd-b7e6-a203bab8405f

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

Questions for you:

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

xo <3

signature-1

Our Four Year Anniversary Celebration & Homemade Indian!

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

img_5441

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

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

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

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

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

504c6236-0366-4768-9576-43fdca9a4c30

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

70c67dc5-c751-4873-86da-c855ce426815

Below is the Dominos.

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

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

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

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

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

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

& I made sure to say hi to Charlotte.

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

I even saw these cuties by the water.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

ae939883-3a43-4e6c-a03f-a22a2b2196e5

Questions for you:

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

xo <3

submark signature

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!).

96536844-89d2-49d9-94e3-eea5265c25f1

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.

d01e649b-c1c1-40fc-9fcb-49b8b2f5f9a6

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!

8e6d6225-f0d7-42b5-922f-69148eddfed5

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!

62a09051-32ff-4388-9b1b-fc1b64a560b9

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.

200f1e13-2512-440c-9261-958e10283b416c5eeac4-0a2c-4082-82a4-e4f49fc5cfbb

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.

81ea0632-1d4d-4786-b908-1dedacc35035

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?!)

f956ed18-6f46-428d-9792-83ad041e0e7e

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!

4e44bf99-5f96-4b42-b6a0-4b7b79ac6a76

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!

abd05bff-d017-4228-9318-92ee5b47bab6

We took another evening walk that night.

97e186c0-015b-4b6c-8aa0-42a570b500b7

c241413f-4d03-4421-ab25-cef353d8b411

July 7th was the same ol’ too.

July 8th…nothing new- just study, study, study. I did have a pretty serious moment of panic this day though. I had to take my exam for class on the morning of the 10th before flying out for my sisters wedding that afternoon. Originally, the cable guys were supposed to come on the 8th to set up the Wifi, but then something came up and it looked like they wouldn’t be able to come until after we returned home. I needed that secure Wifi for my exam (public access Wifi can knock you off easily, plus it’s hard to focus in public). We worked it out that if they had a cancellation they would come on the 9th. I prayed hard there would be a cancellation, and luckily there was! I was so thankful…it all worked out as it always does!

Anyways- random non-segued transition- at TJ’s I saw this Fresh Texas Homegrown Okra I could not pass up. I don’t know what it was about this Okra, but gosh it was sooo tasty.

55862cf8-daa1-4710-81ab-c2a25355b135

For dinner one night I made us okra, eggs, and brown rice. Kinda an odd combo, but it worked!

e5e360f6-4c98-4694-914c-f0bb996999be

July 9th we started the day with some PB toast with honey and eggs. The movers came that morning too!

eee61cb0-7604-4b35-8e3e-146cef4bdc8e

Since I needed to crack down in the books, I headed to Starbucks while DJ helped get the movers going. Time to put in one last massive day of studying!

f4cd1c5c-62e5-4619-8a48-d4f1d07a6932

Before heading home for the afternoon I grabbed DJ a protein chicken wrap from Starbucks.

2eab30f7-49f3-4d38-99cb-7182553948a3

The rest of the evening was spent packing for Miami and unpacking a couple boxes here and there. In the morning of July 10th, first thing I did was take my exam. After an hour and a half I submitted the exam, and was thrilled to see my grade (we get them automatically because it’s electronically graded).

It set the day and trip off on a great note 🙂 It was such a relief to have that behind me! We finished getting our suitcases together and then left our scattered boxes to go to the airport.

Austin’s airport is awesome! It emulates the hip/happenin’ chill vibe of the actual city itself.

511f17d9-6210-4b02-ac7e-b30171decf8c

I sniffed out some coffee from Ruta Maya and then sat down to start my next unit. Usually I give myself the rest of the day off from studying after an exam, but since we had my sister’s wedding festivities the entire weekend I couldn’t afford to take our travel day off too. Worth it though! Anticipating all the fun that was coming helped keep me motivated.

d111378c-c824-4f5a-ba4f-76b1194ce3ab

Plane time!

59847503-4adc-474b-90f6-53b55c466d58

We arrived in Miami in the evening. We made a trip to the grocery store with my mom to get some snacks for the Bachelorette party the following day. Something that we were fascinated by was the way you get your groceries down… they have a system where you put your cart on an escalator and then just meet it at the bottom! Too funny.

 

 

When we got made it back to the Air Bnb we were staying at, DJ ordered a burger from Five Guys. He ordered a double, not realizing their standard burger is already a double so ended up with three patties. Lol. Safe to say he got his protein intake met for the day.

ba6461ef-1158-4a9d-9923-2f9e5b5139c6

I worked that evening on getting everything ready as much as I could for the Bachelorette party and then hit the hay.

In the morning, my mom, sister and I all worked out at the AirBnb together. Workouts are all the more fun with them by my side!

0d3c3fec-4dd0-4b26-9d41-3fc4e138950a

Ahh- I’m so excited for the next post where I’ll recap the first half of Miami. Thanks for reading 🙂

Questions for you:

  • Do you like Raising Cane’s?
  • Do you have a favorite fast food “sauce”?

xo <3

submark signature