Wrapping up last fall!

Hey all! How are youuu?! It’s a beautiful day here in Austin- quite the contrast from the snowpocolypse just a month ago.

I sit here with one month left in my masters program. How wild is that? I think I mentioned in my last post I am doing a specialty certificate over the summer in endocrinology- so I have a clinical rotation with that… but as long as I pass my boards in a couple months I will officially be a family nurse practitioner 🙂 

I needed a little break from the books today, so I decided to hop on here. I have had this post sitting in drafts for about a month, so figured about time to publish it. It’s the second part to our Fall of last year. Hope you enjoy! 

Continuing from last post.. 

On most Saturdays while I was staying there for my clinical rotation, my mom would whip up either protein pancakes or protein waffles, and gosh they were good! Such a treat to start off the weekend.

We also spent some time chatting away out on their serene patio on weekends with the outdoor heater and candle votives. It was nice to sit in total quietness too. When living in the city, you get so used to the white noise of cars driving by, doors slamming, planes overhead, etc… so just being able to sit in the quiet evenings with only crickets out was really refreshing. 

By the end of my time there, I had established a go-to five mile running/walking trail. I would often mindlessly put on my running shoes and clear my head out there after long clinical days. 

The weekend of October 23rd, my mom and Pete had to go out of town, but DJ was able to make it out for the weekend that Saturday! I was so ecstatic we could spend time together. That evening we shared a margherita pizza, some wine and watched Married at First Sight. I corrupt him with my horrible reality TV shows, but I’m really not sorry for it.

October 24th we spent the day working on our respective assignments, went for a walk together in the afternoon, then in the evening went to downtown Roanoke for dinner. DJ ordered one of their burgers, and I thought the little stamped logo was a cool touch!

I ordered their salmon, are you surprised? Hah- it was tasty tasty. We also split their hummus & pita which was pretttty spectacular.

We chose this spot since it was an outdoor venue & it was a nice brisk evening! About an hour after arriving, some live music started. They played all 80s classics. We enjoyed it for a while, but when it started getting a little crowded, we bounced.

We did make a pit stop on our way home to our favorite custard spot- Andy’s!!

At the end of the rotation, I got together the final docs for clinical. I was SO sad to leave this clinical- My preceptor and the whole staff was just awesome, and I loved spending time learning in that clinic.

The day before I left, I had one last wonderful run in Keller for this stay. We also ordered from FnG for dinner- you guys, such a hidden gem in TX! A MUST if you are ever in Keller.

The morning before heading back to Austin, I packed up my bags, had some Kashi cereal and, of course, said a (midwest) goodbye to my mom. (Pete had left earlier that morning). 

Ooh! And she sent me home with some yummy candy corn cocoa. She knows me well. I know candy corn gets a bad rap, but I am always going to defend it!

Deej and I were on a walk around Ladybird Lake that week when we spotted these birds. I am pretty sure they are cormorants, which struck me as quite ironic considering I had just finished up The Guest List, which mentioned them– Or perhaps this was just a case of the Baader-Meinhof phenomenon!

I was craving a burger and shake that weekend. So, naturally, we ordered Hopdoddy’s with one of the best vegan burgers in town and a shake. I say *one* of the best… because we discovered an even better one a couple months later. Stay tuned. Oh, the suspense!

I also arrived home to this box from the Boston Athletic Association!

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is 9f138f72-064f-4226-a2a0-6255fcf3f361-1024x842.jpg

Even better though…later that day my brother sent me this sweet picture of our nephew with the blanket we sent him <3 I am obsessed. Counting down the days until we can meet him.

More colorful Austin in the fall!

I was feelin’ extra anxious around this time (combo of school, the world, etc.), and I remember there was one day that was particularly beautiful lending a sense of calm. I texted Tammy, one of my friends from the Bay Area with the video below, and said it felt like a “Bay Day”.  Gosh, I really miss California sometimes. I love love Austin, but sometimes it feels like I left part of my heart in those mountains and that chaotically beautiful city. I also know, when we leave Austin, I’ll say I left a part of me at Lady Bird Lake and in this dazzlingly, eclectically vibrant city. We really are going to try to make the most of our time here before we move. Sorry to be so sappy (I can’t help it) & when big life transitions are about to happen I get super reflective and in all the feeeels.

November 6th, DJ and I ordered takeout from Grizzelda’s!

This food. I don’t have the worddds. Probably my favorite Tex Mex we’ve had yet. 

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is 6b2000be-4d3c-4ae8-910e-ecb449b01254-819x1024.jpg

It was all just too darn good. And the margarita’s we ordered were really fun! 

More Austin in the fall..

All through November I worked on the rest of my peds/perinatal courses and began studying for boards. Ohh. And get this. I went 11 days without coffee. Yes, 11! I stopped cold turkey because I was at about 4 cups a day which was about on par with my undergrad days & I needed to stop the madness. So I replaced my coffee with about 2 cups of matcha and honey per day. It was a tealightful alternative. The first day was awful though- seriously one of the worst days of my life, not even being dramatic this time. I had a horrendous headache and a feeling of serious impending doom. It resolved the next day though, thankfully. 

As much as I loved the matcha, it was kindaaa the sleepiest, most unproductive 11 days ever, so I added back in my one cup of coffee a day which made all the difference. I don’t think I was ever more productive than that 12th day with that single cup of jo’. I planned on sticking to one cup of coffee and one cup of matcha indefinitely….. but fast forward to present day and I’m at about 3 cups a day of coffee again. Whoops! I’m going to try to cut back again this month, but no promises. 

November 25th, I tried my hand at homemade cranberry sauce for the first time. It actually turned out great!  This is the recipe I used- I don’t recommend adding any extra orange zest- does not need it!

We went to my mom and Pete’s for a wonderful thanksgiving meal <3 It was simpler than other years, just the four of us, and we broke tradition without the bird. But our alternative was awesome! The guys had filets, my mom made us a delicious salmon and we had some asparagus, butternut squash, mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce and bread. It was perfect! 

We ended Thanksgiving by chatting the evening away out on the porch. 

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is 0c7bf2e0-2f4e-4660-abf9-1d60c29b74e6-1024x901.jpg

And of course, we enjoyed delish waffles in the AM! We added leftover cranberry sauce to our waffles, and it was an excellent decision.

It was a day of mostly working on school work for me and DJ, but there is such a warmth and coziness in the living room that made working on our respective assignments more relaxing than usual. 

I think this says it all!

Also I was not able to let a few days go by there without hitting the trail.

And-house rules- Gotta order sushi at least once when we’re all together too!

The last day, my mom made this tasty potato poblano soup. She sent us home with some, so we were spoiled by her cooking even a few days after returning to Austin!

Thanks for reading 🙂

Question for you:

  • Which cities do you have an emotional attachment to?

Our Texas Christmas!

Hey All! I left off from our arriving in Texas after our Cleveland trip.

img_6269

In the evening of Christmas Eve we attended the candlelight ceremony at my Mom and Pete’s church. (Love my sister photo bombing us… It was like she was there, lol!). I realllly did miss her so much- her and Kevin went to Peru to spend Christmas with his fam. We face-timed the day of though, and it was fun to virtually meet some of Kevin’s family!

img_5351img_6272img_6270img_6273

The Candlelight service is one of my favorites of the whole year.

img_6274img_6275

The service & music was just moving- my eyes sweated a few times during the ceremony for sure. Easily one of my favorite hours of the entire Christmas season- taking time to worship & remember the true meaning of this chaotic, fun, wonderful season.

When we returned home my mom put out the most delicious shrimp cocktail & cheese with a pepper jam and crackers. Okay- I neeed to get that pepper jam! This is such a scrumptious appetizer to whip up; I’m gonna remember this for next time we host!

img_6276

I also had to share the Christmas table my mom assembled. Each set of plates is unique, and they were not all bought from the same place. Look how beautifully it all goes together though!

img_6277img_6294

I always get home decor tips/tricks from her when I visit.

For dinner we had grilled romaine with parmesan cheese and tomatoes (post the romaine scare- don’t worry it was the safe stuff 😉 ).

img_6313

For the guys, Pete made some mouth-watering lamb tenderloin. DJ raves about Pete’s grilling.

img_6296

My mom made the vegan version for us!!! Below are little seitan riblets. Gooooodness gracious, I think this is my favorite faux meat dish everr.

img_6310

We had some of my mom’s famous cornbread… I could eat this straight out of the pan with a spoon. It’s insanely good.

img_6312

Roasted potatoes with rosemary, yum!…

img_6311

And the whole doggone delicious spread!..

img_6314

After dinner we watched the movie BlacKkKlansman. It is a really thought-provoking movie, with a fast paced, intriguing story line, and a gut-wrenching, powerful ending. It’s one of those endings you forget to breathe.

img_6295

After getting a deep night sleep, we woke up to Christmas!

img_6315

Our usual pattern for Christmas morning is presents, breakfast, stockings. This year we made an Instapot egg casserole with bacon for the guys and a veggie egg casserole for us.

img_6356img_6316

Time for stockings!!  They are so sweet to still do them for us even as adults <3 Pete and my mom make one for each other each year too which I think is just precious.

img_6354

Stocking stuffers! Look at all those See’s Candies suckers! *heart eyes*

img_6357

In the afternoon, I went on a 7-mile training run.

img_6371img_6359img_6370

I don’t know what was in the air, but I was just having the smoothest of runs while I was there. Christmas night was tons of fun, but I’ll save that for the next post 🙂

Question for you:

  • What’s your favorite thing you’ve done so far this year? cheesy question, I knoww 😉

xo <3

signature-1

Forth Worth, TX!

Happy Tuesday!!!! Boy, do I have a treat for you! I slowly have been recapping our travels on our cross country trip in between present day California updates. It’s like one of those super confusing movies where they flip back and forth between past and present, and sometimes you can’t figure out which one it is, ya feel? Anyways, after our amazing Hot Rolls experience in Ozark, MO, we headed south to the good ole’ state of Texas! My parents moved there a couple years ago. When I was planning our wedding last summer (2015), before my trip to India, I spent the entire month in Fort Worth. I just fell in love with the area. Everyone is incredibly friendly, and if anyone knows you are from out of town, you will get a big smile and a “Welcome to Texas!” guaranteed. The energy in the city is contagious. We wanted to stop and say hello to our parents before continuing on and we managed to squeeze a decent amount of activity in our twenty-four hour period!

IMG_8573

After a long day of driving, we arrived in the evening and definitely needed some R and R (can you tell?) No better place to relax than Mama’s back patio. She has it decorated so gosh-darn cute.

IMG_8571

When my family gets together (even if it’s a small get- together) it’s about guaranteed that there is going to be some kind of cocktail/appetizer hour followed by  dinner… AKA two dinners. For our apps we had baked brie with granny smith apple slices and sushi. It was a delicious, and I wish I had taken a picture! As usual, I gobbled it all up before the thought crossed my mind! Dinner consisted of delicious chicken (at least I heard it was delicious 😉 ), russet potatoes, and a vegetable platter from Texas Bleu. Look ya’ll, if you ever go to Fort Worth/Keller area, you MUST go to Texas Bleu. It is one of the best steakhouses of yo life!

We went to sleep pretty early on because we were whooped! The next day my mom and I started the day early by going to the local gym together. Lately she has really prioritized exercise and gets up most days before 5 am to go to the gym. (Go mom!) After exercising, we went to the local Farmer’s Market and tried watermelon juice from one of the cute little stands. It was insanely refreshing after that workout! We then went back to the house, picked up DJ and relaxed at the local watering hole (or Keller’s Recreational Pool). I haven’t gone into a lazy river in years. It was so nice to float around and around and chat about just anything and everything.We were so on-the-go that I hardly have any pictures of the first half of the day’s festivities!

IMG_8564.JPG

We got ready and hit the city!!! First we went to the Fort Worth Water Gardens. I have never been anywhere like this. This “downtown oasis” consists of uniquely architected structures that each have a specific characteristic. There was a wedding and a quinceanera going on while we were there. My mom thought it was especially fascinating, and she chased around the quinceanera group to get pictures. You would have thought she was one of the kid’s parents. No shame. She did end up getting her picture that she wanted so badly!

IMG_8579IMG_8582IMG_8581IMG_8583IMG_8584.jpg

IMG_8067
Aren’t they the cutest?!

IMG_8060
Looks like we had the parental paparazzi on us!

IMG_8069

IMG_8072

For dinner we went to one of the BEST steakhouses ever (like I said-come to Texas for a great steakhouse!). While we waited, we hung out in their boutique. They had the cutest Texan turquoise purse I have ever seen, until I saw the price tag. That made it a little less cute!

IMG_8063

Here is what our selections looked like for dinner. *** All pictures from Reata’s website:

Appetizers:

  • Presenting the most incredible Bacon wrapped crab stuffed jalapeños. I don’t even eat meat, so I took off the bacon (some of you are cringing hearing me say that), and they were still TO.DIE.FOR. Truly one of the greatest things I have ever tried at a restaurant. The side of jalapeño cheddar grits will transform your meaning of “grits”, I promise!

0014_Reata-Crab-Stuffed-Jalapeno

  • Fried Calamari with Cowboy Cocktail Sauce– Yes, it was as good as it sounds!

0017_Reata-Calamari

Mains

  • The main course part of meals is incredibly stressful for me. It all looks so goooood! I can never decide on a main entree and usually end up ordering something, then changing it by the time everyone else has ordered. To help with this indecisiveness, my mom and I usually choose two meals we both think sound good and split them half-and-half. This time we split the Mahi-Mahi with Lobster Florentine (pictured below- no explanation needed) and the Jalapeno Cilantro Crusted Red Fish (hello, taste bud explosion!).

0021_Jalapeño-Cilantro-Crusted-Texas-Red-Fish.

  • The men each ordered the Pan Seared Crusted Tenderloin with Port Wine sauce. They said it was good, and I am willing to bet they ain’t lying!

0003_Reata-Tenderloin-pepper-crusted

Sides

  • I require of you, if you go here, you MUST try the Bourbon Creamed Corn. it was one of my favorite parts of the whole meal! (Dip some of their corn bread in the creamed corn if you like all good things food).
  • Butter Roasted Mushrooms– Yes, I am currently drooling all over my laptop, how kind of you to notice.

Dessert

  • We couldn’t decide on one dessert, so naturally we ordered three. That’s normal, right?
  • First we tried the West Texas Pecan Pie. Can Pecan pie ever be bad? NO.
  • We then tried the banana pudding– it was “eh”. I’m not picky about desserts, if it has enough sugar than it really can’t be bad. This was just missing that banana punch, hate to say it.
  • However, we finished up with the Dutch Oven Apple Crisp with Cajeta. Not sure what Cajeta is, but I really like it!

0022_Reata-apple-Crisp-dessert.jpg

  • Next time we go, we all agreed we have to try their Chocolate Bread Pudding Tamale. I mean, just look at the things! We didn’t order them because the banana pudding sounded so light and tasty, but this is what the waiter recommended. There is your lesson for the day, boys and girls, always take the waiter’s recommendations!

0012_bread-pudding-tamale-Reata

After dinner we walked around downtown Fort Worth for a while. I was surprised at how nice everything was. It did not feel like a downtown, but rather like a large scale suburban shopping center. For our evening entertainment, we went to Four Day Weekend Comedy Show. I love a good IMPROV show, and this one surpassed all expectations. The way this show works is the audience writes sentences or phrases on a piece of paper and place it on a board near the stage before the show starts. During the show they randomly pick off words/phrases and use them in their skits. It’s too much to handle. We were roaring.

IMG_8059
Well, we gave it our best effort

IMG_8054

We wrapped up the night by sight-seeing the rest of sparkling Downtown, sitting at a patio and enjoying the warm breeze while sipping on some light beverages, and debating wayy too long about what type of bush was planted next to our table. We then headed off to the Grand Canyon in the morning! More to come on that adventure!

IMG_8589IMG_8053

Wishing you the opportunity to try a bacon wrapped crab stuffed jalapeño,

xo <3

Mack