Skydiving & El Alma’s!

Jumping into this recap- quite literally….

I saw this person putting on a show on the slack line along Lady Bird Lake. There was a little crowd watching him. How fun does this look?!

On October 11th, Deej and I went for a nice walk in the evening. The view of this city never gets old.

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On October 12th I enjoyed one of my favorite dishes for the fall. It is packed with flavor- sautéed tofu with coconut oil, brown jasmine rice, various Indian inspired spices, wilted veggies and roasted chickpeas. Such a comforting and filling dish.

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Now for the big event of this post!! On October 14th I surprised DJ for his birthday with Skydiving (or sorta surprised because he figured it out almost immediately when I said I had a surprise). He has wanted to go for a while, and we had one single afternoon/evening we could actually do something— so go big or go home right?!

Neither of us had been before, and it was the definition of epic. I think I embarrassingly overuse that word, but if there is any instance to use it, this is it! The scariest part, in my opinion, was just the tiny little rickety plane we were in. I have never been in a plane that small, and it felt like it could fall out of the sky any second. The views were STUNNING- I wish I could share those.

Some things that surprised me: Firstly, it was freezing as we were about to jump out. You can see me shivering right before we jump. I think it was just shocking since minutes prior we were in very warm and balmy temperatures on the ground. Secondly, it’s a much more mental experience than physical. I expected to have the ultimate “stomach drop” feeling like you experience on rollercoasters- but since there is no G-force your stomach doesn’t drop (I don’t entirely know what that means; I’m simply regurgitating what I heard, haha). Lastly, the free fall lasts longer than I’d expect. I didn’t mind though- it’s a great experience. My ears did hurt a bit, but I have always had ear sensitivity with changing pressures, so that wasn’t much of a surprise. We were pretty excited to check it off our bucket list! That’s been at the top for a while.

In order to celebrate both DJ’s birthday and surviving falling from 15,000 feet out of the air (give or take), we headed to El Alma for some great tex-mex.

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Inside is super cute and upstairs has an outdoor stone patio area. It’s relaxed, but still adorable with twinkling lights everywhere.

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We started with their house queso (of course!). It is called queso blanco y rojo with spicy queso, árbol salsa, rajas, onions, mushrooms, and tostadas. This is my favorite queso we’ve had so far in Austin yet. It had mushrooms in it which is a pretty original twist, but oh boyyyy did it work!! It was the creamiest most flavorful queso with a kick and the tostadas they served it with were not your typical tortilla chips- they had more flavor and were more hearty.

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For my main dish I ordered the veggie verde enchiladas with spinach, mushrooms, rajas, smoky tomatillo salsa, raw hemp seeds, white rice, and black beans. It was fine- I probably wouldn’t order it again. I also filled up on a whole lot of queso before so maybe I’m not giving a fair assessment, haha.

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DJ tried a couple of their tacos which he enjoyed, but probably not the favorite in town. We’ll definitely be returning for that queso though!

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October 15th I took an afternoon walk and listened to a podcast per usual.

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In the evening I made DJ some rice and pesto genovese chicken.

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I had my leftovers from my enchilada and threw on a fried egg for good measure. If you’re ever not sure what to do with certain leftovers, I recommend throwin’ on an egg! Makes a meal out of just about anything.

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I had this fun find below at Trader Joe’s. Okay this officially shows how behind I am on these posts, hahah.

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We also tried the burrata, prosciutto and arugula pizza from TJ’s on October 19th (I just took the prosciutto off mine). It was so yummy. I have yet to have a bad pizza from TJ’s- they are some of our favorites.

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On October 21st I chatted a while with one of my friends from my previous nursing job. I put this lasagna in the oven and then decided while it cooked I would walk and chat on the trail. (It bakes for about 45 mins). I totally forgot about the lasagna, and when I realized the time I interrupted my own sentence with “THE LASAGNA”. My friend was like “come again?” I explained I think I was burning our lasagna, potentially down our apartment, and our phone call wrapped up quickly after that. Thankfully DJ took care of it, so we’re all good, and it did not burn down our apartment complex, thank gooooodness.

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On October 24th I enjoyed oats with raspberries, Fage and PB2 with some coffee to start the day.

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Later that day I took a chance taking a walk out on the trail. I did end up getting rained on a bit, but it was fun seeing these dark clouds over the lake.

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The morning of the 26th I had a couple errands to run downtown. I stumbled upon this Day of the Dead Parade and took a moment to line up with the rest of the crowd to watch as the various characters passed. It was a fun surprise to start the Saturday!

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That evening we witnessed one of the first of many gorgeous sunsets.

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Feels like a good place to stop for now. Thanks for reading 🙂

Questions for you!

  • Any experiences of your own with skydiving?
  • Do you have a preferred meal or restaurant for your birthday?

xo <3

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Great Coffee, Burgers & Texas BBQ!

Present Day: Hey all- wow, I cannot thank you all for your love and support in the last post. It was comforting and healing for me to talk with you all and read your comments – I am just always in awe of how genuine and supportive this community is <3

Currently…I just have a million things running through my head that I’m incredibly eager to get out on paper (electronic paper). I originally wrote an intro for this to give a little update on what’s going on right now, but it ended up being soooo long, I’ll just make a whole other post for it. Life has been quite the rollercoaster- but, gosh, I’ve learned SO much this last couple months.. in all transparency- it’s been challenging and painful in some respects, but also so much growth has taken place. I look forward to articulating all that soon.

Anywayyy. Here is another post I wrote back in August. Who knows what I said, lol:

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I’ll just jump right in. July 31st I went on an evening walk before dinner after studying all day and saw the city in all its glory.

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August 1st and 2nd were also huge study days. A friend I met through blogging reached out when she knew I was going to be moving to Austin and sent me the most wonderful list of places to check out! One of the spots on her list was Bennu 24-7 coffee (yes, you read that right- twentay, fourrr, sevennnn!). I had a long day of studying ahead, so where better to camp out for the day (or night need be)?

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I had such a delicious cafe au lait with oat milk, and it fueled me to be extra productive that day. This will be a go-to spot once I begin my next semester. It was pretty busy though, should I need to make a note to go early before it fills up! Thank you so much for the awesome rec, Taylor!

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Around 6 pm I called it quits, went home, made dinner and ate dinner with DJ and then took a nice walk out on the trails.

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On August 3rd I went for an afternoon run (yeahhh, probably should try to stick to morning runs in this heat, lol).. but I saw this Brixton hat on a corn stalk. One of DJ’s favorite brands is Brixton so I had to take a pic and send it to him. It just seemed all very “Texas”.

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I decided to explore the city a bit more on foot. On my way I saw a group of kayakers- probably one of the city’s favorite past times, especially on Ladybird Lake. They are everywhere there is water! One of these days DJ and I said we have to wake up early and get out there to rent a kayak.

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In the evening for a date night we went to hopdoddy burger bar. I was having a MAJOR burger/fry/milkshake hankerin’ & this is one of the highest and most frequently reviewed spots on Yelp. We walked to the main one on South Congress ready for a long wait.

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After about 35 minutes we made it in! The vibe inside was upbeat, but laid back.

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We started off by sharing their Oreo milkshake. It was an one-of-a-kind delicious milkshake. Maybe my favorite ever… big statement… the only issue is the waitress brought it about over thirty minutes before our food & we like to dip fries in our shake. The second half we saved for that purpose was pretty much melted by the time the food came.. womp womp.

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When we finally did get our food, it was well worth the wait. DJ enjoyed their classic burger.

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I had their “impossible” vegan philly cheesesteak burger with sweet potato fries to share with DJ. I took one bite and died & went straight to heaven. I told DJ I haven’t experienced that flavor in so long- it tasted just, and I mean, just like a regular burger. (Burgers were one of the few actual meat items I genuinely enjoyed when I ate still ate meat). We were also raving about the sweet potato fries- I mean, just all the flavor was wow oh wow. Service was terrible- but would I go back and wait and endure the awful service for this all over again? You betchya!!!!

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On August 4th I don’t have many pics.. hmm I studied a ton I’m sure. I made us cauliflower gnocchi for dinner.. mmmm mmm !

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On August 5th I had this scrumptious toast with blackberries, almonds, Fage, stevia, and a dash of PB powder. I love the blend of different textures.

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I was going to go to Bennu to study, but I couldn’t find a spot. So I whipped my car around to go to a different coffee shop.. I ended up going to three different places before I found one that served decaf. How wild is that? (I had already hit my caffeine quota for the morning).

Anyways- the place I did find was actually located inside a book shop. It’s called Coffee People and is located within Book People. I had to walk about 1.5 miles from my car to get there, but I had already paid for a couple hours of parking, so I wasn’t going to throw that away for nothing. Smalls pretty much threw my back out carrying that thing around, especially in the heat- lol! I probably should make suuuuure I want to stay before paying for parking… lessons learned.

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The coffee was really tasty, and it was a productive few hours hanging out there.

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in the evening I went on a walk and saw these turtles swimmin’ around. So cute. I’ve seen quite a few turtles around here.. something else that reminds me of the Towpath.

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For dinner I made “chik’n fried rice” …. one of the tastiest darn concoctions we’ve had from leftovers!!! I had some brown rice, vegan chicken, eggs, and tons of veggies and stir-fried some minced garlic and soy sauce in there. DJ and I gobbled it up like it was our last supper. It’s definitely making its way into the rotation as a staple.

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On August 6th I decided to just study in the lobby of our apartment for a change of scenery.

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And once again, a walk to clear the ol’ noggin. So my allergies were pretty rough when I first moved here. I couldn’t figure out why, because I usually don’t get allergies. Welllllll below is all the pollen that lined the trail. Makes sense now! Apparently Austin is pretty notorious for bad allergies. They have calmed down since that first couple weeks once my body adjusted, but still act up on occasion.

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August 7th I walked to Starbucks to study and then on the way home enjoyed some of the Austin art. I thought you would all enjoy to see it too 🙂

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Love these messages.

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After dropping my books off at home I went out to the trail and saw this beautiful swan.

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On August 8th it was our anniversary!! DJ had wanted to try Super Coffee since we moved here, but we have been out of luck whenever we have looked for it. I made it my mission to find some on our anniversary for him. I stocked up on a couple different flavors so that they were there when he returned from orientation. He ended up liking it, but it really just takes like a protein shake. I think I ended up liking them more than he did, lol!

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For dinner I made us brown rice, asparagus, vegan chicken for DJ (per his request) and salmon for myself. I also made us a caprese to share.

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Aaaand he brought me home these absolutely stunning flowers <3 <3 He’s been the greatest husband I could ever imagine over these last four years. I am so immensely thankful for him and don’t know how I’m so blessed. It’s hard to put into words how much I admire and adore him.

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On Friday August 9th, I took my final exam first thing in the AM. I was planning on taking it Sunday, but I didn’t want it hanging over my head, and I felt prepared. In the afternoon I made a massive to-do list of everything I had put on the back-burner from the summer/this semester. DJ laughed at how I wrote out my list by hand on notebook paper. Does anyone else still write out their to-do lists by hand instead of on their phones? I just love how satisfying it is to cross it out by hand- I will write things down even after I’ve done them to cross them off sometimes 😆 At this point, I have knocked pretty much everything on it out, and it feels gooood! In the evening we had a spousal/partner banquet for everyone in DJ’s program. It was so much fun to meet some of DJ’s colleagues and put faces with names! I was itching to take a picture of the food because it was absolutely delicious and plated so pretty, but I restrained. I had a chile relleno that was very yummy- I think I’m gonna have to start making them at home, although it probably won’t be even close to as good as that one I had!

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When the banquet wrapped up we still had a ton of energy and the two us decided to go out on the town. We walked to Rainey street from our apartment and headed to Bangers. DJ had been here once before with some colleagues and wanted to take me back. I totally saw why- it was a happenin’ place!!

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The vibe was utterly relaxed and it was perfectly warm outside. We sat under the stringed lights enjoying a couple sours at a picnic table and watched the live band play.

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On Sunday we decided to watch an online sermon since DJ had quite a bit of school work to get done and family was coming later that day. Once all the fam arrived (My mom in law & Gordie and DJ’s twin sister, Amy!) we showed them our apartment and then set out to get some good BBQ. We had been told Terry Black’s BBQ is some of the best around so we gave it a go since it was within walking distance.

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Here’s the roundup!

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To say this BBQ is good would be the understatement of the century. This was phenomenal BBQ. Easily the best we’ve ever had. We couldn’t get over the flavors. Even the green beans were insane… they don’t look like much.. but whatever the heck magic they cook them in… I want the recipe. The mac and cheese was out of this world. And the hot sauces were wildly good. Everyone that ate the meat raved about it- DJ particularly was blown away by the brisket.

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I may or may not have restaged a photo shoot with the leftovers the next day… LOL. Add this to the list of “most-extra-things-I’ve-ever-done”.

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I have many more adventures to share- I’ll do that in another post so I don’t crash whatever device you’re reading on with all these pics, haha.

Questions for you:

  • What’s your favorite BBQ side item?
  • Do you make your to-do lists on paper by hand or on an electronic device?

xo <3

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