Adventurin’ in Austin!

Hey all! Another back- logged post coming at you!! This semester is just nuts- I’m so stinkin’ sad I’ve had to take such a big step back from the blogging community… but I do think October maybe will be a bit lighter ?! Anyways- have a great week ahead!

On July 15th we continued unpacking and studying. I was trying to catch up as much as I could after taking a full three days off from the books. It was a wonderful break, but also it was pretty tough to get back to it.

On July 16th I did a big Trader Joe’s trip. I found this Organic Sparkling Apple Cider which was quite refreshing and tasty. 🍏

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In the evening I made us salmon, cauliflower gnocchi and asparagus. We are both obsessed with the cauli. gnocchi from Trader Joes.

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On July 17th it was more studying. It was a rough day though. I kept feeling the need to get the whole DMV process rolling since we only had until the 31st to get it done. I had a hard time focusing, so I decided to just get all these logistics done so I had a clearer mind to study. In order to get my car registered and a license, I had to get my state emissions inspection done. When pulling out of our garage I was so focused on not hitting the car parked closely next to me that I backed my drivers side across a cement pillar. It destroyed my mirror and some of the body. I was soo angry at myself. It was one of those moments where I knew I was way too overwhelmed and trying to do too much in a short period. I called my mom in the parking lot of where you get the emissions checked and she kindly pointed out my car probably wouldn’t pass with a broken mirror. So scratch that (pun intended). I went to a nearby mechanic on the verge of a panic attack, thinking how badly I needed to get back to studying. The guy could tell I was overwhelmed, took me without an appointment, temporarily secured the mirror so it would pass the inspection and helped me order a new one for the cheapest price available. He called his friends over at a local State Emissions inspection spot and told them the scenario and that a new one was ordered so they didn’t fail me. It was the kindest thing in the world. I called my mom again after thanking her for the heads up and explained what happened after- she said, “That’s Texas for ya! We take care of each other”. It was so above and beyond of him.

Anyways, In the evening we enjoyed a four cheese pizza from TJ’s. It was really yummy. I don’t think I’ve ever had a bad pizza from TJ’s & they have so many options!

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July 18th-19th was study/unpack/study. DJ did meet up with some friends that he worked with back in CA that were visiting for dinner. I wish I could have joined but I had a mound of assignments to get to. He did find a cool little spot called The Lost Lei that he said we’ll have to go back to sometime! During one of those days I went to the DMV and sat with Smalls for over three hours waiting to get my new Texas license. I also made a trip to HEB to pick up some more essentials. I love HEB, especially now that I know how to navigate it. The prices are awesome, and if there are coupons available for items they will be right in front of them on the shelves. You just grab one and take them to check out. It’s saved us a lot already!

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July 20th was more of the same, but we did treat ourselves to our first meal out since moving to Texas! Yes, it took us nearly a month to actually eat out (except for our one small, quick meal at Cane’s).

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We chose to try out Torchys Tacos. This is a popular Austin Taco staple and one of the most frequently recommended spots for us to check out.

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They have several locations all over the city, but the one downtown was within walking distance so it made it easy peasy. I love how accessible downtown is for us– definitely will save us a ton on parking in the long run.

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They have tons of options on their menu, something for every dietary preference! Their tacos are individually only about $4.50 a piece so we ordered several different ones and their Green Chile Queso and Chips.

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It was probably the best queso I have ever had. I think it was my favorite part of everything I tried. It is addictively delicious 😋 – I barely could leave room for my actual tacos haha.

DJ ordered the Trailer Park with fried chicken, the Democrat with barbacoa and Crossroads with smoked beef brisket. He loved them all and said he couldn’t choose a favorite.

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I ordered the Independent with fried portobello mushrooms and the Mr. Pink with seared ahi tuna. I expected to prefer the ahi tuna one more, but it was a bit too salty and saucy for me, where the Independent was the most amazing blend of flavors!

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Their margaritas are delicious too!

After, we decided to walk around and explore the city a bit.

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I just adore the character of this city. I will discuss all my thoughts on my first impressions of Austin in a separate post!

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So pretty pretty.

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On July 21st for dinner I made a zucchini pasta with turkey meatballs for DJ and I just ate a portion without the meatballs. Not pictured- garlic bread on the side. Mmm !

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July 22nd for lunch I made a salmon salad with tzatziki. Such a perfect summer lunch!

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For dinner I made us “chik’n” from Lightlife, corn, and brown rice for dinner. DJ is fully on board the “Chik’n” train too. I appreciate how open he always is to trying my vegetarian meals!

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Even though I had to work on school assignments through the whole evening we did put on Bach in the background.

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July 23rd I worked on submitting my clinical request form and DJ helped me take a head shot for my application. I also got my annual TB testing done for clinicals. We sold our big couch since it wouldn’t fit in our new apartment and dropped it off to the buyer. It was a pain in the BUTT to get out the door- but it feels good to have it off our hands. Back story with the couches: We got basically the cheapest ones we could find at Big Lots when we lived in Indiana for our first town house, and planned on reselling them at the end of the year- but fell in love with them so have had them since. We still have the smaller love seat so it’s perfect for just the two of us.

On July 24th we had leftovers in the evening as well as a caprese salad.

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July 25th I made DJ some tacos he was craving & I enjoyed my massive garden salad.

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July 26th it was study, study, study. I went to Starbucks for a change of scenery and took along a Quest bar. I tried the Chocolate Sprinkle Doughnut for the first time, it was fine, but I still prefer the Cookie Dough or S’mores flavor most.

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I remember that day being kinda emotional and stressful. I worked hard studying all that day and then on July 26th I told DJ I needed something to look forward to to stay motivated that day. We decided to see Toy Story 4 in theaters that evening. We actually had chipped away at the first three Toy Story’s in the evening before going to sleep, so all of them were fresh in our minds and made us even more stoked to see Toy Story 4! Better yet, we had two movie coupons so it was a free date night (minus the sodas we picked up).

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This was one of the cozy theaters with the reclining chairs! We will definitely have to go back. I usually have such a hard time sitting through a couple hour movie, but it was much needed to turn my brain off.

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We really enjoyed Toy Story 4! It was so cute. I had no idea how they were going to make a fourth after the full-circle ending of the third, but we think they pulled it off! I told DJ we need to go movies more often.

July 27th was another full day of studying (sorry, I sound like a broken record!), and since we were getting low on groceries we decided to eat something quick within walking distance. Many people have suggested Home Slice down here, especially because they know my obsession with a good NY slice.

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We were going to just eat at the restaurant, but since the wait was over two hours and it was already 7:45 we decided to just go next door to their “More Slice” Slice House to pick up to-go slices. The slice I mainly wanted to try was the white pie & spinach, and it was a special they had- love it when that works out!!!

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Here she is in all her beauty!!! It was phenomenal. This was one of my favorite slices of pizza I’ve ever had. In CA it was really hard to find good pizza, and when we finally did (At Capo’s), it was sooo darn expensive. This $4 slice is somethin’ of my dreams. I knew I loved Austin upon the discovery of this slice of pizza. 🤣

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We also tried their Marg which was fantastic. DJ tried their pepperoni, but I think the consensus is to get their white pie if you ever go. But also, you can’t go wrong.

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We walked around South Congress after. It has a retro, funky, yet hip, vibe. I think it’s my favorite part of the city. Next time we’re there I’ll take more pictures to give you a better idea.

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On July 28th I went on my first run outside and discovered an amazing running trail that goes for miles! While it was hot, it wasn’t as bad as expected. I do go through sunscreen like it’s going out of style now. Also, while this pic of a bat under the bridge may be cool, the smell under that bridge is gosh awful. I have to hold my breath every time I run under it- who knew bats could stink so badly?!

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I adore this trail though. It snakes along Lady Bird Lake and is easily accessible from our apartment without driving. I have put in quite a few miles on it since discovering it. It actually reminds me of the Towpath back in OH which adds a comforting “home” feel. I was worried about giving up my walking path back in CA because it was such a therapeutic part of my day, but this is 10000% better.

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This feels long enough so I’ll wrap it up here. Even though the whole first month was insanity and chaos and stressful, the transition was all-in-all smooth! We no longer have obnoxiously loud upstairs neighbors (I could cry tears of relief, truly) and the city just exudes this vibe of excitement and fun. Can’t wait to share more!

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Question for you:

  • Have you seen any good movies lately?

xo <3

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Friday Favorites #4!

It’s FRIYAY, FRIYAY, Gotta get down on FRIYAY!!!

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It is 9:00 pm, I am home from work and happy to report this week was SO MUCH BETTER!!!!! I can’t tell you how IMMENSELY encouraging all your comments and texts were from my last post. It truly changed my whole disposition. I went in with a determination to face it all head on, learn what I could, and forgive myself (I think that was pivotal). And although I have endless learning and experience to be gained, I felt like I wasn’t totally lost. One HUGE thing I was reminded of that stuck with me was just the the Lord wouldn’t bring me to this point to leave me hanging. That gave me a whole new wave of confidence.

I also see now how no matter how rough the day is, that ONE moment sincerely makes it all worth it. Today that moment for me was making my patient laugh. Even if I’m not the best nurse in the world yet, don’t they say laughter is the best medicine? 😉 Tomorrow (it’s Thursday while I’m writing this) might be different, but for now, I’m basking in the giddiness of success not horribly, epically failing.

NOW, before I go to bed I want to whip up a quick post. I have been collecting pictures for a Friday Favorites post all week and can’t wait to share!

  1. Peets Coffee. I’m not sure that I have given Peet’s a proper shout-out in my Friday Favorites. Due time! My go-to is an almond milk cafe au lait. YURM. Also, my friends that I made while I was studying for my NCLEX still work there, and when I had to do some module work online this week I went back in. It was great to catch up with them!

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2. Cereal Quest Bars! I’ve been sitting here for a minute trying to conjure up a description that does these little devils justice- but nothing will. They are beyond delicious. If you don’t believe me I guess you will just have to try for yourself!!! I’m OBSESSED. I love the chocolate flavor most, but all the flavors are terrific.

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3. Safeway Monopoly. Our local grocery store has a monopoly game (like the McDonald’s one) that I have been participating in! They have tons of free products you can win by simply shopping at their store! Without boring you to tears, basically you get a board, you earn little “game pieces” when you shop, and then you enter codes online to win or get instant winning tickets for free products. So far I have won a cooking class, Shutterfly photo books, and all the stuff in the pictures below. FREE. Free as a bee!!!!! Now if I can only get those last few game pieces to win one of the big kahunas! DJ isn’t too upset about the free donut I seem to get each time 😉 And who doesn’t want a free 5 lb. bag of flour?! (I do have to say though, I was actually wayyy too pumped about the aluminum foil, because we were out, so perfect timing!)

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4. Sprout’s Bags. My “Every Day I’m Brusselin” bag- which was discovered in my very, very first post from Sprout’s grocery store), now has a new friend named, “Turnip For What”. If you know me, you can imagine my minor, massive joyous freakout in the store that maybe borderline, definitely embarrassed DJ when I saw this bag. I was like the needy five-year-old begging their parent for candy at the cash register.

Me: “DJ, I NEED IT! I NEED IT! I REALLY, REALLY DO!”

DJ: “We have so many bags at home, I think you’ll survive.”

Me: NO, I NEEEEEEED IT.

DJ: **Handing over the extra $2.00 to the cashier for my bag of happiness**.

The heart wants what it wants.

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5. Dear Mom. Our apartment building has this new vending machine that is basically a grocery store vending machine in our lobby. Plus it has these recipes that hang on the wall next to it saying how to make different meals with the ingredients they provide. I think it’s one of the most ingenious ideas. It has all your basics as well as desserts. Yup, they even have cheesecake (which is a food group of its own). And if I forget anything that I was supposed to get at the store, I always check to see if they carry it before I have to make a second trip!

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6. 13 Reasons Why. This is a heavy one. Has anyone watched it or read the books? It’s a Netflix original series. While I was doing some marathon training, cooking, and working on modules, I had this playing and finished the series in about three days. It’s addictive- start to finish. It’s only 13 episodes, but every single one is gripping. But, like I said, it’s heavy. It makes you think. I’d love to hear your thoughts if anyone has seen this.

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7. PackIt Freezable Lunch Box. This is the best lunchbox on planet earth. It has built in freezer packs, so you just throw it into the freezer, and when you are ready to go you just toss your food in it. No messing with those awkwardly shaped freezer packs!! It’s super portable, lightweight, and basically I could talk about how much I love this thing all doggone’ day. Like, I have to get up in 6.5 hours, and all I’m doing is typing about a lunchbox. Ummm, #priorities.

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8. 100 Calorie Pack Emerald Almonds. MMMM mmm MMMM. These are one of my favorite snacks when I’m on my shifts. I only have 15 minute breaks (and one 30), so these are a lifesaver for super fast energy. I usually pair it with a cereal Quest bar or No Cow bar and am good to go at least for a couple hours!!!!

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9. Blogilates. Cassey Ho is the bomb.com. I’m telling you- if you want an insane ab workout, she is your girl. Even DJ is amazed at how hard her workouts are. I DARE you to try one. I think my favorites are

This one, this one, and this one.

She also has targeted workouts for all other areas too! And they are pretty short, but guarantee you will feel the BURN.

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10. Dis’ bag. I know I have tons of pictures of this little guy sprinkled around my blog already- but I can’t help but give it a little love! It’s from Target and it’s HUGE and I don’t know how I went my whole life without this bag. I see the light.

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I am horribly behind on reading and responding to comments in classic Mack-form (ew. is that third person? Wait, I’m too tired to care)- BUT I will be catching up this weekend. Orientation ends next Wednesday which means my days off are actual days off when I could do things like catch up on your blogs!😏 🤗🎉AH! LOVE YOU ALL. Have a wonderful Easter weekend 💕

XO <3

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**There are affiliated links in this post, but all ideas are my own**