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!).

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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.

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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!

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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?!)

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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!

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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!

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We took another evening walk that night.

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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.

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

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

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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!

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

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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.

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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.

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Plane time!

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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.

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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!

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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

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Ramen Nagi & Castle Rock!

Hi All!!! I am stilll SHOOKETH from the Game of Thrones episode last night. *Spoiler alert* –There was one point where I was saying to DJ, “There is NO possible resolution from this- they are all deeeaad”! And then Arya jumped in and saved the freaking day, my giiiiirl.

What a phenomenally done episode.

Anyway– Jumping straight into these highlights from the last couple weeks because I have got to hustle to get these recaps done before leaving Thursday for OH for my sister’s graduation and bridal shower. Woohooo! I cannot wait.

April 15th I went to Nosh to work on school assignments and plan out the next couple months.

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In the afternoon I went on a walk to shake off the cobwebs from staring at a screen all morning.

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Lately, I have been trying to diligently use up everything in our fridge and pantry before going back to the store (as I’ve said about five hundred times; don’t mind my broken record self). Since we don’t want to lug a bunch of dry goods to Austin with us, we’ve been having the dressings/dry goods inspire our meals. It’s been pretty successful and a fun challenge! However, once the fridge started looking like this I bit the bullet and went to the store.

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A girl can only eat frosting and chocolate milk for breakfast so many days in a row…I kid, I kid 😉 But I was craving a raw vegetable.

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It was a pretty large trip! The guy at Trader Joe’s said, “You having a party?” as he scanned my three large hummus quartets. I said, no I just really like hummus, haha.

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While at TJs, I saw the Tomato & Olive Focaccia and couldn’t resist.

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I made a Margherita pizza on it with some fresh basil straight from the plant. Mmm mm! It was delicious- although I still prefer thin crust at the end of the day.

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I also ate up soo many large salads that week- I was craving them somfin’ fierce and was ecstatic to enjoy so many fresh veggies.

On the morning of April 16th, I woke up to a beautiful, sunny morning!

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I went to pick up my bridesmaid dress from David’s Bridal and to get it fitted. You know what’s wild?! My alterations were more than the dress itself! Anyone else have tips for the future on what to do about more affordable alterations? Is it better to go elsewhere? Is David’s Bridal known for having pricy alterations or is that how it is everywhere?

Once I was home, I decided to meal prep for DJ for the week. I made these fajita steak bowls with cilantro lime rice from Diane’s blog served with some Chimichurri sauce I’ve had sitting in the pantry begging to be used. He liked them a lot & they made for a great dinner through the week.

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April 17th was the official last day of the semester (before finals- but I lucked out with not having any this semester?! I don’t know how, but I won’t argue with it!). In the afternoon I whipped together one of my favorite lunches of late with purple sweet potato, Fage, tzatziki, green goddess dressing, boca crumbles and almond mozzarella cheese.

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I ran in the afternoon & lifted some weights. It was a great workout- fueled by the elation of surviving another semester of grad school.

On April 18th, I snap-shotted my meal that I’ve had on repeat for breakfast the last couple months: Avocado smoothie with oatmeal + stevia and some vegan chocolate chips. This is kind of odd, but I actually like pouring the smoothie onto the oatmeal before eating it– it kind of has that cold overnight oat effect.

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In the afternoon I worked on some templates for Bridal Shower games. The last thing I have on my list is figuring out gifts for winners of the games- any ideas?

On April 19th we received the sweetest little Easter surprise in the mail from my MIL <3 <3

See the pretzels below? They are the best pretzels I have e’errrrr tried. They are MAGIC. They are cinnamon greek yogurt covered pretzels. They are flavor explosions in the mouth! I put them in the freezer and treat myself to a little handful here and there. SO stinking good.

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In the evening we went to Ramen Nagi for a long overdue double date with our friends Tammy and Ben. Ramen Nagi is a super authentic Ramen spot that people have been raving about for months. The line is always at least 45 minutes long!

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First, you choose which Ramen Flavor you’d like and then choose your soup “setting” (saltiness, oil, garlic), toppings, spice, noodles and then any extras.

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The wait went by quickly for us since we had soo much to catch up on.

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I loved all the fixin’s in the middle of the table, especially the little rice noodles.

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We tried a couple appetizers- the rice and edamame. Both scrumptious!

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Whatever seasoning they put on the edamame is out of this woooorld.

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Tam ordered the Red King- I think their most popular dish— “A striking blend of garlic, chili oil, and cayenne pepper in a velvety broth; topped by a tempting ball of miso-infused minced pork and select Nagi cayenne,with tender Cha-shu”. I tried some of the broth and me oh my was it delish!

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DJ ordered their Original King with “award-winning tonkotsu pork-broth prepared in the traditional method, mouth-wateringly rich, fresh, and aromatic; special handcrafted noodles and classic Nagi pork Cha-shu”.

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He loved it- I liked it- but my personal fav was the Veggie King!! “Savory Japanese soup stock expertly blended with cauliflower purée, featuring hashed potato “chashu” and accented with shiitake mushrooms and spinach; Nagi’s amazing vegetarian ramen”.

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I could not get over how insanely yummy this was…. I expected to like this place, but this is one of the most savory, comforting, satisfying meals I have ever enjoyed. To say it surpassed my expectations would actually be an understatement. It blew my expectations out of the water. Or should I say out of the Ramen! I ordered it extra spicy. One of the workers suggested I not get it as spicy as I put on my paper, so I took his opinion and changed my number down. I kinda wish I had kept it at my original spice (a 7)… but the 5 still had a nice kick! I also added extra dried mushrooms + cabbage. Also, whatever the hash potato cakes were may have been my favorite part of the whole dish!! They were so crisp and held up well absorbing the broth but maintaining their crunch! **all these exclamation points are entirely warranted**.

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It was such a fun double date! Love hanging with Ben + Tammy.

On Saturday, April 20th, DJ had to work the whole morning, but in the afternoon we went to Castle Rock State Park for a hike. This was a place on my bucket list. DJ is a bit skeptical that I can hit everything on the bucket list before we leave. I am blindly optimistic though. hahah. Meaning….

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In all seriousness, I know some of the food places will have to wait probably years, especially the fine dining- but I’m hoping to make a serious dent in the fast casual spots and hiking.

Anywho… where were we? Oh yes yes, Castle Rock–

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They have boulders you can climb on- soo much fun. It reminded me of a place called Whips Ledges that we used to go all the time growing up in OH.

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There is a peak and also waterfalls, but we were a bit low on time because I had a food shoot in the evening to attend. It was a blast just climbing all over the rocks. Hiking is one of my alll time favorite things to do and when climbing is thrown in- nothing better!

Questions for you:

  • Have you tried authentic Ramen? Do you like it?
  • Are you on the GOT bandwagon? Who do you think ends up on the throne?

xo <3

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