Weekend with DJ!

Hello hello! I hope you are all having a great week. I had a wonderful weekend with my older sis in town! I can’t wait to share all about it! For now, I’m zooming back a couple weekends to another favorite of the summer when DJ visited me 😊

He flew to town for a couple days the weekend of June 25th. Can you believe it had been over a month since we had seen each other?! At this point we only have a couple weeks to go until no more long stretches apart.

First up on our weekend agenda was breakfast on June 26th at Magnolia Cafe.

As we pulled into our parking spot, we were greeted by this bird mural. When my sister was here, she remarked how fun all the murals were around the city- it really is fun to spot new ones all the time!

I’ve passed Magnolia Cafe more times than I could count! I always get a kick out of their “Sorry We’re Open” sign and knew it’d be a place we’d have to stop in eventually.


I would describe it as a no-frills, solid, reliable breakfast spot (although I believe they have dinner too). The staff was exceptionally friendly and we savored our time out on the back patio.


Even the menu continues on with the apologetic, tongue-in-cheek flare. 🥞

Typically we don’t prefer very fluffy pancakes, but these chocolate chip ones were really good and loaded with chocolate!

We limited our coffee intake at breakfast knowing we were going to try a new coffee shop after breakfast. I’ve heard many people talk about Cosmic, but I didn’t realize how close it was to us, just tucked away on a side road off South Congress.


They have a very expansive menu with some unique options like a lavender matcha latte, or if you’re feeling wild, a nitro espresso cocktail. We grabbed a couple iced coffees and enjoyed the morning sitting in their massive courtyard.

One thing we did not cross off the bucket list in Austin was Franklin BBQ (I know, shameful!). They went to carry out only during the last year, and we kept waiting for it to reopen, but it has not yet. We tried to put in an order for carry out while sitting there at Cosmic- but they were all sold out; procrastination was not our friend here. As the caffeine kicked in, we became more determined to find a way to get our hands on the world’s best BBQ.  Where there is a will and all that, right? We ended up calling Franklin’s to see if there was any chance there was more available than listed online, and they explained we could actually order a whole brisket online and have it delivered chilled to our home through Goldbelly. Also, side note- the staff was so friendly and really did what they could to help us out. We watched a Youtube video of someone who did this to see if it would still be good/worth it even shipped- and he said it was 99% as good as the real thing in person! So we are going to do it- probably have people over, make some veggie dishes and sides- and serve it up as a fun transitional meal from TX to OH as soon as we get off the waitlist!
Anyway, Cosmic is THE perfect place to relax with some coffee on a Saturday morning. And there is plenty of seating… which is a huge plus around here!

They also have several food trucks on site too.

After enjoying our iced coffees, we went back to our apartment. I worked out for about an hour and then got ready for the day.

We had an early dinner reservation at 5:30 on South Congress, so in the afternoon we killed time walking and shopping the tourist trap. We hopped store to store, and it was such a blast. There are gems on that road! Our first stop was Neighborhood Goods– I would love to shop here for gifts for holidays.



Many of the store fronts are beautifully decorated, vying for the next passerby’s attention.

One of my favorite stops was Big Top Candy Shop. I love a vintage candy/soda shop like that.

And of course, we stopped in all the different boot shops! 

Oh, and cannot forget South Congress Books!!
We did have a little (now funny) mishap. It was super hot that day, and I had lathered myself in sunscreen. At some point, my ✨ glisten ✨ turned into straight sweat and the sunscreen ran straight into my right eye. It was annoyingly painful and would not stop watering! I knew my makeup on that eye did not stand a chance, so I ran into a restaurant bathroom to rinse it off. I probably should have taken the other eye makeup off too- because they were hilariously incongruent. But at least my eye wasn’t on fire anymore. We didn’t have time to walk back to the apartment, so I resorted to just keeping my sunglasses on in all the shops. DJ said he didn’t see a big difference between my eyes, and we debated if it was worse wearing my sunglasses indoors or having uneven makeup, ha!

Before we knew it, it was time for dinner. We walked to Central Standard to sit out on their patio.

They are known for their cocktails. I don’t typically order cocktails since the ones I’ve tried have been so sweet, but the waitress recommended the ‘Face Your Fears’ cocktail with mezcal, tequila, aperol, chareu, grapefruit and lemon- so refreshing and not too sweet with a nice smoky flavor! Highly recommend. 

We ordered some delicious oysters. They tasted particularly good given how hot it was outside.

Right before getting the rest of our food, we noticed a wedding was happening right next to us. We watched nearly the whole thing, keeping our conversation at a minimum and a whisper, mesmerized by the ceremony. They had the cutest little pup in the bridal party too. I was getting emotional as the bride walked down the aisle, and I don’t even know the people!!

Back to the food- I ordered a falafel burger which I was obsessssedddd with.

DJ ordered their roasted half chicken- he said it was good but maybe wouldn’t order it again.

After dinner, we walked back to the apartment to give our feet a break and unpack our shopping finds.

Here is a candle we picked up! I also couldn’t resist trying the sour bears from Neighborhood Goods (yum!) & DJ tried the cashews. I really could do some damage in there- I love all the unique finds.

We went on a lovely sunset walk along Ladybird Lake where we had another debate. Right around the time the bats took off, we saw a small swarm of flying creatures above us darting here and there. We had a passionate conversation about whether they were birds or bats. I thought they were bats, and DJ thought the former. Finally some random stranger came near us and said loud enough for us to hear, “those are birds” 🤣. Okay, Deej, you win this one.

Next, we went up to the rooftop for our favorite view of the city! We were saying it was eerily quiet for a Saturday night in Austin. We hypothesized that everyone was just taking the weekend easy with July 4th being the next. But hopefully they didn’t know something we weren’t privy to!

The next morning before dropping DJ off at the airport, we quickly stopped into Gourdough’s Donuts food truck for breakfast. This is another Austin classic.

We sipped on a couple iced coffees while waiting for our order to be called.

These donuts blew away every expectation. We could not believe how good these were. We ordered the Funky Monkey with caramelized bananas, the Mother Clucker with fried chicken over a savory donut (DJ’s favorite & I tried a bite and even liked it- it’s a must order if you like chicken), and the naughty and nice cinnamon donut with honey (the simplest of them all, but very tasty!).

And that wraps up our amazing, amazing weekend together. I was deeply sad the rest of the day after he left and thankful I had clinical the next day to reset and distract my mind.

I’d love to know:

  • If someone visits your city, what is the *must* visit restaurant?

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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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 🙂

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^^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.

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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).

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

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Below is the Dominos.

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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!

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

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& I made sure to say hi to Charlotte.

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I even saw these cuties by the water.

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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.

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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.

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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 🙂

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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

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