Austin Beauty, Wildlife & Eats!

Hey all! Only a few posts until I’m all caught up! Maybe I’ll get the Christmas posts up in time for Christmas in July, haha. Okay getting straight into it- in between indulging in leftovers  and studying over the weekend, I took advantage of nice long walk out on the lake on December 4th. I was greeted by an array of wildlife!

1c385ae5-9195-4cf6-b27d-69b109a632b9cac23789-4e93-41e9-9c13-1b45421124ae53d3abcb-3b10-4d42-a663-d53c6c55f8b31fe4e928-0f00-47f0-9cfa-27da538ed78afe6c0fa6-97d2-405b-94e1-fe8ad1d8c53bI have been shocked by the diverse wildlife in Austin. I didn’t realize so many animals (and reptiles) could reside right in the middle of a big city, but due to the lake and climate it’s suitable to lotsa living creatures. I’ve seen parakeets, swans, cranes, snakes (one I almost stepped on-eeeep!)… the list goes on.


Oh, speaking of which, here are the swans…


This was finals week, and my motivation was at an allll time low. It took everything in me to focus, and I think I was just entirely emotionally depleted by the time the final exam rolled around. I sent this meme to DJ during one point in the week which about summed it up.


December 12th I took my final-final exam! I actually felt like I could physically breathe again when it was over. I have never been more proud of myself or my classmates for making it through a semester. We really did rely on one another to survive, and I think  that was the worst semester of the program (oh please, Dear Jesus, I pray).

December 13th Once DJ finished his last final, he came back, napped for several hours while I blogged and then we went on a walk outside together.


It was the most beautiful evening we’ve seen thus far. I was happy we could experience this together. Definitely kicked off the break on a high note 💓


On Saturday December 14th we had friends in town. We headed into town to go to brunch with them. It never gets old how convenient everything is within walking distance.


It was a stunning morning.


We met at the historic Driskill Hotel that has a restaurant right inside called 1886 Cafe and Bakery. We appreciated the historic car parked out front (That still has to apply for legal registration according to the sticker on the windshield!).


The interior was just spectacular.


I ordered their lady bird omelet with egg whites, spinach, peppers, tomato, onions, goat cheese, country potatoes and breakfast toast. Oh my, was this good! My favorite omelette ever is from Bill’s… but this is taking a very close second.


DJ ordered their Hot-Fried chicken with serrano-buttermilk marinade, two eggs sunny-side up, housemade biscuit, and sausage gravy. He raved about it!


We also took note of their gorgeous lobby before heading out.


We dropped our friends off at the airport and were home by 2 pm. It was a wonderful morning.

After an awesome church service on December 15th, we had coffee with some new friends, Alana and her husband, Kyle. Alana is one of those rare friends where we just clicked instantly. She also blogs so I will link her blog here! Y’all will love it and her- she is one of the most genuine people I have ever met, and I can’t wait to hangout again 😊


Anyway, we went to Brentwood Social House. This is one of the coolest little coffee shops I’ve ever been in, and I’ll definitely return to do some studying next semester. Immediately when we walked in we were hit with the aroma of roasting coffee beans and baking pastries.


The boutiquey decor was adorable too.


We enjoyed some great conversation over coffee and treats then headed home to get ready for a food shoot in the afternoon (where I go to a restaurant and take pics to promote them on social media). That’ll take a post of its own! Thanks for reading!!

Questions for you: 

  • Anyone still have their Christmas tree up?
  • What’s something you are looking forward to this week?

xo <3


54 thoughts on “Austin Beauty, Wildlife & Eats!

  1. The tortoises (or are they turtles? I can never tell them apart!) queuing on the branch is so cute!

    And the photo of hot fried chicken is making me hungry! And like yourself, I too am just a few posts until I’m all caught up…if only I can find the time trying to juggle blogging and working fulltime… 😉


  2. Those walks look beautiful… I need one haha! And your new friends sound awesome, I love it when you just click with someone! How cool that Alana blogs too… I’ll definitely be sure to check her out. Thanks Mack, have a great week!

    1. Hi, beauty!! It really is the best- I feel such relief that I finally have a friend here since all my colleagues are online, lol! Thanks so much for reading <3 <3

  3. I hope finals went well and the hardest semester is behind you. Also I hope DJ is enjoying his program!

    Okay so that hotel is GORGEOUS! Wow oh wow! I would want to sit there and just gaze at all of the details for an absurd amount of time.

    Technically speaking our Christmas tree is down (because we didn’t get one this year due to space) but every other piece of Christmas decor is up. This happens alllll the time lol. I don’t have other decorations to put out and I think our place will feel kind of sad!

    1. Thank you, Maureen!! While this semester is intense too, I already am enjoying it more!

      I was stunned by that hotel! I had no idea it was so beautifully decked out- so I was glad the other couple suggested that restaurant located in their lobby!

      I love that!! We didn’t put up a tree this year either due to space, so we are all in the same boat! I still haven’t hung a single thing on the wall since moving in last summer, haha. Hope you had a nice weekend!! Thanks for stoppin’ in, Maureen 🙂

      1. I’m glad you’re enjoying this semester even if it’s intense!

        Hanging stuff is annoying so I get it! You have to think about all the options and I don’t want to put too many holes in the wall so I second guess every spot lol. Have a great week!

      2. YES exactly! hahah. Especially since we will be moving in about a year and a half I’m not even sure it makes sense to hang much. Maybe I’ll just use some command strips (but likely, everything will sit on floor till we move, lol). Have a great weekend, Maureen!

      3. Yesss! they were a life saver in college, but then we thought we were going to be in CA for a long time so basically nailed everything in. Going to have to stock up on them soon & give this place a bit more warmth!

  4. Girl you are making me want to visit Austin something fierce! Seriously your pictures are GORGEOUS! I am SO proud of you! Congrats on finishing your exams! This semester is DEFINITELY going to be easier! YOU got this beauty! I NEED to go to that cafe! Oh my lanta! It looks absolutely spectacular! Yay for new friends and blogging ones at that! (*Goes to check her blog out!*) Seriously all these coffee shops make me want to go! (Yes I totally judge a place by its coffee…ooops) That looks SO cute! And it is so funny you posted your last question, because that was my Instagram post for today! And yes our tree is STILL up! Lol. I hope you are having an amazing week sweets! <3

    1. YES COME VISIT! I may have my nose in a book, but we can hangout in coffee shops- Austin has MANY of them! You would loooove. Thank you so so much for your sweet words. You have been one of the biggest cheerleaders of mine over these last few years- and I cannot tell you how much it means <3

      haha I loveee that your tree is still up! I hope it STILL is even though I'm getting to this comment a few days later. Can't wait to read that post. Have a wonderful week, beauty!!!

  5. Woahhh those pictures are gorgeous! I would want to be outside 24/7 if I lived there!

    Both restaurants look amazing! I love the look of the one in the hotel!

    This year we just put up a small table top tree with a few of our favorite ornaments. I finally took the time this past weekend to take the ornaments off the tree and put the tree away. I still have some random decorations out around the house though!

    Something I am looking forward to this week is seeing one of my best friends that I haven’t seen since my wedding back in August! I love spending time with her and catching up.

    I hope the start of your semester goes well!!!

    1. Hi Em! It’s so beautiful- It is something I did not expect, but I definitely try to get outside whenever I can 😍 I think next year we will do a table top tree because we don’t have room in this apartment for an actual tree . Hmmmm- I like that idea! We didn’t do one at all this year and it was a bit sad !

      Awwww I hope you all had a wonderful time!! 💓 thanks for stopping in, Em!

  6. Mack, it’s so lovely to reconnect with you and see how you’re doing. Congrats on completing your finals––what an amazing accomplishment. If you haven’t yet paused to acknowledge yourself, I highly recommend that you do this. 🙂
    Brentwood Social House looks excellent….love that you’re making new friends in Austin.

    I have a warm spot in my heart for you. Know that I’m sending you and DJ lots of joy for the coming year.

    With love,

    1. Aww you too, Debbie 🤗 thank you tons!!! I so appreciate your sweet wishes, and I send you lots of joy for this coming year as well ❤️ Have a beautiful week, dear friend!

  7. Your photos are absolutely breathtaking!! I’ll keep saying it: you have such a good eye for photography. <3 I was unaware of the diverse animal life in Austin too! You captured some lovely creatures. Girllll, all of the food looks and sounds phenomenal! I'm in love with the decor at both cafes. So unique and very well executed. Congratulations on such a job well done on your final!!! I'm so proud of you, friend! xo

    1. Oh my gosh, thank youuuu!!!! 😭❤️ one thing I was really nervous about leaving in CA was my walking route, but I’m so thankful this one is even better! You would love love love 1886. If I had to suggest one place for you to go personally in Austin for brunch that’d be it! So many excellent options on their menu, so we’ll have to go back. Thank you tons! While this semester is still insanely time consuming, I am enjoying it way more already 😊 thanks for stopping in, Kori!! Have the best week! 💞

  8. Your nature walk is stunning and funny, whether it is in Texas or in Michigan, it is always a lowly heron standing like a soldier in the water, not moving a muscle and the turtles on a log sunning themselves. Your weather is more conducive for turtles sunning than ours which have long ago buried down under the silt at the bottom of the Creek bed. I like both your breakfasts though DJ’s with the hot chicken and sausage gravy definitely piqued my interest. I did not put a tree u but going to next year as it was a little too bare without any touches of Christmas around except a few ornaments.

    1. Thank you, Linda! I thought of you when I saw the Heron! I think your blog has actually made me more aware of them. They are pretty beautiful little creatures. We are in the same boat- We skipped this year too, but next year we’ll have to do something as well!

      1. You’re welcome Mackenzie – I am glad my blog is making you see those beautiful creatures. It is great that you can see them all-year around due to the warm weather and enjoy them when you are running. It’s a real treat after your eyes start running together from reading books all day!

  9. I love being able to take pictures of wildlife. That’s awesome that there is so much there. Great pictures! My city (Lakeland, FL) is known for the swans. We have swans everywhere here (real and sculptures/statues). Amazing sunset pictures!! I still have my Christmas tree up. I keep saying I’m going to take it down, but it’s still standing. LOL 😛 Maybe for real this weekend.

    1. Ahhh I bet that is a gorgeous site 😍 🦢

      I loveee that you still have it up ( or do you since I’m so late to responding to this comment 😆) thanks for stopping in, Ashley! Have a great day!

  10. Oh my gosh, I just read this!! BRB, need to go cry happy tears. We totally clicked and I can’t wait to hang out more! We just have to make it through this day at a time..trying not to cry unhappy tears..haha!

    We took down our Christmas tree the day we got back from visiting family…might have been an overly ambitious task with also unpacking and doing laundry but it’s done! We also put away the Christmas mugs which was the real heartbreaker.

    1. Awww! <3 I'm glad you felt the same--- I really want to try that pizza spot you mentioned, so when we find our footing in this semester we have to go!!!

      That sounds like the way to do it though- all in one fell swoop! Putting away the Christmas mugs is the worst part! Thanks for reading, Alana ! <3

  11. I love looking at your photos because it takes me back to my college days in Austin haha
    I am TERRIFIED of snakes so I’m glad I never saw one when I lived there!
    I’m glad to hear you survived finals week!
    & that omlette looks delicious!

    1. Awwww that makes me so happy!! And yeah i have only seen that one, but I almost stepped on it. Was not fun! Thanks for stopping in, Karalee!

    1. I have been so wowed by the sunsets here!! I did not realize how beautiful Austin could be. Have a great weekend too, Amy 🙂 (and I hope your last weekend was great as well since I am a bit late to this 🙂 )

  12. I feel like we’re visiting these coffee shops TOGETHER by the way you write! <3 I wish I was truly with you. <3 Your signature is also so beautiful btw. 😉 You're such a gifted writer (and photographer!!!!!), I loved reading your post. <3

    1. Awwww!!! Dani!!!!! Seeing this comment from you just made my whole darn day. I love that you feel like you are with me- and oh my goooodness, I wish you were actually here too! Thank you for reading. It means so much you would take the time, I’d never expect it, but this is so special! Love you! <3

  13. How fun that you run into so many different creatures! & the photos you took on your walk with DJ are all so beautiful, such pretty colors.

    The historic car is so cute– interesting that it still needs to be registered. The breakfast looks delish & wow, that interior! 😍

    Thanks for sharing your friend’s blog. I definitely gave her a follow! 😊 The coffee shop looks so homey. I am in love with it. Can’t wait to read more updates from you!

    1. Hunida!! That walk was something special, maybe I just appreciated the beauty even more because I wasn’t all stressed for once, hehe.

      Aww thanks for giving her a follow! This reminds me I need to go back to that coffee shop soon- there was so much there I wanted to try! Thanks for stopping in 🙂 Hope you are having a great weekend <3

  14. Oh my gosh all of the wildlife is so gorgeous and picturesque!! The interior of Brentwood is such my style, I absolutely love it!!! – I so wish I still had my christmas tree up, my living room seems so empty and boring without one! Hope you are having a fabulous week sweetie xxx

    1. The nature around here is like therapy! I so look forward to going on walks and seeing what will wildlife will be out and about 🙃 thanks for stopping in, Chloe!!! 💓 hope you are having a great start to the weekend!

  15. I love how you and DJ roll – even when on pressure from school and exams, you guys take the time to enjoy the beauty around you, as well as Eat good food!

    Austin wildlife is just amazing – love those turtles! That shot of them all in a row on that log is priceless!

    1. Thank you so much, friend! We haven’t done as great of a job of finding that balance as of late, but we are always trying to do better!! It makes all the difference when we prioritize taking a break for studying!!

      Glad you like the turtle shot too 😊 I have never seen so many until we moved here! Have a great Saturday 💓

  16. Austin wildlife looks gorgeous! I love the beautiful sunset pictures! 1886 looks AMAZING…the next time we make it to Austin I think we will have to make a pit stop. Oh my gosh it looks so good!! Definitely missing the quirky restaurants and delicious BBQ in Austin!

    1. Hi, Jess! I just can’t get over truly how beautiful Austin is. I never expected that! And yes yes yes- you will love 1886! There are still so many items on their menu I’m eager to try. Have a great rest of your weekend ! Thank you for stopping in 💓

    1. Hi, K! I am so so happy to hear . Hopefully I’ll be getting more posts out soon with even more suggestions and Austin exploration . Thanks for stopping in- and welcome to the city!!

Let's chat!

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.