The Texas Capitol, Sandy’s & Joann’s!

Hi All! How are ya? I am safely back in Austin. I still cannot believe how quickly a full month went by. I’m definitely still processing through some emotions while diving into this next semester. It is nice to be home though. Oh! some great news- I found out my clinical placement. It’s an hour away, but I’m just so stinkin’ thankful I won’t have to live in a different city this summer.

In this post I’m finishing up our fun little staycation spring break from early March (pre-lockdown, etc.).

After getting some poke, we dropped our car off at our apartment then walked to the Texas State Capitol for a little self-guided tour.


Jus’ look at the beauty!


Driving down South Congress and seeing the State Capitol bookend the road is probably my favorite site in the city. If you are curious to read more about the history of the capitol, there is a lot of great info here. 


I think the the most interesting part was seeing the House of Reps and the Senate Chambers.


It was pretty neat seeing this national historic landmark.

That afternoon, this package of Magic Spoon cereal came in the mail. I ordered it after hearing about it on a podcast. It’s created based off childhood favorite cereals, but with more protein and cleaner ingredients.


Our consensus: It was worth the try with the discounted promo code, but we probably won’t pay full price to order again. It’s a nice idea in concept, but didn’t quite translate. It tasted very “protein-ey” and actually kinda sat like a brick in my stomach. I liked the blueberry flavor the most of all of them and the chocolate wasn’t bad either!

Once we unpacked our cereal, we rested our feet for a bit (our dogs were barkiiin’). After a while, spurred on by the heat of the day, we decided to try out the cute little local spot Sandy’s we’ve been eyeing since we moved here.


They are particularly known for their hamburgers and frozen custard. We went to try out the custard this time.


I hate to give a negative review, but it was just not our cup of tea. We love a more creamy custard than the frozen. Andy’s is where it’s at 😉 Next time DJ said he’ll have to try one of their burgers!

In the evening, we went to dinner at Joann’s Fine Foods on a whim. This restaurant is on South Congress. You can’t miss the distinctive red lips and bright neon sign.


They always have the wittiest little sayings up on their letter board too.


The interior was retro and fun! It makes me wanna go back one summer day in the afternoon and grab a milkshake with DJ while sitting on those stools.


This time, we opted to sit outside to enjoy the beautifully balmy evening. It was one of those dinners we won’t forget- everything about the night was wonderful. The fact that both DJ and I had nothing too heavy hanging over our heads at the moment, the endless laughter through the evening, the perfect weather, the vibe of the restaurant and the delicious food- an Austin night that will be cherished!


Joann’s has all these adorable little touches too- I love the little lips on the napkin.


We started with margaritas and their queso and chips- yuummmy! In our queso rankings it is up there- we debated where it would fall- I think better than Gabriela’s, but maybe just below El Alma’s (I think that’s still my favorite!).


They also brought out some complimentary biscuits- they were good, but the butter they served it with was necessary. The butter was salted with pink Himalayan sea salt if I had to guess.


DJ had their barbacoa tacos that he loved.


And I had one of the all time greatest salads I have ever ordered from a restaurant- the Rainbow Salad with lettuce, fresh veggies, avocado, toasted almonds, cilantro & mint, grated carrot & ginger dressing. The flavors, textures and freshness of it all was satisfying as could be! I’m thankful this is still something on their to-go menu right now.


We decided to keep walking around town since it was such a gorgeous night. We went all the way to Rainey St., thinking we would be the only ones out and about that late, but we were not!


The next day, we wanted to go on a big hike. We drove all the way to Hamilton Pool Preserve, which was about 45 minutes away. When we arrived we realized you had to have a reservation to go into the park- whoops! Now we know. We’ll be back with a reservation ready. I quickly looked up other nature spots we could visit, and Mt. Bonnell is supposed to be one of the best hikes in Austin. We drove straight there and jumped out of the car. I know there are great spots outside and around the city to get a true hike in, but this was more of an outlook just as an FYI!


The views were still awesome though and we were glad we went!


Immediately after, we decided to go see a matinee at the Alamo Drafthouse. As we were pulling into the theater, I received the first word about the Boston Marathon being postponed. I cried a bit in the car, then pulled myself together enough to head in. I felt silly shedding tears over something like a race when much bigger devastation was/is happening. But again, I’m so thankful it’s postponed and not entirely cancelled.


We were the only ones in the theater when we arrived, so we ordered up a storm of food.


We got some yummy sours, chips and queso, a massive chicken sandwich for DJ and a vegan pizza for me.


I lucked out getting these pics before anyone walked in, hah. It was all so delish! I love the variety of food options at the Alamo & the fact that they have an entire vegan menu.

We saw the movie 1917. If you haven’t seen it, you must. It’s phenomenal. The thing that amazed me about it was the exquisitely simple plot that had a stunningly poignant impact on the viewer. The cinematography is breathtaking as well. I’ll leave the trailer here (idea from Maureen who shares trailers that always pique my interest!).

Question for you: 

  • It seems many new shows have been released lately! What are you watching?

*I finished up LTYH, and I was not super interested the last couple episodes. This last episode was especially over-produced. But I am a huge Rudi fan- hoping she will continue to bless us with her voice now that the show is over.

Have a great rest of the week! Hope y’all are doing well.

xo <3


51 thoughts on “The Texas Capitol, Sandy’s & Joann’s!

    1. Aw thank you so much, Kathy. You have no idea how much that means to me! So glad you enjoy the posts. Hope you are doing well 🙂

  1. I’m so happy you made it home safe and sound! That’s awesome your clinical placement is close so you don’t need to move for the summer.

    That frozen custard and the queso looks so good!

    It sucks that Boston postponed the marathon but your feelings are valid! I feel like people think they can’t be upset or sad over missing out on something (a race, a trip, a wedding shower, etc.) because of everything going on because “someone has it worse right now”. And that’s fair but everyone needs to feel their feelings for a bit before moving on. That’s just my opinion though!

    So this isn’t a new show but I watched Marvelous Mrs. Maisel on Amazon Prime and loved it! Now I’m watching the new season of Dead to Me on Netflix.

    1. Maureeen!! I was just thinking about you today and how it feels like forever since we’ve chatted. School is kickin’ my behind at the moment– so I’ve been entirely MIA from everything else. How are you doing ?

      Aw thank you so much for saying that about the marathon <3 Gosh, it has been emotional coping with that- I'm just praying praying I get into the 2021 race.

      Marvelous Mrs. Maisel is so good! How is the new Dead to me? I haven't started it yet, but I watched the first season and enjoyed it!

  2. Love the queso! All the food looked delicious! I have been binge watching Bosch! I know its an older show they are already on Season 3. Its very good – kind of slow but in a good smart way and I love the house Bosch lives in! LA scenes are great too. Have a good week Mackenzie ❤️

    1. Hi Kalpana! Ohhh I actually just heard of Bosch a couple months ago- I have to give it a go! Writing it down now so I remember! Thank you for sharing with me. And have a wonderful rest of your weekend 🙂 I hope you are doing well <3

  3. Glad you made it home safely and got good news for your placement!! Your photos make me so excited to be able to travel and eat at a restaurant again in the future! Something to look forward to 🙂

    We just got Hulu (we are super late to the club haha) so we’ve been trying to figure out what to watch. I really enjoyed Everything’s Gonna Be Okay and Tacoma FD. We also watched all of Boy Meets World on Disney + which was a fun throwback!

    1. Thank you so much, Hayley! <3 I am with you on the traveling- cannot wait!!

      Haha how great is Hulu?! Those sound like some great options! Hope you are doing well 🙂 Thanks for stopping in!

  4. Thanks for the recap on the cereal! I’m a hugeee cereal lover so this sounded like a good idea, but I’ll probably pass on trying it.

    I’m with ya on being more of a creamy custard kinda girl! We had some over the weekend and it was so yummy!

    The Alamo Drafthouse looks amazing! I love movie theaters where you can order food! We have one a little ways from where I live but it’s worth the drive. My parents saw 1917 and were raving about it!

    We have been rewatching Grey’s Anatomy so that’s been taking up a lot of our time lately. We keep trying to watch Ozark but it’s a little too slow for me. 

    1. Yes, good choice- I wouldn’t really recommend the cereal- just not worth the money- much better traditional options!

      Yesss so hard to beat creamy custard!

      The eat in movie theaters are definitely worth the drive! So fun!

      Aww love Grey’s <3 Have a great rest of your weekend, Em :)

  5. Hi Mackenzie. I’m glad to hear you made it home and are well. I don’t watch much TV or movies but I thought I would recommend (even though I haven’t seen it yet) a film just released on Amazon Prime.
    It was written and produced but WP blogger Mitch Teemley. I don’t know if you follow him but thought the movie might be one you would enjoy since it gets good reviews and is Christian based. Also Mitch is from Ohio I believe.

    1. Hi Ruth- Thank you soo much for sharing this with me- I watched the trailer and it looks phenomenal! I hope I can find some time to watch it soon! Hope you are doing well

      1. So good to hear from you Mackenzie. I’ve missed your posts and have been wondering if everything is ok with you. I pray that you are well and perhaps just too busy to write.

      2. Aw thank you so much, Ruth ❤️ That means a lot! Definitely was one of the busiest summers. Hope you are well!

  6. As always, your food looks delicious!! I am with you on the creamy custard! We just finished watching Little Fires Everywhere, and are currently watching the second season of Dead to me.

    1. How do you like the new season? I haven’t watched it yet, but weirdly I haven’t heard much about it either!

      1. Ohhh awesome- I have to watch soon! I actually have some down time the next week, and this would be the perfect time to watch!

  7. Glad you made it back after your month away Mackenzie. As usual all the food looks wonderful and I thought the Rainbow Salad looked tasty. As to the frozen custard at Sandy’s, we have a place called Bob Jo’s Frozen Custard that has been in business for around a 1/2 century – it opened last weekend and the opening made the newspapers. It is always a big deal when it opens and people line up into the next street to be there on the first day. So it made the newspapers as people were there wearing masks and waiting to pop them up to eat their cone which looked as big as yours does. It does go down smooth, I’ll tell ya, though it has been about as many years for eating it as going to a show or watching TV … oh well. Glad you had a little breather and enjoyed your state.

    1. Thank you so much, Linda! I would love to visit Bob Jo’s ! It sounds like a true classic. Places like that with such history are truly special. I’m glad they were able to find a way to open and keep people safe too!

      1. You are so right Mackenzie – it has been a staple in the Downriver area of SE Michigan for years … the opening date always makes the newspaper every year. They showed pictures of folks lining up and masked up, then pulling the mask down to eat. I hope you are enjoying some treats in between hitting the books. Stay safe Mackenzie.

  8. That Capitol building is just stunning and those views from Mt. Bonnell look amazing! So much yummy looking food! I haven’t watched 1917 yet, but it’s on my list to see. I haven’t been watching much lately since we finished up The Umbrella Academy. We started The Gifted, which is based on X-men, but I’ve been doing more reading so we are slowly moving through them.

    1. Glad you enjoyed the views too! 🙂 And yess- 1917 is amazing, hope you can watch soon! I haven’t heard of the The Gifted but sounds interesting- going to look into it! Thanks for stopping in, Amy 🙂 Hope you are well!

  9. So glad to hear you are back in Austin, Mack! Have been thinking of and praying for you so am thrilled to hear that your placement is not quite as far away …

    How is DJ doing? Your mom is fairly close by as well, right?

    I saw your sign for Chile Relleno – haven’t had that in ages so that brought back some taste memories! The nacos & tacos looked fab as I have a very soft spot for those and we haven’t got a great TexMex or CalMex or Mex place here. Ah! Thank goodness I have your photos to eat vicariously through!

    Keep well, stay safe. Sending you a big hug!

    1. Hi Ju Lyn! I’m sorry to be responding to your comment nearly a month later! I do feel I’m a bit in “survival mode” right now with school, so your thoughts and prayers truly mean the world <3 DJ is doing well! He's doing his internship from home, which I'm so thankful for. He's working on a challenging summer project, but I know he's going to do so well with it. And yes! My mom is about 3 hours away- I may have to stay with them for about a month this fall for my pediatrics rotation for clinical actually! (Just waiting to hear from one last Austin site to be sure).

      And isn't Chile Relleno soo yummy? I will never forget my first one- actually in New Mexico!

      Sending you a huge hug too! How are you and your family doing? <3

      1. It is soooooooo lovely to hear from you, Mack! You have just made my day!
        It is indeed great to hear you are well, and that DJ is home. Will continue to pray safety and health, and good progress with your studies for you.

        How funny! I first had Chile Relleno in Albuquerque! I love New Mexico for all sorts of reasons, but the food, of course, is divine!

      2. Aww thank you, Ju Lyn! You are the sweetest friend. I can’t tell you how much it means that you care and would take the time to reach out.

        Ok that’s too funny about the chile relleno!! Mine was in Albuquerque specifically for the first time too! I agree- the food is absolutely incredible there.

        How are you doing?!

      3. We are all well, Mack. Summer break is over and Husband (teacher) and Older Daughter (college student) are headed back for the semester, so the household will adjust to meet their needs.

        We are grateful for the low-key few months we’ve had together.

      4. I’m glad to hear all is well! Is your daughter’s college open for all students? I hope she is having a smooth adjustment into the school year. That’s wonderful you were able to have such great quality family time this summer <3

      5. Daughter’s college is open – some of her classes are online and some she attends. I think they are trying to keep classes small.

        We did have an amazing summer!

        Hope life is veering towards some degree of normality for you & DJ.

      6. I hope it’s all going well with the new adjustment! And so glad to hear you had a nice summer! Can’t believe we are already heading into the fall. This semester is intense as ever, but I am just loving my clinicals and what I’m learning, which gives me that motivation to make it through! Hope you are having a great week Ju Lyn! 🙂

      7. Hey Mack! I know you must be swamped with work and life …. wanted to drop a line to let you know I am thinking of you and keeping you all in prayer. Hugs!

      8. Thank you so much, Ju Lyn! You guessed it- “Swamped” is absolutely the word I would described for how we felt this summer with everything… thankful to be coming up for air for the next little bit. Your prayers mean the world. Sending hugs your way too!! I’m very thankful for you, friend.

  10. I can’t believe I hadn’t checked for Mack post until now! Love how much adventure you two pack into a short period. The tour looks so intriguing! I love the food you all enjoyed, but I’m with you about wanting creamy ice cream and custard rather than icy. I’m so sorry about the hike, but kudos to you all for finding an alternate place to visit! My heart still goes out to you for the Boston Marathon being postponed. I so understand your sadness!!

    PS: That hotel sign looks a little…phallic. Just me? Ha!

    1. Kori!! I have been soooo MIA (in basically every area of my life) since this semester started- but finally having the chance to jump back on here. Thank you for your comment!

      Yes, creamy custard alll the way! We wanted to love Sandy’s because it was so cute, but just not quite our style. Thank you for sweet words about the marathon too <3

      And hahahhah YES, 10000%. That was my first thought when I initially saw it- I think I said something to DJ and he said he didn't think it was intentional- but Austin is known for their oddities, so I wouldn't be surprised, lol!

  11. I’m happy to read that you made it home safely, Mackenzie & that you won’t have to live in another city this semester. ♡ Although, it does sound kind kind of fun to do that every once in awhile– especially in places like New Orleans!

    The cereal boxes are so cute… sorry they didn’t taste as good though. I’m not sure the protein content the Mom’s Best brand has but, their cereals are soooo good, based off our favorite childhood ones but BETTER tasting & WAY better for you. Give them a try!! 🙂

    Ahhhh!! I love everything about Jo Ann’s!!! The lips everywhere are SO cute & their interior!!! 😍 That salad you got sound absolutely refreshing & those margaritas are callin’ my name lol. The way you described the night sounds so lovely, too. ♡♡

    We haven’t been to a movie in such a long time & we have only been to the one that serves food once. We need to do that again sometime! The chicken sandwich looks yummo! ♡ glad you were able to take the pics & that you enjoyed the film. I had never heard of it & I can’t figure out what show you are talking about the very bottom. LTYH?

    1. Thank you so much, Hunida! <3

      Ohhh I have not heard of the mom's Best brand!! I am going to definitely try them out next time I find some! Maybe I could order some through Amazon... hmm gonna check it out, thanks for the suggestion!

      yes yes Jo Ann's was the BEST. That was one of the last *normal* nights we had and we reflect on it so fondly.

      Ohhh LTYH stands for listen to your heart... the silly reality TV show from the Bachelor franchise. Hahah. In this moment you can't argue with my basicness 😉 lol!!

    1. Thanks Jess 🙂 And I SO agree. This year is flying by! I honestly can’t wait to get out of it, lol.

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