Hellloo! How are ya?! I am poppin’ in here to my biannual blog post (hah!), but for real with the pace I’m moving this year, it is not far from the truth. Anywayyy, I just wrapped up my fall semester and am back in Austin! Oh real quick- I was having some security concerns with the blog, so it was offline entirely for about a week, but I think we’ve got it figured out now. Fingers crossed! Also, WP- what the heck is this new block editor? I am not a tech savvy one, so this whole new format is intimidating me, haha.
So, I’m not sure where to begin. This year has been heavy & soo challenging- emotionally, physically, mentally. Every time someone asks “how are you?”, it is hard to answer honestly. And I know my problems are minuscule in comparison to what others are experiencing right now…But I do empathize if it has been an extra tough year for you too. I’m hoping the next few posts can highlight some of the good that has occurred this year though. And I do think I’m now in a better head space than I’ve been in for a while. Also, I always think I’m generally more thankful when I blog because it really does help me focus on the good even in the most difficult times. So I say it is time to get back to it!!
Shall we rewind to April? I believe that’s where I left off, LOL. Since early on in this thing we were using primarily Instacart for groceries, we tried foods from different stores we haven’t tried before. One of the delicious finds from Central Market was this vegan calamari. Of all vegan foods, vegan seafood always makes me a bit wary (and I eat seafood, so I usually just get the real thing), but this was surprisingly yummy!
The highlight of our days between studying was taking walks around Austin.
At this time I was going through the process of getting everything ready for my RN travel assignment in New Orleans.
On April 10th, We decided to have a last “date night in” before I was scheduled to leave that Monday. I was craving Italian food, so we checked out some take out menus and settled on North Italia. We started with their white truffle garlic bread <– have you ever seen so many tasty words strewn together?
It was out of this world delicious!!!
For their pizza, we tried the Bianca with smoked mozzarella, aged provolone, ricotta, arugula, and lemon oil. Just like the monster cookie from Henbit, this touch of lemon oil was a unique and tasty ingredient I would not have thought would go so well on pizza.
For my main dish, I ordered the squid ink malfaldine with white shrimp, calamari, acqua pazza, mint, fennel pollen, and calabrian chili. This was good, but actually a little bit dry. I think it could have done with a bit more sauce, then maybe would be perfect! You could tell the pasta was high quality.
DJ tried their burrata tortellini with cherry tomato, basil, pecorino, and rustic tomato sauce. He loved it!
While running some quick errands before my trip to NOLA, I decided to stop by Cuvee coffee as I noticed they had an outdoor to-go coffee bar.
This was easily, hands-down, one of the best cups of coffee I think I’ve ever had. Definitely the best coffee in Austin yet. It reminded me of Facebook’s insanely good Saint Frank coffee a little bit!
On Easter morning, we watched church while enjoying a breakfast of omelettes and english muffins.
Easter was gorgeous! I was feeling a bit anxious awaiting my departure to New Orleans, but tried to be present soaking up the day with DJ.
We also Facetimed family that day which was awesome and helped alleviate the nerves a bit.
Below is a picture from our evening walk.
Although I was scheduled and ready to go Monday, the hospital moved back my start day one day, so I had an extra day at home before heading out. We ordered a few meals from Snap Kitchen so DJ would have leftovers for the week. I also tried to do some food prep and froze a few different meals to have on hand too.
This meal was okay- not sure we will order from Snap again, but was definitely worth the try!
Thanks for stopping in 🙂
Question for you:
- Please tell me how you have been/any life updates on your end!
42 thoughts on “North Italia & Snap Kitchen!”
Austin in April is wonderful! All your food pics made me hungry….need to figure out something yummy to make for dinner tonight. I was just in Austin last weekend for a visit to the Lake Austin Spa. If you can swing it, do something great for yourself and head on over there. 🙂
Hi Pam! Thank you for stopping in 🙂 April in Austin is so pretty, I agree! Thank you so much for the suggestion for Lake Austin Spa- I am going to look into it! That sounds like a perfect in between semester treat.
Hiya! It’s great to see you blogging again. Your pics are great!
Thank you so much, Kathy!! 🙂 Good to hear from you!
Drooling drooling …
Thank you for the reminder of how beautiful spring is in Austin! It is good you have lovely places to regain sanity!
Can’t wait to hear all about your adventures in New Orleans (another one of my favourite places!).
Meanwhile, safe & restful week ahead!
Aw so glad you enjoyed beautiful Austin through this post! Thank you- Have a safe and restful week too 🙂
Mackenzie!!!!! Always soooooooo excited to see a blog post from you pop up in my reader feed! 🙂 Your pictures are perfection, as always; and I want to try allllll that food!!! Ha, ha.
So life lately… Summer was good actually. We got to travel a bit to the mountains and spent a ton of time outdoors. My head space is struggling a bit these days, because I’m dreading winter. COVID numbers are already going up, as are restrictions. And the cold weather is coming, so thank goodness for the bright holidays to ward off the funk. Ha, ha. So I’m focusing on Thanksgiving and Christmas with my family, and we’ll just keep taking it all one day at a time. Trying to focus on silver linings and all the blessings instead of seeing the restrictions right now. 😉 We’re all happy and healthy, so I can’t complain. If anything, this year has been a lesson in being grateful for what we have, for sure!
It was SO great to read a blog post from you!!!! Stay well! 🙂
Nicole!! Hi friend!! Thank you for your sweet words and all the blog support always!! I am so happy to hear you all had a good summer! Getting time away in the mountains sounds magical. I am with you on the concern over the COVID spikes.. but you are so right-holidays can bring in that brightness even if things look a little untraditional. We put our tree up extra early for that very reason! I hope you have the best holiday season and soak up that time with the family 🙂 I agree this year has been a lesson in gratefulness and appreciating the small things. Thank you again for stopping in 🙂 Have a great week ahead!!
looks like things have been busy and crazy for you. Glad to hear you are back home now. Yes, blogging does help put things in perspective and lets you focus on the positives of life.
Hi Lori! It certainly has been a bit of a rollercoaster year. Thankful to have some time home again now! I hope you are well!
It’s good to see you back here Mackenzie … happy to see you are getting a breather in your hectic schedule. You sure deserve it. Here it was Easter time and already the height of the pandemic and now it is nearly Thanksgiving with nearly the same scenario. Sigh. Thank goodness for technology so you can still see DJ and other family members when time permits, but kudos for technology so I can view the delicious-looking treats, especially the white truffle garlic bread. Wishing I could savor some right now! The reflections in the water photos was amazing. Enjoy your time off – hope to see some more posts while you’re off.
Thank you, Linda 🙂 It is sad to think not much has changed since then. I don’t know what we would have done without technology through this time! The white truffle garlic bread was the star of the show in my opinion- mm mm. Wish it would ship well so I could send you some! I am hoping to get more posts written up in the next couple weeks! It feels really really good to be back on WP- thanks for your comment, Linda!
Yes, thank goodness for technology Mackenzie – can you imagine the Spanish flu pandemic? The lack of information on what was going on, though probably they had newspapers, but nothing like technology we have today. That bread did look yummy. I heard that baking your own bread was one of the biggest accomplishments for many people during the pandemic. I would guess blogging would be relaxing after the pace you’ve been going the past few years, not to mention being immersed in COVID situations as part of your rotation.
Oh my gosh, I cannot imagine!
I have heard that about the bread too- I did not get on that bread-baking train, but it all looked really delicious!!
Yes, absolutely. I have started studying for boards and head back to Fort Worth in a few weeks to start another clinical, but I am hoping to get more posts up soon! I just love having some time in blog world. Not quite like the old days, but I hope that after school and when I’m back in a work routine I can devote more time to it! 🙂
Well rest your mind in the meantime Mackenzie. Studying for boards already?! I want to say how fast it has gone by, but that is not right for me to say because you have had an excruciating two years – it is two, not three, correct? I would miss blogging too and have vowed to cut down to two posts a week in the new year – right now three is too much because I usually have long, picture-laden posts and I catch up in Reader so infrequently … I will do that until I can organize myself and my pictures (many) a little better.
You are correct (about the timeline and about it flying by!!!). It is about 2 years plus a semester. I am studying for boards a little early since I still have a semester, but I think it will help me as a solid review moving into the last clinical rotation 🙂
And I’m sure your readers (including myself) are thankful for whatever you would like to share! I have noticed over the years how my blogging time has had to ebb and flow, but I have always been amazed at the loyalty of this community. Also, speaking of new year— how are we already close to a new year? I am thankful- I am ready to be out of 2020- but wow!
OK, I see – you have crammed a lot of studies into the time that I’ve known you. I started following you around the time you were starting school. I have to cut back on blogging after the new year – my picture files are groaning with photos taken but not used and some not sorted out. I have to get organized again. Right now a few people are on blogging breaks, but here I am, three days behind again. The blogging has renewed my interest in photography – I said I’d learn to shoot manual, not automatic in 2020, but just too much going on this year to concentrate on understanding it. I am grateful to exit 2020 and hope 2021 is better.
I totally understand that!! Blogging renewed my interest in photography too 🙂 I have always had the intention to learn manual too- but have not quite made it around to it yet either. I am grateful to exit 2020 too. Praying for better days ahead.
That’s for sure – you’ll have time for learning that DSLR once you’re out of school and acclimated to your job. Then, stages for “re-entry” … back to having more free time, blogging and any other hobbies or items you have basically given up the past few years due to your studies.
Yes I do hope so!! It feels so far away from having the normalcy. Thanks for the positive outlook – I needed that ☺️
Yes, it’s all we can hope for – a return to normalcy. Though I was listening to an interview with CNN’s Jake Tapper and Bill Gates and he said normalcy as we knew it in January 2020 would not be realized until next Summer, maybe into 2022 if people don’t take the vaccine or the vaccine does not make its way into the poorer countries.
Oh wow… That feels so far away. I guess we all just have to continue doing what we can, one day at a time. We live in the strangest time. I was watching a show with DJ where friends were getting coffee- no masks, chatting- it made me so nostalgic and sad we can’t do that. But hopefully soon! Even if it’s another year soon- the promise of getting back there is encouraging!
Yes, we are so immersed in our safe practices now, that looking back at pictures does make you nostalgic for how easy we had it. Maybe the medical experts overestimate the time for “normalcy” so that if it arrives sooner rather than later, we’ll be joyful for that.
Yes agreed. It does feel like there is such hope with having the vaccines rolling out. I have some nurse friends that work in COVID ICUs who received it already!
That’s great your friends got it already. With the Moderna vaccine getting approved by the FDA today, that is great news – twice the vaccines will be available shortly.
Yes such great news!!
Hello my sweet friend! So glad to hear you are doing well even though it’s been somewhat tough for you.
We are doing great. And I have two girlfriends (age 62) who participated in two different vaccine trials. They are both doing well and did not get the placebos. They are immune for now and being followed to see how long the immunity lasts.
That’s amazing and hopeful news!
Stay strong my friend! 🙏🏻
Nancy!! Hi!!! So good to hear from you 🙂 I am soo glad to hear all is well. And wow- that is AMAZING to hear they are doing well after the vaccine!! I love to hear that, thank you soo much for sharing with me. Definitely gives some hope!! Have a great week & thank you so much for stopping in 🙂
So good to read a blog post from you! As always, your post made me hungry with all the yummy food pictures! That coffee looks AMAZING! I could use a cup of it right now haha.
Life has been going fairly well for me! School is going great! Our kiddos are back full time and doing great with their masks and social distancing. I love being able to see their little faces (with adorable masks, of course!). Some good news I’ve had is that my grandpop finally received a liver transplant right before Halloween! My family is extremely grateful for this gift because things were not looking good in the days leading up to the liver becoming available. Life is good! I hope all is well with you!!
Emily!!! Hi hi!! I am SO glad to hear all is going well. That is the best news about your grandpop- what a blessing!! I am really happy for you and your whole family <3 Thank you tons for stopping in and sharing that awesome news with me <3
Thank you so much <3
Yayy!! I’m so happy you’ve uploaded, I always love reading your posts and reading back on a sunnier and happier time makes me feel so nostalgic in a way! I can’t wait to hear about New Orleans! Xxx
Chloe!! Hey girl! Aw thank you so much for your sweet words. Hope you are well & all is going smoothly with your pregnancy!! xo
Hey Mackenzie!! I always love when you have updates. And I always know that I’ll be drooling by the end of the post!! This year has been a challening one…for the entire planet, I’m sure. My husband’s mother passed away at the end of August. It was expected, but still hard. We’ve been busily settling the affairs of the estate. And while I haven’t spoken yet about it on the blog, after 5 ish months of tests, culminating around that same time, my mother was diagnosed with M.S. It was hard not to see her through the journey and that I still have yet to see her, but I can see the light at the end of the tunnel. And I am thankful for the little moments of beauty and wonder that I still glimpse in these chaotic times. I hope all is well with you and that you are getting to enjoy some downtime!! xx
I am so sorry to hear about your mother-in-law. I imagine it must be especially difficult as you all move through the holidays without her. I send hugs your way <3 And I am sorry to hear about your mom's diagnosis too. I have a close family member with MS, so I empathize. Gosh, this year has been so tough for you, and yet you still have your amazing Amy outlook of finding the beauty in everything. It is inspiring. Thank you for sharing this with me. I will be praying for you, your mom and your family. <3
Also, thank you for the sweet words about the update posts! I have been studying for boards a bit each day, but I am hoping to still get more updates out soon 🙂 Means a lot that you enjoy reading them!
Woo hoo! SO happy to see you pop in my blog reader! I am with you on not understanding WordPress’ block editor, haha. I hate it!!
Hi, Allie!! Hahah, I am so glad I’m not alone with WP and the block editor- it is a learning curve for sure!! Have a great rest of your weekend 🙂
It is good to see you anytime You are available Mackenzie ! It is good that you get back to Austin After Your fall semester . I am navigating my way through the New editor as well , If it’s not broke don’t fix it I say ! I can’t begin to understand how challenging this year has been For a young nurse In your position dealing with a pandemic. I know that you Have been amazing to everyone you came in contact with, I just know it!
Everything looks so yummy from North Italia ! It was a lovely way to finish Before leaving Austin . Cuvee coffee Might be your new go-to ? I know it’s not Peet’s. But if might grow on you! The scenery around Austin is Very pretty ! I’m glad that you got an extra day with DJ before Leaving . The latest life updates are. We are doing some house projects putting in new windows The kids are distance learning and my brother-in-law and his wife are expecting their first baby ! Wishing you a beautiful day Mackenzie, hugs, Terri xoxo.
Aw thank you for your comment, Terri! ❤️ Cuvee could definitely be a new go-to! It is so delicious!!! One thing I desperately miss this year is going to coffee shops to study.
Congratulations to your brother in law and his wife!! (And all of your family too!) Yayyyy!! Hope the house projects continue to go well before things get too cold up there ☺️
You’re so welcome on the comments Mackenzie! I hope you find your go to coffee house! I bet you do miss going to coffee shops to study. Hopefully next year will start to get back to more of what we call normal! Thanks for the baby wishes for the newest member in our family! The outdoor projects are done now there’s some indoor ones that can be accomplished over the winter. Take care, Terri xoxo
I hope so too! And yay!! Glad to hear 🙂