Date Night & Moose’s Graduation from Kindergarten!

Goood morning! I hope you all had the most wonderful Thanksgiving and weekend <3 Right now, it’s sprinkling snow outside, which I love to see! I don’t love driving in it, but I’m cozied inside and enjoying the sight of the gingerly falling flakes out the window.

On October 2nd, DJ and I had our first date night out since we moved back. We still never celebrated our anniversary since I was sick during our plans & DJ’s birthday was the next week- so we called this a two-in-one, or three-in-one, if you count just getting a date night in! Since it had been so long, we decided to go all out! We went to 1929 Grille at Firestone Country Club. The view out the window was so relaxing. As much as we love our Moose, it felt nice to have a little break for a quiet dinner out. At home while eating dinner, we have to watch him the whole time and are often up letting him outside throughout the meal.

We started out with a pretzel fondue that I will not soon forget! I crave this and would go back for this appetizer alone!

For DJ’s main dish, he tried their gnocchi- which was easily the best gnocchi I’ve ever tasted. I stole my fair share.

I was so hungry, so I ordered their vegetable & five grain salad (which I forgot to take a picture of because I was so eager to dig in) & the salmon. Both were absolutely fantastic. I actually loved the vegetable & five grain salad so much, I’d happily just have that alone as my meal (with the pretzel appetizer, of course).

For dessert, we could not resist trying two: The apple cobbler and their crunchy cream pie. Wow, I don’t even know which was my favorite. Their cream pie is “legendary” and for good reason, but that apple cobbler is also some of the best I’ve tried. Everything we ate that night was next level good. We went home after and gave Moose all the cuddles.

Saturday evenings have become our family movie night. We try to squeeze in a movie or an episode of a show (right now, it’s Succession).

On October 3rd, the Pet Supplies Plus in town (where Moose does his obedience school) had a “lock-in” for the pups. They shut down the store in the evening and let the dogs have free rein, running around and playing, for a couple hours.

Moose had a blast. Here is him with his best friend, Leo. Leo also comes to Wednesday puppy social hour, and when the two of them are together, they’re pretty inseparable.

Also! A little update on Moose and his walks. He despised going on walks for the first few weeks we had him. We were lucky to do a small walk down the road and back. Now, he loves them and gets so excited when I grab the leash. We’re still working on him not pulling the leash though- so if you have any tips for that, I’m all ears!

DJ’s bday was October 6th. Per his request, we ordered in Buffalo Wild Wings, and I made his favorite dessert, dirt pudding. We had plans to celebrate over the weekend more with family!

For dinner on October 7th, we ordered Piada Italian Street Food. DJ had the carbonara, and I had the power bowl. Not pictured, but a must try, is their parmesan piada stick, so so good.

Here’s a picture of a sleeping Moose, just because. I recognize I am probably being that person who talks far too often about their dog, but I really cannot help myself!

I took this picture below to document the first notes of fall. Autumn around here has a very distinct scent and feel about it, and I was thrilled when summer started transitioning into that. We were lucky to have such a long summer this year, especially as we personally ease back into the cold- but I was ecstatic when I felt fall in the air!

Over the weekend and that Monday, we celebrated DJ and his twin sister’s birthday along with his Grandma’s bday. It was so wonderful to see everyone!

October 16th, we had a nice lazy Saturday morning.

That evening we heard a knock on the door around dinner time. We had no idea who it could be. We opened the door and found this on our step!

My sister-in-law and her friends “boo’ed” us! Have you heard of this before? I hadn’t until I learned about it from them. Basically, you leave a Halloween gift at someone’s door anonymously. While most days getting “boo’ed” may not sound like a treat, this certainly was- they even included toys for Moose!

October 17th, I spotted this spectacular sunrise. I just love the different morning skies around here.

Later that day we went on a hike at Kendall Hills with Moose man.

Then it was back to applying for jobs on Monday. I’ll give an update on all that soon!

That week we took our usual walks. Moose wanted to show off the cool leaves he found on our walking path 🙂

And just some fall spam for ya!

I think Moose may be tired of photos, lol.

October 30th, Moose graduated from his first level of obedience school (I just call it kindergarten). He had to “test” out, and he did! We were so proud!!! <3 He starts first grade in a few weeks.

On Halloween, October 31st, we drove over to my in-law’s for dinner & to see our nephew take off for trick-or-treating. He was the cutest Jack-Jack from the Incredibles <3. Also, it’s the cutest thing when he says, “MOOOSE!”. Speaking of, Moose was a Lion for Halloween, you can catch pics of that here! 🙂

DJ took this picture as we were getting out of the car, and it cracks me up because Moose looks so annoyed. He’s like, “Dad, help, mom is smothering me again”.

And I’ll leave you with this picture from one of Moose’s Wednesday puppy social hours. 

Question for you: 

  • What’s your TV show lately?

<3,

Mackenzie

First Days with Moose, A Wild Birthday & Blue Door Cafe!

Hey hey! How are you doing today? It’s a super rainy day here, and Moose hates, and I mean hates, the rain. I had to chase him around for probably 10 minutes to get him to go outside to go to the bathroom- he was not having it!! I stood in the rain with him covering him with my robe so he’d go, lol. On the bright side- last week it snowed for the first time, and he loved it! Looks like we have a little snow dog on our hands 🙂

Jumping into September- September 5th we went to a new church and loved it. We could see it being our home church, but it is a little far away- that’s the only downside.

We also continued our hikes into early September.

On one of our hikes at Lock 28, we kept seeing these “Mystery” Placards with fun little facts.

This area is just full of history. These structures below are remnants from locks for boats along the Erie Canal back in the day. It’s actually huge in person- it’s pretty amazing to see! 
After our hikes/walks we often would get Core Life Eatery salads for dinner. The salads are always so refreshing. I think we may have to get it for dinner again tonight!

One evening, my mom-in-law and Gordie stopped by to drop off Patio Donuts. These are the best donuts on earth, I’m sure of it. They’re from a place called Lakeside located on Lake Erie. DJ grew up spending many summers there, and it’s a place we love to escape when we have the time. When they offered to bring some donuts back on Labor Day weekend, we were not about to turn them down!One of my favorite hikes (I actually used to do a lot when I lived here) is Virginia Kendall Hills. On September 6th we took a nice long hike there in the beautiful weather.

Had to share this interesting little cycloptic critter we spotted.

The evening of September 8th, we walked on a trail closer to home and witnessed a stunning sunset.

Then September 9th was our day to pick up Moose!!!

We drove to an area near Bear’s Mill, OH to pick him up. Isn’t this sign a hoot?

And off we go 🙂

The weeks to follow were filled with endless cuddles and love, playing, minimal sleep, Saturday puppy school, Wednesday puppy socialization hour (this kid has more of a social life than I do!), lots of accidents in the house, vet visits and all our attention on this little guy. People do talk about how difficult it can be to have a puppy- it is way harder than I anticipated, but so worth it! We’ve had him for two months now and are in a pretty good groove. We still have to keep an eye on him 24-7, but he’s such a good dog & is learning fast! You can read more about our Moose here if you would like 🙂

I can’t handle how cute he is getting up the stairs with his little hop!

And this is just one of my favorite pictures ever <3

On September 18th, we went to our nephews 1st birthday. I’m so stinking thankful we’re in town to attend these parties now!

On the way to the party, this license plate gave us a little laugh.

The birthday party was wilderness themed- how cute are these cakes?!

The birthday boy loved his cake, especially the icing! It was the most adorable thing watching him shovel in handful after handful with pure delight.

It was such a special time and memory <3 Halston and Kevin drove in from Philadelphia too, so it was really wonderful to have most of the family together.

The party was the first time we left Moose for a few hours. He was a happy camper once we got home.

This just melts my heart when I call his name and he runs at me full force.

I was frustrated nothing was really rolling on the job front, but at the same time, it was such a good thing that I could take care of the Moose man as he (and we!) adjusted to our new home <3

 

That month I also met up with my friend since middle school, Kylie, for breakfast at Blue Door Cafe. This place is pretty famous around here and always jam-packed. They have phenomenal food. Their english muffins and croissants are particularly to die for!

It was absolutely wonderful to catch up with Kylie. Usually we only see each other once a year during holidays, if that- so the fact we could just get together on a random weekend was just the best!

I couldn’t stay away from Blue Door for long, because on September 22nd, I met up with my mom-in-law there for brunch! I had to get a picture of her chicken and jalapeno waffles- how good do these look?

I had their yogurt parfait this time. It was good and what I was craving that morning, but nothing comes close to that egg white croissant dish I had the first time!

That brunch was much needed. I was feeling very discouraged around this time regarding job prospects, and my mom-in-law gave me some amazing encouragement and words of wisdom that brightened my day and perspective!

On September 23rd, DJ and I tried Burger Fi. They have a GREAT vegan burger and their french fries are so yummy too.

This feels like a good place to wrap up! Catch ya next time 🙂

<3,

Mackenzie

Hiking Through Ohio Cont. & Some Nomz!

Hey hey!!! I have a couple days coming up that I’ve dedicated to catching up on the blog once and for all! Moose is snuggled up with me again. He is very quickly becoming my blogging buddy. I’m really looking forward to just typing away and reflecting on the last few months over the next couple days 🙂

We continued our hikes and exploration of the Northeast Ohio area from late August into early September. In between hikes I applied for jobs and chipped away at getting our home together.

This overlook on this trail was pretty breathtaking in person, the photo cannot do any justice!

At the same trail, we saw this sweet little cardinal among other wildlife.
On August 28th, I went to my friend Clair’s house and saw her and her kids. Oh I have missed them! It’s so nice they are within driving distance now.

On September 1st, I met up with another friend, Rachel, at a wonderful riverfront restaurant in Kent, OH called River Merchant.

I enjoyed the most delicious prawn salad and a side of yummy sweet potato tots while we caught up and chatted away! I’ve missed her soo much too- I don’t think I’ll get over being in driving distance of some of my best friends any time soon.

Anyway, even though we sat inside, the room was wide open, and we had some beautiful views of the river area next to us.

After our lunch, we went on a hike at Towner’s Woods. 
It was a great hike, with lots of different views, unique trails and finds like this little Lincoln Log cabin come to life.

The evening of September 3rd, we went to a football game at the high school I went to, but more importantly, we went to see my sister-in-law on the cheer squad. She did awesome!

After, we went to dinner at Paninis with a lot of the family. It was so nice to be able to spontaneously just do something like that now that we live here!

And back to the hikes we go! Meadow Trail is probably my second favorite trail after Brandywine Gorge Trail in my last post. 

After our lovely Saturday morning hike, we went to NOMZ in Akron at Northside Marketplace. The marketplace has a row of shoppes and a place to eat that resembles a really nice food court. NOMZ has a plethora of delicious vegan and non-vegan options. I had this “chik’n” sandwich with facon (fake bacon). SO yummy!
I also couldn’t resist a side of their green salad with pistachios, mint, avocado and cucumber- a simple and delicious combo. DJ had one of their Turkey clubs with cranberry mostarda sauce (no idea what mostarda is (Mustard? Google, here I come!). Whatever it is, Deej raved about how good it was. We’ll have to go back soon.

After lunch, we walked around the shops for a little bit. Then we drove around the city, admiring the wall art and character of the buildings.

On the way home, we stopped at Pet Smart to get some toys and other essentials for Moose.

Looking at this picture, it’s kind of funny how many additional toys and “Moose things” our home has accumulated since. I didn’t realize how much trial and error is involved in owning a pup! We have tried items that work, others that don’t. Discovered the type of toys he likes, others he feels “meh” about. Realized food that settles well in his stomach and the food that doesn’t. We’ve gone through multiple collars and leashes, cleaning supplies and dog bags. We discovered quickly he doesn’t like a hanging tag, so we had to get one of those “silent” ones from Road ID. I could go on, but he’s worth it all. It blows my mind he wasn’t in our family just a few months ago. We love him so stinking much, as much of a handful he is! Ha! <3

Anyway, there was something so nice about the “hum drum” of this time of hikes, settling into our house and not having school assignments due!

Question for ya! 

  • What’s going on in your world?

<3,

Mackenzie

A Lion That’s a Dog Named Moose!

Hey hey! Our little man Moose was a Lion for Halloween this year… for a total of about two minutes. He was not having it at first, but when treats got involved, he agreed to sport his mane long enough for a few blurry pictures, lol.  Anything for a treat!


As soon as we were done getting these shots, this costume did not stand a chance!

Hope y’all had a great and safe Halloween!

<3,

Mackenzie

NASHVILLE PART ONE!

HEY HEY! How are ya doing? I am sitting here with a sleeping Moose snuggled up at my side. Nothing better! I feel like so much has been going on lately that I have had little left to devote to the blog- but today I woke up with a real craving for it. I have been really eager to share about my road trip from TX to OH this past summer with the highlight being a stop in Nashville!

I loaded up sunscreen and an under eye mask and hit the road. I know, wearing an eye mask on a road trip seems a bit extra unnecessary, but trust me, after that semester I needed it 😅

I took off toward Little Rock, Arkansas for my first stop. It was a lovely drive. I listened to medical podcasts and sermons by Tim Keller (thank you for the rec, Taylor!). It was a wonderful way to pass the time.

When I arrived at the hotel, Courtyard by Marriot, for the evening, I was exhausted. I didn’t get there until after 11 pm, so unfortunately I didn’t get to explore the nearby parks like I had planned to. Next time! Something kinda amusing- I accidentally packed up all my bags without leaving one for all my bath stuff (shampoo, conditioner, etc.), so I just used an old “bath tissue”  plastic bag to carry it all. Gotta do what you gotta do, right?

I fell asleep very quickly, and then was up and at em’ early the next day. I squeezed in a short little 20 minute workout to wake up a little and then chugged coffee and ate some Chobani, fruit and oatmeal. I had a great experience at the hotel, and the check-in staff to the cafe staff were so friendly!! The trip was off to a lovely start!

The leg from Little Rock to Nashville was shorter than the day before, and I mostly chatted with friends and family on this leg to pass the time. The drive went off without a hitch! While I was excited to explore Nashville for the first time, I was even more excited to see my friend Kelsey who I hadn’t seen since 2018. You may remember our adventures all over northern CA. I missed her (well I miss her now too) something fierce!

We stayed at the Best Western Plus Nashville Airport Hotel. We had tried to get an Airbnb, but they were mostly picked over when we started looking. This was the most practical in terms of cost and distance from downtown/different areas we wanted to explore. It was a great hotel! Somehow we got upgraded without extra charge?!? I mean, no idea how that happened, but we weren’t about to complain!

My favorite part was this mirror! Well, I guess, the Keurig definitely was very much welcomed too, of course ☕️

Something different about this trip vs. most I take is we didn’t have anything planned. Usually, I have at least a few places/restaurants to try or things to do- but Kels and I were both so busy leading up to the trip, we decided to just be spontaneous and go with the flow. It ended up being one of my favorite trips, and I might have to do more trips this way moving forward!

We chit-chatted while we unpacked (meaning my suitcase exploded all over the place). I tend to be a bit of a tornado when I travel, but I do eventually clean it up, lol.

Once we were ready, we headed out to a place Kelsey suggested- The Hampton Social!

When we arrived, the wait was late into the evening without a reservation (the rooftop was open though, but not for food). We had just passed a super adorable restaurant walking over, so we decided we would go to Hampton Social later and try the other restaurant instead.

Thankfully, Liberty Common (the cute spot that caught our eye) did have some openings. We were seated immediately and our mouths watered looking over the menu.

If oysters are on the menu, I can always count on Kels to share a half dozen with me! And these were goooood!

I ordered their trout salad- which was ah-may-zing. I didn’t realize it came with bacon, but Kels helped me out with that!

I also couldn’t resist a side of the truffle fries, which were divine.

Kels had their Liberty Hot Chicken Sandwich- cannot go wrong with a hot chicken sandwich in Nashville.

While we ate our amazing meals, we soaked up the adorable decor. It ended up being the most perfect unplanned dinner.

Even the bathroom was cute!

And back to The Hampton Social we go!!

The energy of this place was incredible!! It was super chill, yet fun at the same time. Possibly my favorite part was the view!

It’s very much what I expected when I picture Nashville restaurants/hangouts!

After sipping some Rose, we headed to Broadway. To take on Broadway, we both decided some coffee sounded glorious. We went to Mike’s Ice Cream & Coffee bar and were blown away by how good the coffee was! Next time, I’d really like to try the ice cream too- it looked really delicious.

We’re all just gonna pretend I don’t have anything in my teeth, K? lol.

Broadway!We walked up and down Broadway soaking up the tourist feels and energy. On our way, we stopped into a little candy and fudge shop, where we tried a sample of their pecan clusters which were… OH my goodness I can practically taste them… SO GOOD!! They tasted extra good with the side of coffee.

Next up, we wanted to make sure to go to one of the rooftops on Broadway before calling it a night. We decided on Jason Aldean’s and waited probably over an hour to get in.

It was worth it though- it was such an awesome rooftop, they played great music, and Kels and I had the best time!

We headed back to the hotel and had worked up an appetite for a second dinner, so we ordered a stellar margherita pizza to share from Florence Pizza East Nashville.

In the morning we both woke up very much looking forward to the hotel breakfast. I just love a hotel breakfast- I don’t care what it is, there is just something about I so enjoy. This all tasted great- and most importantly we felt fueled up for a long run that morning!

Kelsey was training for a full marathon and that Saturday had an 8-miler. I will recap our run and the next day in part 2!

Question for you: 

  • Do you like to plan your trips out to a T or are you more go with the flow? Somewhere in between?

<3,

Mackenzie

Meet the Newest Member of our Family- Moose!

Hi everyone! I am so excited to introduce you to the newest member of our family- Moose! He has been with us for over three weeks, so this post is long overdue.

When we met him, we were in love immediately.

The last few weeks have been pretty chaotic, but beyond worth it. People often compare having a puppy to having a newborn, and I do think I understand what they mean now 😅

Moose is the sweetest, most loving dog who just wants to be at your side 24-7, or even better snuggling on your lap.

At the same time, he can be very mischievous and stubborn. Like most puppies, he is always looking for trouble, and his stubborn side mostly comes out when trying to take him on walks. He hated walks at the beginning and refused to take a single step.

I mean refused 😅

He has improved a lot over the last few weeks and now seems to enjoy a short walk around our neighborhood loop! He does like some reassurance throughout the walk that he’s doing a good job, and then he’ll trot along happily.

Mr. Moose also can be so dramatic- we call him our little drama king. He makes the funniest growling noises when playing, hates even a slight drop in temperature and refuses to go outside if it’s even sprinkling. We are in for a treat this winter hah. He is quite particular about his food- he likes the tiiiniest bit of water mixed with in- can’t be too soaked or too dry, or he won’t have it. Oh, and he refuses a dog bed- we’ve tried two and he basically used them as pee pads. He pretty much thinks the couch is his bed, or blankets stacked on the floor he will like too. So yes, very particular and maybe a bit spoiled, whoops, lol.

He also makes us laugh constantly- he is such a hoot. His sleeping positions for instance- how are these even comfortable?! 😂

When he’s sleeping more, ahem, normally, he prefers to sleep with something under his neck whether it’s your leg, your arm, a stuffed animal, a folded blanket, etc.

Moose man loves to army crawl and “dive” under couches and his favorite toy is…. cardboard. Yep, all these fresh new toys (which he still enjoys), but he loves nothing more than cardboard. We give him the empty paper towel rolls and he just has a field day.

He did so well in his first day of obedience school! He now knows “sit”, so we’re getting somewhere lol. He socializes well with the other dogs during the puppy socialization hour and now has a best friend named Enzo pictured below hugging Moose.

He has improved SO much with potty training!!! The first week was accidents galore, but by this point, he lets us know he has to go by running down the stairs to the door. We don’t have a walk-out door on our main floor, so we’re impressed how quickly he picked this up. We are working now on teaching him to “ring the bell” to let us know he has to go.

He’s also growing so fast 🥲 We had to carry him over the step into the house coming back inside, but he does it himself now.

I’m sure there is so much more I could write about, but that’s most of it off the top of my head! Moose has added such zest, fun, excitement and joy to our lives in just a few weeks. We can’t imagine our lives without him now!

Final Days in Austin ❤️

Hey hey!! This is my final Austin post (for now), and I am feeling quite emotional about it even now!

August 1st I had a hair appointment to get some brightness added to my hair. I have really toned down the blonde over the years- as much as I miss it sometimes, it is now much lower maintenance. My favorite salon in Austin is the Salon at the Domain. It’s one of the more affordable ones I could find, and it’s always fun to walk around the Domain when there’s time.

I arrived about 30 mins early, so I walked down to Coffee + Crisp to grab a coffee. I ordered their chagaccino (chaga mushroom cacao, cinnamon, vanilla and monk fruit) with oat milk-  oh myyy, it was so creamy & delicious!!

That afternoon I ran some errands around town and studied for an “on call” assignment. This was pretty nerve-racking. It was a simulated situation where a patient called in with an endocrine emergency. Overall, it went well and was a great learning experience!

The On Call took place on August 2nd, and then I was DONE officially with school.. D-O-N-E!!! Surreal. I booked a massage at Viva Day Spa using a giftcard from Christmas.

It was the best massage ever.

After the massage, I was craving a salad. Of course, I stopped by Sweet Green .

After dinner, I went for a magical sunset run, free of school stressors.

August 3rd was a big day of packing & getting rid of our couch I had a real emotional attachment to. We originally bought a set of couches from Big Lots back when we moved into our first Toho in 2015. We wanted to get something that wouldn’t break the bank that we could turn around and sell at the end of the year, thinking we would just get new furniture in CA. Wellllll, we ended up loving our furniture set and taking it across the country with us. Over time we had to get rid of each piece- but in this apartment we were left with our smaller couch. This thing was falling apart through the last year. It started shedding it’s faux leather everywhere, and we knew it was time to part with our final piece of the original Big Lots Lot.

I wasn’t able to move this couch out on my own, so I hired a disposal company to move it out and the big egg basket swing from the porch (the swing was also hard to part with since it’s where I did much of my blogging in CA). Who knew you could become so attached to a couple pieces of furniture?

On August 4th, I went to my last Orange Theory class in Austin.

Across from Orange Theory, there is a Cafe Medici, so I swung in there after class to get my caffeine boost for the day. Anddd since I was both wired and down to the wire with coffee shops I could try, I ventured into downtown after to also try The Hideout Coffee.

Between the two, I preferred Hideout Coffee- yum!!! I like Cafe Medici’s cafe au laits, but their iced cold brew was too strong for my liking.

In the afternoon, my mom and Pete drove into town for one final day in Austin together and to help me with shipping my mattress to Austin (I slept on our guest room mattress through the summer).

Before they arrived, I swung by Fresa’s to pick up some tacos for Pete and had Bouldin Creek Cafe delivered for my mom and me (an all vegetarian cafe!).

We went out into the pool area to enjoy our lunches.

Oh my goodness – this Tarzen’s Big Salad was outstanding… it had roasted portobello strips and stir-fried broccoli tossed in nutritional yeast, organic mixed greens, tomatoes, carrots, sunflower sprouts, avocado & sunflower seeds tossed with chipotle pecan pesto & ginger miso dressing.

After lunch, we lugged the mattress to the drop off spot to be shipped. I could not have done that without the help of my mom and Pete- it was a project!

When we finished up our chore for the day, we headed out for our final Austin dinner (for now)! Perla’s had been on my list of restaurants to try since day one of arriving in Austin, so it was an easy decision when choosing where to go.

We went before the dinner rush, so we were seated right away outside. You must sit out on their patio. It’s adorable. I forgot to get pics when we first got there, but I got them later on after it was dark out, hah.

This meal was insane in the best way from start to finish.

We first tried their octopus with avocado, squid ink ranch, sunflower seed salsa, and lime. This had a unique smoky flavor. I think it’s the type of dish you’d either love it or hate it— I absolutely loved it!

The crowd-pleaser all around were these wood-grilled creole oysters with oregano butter, parmesan, bread crumbs, lemon, & toast. Holy moly. I cannot handle how good these were. Pete ordered their lobster roll, which was close to being on par with some that I’ve seen in the Bay Area!!

My mom and I shared their trout – easily one of the best fish dishes around. 

On the side, we ordered the oak-grilled heirloom carrots, chevre yogurt, & spiced pecans. This was also one of my favorite parts of the meal- these carrots were unreal!

After dinner, we went to Jeni’s for Ice Cream. I was so stuffed, I couldn’t have a full cone, but I shared some of the dairy free orange sorbet with my mom. It was soo creamy. You would have no idea it was dairy free!

We walked back to the apartment, and made it right in time to enjoy one last sunset from the rooftop!

Mom and Pete then had to drive home to Keller before it got too late. We said our goodbyes (I couldn’t hold back the tears), and then it was time for me to finish packing and cleaning to leave the next day.

It took way longer than expected, and I didn’t get to sleep until around 2 AM.

The next day, I couldn’t pass up the chance to try another coffee shop before leaving- so I went to Halcyon and grabbed a coffee to help revive me after getting very little sleep the night prior.

And that’s a wrap. I took down my keys to management, said goodbyes, checked the mail room one last time, did one last run through of the apartment and then hit the road.

On my way out, I saw one last very Austin thing- a guy walking down the road with a rooster on his shoulder. LOL.

Byeeeeee, Austin. Until next time ❤️

June’s in July!…Posted in September

Hey hey!!

Continuing on through July- July 17th was a great day! I met up with a friend I met through the blog, Taylor, for the first time! She is the coolest and actually gave us many suggestions of places to go/things to do when we moved to Austin. I am so thankful we could meet before the move!

We met at June’s All Day on South Congress which is the cutest, quintessential brunch spot.

I had to try a cappuccino even though I’d probably already hit my caffeine limit for the day- it was so worth it though!

I also tried the appetizing platter with pastrami smoked salmon, onion & poppy bialy, red onion, capers, watercress, and wasabi tobiko cream cheese. I didn’t know what a bialy was,  but it’s kind of like a thin bagel… I think I like it even more than a bagel! It was all delicious, even though I ended up eating the platter like a five year old, lol. This was one of my favorite brunches in Austin without a doubt!

I couldn’t believe how quickly the time flew while we chatted away! It was such a nice lunch, and I highly recommend this spot if you visit Austin 🙂

Thanks for poppin’ in, have a great rest of the week!

Austin Explorin’ with my Sis Part 2!

Hey, friends!! Happy Labor Day- I hope you’re having a great one 🙂

Welcome to Part 2 of the weekend with my sister, Andi! Leaving off from Part 1, after we went to reflexology, we were driving back and noticed a Half Price Books in a strip mall. It’s hard for either of us to turn down a bookstore, so we zipped in and then perused the aisles for a while.

After, we both noted we had a sweet tooth acting up. So we drove to South Congress to get some sweet treats from the retro candy store, Big Top.

This place had a little bit of everything you can imagine.

We were particularly amused by these retro decade candy packs! How adorable are these?

We tried a few different kinds of fudge, chocolate bars and truffles! My favorite was the dark chocolate sea salt caramel truffle.

After this, we went back to the apartment and lounged on the rooftop while enjoying the start of the sunset.

Andi took this pic below- I think it’s just so beautiful.

We chatted away for hours, and I think we could have stayed out there for hours more, but we wanted to get down in time to see the bats take off up close! 

The bats were in hiding again that night, sadly. It also started raining and our stomachs were grumbling, so it was an easy decision to give up the waiting and head to dinner instead.

For dinner, we were both craving Asian Cuisine and stumbled upon Lin Restaurant on 6th street.

I was enamored by the beauty of the umbrellas hanging from the ceiling as we walked in.

I took this pic below on the way out after it had cleared out a little, but when we arrived at 9:00 pm there was hardly a seat open!

The water was served in these mugs- my sister loved them so much she purchased one as a souvenir!

Now for an item that will go on a “Must Try Foods in Austin” list (when I make that one day)- this mushroom bao. I dream of this appetizer, and I actually could have easily ate this as my main course.

We also shared some yummy bok choy with mushrooms to get our greens in.

Pictured below is their famous dumpling- I see why, it was delicious. But the mushroom bao is still my personal favorite.

We also split their Seafood Delight Bird Nest – the nest was made out of tarro chips. It was so good- and it was HUGE.

After such a jam-packed day we were exhausted and ready to hit the hay!

In the morning, we went to Picnik before church.

We both had our eye on their muffin basket- yummm! I had a Mayan mocha with all kinds of cozy spices & coconut milk. It went perfectly with the muffins!

We also shared a delicious lox toast to give us a protein boost for the day.

After church at Austin Stone, we drove around downtown Austin for a bit enjoying the murals, then it was time to drop off my sis at the airport. And if you’re wondering- I was surprisingly able to find the South Terminal this time without getting lost! We did leave extra early just to make sure to allow enough time to get lost if needed though 🙂

I returned home to the sweetest card ever from my sis that I’ll treasure forever!! She also left me this most amazing, luxurious goat’s milk soap.

It was a weekend for the books with lots of inside jokes, a list of things/food we classify as “life changing” & the best memories <3 Can’t wait for our next sister weekend in Colorado- hopefully Halston can make that one too 🙂 ! <3 Thanks for visiting me, Sis!!! <3

Austin Explorin’ with my Sis Part 1!

Good morning!! How are you this morning? Moving through July, one of the big highlights was my older sister, Andrea, visiting me in Austin. It’s rare we get to hang out just the two of us outside of holidays, so this was really special!

On July 9th, I had the day off clinical. I ran to get my eyebrows waxed because they were in desperate need of help. Well y’all, I didn’t think about the fact that I use an over-the-counter product with a small bit of retinol in it, and the skin under my eyebrows came right off. It almost looked like I was wearing pink eyeshadow under them. It was painful more than anything, but easy to cover up with makeup and healed quickly with aloe and moisturizer- but I learned my lesson!

Little did I know I had more lessons to be learned that day…

Andi’s flight from Colorado was scheduled to arrive around 7 pm. Unfortunately, it was delayed, but fortunately, only slightly. When she did arrive, I could not find her anywhere at the airport pick-up. We kept exchanging land marks and nothing was linking up. Another passenger mentioned to my sister that they were in an entirely different terminal about 15 minutes from the regular airport- I didn’t even know this terminal existed! So learn from my mistake pro-tip- apparently Frontier and Allegiant fly in and out of the South Terminal if you are ever picking someone up. Even after knowing about the terminal, I could not find it even after entering it into my GPS for at least 30 mins. My GPS just kept taking me in circles. We had a reservation for dinner at 9 pm, so we decided it may be best for her to grab an Uber and meet at the restaurant.

I entered the restaurant into my GPS and only a couple minutes into the route I passed a huge sign that said “South Terminal”, naturally. I frantically called my sister to let her know I was there and luckily she hadn’t called a ride yet. I zoomed in, picked her up, and we booked it to the restaurant.

On the way I realized I didn’t blow out a candle thinking we would be right back to the apartment from the airport before dinner. Aba was really close to our apartment, so I parked in the back lot and sprinted up 6 flights of stairs to put out the candle (my calves were sore the next day). Note taken- always put the candle out before leaving.

We were 15 minutes late to the reservation, but the staff was super understanding when we called to let them know we were on the way!

We finally made it!!

Aba is fairly new to Austin, and it can be tough to get a dinner reservation. I think I had to make ours a solid two months in advance. Shout out to my sister-in-law, Laura, for recommending it!!

Sista sista!This is easily one of the most beautiful restaurants I have ever been to. The decoration was breathtaking. We couldn’t stop commenting how gorgeous it was- these pics could not possibly capture how stunning it was in person!

Not only was it one of the most beautiful restaurants I’ve been to, but it was one of the best meals I had in Austin (which y’all know is saying something because that city knows good food!).We started with a couple of their dips- the hummus and whipped feta. We concluded after trying them that the hummus was spectacular, but the whipped feta was possibly…yes I will go there… life-changing. Gosh, I crave that stuff somethin’ fierce. Also- we ate the hummus and feta with veggies, pita and gluten free crackers (my sis eats gluten free). I tried one of the gluten-free crackers and may have liked them even better than the fluffy pita! The crackers had this wonderful rosemary flavor. Also, they have a full gluten free menu, so if you are gluten free, this is a really solid dinner choice in Austin.

We also tried the side of potatoes and the waiter suggested we dip them in the whipped feta- heaven I tell ya.

And it doesn’t even stop there. Next we tried the squid- which was divine. I am talking melt-in-your-mouth. 

After saying how good the food was about 24908509 times, we walked down South Congress. At this point in the evening (I think it was probably 10:30ish), SoCo was pretty empty. It was fun seeing it this late at night like that- It felt like we had the road to ourselves (and not in the eerie way like early on in the pandemic).

After a nice walk, we drove back to the apartment. My sister’s bday is in late July, but we rarely ever have the chance to celebrate in person, so we deemed this her bday night! I went to Mr. Natural’s in town (where Kevin got the AWESOME vegan muffins for the Baustin Weekend). They also had a wide array of gluten free options- so I grabbed a few for us to enjoy! We could not believe how good they were.

On July 10th we were all carb loaded and ready to do Orange Theory!

We had an excellent workout and after just walked around the South Lamar square for a while admiring the artwork.

After, we zipped over to South Congress again for some post-workout fuel. I had a hankerin’ for some coffee & Andi said a smoothie from Amy’s sounded great! I quickly grabbed an iced coffee from Jo’s.  I can’t believe I hadn’t tried this sooner. This is easily some of the best coffee in Austin. Top 3 favorite coffee shops without a doubt!

Andi loved her smoothie from Amy’s too!

We went back to the apartment, got cleaned up, relaxed for a bit and then walked across the bridge to Cooper’s BBQ in downtown Austin.

Even though I don’t eat meat, these BBQ spots have the best sides! My favorite is still Terry Black’s, but this was darn good. Their coleslaw and mac n’ cheese was my favorite.

If you didn’t use half a stack of napkins, did you even BBQ?!

We grabbed a quick picture of Mr. Cooper himself.

To top off a wonderful afternoon, Andi suggested we go to reflexology. I have never done reflexology before and wasn’t familiar with it. It was awesome though- it’s basically a long foot massage!

And that wraps up our first part of the weekend.

Much more to come in part two 🙂

Thanks for reading!