Monday, August 14, 2017

Austin + Home + Kristen & Alex Tie the Knot

Greetings faithful blog readers!

What a week it has been since I last checked in. My thoughts are with those affected by senseless violence this week. I appreciated the ideas presented in this article "How To Take a Stand Against Hate in Virginia." When feeling helpless, it is important to remember what power we do have to support one another.

When I last left off, we'd made it back to Austin last Friday. Thanks to our Cape Air caused delay and horrible Austin traffic, by the time we got home to my parents' house, it was almost 1AM. We were annoyed, but with the amount of travel we do, we almost just expect days like this (and it makes us more grateful for the travel days that go according to plan).

We went to sleep immediately (after greeting Lola & Zoe of course) and then took my dad to Trudy's the next morning to thank him for coming to the airport at midnight to pick us up. Then, we headed over to my cousins Amanda and Matt's new place. They are renting a house that my mom owns, so it's great for my mom to have such wonderful tenants. It was fun to see how the house has changed (my brother lived there a few years ago).

I was lucky that my hair stylist (Peyton at Bob Salon) could work me in for a last minute Saturday appointment (I missed my original appointment thanks to our massive delay on Friday). After getting my hair done, Brendan and I treated my parents to dinner at Brick Oven for my mom's belated birthday. Then, I pretty much insisted we all go see The Wizard of Oz at Zilker Hillside theater. We arrived at 7:45 and managed to find a spot about halfway up the hill to squeeze into. It was a great production, and I was so glad Brendan and my mom indulged me (and my dad dropped us off and picked us up, so not worrying about parking was awesome).

The next day, Brendan and I went to breakfast with my parents and then packed up the car and the cats. It was tough to say goodbye, but we had a whole host of to-do items on our list, and we were eager to get home. 

My Amazon delivery of Lindsay Hunter's new novel Eat Only When You're Hungry arrived shortly after I did. I'm proud to report that I finished it yesterday and now I can highly recommend this road trip novel about a man searching for his son who is battling a drug addiction. Touching, honest, and a true portrait of what it means to love someone you don't have control over (including yourself), I would recommend this book to anyone. 

The real reason we were in such a rush to get home was because I was hosting a bachelorette party/lingerie shower for my dear friend Kristen on Thursday. 

Kristen and I have been friends for six years. We first met in a yoga class at a gym, and she quickly became a good friend and introduced me to all her coworkers/friends too. When Kristen & Alex got engaged in the spring, I immediately told her I wanted to throw this party. 

We started out with manis and pedis. There were six of us there total, and our friend Jessica got the party started early with champagne. 

Then, we went to my house to make dinner together, open presents, and play the popular lips & mustaches game from my shower (which I reused at Amanda's shower and thankfully, Amanda still had the lips and mustaches!) 

I love playing hostess whenever I get a chance, and we had so much fun cooking, talking, and toasting with rose. 

Nothing Bundt Cakes is my go to for any celebration that needs a cake, and their lemon cake didn't disappoint! 

We met up with more friends at The Blue Door for drinks later.

The next night, Brendan and I were honored to attend the rehearsal dinner at La Bodega. We got to hear all the speeches, and it started to sink in that Kristen was moving to Seattle on Sunday! 

The Saturday wedding was at Beal Park with an indoor reception and plenty of lawn games. It was great to see my friend so happy, even though I'll miss her dearly. 

I also got to reunite with several other friends that have moved away and came back in town for the wedding!

Last night, Brendan and I went to Odessa to watch Game of Thrones with our friends Dagan and Steph. 

Our first week back in Midland was all about the wedding, and this next week, we're busy today helping to show a new faculty member around campus, and we'll meet up with him and his wife again tonight for dinner. We have one more week of summer and too much to get done (laundry, housework, class prep, revisions, etc.) but knowing us, we will make the most of our last week of summer. 

Happy Monday everyone! 


Monday, August 7, 2017

Connecticut & Maine

Greetings faithful blog readers,

We've had a glorious last couple of weeks, and I can't wait to fill you all in.

On July 25th, we left Austin for Connecticut for a wonderful ten day visit with Brendan's family. We spent four days in Connecticut, which gave us plenty of time for several visits with both sets of grandparents. Here's a photo of Boompa's garden.

We also made time for a day on Misquamicut beach in Rhode Island. 

And of course, we visited our favorite place in Niantic: Anna Pearl's Curiosities! Make sure to visit Brendan's mom and sister if you're ever in Niantic or nearby. 

Our Saturday, the six of us got our earliest ever start to Maine and avoided the traffic. We stopped for groceries before we even arrived and then immediately had time for all our favorite things like fishing and game night. 

We had the best ever fishing year (that I've seen). This was my fifth time in Maine. Check out these catches from our very first night (we put all our fish back, FYI): 

The next morning, we were up bright and early for blueberry picking:

That night, while everyone else was fishing, Brendan's mom and I cooked a feast of pasta with fresh tomatoes, blueberry pie, and blueberry cake.

The next day, we all enjoyed lobster rolls and ice cream at Tubby's before Annie and Dan headed back to Connecticut.

We found a double rainbow on our way back to the cabin. 

The four of us went fishing and caught a gorgeous sunset. 

On Tuesday, we picked raspberries, and Brendan's mom and I made the world's best raspberry pie. I mean, it was amazing! 

I don't have pictures of everything we did: thrift shopping, antiquing, more cooking, and a big game night with extended family, but I do have lots of great memories.

At least I documented all my fish, so you won't think I'm tell fish tales!

Not every catch was so good...

The best part of our trip was...everything! The worst part was our 7.5 hour delay in Boston thanks to a late Cape Air pilot (not cool Cape Air!) But after a 21 hour travel day on Friday, we made it back to Austin.

More adventures to be continued...


Monday, July 24, 2017

A Few of Those Austin Stories

Greetings faithful blog readers! 

Does anyone remember the MTV show Austin Stories? I once missed an entire day of school in 1997 to play a bratty kid in an episode. Fun Fact, the episode was filmed in the same theater that Christiana got married in this summer. 

Thanks for indulging that digression. We've been in Austin since Tuesday night seeing my family and Lola & Zoe.

A few things worth mentioning...

On the plane ride home, I started reading Myfanwy Collins' collection I am Holding Your Hand, and I am absolutely blown away by it. 

Brendan picked up the card game 6 nimmt, and my family is absolutely addicted. We are bringing the game with us to Connecticut; get ready Egans! 

We spent a day jet skiing on Lake Travis with my dad on Friday, and it was gorgeous and fun. I'm not sure I've mentioned UV proof long sleeve swim shirts and shorts from Lands End, but they are a lifesaver. I bought them for our 17 mile kayaking trip and have worn them for other adventures like white water rafting. Hooray for no sunburn!  

In addition to seeing my parents, we also got in some cousin time. 

We tried a few new places in Austin, and I'd highly recommend Lick (gourmet ice creams similar to Salt & Straw in Portland or Jenni's in Columbus), Snooze AM (best brunch ever and worth the long wait), and The Peached Tortilla (Asian/Southern Comfort Fusion that blew me away). 

I revised my story that was workshopped at Tin House, had phone dates with friends Allie and Emily A., unpacked, did laundry, and repacked, and helped my parents with a few to-do list items. All in all, I'd say it's been a successful week, but Lola encapsulates our feelings about waking up for a super early flight tomorrow. 

We are flying to Connecticut to spend time with Brendan's family and join the annual family vacation to Maine. I can't wait to see my other family and spend quality time on the beach, fishing, antiquing, cooking farmer's market veggies, and playing games. As usual, I'll be off the grid but will return with stories of our travels. 

I am feeling so thankful to my sweet husband who is reading my revision for the third(!) time at the end of a long day. Now that's love! 

Hope everyone's week is off to a lovely start. 

Friday, July 21, 2017


Greetings faithful blog readers,

When we found out we were both attending the Tin House Summer Workshop, I was really excited for an excuse to visit Portland for the first time. Initially, I thought our early morning Saturday flight would give us "an entire day to explore Portland" (yep, that's how I worded it when explaining it to Brendan). But the morning flight was so early that all I could do on Saturday before the workshop was sleep and eat ( FYI, Nudi Noodle, Bird + Bear, C Bar, and Tom Yum Thai, and Cloud City Ice Cream were all good bets near the Reed College campus).

The next day, the workshop started in full force, so we were basically occupied for the entire week. The last night of the workshop was the following Saturday, and we spent 8:45AM to 2AM on the Reed campus. Needless to say, the priority for Sunday was sleeping in and then grabbing brunch. After that, we took an Uber to the Japanese Gardens and spent a little over an hour exploring the beautiful scenery. This time of year and on a weekend afternoon, the gardens were pretty busy (I'd recommend a morning on a weekday if possible). I'd love to be here when it was quiet and you could really meditate, but I still enjoyed it immensely.

I'm pretty sure the Bonsai tree exhibit was Brendan's favorite part. 

While the Japanese Gardens admission is $15 per adult, the Rose Garden is right next door and is free. We spent an equal amount of time perusing the gardens and smelling every type of rose.

During our entire 10 day trip, it didn't rain a drop. We lucked out with beautiful weather that wasn't too hot either. My friend Kristen is moving to Seattle, and I hope a summertime visit is in the cards one day!

This was my favorite picture of the day. 

To get to dinner, we ended up taking quite the off road hike. It wasn't perfect for leather flats, but every shoe I brought was hurting my feet in some way by that point. At first, we were dismayed to find the Thai place we'd selected on Yelp was closed because we were hungry and thought the next restaurant was a ways away, but our spirits quickly lifted when another Thai food restaurant was just block away (lots of Thai food in Portland=heaven). This one was called Thai Bloom, and on Sundays, they have an all day happy hour. We were able to get drinks, an appetizer, a salad, and two main courses for about $33 dollars total. It was definitely the deal of the trip, and the food was delicious. 

We wrapped up the evening by waiting forty five minutes in line at Salt and Straw (Ice cream). I had Meyer Lemon Blueberry and Goat Cheese Habanero, and Brendan had Fresh Cheese and Strawberries. I'd compare the ice cream to Jenni's (which we discovered thanks to Brendan's relatives living in Ohio). It was a great way to celebrate National Ice Cream Day (which I didn't even know was a thing). 

The next day, we moved to The Benson hotel. This put us close to the Pearl district where so much (bars, restaurants, shopping) was in walking distance. My mom had given me some birthday money and told me to use it to treat myself in Portland, and I was excited to do just that. After checking in, we went to the nearby food truck row (I thought Austin was big on food trucks, but this was like thirty options all next to one another) and got light bites. Next, we went to Powell's books, the largest bookstore I've ever been in. They had so many used books, it was basically heaven. 

We wandered around there before checking out some vintage shops. After picking out a few things, we checked out a paper store, and guess what I found? 

My very own friend Bailey's notebooks for sale! You can find her store, Antiquaria, online here. (For those who have been reading for awhile, Bailey was the one that put together all the vintage dish sets that we registered for. She has also been my friend since third grade). 

 After all the fun of shopping and browsing, it was time for the sushi meal we'd been craving. 

During dinner, Brendan said he was a little disappointed we hadn't made time for Oysters, and I immediately suggested that we go light on the sushi so we could save room. After dinner, we wandered to the water and sat by fountains reading our new books from Powell's. Then, we walked to Dan and Louis Oyster Bar and shared a dozen Oysters. 

Our waitress gave us a great tip about a nearby bar on the 30th floor of a building. We stopped in for a drink and enjoyed the sunset and gorgeous panoramic views. 

After so much eating, you'd think we'd be full, but while at the Oyster Bar, we'd glimpsed the line at Voodoo Donuts, and Brendan had already heard it was a pretty big deal. We walked back and got two donuts to go (Dirt and Voodoo Doll), walked to our nearby hotel, and shared the donuts in our room while watching Netflix. The donuts were pretty amazing (I say this as someone that rarely cares for donuts!) 

Overall, this was the best Monday I've had in a long time. We left Portland on Tuesday afternoon and had a direct flight to Austin. Everything was on time (thanks to our favorite airline, Southwest), and I felt so thankful for an easy travel day and a remarkable time in Portland. We hope to be back (one day), and until then, I'll just savor the wonderful memories. 

Lots of love faithful blog readers, and happy Friday! 
P.S.-We're extremely happy to be reunited with Lola and Zoe! They are doing great but maybe getting too spoiled by canned food at their "grandparents' house." 
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