Austin newbie by way of Philly and kinda DC. Fitness. Outdoors. My Rottweiler/Pit Mix. Happy Things. Bright Colors. Working in Advertising. American University Alum.

Don’t ever confuse the two, your life and your work. That’s what I have to say. The second is only a part of the first…There are thousands of people out there with the same degree you have; when you get a job, there will be thousands of people doing what you want to do for a living. But you are the only person alive who has sole custody of your life. Your particular life. Your entire life. Not just your life at a desk, or your life on the bus, or in the car, or at the computer. Not just the life of your mind, but the life of your heart. Not just your bank account, but your soul…People don’t talk about the soul very much anymore. It’s so much easier to write a résumé than to craft a spirit. But a résumé is cold comfort on a winter night, or when you’re sad, or broke, or lonely, or when you’ve gotten back the chest X ray and it doesn’t look so good, or when the doctor writes “prognosis, poor.”

Paleo Week 3 aka 75% Completed!

We’re down to the homestretch! This coming Sunday will be our last official strict-Paleo day. We’ve both already decided that we feel so much better having done it that we’re going to continue to adhere to paleo as much as we can moving forward. It’s helped make us think more consciously about what we’re putting into our bodies and has forced us to slow down and make time to plan, shop for, and cook delicious, healthy meals. I can’t say that I won’t have beer or cheese moving forward, but overall I’d say that we’re feeling really good so far.

Last week was 3/4 for our 30 days of Whole 30/Paleo. We had visitors again last week which involved going out more that I normally would, as well as showing them around to some breweries and things.  I had 14 ciders or red wine last week…eek, but this week I’m getting back on the right track.
Here’s what we ate:
  • Salad from Chipotle (chicken, fajita veggies, mild salsa, guacamole, lettuce) x2
  • Leftover Moroccan Meatballs and Cauliflower Cous Cous
  • Leftover Chicken Breasts with Portabello in White Wine; asparagus
  • Leftover Salmon and Cold Sesame Cucumber Noodles
  • Leftover La Barbeque BBQ
  • El Chilito Taco (inside only): steak, veggies and grilled onions
  • Banana with 1 T. almond butter x2
  • Homemade juice: apples, grapefruit, cucumber, spinach
  • Homemade smoothie: banana, strawberry, almond butter, flaxseed
  • 2 Eggs & 2 slices bacon
  • Tacodeli breakfast tacos (inside only): spinach & egg; avocado, bacon & egg
  • Wheatsville Co-op smoothie: banana, strawberry, spinach, coconut milk, almond butter
  • Pistachios & peaches
  • Banana & almond butter
  • Apples & mixed nuts
  • Trail mix
  • Ham slices & chopped veggies
  • Lara bar
  • Baby carrots & plantain chips

Week 2: Paleo/Whole 30

Week 2 of this paleo diet thing was SO MUCH better/easier/more delicious than week 1. I can’t believe we’re already halfway through our 30-day challenge. I have passed that “cloudy”/sluggish period, have had more energy than I’ve had in awhile, and been sleeping so well. Not to mention that my bank account is much fuller than it was after that first grocery trip!

Week 2 was easier because I didn’t have to go to Google or Pinterest every time I wanted to eat. Not only did I have some tasty, easy, cheap meals I could throw together but I knew what I was and wasn’t able to eat when I went out at restaurants. Week 2 didn’t include any visitors, but we did spend a few days exploring south Texas. I’m so proud of us for continuing to stick to this diet despite all the amazing, non-paleo food we came across (we passed on homemade carrot cake A+++++).
Yesterday, we went grocery shopping to ONE (!) grocery store and was able to get everything we needed. Our bill for the week was only $50, about a third of what it was week 1! I’m feeling more energized and upbeat this Monday morning than I ever usually do which is even more surprising given the traveling we did this past weekend. Things around here are generally pretty low-stress which I’m loving. I don’t know if it’s Texas or of it being summer or a combination of the two, but aside from our house hunt which will hopefully be coming to a close in the next few weeks things have been really great. 
We’ve got a busy week ahead with both Zach and my closest friends coincidentally both visiting this coming weekend, starting a 5-week basic dog obedience classes on Thursday, and are looking at a few houses this week. We have a few new, tasty meals planned so here’s to a successful week 3!
  • Turkey slices, pickles, cherries, baby carrots
  • Turkey slices, leftover Avocado Arugula Artichoke Salad with homemade Tangerine Lime Balsamic Dressing
  • Turkey and avocado slices, trail mix, peach, apple, almond butter
  • Salad: spinach, red onion, artichoke, turkey bacon, lime juice, evoo
  • Leftover Paleo Pizza with roasted brussell sprouts
  • Spinach salad (spinach, strawberries, avocado, almonds) and smoothie (banana, raspberry, almond milk, flaxseed, walnuts)
  • Smoothie (fresh apple juice. banana, blueberry, cherry, almonds, rice protein, spirulina, flax oil)
  • Banana & almond butter x3
  • Eggs, bacon, avocado and tomato
  • Smoothie (fresh apple juice. banana, blueberry, cherry, almonds, rice protein, spirulina, flax oil)
  • Eggs (2), breakfast ham, avocado, mixed fruit
  • Dried mangos
  • Freeze dried bananas
  • Fruit: peaches, cherries
  • Raw Deal salad: (kale, spinach, carrots, walnuts and pumpkin seeds)
  • Coconut chocolate frozen dairy bar



This past Sunday marked the first full week of our Paleo/Whole 30/Clean diet! We’ve tried so many new recipes and as of this week, are actually starting to finally feel better. Last week, it was mostly groggy and cranky, trying to get used to things but now it seems like we’re over the biggest hurdle.
We started last Sunday getting together with our laptops and figuring out what we’re going to make on each day of the week for dinner. We knew breakfasts were easy and lunches would most likely be leftovers from dinner the night before (which actually saved us a ton of money). We went to FIVE grocery stores last Sunday just to get everything that we needed. We also spent about $140 which is wayyyyyy more than we would ever spend on groceries, but we knew the initial trip would be more pricey. We learned about the bulk foods section at HEB which has absolutely saved us. We can still make those weird dishes with strange ingredients and instead of spending $7-8 on spices and flours that we’ll never use again, we can get just the amount we need for less than a dollar.
We also had a visitors this past weekend and will be hosting two more within the next 30 days. We discussed this ahead of time and decided that we needed to make this diet realistic. As a result, we allowed ourselves to drink cider and gin (with water). We also ate out with our guests because again, we want to make this diet work realistically in our lifestyle (also, hellooooo we’re in Austin), but besides our guest we make most of our meals at home. We ate the inside of tacos and had bartenders make us special drinks out. We passed on chips and salsa, and naan at dinner. We’re learning that this diet gets easier to incorporate into daily life as the days go by. Sure, it’s a lot more planning and time, but we’ve made some amazing meals and both admitted that we’ve been feeling and sleeping better.
Here’s what we ate this week:
  • Moroccan Meatballs with Cauliflower Rice Pilaf (GO AND COOK THIS NOW! We both agreed that by far, this was the most flavorful thing we made all week and would totally order it at a restaurant)
  • Jalepeno Chicken Burgers with Paleo Cole Slaw 
  • Homemade Paleo BBQ Sauce with Chicken
  • Eggs with guacamole; zucchini and squash; watermelon
  • Steak Tacos ((we ate the insides only) and Pork Ribs (spicy guava glazed pork ribs, pickled onions, charred corn-chipotle slaw)
  • Chicken Vindaloo and Baingan Bartha (pureed eggplant)
  • Chicken, pork and steak tacos (insides only)
  • Green smoothies
  • Leftover Moroccan Meatballs x2
  • Leftover Jalepeno Chicken Burgers, baby carrots, watermelon
  • 1/2 avocado, watermelon, Lara Bar
  • Fixin’s: trail mix, cherries, carrots, almond butter, dried mangos
  • Lara Bar
  • Banana with Sunbutter x5
  • Smoothie with broccoli, peanut butter, coconut water, banana, spinach, coffee
  • Denver Omelette (substituted guacamole for cheese)
  • Watermelon
  • Lara Bar x2
  • Apple
  • Trail Mix
  • Coconut water
I have a lot more to say which I’ll be writing up in future posts about coffee, eating and hunger, cravings, energy levels, sleeping, weight loss, bank account, and much more!

Attemping Whole30/Paleo Hybrid: 30 Days

While I am falling in love with Austin, it hasn’t made making healthy choices the easiest. Exercise hasn’t been the problem (I ride my bike to work, aim to hit the gym 2-3 times per week during lunch, and take Maribel on walks regularly), but being in a city so entrenched in good, unique food, I find myself not wanting to pass up on delicious but not-so-healthy meals regularly. Combine that with trying to make new friends which generally involves bad food and good booze, I haven’t been feeling terribly energized as of late.

I am not a fan of diets at all let alone fad diets, but in an effort to bring my energy levels up and shed a few lbs, Zach and I decided to try out  eating a Whole 30/Paleo diet for 30 days starting this Sunday (on the 30th day we’ll both be flying to the beach, so perfect timing). This is going to actually be quite challenging for us (we were literally eating cream puffs and drinking wine in bed last night while researching this diet). 

What we can’t eat:

  • No sugar of any kind (no maple syrup, honey, agave nectar, coconut sugar, Splenda, Equal, Nutrasweet, xylitol, stevia, etc.)
  • No alcohol (except we’re allowing ourselves low-sugar ciders such as Crispin, as outlined in the Paleo diet)
  • No grains including but is not limited to wheat, rye, barley, oats, corn, rice, millet, bulgur, sorghum, amaranth, buckwheat, sprouted grains and all of those gluten-free pseudo-grains like quinoa.
  • No legumes including beans of all kinds (black, red, pinto, navy, white, kidney, lima, fava, etc.), peas, chickpeas, lentils, and peanuts. 
  • No peanut butter nor forms of soy – soy sauce, miso, tofu, tempeh, edamame, and all the ways we sneak soy into foods (like lecithin). 
  • No dairy including cow, goat or sheep’s milk products such as cream, cheese (hard or soft), kefir, yogurt (even Greek), and sour cream… with the exception of clarified butter or ghee.
  • No white potatoes.
What we can eat:

I’m hoping that by the end of this, we’ll feel more energized, happy, have clearer skin, possibly shed a few lbs., sleep better, and overall just feel better! I’ll probably be sharing some updates and recipes along the way. Here’s to the beach in 30 days!

Smiley face

Adrian Landon Brooks

An amazing Texas artist I just stumbled upon. If you’re from Austin, he did some work at the new Cheer Up Charlie’s bar. If you like folk art, definitely check him out.

My First Austin Visitors

This past Memorial Day weekend, my sister and her boyfriend flew in from Los Angeles for a quick trip through Austin. Since it was both of their first visits to Texas we as Austinites were obligated to introduce them to a few classic spots (mostly BBQ-related). We accomplished so much this weekend both inside the city limits as well as out in Hill Country. With bellies full at the end of the weekend and on the brink of exhaustion, I can assuredly say that we showed both of them a great time. I can’t wait to have the two of them back here!

Here are some highlights from our weekend:


On Saturday we picked K & C up from the airport, headed home and went straight to Tacodeli for the best breakfast tacos in Austin. Afterward, we took them to the see Castle Hill Graffiti (I think that’s the name). Then we stopped at South Congress to checkout some of the vintage shops including Uncommon Objects and Allens Boots. K & C were still getting used to the Texas heat so we took a pit stop at Easy Tiger for some beers, giant German pretzels with beer cheese (yup). Next, we took them on a quick tour of my office space and a little bit of West 6th Street. We headed home to have some cocktails and get ready for dinner. For dinner, we headed to Rainey street for dinner — Banger’s Sausage House & Beer Garden where we had some ridiculous sausages including antelope, as well as a duck, bacon, brie & fig one. After that we toured around the Rainey street bars where we stumbled across some great live music!

Breakfast tacos


Despite a rainy forecast, we woke up to no rain on Sunday and decided to take advantage. We drove out through hill country in the west to checkout some swimming holes. We ended up at one of the coolest places I’ve been to since moving to Texas, Blue Hole – rope swings, beautiful greenery and trees, and a very relaxed atmosphere. On our way home we had to stop at The Salt Lick for BBQ. There was about a 2-hour wait which was great because it gave us time to do a wine tasting and drink some beers outside while playing card games. We were too full to do anything that night, so we ended up heading home to smoke hookah, play scrabble and imbibe a bit more.


On our last full day together it rained pretty heavily so we ended up getting a late start. We got some of the best burgers in Austin at Casino el Camino. It was there that I got a 20-ingredient Bloody Mary (with a hotness of 4 on their scale of 1 – 10, with a n 8 being a ghost chili and a 10 being a scorpion chili). Afterward, we walked around Dirty 6th Street a bit, checked out the haunted old hotel the Driskill, and stopped by Brew and Brew (38 taps and espresso bar) for some coffee. We drove around to show K & C some houses we were looking at on the East Side and ended up walking around Lady Bird Lake since it stopped raining. We headed to The AGBG for their Memorial Day BBQ for some beer flights. We headed to the infamous Austin sign for some photos after that and then gave them a quick tour of the UT campus. Our last stop of the weekend was Trudys Tex Mex around the corner from our apartment for $5 Mexican Martinis (aka a shaker of alcohol) and fried avocado & jalepenos.

We had to make the airport run pretty early Tuesday and work that day was rough to say the least. I haven’t had that much fun packed into one weekend in awhile. I can’t wait to have them back for round 2!!

Rules of Summer: Austin Style

This is will be my first summer in Austin and it’s my personal goal to make it as wonderful as possible. There’s so many great things happening this summer – we’re moving into a new house, traveling back home for a week, hosting 5 sets of visitors in Austin – that I want to make an effort to be present and enjoy each moment.

Summer is (almost) officially here!

  1.  Have a picnic
  2. Visit Jacobs Well and Hamilton Pool
  3. Bike to work and take walks after dinner at least 3 times a week
  4. Go camping
  5. Master my own signature cocktail
  6. Overnight trip to San Antonio
  7. Watch the sunset
  8. Tour for the best ice cream in Austin
  9. Visit a pick-your-own berries farm (then make cobbler)
  10. Attend an outdoor concert

My ‘Living in Austin One Month Anniversary’ in Numbers

I’ve now been living in Austin for just under one month and so here’s a list of things:

  • 20 (?): places I’ve taken Maribel out with me that I normally wouldn’t have been able to in Philly — bars, restaurants, etc. Bangers even has a gated area so you can let them loose. <33
  • Three: places I’ve eaten breakfast tacos (Tacodeli is currently in first place!)
  • Two: concerts I’ve seen. Arcade Fire at Austin360 and The National last week at ACL. Can’t wait to checkout more!
  • 0: pairs of cowboy boots I’ve puchased. My mom was here for 48 hours and she nabbed a pair though — atta girllllll
  • Five: spice girl drag queens (also known as the “Spice Gurls” who were flown in from Vancouver to perform alongside a viewing of “Spice World’ at the Alamo Drafthouse
  • Ten: about how many pounds I’ve gained since coming here
  • A Million: the amount of times I’ve come home to one of the five frats surrounding our apartment playing either big country or Kendrick Lamar
  • One: the amount of times Maribel and I have literally been chased down the street by a homeless person screaming “I’m gonna fuck you up”

In summation, I am loving this place and cannot wait to continuing exploring!! :D

Pooping on Bluebonnets

During the spring, Texas Bluebonnets pop up all over this state and people go bananas over them. The official state flower really is beautiful and you can often find them scattered across the sides of the highways.

So many people stop on the side of the road to crouch down and take photos in them. Then some genius realized that it also looks like people are pooping on the bluebonnets and decided to make a Tumblr out of them: amazing.

Of course, with this being Zach and my first spring down here, we couldn’t pass up the chance to partake.