Beginner’s Guide to Austin, TX and Oklahoma City, OK

Beginner’s Guide to Austin, TX and Oklahoma City, OK

When I started looking at all of the places I have left to travel to I realized that I haven’t been to the Southern States, and I decided to ease myself into venturing to this new area of the country by visiting one of my best friends in Oklahoma City (OKC). I had already been to OKC before, but that was two years ago, and a lot can change in two years. We figured out that neither of us had been to Austin, TX (ATX), so we decided that I would fly to OKC and then we would road trip down to ATX. I’ve always liked road trips, and then it allows you to hang out with a friend and see new parts of the country.

Day 1
When we first arrived in Austin, we checked into our Airbnb- I think that Airbnb’s are a great way to see a city and interact with local residents. After we settled in we headed over to Uchi, for a delicious sushi dinner. We started off the meal with drinks and for our main course we decided to get the signature tasting option- it is five courses which is a good amount split between two people. This allowed us to try a lot of different things. To start off we tried was the Hirame Usuzukuri, which is flounder with candied quinoa, and olive oil. The second course was the Machi Cure, which is smoked yellowtail, yucca crisp, marcona almond, and Asian pear. For the next course, we had the Maguro & Goat Cheese, which is one of the most unique sushi dishes that I have ever had. Then we had the Hamachi Nabe, which is yellowtail, koshihikari rice, soy broth, and an egg yolk. To conclude our dining experience, we had the Walu Walu which is oak-grilled escolar, yuzupon, candied citrus, and myoga. The food was delicious, well prepared, and truly unique. I think that Uchi has some of the best sushi I have ever had, and the unique dishes makes it worth the price.

After dinner, we went back to our Airbnb to relax and plan for the next day.

Day 2
To start off the day we had a relaxing morning and a quick breakfast and then headed downtown to the Austin Visitors Center. We walked around the center and got to learn more about the city, and then we boarded a bus for the Austin in 90 minutes tour. Some things that you see on the guided bus tour are the 360 Scenic Overlook, Graffiti Park at Castle Hills, Bullock Texas State History Museum, and UT- Austin.

Later on, in the day we had an early dinner and did a Bat Cruise. Fun Fact: The Congress Avenue Bridge is home to the largest urban bat colony in the world. During the Bat cruise you get to experience all of the bats leaving the bridge to go find dinner as the sun sets. It is possibly one of the coolest thing you’ll experience in Austin and I would never have guessed that so many bats could fit under the bridge!

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After the cruise we headed to the “Dirty Sixth” or 6th street to go listen to some live music and enjoy a drink. Eventually we wanted a snack so we decided to head to Voodoo Doughnut Austin, and I got a Maple Bacon donut. It was tasty, and I was excited to try Voodoo because it is originally from Portland, OR and I was going there in a few weeks, so it was like a mini preview of Portland.

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Day 3
After our long day 2, we decided to sleep in a little and then grab breakfast at Whole Foods. Now I know that sounds funny, but considering that Whole Foods was founded in Austin and the original location has a lot of eateries, so we figured it was a good way to see the store and grab breakfast. I went to Taco Alley and got a breakfast burrito and it was divine.

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The next activity for the day was to go on the Deep Eddy Distillery tour. We got the tickets that have the shuttle to and from, so we avoided drinking and driving. The ticket is $25, and it included the round-trip shuttle ride, the tour, a cocktail and 20% off all merchandise. I really enjoyed learning about how they make their vodka and eating and drinking after the tour. They have some food trucks there, so you can get snacks while drinking and I obviously had to get BBQ. It is definitely a fun place to go, and it would be a great place to spend an afternoon with friends.

Once we got back to downtown Austin, we headed to the Roaring Fork for dinner. I got the Cedar Planked Salmon- its oven roasted with Teriyaki BBQ sauce and a Chilled Green Bean Salad. It was the perfect meal after spending a lot of time outside in the heat.

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After dinner we headed back to the Airbnb to hang out and go to bed early. Since we were heading back to OKC early in the morning to beat traffic.

Day 4
After a 4-hour drive, we arrived back in OKC and it felt great to get out of the car. We relaxed, ate dinner, and then we went to the OKCLA game (OKCLA is the minor league team for the Los Angeles Dodgers). I love baseball, so it was fun to get to see a good minor league team play.

Day 5
After a good night’s sleep, we woke up and went to breakfast at The Red Cup. I got a Peanut Butter and Banana sandwich and a Chai tea to drink. It was the perfect breakfast for a hot day. I really enjoyed the atmosphere of the restaurant and all of the art.

After breakfast we took a water taxi ride around downtown and we got to see some murals and sculptures.

For lunch we went to Big Truck Tacos, and it was amazing! I got the Okie-Wahoo and Rita’s Chicken Tacos. It’s an affordable and delicious place- highly recommend if you’re ever in OKC!

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Once we were done eating, then it was time for me to head to the airport and go back to LA. It was a great trip to Austin and OKC, and I definitely want to return to both cities.

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2017 Goals: Fall Update

2017 Goals: Fall Update

Okay, I’ve been bad at keeping you guys updated on how my goals for 2017 are going, so here’s the latest update.

*Goal 1: Exercise more and get better at Cardio

I’ve definitely been achieving this goal. I still exercise 3-5 times a week, and I’ve transitioned more into jogging vs. powerwalking. I’ve been proud of my accomplishments and the changes I’ve seen in my body. Trying to get things back to my pre-boot self has been difficult, and I still get pain in my foot sometimes; however, I will show up to class and I try my hardest.

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One of my accomplishments was that I got my highest amount of splat points ever- 15!!! I usually am in the 0-4 range- low resting heart rate problems :/ I am constantly inspired to do better in class by the other members and the coaches. This inspiration manifested itself into me setting another goal of running 2 miles in the 30-minute Cardio portion of class. Now I know 2 miles in 30 minutes doesn’t sound like a big accomplishment, but trust me, as someone who couldn’t do the 20-minute mile in gym class during middle school- this is a HUGE goal! The thing that was funny about setting and accomplishing this goal was that I did it within a 3-week time period. Seriously, one day I decided it was happening and then I just constantly pushed myself for the next 3 weeks until I accomplished it. This showed me that with focus and determination, you can rise to the occasion and achieve your goals.

Despite this inspiration, I still find that it can be really hard to get myself in the mood to attend class- sometimes I am truly fried from the day, but I always leave class feeling better. I think that having a consistent workout routine has saved me numerous times mentally from the frustration I’ve been experiencing in different aspects of my life.

*Goal 2: Go to all 50 states before I turn 30

This goal has been put on pause a bit, because I did a lot of traveling within a short period of time- I think it made me not want to get on another plane. I can say that I have 11 or 12 states left, and I definitely think my goal is feasible. I’m starting to think about planning trips for 2018 with some friends that I don’t get to see. I am however working on writing posts about some of my past trips, so for 2018 I can start posting in as close to real time as possible.

*Goal 3: Budget and Save Money

I’ve definitely had my ups and downs with this goal. I’ve noticed that when things get really hectic in my life, that I just forget completely about having a budget or paying attention to my finances. This is a really bad habit, and I’ve been working hard to break it. I’ve been utilizing the Mint app more, and I think it’s really helping. I am still using Ebates, Ibotta, and ThreadUp to earn money in more practical ways.

If you’re interested in Ebates, make sure to subscribe through the link and you’ll get $10 for just signing up! If you’re interested in Ibotta, use the referral code onjumjl for $10. This post is not sponsored by either company, but I genuinely think they’re great tools for earning money on purchases you were already going to make. If you’re interested in trying ThreadUp, here’s a link to get $10: http://www.thredup.com/r/C0GZL0

*Goal 4: Be more politically active

This goal is still one I’ve been working on trying to figure out how to achieve. I’ve tried to read different sites to understand what is going on in the country, and supporting candidates that I agree with. I would like to volunteer for a political campaign because that was something I really enjoyed in high school, but I haven’t been around any elections. I think right now the best I can do is be knowledgeable about the issues I care about and having discussions with friends about how to get more engaged. I saw that there is another Women’s March planned for January, and I think I will participate in that.

*Goal 5: Schedule Time for Self-Care

I would honestly say that this is the goal that I’ve been the worst at accomplishing this year. I keep doing too much, and then I get overwhelmed, and then I practice a lot of self-care to feel better, and then the cycle keeps going. I started getting regular massages because my body started having pain in places that I know act up when I am stressed out. Listening to my body forced me to take time for myself, but it still doesn’t address the overall issue of me not taking enough time for myself. I honestly think that I need to start putting self-care into my calendar more, and not just taking an exercise class a few times a week, but really taking some time to decompress a few days a week. I know that I am really good at following my calendars, so this is a better way to hold myself accountable.

Anyways, this is how things have been going for me and I hope you learned something that can help you! I’m starting to think about new goals for the next year and how to carry these goals over- if you have any ideas, please comment below!

Beginner’s Guide to Boston

Beginner’s Guide to Boston

One of my favorite regions of the United States is New England. I love the history, seasons (Yes, I said seasons. Growing up with them and then living in LA is weird!), and the food! I ventured across the U.S. to visit various friends from college and my friend Sarah aka the 207 Foodie came down from Maine.

Day One

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Well I landed in the afternoon, so the first task on hand was to find food! My friend and I went to Shabu Zen in Chinatown, and the food was delicious. It was the right balance of meat, veggies, and soup. Then we ventured over to Boston Common and got to see the Massachusetts State House all lit up. Then we decided to head over to Fenway Park- this was a bucket list item for me. Even though it wasn’t baseball season, I just wanted to see the historic park (if you can’t tell, baseball is my favorite sport). From the outside Fenway looked magical, and sometime I need to head back so I can go to an actual game.

The next stop on our evening tour of the city was Mike’s Pastry in Cambridge, which is phenomenal! I am not a huge dessert person, and even I could appreciate a delicious cannoli. We explored Cambridge a little, and I got to see some of Harvard’s campus.

Day Two

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The best way to start your day is with a good cup of coffee and an East Coast bagel. To me, there is nothing better. But the real adventure of the day was leaving Boston, and heading to Salem, MA. While psychics and witches are not really something I’m interested in, I can appreciate the history of the town. One of my favorite books in school was the Scarlet Letter, so I thought it was really cool to see where Nathaniel Hawthorne was born and grew up.

There are a lot of really interesting sculptures and art pieces around the town, and they reflect the history of the city. We also went to the Salem Witch Museum– a must go when in Salem. After exploring the town all day, it was time for a snack, and we choose macaroons at Caramel. We got a variety of flavors and they were all delicious. We made a detour up to New Hampshire so we could do some exploring, and so I could mark it off my list of states to visit. Next stop was dinner at Legal on the Mystic, where I tried Clam Chowder for the first time (another must do when in New England). We also got Oysters to share and I loved the Mignonette Sauce- seriously amazing!

Day Three

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There’s nothing better than being in Boston for St. Patrick’s Day, so we headed to The Bell in Hand Tavern to celebrate. The Bell in Hand Tavern is the oldest tavern in the United States- it opened in 1795. We spent the day here just hanging out and enjoying ourselves.

Day Four

We started the day off by walking around Boston, and we stumbled upon the memorial for Paul Revere and where he’s buried. Since Boston is filled with American history, it’s easy to stumble upon it everywhere you go. The next stop on our walk was the Boston Public Garden, so I could see the Make Way for Ducklings statues. I thought this was the coolest thing ever, because I was obsessed with the books growing up.

This was absolutely one of the best trips out East that I’ve ever had. It was a perfect balance of history, relaxation, and hanging out with good friends. Everyone needs a trip like this.

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An Eggsellent Meal at Eggslut

An Eggsellent Meal at Eggslut

One of my favorite things to do is explore parts of Los Angeles with my friends, and of course, try new restaurants. I think that one of the most underrated places to eat in Los Angeles, is Grand Central Market; however, within Grand Central Market there are a lot of amazing and diverse eateries. I love the produce shops, coffee shops, bread stores, and all the eateries and stores in this iconic location; one of my favorites is Eggslut.

I’m currently trying to make the best egg sandwich when I cook at home, so I’m trying different egg sandwiches around Los Angeles for inspiration. The menu is fairly limited to just egg sandwiches, but they do have an option that’s gluten free and comes with a salad. A friend and I both got the Bacon, Egg, and Cheese sandwich (mine with avocado, because it was national avocado day) and my other friend got a Slut with a side salad. They honestly know how to make the best egg sandwich at Eggslut and I need to know how they do it! I loved the crunchiness of the bacon, and how the cheese melted on the egg. The avocado topped off the sandwich.

One downside of Eggslut is that it is a small restaurant, so there usually is a crazy long line. However, this gives you the opportunity to take turns waiting in line with your friends while letting one explore Grand Central Market. It also allows you to socialize before ordering, so that way you can enjoy your amazing sandwich.  🙂

Eggslut is a great breakfast option, and being in Grand Central Market makes it even more enjoyable. Look out for a future post about my adventures trying to make the best egg sandwich at home. Happy Eating!

Why I Marched

Why I Marched

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On January 21, 2017, I participated in the Women’s March in Los Angeles, and I am extremely glad I did so. It has been 11 days since the new president was sworn in, and I’ve felt a variety of emotions ranging from anger to being scared. However, on January 21st, I was proud to be participating in something so historic. I was proud that I stood up for what I believed in, and that millions of people around the world did too. I was proud that the marches around the world were peaceful and inclusive. In the hours, I marched, I was proud to be an American.

Now some may ask why it took me so long to write this post, and the answer is it took me these 11 days to harness my feelings and craft something that wasn’t irrational or a rant. I marched because I believe in women’s rights, equality, human rights, disability rights, access to a good public education, reproductive rights, diversity, and that as a social worker I should stand up for marginalized populations.

I loved the atmosphere of the March in LA; it was calm, diverse, and there was a strong sense of unity.  If you asked me a year ago if I would ever participate in a march, I probably would have said nope, but now I’m glad I did and I’m not going to stop.

Travel Goals

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States I’ve been to are circled in red 🙂

In my post 2016 Goals, I mentioned that I wanted to travel more. When I turned 25 in February, I set the goal of going to all 50 states before I turn 30. Growing up we did a lot of road trips, so it wasn’t a daunting goal to me. Since then, I’ve been to Maine, Oregon, Washington, New Hampshire, Texas, and I booked a trip to Hawaii! I know that I’ve been bad and posting about my trips, and I promise that I’m going to post about my favorite things from each trip or place. If any of you have recommendations for the states that aren’t circled, please share them with me!

Bauble Bar

One of my favorite things to purchase is jewelry. I love how it can dress up even the simplest of outfits; however, I really only like simple jewelry. I tend to get overwhelmed by crazy or colorful jewelry, so I love it when I can find simple pieces. One of my favorite places to buy jewelry is Bauble Bar. Over the past six years, I’ve bought a few rings from them. Recently, I bought the Crystal Mason Ring in Rose Gold and Silver. I love the ring in both colors, and it looks amazing no matter what you pair it with. If you’re looking for affordable and cute jewelry, then I highly recommend Bauble Bar. Also, with every purchase you make, you earn points that can be applied to future purchases and sometimes you can get free items (like the earrings below)!

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Daily LOL #13

Earlier this week, one of my friends told me to watch this week’s Carpool Karaoke and I had no idea why I HAD to watch. Now, I finally watched and I seriously just had the best nine minutes of my life since I saw Britney in Vegas. This might be my favorite episode of Carpool Karaoke, so enjoy!

I LOVE Coffee!

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Cold brew Float

So I named my blog after my love of coffee, and I figured that it was time to share my new favorite coffee spot in Los Angeles. I recently discovered Demitasse in Mid-City after I went to the chiropractor one day, and I’ve been back three times in the last few weeks. Demitasse is a small chain in Los Angeles, and they coffee is amazing and super fresh. They try to have all local products, and all of the baristas are super friendly. I’ve tried the Iced Mint Cubano, Cold brew Float, and the Nitro ice coffee (their own type of cold brew). Each drink has been delicious, and made with fresh ingredients. If you’re ever in Los Angeles and you’re obsessed with coffee, then I strongly recommend that you stop by one of Demitasse’s locations!

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Nitro and Croissant

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Back To School!

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Ok, well it might be the second fall that I’m not going to be in school, but I still love all of the back to school sales and items that go with starting school. Here are two of my favorite things:

  1. Planners! I love agendas, they possibly could be my favorite accessory. I typically get a Lilly Pulitzer agenda, but this year I didn’t like the patterns and decided to get something new. This year I got a ban.do planner, and I am obsessed. I got the planner that says I Am Very Busy in blue. Ban.do planners are cute, simple but fun, and have motivational says on certain days. I can’t wait to start using it in August!
  2. My second favorite thing is the Nordstrom Anniversary sale! I rarely buy a lot of clothes at once, but this year I needed some new clothes for work so I decided it was worth the splurge. I got 7 items, and I love all of them. Here are the links to the items I bought:
    • The Bouclé & Knit Drape Collar Jacket is super cute, and a perfect weight for wearing in the office.

    • The Belted Short Sleeve Top is perfect for fall, and comes in lovely colors for fall. I got the shirt in the green and navy, and I can’t wait to wear it!

    • I am obsessed with the Short Sleeve Chiffon Top in Garnet. It fits perfectly and the color is amazing; just don’t wear it in the heat if you get hot easily.
    • Another item that I love is the Halogen® Kick Flare Knit Ankle Pants. They are perfect for someone who is short, and doesn’t want to alter another pair of pants. They aren’t on Nordstrom’s website anymore, but you should definitely monitor it for them!
    • I bought one pair of shoes, the Vans ‘Classic’ Slip-On Sneaker in Black Patent Leather.  I bought the shoes to wear to work because I’m recovering from a stress fracture in my foot, and I needed a pair of gym shoes that didn’t look like gym shoes.
    • The final item that I bought was the Hooded Longline Cardigan in the Trend Section of the store. It is made by BP, which is the Nordstrom juniors brand. The sweater is super comfy, and perfect for fall weather.

I hope that everyone takes advantage of the Nordstrom Anniversary sale because there are tons of good deals on high quality items! Happy Fall Shopping 🙂