If you hadn’t already seen my announcement on instagram or hadn’t heard from a little birdie, there has been some BIG news in my life recently. Of the shiny type that may fit onto my finger…
But let me rewind a bit and give you the short, sweet, to-the-point recap of my time spent in Austin, Texas with Wade.
I was hoping the trip to Austin we had planned for our only little mini vacation to celebrate New Year’s together would be a great one. A memorable one. And boy, was it!
The only negative to our entire trip was the awful weather. We had planned on traversing down South to Texas to find warmer weather to escape from this slap in the face that Winter has hit us with so far in Arkansas.
That didn’t happen.
The weather every day was rainy, drizzling, misty, and/or just overall very abnormally cold for Austin this time of the year. It didn’t help that most people we came into contact with who had lived in Austin for a while kept telling us “It’s NEVER like this here! This weather is crazy!” Thanks for reminding us…
BUT! Our time spent together was much to be enjoyed. The city brought to us many adventures, new things to see, and of course the food did not disappoint. There was not one bad meal we had during our stay the whole 5 1/2 days in Austin. Our taste buds were tempted with new, quirky dishes and flavor combinations I had never dreamed of being put on a plate together.
Here’s just a short recap of some of the highlights of our favorite Austin bites:
Our first meal in Austin was lunch at the Magnolia Cafe in South Congress district. This was my meal–the black bean entree with a side house salad and cornmeal pancake.
One evening for dinner we tried out the North by Northwest restaurant. Wade and I ordered the special of the evening–a bone-in pork chop with mushroom sherry sauce and our choice of sides.
The pork was fantastic, but I have to say it was the rolls as an appetizer before our meals that blew me away! These have got to be some of the best rolls I have ever had. Rosemary herbed rolls, I believe they were. I just called them little balls of heaven. I must try to recreate these at home.
With much discussion, Wade and I agreed that Gourdough’s gets the gold medal for first place in our tasty bites in Austin. It was also the most unexpectedly delicious meal!
When you’re sitting in what looks to be a sports bar with multiple TV’s with the volume turned up to the max for football bowl games, a huge bar taking up most of the restaurant space…you don’t really expect a 5 star meal.
This was an occasion where you do not judge a book by it’s cover. Gourdough’s is known for it’s donut desserts and entrees. Yep, donuts.
Wade opted for the Mother Clucker (ha!). Fried chicken on top of a sweet, honey glazed donut. And a side of fried okra.
While my decision of a lunch entree was definitely out of the ballpark for me. I hardly ever order soups at a restaurant. But the Grandma’s Dumplin’s sounded appealing with the dreary weather we had been experiencing. I don’t know if my taste buds and soul had ever been so pleased with any other meal from a restaurant before. One of the best soups I’ve ever had in my life! And it came with a fried donut that tasted similar to garlic bread on the side.
The donut was fabulous. The soup was fabulous. Two, four, hell, I’d say a billion thumbs up to Gourdough’s!
On our last evening in Austin, we met up with a fellow healthy living blogger, Lauren, I had reached out to after I found out she had lived in Austin for a few months and was very happy to meet up in person during our visit!
You guys should definitely go check out her blog, The Bikini Experiment sometime. She has a lot of great healthy living tips. Lauren and her boyfriend, Scott, ended up recommending we try out the restaurant Vino Vino together.
Lauren and Scott were a delight to chat with at dinner! It’s also nice to have a fellow blogger at the table who doesn’t thinks it’s strange you take pictures of your food AND even takes a few pictures herself. I hope we can visit them again in the future. If Wade and I end up moving to the Austin area, I’m sure we will meet up more often!
Dinner was, yet again, out of this world. Wade and I split a mixed greens salad, candied pork belly, and a grilled pork chop with a bacon succotash. Wonderful evening with friends and food.
Now for the big news. So I can save you all from sitting on the edge of you seats, I’m sure.
Little did I know, when Wade and I had planned on taking a tour of the Blanton museum near the University of Texas campus, that Wade had been planning a special something on his own.
One of the art pieces we came upon took up an entire room. It is titled “Missions”. 600,000 pennies, 800 communion wafers, 2,000 cattle bones, 80 paved stones, and black cloth surrounding the exhibit make up this art piece. It was beautiful. Just the way the light shone off the sea of pennies and reflected upwards onto the hanging cattle bones was enough to make you stare.
While gazing upon the pennies, standing on the paving stones surrounding the piece and inside of the black cloth frame, Wade got onto one knee and asked me to marry him.
Never did I ever imagine being proposed to inside of a museum, let alone in front of a giant sea of 600,000 pennies. He really surprised me and the entire moment could not have been more perfect.
I tried to not freak out, shout for joy, or do a crazy dance. Even with all of the joy built up inside of me! After all, we were in a pretty quiet museum with a few people around. Our moment was a private and memorable one and I’ll have to admit shedding a happy tear or two.
We walked around the remainder of the museum holding hands and ended at the gift shop which is where I began spreading the news to my parents and then others. Followed by our first meal together as an engaged couple–lunch at Moonshine Grill.
At the beginning of the year, most of us make goals or resolutions we hope and plan to follow. Some of us look back on lessons learned in the previous year.
The main theme or words I could contribute to 2014 in my own life would be “letting go”.
What I mean by this is letting go on trying to micro-control every aspect of my life. I’ve never been a patient person by nature, but these past 12 months basically forced me to let go of trying to control the future and just let be what will be.
I could not control that Wade moved away from my home back in June this past year, three hours away to start a job, and I knew I would not be following him.
I seemed to not be able to control my career and job opportunities and struggled for months to find something reasonable.
I had no control over my father being diagnosed with cancer.
But you know what? Stressing over those things I had no control over…it’s just not worth it. Lesson learned. You cannot change certain situations or unexpected events that may occur in your life, but you can change the way you react and, most importantly, adapt to those situations.
2015 will be quite the year of change for me, I’m sure of it. Wade and I plan on moving to live together this Summer. It cannot come soon enough!
I do not know yet where we will be living. I have a wedding to plan in the near future. I have career changes ahead of me as well as new career goals and fields of study I’m looking into.
2014 was the year of Letting Go. But I believe 2015 will be my year of Transition. I’m ready.
I’m linking up to Peas and Crayons today for her What I Ate Wednesday.
Also Linking up with Heather today for Friday Favorites
Ever been to Austin, TX? Do tell me about some of your favorite experiences if you have!
What would you choose to be your one word “theme” for the year 2015?