Sunday, May 15, 2016

ATX: Bat City

A 60th birthday {ON Cinco De Mayo} AND Mother's that sounds like a good excuse to go to Austin {as if I really need an excuse}.  Enjoy this photographic narration of our trip to one my favorite cities...the liberal city of Texas...AUSTIN!

I'm a big fan of staying at VRBOs when's a fun way to experience the local lifestyle in a different community. I also like the convenience of having a kitchen and a place to chillax at in between site seeing etc.  We found a great apartment in the heart of downtown Austin. 

After a full day of traveling, we were ready for a quick bite to eat, so after dropping off our stuff we headed straight to the Iron Cactus for margaritas and table side guacamole..when in Austin, on Cinco De Mayo...

That evening the festivities continued as we celebrated my mom's 60th birthday with dinner at The Oasis on Lake Travis, home to the best Sunset in Austin! Oh, the lakes in Austin...amazing! 

As many reviews will tell you, the food is not fabulous, but the view and atmosphere make up for it. 

If you make a trip out the The Oasis, make sure to immortalize your love with one of their locks of love. 

A quick trip to 6th Street was a must following dinner.  We hit up The Chuggin' Monkey for some live music and dancing. 

ATTENTION BACHELOR FANS: this is one of the bars in Austin owned by Brad Womack. 

On Friday we played the roll of cheesy tourists and had some fun on the Austin Duck Adventure! Can I get a quack, quack!? It was a fun, informative tour of the city. 

I recommend sitting on the right side of the duck, as several of the sights along the tour are on the righthand side. 

DID YOU KNOW that Austin is the dog capital of the U.S., with over 60% of the businesses allowing employees to bring their dogs to work, dogs weighing under 30lbs are allowed to stay at The Driscoll AND the 13th floor of one of the sky rise condominiums is an indoor dog park.  

DID YOU KNOW that Texas chili contains no beans!? 

I don't want to ruin the tour for you...but can you name the Six Flags {it's not just an amusement park} of Austin?   

Austin is the only city that still moon {light} one point Chicago and Detroit did as well. The Zilker Park tower was prominently featured in the film Dazed and Confused (1993) as the site of a high-school keg party, in which the character David Wooderson played by Matthew McConaughey {an Austin resident} exclaims, "Party at the moon tower."

As the duck entered the waters of Lake Austin {oh my, the lakes of Austin!} we saw the home of the owner of Dell computers, along with the indoor water park build right next door {at the top of the hill} and...

...the home, and helicopter pad of Dennis Quaid.

When it's your birthday {or anniversary} Captain Bob let you drive...!

 Following our duck adventure, we stood in line for over an hour and a half for The Best BBQ in Austin, at La Barbecue. Even this Flegav {flexible vegan} would say it was worth the wait.

La Frito Loco.

We spent the afternoon at Barton Springs Pool...which the swimmer-triathlete-water-lover in me absolutely LOVED!  How amazing is this?

On our way {2.5 mile walk} we stopped at Congress Bridge to see the bats emerge from under the bridge.  You can read more about it HERE!  In my honest opinion, it wasn't all it is hyped up to be, but definitely an Austin must-see.  

That evening we hit up Rainey Street...for mules at Lucille, sausage and beer {over 100 to choose from} at Banger's, and live music at The Blackheart

Saturday morning, after a run along Lake Birdy {another lake!} we headed to Congress Street.  First stop, the iconic I love you so much wall and coffee {iced bomber} at Jos Coffee.  

Make sure to take a tour of all of the Austin Street Art. And don't forget to SMILE! 

For lunch we hit up a Congress Street MUST: Hop Doddy Burger!

After some much needed downtime..AKA a NAP...we headed back out.  First stop, Old School Bar & Grill for what I was told was the best Moscow Mule in town.  I'm not sure about that, but loved the view from the patio.  One thing is for sure though, Austin knows how to make a Moscow Mule right... a copper mug!

And then, the moment we'd all been waiting...for ole fashion Texas Two-Step at The Broken Spoke. This was good stuff.  

Nothing says TEXAS more than patriotic shower curtains for bathroom stalls. 

GOD BLESS TEXAS! The owner of the The Broke Spoken thanking everyone for over 50 years of business. 

Sunday morning we celebrated lunch by brunching with The Gospel Stars at one of my Austin favorites, Stubb's Gospel Brunch

After a quick stroll through the Pecan Street Festival and coffee with a friend at Brew & Brew, I headed to the airport for my solo journey home.  My parents however stayed one more night and made it to the one street art I REALLY wanted to go to...I guess I have an excuse to go back.  

Austin, the live music capital of the the world, keep weird.

If you are considering heading to Austin, check out my other two posts:

And I highly recommend purchasing 100 Things To Do In Austin Before You Die

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Continuing to Embrace Vulnerability

Life can he hard.  Can I get an AMEN!?

Sometimes my blog is a forum in which I can work through my emotions etc., and my hope is that in doing so I can positively impact just one of my readers.  Sometimes the posts I don't think much about, have the greatest impact on others, so may this post speak to you...

My life motto recently has been EMBRACE VULNERABILITY, and get out on that emotional skinny branch. Let me tell you what's HARD.  So many times it seems easier to sit back, be cautious and SAFE, guarding our hearts from potential pain...instead of embracing vulnerability, which potentially opens us up to more heartache, disappointment, and a perceived feeling of failure.  

I recently approached a situation with an all-in, no regrets, fully embracing vulnerability {beyond what is usually comfortable for me...but if felt right} mindset, only to be disappointed, and hurt...which I knew was a risk I was taking.  But I also recognized the potential that was there, and in order to see what might become of that potential, I had to put myself out there.  And so I did.  And I got hurt.  BUT...if I had the chance to do it over, would I do it differently? NO! No regrets. 

Through this I have learned a lot.  

We cannot let FEAR control our emotions and decisions.  I'm reading Pricilla Shirer's book Fervent Prayer and she said it perfectly:

"If God has given you clear direction, like He gave the children of Isreal-direction that's confirmed by His written Word and by the sounding board of wise, godly counsel your only reason for resisting Him is because you're AFRAID of what following Him down this path might mean or cost or entail, then you're not only on the threshold of being disobedient, you're about to miss an opportunity to give God some fresh, new glory by doing what He's wanting to do through you, which is the true impetus behind His invitation for you to join Him on the scary adventure in the first place."

Pain, heartache and hurt don't equal failure.  So often in these times of heartache I question WHY? Why me? Why again? My mom once advised me to question WHAT? What can I learn from the situation? What might I do differently next time? What was blessing of the situation?

It's not all about ME! So often I focus on what I did wrong, what I should've done differently, what I did to deserve this.  I beat myself up in order to find an answer.  I ask myself...Am I Enough? What is wrong with me? But it's not always a result of something I did or didn't do.  

Through the tears, disappointment, and walking through the experience itself, we are made STRONGER! Everything is shaping and preparing us for what is to come.  

I turn to music for everything. To help me put into words what I am feeling.  To bring out the dancer in me.  To have fun and let loose.  I just love music.  Recently I have been clinging to the words of Mandisa's song, Stronger:

When the waves are taking you under
Hold on just a little bit longer
He knows that this is gonna make your stronger, stronger
The pain ain't gonna last forever
And things can only get better
Believe Me
This is gonna make you stronger

Don't let the fear of what if prevent you from embracing the what could be. And if by chance things don't go as you had hoped know that there are bigger and better things in store.

And don't ever forget...YOU are an OVERCOMER, stay in the fight 'til the final round. You're not going under cause God is holding you right now.  You might be down for moment, feeling like it's hopeless.  That's when He reminds you that you're an overcomer.