About Christina Does It All

Doing it all, One blog at a time

Summer of Sam Hunt

Summertime is quickly approaching, and already I am feeling its magic.

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Two weekends back was just the beginning of my enchantment with the warmer months.

My little brother and I road-tripped it up to Louisiana to see our favorite country artist perform live. I purchased tickets back in March for his birthday, but in all honesty they were just as much for me. Sam Hunt is also performing in Austin, but I will take whatever excuse I can to explore the world. So tickets in Lafayette it was. And a wonderful decision I made.

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Each summer brings with it a slew of moments that are sure to all too quickly turn into treasured memories. These moments can usually be easily triggered in my mind by a scent, a phrase or a song. Not unique to me, music has been a huge part of my world since I was a young teenager. Some of this love comes from its ability to wrap me in nostalgia and instantly transport me to a different time and place. My infamous and long-term adoration for T-Swift stems not from the album 1989 (Though I also love her for sharing a birth year with me and making it immensely popular) but for melodramatic songs like Teardrops on my Guitar, Cold as You and Dear John that got me through things like high-school puppy love and first heartbreak. Despite the solid ground that I’m on now, I hear those songs today and can still feel those first shaky pangs.

So already, I know. Already there are these tunes and things collecting in my mind that I know will forever stay with me.

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Summer 2015, I’ll think.

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Summer 2015 was the summer of Sam Hunt. Of songs like Take Your Time, and Vandalizer making me hardcore swoon, and House Party and Leave The Night On instantly transporting me to my happy place. The summer of drinking coffee in a Louisianan treehouse, of Cajun food and endless mimosas, of getting to know strangers and their cats while boarding in someone else’s’ house. It’s to be the season of long drives at 3 am as the little brother snoozes in the passenger seat, of staying in a room full of trinkets, appropriately named “Imagine”, of double fisting on blue drinks at the Blue Dog Café and of drawing such moments on paper tablecloths. The time of delightful breweries, gluttonously cheesy grits, exploring an Acadian village and rushing back to Austin in time for Mother’s Day celebrations with my beautiful little family.

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I know I’ll never forget my despair upon breaking and losing my glass perfume from Italy whilst in a rush to the concert. Heading back from said concert, little bro acted as if he didn’t really care but, just the same, helped me thoroughly inspect the sidewalk until we finally found the broken glass. Obsessed with inanimate objects as I am, I joyously carried my perfume bottle remnants back to the car with cops in sight. I’ll also never forget breaking into laughter as my straight-laced brother told me, “The cops are going to see that and think it’s a crack pipe. They’ll think, ‘Huh, so she’ just going to carry that out in the open?”

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I’ll fondly reminisce on the next morning, listening to live music over champagne at the adorable Artmosphere. When the electricity went out and the microphones stopped working, the band kept on singing just the same.

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 It will be remembered as the summer of fried catfish, fireflies and the sound of coming home to sweet baby laughter.

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And the best part? It’ll be the summer of many other things too, because that summertime feeling has started before the official summer has even begun. I know it’s to also be the summer of family pool parties, outdoor brunches and more delightful travels. Of margaritas and flotation devices, of mini road-trips and wine dates with gal pals, of “Cop Car” playing on repeat on my mind and on my phone. Of sharing long and sweet kisses, sunset walks with our girl, back patio festivities with friends and of more magic that I haven’t even been able to imagine up quite yet.

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I feel bubbly and entranced with the charm of it all.

Let the summer of Sam Hunt commence.

Atlanta, 2015

I’ve added a new city to my list of favorites, and its name is Atlanta. I may or may not say this about most new places I visit, but work with me here. I’m just a girl who’s a bit smitten with the world, y’all.

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Atlanta Top 10:

1. Monday Night Brewing

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So unique. So fun. So many ties. For just $10 dollars a piece my husband and I received an adorable glass and six very generous pours of their tasty brews. Inside and outside were both full of lively crowds, sweet décor and string lights. And let’s not forget ALL OF THE TIES. So many good vibes. So many happy feelings. So got my husband drunk.

2. Brunch on the rooftop at Republic Social House

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Bottle of champagne. Cheesy grits. Biscuit with fried chicken and maple syrup. Rooftop views. Need I say more? NO I DON’T. (I’m sorry guys I sometimes scream at you when I’m excited.)

3. Ferris wheel ride at Skyview Atlanta.

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 I bought a Groupon for this one which also included a box of chocolates, making the evening all the more lovely and romantic. Life is like a box of chocolates, you never know how awesome it is until you’re eating it whilst on a ginormous Ferris Wheel showcasing incredible sights of Atlanta from high above. Pretty sure Forrest Gump said something along those lines once.

4. Coffee at Octane

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I choose the pour over, which was earthy and herbal and so tasty. Also loved the warehouse-like feel of this place. It was cozy and chill and made my heart smile.

5. Dinner at Canoe

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Located on the Chattahoochee, Canoe boasts exquisite views, an outstanding ambience and orgasmic delights. And by delights I mean food, just to clarify.

6. Exploring Senoia

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(Leaving my purple mark on Senoia)

The Atlanta area is where Walking Dead is filmed, and being geek fans, this was a definite added bonus for the husband and I. Robby especially turned into an excited man-child when entering the town of Senoia, Georgia – aka Walking Dead’s Woodbury. It’s a picturesque town, which made it all the more perfect for the creepy crap that went down in Woodbury. While buying fudge and cupcakes at the quaintest of ice cream shops, we talked to friendly locals and learned that filming was about to start in the next town over, a literal stone throw away from Senoia. Our next thirty minutes were spent getting as close to this town as possible without getting in trouble from the security standing guard all around. Rebels, the two of us.

7. Brunch at H. Harper Station

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Clearly, I really love a good brunch. Atlanta definitely did not disappoint. H. Harper Station is the most adorable of spots, located in an old train station and perfect for breakfast-lunch time. Strong coffee delivered to me in a French press, beautifully presented and completely delicious bagel with smoked trout, and the best, most buttery and crispy tater tots of my life. Yum, yum and YUM.

8. Watching the sunset and sharing kisses on Jackson Street Bridge.

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9. Joystick Gamebar

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On our last evening in Atlanta, Robby and I were brainstorming on what to do. Old man wanted something chill like bowling, and I was craving the nightlife. When he suggested an arcade, I did some googling and found the perfect in between. Joystick Gamebar provided a bar with old school games such as Pac-Man and Donkey Kong. I quickly gave up on the games, but fell in love with this place instantaneously just the same. As Robby played Ninja Turtles, I found drinks like chai soda with pecan vodka and ginger beer slushies. I chit-chatted with fun peeps and explored the lounge area, which was full of board games, tacky wallpaper and cat photos. It was pure kitschy, goofy cheese. Never have I felt so at home in a bar. I wandered back to the Pac-Man area in time to see my husband find a gamer buddy, and I inwardly chuckled with love for that nerd of mine. We then ended the night in very serious Connect Four and Jenga competitions.

10. Biking the BeltLine

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Um, only one of the best bike rides EVER. The views of downtown Atlanta were spectacular and the day perfect for a bike ride. From tiny doors to gorgeous graffiti and sculpture tree faces, the entire BeltLine is an insanely beautiful, zany, culture-filled work of art. I had barely passed one piece before I was captivated by another. Having a husband who repeatedly rang his bike bell, threw his hands up in the air and tried to play bumper-bikes only added to previously mentioned beautiful zaniness.

11.

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So I lied about the top ten because I have to add one more. As always, the moments in between are one of my favorite things about traveling with my dude. It’s fairly easy for me to get caught up in itineraries and doing ALL the things, but with his easygoing nature and calm spirit, Robby always reminds me about what makes our adventures the best. We do.

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 On the way back from our small road-trip to Senoia, I was itching to get back for dinner and plans for seeing more of Atlanta. But when we briefly stopped at a gas station and Robby sweetly asked, “Will you buy me a Toostie Pop?”, I just had to smile and slow down. Small a moment as it was, it caught me. Here are the things that are the greatest. Sitting in our rental with my favorite person in a random Georgian town. Making new memories, laughing about things that only make sense to us and enjoying our respective (mine was the bubble gum variety) Pops. We chose to forgo many of the big touristy attractions for things like bike rides, an arcade bar, a brewery covered in ties, little road-trips and strawberry-flavored suckers. And this was the very best of decisions.

Another one of my best decisions? Choosing the above guy as my lifelong partner in crime and travel buddy. My heart fills with joy when thinking about the memories made throughout our many explorations in the past seven years. Thanks for adding some pretty spectacular adventures to that list, Atlanta.

Hot Air Ballooning And Other Grand Adventures

“I have found adventure in flying, in world travel, in business, and even close at hand….Adventure is a state of mind- and spirit.”  – Jaqueline Cochran

You know what’s awesome?

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Hot air ballooning is awesome.

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You guys, what an insanely incredible experience this was. From getting up at the crack of dawn to watch a gorgeous sunrise in the park to soaring in the sky in the early morning light, every moment spent with Austin Aeronauts left me humbled and wonderstruck. At one point, our pilot had us nearly touching a lake, as the city was waking up around us and the reflection of the balloon shone in the water below. I’ve always known this world was lovely, but seeing it from high above right as the day began made me fall head over heels in love all over again. I will always be incredibly thankful and humbled to be given opportunities like this one as an event blogger.

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Oh, you know what else is awesome?

Being alive.

Life, in general, is just this really beautiful thing that I am ever so grateful for.

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Our little lady just turned one, though I don’t really see how that is even remotely possible. We were just welcoming her to the world the other day, I swear it. Though time is the sneakiest, I couldn’t be more proud of that vibrant and cheerful little redhead girl of ours. She is a small wonder that looks just like her daddy, a blue-eyed ball of light who is as curious and infatuated by the world as her mama. She is walking and babbling and stealing our hearts on the daily, and the joy that fills our house is a force to be reckoned with. As I type, I can hear my husband chatting with Bryn in the other room, and my heart is just as full as it could possibly be.

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Another awesome thing— Tomorrow the husband and I leave for Atlanta, Georgia, a new-to-me city and state that I absolutely cannot wait to explore. With my favorite travel buddy by my side and plenty of plans in tow, an abundance of magic is sure to be had.

If life is what you make it, I plan on making this life one big, grand adventure. So far, so good.

Pst—Atlanta, here we come!

Sushi Tasting at Soto

Last week I had the pleasure of partaking in a blog food tasting for Soto, a sushi restaurant in my neck of the woods.

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And just like that I have a new favorite sushi joint.

Soto sits in a strip mall and is the more or less the definition of the word unassuming. I had driven by this place on my way to my nearest Ross countless times without even realizing. It’s a gem amongst hidden gems, this restaurant, and it would be a sin not to let the rest of the world know Soto exists.

I was surprised I hadn’t at least noticed the entrance of this place before. They definitely do what they can with a strip mall setting, what with the tall, dark and handsome door and all. But as soon as I walked in, I was transported to another world. Upon leaving later that evening, I was a little shocked by the realization that I was still in a strip mall. I was pretty sure I had been transported to paradise or sushi heaven, what with the ambience and romantic lighting and food that had me like whoa.

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Let me get to that food now.

I started off with the amouse bouse aka edamame mousse. This had the consistency of hummus and the salty, delicious flavoring of seasoned edamame. This means I was literally licking the shot glass to get every last taste. I’m a classy lady, what can I say.

While I waited for my next course I sipped on the Golden Rod, Soto’s signature cocktail of the evening. Pear Vodka, Lemon juice, champagne and St. Jermaine Liquour….Need I say more? Okay, really I just wanted to rhyme there. I loved the mix of the bubbly with the slightly sweet pear and lemon flavors.

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Next came the Wild King salmon draped over lemongrass. This dish was ON FIRE, y’all. No really, it was. The presentation was almost as incredible as the salmon itself. The five-year-old in me loved getting to choose when to blow the fire out of my salmon dish. The adult in me loved the coffee beans soaked in 151 under the fire. The light coffee flavoring paired perfectly with the salmon, and I gobbled all four pieces up before you could say, “Orgasmic fish.” Or something.

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The next dish was a favorite of the evening. The Tuna with Foie Grass is finished with shaved summer truffle and chive truffle oil. It was placed on a bed of fried tempura momohayo leaf and okay, I really am salivating as I type this. The texture here was incredible, light but decadent, slightly crunchy and completely heavenly. I’m currently sitting on my couch wishing there was a way to eat things through my computer screen. Technology needs to advance in line with my food preferences, y ‘all.

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My last cocktail, the white peach sake-tini, was both delicately sweet yet noticeably earthy. The fact that the peach didn’t drown out the sake made this cocktail a winner winner sushi dinner in my book.

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One after one these succulent dishes and tasty drinks came to me, and more and more in love I fell. From the most intriguing tiramisu of my life, complete with a green tea reduction, sans the espresso, to the smoothest sake of my life to the last course, a tart, chilled and fruity palette cleanser, I was completely infatuated and ended my meal feeling refreshed. What with the therapeutic interior and both delicious and exquisitely presented meals, Soto was like a spa for my taste buds and soul. `

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My most sincere compliments go to the incredible chef Andy and crew. They completely spoiled me, and if you’re ever in the Austin area I simply cannot recommend this place enough. Now please excuse me as I close my computer screen in a meager attempt not to drool all over the food porn.

Love Drunk

“You probably shouldn’t tell him I said this, but Robby makes the perfect feminist husband.”, my friend Rachel told me as we sipped drinks downtown a few weekends ago.

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I laughed, because both of us knew he would probably deny this adamantly, but also because I realized that it was incredibly true.

I smile now thinking about another memory that comes to mind from a couple of weekends back. My husband and I were sitting on the patio at a favorite restaurant of mine, enjoying the perfect weather and our scrumptious meals. We had just finished kayaking at a nearby lake and were now soaking in the company of one another and time well spent. Robby was finishing his first and only beer of the day when he announced, “I feel drunk.” I was a little floored. This was coming from the man who, six years ago, could drink anyone I knew under the table. Who once told me stories of inebriated nights that nearly made me blush for him. Now he drinks so little that one beer can leave him feeling a little woozy.

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The day before the revelation that my husband is now a lightweight, gal pals and I had spent a beautiful day in Dripping Springs, Texas. We hopped around from wineries to a brewery to a quaint and delicious tapas restaurant. It was a day of perfection, magic and plenty of laughter. Sitting on the patio of a vineyard, listening to live music and chatting with my lady loves, the afternoon was exquisite and seemed to hold the promise of summer adventures soon to come. The same friend who called Robby a feminist mentioned in conversation that, though I’m married with a baby, I am able to do more than many single people she knows. I admitted that it doesn’t hurt to have that really awesome feminist husband of mine.

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I always inwardly chuckle when I hear comments like, “Oh, it’s so nice that your husband babysits.” or “It’s great that he watches her so you can get away for a bit!” It’s definite but unintentional gender role stereotyping– let’s be real, no one would ever say I was babysitting my own kid– but because I know no harm is meant, I’ve learned to laugh it off. Still, the truth is that getting out is not at all a rarity for me, and that Robby is far from a sitter. He is a dad and he is a husband, and a completely terrific one on both counts. I always know when I am adventuring that Miss Bryn is in the best of hands with her wonderful daddy. I’ll always take comfort in the fact that I have not just a husband, but a support system, a friend, a partner and a beautiful romance to call my own.

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Robby is the man I met nearly seven years ago, only better. He still tells the occasional inappropriate joke, has the same charming smile and loves cheap Mexican food. He has the same kind heart, happy disposition and southern accent that goes on for days. He’s the same, only more calm, more centered and more understanding. He listens better and tries harder. Over the years, I have had the honor of watching him become the most patient and loving man, and now father, that I have ever known. He also changes a mean diaper, and last night I caught him with baby in one hand while he pulled cookies out of the oven with the other. I didn’t know seven years ago that I was dating my own personal demigod in training.

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I realize and am trying to capture to memory what a beautiful season of my life–of our life– that this is. I’m raising my favorite little girl with the help of my favorite guy, and it’s the happiest of places to be. There are occasionally challenging moments right along with the magnificent ones, but hands down the hardest thing about these days is knowing that they won’t last forever.

Maybe my husband is onto something. Who really needs alcohol when you’re this love drunk?

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Just kidding, y’all. I still need my wine.

That’s Twenty-Six Talkin’

The past two weekends have been absolutely wonderful. They’ve been full of late nights, dancing, slumber parties, out-of-town friends, nonstop laughter and downtown shenanigans stretching into the wee hours of the morning. These past two weekends have also been a reminder that I’m not exactly twenty-one anymore. I can’t remember the last time I’ve partied every night of the weekend for TWO weekends in a row. How did I do it?! IT’S EXHAUSTING. I texted my best friend to happily complain that SXSW and spring break were killing me. “That’s 26 talkin’.” she responded. Ain’t that the truth.

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I turn twenty-six in a week, y’all.

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And I feel like I’m in a pretty good place to start another year of my life.

I’m currently flirting with the idea of getting my master’s. Then again, I might just continue focusing on my growing career. I’m keeping my options open, and that is an adventure in itself. I’ve recently taken on a new part-time social media client and am now looking over resumes to hire an intern to work below me. It’s a little surreal and very exciting.

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Not being certain of what’s next is part of all of the excitement. I know I could change my mind on this one, but as of right now, I don’t plan on having another little one until I’m about thirty. I personally hate the phrase “getting it out of the way.” I know everyone’s reasons are understandably different, but I just don’t want to get anything out of the way. I want to savor every minute of it just being Robby, Bryn and me. I want to enjoy each and every moment of her growing up, and to allow her to have a good amount of time where she is our only one. On a more selfish note, I am also enjoying the good amount of flexibility and freedom I still have with just one kiddo. Brynlee is a cheerful and easygoing baby, and she has a pretty fantastic daddy. The three of us have a routine and rhythm down that is perfect for us, and I just love everything exactly the way it is right now. While other people seem to do amazing at doing the two-under-two thing, the thought alone nearly gives me hives. I love having what I see as the complete luxury of not having my children back-to-back. I don’t feel rushed for a thing, and for a girl as restless as I, that feels almost like an extravagance.

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I know that the days have a funny way of sneaking up on a person, but right now thirty still seems so deliciously far away. The next four years stretch out in front of me, and they are beckoning me with the options, uncertainties and dreams that they hold. They are full of plans of adventures and treehouses and exploring lands both real and imaginary with Bryn and her handsome daddy. I’m delighted to not know exactly what is coming next and to be toying with so many different schemes and possibilities. I love my late nights out, but I’m growing preferential to early nights in with my lovely little tribe. I love what I do and the direction life is taking me, and I adore the people that make up my world. I’m just having so much fun, and fun is such a beautiful thing.

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I’m not twenty-one anymore, and that is definitely okay. I don’t really miss the experience of regularly throwing up in toilets.

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Twenty-six is talking, and it sounds so very sweet.

Mishaps, Surprises And A Half Marathon

The past week and a half has been crazy, busy, stressful and packed full of sweet surprises and blissful reminders.

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My daughter ate deodorant (Poison Control assured me she’d be just fine), my relatively new, usually perfect car refused to start, my debit card somehow got demagnetized and I accidentally hit on and probably terrified an attractive man. Let me explain that last part. Husband and I were walking out of date night at Punch Bowl Social and had just acquired some new photo-booth photos. I waved the new photos in front of my husband’s face and said “Lookit how cute we are!” Except it wasn’t my husband. Robby had politely opened the door for some folks and I was waving photos in front of a cute, probably terrified stranger. We both nervously laughed as I mumbled an explanation, and proceeded to quickly find our respective parties. Both myself and my respective actual husband proceeded to laugh at me a lot.

Now onto the sweet surprises and blissful reminders.

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My best dude friend randomly texted one evening last week asking if it was too late for dinner. He lives in San Antonio, but was in town for an interview the next day. I couldn’t help but smile at his typical impromptu plans. It was wonderful sharing unplanned drinks, stories and laughs with one of my favorite people of nearly nine years.

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On Saturday, a gal pal and I made a mini road-trip to San Marcos to run Moe’s Better Half Marathon. The weather was cold, wet and windy, but I was giddy to run my third half and join Becca as she popped her half marathon cherry. This was also my first half to run with a friend, and despite the fact that we were running in icy rain, I loved most every second of it. Never has 13.1 miles gone by so fast as when I was chatting, giggling and maybe even once peeing in a bush with my lovely friend. After we crossed the finish line, we rewarded our accomplishment with an incredible brunch at downtown San Marcos’ Root Cellar Cafe. The restaurant was cozy and quaint, the presentation was gorgeous and the meal absolutely scrumptious. I was double fistin’ with coffee and mimosas. Paradise. It was exactly the brunch destination I envisioned treating myself to after an especially long morning run. It definitely didn’t hurt that the company was also pretty excellent.

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As part of my adventure of the day today, I visited the specialty beer store that is Hamrick’s Market. I was thinking the cashier looked familiar and was trying to place him when he asked, “Did you used to work at Target?” I remembered then. Jacob and his best friend were two of my favorite, most entertaining customers. As he was updating me on his life Mr. Jacob told me that he and his pal were about to become roommates. With amusement in his tone he added, “But it’s not like that.” Apparently I had once assumed him and his pal were lovers. I was tickled that, after five years, he not only remembered me but also my word vomit.

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Mishaps aside, life has been giving me butterflies lately. I am infatuated with the love, the joys, the opportunities and the exciting possibilities that are filling my days.

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I think it should be noted that, on the two different occasions that my car wouldn’t start, two people I hadn’t known five minutes prior helped to jump-start my vehicle. A reminder to never underestimate the kindness of strangers. A reminder that there is beauty to even the moments in which things go wrong. A gentle nudge to remember the rest of these perfect moments, in which everything goes so very right.