About Christina Does It All

Doing it all, One blog at a time

Medicine Park, Oklahoma 2015

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I first visited Oklahoma back in 2012 with my husband. We had a lovely time at a bed and breakfast sporting matching green robes and also made sure to take full advantage of the complimentary hot tub. Everywhere I’ve ever been with Robby eventually leaves me nostalgic for that time and place. Still, I wasn’t absolutely smitten with the town of Stillwater, which is a rarity for me. I’ve never traveled anywhere that I didn’t enjoy, but if I was forced to admit it, I would have probably said Oklahoma was my least favorite state. Until this month, that is.

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My husband and I road-tripped it up to Oklahoma once again, this time with our little lady in tow.

And just like that, I simply don’t have a least favorite state.

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We stayed in a cabin overlooking the mountains of Medicine Park, Oklahoma. I didn’t know until recently that Oklahoma even had mountains. They’re small, but they’re also surrounded by waterfalls and watering holes and lush greens and the quaintest of small towns.

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Spending the weekend with my two favorite people in Grandma’s Cabin was magic. Built in the 1920’s, our cabin was enchantingly rustic and overflowing with trinkets and charm. As my loves dozed late into the morning, I’d make my way to the upstairs patio to read a book, drink a cup of coffee and gaze at a waterfall. Our cabin was in walking distance to everything in town, which meant a quick morning run with plenty of time to come back to lunchtime and a family stroll. Later I might head out for a long dip in the watering hole while Bryn and Robby napped (These two love their sleep), and on my way back grab ice cream over espresso shots from the town coffee shop. For dinner there would be hot dogs at our little abode or heading out to a nearby pizza shop for a half pepperoni, half Hawaiian. The night would end in laughter and yawns, watching our girl stomp around and making sure to hide all the breakables from her chubby little fingers. When the little lady went down for the night, it was time for husband cuddles and, of course, more laughter. I’ve been laughing and traveling with this man for over seven years now, and that makes me feel like the luckiest. Y’all, my heart was continuously bubbling over with love and joy for my tiny tribe and the memories we were making in this gorgeous little town.

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After our weekend in Medicine Park, it’s safe to say that the three of us have started one of the first of our many family traditions to come.

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My overwhelming love for these two feels like a group hug for three. Like a spontaneous dance party to children’s tunes. Like a traveling love song.

Like a tradition of lifelong adventures, sunsets and cozy cabins.

And of always searching for beauty, everywhere, anywhere. Together.

Hey, Sunshine.

Note: I began this post last Friday night, the last evening of July 2015. A lovely month indeed.

It’s Friday night and I’m on a self-date at Red Horn Coffee and Brewing Company. I’m drinking a coffee stout as we speak, but since it is Friday night I might go a little crazy and drink an actual coffee too. A place that sells both coffee and beer is basically my paradise. The only thing that could top this is if they opened a place next door that sold both books and cabernet by the glass.

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Life is sweet right now. July, in all its sweat-inducing humidity, has surprised me by being arguably my favorite month of 2015 thus far. It was fun mixed with a heaping side of self-fulfillment, and the result has me swooning over all of the things.

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The month began with travels and my best friend, two of biggest loves. Already a great start, and it was prophetic for the way the rest of July would play out.

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I spent my first weekend back in Texas out of town once more, this time at the parent-in-law’s celebrating the 4th of July with my beloved little clan.

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I came back to the Austin area and quickly jumped into adventures such as partying in a bathtub with gal pals at Whisler’s, marveling over the stunning views at Driftwood Estate Winery in Wimberley, Texas and face-flopping off of a small cliff into water at Jacob’s Well. My life is a collection of random and sometimes strange thrills. It’s a collection I pride myself on.

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July also consisted of a night of laughter on the Riverwalk with two of my best friends, a day of lounging out on the boat with my handsome hubby, and a weekend of poolside beer and margaritas with the cousins.

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It’s been bliss, y’all.

But it’s been more than that too. July was also productive and, at times, magnificently inspiring.

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I modeled for my first fashion company and covered a cooking class with incredible views and a four-course meal that left me completely mesmerized.

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I began volunteering at Dress for Success as an image consultant, which means I get to be a fashion guru for clients and YOU GUYS, IT’S THE BEST EVER. I cannot tell you how happy it made my heart to help dress up and love on the sweetest of ladies for the day. Helping women feel their most beautiful, and as one newly glammed up gal put it, “Like a million bucks” was a feeling that is really hard to top, y’all.

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Another recent thing for me? For the first time in my life, I’ve started seeing a therapist. It’s something I should have probably started as a teenager, but nevertheless starting in my mid-twenties has me feeling a new kind of healthy and happy. There’s a lot of feelings I’m coming to terms with and a big amount of self-realization occurring in such a short amount of time. It’s hard and challenging and so wonderful. Vulnerability is something that has terrified me for years, but in allowing myself to be more vulnerable, I have found that I am also allowing myself to feel more alive.

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Yesterday I was walking past a manager at work when he greeted me with, “Hey, sunshine!” Not even a handful of minutes later, I walked outside to see another manager who said hello by way of, “What’s up, sunshine?” I informed him that I had just been called sunshine less than five minutes prior to which he responded, “Yeah, you’re sunshine!” Amused by the redundancy, (I wasn’t even wearing yellow!) I texted both my best gal pal and my best dude friend to relay the quick story. Their contrast in responses made me laugh.  Meg replied with a sweet, “You’re bright and light up a room!” Best dude friend’s heartfelt response? “They probably think you’re twelve years old.” Fair enough.

Funny coincidence as it may have been, my new nickname felt fitting just the same. I am visiting pretty places, reading good books and learning and growing in ways that feel monumental. I’m surrounded by adventures and enchanting possibilities and people that I love, and all of this does seem a lot like sunshine. Like a beautiful and radiant summer day. I’m basking in this light for as long as I possibly can.

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(Pst – I got that coffee, and it was delicious. If anyone was wondering.)

Hudson’s On The Bend Cooking School

I’ve been lucky enough to have collected a slew of incredible experiences as an Austinite event blogger. In the past few years, I’ve tried ziplining, beekeeping, fly-boarding, indoor skydiving and hot-air ballooning, to name a handful of favorites.

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So when I was invited to join a cooking class overlooking a lake in Austin, I wasn’t really expecting this to go on my blogging top five. Don’t get me wrong, I knew I would love it, and who can turn down delicious food? Not me. But I have just been so honored and humbled by the adventures that I’ve been able to join in on in the past few years, that I looked forward to this one in a more absentminded sort of way.

This made the surprise of my Hudson’s on the Bend experience that much more incredible.

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The event started out at the head chef’s house-mansion-thing-with-views-like-whoa. I turned onto a normal enough looking road and drove for a couple of miles before I then turned onto a gravel road and parked. Nothing out of the ordinary yet. But as I approached the entrance, my breath was nearly taken away. You guys, I have lived in Austin my entire life and have seen some lovely things but this was definitely amongst the most gorgeous of these. The views of Lake Travis paired with the scenery and décor of this abode were bar none. I stood at the entrance, probably with my mouth agape, but was quickly ushered in with a “Go grab a drink and sit down!” I was then promptly handed a vanilla vodka fizz that was always quickly refilled without so much as a request. I sat down to begin watching some pretty extraordinary chefs do their thang, which felt as if I was up close and personal with a comedic yet informative show featured on the Cooking Channel.

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After working up an appetite whilst watching this mouthwatering food sizzle, our cooking group headed back to Hudson’s on the Bend. We were more than ready to eat all of the delicious meals that had been whipped up before our wonderstruck eyes.

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This four course meal started off with rain forest ceviche, a ceviche made with coconut milk, habanero peppers and fresh ginger root marinade and a shaved coconut and pineapple marinade. This light, fresh and tasty appetizer was a perfect palette-greeter and left me greedy for more.

Next came the hot and crunchy avocado with mango jalapeno aeoli, ancho paint and mango jalapeno slaw. Ancho paint, for anyone curious, is made from ancho peppers soaked in hot water and then pureed with a handful of delectable ingredients like lemon and garlic. It was all just as mouth orgasmic as it sounds, y’all. The fruity and refreshing slaw, ancho and aeoli flavors perfectly complemented the delicately fried avocado. My mind kept telling me to slow down and bring home a bite or two for the hubby but my tastebuds were having none of it. I ate it all. Sorry not sorry.

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The main course followed, shrimp and lobster in saffron crepes with a brandied lobster sauce. The phrase in itself is a mouthful with the power to make ones’ mouth water, and you better believe the dish all went into my mouth. This dish was decadent, creamy, buttery and yes, saffrony. I’m making saffrony into a word because the saffron is such a key ingredient here. The most expensive spice in the world added a sophistication and complexity to this dish which left me savoring every last bite.

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Last but not least, the chai cheesecake. Oh my. Everyone at the table was oohing and ahing over this. One of my tablemates even commented that, though she doesn’t like cheesecake, she loved this one. The coconut almond crust and the fruit compote topping paired with the chai and cardamom flavors left us all swooning. And possibly drooling. Or maybe the drooling bit was just me. Great cheesecake doesn’t always allow me to be classy.

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Paired with great company and endless wine, the dishes served at Hudson’s on the Bend made this experience immediately jump to my top five of blogging adventures. I can’t wait to go back, but in the meantime? All in attendance were given a recipe book of all dishes made in the class. I don’t know that my cooking skills will be able to do these recipes the justice they deserve, but it’s really nice that I have the option to try.

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The deets:

Dishes made at Hudson’s on the Bend cooking school vary with each class, and recipes for each meal are given out before the chefs begin. The class, which includes a four course meal and wine, costs $135 per person. Click here to make reservations, y’all!

Note:

I was able to attend this class free of charge, but was not obligated to write anything other than my honest thoughts. All opinions expressed are entirely my own!

Best Friendship And State Hopping, 2015

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I spent the end of June and the beginning of July in the best of ways — Exploring and traveling with my best friend. We danced the night away in downtown Baltimore, were beach bums for two days in gorgeous Bethany Beach, Delaware and went winery-hopping in lovely little towns of Virginia. Small world as it is, another close friend of mine recently moved from Texas to Virginia. Last summer, Hannah, Meg and I were exploring wineries in Texas. It seemed that we were picking up where we left off, sharing hugs and wine and adventures in just a slightly different location.

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Let me backtrack to the year 2001 and explain to you my long-term love for Meg Tucker. She and I have been best friends for fourteen years. We met when she was nine and I was twelve. I had walked around the block with my dog every day for months, praying for a best friend to move into the very house she eventually moved into. I was brokenhearted when I found out she was a measly nine-year-old with a crush on my little brother to boot. Luckily she let go of the infatuation when she heard him tattle on me, and I quickly decided to let go of the age difference. The instant connection we’ve always shared has led us to believe that we are friend soul-mates. Always, we’ve had a lot of qualities in common and a lot definitely not in common. Current examples: She’s very single and I’m very not. I love to travel and she often prefers a staycation. I jump into things and she takes her time. We both have an intense love for people, new experiences and open-mindedness. She’s an ENFJ and I’m an ENFP. Our extreme similarities mixed with our striking differences sometimes make us want to momentarily kill the other, often quickly followed by the next moment when we’re trying to catch our breath from the fits of laughter. We continuously learn from one another and are both more accepting and understanding because of it. I find it liberating that she’s one of the few people that I can freely snap at, and comforting that she knows things about me that I haven’t ever told her.

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Briefly back to 2015 now. In between all of our travels, we made our way to Ellicott City, Maryland to BBQ with Meg’s fam. Every time I so much as step inside their doors, I am swept away by a sense of complete comfort and nostalgia. Here is where I spent two weeks after graduating high school, and have come back to often ever since. This is the house I slept in after eighteen-year-old me got my belly button pierced for the first time; Where Mrs. Tucker fretted over what my parents would do to her when I got back to Texas. It’s where Meg woke me up early one morning by jumping on me and I, still half asleep, asked her the now infamous question: “Do you think I am an insect that you can squash beneath your grasp!?” Where Meg’s little brother once played guitar for us after my flight back home was cancelled, and where I giddily spent one more night basking in the glow of my second family. In a world where everything changes, the Tucker residence has been a constant of mine for so long. Where laughter, drinks and good conversation are always shared, where Mrs. Tucker provides the best of home-cooked meals, where Mr. Tucker will always make bad jokes, and where I am affectionately and always referred to as “Tina.”

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My evening this time around was spent just like I imagined – Drinking margaritas on the back patio, being in stitches over silly but treasured memories and staying up late chatting with Meg’s mama as Meggie snoozed on the blow-up mattress.

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Reminiscing on my week spent state-hopping with my childhood and forever best gal pal has left me with a plethora of new memories and happy feels. When I think of Baltimore, I think of partying until the wee hours of the morning, followed by sleeping on someone’s floor for four hours, as if I was still a twenty-one year old lad. When I think Bethany Beach, I think of a good summer read and mangoritas. I think of an exquisite creamy crab soup at a little patio café, near the beach and on a gloriously perfect day. I think of getting unexpectedly drenched by the waves, shrieking and giggling and frantically trying to save all of our belongings. When I think Virginia, I think of scenic drives, great wine and even better friendships. I think of rooftop bars and heartfelt, honest conversations. And when I think of Ellicott City, Maryland? I think of my northern home.

Soaking Up Summertime

Life is sweet and full of summertime bliss.

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On Saturday, I leave to visit my best friend of fourteen years in Virginia. Or, we’re at least starting in Virginia. We’re also planning on partying in Maryland and beaching it up in Delaware. A little state-hopping, if you will. I am so ecstatic to start making new memories traveling and exploring with the lady love of my life.

But really, summer twenty fifteen has me giddy about a lot of things….

  • I bought a hammock. I’m growing partial to time spent between the trees, a pineapple drink in one hand and a book in the other. Or just staring up at the stars and listening to the crickets chirp. Paradise in my own backyard.

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  • Adventuring with my little one has taught me that she’s much better at taking selfies than I am.

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  • I’ve been occasionally volunteering at my nearby Alzheimer’s Center for a few years now, so I’ve known program director Bernard for a while. I don’t see him much but love catching up every time I do. His combo of good heart and fun personality makes him a winning human being. He also seems to think I’m pretty cool, and since I’m actually a weirdo, I appreciate that.

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  • San Antonio is quickly becoming one of my favorite cities in Texas. This is mostly because two of my favorite people in the entire world reside here. Also because the Riverwalk of San Antone is a lovely place to laugh the night away with said favorites.

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  • Date nights with the husband always leave me wonderstruck. Whether we’re eating garlic naan in a cozy cellar followed by being photo-bombed by an extremely tan gentleman (see if you can spot him below…) in downtown Austin or drinking beer out of mason jars in New Ulm, Texas, magic is always made when we’re together. Especially magical when we come home sporting matching dinosaur stamps from da club.
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  • I don’t know how it’s possible, but my job voluntarily pays me for doing things like organizing lip-dubs and dancing like a tune deaf white girl. You can watch the full embarrassing footage here.
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  • Family moments in my household sometimes include squishing ourselves into tiny children’s forts and capturing the moment with a selfie.

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Summer 2015 has me smitten. I’m soaking up the sun and as many of these beautiful moments as I possibly can.

We Wore Our Sunglasses At Night – May 2008

These are the words I held back, as I was leaving too soon..

Please don’t be in love with someone else,
Please don’t have somebody waiting on you.”

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 Seven years ago I met this pretty cool guy at a house party.

We talked all night. I told him I could spell anything when I was drunk, and he lied to me and told me he liked some country music. I believed him because his voice sounded like a sweet southern song, but I’d later find out that he really hates almost all country music and much prefers techno and dubstep. For reasons too many Jell-O shots won’t allow me to remember, we took our first picture together, sporting sunglasses at night.

I attacked his lips with smooches before he left, and he proceeded to ask me on a date. Days later, he messaged me on MySpace with a quick message: “What’s up, spelling bee?”

The rest is history. But a history that I love to tell and retell.

For so long, the way he treated me felt so brand new. Part of this was because I was only nineteen, and fairly new to the whole dating scene. But more than that, what I had witnessed of serious relationships in my previous eighteen years had left me substantially incredulous for someone so young. Robby was what I had only dreamed a partnership could be, not what I had ever known the reality to look like. From the very beginning, I was taken aback by the complete freedom I felt when I was with him.

In our earliest of days, he once left my friend’s apartment living room in the wee hours of the morning to head off to work. I was barely awake when I heard the door close and then, moments later, open again. He had walked back inside just to give my half-asleep self a quick kiss goodbye.

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And that was how it always was with Robby. He looked at me like I had hung the moon, told me he loved me entirely too soon and quite often, gifted me with sweet surprises and constantly gave my hand quick pecks, just because. His happiness was contagious and his complete adoration for me slightly baffling. It seemed too good. I worried that it wouldn’t last.

Yet here we are more than seven Mays later, with years’ worth of love and happiness and our own little Brynlee Mae Boudreaux. Today I woke him up in the wee hours of the morning to tell him that I couldn’t sleep. He was barely awake as he stroked my back and snuggled until I felt relaxed enough to doze off again. I’m still occasionally surprised by his sweet smooches, thoughtful actions and loving words, but I’m so grateful that it’s all that our Miss Mae has ever known. I’m happy to share his hung-the-moon gaze with this sweet baby girl that we made all by ourselves.

Seven years later and our love still feels like freedom. Like the deepest of belly laughter. Like seeing fireflies in your backyard hammock on a star-studded summer night. Like kissing at sunset on the Jackson Street Bridge, or getting lost in Venice in the rain, or renewing wedding vows in a silly little Vegas chapel. Like the grandest of adventures. The kind that you just can’t wait to continue for the rest of your days.

Life with Subtitles

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It’s summertime and the living is easy and worthy of subtitles. Here’s what’s up:

1. The Big Cojones

Did y’all know I was in a dodgeball league? No? Because I totally was, and it was awesome. Our season just ended, but the memories and friendships I’ve made from playing on the Big Cojones have not. Side note — I did not name our team.

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2. Pool party at the Dell Diamond

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I kick-started these sizzling months by partaking in a pool party at a baseball game with one of my dodgeball lady loves. A pool party at a baseball game! How fun is life!?

3. DJ Dash. 5k?

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My first summer run was an interesting experience. It was the first 5k I’ve ran that, uh, wasn’t actually a 5k. Being a bit of a running enthusiast, I asked where the timer was upon crossing the finish line. A kind sir informed me that they didn’t have one, and also because of our crazy Texas weather and muddy conditions, it had to be cut to only two miles anyway. And here I was thinking I ran the fastest 3.1 miles of my life. WHATEVER.

4. That Chinese kid

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I’m going to stay with one of my best gal pals in San Antonio this weekend. My best (Vietnamese) dude friend of nearly ten years (Gah, that makes me feel so old. We were just exchanging notes in high-school the other day, I swear it.) also lives in SA, so I asked if he wanted hang out. This somehow turned into him overanalyzing how my family feels about him. I am not aware of them thinking any of these things, but he made me laugh just the same. I’ve told other friends I’m contemplating starting a “Sh#* that Bryant says” domain.

5. Cheese Style

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Also amusing is when you text your dear husband a grocery store parody of T-Swift’s ‘Style’ and he has not even the smallest inkling of what you might be doing.

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6. Excuse me sir, I need your hat.

Because sometimes at a brewery it’s necessary to borrow a cowboy hat for a good photo op.

7. Getting feisty with a floating elephantpooljune

I highly enjoy spending time at the pool with my baby, a best friend and a child’s floating device that I may or may not have been passionately smooching once a margarita entered my system. (Luckily my child was napping at this point so she didn’t witness such atrocities against her elephant.)

8. All in a day’s work

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I like when freelance work leads me to the 28th floor of a building in the heart of downtown Austin.

9. That face.

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It’s the one I’m lucky enough to wake up to every morning.

10. These two

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They are just the very best.