About Christina Does It All

Doing it all, One blog at a time

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.

Anything for Adventure

I am smitten with 2015.

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It’s only February, and already the year has been completely packed full of magic.

I’ve brunched in Arlington, Virginia and toured monuments in D.C. with my best friend of thirteen years. I’ve dined–and met the famous PIEMAN– in Round Top, Texas with my handsome hubby at Royer’s Café.

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I’ve sipped wine with gal pals in the adorable town of Georgetown, Texas and near an extinct volcano at Pilot’s Knob Vineyard in Bertram. That particular night was spent with my Rachel face and her sweet mama, drinking a delicious red and watching the sunset with a scenic view. It was one of those gorgeous, flawless evenings that I know I will keep with me for a very long time.

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I’ve gotten puppy kisses and happy feelings whilst volunteer dog-walking at my local animal shelter, and good conversation with great people while volunteering at my nearby Alzheimer’s Center.

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Covering media events has given me the chance to do things like drink wine while trying on fancy-shmancy jewelry, drink more wine in a cooking supply store and eat plenty of delicious food.

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Running my first 10k of the year gave me the opportunity to eat complimentary donut holes once crossing the finish line. I do it all for the chocolate glazed, yo.

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My little lady is 10 months old now, and she is this outgoing, silly, happy, vivacious bubble of fun. She is a redheaded, blue-eyed version of her daddy, and has us constantly laughing with her antics and sweet personality. Watching her grow has been and continues to be this beautiful, wonderful, wild journey. And raising her with my best friend gives me copious amounts of joy on a daily basis.

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This past weekend I had a photo shoot in downtown Austin with one of my favorite photographers. Being navigationally challenged, I got lost trying to meet up with Dave and he had to find me. While shooting, I simultaneously explored new nooks and crannies of my beautiful city. And at the end of the shoot, I had wedged myself into a tiny little nook and cranny in an alleyway by a dumpster to get a good shot. Anything for adventure, y’all.

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After the shoot, I sat myself down with a good book, a notebook and a delicious cocktail at Halycon Coffee Lounge. Reading and writing in a coffee shop with a tasty, boozy drink felt a little bit like paradise.

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A little over a week ago, I started a project called Adventure Of The Day. I’m challenging myself to try a new escapade every single day, and am chronicling it all at adventureofthedayatx. I can’t tell you how inspirational and invigorating this self-made challenge has already been. Within a week’s time, I was given a spontaneous inside tour of a tea trailer, purchased plane tickets, made a quick jog down to the area of a cave preserve, and climbed to the top of a staircase to get a lovely view of Buda, Texas. Today I tried lavender hot cocoa for the first time, ate a truffle made with six different peppers and took a selfie with a barista. It’s the perfect excuse to do something great even on Mondays. Every morning brings with it the knowledge that something delightful -and often unplanned- will be happening in the very near future. Though I’ve made a career as a social media representative, I’ve been slow to the Instagram game in my personal life and have only occasionally posted on my first handle. Now I find myself giddily anticipating plans and excitedly wondering what my next new experience to post will be.

And I just can’t wait to see what adventures will be awaiting me in the next twenty-four hours. And the twenty-four hours after that. And the….okay, you get it. ADVENTURES AWAIT!

Happy Birthday, You.

He loves Star Wars and The Goonies, but Back to the Future is his favorite. Parts 1, 2, and 3.

He is silly, and incredibly selfless and his big smile never stops turning my heart to goo.

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(Ice-skating, January 2015)

I married him at 20 and I married him again renewing vows at 25. I hope to marry him again, and again, and again.

Our daughter can’t fully understand yet how very lucky she is to have him, but I know that she will. He would hang the moon for that little girl, and watching them together is nothing short of breathtaking.

Today he turns thirty-two. He was my age when we first locked eyes at a party in 2008. That first night was spent bantering and juicing a cantaloupe. The first thing we ever had together was fun.

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(My heart melts for the billionth time, February 2015)

Nearly seven years together, and still he showers me with affection, kisses and surprise candy bars. Still he never fails to tell me how much he loves me or to let me know he thinks I’m, in his words, “ravishing.” Still my safest place to rest is nuzzled right next to him. Still, one of the greatest things we share is so much fun.

Happy 32nd to the man who has proven to me that love really can be all it’s cracked up to be. You’re my Han Solo, my ancient pirate treasure, and my DeLorean, all rolled into one.