Austin, the sequel

We went back to visit one of our favorite cities, Austin, Texas! When we moved to Austin in 2016, we chose a city where we pictured ourselves living forever, a city to love and put down roots. It was bittersweet leaving because we loved the city and people and were also excited about returning to Southern California with its amazing weather and beaches.

Dave had a work trip in Austin and the kids and I got to tag along. We loved visiting some of our favorite places, people and restaurants and seeing some new sights. One of the new places we visited was the Austin Public Library downtown which was everything we could have wanted in a library, a dream public library! It is beautifully designed with multiple levels, an awesome kids area with lots of board games, rooftop gardens, and amazing outdoor reading patios.

We also checked out the Austin Nature and Science Center and our most favorite restaurant in Austin, Terry Black’s BBQ.

Best brisket ever! ^

More of our Austin favorites highlighted here

 

Advertisements

On the road again

December was quite the whirlwind for us as Dave flew out to LA to start his new job the first week, we sold our Texas home, packed up again, found a rental in an awesome area (Chino Hills), drove 20+ hours and are trying to settle in and unpack before Christmas. We’ve always said we love to travel and see new places and we’ve had plenty of opportunities just this year.

Dave and Bruce drove the Uhaul and Brent, Tessa and I took a few days driving and stopped in Marfa, TX and Tucson, AZ. The kids did a good job driving for so long for 3 straight days (although they were crazy upon getting out of the car!) and loved staying in the hotels. Thanks to a tip from a friend, we stayed overnight in Marfa (at the Riata Inn) which is a tiny town in west Texas and saw a unique landmark that’s literally right on the side of the highway!

prada-store-marfa-valentine-texas

riata inn marfa texas

Chino Hills looks a lot like Penasquitos with rolling hills, lots of vegetation, stucco homes, small yards, great weather, great location and lots of good places to eat and shop. We’re excited to explore yet another new city in 2016!

Last day to enter to win a custom at home teeth whitening kit from Smile Brilliant!

See you after the new year hopefully with some house pictures 🙂

2016: the year of unpredictability

were-moving-again

After we got married, ten years ago, we would often play the game, “where will we be in 10 years?”- the future seemed so far away and we were open to any travel and education opportunities life offered us. Well here we are 10 years later and on our 10th anniversary we woke up in an AirBnB in Austin, TX and drove to the title company to sign closing papers for our current house! We would’ve never guessed we would live in Texas, and we would’ve never guessed how much we would love Texas. Even though it’ll only be about 6 months, we have loved our community in Cedar Park and the city of Austin. We survived a Texas summer, enjoyed the plethora of splash pads and parks, ate more than our weight in brisket and Blue Bell ice cream and made some great friends in our ward. We experienced Brent’s first soccer game and first preschool. We full intended on staying in Austin until our kids graduated from high school…until…

Dave was offered an awesome position as an HR regional manager in Los Angeles. Los Angeles! Southern CA was always in the back of our minds but we didn’t think it would happen for years, like when we were old enough to retire. This amazing opportunity fell in our laps through some amazing people we have met and we would’ve never been connected to this new job if we hadn’t moved to Cedar Park. Funny what the Lord and life has in store for you. It’s a great career move for Dave and I’m extremely proud he was offered this position!

We now face another unknown. Although San Diego isn’t far from LA, I’ve only been there a handful of times (because traffic!) and we don’t know much about the suburbs in the area. Once again we’ve been able to connect with people who know the area where we can start the house hunt all over again (except this time we’re going to rent!). The day we found out he was offered the position we needed a rolling pin for a dessert. We found it in a cupboard, still in bubble wrap!!! That along with the boxes we still haven’t unpacked have left us one step ahead of the game ha, ha!

So in a few months, we will say goodbye to another home. A city we’ve enjoyed and really haven’t had too much time to explore. We will miss the Texan hospitality and the awesome people we have met here. We are excited for the future even if it means packing up everything again.

Life lately: Fall in Texas

Since we got married, 10 years ago (!), we’ve lived in places with all four seasons. This has been awesome to see the amazing changing leaves in Virginia and snow topped mountains in Utah and Scotland but it’s also been nice this fall to not be in a cold place! Temperatures have dropped to a comfortable 75 degrees. It still feels a little warm for Halloween but it’s much nicer than snow! We’ve been able to take advantage of the nice weather and feel it’s been a nice pay off after the blistering hot summer.

  img_1506

img_1493

dsc_1916

79f32360-3e48-4df0-834a-026ddd175921

^serious skeleton at his preschool Halloween song for the parents

Homesick candles: Places we’ve lived and loved

I recently discovered this awesome soy candle brand that makes ‘homesick candles‘ whose unique scents transport you back to states you’ve loved.  After reading the scent descriptions, I feel they’re pretty accurate! Here are the signature scents of the sttates we’ve lived and loved (minus DC which they don’t have):

Southern California: cactus, orange and ocean

Utah : desert air, mountain spruce and ski lodge

Virginia: honeysuckle and forest floor

Texas: leather, cotton and sage

texaswithprops_grandevirginiaboxwithcandle_grande

 

Fiesta Friday: links I love and things to celebrate

things to celebrate happy weekend links

Another perk of living in Texas is Blue Bell ice cream! Not only do they have a ton of flavors, but I also love the creaminess and flavor; my favorite is Rocky Road. I would love to visit this museum dedicated to ice cream!

A trip to the English countryside looks so amazing! The only time we were in England (besides the airport) was a quick trip to London. I’d love to go back and visit the country…and some Downton Abbey sites.

Totally obsessed with this look – especially the blanket scarf, lip color and that braid! I wish my hair was thick enough for a braid crown!

blanket-scarf-crown-braid1

 

Comal River tube float

On Saturday we went floating down the Comal River with our friends (no kids) and it was so fun! There are a few tubing companies near the river entry in New Braunfels (which is like an hour and a half south of Austin), we went with Chuck’s Tubes and would definitely go with them again. They bus you to the river entry and pick you up at the end of the float which took us about 2 hours.

The weather was great and the water was fairly warm. It was relaxing with beautiful scenery. The only weird thing that happened was as we passed a patch of moss and branches floating on the water THERE WAS A SNAKE! Not exaggerating it was fatter than a rattlesnake and about 2 feet long! I’d heard there could be snakes in rivers/lakes but have never lived in a place like that before! According to a google search later, it was probably a water snake with are non venomous (although poisonous water moccasins also are found in Texas!)

The following photos were taken on my phone through a waterproof cell phone pouch I bought for this trip –  which explains the vintage-ish look, ha, ha! At $8 I felt it was a steal and something I can use in the future swimming or at the splash pad with the kids.  Comal river tubing

Comal River tubing

Comal River tubing

 

 

How to stay modestly cool

I’ve lived in warm climates and humid climates, but I think Texas is the first really warm AND humid year around place we’ve lived. We moved here in the beginning of the summer and happy to say we’ve survived the heat thus far! I have a good feeling this winter will be really nice compared to our last few winters in Utah.

Besides hanging out in pools and splash pads in the blistering summer, I’ve found a few ways to stay cool while still dressing modestly.

Flowy skirts – although I’m a little short to wear midi skirts, I like them because I’m usually chasing kids around 😉

DSC_0211

Relaxed fit tops – I love this one from Old Navy, was tempted to buy more than one, ha, ha. I especially love it because it DOESN’T require a layering tank underneath!

DSC_0230

Other wish list modest apparel that look awesome for Texas summers:

Flutter Blouse $30

Flor de Luz dress $65

Pom pom blouse $21

Ombre top $24

Scallop top $32

Nantucket top $42

Draped pocket dress $34

 

 

Water Days

One of the many things I love about Austin is there are SO many parks, lakes, covered playgrounds, community pools and splash pads. We’ve gone to a splash or pool at least once or twice a week this summer.

DSC_1664 (2)

DSC_1673

Two of my suits and all of my cover ups are from Old Navy, as are Brent’s swim shorts and their flip flops (which $2 price you can’t beat!) I recently got this blue ruffle one from DownEast.FullSizeRender (7)

downeast blue ruffle modest swim suit

DSC_0356

Our water day essentials are sunscreen (lotion and spray), towels, water toys (like buckets) and snacks. Having 2 toddlers has taught me never leave the house without snacks!

One of the best resources I’ve found since moving to Texas is Free Fun in Austin where I found out about some of these splash pads.

Linking up today with Kiana, Madeline and these lovely bloggers for Mommy Style Monday:

Kiana at Glitter & Donuts

Madeline at CaseyLand

Erica at Good Job Momma

Bekah at These Are The Days

Beverly at What a Day 

Kristen at Eat Play and Go

Monica at It’s All About

Jessica at Mason Jars and Lemon Bars

How to update an older home on a small budget

Our first (town) home in Utah we bought  while it was being built so  we were able to pick the interior features – floors, carpet, colors, cabinets, counter tops, tile, etc. We loved that home, however we love to travel and see new places and wanted a home just a little bigger with a backyard for our kids and dog.

Our home here is Austin was built in the 90s and has a few updates like the floors, kitchen and master bathroom. Moving is fun but also usually more expensive than you anticipate. For example, the previous owners had cat door on the door between the garage and the interior of the home, which isn’t a big deal for us but the inspection said it’s actually a fire hazard so one more thing to update! Here are a few things we’ve found to update an older home on a very small budget:

  • paint – a fresh coat of paint can go a LONG way! We re-painted almost every room in the house and the garage (which was yellow and blue, looked like IKEA ha, ha). We used the Behr brand paint from Home Depot.
  • cabinet hardware – we added drawer pulls from Amazon that weren’t too expensive (other good options were from Home Depot and Anthropologie)
  • new window treatments – I love natural light so we just replaced the brown curtains with white ones (from Target)
  • update outlet and light switch plate covers – we like these white ones from Amazon to replace the previous brown and/or metal ones

Updates we want to do in the future:

  • replace older light fixtures
  • new exterior doors
  • matching doorknobs – why did the previous owner have so many mismatching doorknobs?! We’ll never know ha, ha…
  • epoxy the garage – we have this epoxy kit from Amazon but have to finish clearing out the garage before using it.

Other ideas for updating an older home:

  • new light fixtures
  • add a large mirror – the reflective light can often brighten a space or make it appear larger
  • update faucets
  • re-paint cabinets
  • replace floors or old carpet (I love wood, laminate and tile that looks like wood)
  • update counter tops (I love granite and marble)

Our home has been a labor of love, but we appreciate it and the new city we live in!

6