Weekend Getaway in Austin – Day 3

At 8 a.m. the sun was brightly shining, but we couldn’t tell because our hotel blackout curtains were shut. We peeled our eyes open, got up, and drove to Rainey Street.

It was almost impossible to find parking, but we eventually did. We walked a ways over to Bangers, a hot brunch spot. The line was out the door. There was a full marching band playing in the patio. We decided to try somewhere else.

Luckily, we got to see and have a quick chat with Matt and Liz on their first morning as a married duo.

We didn’t get to have brunch together as planned, but no big deal.

Sajan and I ended up at L’estelle, a tiny French cafe with only patio seating. Later, we saw Wes, Kasey, Blesson, and Jolly zooming down the street on electric scooters. They parked and joined us. Arianna and Julio stopped in to say hello. Then Stan joined us.

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Liz & Matt’s Fantastical Wedding #MattGoesMalu

It was 1:30ish when we arrived at Smith Family Chapel. Liz’s parents were beaming and beautiful in anticipation of the nuptials. Everyone grabbed a little pod of communion wafer and juice.

We sat in a pew and saw familiar faces filter in. I snapped a few quick shots on my phone but put it away to leave the work to the professionals!

I loved how there were a mix of bridesmaids and brides men. Liz looked absolutely stunning as she cascaded down the aisle. I think the whole wedding was a big cry and laugh fest.

Jessica, Sherene, and another talented lady gave everyone goosebumps as they sang. The harmony on the Malayalam songs had jaws dropping and tears forming.

The couple exchanged vows. Soon it was done, and every moment was spectacular.

We left asap to get to the reception and prep for MCing. Brodie Homestead was decked out inside. It was an intimate venue. Continue reading

Weekend Getaway in Austin – Day 2

On Saturday, we woke up, had some coffee and tea, and headed to Counter Cafe. We literally sat at a counter at a cafe. I wonder how the chefs felt with us sitting right behind them gazing and ooohing and aahing as they did their thing.

I had poached eggs on cheesy grits and collard greens. Sajan had a honey butter biscuit with cheesy grits. We were over-the-top satisfied with the food! We split a pancake on the side.

After breakfast, we waddled to the car and headed to Zilker Park to burn some calories. We ended up at the botanical gardens. I loved this place. They had a cacti and succulent garden. Continue reading

Weekend Getaway in Austin – Day 1

I’ve been to Austin plenty of times, but this past weekend’s trip had the feeling like we’d picked up and flown to California or Europe. It had such a destination feel to it. My love for the city got deeper — I think I could live there!

We headed to Austin for Liz and Matt’s wedding festivities. This post breaks down how we spent our Friday.

A funny thing. Every time we drive to Austin, we see this cloud factory puffing away. Who knew that’s where clouds come from???

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Magnolia Cafe South

With a few hours before check-in time at the Holiday Inn Express – Sunset Valley, we searched Yelp and Google Maps for a brunch spot.

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At noon, we pulled into Magnolia Cafe South. We were nervous about parking, but they had a decent size lot across the street with open spots.

We wrote our names on the check-in sheet. I picked up a copy of the Austin Chronicle to read during the wait. It wasn’t more than 5 or 10 minutes til we were seated. The place is bigger than it looks. We were seated outside. I enjoyed the feel of the place, the plants scattered around.

IMG_4488Sajan had the T-Rex omelette with shredded smoked turkey, cheese, avocado, and pico de gallo. I chowed down on the Eggs Zapatino smothered in what is noted on the menu as “legendary queso.”

We each indulged in a side of a hotcake/pancake. Mine was buttermilk, his was gingerbread. He found it a little too gingerbready. Mine was just right. On each pancake was a little golden wrapped rectangle of butter, which when opened, melted all over the pancake. Continue reading

A Decade of Married Memories

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Ages 36 and 34 – 10 years in

The idea of marriage had never entered my ambitions or dreams as a child or even as a young adult. Then, when I was 23 and he was 25, Sajan and I became an item. Here’s how we told our friends. This happened to be at a basketball tournament, where we went up to random friends one at a time.

“Hey guess what. We’re dating!”

The response: “Yea! You two together was my idea in the first place! You can thank me later!” (Said almost everyone!)

Then we threw in what could have been a grenade or icing on the cake: “Oh and something else. We’re getting married!”

The response: Gaping mouths, a mixture of shock and joy.

Here we are 10 years later.

I wanted to add a little something to this recap of the first five years.

After year five, we were raising two little Abrahams.

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We have the pleasure of living close to our parents and siblings.

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We’ve ziplined and paddle boated in Puerto Rico.

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We made trips to Atlanta, Austin, Chicago, Dallas, and Oklahoma City to see family and friends. We took a couples vacation weekend in Cancun.

We even made a last minute trip to San Francisco for Kristen & Eric’s wedding of the century!

That same weekend, 15-month-old Ezra was diagnosed with a rare disease, Kawasaki’s Disease, which affected his heart. But he was treated by the best and recovered quickly. His treatment was made of blood donations, so his story is now used to encourage people to donate blood.

In 2016, the kids and I did a trip to India with my mom. It was different being away from Sajan for two weeks! But thanks to the miracle of phones and video chat, we stayed in close contact.

In 2017, Sajan and I did a Europe getaway for Sarah and Kash’s wedding.

We’ve had anniversary dinners at Michelangelo’s, North Italia, and Eddie V’s. It’s getting to the point where it’s hard to remember without the help of Google Photos, Shutterfly, and Sajan’s blog!

Surely I’m forgetting some important moments, but this is a taste.

I think the last five years has been about learning to parent and getting systems down to run our lives! While still finding time to figure out how to be ourselves, be with people, and have purpose without life flying by.

 

 

ringing in 2018 with a 5K and subliminal messages

This New Year’s Day was unlike any other. We woke up by 5:30 a.m. We loaded the children in the minivan. We plopped them into their sleeping grandparents’ bed. And we drove to Sam Houston Race Park for a 5K.

It was a bitter (for Houston) 32 degrees. Even deciding what to wear was a struggle. I own very few winter clothes, let alone winter workout gear. I had Amazon-Primed some long running tights. And I wore yoga pants underneath. Sajan loaned me a soft furry hoodie. Even with all the layers, we cursed the cold as we waited for the race countdown. I admired and jealously hated the smart people who had come adorned in warm animal onesies covering their whole bodies in an insulating layer.

As soon as we started running, though, the feeling of cold subsided.

My thighs started talking to me. They told me they enjoyed running, but not for so many minutes in a row. So I ran for a while, then did a series of walk-jog intervals. That is a fancy way of saying I was not in it to win it.

There was a good crowd, though considerably less due to the frosty temps. Even with that, I felt a little claustrophobic being surrounded by people. I argued with myself here and there, debating whether to run to the next cone or stretch my run a little farther, and then stubbornly yelled at myself that I could do whatever I wanted and I could stop to walk a little sooner if I wanted to.

Toward the end, I accepted a little cup of lemon-lime Gatorade that was mostly ice. While others slurped and threw their cup in the grass, I daintily sipped mine and even crossed the finish line with it in my hand.

Sajan and I snacked on peanut butter and banana after the race.

Then we stumbled upon Dish Society, a happenin’ brunch spot on Memorial Drive with locally grown food and a hipster vibe.

Sajan ate an egg white dish, and I succumbed to shrimp and grits. Grits are a good carb, right???

The food was delicious.

And, as discerning eyes may detect below, my meal came with a subliminal message!

Europe Day 7: Last Day in Barcelona

We probably woke up around 9. I had planned to go to Montjuic, a mountain top with a castle and cable car ride about 45 minutes away. But when I woke up, I changed my mind in favor of seeing some more local sites.


Our host Jose offered us breakfast, but we decided to stroll the streets. We walked by the Picasso Museum and checked out the gift shop. I wanted to buy so many things. But I wanted to carry nothing.


We walked through la Parc de la Ciutadella and took pictures of the Arc de triomf. We had coffee/tea and pastries at a shop.

Then we walked to Casa Batlo and Casa Mila, designed by Gaudi. It is quite incredible to walk by legendary things you have seen pictures of in books.

By this time, we were about a 15-minute walk from where our friends were staying, so we headed to their place. We juiced up our phones. Their place was so big. Like a full apartment. They were living large!

We picked a lunch spot and walked to it. Ciudad Condal. (Spelling changes depending on the language.)


This was probably the best food you could find in this area. The reviews were stellar, and our taste buds rejoiced. If we had more time, I could have sat here and eaten for the rest of the day.

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Sajan and I had a flight to catch, so we got a little nervous about time. But we stayed with the group and hunted for dessert.


Steven found Chok. Super hipster. Something you might see in a Midtown in a big American city.


We ate kronuts!

Then Sajan and I headed to grab our already packed luggage. Jose kindly walked it down the seven flights of stairs for us. We took a bus to the airport.

Goodbye, sweet Barcelona!