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Highlights of 2018

Can’t believe I’m sitting down to write this blog and it’s already February 1st, 2019! Seems like just yesterday that we were cheers’ing in the new year. 2019 is already off to an exciting start with our recent move from Austin, TX to Chattanooga, TN and I’m sure we’ll have lots of fun exploring this totally new area and building a new network, as we both establish ourselves in our new jobs.

But first, before 2019 zooms too far ahead, I wanted to do a look back on 2018 and share some of the highlights of each month. Lots of trips, life changes and more happened in 2018 and it was a fantastic year.

January 2018

My good friend Cinthia and I signed up for an unlimited crafting membership at one of the most unique places in Austin, CRAFT. For about $40/month, we could show up at any time (and with any beverage we chose) and just get creative. The great thing about CRAFT is that it’s really like having your own personal crafting studio, but you don’t have to organize, clean up or do any of the other stuff that makes crafting a burden. Their motto is, “we hoard, so you don’t have to,” and their two rules are, “no judgment and keep your paintbrushes in water.” Love it. Cinthia and I regularly went on Wednesday evenings after work from about 6-8pm and it was such a nice break during the week and a good way to socialize other than happy hour. If you don’t want to sign up for the monthly membership, you can just drop in and craft for $10/hr.

craft austin creative friends
Getting crafty with Cinthia at CRAFT in Austin.

February 2018

Jason and I took a spontaneous trip to Enchanted Rock in the hill country and he proposed! I was thrilled and said yes and we started planning our wedding asap. You can read all about our wedding planning process in my blog, Planning a Wedding 4 Months.

enchanted rock central texas
Posing at Enchanted Rock…before Jason proposed. haha.
enchanted rock proposal texas
Post-proposal photo at Enchanted Rock.

March 2018

My sister, Vivian, and I signed up for a trial of ClassPass and took an Intro to Aerials class at Sky Candy in Austin. Lol, as you can tell, I’m a natural.

sky candy intro aerials austin
Am I doing this right? Sign me up for the Cirque du Soleil!

Jason’s sister got married in Beeville, Texas, not too far from the Texas coast. Her ceremony and reception were at the most fabulous Berclair Mansion and guests even got to take tours of the supposedly haunted former house of five sisters. It was a beautiful wedding with lots of dancing and love from the family.

Jason's sister, Jennifer's, wedding in Beeville, Texas.
Jason’s sister, Jennifer’s, wedding in Beeville, Texas.

After Jennifer’s wedding, it was time for our friends, Colin and Ellie, to tie the knot. They had a super fun wedding in mid-March at The Mercury Hall in South Austin. It was a beautiful site for a ceremony and reception and they even rented a fun photobooth trailer for guests to try out.

Ellie and Colin's wedding in South Austin at The Mercury Hall.
Ellie and Colin’s wedding in South Austin at The Mercury Hall.

Jason and I also went to the Austin Rodeo to hear one of our favorite bands, the Turnpike Troubadours. Before the show, we walked around the fairgrounds and spent some time in the petting zoo, holding baby animals. Gahhh! Sweet little goat.

Holding the most adorable baby goat at Rodeo Austin.
Holding the most adorable baby goat at Rodeo Austin.

April 2018

Aww, yes, the season of wildflowers in Texas! This was a month filled with lots of outdoor fun, enjoying the perfect weather before summer hit.

Jason posing for me in the bluebonnets on Murchison hill in the Far West neighborhood of Austin.
Jason posing for me in the bluebonnets on Murchison hill in the Far West neighborhood of Austin.
Getting more use out of Murchison School hill in the Far West neighborhood of Austin. It's open to the public outside of school hours and made for a perfect weekend afternoon reading spot.
Getting more use out of Murchison School hill in the Far West neighborhood of Austin. It’s open to the public outside of school hours and made for a perfect weekend afternoon reading spot.

Wanting to see friends and also enjoy the nice spring weather, we organized a Fried Chicken Friday picnic with friends, Jess, Dan and Cinthia. We met up at about 6:30pm at the Mueller Lake Park, spread out a blanket and all enjoyed some juicy, deep-fried, chicken from the very gourmet KFC. Nobody had to host, nobody had to clean up and then we all went for a walk in the moonlight afterward. Easy friday night idea!

Post fried chicken walk at Mueller Lake Park in Austin.
Post fried chicken walk at Mueller Lake Park in Austin.

We also made a trip down to Corpus Christi to help our friends from CRAFT out with an event. On the way home, we stopped at Palmetto State Park and enjoyed walking through the shady trails and seeing the palm trees.

Strolling and gazing at Palmetto State Park.
Strolling and gazing at Palmetto State Park.

Vivian (sister) and her boyfriend (now fiance!) took us out on Lake Austin on their boat for an evening cruise. We met them at the Lake Austin boat ramp and they took us up to Emma Long Metro Park and back…just before some storms blew in.

May 2018

I turned 32! May 9th is my birthday and my family took me out for a fun meal at Hula Hut on Lake Austin. Jason was out of town at a work conference, but otherwise would’ve been there of course. We shared margaritas, fajitas and some delicious chocolate-raspberry cake! If you haven’t been to Hula Hut, you gotta check it out…maybe it’s a little touristy, but it’s so nice being on the water and having the fresh breeze.

Birthday dinner at Hula Hut.
Birthday dinner at Hula Hut.

Vivian and I also went to Cancun for my bachelorette party and Jason’s side of the family threw us a really nice wedding shower.

Vivian enjoying the beach at Paradisus Cancun Resort, where we stayed for four days and three nights.
Vivian enjoying the beach at Paradisus Cancun Resort, where we stayed for four days and three nights.
A fun little photo backdrop at our wedding shower, beautifully designed by Jason's Aunt Kristy.
A fun little photo backdrop at our wedding shower, beautifully designed by Jason’s Aunt Kristy.

June 2018

My friend, Cinthia, organized a Summer Solstice gathering at the slab rock, just below Barton Springs Pool. She brought blankets, candles, homemade Mexican food and guests trickled in for a couple of hours to enjoy the longest day of the year with each other. Very unique!

Nighttime shot of the slab just below Barton Springs, on the longest day of the year.
Nighttime shot of the slab just below Barton Springs, on the longest day of the year.

My friends and I also started a relaxed running club called the Funners (…Fun Runners) and we did a couple of runs together. One morning, we met up at the Barton Springs Pool House in a torrential downpour and still decided to go out for our run. We tromped through puddles, sloshed in our shoes and goofed around in the mini “waterfalls.” It was a blast!

Goofing off in the stream near the Barton Springs Pool steps.
Goofing off in the stream near the Barton Springs Pool steps.

Oh yeah, we got married and took our honeymoon to the San Juan Islands in Washington.

Dancing the night away at our wedding in San Marcos on June 2nd.
Dancing the night away at our wedding in San Marcos on June 2nd.
On our honeymoon in the San Juan Islands in Washington state.
On our honeymoon in the San Juan Islands in Washington state.

July 2018

In July, of all months, I signed up to take a puff pastry baking class at Make It Sweet in Austin. I took with my friend, Sarah, and new friend, Allison, and we all had fun making homemade poptarts, cheese straws, elephant ears and more. I recommend taking classes there…keep an eye on their facebook page for 50% sales.

In July, I also became a Certified Personal Trainer and passed my written, and lab, exams. I’d been attending two classes per week for the previous 6 weeks through a professional education program at UT. I learned a ton and took the course and became certified!

 

After lots of studying and practice coaching at the gym, I passed my exam and became a WITS Personal Trainer.
After lots of studying and practice coaching at the gym, I passed my exam and became a WITS Personal Trainer.

August 2018

Jason and I took a trip to Los Angeles and Santa Barbara, which you can read more about in my post: Exploring Los Angeles and Santa Barbara on a Budget. When we got back from California, the first thing we did was meet up with family to go for an evening kayak paddle on Town Lake. It was a great way to spend the evening and catch up with everyone.

Kayaking on Town (Lady Bird) Lake in Austin.
Kayaking on Town (Lady Bird) Lake in Austin.
Packing up after a fun night of paddling on the river at Lady Bird Lake in Austin.
Packing up after a fun night of paddling on the river.

August in Texas is all about staying as close to water as possible. In addition to kayaking, we also spent some time at Barton Springs Pool, enjoying the refreshing water. It’s best to go during the week, when the water is clearest and the crowds are small.

Mom floating in the beautiful water of Barton Springs Pool in Austin.
Mom floating in the beautiful water of Barton Springs Pool.
Curly-haired sisters enjoying the summer sunshine at Barton Springs Pool.
Curly-haired sisters enjoying the summer sunshine at Barton Springs Pool.

September 2018

Election season was in full swing and Beto O’Rourke was running for Senator and bringing a breath of fresh air into state politics. He spoke at Texas State and Jason and I went down to see him and Mom joined us.

At Texas State, showing off our Beto tickets and waiting for his talk to begin.
At Texas State, showing off our Beto tickets and waiting for his talk to begin.

Mom, Vivian and I also participated in the CASA Superhero 5k in Austin. We dressed up (thanks for the costumes, Mom!) and had so much fun running about 3 miles with hundreds of other folks in costume.

CASA Superhero Run in Austin
CASA Superhero Run in Austin

We took a weekend trip out to Fort Davis, Texas for an Open Weekend at the Davis Mountains Preserve. You can read more about this adventure and hiking Mt. Livermore in my blog: Hiking Mt. Livermore in Fort Davis, Texas.

Hiking Mt. Livermore in West Texas.
Hiking Mt. Livermore in West Texas.

October 2018

Ahh, back to the perfect temperature days of Central Texas. Jason bought an old fishing pole from a friend and we spent an afternoon at St. Edwards Park, just enjoying the sunshine and quiet time. St. Edwards Park is kind of an undiscovered gem in the Austin area. It has about 2 miles of trails and lots of little pools of river water, which is usually pretty clear. It’s in Northwest Austin, off of Old Spicewood Springs Road, and you definitely need a car to get there.

Mom and I also took a day trip to Doeskin Ranch in the Balcones Canyonland National Wildlife Refuge. It’s free to visit and offers 3-4 miles of hiking trails. I don’t think dogs or bikes are allowed, so just plan to come for a couple of hours and maybe have a picnic.

Hiking at Doeskin Ranch in the Balcones Canyonland National Wildlife Refuge outside of Austin.
Hiking at Doeskin Ranch in the Balcones Canyonland National Wildlife Refuge outside of Austin.

November 2018

Jason got an interview with a company based in Chattanooga, TN. It went well and they flew him out for an in-person interview…I tagged along to see what I thought too.

Jason looking dapper before heading off to his interview with FreightWaves.
Jason looking dapper before heading off to his interview with FreightWaves.
Exploring Raccoon Mountain in Chattanooga, TN before we caught our flight back to Austin.
Exploring Raccoon Mountain in Chattanooga, TN before we caught our flight back to Austin.

On a couple of Sundays, Mom and I met for church and then lunch afterward. We’d been trying out First United Methodist downtown and really enjoying the sermons, friendly congregation and nice building. Then Viv came downtown and met up with us for post-church lunch.

Having lunch with Viv and Mom at the downtown Whole Foods on a Sunday after church.
Having lunch with Viv and Mom at the downtown Whole Foods on a Sunday after church.
Strolling the Texas State Capitol grounds after a church service. They're right next to each other.
Strolling the Texas State Capitol grounds after a church service. They’re right next to each other.

Then, before we knew it, the holidays were upon us! We celebrated a couple of Thanksgivings, the first was on Wednesday in San Marcos with my side of the family. We celebrated early because Vivian was working on Thanksgiving Day.

Thanksgiving with Mom, Vivian and Grannie in San Marcos.
Thanksgiving with Mom, Vivian and Grannie in San Marcos.
With Dad on Thanksgiving morning, before we packed up and drove to Kenedy, TX for Jason's family Thanksgiving.
With Dad on Thanksgiving morning, before we packed up and drove to Kenedy, TX for Jason’s family Thanksgiving.

December 2018

We found out that Jason got a new job in Chattanooga, TN and that we’d be moving there at the start of 2019. In December, we tried to maximize family time and see each other often! We also decorated for our first Christmas as a married couple and set up a tree.

Mom, Vivian and I went to see the new Mary Poppins movie at the Alamo Drafthouse on South Lamar and they had this fun backdrop set up.
Mom, Vivian and I went to see the new Mary Poppins movie at the Alamo Drafthouse on South Lamar and they had this fun backdrop set up.

We spent Christmas Eve with Jason’s side of the family and had a really fun party complete with a build-your-own-burrito-bowl bar, a White Elephant gift exchange and many ugly Christmas sweaters.

With Matthew, Marlon and Jennifer (cousin-in-law and brother&sister-in-law), displaying our Christmas sweaters.
With Matthew, Marlon and Jennifer (cousin-in-law and brother&sister-in-law), displaying our Christmas sweaters.

We were with my parents in San Marcos on Christmas Day and the day after and made a trip down to Gruene, TX to see my mom’s side of the family.

With Mom's side of the family on Christmas Day in Gruene, Texas.
With Mom’s side of the family on Christmas Day in Gruene, Texas.
With my parents on the day after Christmas at Landa Park in New Braunfels, TX.
With my parents on the day after Christmas at Landa Park in New Braunfels, TX.
The day after Christmas at Landa Park in New Braunfels, TX.
The day after Christmas at Landa Park in New Braunfels, TX.

I also got some new gouache paints and did this little piece from a photo in a magazine. I want to do more in 2019!

Vivian and I got new hats for Christmas and have been enjoying wearing them. After Christmas, it was time to start packing for the big move to Chattanooga!

sister love new hats christmas
Love my sister, Vivian!

 

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