A Midsummer Life Update

Hey everyone! I can’t believe summer is over halfway done. I’ve done so much during my time in Austin this summer, and wanted to give everyone a recap in case you haven’t been following along!

the city

Austin has been such a fun place to spend the summer. Between hiking in Zilker Park, paddle boarding on Lady Bird Lake, and swimming at Barton Springs, I feel like I’m truly taking advantage of everything this city has to offer in the summer. So far, my only real complaint has been the traffic (tell me why it takes me 30-40 minutes to make a 4 mile drive home!) but honestly, I’ve even gotten used to that by now. This is such a fun city to spend a summer in, and I wouldn’t mind moving here post-college (as long as my work commute isn’t past 30 minutes. That’s probably my limit.)

my personal Health

If you follow along on my Instagram stories, you’ve probably seen that I’m a regular at Todd Pilates and Barre! After losing weight over the past year, I decided it was time to focus on gaining strength and toning up my body. I’ve also tried to stick to my calorie-counting plan, but let’s be real: when friends and family come in town, you want to enjoy the food that Austin has to offer. So I’d say I’ve only been consistent with my calorie-counting about 75% of the time. If you’re interested in how I calorie count, or want tips on how to eat healthier, you can check out my blog posts on those topics!

my internship

I’ve been interning with bread & Butter PR this summer, and I’m loving it! I really enjoy going into work M/W/F and knowing that the work I’m doing makes a difference for our clients. One of our clients, Freebirds World Burrito, has been one of my all-time favorite restaurants since middle school. It’s a super full-circle moment that I now get to work on their account as a PR intern! Everyone always says that you’ll learn more in your internships than you will in a college classroom, and I’ve found that to be very true, especially in agency life. I can’t wait for this to be my career someday!

future career goals

Speaking of my future career, I’ve set some pretty big goals for myself going into the future! After graduating in May 2020, I want to spend the summer interning in New York City. It’s a big leap for me, but I love NYC with my whole heart and know that it would be great for my future career. I’ve already started internship-hunting, so I’ll be prepared when applications open around January-February. My biggest hurdle will be finding a place to live, but since the housing market in NYC shifts so frequently, I’m not too focused on that yet. If you have any NYC subletting tips, please send them my way!

Overall

I love Austin, but I’m also excited to go back to Norman and be around all my friends. I’ll be starting graduate courses, beginning my full-time work as Outreach Officer for my sorority, and blogging on the side. Less than a month left in Texas, and then back to Oklahoma for my senior year!

-K

The Oasis on Lake Travis

Some of my college friends came down to Austin this weekend to visit me, and I knew there was a lot of pressure to come up with the perfect itinerary. They only had a little less than 48 hours here, so making good use of our time was crucial. Our dinner stop, the first item on the itinerary, had to be super great to set the tone for the rest of the trip.

After some deliberation, I decided we would go to The Oasis on Lake Travis. This multi-tiered restaurant is nestled high in the hills of Austin, overlooking Lake Travis. The altitude and western-facing disposition lends itself perfectly to beautiful sunset photos as you eat dinner on one of its many outdoor patios. My friends hadn’t looked up our destination before we headed out, so they were pretty shocked by the grandeur of it all as we pulled up.

We were seated immediately, since we were willing to sit outside despite the heat. I got a classic frozen margarita, perfect for keeping me cool on the hot summer evening!

As I’ve mentioned before, I’m a notorious picky eater. When menus are somewhat limited, sometimes I have to get creative with my ordering. I chose fajitas, with just the fillings. My waitress was nice enough to put all the ingredients in separately to save me some money! (They ended up being less like fajitas and more like DIY soft tacos. No complaints, though. Everything was super good, especially the cheese!)

By the time we finished eating, we were able to wander around the different levels and take in the breathtaking sunset. Golden hour came in clutch for our mandatory “horns down” photo. Boomer!

As we left the Oasis, we drove back down the mountain just as the sunset was hitting its peak. Since it is pretty secluded, we were able to put our hazards on and slow down for a second to soak in the view one last time. Just as we were about to round the corner and put Lake Travis out of sight, the sun sank down behind the horizon entirely and the sky went dark. We truly timed our drive perfectly!

Overall, this is a perfect tourist destination for people visiting Austin! It’s a bit of a drive, but it’s worth it. Being able to spend time with my friends with the bonus of an incredible view made it the perfect start to our girls’ weekend!

-K

Seeing Spots

Do you ever like an outfit so much that you make up excuses to leave the house so other people can see it, too? That was me with this spotty #OOTD. I had initially intended just to wear this at home on my day off, but once I had it on I knew I wanted to show it off.

So off I went, making a quick 1 mile drive off to the nearest shopping mall, where I made a beeline to the Forever 21. I mildly disliked Forever 21 throughout my entire adolescence, but I’ve been growing more fond of it lately. (Is that what inevitably happens when your 21st birthday comes around?) Either way, I ended up finding a ton of cute new clothes while I was out! I’m excited to showcase them here in the coming weeks.

SHOP THE LOOK:

Sunglasses: Cateye Sunglasses – Target
Top: Leopard Camisole (similar)
Shorts: Cotton Twill Shorts – H&M
Shoes: Zone Ankle Strap Sandal – Steve Madden

I have friends coming in town this weekend, and I’m so excited for the activities we have planned. Stay tuned for the details!

-K

Museum of Memories

This weekend, I had the opportunity to visit the Museum of Memories in Dallas! Museum of Memories is a quirky, nostalgic, Instagram-lover’s heaven. It’s completely inspired by scenes of the 90s and 00s, and has the playlist to match. I went with my friend Jaya and had such a fun time exploring the different rooms and being reminded of my childhood. I’m excited to share my favorite photos with y’all!

Jaya and I both loved the monochromatic dollhouse rooms. Jaya was partial to the kitchen (“I just love kitchens!” -Jaya) and we spent a good bit of time here. I loved the turquoise living room, complete with a corded telephone. They also had an all-turquoise Connect Four and chess set!

Next up, the cloud room. I had seen this one floating around Insta and was excited to see it for myself. It’s actually a lot harder to pose with clouds than you might think! They’re fluffy and glowing, so deciding the best way to photograph one was a bit of a challenge. I love the one of me hugging one! Truly a childhood dream, fulfilled. (On the way home, I couldn’t resist pointing at the clouds in the sky and remarking “we took pictures with those.” Jaya was only partially amused.)

My favorite room was the diary-inspired room! I had several diaries throughout my youth, so this was particularly nostalgic for me. I especially loved the Mean Girls reference with “That’s so fetch!” written on the pencil, although the pencil itself screamed “Clueless” to me as well.

The birthday room was also super cute! I loved the four-tier cake, complete with a plethora of birthday candles. To get some candid laughter, Jaya made sure to reference a joke from our high school days. No fake laughter required to get a super cute shot!

Since MoM is 90s/00s themed, they couldn’t have enough Mean Girls references! The monochromatic “you can’t sit with us” mural was the perfect excuse for Jaya and I to whip out our best RBF. (Are we intimidating yet?)

I’m a sucker for good Insta content, so this outing was the perfect afternoon adventure! If you’re in the Dallas area, I highly recommend giving this place a visit before it leaves at the end of the summer. All the artwork is hand-painted and is just as stunning in person! Make sure you go online to their website and buy your tickets in advance.

If you end up going, I would love to see your shots! Tag me or hashtag #selfiesandootds so I can see your take on the fun themes.

-K

Can You Dig It?

This outfit was giving off major 70s vibes to me. Between the red and yellow striped shirt and the flare jeans, I definitely was feeling a little retro with this look. Separately, I don’t feel like either of the key pieces necessarily scream “seventies,” but together? I feel a little like Julie, the American Girl Doll.

Technically the shirt is meant to be more of a crop top, but I found it was just long enough to tuck into my most high-waisted pair of jeans. This was a work #OOTD, so I wasn’t about to risk wearing it as a crop top in the office!

SHOP THE LOOK:

Bandana: Black Bandana – Hobby Lobby
Top: Striped T-Shirt (similar)
Belt: Loop Belt – Target
Jeans: Flared Jeans (similar)
Shoes: Gold Wedge Sandals (similar)

Do you like to take inspiration from certain decades? Personally, I love the 70s and the 50s! And the 90s… Actually, what decade don’t I love from time-to-time?

-K

Wedding Szn

I already knew I loved weddings, but that idea was reaffirmed this weekend when I got to attend the wedding of my friends Kendall and Stephen. This was the first wedding I had ever attended that was for friends, so that made it extra special (and made me feel extra emo.) I’m gonna need more of my friends to get married STAT, because I might just have an obsession now. (Maybe I should consider a career of being a publicist slash blogger slash wedding planner?)

As this was my first wedding for me to attend in easily the last 7 years, I wasn’t really sure what I was going to wear. I brought some options back from Austin with me, but nothing felt right. So, on the morning of the 4 p.m. wedding, I was the first one in the door of my local TJ Maxx, frantically searching for a wedding outfit.

Luckily, I found this jumpsuit! I hadn’t considered a jumpsuit as an option before, but I’m super in love with this one. It’s extremely flattering and comfy (there was a lot of dancing in my future, so I knew I needed something with very little movement restriction.) I bought this purse to go with it at Marshall’s, and I’m in love with how the #OOTD turned out!

SHOP THE LOOK:

Jumpsuit: Faux Wrap Jumpsuit – Tiana B
Purse: Black Geometric Crossbody (similar)
Shoes: Steve Madden Carrson Sandal

Anyways, anyone getting married soon and want to add me to the guest list? I’ll buy you something moderately priced off of your registry and take cute boomerangs of your first dance, I promise!

-K

Need for Tweed

Who doesn’t love a good thrift store find? I always seem to find gems when I go thrifting (although maybe that’s because I have more of an eclectic style than others.)

My most recent thrift store treasure is this pink tweed blazer I found at Goodwill in Frisco! When I first came across it, I immediately knew that some people would find it absolutely horrendous (my sister even went so far as to tell me it looked Umbridge-esque), but I loved it. As I explained to my dad while we waited in the checkout line, “It slaps. Other people may think it’s ugly, but I think it goes hard, and that’s all that matters.”

I loved pairing the blazer in this #OOTD with a more casual skirt, shoes, and backpack purse. They helped me dress down the blazer for my casual-chic office dress code, but still keep the look tied together.

SHOP THE LOOK:

Bag: Backpack-Purse (similar)
Blazer: Pink Tweed Blazer (similar)
Top: Slim-Fit Fine-Gauge Rib-Knit Tee – Old Navy
Skirt: Lace-Up Skirt (similar) 
Shoes: Advantage Sneaker – Adidas

Do y’all have any tips for thrifting? My experiences have always been hit-or-miss. That partially makes it fun, but I’m also searching for a method to the madness! If you have any tried-and-true thrifting tactics, share them in the comments! I would love to hear them.

-K

The Aussie Grind

I’ve never had the chance to go to Australia, but I got to taste a little bit of it this weekend at The Aussie Grind in Frisco! My dad and I are always looking for new quirky breakfast spots to try, so when we found out about a new Australian-style brunch place that had just opened near our house, we knew we needed to check it out.

My dad and I both like coffee, so we decided to try a flat white– a style of coffee that originated in Australia. Since The Aussie Grind is authentically Australian (the owners moved to Texas from Australia in 2018), we knew that this was the perfect place to put flat white coffee to the test.

Verdict: it was so tasty! The presentation was beautiful and it tasted good, too. Since I’m used to sweet coffee, I made it about halfway through before adding sugar packets in. (Oops!)

I soon found out that Australian food is similar to American food, but with a twist. Being who I am, I decided to get the Avo Smash– a proclaimed “staple” on their menu. I thought it was super interesting that they served the avocado toast on sourdough bread. I’m used to eating my avocado toast on plain white bread, so the sourdough definitely elevated it a bit. I might have to get some sourdough at Trader Joe’s once I get back to Austin and try to make Avo Smash at home! Also, I’m not sure what they did to those scrambled eggs, but they were amazing– seriously some of the best eggs I’ve ever had.

By the time we left, I was riding a super strong caffeine/sugar high from that flat white coffee. The Aussie Grind has tons of other interesting options on their menu, so I want to come back next time I’m in town and see what else they have to offer! I tried my dad’s Breakfast Gnocchi, and that was top-tier as well. The Hotcakes intrigue me, but might be best saved for a day when dessert-for-breakfast sounds appealing (it’s pancakes served with cotton candy and vanilla ice cream!)

If you’re in the Frisco area looking for a fresh take on American brunch food, I highly recommend The Aussie Grind. They’re only open for breakfast and lunch, though, so plan to go early!

-K

Half In, Half Out

Something I famously tell people is that “I don’t half-ass anything,” but I might have made an exception for this look. I’ve seen a lot of this half tucked-in look all on Pinterest lately, and I wanted to give it a shot. I had only seen it with jeans, but I thought it could be super cute with a pair of high-waisted shorts, too!

The outcome? An outfit that’s light, airy, and perfect for a moderate summer day! I decided to keep the half-and-half theme going and tuck my hair behind my left ear, the opposite side than where I tucked my shirt it. It gives the whole ensemble some nice symmetry, and helps me show off my cute earrings!

SHOP THE LOOK:

Earrings: Tortoise Disc Post Earrings – Target
Shirt: White Button-Up (similar)
Shorts: Cotton Twill Shorts – H&M
Shoes: Zone Ankle Strap Sandal – Steve Madden

I’m interested in seeing how the half-in-half-out looks with a skirt. I plan on trying it out soon, so stay tuned in to the blog and my Instagram to see the outcome!

-K

Simple Changes for Healthier Eating

If you’re a 20-something college student like me, healthy eating probably isn’t always your number one priority. Which is totally fair- at this stage in life there’s a lot of things that are easy to prioritize over something like your diet. But healthy eating is so important, especially in your 20s, because it sets the foundation for the eating habits and the relationship you’ll have with food for the rest of your life.

I’ve talked about counting calories and my personal fitness journey on the blog before. Today, I’m going to be sharing the tips and tricks I’ve discovered along my health and fitness journey that help me eat cleaner. I’m no health expert nor extreme fitness guru; I’m just someone who has learned some things along the way and want to share my advice with you. Let’s get started!

Simple changes you can make for healthier eating

1. When In Doubt, Leave It Out

This means that if you’re making a meal and could possibly get away with leaving out a less-than-nutritious ingredient, do. For me, this was cheese. I used to put cheese on everything, especially in my pasta and on my avocado toast. Recently, I’ve started eating some of my most frequented meals without my beloved parmesan and feta- and you know what? It still tasted great. (Disclaimer: I definitely still eat cheese. I just have made it a habit to leave it out whenever possible.)

2. You Don’t Have To Eat The Serving Size

This one really changed the game for me. I’ve always been the person to eat at or above the serving size- especially for things like pasta dishes or bags of chips. My favorite meal to make at home- one I will actually swear by- is the avocado toast I mentioned earlier. The serving size for the loaf of bread I use came out to about three slices per meal, so that’s what I ate. Never thought much of it, until one day I realized that the part of the meal that is so fulfilling (the avocado and whatever I put on it) could really all fit on just two pieces of toast. That sliced my calories- and my bread intake- by a third! It doesn’t sound like a lot, but it can really add up.

3. Fruit. Lots of Fruit.

If fruititarians were a thing, I’d be one. I eat a lot of fruit, especially recently. My favorite thing to do with any meal is to cut up a big bowl of fruit, specifically 10 strawberries, 20 grapes, and a cup of watermelon. (Pictured above!) I try to eat this with every lunch and dinner I eat at home, A) because I love fruit, and B) it helps fill me up for only 150 calories extra. Add my regular entrée of avocado toast or pasta on top of that, and I’m looking at around a 400-450 calorie meal that keeps me full for hours. Thanks, fruit!

4. Find a Low-Calorie Dessert You Genuinely Love

Your sweet tooth doesn’t always have to be satisfied by a pint of mint chocolate chip ice cream at the end of the night. For me, something that changed the game was finding low-calorie dessert options that curbed my sugar cravings put didn’t put me at a 600 calorie surplus by the end of the day. Fruit is sweet, but it just isn’t the same, so my go-to dessert items are Hershey’s Dark Chocolate Kisses (usually 2, 40 calories total), or Trader Joe’s Vanilla Meringues (I cut myself down to 1 a day, 22 calories each).

5. Eat at Home.

Make going out to eat a social thing only. If you can eat at home, do. As I’ve been living in Austin, I find it almost impossible to go out to eat alone. I would much rather go home and spend my time cutting up the nice fruits and veggies I bought and make a healthy meal for myself in my own home. I love going out to eat, don’t get me wrong- there’s something about a good brunch that I can’t make myself- but I reserve it for when I’m going out to eat with family or friends.

OVerall

Do what feels right for you. Adjusting to a healthier diet was an important change for me, and I’ve found that it was 100% worth it. I don’t feel sluggish anymore, I no longer need a nap to make it through the afternoon, my skin has cleared up- the list goes on. But listen to your body and your needs! Everyone is different, and that means everyone’s dietary needs are different. If you have any technical or personal questions about your diet beyond what Google or I could answer, I urge you to contact your doctor or a dietician to find a nutrition plan that’s right for you.

-K