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

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

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

A Night Out on SoCo

I had some friends come in town this weekend, so I decided that we should spend the evening exploring the South Congress district! I had heard a lot about SoCo but never actually been, so I figured this was the perfect opportunity.

We started out the night at Home Slice Pizza. The NY style pizza was just what I needed to get the evening started, it was quick, and really good, too!

After dinner, we decided to start wandering around and explore a little bit. SoCo is a super funky district with a lot of interesting stores, so I really liked seeing all of what the boutiques had to offer. My favorite part was probably this sign I found outside one of the stores we went into. (Sorry, Hannah B!)

As we continued exploring and window shopping, we found the flagship Kendra Scott store! I didn’t want to submit my two guy friends to the torture of watching me browse an expensive jewelry store, so I didn’t go inside. But now that I know where it is, I’ll definitely be coming back!

Despite being around 8 p.m., it was still sweltering hot. When I found a little food truck that sold ice cream pops, I bought one ASAP. I had to eat it real quick before it melted, but luckily the hot weather put me in the mood and I didn’t mind the brain freeze. (Side note: I think that was my first time trying strawberry ice cream, and it was really good!)

We finished up the night at Güero’s Taco Bar. Since I paid for parking, I got each of the boys to buy me a drink (I definitely profited, I think.) I’m a sucker for a frozen margarita (or really, frozen alcoholic beverages in general) so I really enjoyed these! There was fun live music for us to listen to as we sat out on the back patio.

Such a fun night! I’ll definitely be coming back to browse more stores and do a little more than just window shopping. Can’t wait to keep exploring more fun neighborhoods in Austin this summer!

-K

P.S. Like my #OOTD? You can find the details here!

Black Walnut Café

I’m back in Frisco for a few days before I make the move to Austin for the summer, and I knew something I needed to do while I was home was pay a visit to the Black Walnut Café! When I’m in Frisco and craving brunch food, this is where I go. While not exclusively a brunch restaurant, they do have an impressive breakfast menu that I like to take advantage of while I’m there. Breakfast food is probably my favorite food group, and the meal I most look forward to eating every day!

I’m a creature of habit, so today (like most days) I gravitated towards the “Breakfast Migas.” It comes with four scrambled eggs, fried tortilla strips, bacon, feta, salsa, and cilantro on top. My second favorite food genre is definitely Mexican, so this dish combines the flavors I love in both breakfast and Mexican food. Yum!

Another reason I like to visit Black Walnut is it’s atmosphere. It’s very rustic yet modern, and the combination makes it super welcoming and a great place to come to chill with friends. This morning, I went with my sister to get some sibling bonding time in before I leave for the summer.

Luckily, Black Walnut has locations all across Texas (including 2 in Austin!) so I won’t have to go without my Breakfast Migas fix for the entire summer. It’s comforting to know that I’ll be able to get a taste of home, even if I’m 4 hours away.

My move is coming up soon. I leave Frisco and make the trek down to Austin on Friday, and I’m so excited! Stay tuned to see more of this summer’s adventures.

-K

Neighborhood JAM

Today, I’m reviewing Neighborhood JAM, a breakfast and lunch restaurant in Norman, Oklahoma! My freshman year roommate Lexi was in town this weekend, so we decided to go to brunch and catch up. Unfortunately, it was also Mom’s Weekend at OU, which means we had to fight through crowds of mother/daughter duos to get a table. Luckily, Neighborhood JAM has a feature where you can get on their waiting list through the Yelp app. I got us in their virtual waiting list at 9 a.m. and went on my way, getting ready for our brunch date.

Despite getting in line early (and planning to arrive at 11 a.m.), it was 11:40 before we got seated. Since Lexi recently turned 21 (!!!!) I bought us mimosas to celebrate, and they were so good.

Despite being incredibly crowded, the service was pretty fast. I ordered “The Good Ol’ Boy,” which comes with eggs, a biscuit, hashbrowns, and your choice of meat. It was so good (especially since it was past noon when it arrived and I hadn’t eaten anything this morning.)

I loved getting to spend the afternoon with my old roomie and catch up, and this was such a great atmosphere for it! But if you’re craving their breakfast food, I highly recommend getting in line on the Yelp app first. Despite the delay, we would’ve been waiting for an additional three hours if we hadn’t gotten on the wait list at 9 a.m.

Keep checking back to see what restaurant I review next!

-K

The Mont

Today I’m reviewing The Mont, an American/Mexican-style restaurant in Norman, Oklahoma. The Mont definitely has pros as well as some cons, so I’ll start by going over what I like about it.

Pros

First, and I cannot stress this enough, the drinks. Turning 21 was an absolute blessing because it meant I could finally order drinks off their extensive menu and not have to ask for the virgin versions. My personal favorite is their strawberry daiquiri, pictured above. It’s deceptively strong though, so I recommend bringing a friend along to drive you if you’re a lightweight like me.

I also find the food to be very… decent. My sorority likes to go to The Mont together after our chapter meetings on Thursday nights. It’s a great way to bond with your sisters and celebrate an early end to a long week. Our signature food we like to share is plates of loaded cheese fries, which come topped with bacon and chives. They’re very tasty, especially with the ranch dressing they serve on the size. (I have friends that swear it’s just regular ranch, but I know in my heart that it’s special. Don’t fight me on this.) A half order of cheese fries is the perfect amount for two people, although I have been known to finish off an entire plate by myself on occasion.

Cons

Depending on when you go, the service can be pretty slow. Go alone or with a friend during off hours, and it’ll probably be fine. But if you go out in the evening with a group, be prepared for a long wait. I’m not a staying-up-late type of girl, so I easily get grumpy when we’re still sitting there waiting for the checks past 11:00.

Also, I personally believe the food is unfairly priced for what it is. A half order of cheese fries and a drink sets me back $14. The cheese fries and the drink are very tasty, but I’m sure I could find something just as good for half the price elsewhere. I choose The Mont because of the atmosphere, because I want to spend time with my friends, or if I’m really having a craving for their ranch. (It’s special! I swear!)

Overall

If you want a really good drink, overpriced food, slow service, but a nice atmosphere to spend time with friends, The Mont is for you. It’s a Norman staple and definitely somewhere I recommend going at least once, especially if you’re a newly-21 college student!

-K

Tino’s Italian Eats and Sweets

One of my favorite places to eat in Norman is a restaurant called Tino’s Italian Eats and Sweets. Run by two brothers, Tino’s is a Philidelphia-inspired deli that offers a wide range of food options, from Philly cheesesteaks to Italian ice.

Personally, my go-to order is a soft pretzel and french fries, and the difference maker is the “white whiz”, the cheese dip that comes with it. It’s so good, I could drink it- and once, on a dare, I actually did.

But beyond the food, I love Tino’s because of its atmosphere. There’s always 80s music playing (my favorite), and the workers really make an effort to get to know their regular customers. I love being greeted by Valentino Pistilli, one of the owners, every time I come in. He never fails to greet me when I come in, check on me as I eat, and say goodbye as I’m heading out the door.

I rarely go to Tino’s by myself. Even for a “small,” the french fry portions are huge and I prefer to split them with someone. It’s also a great place to come and work on a project or paper with a friend; they have free Wifi and the casual atmosphere makes it a great place to study.

If you live in the Norman area, I highly recommend stopping by Tino’s on Main Street and giving it a try. And if you get the chance to go, make sure you let me know what you think!

-K