So much has happened in August that I almost forgot how wonderful July was too. I spent the first few days of the month with Sugarface and our dogs visiting his family (which also included 3 other dogs) in Arkansas. I’ve adored his family immediately upon meeting them last year but also come to relish all the time we spend visiting them in their home state. It’s pretty and serene and even the lack of cell service was a welcomed reprieve. I saw the stars, a vision I don’t get in my everyday urban life, enjoyed being both in and on the blue lake water, and laughed at our silly dogs. Bob the dog, as far as I know had never been on a boat or in Arkansas and he took to the lifestyle.
We came back to Austin and commemorated being together a year and a half by eating at Barley Swine. And immediately after that celebration and just a week after our trip to Arkansas, I went on another weekend trip to Houston, where I dropped off Bob at his grandparents’ so I could travel to Spain later in August. In Houston, my good friend and photographer Thomas and I crossed off a Houston photography bucket list item and visited the gorgeous BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir temple.
Speaking of photography, I shot another portrait session of an old friend of mine and then decided to take a leap and against my financial judgement, splurged and bought myself a photography website.
The rest of July was spent eating a lot of ice cream and seeking out green tea desserts. My friend Jennifer tormented me with photos of her green tea parfaits on her social feeds. So when my friend Michelle asked where she could treat me for my birthday, I said I wanted the only green tea parfait in town I knew of, the one at Kome. She so sweetly obliged me and it was such a fun-filled evening. We requested the parfait to come during dinner instead of the end and it had us laughing like children. We then followed that meal by walking across the parking lot to a famed and classic donut shop, Mrs. Johnsons’ Donuts, where Michelle had her first fresh from the fryer donut.
That green tea parfait only inflamed my green tea dessert craving. I went to a couple of more places and still have green tea dessert friendship dates on the calendar. I celebrated and shared my birthday at the end of the month with Neva the dog. On the day of, I lunched with one of my besties during work hours, had another ice cream date, treated Neva to a cheeseburger after her birthday shoot, and Sugarface and I ate one of our favorite things, noodles. He made me feel very special when I came home to pink purple roses and a book he saw I was ogling back in May. Among some of kind surprises received from afar was a funny and beautifully shot cookbook by Chrissy Teigen.
And that was my sweet July. How was yours? What did you do for the Fourth?
I ate ramen twice, which is a lot as it has been about 100 degrees in Texas lately but I don’t regret either bowl. I made dinner for my friend Julie and she gifted me pretty purple tulips that inspired me to photograph them.
Sugarface and I ended the month road-tripping to Arkansas with Bob and Neva to celebrate the Fourth of July with his family. I love that shot of Neva window-gazing during the eight hour drive. Both our puppies are so good during long car rides!
Not depicted on Instagram was a media event at McDonald’s that tickled me. There were chicken nuggets being passed out as appetizers, a doorman, DJ, and photo booth. It went down in my book as the weirdest visit to McDonald’s I’ve ever had.
I spent the first day and last weekend in May at the same hiking trail and swimming creek with the dogs and Sugarface. Summer is finally here and the sweaty hikes and swimming adventures with our dogs are a couple of my favorite things about summers in Austin. Though much of the month was spent partaking in the usual activities of working, organizing happy hours for food bloggers, and grabbing bites with friends, I also attended two special events.
The first event was the yearly Fancy Dress Night with Sugarface’s work. I attended this event even before he did, when I used to work with his boss years ago. It’s so nice to still come to this tradition as an alum and a plus one. The second special occasion was the wedding of one of my besties, Thomas. Not depicted on Instagram was me officiating his wedding. It was such an honor and a special moment in my life.
After taking her photos, I declared to my friends and the internet that I am seeking more opportunities to take portraits. My friend Julie obliged and let me do the honors of shooting her engagement photos. Not depicted on Instagram was shooting professional head shots outside my day job and at my alma mater.
The nonprofit I work with as a board member hosted an open to the public Curry Cook Off. We were worried about ticket sales but ended up almost selling out, and the bar was brimmed with happy people eating delicious curries. I plan happy hours once or twice a month for the same group and April’s happy hour was as photogenic as it was tasty. Also in event happenings, my writer friend Amy had a birthday picnic at my new favorite picnic table spot in town.
As for my home life, Sugarface and I plopped down on a comically small patch of bluebonnets and it was a wonder the photo was in focus since I was shaking so hard with laughter. We took the dogs to a new to us field. Bob the dog found a creek behind the field so though the field looked promising, it’s now best to save for bath day. Finally, the soup you spy is Asian comfort food. Rice porridge also known as congee. I made a big pot of chicken congee for us when Sugarface was feeling under the weather. I love the photo of the soup so much since I’ve eaten it all my life but never thought it was photogenic! It just needed some good light, props, and someone to believe in it.
I was tempted to skip March in my monthly recap but though I’m way tardy on this recap, it felt more wrong to skip! I find a lot of joy in tracing over happy memories. The act of writing these monthly recaps makes me happy.
March in Austin means much of the city is under siege for two weeks by SXSW. It means overwhelming crowds, functions, parties, dinners, and traffic. I usually do a few food related events and my friend Patrick Pho, one of the handful of friends I’ve met through Youtube comes very year. We had our yearly reunion with Ashley.
I adapted a recipe for pork and bok choy noodle soup and I can’t wait to make it again when the weather is cool. You can see the pin of the original recipe and my notes of my adaption here. We ate it three days in a week and I didn’t tire of it. Also pictured on instagram, was one of my dogs dressed for St. Patrick’s Day, a homemade meal of Vietnamese crepes that my mom made me during a weekend trip, and doing some filming with Youtube star Furious Pete.
Sugarface and I attended our third wedding of the year. This one was our first Indian wedding and we felt so honored to be part of our friend’s day. The groom used to be one of my coworkers at the job from which we were both laid off. More specifically, he sat one desk over. Through our years at our former job, he has felt like a younger brother to me. I’m happy that despite us no longer seeing each other regularly, we still remain close and close to our mutual professional mentor who was also in attendance. It was a heart-warming celebration to end the month of March.
Not depicted on Instagram, I got ordained as a minister. I even paid extra for the paper certificate which came with a parking pass that makes me giggle. I told Sugarface I’ll frame it next to his PhD! You can call me Reverend Linda now.
February seems so far away! March rolled in and had so much steam that writing my monthly recap for February just kept getting lost in the shuffle. Thank goodness for my compulsion to snap photos and share on Instagram. In February, I enjoyed meals with fellow food bloggers who also climb into chairs for pretty overhead shots of food. We hung out again in Jane’s home and dabbled in water colors. I spent a weekend in Fredericksburg with Sugarface and our puppies. We ate around Fredericksburg, played Scrabble for the first time together while drinking pink champagne, and our dogs had a narrow escape from wild donkeys they aggravated. That weekend might be my favorite memory from February.
A close second favorite memory was Valentine’s Day and wasn’t depicted on Instagram. We started the day with breakfast tacos, then watched my friend run the Austin Marathon. For lunch, we had a chicken tender-off and ordered chicken tenders from around town to see who had the best one. We followed that with leisurely reading for me and him working. I was just about to make the same dinner I made for him the previous Valentine’s Day when I get a text from one of my good friends. She couldn’t make her reservation for dinner and gifted us an elegant multi-course dinner at an esteemed restaurant in Austin. We literally had 10 minutes to decide and make the seating. It was such an unexpected surprise that we spontaneously rushed to. It made me feel so lucky to have kind thoughtful friends and a man who is such a willing partner in crime in my life.
It’s funny how January felt like it was mostly routine days but in actuality there were a handful of big events. Sugarface and I rang in the New Year dressed up at a New Year’s Eve wedding in Arkansas. I had never seen him look so handsome in a tux before! We spent the first few days of the year in Arkansas and enjoyed some quality time with his parents. The dogs got to do some exploring too. Shortly after getting back from Arkansas, we celebrated our first anniversary by watching Die Hard and eating dinner at one of our favorite restaurants. I also made one of his favorite meals to celebrate, garam masala pot pie. It’s been such a sweet year.
There were awesome chance encounters with memorable strangers this month. I met a man on the elevator named James who had a bag full of lilies. He was traveling soon and didn’t want his flowers to go to waste. He gave me a stem and brightened up my day. I also met Victoria and her sunshiney crew on the streets of downtown giving out free warm hugs.
Finally, we ended the month the same way we started it. Dressed up for a wedding.
Not depicted on Instagram was an oil change date with a dear friend. It was the most fun I had waiting for an oil change. We snacked at McDonald’s and colored our coloring books as we talked for almost 3 hours.
On the first day of November, Sugarface and I took our puppies out to one of our nature belts in Austin. I love taking the dogs out on these hikes. They are so happy when they’re running free in nature. A few days later my podcast with friends went live with our very first episode. As I’m writing this, we’re about to publish our 8th episode and have been so far well received. We’re just so happy people are actually listening! Sugarface and I attended our second to last wedding of the year. We have one more next week! It was a small intimate wedding at a beautiful venue I never knew existed. I also volunteered at my favorite annual food event called Wine & Swine. For Thanksgiving, I attended a Friendsgiving with Austin Food Magazine and then took Sugarface to spend Thanksgiving with my family and friends in Houston. My best friend Kim and I were disappointed that the places we tried to show him were all closed. It was still a relaxing trip and the first time we traveled with both our dogs. Finally, I joined the Artful Bachelorette Austin team as a teacher and hostess.
Not depicted on Instagram, I started a part-time job in an engineering firm and am committing to a life of a part-time freelancer to supplement the part-time job. It’s both exciting and scary.
The first three photos on this post were from my first asado, an Argentinean barbecue. I wrote about what a serene day it was on my food blog. (Click on any of the first three photos to read the post.) I went to Houston for a weekend to stand in a high school friend’s wedding. I stayed with my parents and brought back some of the permissions they harvested from their garden. Sugarface and I were invited to an outdoor hot pot party which was also another serene experience dining outside in good company.
October was mostly about settling into the new apartment with Sugarface. I’m proud of how well we handled our transition from seeing each other a few times a week to every waking moment spent at home. That’s a lot of change for any relationship. Not depicted on Instagram, all the home-cooked meals we’ve made in our new home, hosting our first dinner guests, a dance party in our undies with our puppies, and hosting our first overnight guest. We did a good job breaking in our new home!
September was moving month for me and Sugarface. We started searching for an apartment together and fell in love with the first apartment we saw and three weeks after seeing it for the first time, we moved in! So apartment hunting and moving in bookended the month. The act of moving in and packing is dreadful but I found this was the most exciting move I’ve had and I’ve moved 13 times in the last 14 years!
In September, I took walks along Barton Creek and creeped on strangers as they admired nature. I spent sometime in the pool, both with friends and on my own. I attended a Cirque Du Soleil show with Jane and also went to a brunch she hosted at Top Golf. I’m still taking advantage of my free time from not working and volunteered at a local farm and painted with vegetables.
Sugarface and I went on more adventures with our pups, who by the way have adjusted to being roommates and are great pals!
Not depicted on Instagram: a 4 hour Revenge marathon while eating chocolate and camping out in Sugarface’s living room before the big move.