Texas

checking off that bucket list

Since the last time I’ve posted (about a month ago), I’ve been in 4 different countries.

I started off April with a spontaneous trip to Mexico, came back to the US for less than 48 hours, then left for the last minute and highly unplanned trip to Spain & Morocco.  Going to Europe has been on my bucket list for the better chunk of my life, so to finally be able to check that one off was a phenomenal feeling. And Africa too?! I still can’t believe it. What’s equally as incredible is how all of this came together in such a short period of time.

sevilla

I’ve always been fascinated by the “just book a ticket” mentality.  When I was younger, I used to have a pretty fierce spontaneous side, but over the years that has been replaced by my more rational, responsible side.  So just randomly booking a ticket to Europe about 11 days out with no real plan was, umm, just slightly out of the comfort zone.  But now I know why they say you don’t really live until you push yourself outside of it.  I felt more alive than I have in probably months, maybe even years.  It’s like I went from one euphoric experience to another. No, I didn’t do plethora of drugs. I’m talking just being completely high on life.  That’s the feeling you get when you put all other thoughts aside and do what’s best for your soul.

quit your job, buy a ticket - island company.jpgThe perfect analogy I have for making the trip is in reference to my love of breakfast tacos.  When I moved to Texas and had my first breakfast taco, I was so blown away by the amazingness that just hit my taste buds, all I could think was, “How did I go my entire life not experiencing this?!”  And that’s exactly how I feel about Europe, times like 10.  It’s that feeling of instant unexpected satisfaction, where something you knew would be great was even better than you could have imagined. As soon as I stepped foot out of the train in Jerez, Spain and looked around at the amazing tile-work at the station, all I could think is, “Why haven’t I did this sooner?”  In this life our biggest regrets come from the things we didn’t do, and wished we had.

train station jerez de la frontera

I have so many pictures and memories from the trip, but perhaps the insight gained from the whole experience has been the most rewarding.  While I was there, I felt so removed from my daily life, and I loved it. Travel has this way of helping me clear my head, and I had so many revelations being able to view my own life from the outside.  I can’t wait to share everything I’ve learned, observed, and experienced.  I will be doing a series of travel posts, highlighting each place I visited.  I just can’t wait to show you how amazing it all is, maybe it will encourage you to book that ticket to your dream destination too. 🙂  Now is the time.

 

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NCIDQ exam + life updates

Nobody puts baby in the corner.  Unless the baby is your blog.  And you have a massive test to pass that takes over 2.5 months of your life.

dream office

Good news is that it’s all looking up from here! I took my NCIDQ Practicum test a week ago Saturday.  It’s the last section in a series of 3 that I have to conquer to become a Registered Interior Designer.  I’m just so excited to have it behind me, go back to normal life, and get back to some blogging!

The week leading up to it, my mood was consistently somewhere between frazzled hot mess and a snapping turtle.  It can be so difficult to balance work and life alone, then throw 2-3 hour daily study sessions into the mix and it was enough to make me feel insane.  (It makes me really wonder how all those Moms out there do it!?  Major props to them!)  I even was dreaming in test mode.  Not to mention, feeling extremely nervous.  You practice drafting techniques and memorize those codes until you can (literally) recite them in your sleep, but you still don’t know what scenario you will get on test day.

ADA Bathroom

I’ve found in any situation that is scary and unknown, the best thing you can do is just tell yourself “you got this”.  Believe in all of the work you have put in and be confident you are ready to take on anything.  Setting yourself up for success is also helpful!  I Googled “brain foods” and “what to eat before a test” because I feel like I needed every ounce of brainpower working with me on test day.

I woke up that Saturday at 5:45am. I got to the test site about 45 minutes early.  For someone who is habitually late I wanted to make sure I had plenty of time to get there and get comfortable.  We tested for 4 hours, had a 1 hour break, and resumed testing for 4 more.  In the last couple hours I had a headache and felt like poo, but as you’re racing against the clock you just have to keep going.  I finished with about 5 minutes to spare, just long enough to review a previous exercise.

Leaving there, I felt a sense of overwhelming relief mixed with exhaustion.  It was done and over.  I felt positive about it and accomplished.  It went about as good as it could have!  YES. Now it’s time to get some Chinese take out and call it a day.

Later that night and the days following was what I like to call the “oh sh*t!” phase.  Oh sh*t did I label that correctly? Oh sh*t did I remember to dimension everything? Oh sh*t did I make that counter the correct height and long enough?  Oh sh*t?!  These thoughts would enter my head randomly – like during the workday or in the middle of the night.  Then I would panic, try to remember back, then either breathe a sigh of relief or ultimately just try to forget it since what’s done is already done.

I think you just want to succeed so much that your subconscious keeps all these thoughts right there in the back of your mind.   It’s like your brain tries to come up with reasons why you passed or failed so you can have clarity on your outcome, instead of feeling like you’re stuck in limbo waiting for your results.  I tend to over-analyze everything, but since I wont find out the results for 2-3 months, I’ve accepted that I need to let it go. So that’s where I’m at… just hoping for the best over here!! 🙂

Guadalupe River - New Braunfels

The last few months have been a blur with how busy things have been.  It being April already is unreal, but I’m excited to see what this month brings.  I feel like it is almost like a new year for me again.  I’ve started to set some more career and personal goals.  The wildflowers are in bloom and we went river tubing for the first time this year!

Tracery Book

In other exciting news, I found out over the weekend that I won Tracery‘s giveaway, so I get a copy of their new book! So super excited to get my hands on this pretty little treasure.   You should all get a copy too! I’m sure it will be fabulous!

xo.

(images link back to their source)

modern Austin charm

Did anyone catch Austinite Chelsea Fullerton’s home tour on the Everygirl?  If not, feast your eyes on this slice of design pie.

Chelsea Fullerton's home

Chelsea Fullerton - the EverygirlChelsea Fullerton's living room

Chelsea is a lover of all things made.  Whether it’s designing a logo or website, or creating a piece of furniture with her husband, it’s clear she loves the process of telling her story through design.  So much so, that she helps others do the same.  She launched her company Go Forth Creative back in 2012, offering creative direction to other businesses.

Judging by what she did with her home, I could safely trust her with my life.

coffee table vignette - the Everygirl - Chelsea Fullerton

Chelsea Fullerton's back porch - the Everygirl

Living Room Nook - the Everygirl, Chelsea Fullerton Home Tour

Easy going.  Lived in.  Simple.

Chelsea Fullerton's home - built in shelving - the Everygirl

In the article, she mentions her love of Craigs list bargain hunting and shares tips on working from home.  I’m pretty sure we could be bff’s.

Chelsea Fullerton's office

I love the little accents of Texas throughout her home.

Chelsea Fullerton's bathroom

details - Chelsea Fullerton's home - the Everygirl

Chelsea Fullerton

To read or see more, click here.  Happy Monday!

(photo credits:  Sarah Natsumi )

west texas adventure

Last month, I (against all wishes) turned 30.  Sigh.  The age I’ve been dreading since hitting 25.   Not trying to over dramatize it, but seriously, I WAS NOT looking forward to it. AT ALL.  (You can read all my lovely thoughts about that here.)  What better way to welcome in a new decade than a weekend trip to the quiet, desolate, and immensely beautiful area known as West Texas?

I had heard how awesome Big Bend National Park was, and could not wait to see it for myself.  That was my top priority.  And it did not disappoint whatsoever.

Big Bend overlook

I only wish we had about 3-5 more days to explore.  We had enough time for one hike along the Chisos Mountains.  Here’s some pics from the Lost Mine Trail:

Big Bend Lost Mine Trail Pano Big Bend Foggy Morning Big Bend Lost Mine Trail Views (edited)

It was about a 3-4 hour hike.  There are signs everywhere about mountain lions and bears inhabiting the area, so chalk up a couple more points for me in the facing fears department.  (I’m becoming a pro at that lately.) And a random sign about ancient swamp creatures.

Big Bend Swamp Creatures

We headed over to Marfa, which was so much different from what I expected.  It’s like a ghost town until you dig beneath the surface.  There’s all these random warehouses that look abandoned at first glance, and then boom, you walk in and an art gallery appears before your very eyes. There’s such a great underground community of makers, shops, and restaurants.

Marfa downtown edited

Mirth Marfa  Marfa warehouse

marfa sign

The most surprising and impressive art display was the Andy Warhol art exhibit we stumbled upon.  There were 3 larger than life paintings from his Last Supper collection.   (We weren’t allowed to take pictures – but I did find this pic online.)

AW-marfa-03

Source: Ayn Foundation

And of course, no trip to Marfa is complete without making a stop at the Prada.

prada marfa instagram - nataliya borener

We spent a little time in Alpine.  Mainly in the form of treasure hunting at a nearby antique shop.

southwest style Building Art in Alpine, Texas

Our last stop was Marathon, Texas.  With a population of less than 500, blink and you may miss it.  It was so incredibly charming, and home to the Gage Hotel.  As soon as I got there I was mentally booking my next trip.

The Gage Hotel The Gage Hotel beautiful landscaping The Gage Hotel Courtyard Rooms

Overall I’d say the whole 30th birthday thing was a success! Love surrounded me from friends and family near and far, and I got to spend time with that one person that knows me more than anyone else (besides God I guess) and still loves me (yes, he must be a saint!).

Hope you enjoyed a few of the many pictures from our West Texas adventure!  Happy Friday! xo

got some big news for y’all…

As I said back in January, we were looking at homes and talking to lenders in search of our first home.  I can now announce to you that…

WE’RE BUYING OUR FIRST HOME!

Sold-Real-Estate-sign

I didn’t want to say anything until we were 100% sure, but with the all the negotiations, inspection, appraisal, and loan approval process behind us, it’s looking like it’s going to happen!  We actually close tomorrow!! Eeeee I can’t believe it!  So soon – but so exciting!  Guess we’ll be calling Texas home for a while. 😉

It’s a 1950’s ranch style home on a 1/2 acre lot, close to our little downtown & a park.   It’s little over a mile away from where we rent now, perched up on the lovely neighborhood known as “the hill”.  Since it’s an older home, it’s definitely going to need some love.   We won’t move in until April or May so we got some time to plan out what renovations we want to do and move things in slowly.  Our first big project? Ripping out the existing floors and putting in hardwood.  And of course you’ll get to see the updates right here on the blog :).

So happy and thankful for this major milestone in our lives!!