Getaway Recap: Utah

I went to Utah for my birthday weekend — back in August.

Obviously this is a long overdue getaway recap, so I’m just going to dive into the good stuff. I’ve divided the recap into two parts based on the two cities my friend Lauren and I spent time in: Salt Lake & Moab. Here we go!

SLC

  • My favorite brunch was at Millcreek Cafe & Eggworks. Fresh off the plane, Lauren and I were starving. We found Millcreek where I had one of the best eggs benedicts meals of my life. No lie.
  • My favorite activity was bouldering at Momentum Climbing — you didn’t think I would go a weekend without climbing, right? Momentum is a great gym with plenty to do. The sets felt hard but were all very fun.
  • My favorite dinner was at Saffron Valley, where I pigged out on butter chicken and naan. I practically rolled back to our Airbnb.
  • My favorite alcoholic drink was at Water Witch, a neat little bar near our Airbnb. I can’t remember exactly what was in the cocktail, but I know wine and tea were involved.
  • My favorite non-alcoholic drink was a hot lavender latte from La Barba. The location we went to at the Gateway was kind of eerily calm, but the coffee itself was super yummy.

Moab

  • My favorite national park was hands-down Arches. Lauren and I opted to do a year-long pass instead of paying daily, as it was a better deal in the long-run. Arches has amazing hikes, views, and arches (duh). My favorite hike was to/from Landscape Arch.
  • My favorite view was at Mesa Arch in Canyonlands National Park. The hike is super easy and the view is absolutely gorgeous. The world looks so tiny and delicate from up above.
  • My favorite coffee was at Moab Coffee Roasters. We went there a couple of times. I got my usual iced almond milk latte, and it was great!
  • My favorite meal was my mac & cheese at The Spoke on Center because I am really just an overgrown 5-year-old. But honestly, it was delicious and we also had ice cream for dessert which was just as good.
  • My favorite moment was sitting outside Bike Fiend (a bike and coffeeshop) with our coffee-in-hand, only to watch a sweet pup named Zeke wait in line for a donut at the shop next door. It was the cutest thing in the whole wide world.

Overall we had an amazing trip and it really made turning 27 special. I am so grateful to get to travel and experience new things with wonderful people. Can’t wait to see what next year’s birthday trip holds!

Getaway Recap: 48-Hours in Colorado

This weekend in Colorado was a whirlwind!

I landed around 10 a.m. on Friday and I left around Noon on Sunday. Talk about a quick, quick, quick trip! Even though my time in Colorado Springs & the Denver area was extremely short, it was also extremely sweet.

Let’s dive in to this weekend’s highlights:

Colorado Springs

  • McKae & Creed’s wedding in CO Springs— the biggest highlight of the weekend, and also the reason I came into town, was my sweet friend McKae’s wedding. McKae and I have only known each other about a year, since we met working at the climbing gym, but she is truly the kindest and truest friend. Hers & Creed’s wedding was veryyy cold, but also very beautiful, romantic, and whimsical.
  • Brunch at Western Omelet– The morning after the wedding, the Summit gym gang was starving. We ate some really huge portioned breakfasts at this restaurant that had the best service (the owner was quite attentive) and delicious food. I had the Southern Scramble, which is basically their version of the migas. I’m a creature of habit, what can I say?
  • Coffee at Switchback– After our brunch, a couple of the gal pals and I camped out at Switchback to get some ish done. There was a long line out the door (thanks, COVID), but I can see why! The space was beautiful and light and airy, filled with greenery and plants galore, and the service was ever-so-kind. 10/10 recommend!

Denver area

  • Coffee at Morrison Joe– Coffee again (duh). This time in Morrison, my sweet Chinese sister Beth and I each enjoyed a matcha tea & almond milk latte respectively. This little shop is tiny, tiny, tiny, but rests in the heart of Morrison. A great spot with great views!
  • Walking around downtown in Golden– Golden is the cutest little town. Beth and I meandered along downtown Golden, window shopping, popping in and out of local shops and smelling the restaurants’ aromas as we walked by. The weather was perfect and the night was delightful.
  • Ramen at Menya in Belmar– As a ramen addict, I had to introduce Beth to one of my all-time favorite dishes. Beth had the tempura udon ramen, and I had chashu with some chili sauce. Served quickly, served hot, and devoured within a matter of minutes.
  • Coffee at Corvus in Littleton– our last hoorah, Beth and I grabbed coffee as I was headed on my way to the airport. I had been to Corvus in Denver, but I think I prefer this Littleton space. I had a brioche & egg bun and oat milk latte. Definitely the shortest meal of the trip, but still absolutely delicious!

My time in Colorado is never enough.

I really fall more in love with Colorado/Denver every single time I visit. This was my fourth time coming to Denver in three years, and every time I come it’s like seeing an old friend. This was my first trip to Colorado Springs and I fell in love with that little town, too. The mountains, the crisp air, the hip folks, I can never get enough!

 

Getaway Recap: Broken Bow

A few weekends ago, I drove up north to Oklahoma.

My gal pal Tinker and I, along with my sweet pup Jack in tow, went to Broken Bow, OK for a short and sweet getaway. And boy, was it short. We left early(ish) on Saturday morning, and came home Sunday mid-day.

The weekend’s highlights included:

  • Devouring a massive burger at Buffalo Grill– it was the perfect time to eat as we rolled into town midday. My belly was starving! Both Tink and I got burgers, which were incredibly delicious. We ate on the deck while Jack laid out in the sun, the weather was lovely and service was attentive.
  • Hiking the world’s easiest hike (Beaver Creek Trail) at Beavers Bend State Park– This light walk around Beavers Bend SP was easy, breezy, and beautiful. Plenty of people were out and about enjoying the weather, and Jack loved strolling along the trail in between the trees.
  • Wining at Girls Gone Wine– our time at this winery/lounge/gift shop was perhaps the most fun part of the weekend, and definitely the loudest. The ladies at GGW know how to make their guests laugh and have a good time. Oh, and the wine was delish!
  • Dining at Blue Rooster– our eyes were much, much bigger than our stomachs, as we ordered wayyy too much chicken tenders, fried shrimp, and okra for our little bodies. But the food was very yummy and the service was great!
  • Coffee at Hochatown Coffee Central– I was pleasantly surprised Broken Bow had a few coffee shops to choose from–I doubted there would be any. Coffee Central was definitely the place to be on Sunday morning, the line was long, the coffee was sweet, and the service was kind.

Our Broken Bow weekend was exactly what I needed: a laidback getaway with a close friend and my sweet pup. It was relaxing and mellow and lowkey. The weather was beautiful, the scenery was nice, and the time spent with Tink was of the highest quality.

If you are in the Dallas area and looking for a quick getaway that is chill, but also fun, Broken Bow is where it’s at!

Getaway Recap: Austin

I escaped to Austin this weekend.

It had been a good long bit since I left the 214 and I was practically itching to get out. I have dear loved ones, both friends and family, who live down there and I could not wait to see their faces!

Here are this weekend’s highlights:

  • Breakfast at Joe’s Bakery– The first priority when I rolled into town Saturday morning was eating, of course! My sweet pal Madyson took me to Joe’s where I devoured some very yummy migas (my go-to).
  • Thrifting at Treasure City Thrift– This smaller but sweet thrift store was (semi) well organized and had plenty of women’s clothes to peruse. I managed to find an Anthropologie dress for only $5!!!!!
  • Climbing at Austin Bouldering Project– I had heard the best reviews of ABP before finally going. This massive, impressive bouldering gym had routes spaced out so there was little wait time to get onto the wall.
  • Drinking at Austin Eastciders– This cidery is maybe a 10 second walk from ABP (not exaggerating). I had the Rose and Sangria and loved both.
  • Brunching at Easy Tiger– Sunday morning my fam and I went to this restaurant-bakery and had the most delicious breakfast sandwiches, and split a pain suisse and slice of King Cake.

Austin is one of my very favorite cities to visit because there is always something new and exciting I have not done before. 10/10 recommend Austin for a weekend trip if you’re just dying to get out of the DFW.

Getaway Recap: Waco In Five Hours

Waco is a wonderland.

That’s why my friends and I used to say, somewhat joking but also somewhat serious. When people learn I went to school in Waco, they often ask, “Hmm…how did you like Waco?”

Honestly, at first, I hated it. I was a Dallas gal stuck in a less-than-thrilling town. But the more time I spent in the 254, the more I grew to love its quirks and hidden gems, and the more I began to call it home.

I escaped the 214 yesterday for a quick trip to my college town.

My gal pal Lauren and I concluded after a long and semi-rough start to the new year, we deserved a short getaway to escape the worries and stresses of jobs and obligations and Dallas traffic. We hopped on I-35E and headed a couple hours south to my beloved home away from home.

We were only in Waco for about five hours, but we attempted to eat and drink and do the best things this quaint town had to offer.

With so many things to do in such little time, here’s what we ended up with:

  1. Common Grounds —  First thing’s first: in order to have a productive day, you have to start with a cup of Joe. This well-known treasure located right off Baylor’s campus will always be a Waco staple. I started my trip with a vanilla latte and Lauren had an iced mocha.
  2. Spice Village & Roots Boutique — Second thing’s second: once we were caffeinated, we headed to Spice for some great Waco shopping. Cute boutiques with clothes & jewelry & trinkets galore. Roots is located in the same building that also has plenty of good finds.
  3. Lula Jane’s — my very favorite Wacoan eatery, Lula’s is a garden-to-table restaurant and bakery. We munched on some chips and hummus while we downed iced tea. A wonderful midday snack.
  4. Clay Pot — also a great Waco restaurant, this Vietnamese establishment includes great food with kind service. It’s fast and reasonably priced, too!
  5. Dichotomy — As a coffee addict, I needed a drink for the road. I chose a decaf cappuccino to-go even though I would have loved to stay at my favorite local coffee shop. Chill vibes, great drinks, friendly service — you can’t go wrong with a stop by this wonderful Waco gem.

No matter how long I’m gone, Waco always feels like home to me.

Even though I’ve been back in Dallas for three years (time flies!) I had a feeling I would run into a friend or two. I ended up running into four old friends, including a former church intern, a colleague, and a couple of sorority sisters. It was so fun to bump into friendly faces and catch up in brief conversations.

I made an intentional stop to see my dear friend Julianna to hear about her life and latest adventures. It’s always so nice to hear the good, bad and in-between updates that old friends are going through. It warms my heart and nourishes my soul.

I want to be like Waco to my friends and family.

I want to be a home away from home for my friends who are hurting or lost or struggling or even for friends who are doing fine. I want them to feel like I will always welcome and love and treasure them. I want to always be in their corner, to always be a hop, skip and a jump away from wherever they are, even if they’re thousands of miles away.

Dear friend, whoever you are and wherever you are, I hope you have a Waco. I hope you have somewhere you can escape and call home and feel loved. I hope you can be a Waco, too. To encourage and love and cherish others, to open your arms widely and freely and accept those who wander.

Getaway Recap: Washington D.C.

I went to D.C.

It was a last-minute trip that I planned about two weeks in advance. My gal pal Emily planned to be in D.C. for work, and my lifelong friend Hannah lives in the area, too.

This was my very first time to the city and I heard the greatest things, so I wanted to do the best that the city had to offer.

Unfortunately, some wind and rain and low temperatures threatened my chance of having a good time.  But they didn’t succeed! I had a great time despite the weather.

Here are the top 10 things I did in D.C.:

  1. Bourbon Coffee — Hannah was my tour guide for all of Saturday. We started off right: with brunch at Ambar and coffee at Bourbon Coffee. Yummy coffee, chill vibes, great location.
  2. Eastern Market — honestly, I expected more hustle and bustle. The weather definitely rained on this parade, but the market still had great local goods and foods to offer.
  3. The National Mall — though it was chilly and wet, the Mall is still beautiful and a must-see. You can walk as little or as much as you want.
  4. Earth Treks Climbing Center — you didn’t think taking a vacation meant a vacation from climbing too, did you? Emily and I checked this gym out and it looks “meh” from the outside, but on the inside it’s massive and impressive. Highly recommend.
  5. Lincoln Memorial — Emily and I went late, late on Saturday night in the pouring rain (which I do not recommend). I do recommend visiting the memorial during friendlier weather, because of its reverent beauty.
  6. Founding Farmers — three of my friends begged for me to eat here, and I chowed down on a massive, delicious avocado bacon burger. Similar vibes and pricing to Ida Claire and Whiskey Cake in Dallas.
  7. Meeps Vintage — truly a hidden gem, I left this vintage clothing shop with a memorable souvenir: a 90’s denim dress, complete with fringe.
  8. Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History — museums are very hit and miss with me, but this one was definitely a hit. Lots of great, informative and entertaining exhibits.
  9. Bantam King — after a long, hard afternoon meandering around D.C. alone, I rode the Metro (all by myself!!) to Chinatown to eat ramen. It was absolutely delicious.
  10. The Library of Congress — perhaps my favorite of all favorites, I loved visiting the Library of Congress. It’s both grand and gorgeous.

Though it was my first trip to D.C., it definitely will not be my last. I loved getting to know the city in just a couple of days, but I know there is so much more to eat, drink and explore. I don’t know when I’ll be back, but I do know it will happen.

Getaway Recap: Prague

So, I went to Prague.

A few weeks ago, I packed my bags and headed to Germany to visit my dear friend Paulina. During the middle of the week while she was a busy bee at work, I escaped to Prague for some Mae-and-more-Mae time for a few days.

It was my very first solo trip, and I loved (nearly) every second of it.

Here’s what went down:

Prague is super tiny & wonderfully inexpensive!

It’s a great place to visit alone because it’s small enough to walk in a day — literally I put in 30,000 steps my first full day there. It’s also incredibly inexpensive, so you can get the very most out of your budget.

Since Prague is so tiny, there’s a bunch of wonderful experiences and adventures and things to do that you can pack into a short amount of time.

Here are my top 5 favorite things to do:

  1. Visit Prague Castle. Yes, it’s called Prague Castle in English. Super simple to remember. You have to trek up approximately a million steps to reach this castle, but the view is beautiful and oh so worth it. The castle itself is also grand and very picture perfect.
  2. Walk the Charles Bridge. This bridge isn’t a rinky-dink, old, nothing-to-see bridge. It’s absolutely massive and there are tons of vendors, street artists and musicians across the entire thing. However, if you’re not a fan of crowds, I do not suggest this bridge. (It’s pretty chaotic).
  3. Explore Old Town Square. Just what it sounds like, this town square is rich with history. Unfortunately, I do not know much of Prague’s history at all, but I do know this square is beautiful and every Prague visitor must see it!
  4. See the Lennon Wall. Just to warn you: the wall is a normal wall, it just happens to be dedicated to John Lennon and decked out in some awesome graffiti. It’s not particularly thrilling, but it was one of my favorite things I did.
  5. Shop in Wenceslas Square. This town square in New Town has some great stores and big labels. I spent a good hour boppin’ around trying to score some good deals.

“What’s the food like in Prague?”

You may ask. Well guess what? I really don’t know…I didn’t ever try an actual Czech cuisine, mostly by because the time I became hungry I was immensely hangry and had to eat as soon as I could find food.

I will say there a tons and tons and tons of food options in Prague. Since there are so many tourists and there is so much diversity, you can find just about anything that tastes good to you, no matter where you’re from.

While in Prague, I ate an Italian pasta, sacher (a French chocolate cake), croissants, fish and chips, pad thai and a typical European breakfast (thanks Mosaic House, my hostel).

Flying solo in Prague was amazing.

I recommend this little city for anyone who wants to travel solo in Europe (more to come on my first solo travel experience). I also recommend this little city for anyone who wants to travel at all! Now don’t just sit there and read my silly recap, go see it for yourself!

 

Getaway Recap: Austin

My home group & I hit up Austin this weekend.

For our first (and hopefully annual) retreat, we packed our bags and left bright and early Saturday a.m. to explore the weird city.

I have been to Austin several times for different occasions: to see family, meet up with friends, escape from Waco while in school. Each and every time I fall more in love with the city, and this time was no different.

Saturday was a busy day.

We left just when the sun woke up around 6:30 a.m. to make the 3-ish hour drive down south. Once we arrived, we hiked to Sculpture Falls mid-morning. To my surprise, we didn’t die of heat strokes. The shaded walk was easy, breezy, beautiful.

After our hike to and from the falls, we headed to Barton Springs. Parking was a nightmare, but we managed to survive. On a normal day, Barton Springs is $3 for residents and $8 for non-residents — cash only. With seven of us, we were a bit short on cash. Well thank The Lord for divine intervention, because it was the annual free-entry day for everyone! Talk about a blessing.

Since we were practically melting in the Texas heat, we grabbed Amy’s Ice Cream on S. Congress and took a pic by the Jo’s famous “I love you so much” wall. To me, these Austin staples never get old.

After our afternoon in the sun, we went to our Airbnb to shower and get ready for dinner. Our Airbnb was a newly renovated house in North Austin that was tiny, but turned out to be perfect for us. It was cute, trendy and clean. Its open element gave us plenty of space to sit and talk.

Next, we had dinner at the Tillery.  In my opinion, this is an 8.5/10 recommended place. Service – great. Drinks – great. Setting – great. Food – slightly above average. Overall I ate a delightful meal surrounded by wonderful friends (and even servers), which left my heart & stomach full.

Lastly, we went to Hotel Vegas and The Eastern for drinks and dancing — well I didn’t dance (you really have to catch me in the mood) — but it was great fun to be in a high energy, youthful environment.

Sunday was much more mellow.

We woke up, munched on muffins and fruit, laid around and chatted, packed and left around 10:30 a.m. It was a slow and steady morning, which was perfect after such a jam-packed day before.

Waco is a wonderful halfway point between Dallas and Austin, so our tribe stopped at Taqueria Zacatecas (also known as the beloved “Taco Z”) for lunch.

The better the company, the better the trip.

This little weekend getaway could have gone terribly. We only had a shell of a plan when we left on Saturday morning, but by the evening we had done so many activities and really enjoyed our time together.

Overall as a group, we are rather low-maintenance. We were told we couldn’t swim at Sculpture Falls — which later turned out to be false — and the hot water didn’t work at our Airbnb, but we bounced back with positive attitudes.

This brief retreat made me feel more encouraged and at peace than I have felt in a long time. I am excited to see what the future holds for our home group and I can only hope we will continue to adventure together.