Category Archives: Austin

The Coffee Experience

Saying that I love coffee would be a gross understatement. I LOVE, ADORE, RELISH coffee. Even a small whiff of the complex, bitter, (sometimes) nutty/smoky, and (always) delicious smell never fails to coax my lips into a smile. Coffee, for many college students, is a necessity. It keeps us perky throughout the busy day and can get us through any long night. Additionally, there are actually many health benefits associated with the magical brew like a lower risk of diabetes and liver cancer.

For me, coffee is more than just an energy drink or a health benefit. It’s an experience. I love coffee shops, which double as both vehicles of this experience and good study spots. Here’s a list of 5 of the best coffee shops in Austin (in my opinion):

1. Cafe Medici:
If you’re looking for something close and haven’t checked out Cafe Medici, you need to. Now. Located on Guadeloupe,  it has a great dark roast and Chai Latte. Upstairs, there are really cute tables and couches great for reading or studying.
Cafe Medici

2.  Epoch:
Located on N Loop Blvd, Epoch is a great casual space vending espresso drinks, sweets & pizza from East Side Pies in open, casual space
Epoch Coffee

3. Mozart’s:
Mozart’s is probably everyone’s favorite coffee shop in Austin. Located on Lake Austin Blvd, it has a stunning view and a stunning menu.
Mozart's Coffee

4. Cuvee:
If you love a good cold brew, Cuvee is for you. If you can’t be separated from your laptop… maybe not. The coffee shop/bar has a no wifi policy which I think is a great way to have a meaningful, unplugged conversation with a friend. Plus, look at it. It’s so cute.  Check it out if you’re ever on  E 6th St.
5. Summer Moon:My friend recently told me about Summer Moon, which is about a 20 minute drive from campus. Summer moon is a great study spot with tons of desks and outlets for your laptop. The coffee has a distinct smokey flavor because it’s cooked using brick, wood, and fire. Located on South 1st street, it’s worth the drive.
Summer Moon








If you’re a coffee lover like me, hopefully you can get around to checking these places out. We can LOVE, ADORE, and RELISH the drink together.

Happy Holidays in the ATX

It is definitely the most wonderful time of the year, especially for students. Finals are over, another semester under the belt, and the stress is gone! For all those who are hanging around Austin after finals time, here are some great holiday ideas to get rid of that finals hangover!

Trail of Lights
If you have never been to this, it is definitely a MUST. Austin brought this holiday light show back in 2012 after a few years of being unable to fund the cost. It is at Zilker Park until December 22nd. In addition to the incredible lights and displays there are also food trucks, music, and hot chocolate along the walk!

Free Carriage Rides at the Domain
If you find yourself shopping at the Domain on Friday or Saturday evenings from 5:30-9:30 be sure to stop by Dillards or Macy’s where there will be a line of people waiting to catch a ride in a horse drawn carriage! The Domain also has a 40 ft Christmas tree that would be great for taking pictures! (aka selfies)

Mozart’s Coffee Shop
This well known coffee shop has not only great coffee but also great dessert, live music, and a light show! It is a great place for a date, friend date, or date with yourself and a good book. You can also pick up a quick Christmas gift there if you have any friends or family that have a love for excellent coffee!

The Driskill
This old hotel is a great place for an evening out on the town! If you go by during December 16 – 17, 2015 there will be a live string quartet, decorations, and treats from 5 to 7 p.m. Don’t pass up an opportunity for some free fun at this fancy place! For more details you can visit the website.

Be sure to celebrate the holidays Austin-style at some of these local places before you leave. You never know where you will end up when you graduate so make the most of your time while you are still here in Austin!


Hiking in the Hill Country

As I have stated previously, Austin is a place where you will not be content to stay indoors. I took advantage of the fact that the coming school week is (a bit) more relaxed to take a quick trip up to Georgetown, Texas to hike part of the San Gabriel River Trail. In total, the trail is 28 miles around Lake Georgetown, and I completed a more reasonable 2.5 mile hike on the Cedar Breaks Trailhead to Crocket Gardens and Falls. When the lake is at a higher level (which I have never seen), the falls will empty into the water. For now, the water runs off into a dry ravine, however the view is still worth the trek.

IMG_2713The views of Lake Georgetown are pretty fantastic as well. After spending most of my time sitting indoors studying the past few weeks, this was much needed time spent soaking up the sun and clearing the mind.

IMG_2720It is also weekend option that is easy on the wallet. Admission to the park is $4.00 per car (and up to six people) for the day. The grad student budget life is real y’all.

The Austin area has a lot to offer in terms of outdoor recreation that I cannot wait to explore.  On my list currently is a quick trip to Mount Bonnell, a day trip to Longhorn Cavern State Park and another visit to Enchanted Rock. We are having close to record high temperatures in Austin this fall, so I am hopeful the weather will hold out for a few weekend trips in November as October is pretty overwhelming with school and recruitment.

IMG_2701My quick morning hike was a great reminder to take breaks from the stress of the program and enjoy the unique opportunities presented by the Austin area.

These Boots Were Made For Walking

As a Texan, I have a serious confession: I have never owned a pair of cowboy boots. I have kicked (pun intended) the idea of purchasing a pair around a couple of times, but never had a solid reason to commit to a purchase.  However, after seeing the attire at my first UT game, I decided that it was finally a good time to procure a pair.

IMG_2525Boots on Boots on Boots

Like any good millennial, I decided to Google “Places to Buy Boots in Austin” and began to research. From what I determined, the best place to begin the search for the perfect pair is South Congress. There are traditional stores like Heritage Boot and Allens Boots, and also a lot of great vintage stores that offer a selection of boots, such as Feathers Boutique, New Bohemia and Uncommon Objects.

After my last interview during a busy week of recruiting on Friday morning, my mom and I headed to South Congress to find a pair before the UT game on Saturday. While my original intention was to hunt for a secondhand pair, my mom encouraged me to check out Allens Boots for our first stop.

IMG_2529 2We spent a lot of time exploring the store. They have boots for all different types of personal styles. Some of my favorites were Texas centric and featured the Texas flag or an outline of the state on the front. There was also this “Don’t Mess With Texas” pair that I found very entertaining:

IMG_2530While I am personally not flashy enough to purchase boots with a famous anti-littering campaign slogan on them, I did find the perfect pair of boots for me at Allens.  I ultimately decided that the full price cost would be worth it if I really loved the boots and will continue to wear them for years to come.  You only purchase your first pair of boots once.  I feel way more Texan already.

The newest additions to my closet:IMG_2534

Hot Fun in the Summertime

I moved to Austin in July to attend summer classes for the MPA program. Having lived in Texas for most of my life, the majority of my summers were spent hiding from the heat in air-conditioned malls and movie theaters. However, I have found that 100+ degrees temps do not slow down Austinites when it comes to participating in outdoor activities, so I obviously had to get out and join them.

Over the past few weeks, I went to the Shakey Graves concert during Blues on the Green, a summer concert series put on by a local radio station, saw J.Cole concert with Big Sean at Circuit of the Americas, hiked and paddle boarded on Ladybird Lake, attended the Austin PRIDE parade, and tubed in the San Marcos River with some MPA peers.

I also dipped my toe in the ocean of Austin restaurants, eating at: Trudy’s, Tacodeli, Stubb’s BBQ, and (my favorite because desserts) Gourdough’s.


Throughout the summer, I took advantage of the quiet campus and explored. This is one of my favorite pictures of the Tower on a clear blue sky  day:


The UT campus area has so much to offer, and I especially look forward to spending more time at the Blanton Museum of Art, the Bullock Texas State History Museum and the LBJ Presidential Library (One of my undergraduate degrees is in History, if you could not tell).

Needless to say, with recruiting and beginning the fall semester, my first couple of weeks in Austin were packed, but I enjoyed every moment of it. While it is tough to say goodbye to summer, I definitely took advantage of what Austin has to offer and look forward to all that the fall has in store.