I Fell in Love with Austin, Texas on the Fourth of July

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Sometimes you visit a city, and you just know. You get that little voice in the back of your mind telling you “this is a place I could stay”, or “this is somewhere I belong”. Austin gave me those thoughts, and I just knew. But let me start from the beginning…

One day, in the middle of April, I was sitting at my desk trudging on through the work day, wishing I was somewhere else, when I had an epiphany; I should take a mini vacation. Then it came down to deciding where to go, simple enough, right? Wrong. Being in the center of the country means that my options are incredibly limited, and unlimited, all at the same time. I can take a plane heading anywhere in the country in a relatively small amount of time, and I can take plenty of road trips, but most of the “desirable” places to go in the scorching heat of the summer (i.e., the beach, for obvious reasons) are quite far away. Now I’m the queen of road trips, so per usual, I opted for that, then looked at the map and just chose. Just like that. Austin, Texas is it was. My family vacationed in Texas often when I was young, so the idea of venturing there on my own this year felt comfortable and inviting. So, I grabbed a friend, and off we went!

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Driving from Kansas City to Austin wasn’t the MOST pleasant of things, but I think making that whole drive down, through the construction, traffic, and holiday travelers made driving into the city that much sweeter. I was more excited than I ever would have expected to be when I realized we were about to *finally* make our way into town. I even pulled off the road, just to capture the moment for myself, and you as well, I suppose. For anyone familiar with the city, we stayed just off East Cesar Chavez, and it was a hipster’s paradise, let me tell you. I loved it.

We were only there for the weekend, so I didn’t get the chance to do many of the things I had hoped, but I still had an amazing time. Our first stop was visiting the Lyndon B. Johnson Presidential Library, and explored for quite a while. I genuinely enjoyed learning so much about his presidency, the good and not so good parts alike. I’m someone that loves learning as much as possible about history, and this was something new for me to dig into. The library itself was quite astounding, walking up the steps towards it was a special experience all on its own, without factoring in the beautifully put together LBJ Museum that accompanied it.

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After we were satisfied with our exploration there, we decided to visit the capitol building. For any of you that may not know, or may be from a different country, in the US, we have our Nation’s Capitol in Washington D.C., but each individual state has it’s own Capitol as well. Austin happens to be the state Capitol of Texas, so the (absolutely beautiful) Texas State Capitol Building is here as well. We took quite a long walk around the grounds, and had a bit of a wander through the interior of the building as well. My favorite part, however, was simply sitting on a bench, near the front of the building, all by my lonesome. Having a tea and taking it all in, that’s what I do best.

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From there, we simply explored. For the next two days, I ate more Tex-Mex than anyone should ever eat, I grew to feel like I was a part of a new place and a new city. I went grocery shopping, I laid by the river and read a book, I chatted with strangers in a bar; I completely immersed myself if the daily life of this city, and I think thats’s what made this trip so special for me. It felt like I was visiting a home away from home, and I was genuinely sad when it came to an end.

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I may have single handedly eaten all of the avocados in Austin, and I’m not even sure I’m exaggerating.

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One of my favorite moments was sitting by the river watching the sun go down around the city. I think this will be a memory I keep close for a long time.

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One of the things I admired most about Austin was the graffiti, which might sound strange to some people. But Austin is filled with beautiful, inspiring, and interesting graffiti. The city just seems like an even more special place after seeing how many people have made their mark here in such a positive way.

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I spent a surprising amount of time in this backyard whilst I was there. The house I rented had a beautiful backyard with a comfy seating area to relax in. I definitely made use of it, particularly the incredibly comfy lounge chairs, they were perfect for reading and relaxing. These popsicles were absolutely scrumptious by the way, check out GoodPop if you’re able to get your hands on them. They’re all natural, and are honestly the most delicious frozen fruit pops I’ve ever had. I’m feeling serious withdrawal symptoms at the moment.

The final day, before we had to wake up and make our way home, was the Fourth of July. Celebrating Independence Day in Texas is not something new for me, I’ve done it a few times in my life with my family, but this was a whole new experience for me. We went fairly early in the afternoon to secure a seat near the water to watch the fireworks over the city. I expected that there would be a lot of people, and Austin didn’t disappoint me there, but what I wasn’t expecting was how much I would love getting to know all the people that happened to be sitting around me. I arrived with one friend, and left with dozens, and it made me so much more in love with the city, and so much more pleased with the trip itself.

I had a few drinks, set off a few sparklers, and chatted with more people than I have in the past month, all in one night. The fireworks were stunning, the atmosphere was incredible, and it was the perfect ending to a much needed get away.

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I hope you’re doing well, where ever you are in the world, and I wish you all the best.

-Lexie Xx

30 Day Writing Challenge | Introduction and Day 1!

Here we go, my first 30 Day Challenge on this blog.Will I completely fail at posting every single day for 30 days? Probably. Will I have fun giving it a go? Absolutely. So here I am, sitting in my bed watching Across the Universe, and setting myself up for quite the month. Writing 30 thoughtful and personal posts, all while *hopefully* maintaining my regular schedule of random personal posts, Take Me Away posts, Summer Goals posts, and Sleepy Sunday posts. I’m excited, a little nervous, and all around just interested to see how it all plays out. I love a good challenge, especially one that makes me think, and as writing is a passion of mine, this one seemed completely and utterly perfect. I also feel like this challenge will help me connect with myself a bit more, and may help me to stay inspired throughout this next month. So, without further ado, here is the start of my 30 Day Writing Challenge!
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Day 1: List 10 things that make you really happy.

1. Life.
2. Writing.
3. The wind blowing on my face and the leaves crunching beneath my feet on a blustery autumn afternoon.
4. Learning, about anything and everything I can.
5. Adventures.
6. Love.
7. The smell of freshly mowed grass.
8. The seaside.
9. Talking to people with Irish accents, or any accent really
10. Baby animals.

This list goes a bit all over the place, but I suppose that’s a good thing. So many different things in the world make me endlessly happy, some are the simplest of moments, and some are complex and magical things. Life makes me happy for the obvious reason that it means I’m alive. No matter what could be going wrong in my life, at least I’m here living it. So many people don’t get that chance anymore, and I intend to make the most of this beautiful thing that is life. I have always loved writing. It is my outlet. My key to unlocking new worlds with the tip of a pen or the stroke of a key on my keyboard. Writing is the way that I can escape from the world around me and create my own. Autumn is my happy season, the wind, the rain, the beautiful colors, the mild temperatures; there is no season that makes me happier. Learning is something that I’ve talked about on more than one occasion on this blog. I believe that there is never a time in your life when there is nothing left for you to learn or understand. I live to learn. Learning about science, people. cultures, music, film, everything; that’s what makes my life meaningful to me. This blog isn’t called “Adventures of Lexie” for nothing. I believe that everyday is an adventure if you let it be. I hope to have the chance to have adventures all over the world, all my life, collecting friendships and memories along the way. Love is one of the most important things in the world. We are all made to love one another. Not just the mushy gushy romantic kind of love, because lets be honest, not everyone has that. But everyone loves someone or something. I love my family and friends, I love books, I love music, I love the ocean, I love chocolate… the list could go on forever. All too often people just talk about the things they hate, or the things that are wrong with the world, but just for this moment, I’d like you to think about all the things that you love, all the people that you love. I promise that it will brighten your mood, even if it’s just for a second. It’s the small things in life that make me the happiest, like a smile from someone walking down the street, or the smell of freshly mowed grass. There’s not a scent memory in life that holds more memories for me than the smell of freshly mowed grass. Just the smell of it brings back memories of skinned knees, sidewalk battle scars, smiles, the sun shining down on me, forcing my hair into an even lighter shade of blonde than you’d think is possible; it brings back memories of childhood, a simpler time, and that’s a beautiful thing. Nearly all of the moments in life when I’ve felt the most comfortable, and the most “myself” was when I was standing by the seaside. There is one moment that I remember most vividly; I was sitting on the hood of my rental car in Northern Ireland, on the Antrim Coast near Glenarm, watching the waves rolling into the rocky shoreline, thinking about everything going on in my life. I was in a relationship that I hated, had a major in college that wasn’t right for me, and wanted nothing more than to stay in that spot watching the ocean forever. That moment was the one when I decided to end that horrible relationship, change my major to something different, and work as hard as possible in life to be able to come back to that spot someday, build a home, and never leave. This is also where I discovered my love for Irish accents. I’ve always loved accents of any kind, as I think most Americans do, and I’ve heard my fair share after working at a bed and breakfast with a nice flow of international guests, but after the day I sat talking to a variety of people in a pub in Ireland, I can safely say that the Irish accent makes me happiest. There’s just something about it that makes me happy when I hear it, I don’t know how to explain it. Lastly, one thing that can always make me smile when I’m having a rough go of things is baby animals. Any sort of adorable little animal photo is amazing. When you’re having a down day just google baby animals, and I am 95% sure that it will make you a little happier.

With that, my 30 Day Challenge has officially begun. I am excited to give you all a bigger glimpse into what goes on in this odd mind of mine, and to give myself a bit of inspiration through the month. I think it will be something that I really enjoy trying to do everyday, and I hope there are a few of you out there that will enjoy reading it.

I hope you’re doing well, where ever you are in the world, and I wish you all the best.

-Lexie Xx

20 Summer Goals

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Recently, a friend of mine challenged me to make a to-do list of sorts, of 20 goals I wanted to accomplish before summer ends. Instantly I thought that it was a silly idea for me. Would I even be able to think of 20 things to do before summer is over? Would I have any hope of completing the list? After a while, I realized that these thoughts were simply just self-doubt, and decided to go for it. So as I sat down with a notebook and pen in hand, ready to start writing, I stopped to think for a little while. I wanted these goals to be important to me. I wanted them to be things that meant something to me, and things that would enrich my life a little. Before I knew it, I had a dozen goals written down on paper, and it all started to feel a bit more real. I looked to some friends for more ideas and in no time I had my list of 20 goals, and was more excited than ever about the prospect of summer. Doing this little challenge has given me a renewed sense of excitement for summer, an excitement that I haven’t had since I was a kid getting out of school for summer break. Summer has taken on a new meaning now that I’m older. It’s no longer filled with endless amounts of free-time and popsicles on hot summer days; now it’s just filled with work, scorchingly hot days with little relief, and sweat, so much sweat. But these goals made me a bit more excited and motivated about everything. So without further ado, here are my 20 summer goals!

1.) Write a short story
2.) Make homemade pasta
3.) Learn how to paint (well) with watercolors
4.) Create a photo album of my favorite photos
5.) Attend at least four cultural/arts events (i.e. author events, art fairs, ethnic festivals, music events, etc)
6.) Write handwritten letters to at least three different people
7.) Stop putting off starting a blog just because you think people will find it silly
8.) Learn to whistle with my fingers
9.) Plant and grow a sunflower
10.) Cook a traditional dish from at least three different countries
11.) Take a baking or cooking class
12.) Try one new food every week
13.) Learn to sew, knit, or crochet, and make at least three homemade gifts to give at Christmastime
14.) Sleep under the stars
15.) Try five new cocktails
16.) Volunteer with at least three different charities/organizations
17.) Learn as much as possible about a culture different from my own
18.) Take one day each week to myself, with no distractions or obligations to worry about, to relax and decompress, no matter what!
19.) Do at least three new crafts
20.) Write about what I’ve done, how I’ve felt, and what I’ve daydreamed about each and every day in a journal

The best part about this list is that I haven’t put any pressure on myself with it. I don’t have unrealistic goals of completing each and every thing perfectly before summer comes to a close. If I don’t manage to complete something, the beauty of this list is that I can just add it to my next list of goals and continue! I hope you check back on this blog every so often to keep up with my progress on this list, and on all the other things I get up to.

I’m proud to say that I can officially check off number 7 on the list, because I have started this blog!

I hope you’re doing well, where ever you are in the world, and I wish you all the best.

-Lexie Xx