Through My Lens: July

July came and went in a flash this year! I know, I say that every month, but it feels like I was looking forward to this month all year! As I have been planning for my vacation all year. And now it has come and gone. But that is ok, it means I am one step closer to some of my goals and I can start planning my next vacation/adventure! Anyhoo, here are a few snap shots of my wonderful month!

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I took this picture on my way to lunch at my favorite pizza place in Austin with my friend. Little did I know that this quick picture was going to be the quickest pick me up for me all month. My car has broken down 3 times this month and my poor dad has had to make 6 hour trips each time it has broken down to help fix it. I was feeling so guilty and useless this month but am glad I surround myself with positive people and was able to continue smiling through it all. And of course I am forever grateful for my father and all of his self-taught skills.

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As I mentioned above, I took my trip to Los Angeles this month!!!! Oh my gosh, I had such a great time! I mean, the picture of the delicious cronut above can really sum it all up. As soon as I arrived, one of my favorite people scooped me up and we picked up a few cronuts (croissants turned to donuts). The beauty above that I could hardly finish was maple-bacon flavored while she went the safe route and chose a nutella cronut. We enjoyed these at the beach and although I was a little sick from my flight, I felt at peace near the beautiful ocean. I can’t wait to go back!

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Sigh, another day at the beach during my vacation. We spent my second day in California in Newport Beach whale watching followed by a picnic at the beach. While my friend took a nap, I was able to enjoy my new book by my favorite young adult author, Sarah Dessen, and my favorite treat, cotton candy. It was seriously amazing and I wish I could spend every weekend at the beach.

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Our next stop was Hollywood Boulevard. Which is possibly more obnoxious to walk through than Times Square…and that says a lot. But I just had to go to revisit the autograph floor in front of the Chinese Theater, more specifically, John Travolta’s little section! Since I can remember, John Travolta has been my favorite actor, and it had been years since I visited LA and his handprints. I wanted a current picture with them. Unfortunately his star was gone 😦 it was moved temporarily due to construction. It may have been for the best, last time I saw it I laid down on Hollywood Blvd to take a picture with it, and that cannot be sanitary.

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The only real souvenir I bought, a cute little magnet to accompany the ones I bought in New York two years ago. Sigh, I already miss my days in LA, especially the weather! I am so grateful I was able to take a little trip this year that included visiting three dear friends from high school and my fathers family that I have not seen in 7 years! I hope they all know how blessed I feel to have them in my life and I cannot wait for the day that I am able to see them all again!

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Last but not least, a picture with one of my closest friends, Tanya. Thank you so much for opening up your home to me that weekend and for battling traffic to pick me up from and take me to the airport. I am glad that throughout all these years and with the hundreds of miles and state lines that separate us, our friendship continues to thrive. And may it continue this way. Anyhoo, here we are before Mean Girls started at the park and before we devoured delicious trailer food.

As you can see, my month pretty much consisted of food, car repairs and more food. Once again, I apologize for not posting too many DIY’s or budget finds this month, I felt swamped. Now that I am back to my routine, I hope to continue sharing that part of my life with y’all soon!

Til then, I hope everyone has enjoyed their month as much as I have!

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Through My Lens: February

February is possibly my favorite month of the year, for many reasons. First off, it is my birthday in February, the weather is still beautiful and it is a month full of love. I’d like to share a few snapshots that made my February feel extra special this year.

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I started off the month with the amazing opportunity to hear one of my favorite authors, Laura van Dernoot Lipsky, speak at a Trauma Stewardship Retreat hosted by the Joyful Heart Foundation. The presentation revolved around secondary trauma and the impact it has on our mind and body. It may seem that yes, hearing stories of suffering and people in crisis day in and day out is common sense, but it was so interesting to hear about the toll it takes on our health. She was able to provide some concrete ways to alleviate this toll and did an excellent job at explaining the importance of wellness. She is the author of Trauma Stewardship, a book I definitely recommend to anybody and everybody, no matter the profession. And here I am totally fangirl-ing taking a picture with her and her book during one of our breaks. 

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Speaking of wellness…am I right? The weekend of my birthday my little sister and my best friend and I hiked my favorite trail in Austin. It is called the Hill Of Life and is one of the toughest entrances to the Austin Greenbelt. I have not hiked this trail in a year since I broke my ankle and wow, was it tough! There are literally no words to describe the river we encounter at the bottom of the hill. It is gorgeous and peaceful and I am so glad it will become a weekly adventure. If you are ever in Austin, I definitely recommend you check it out. Just make sure to follow the trail as my sister and I found out the hard way a few years ago (we were lost for three hours lol).

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Definitely a smart cookie. Here is my not so baby nephew wearing a shirt I bought him from my college bookstore 6 years ago! I cannot believe it still fits him and I just love that he wore it special the day I arrived for a visit. I spent a nice and relaxing weekend up in Denton with my sister, nephew, her husband and their cat, Naruto. It was a really quick trip but I was so grateful to be with them and I hope I can make another trip up there again soon.

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Happy 59th Birthday John Travolta! My celebrity crush is also an Aquarius celebrating his birthday on February 18th. I snapped a photo of this light switch inside one of my favorite local shops on South Congress, Monkey See Monkey Do. The first time I saw this switch is perhaps one of the funniest moments of my adult life. I was walking out along with a few friends when they heard me scream, IS THAT JOHN TRAVOLTA! After I made a scene and thoroughly embarrassed my friends, I continued to ask the cashier if it was for sale. See, I love JT and I love Saturday Night Fever. After he checked with his manager I found out a friend hand painted the design (whoa!) and it was not for sale. Sigh. I will settle for the instagram version. 

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And finally, one of my favorite manicures up to now. I have been wanting to give this fishtail braid manicure a try for a while now and so glad I did. It is an easy technique with such a big impact. I followed a video tutorial by Miss Jen Fabulous of polishandpearls.com I hope to try different color combinations but this coral, turquoise and gold combo was perfect for the week!

And that is my February, in just a few photos. February really flew by, but I am excited for March and the adventures it will bring. Fun fact: I found out that each day is identical in both February and March. For example, my birthday was on Friday the 8th so that means the 8th will fall on a Friday in March. Isn’t that cool? This is true every year, except for leap year. 

Anyhoo, how did everyone enjoy their February days?