30 days: 30 things I’ve never done

When we decided to move into a vacation rental for FIVE whole months, I went into a mode of complete excitement to know I would be able to bring multiple high heels into the house, stock up on groceries, and fully unpack. At the same time, I went into complete panic mode: was our LifeVenture over? Am I going to get comfortable again and not want to move? Not want to try new things? Not want to pack up every month or so?

I hope not.

To keep that fear at bay, I’ve set out to challenge myself to do one thing a day that I’ve never done before for an entire month. It could be super small or super big, but it has to be something I’ve never ever done.

This challenge is way harder than I expected!

In the past 2 years I’ve noticed that I border between being extremely adventurous and being an extreme homebody who gets stuck in my patterns VERY easily. I’m a workaholic and I tend to default to just working more and more, instead of stopping, doing an activity outside of the ordinary, and being present.

And so, I signed myself up for this challenge to keep from falling back into my patterns, and to feel present and alive.

Day 1: Planning a date at a special spot
I’m not good at planning for dinner outings, dates, and adventures. If I’m by myself, I just do whatever I feel like at the moment, but when someone else is involved, I get paralyzed by making the very best choice. I mean, I wouldn’t want to miss out on something awesome because I planned the wrong thing. Geez, I hope this isn’t just me.  I wish I would just make the damn plans sometimes.

So I did this time.

I planned a surprise date – something I’ve been talking about doing for a while. I carved out time in my day to pick up tons of delicious cheeses, meats and olives, and grabbed my trusty side kick who is ever so patient with my “planning” problems. We hiked up to the 360 bridge and had a snack feast. I love snacks!

Day 2: Exploring new towns and more
It was a Saturday, so it was much easier to find something exciting that I’ve never done. We venture all over Central Texas, but somehow managed to find a pocket on the map we hadn’t been to. It was a section of the Colorado River and offered kayaking. We paddled down some good sized rapids for Texas and enjoyed the complete quietness of nature.

 We finished an hour earlier than expected – because we were super fast paddlers obviously – and decided to visit some towns in the area. To my excitement, we actually stumbled upon 3 little towns we’d NEVER been to plus a biker bar in the middle of nowhere.

We discovered a vineyard in Sisterdale and the adorable town of Comfort, which I had heard of but never visited. It reminded us of Fredericksburg, but much much smaller and less crowded. I will be back!

Day 3: Stopping and smelling the roses
It’s really important that I practice enjoying each moment because it’s something that doesn’t come easily for me. I want to move on to the next thing or plan for something tomorrow. I have been on a quest to really stop, smell the roses, and smile in the moment. I enjoyed some tea on my new mini patio and wrote. It seems small, but that was huge for me.

Day 4: Online yoga
I tried free yoga online. People have been telling me about free online yoga for years, but I never seem to make myself press ‘watch’. I don’t know why. I enjoy most of my yoga experiences and totally believe in it, so I honestly don’t understand why I never did this.

I visited Yoga with Adriene and began her free 30 day trial. I’m a HUGE fan of hers. She’s hilarious, uses words that aren’t real – but that I use myself all the time, makes you feel good about yourself, and her yoga is only :15-:30: totally doable.

Day 5: Rain bonanza 
It was about 9pm and I hadn’t found a single new activity to experience. I had walked to Whole Foods for breakfast and sat alone, but I’m not 100% sure I’ve never done that. That felt like a fakester.

I was starting to stress myself out. I can’t find a single freakin’ thing today that I’ve never done?! I’m only 5 days in! What the hell!? My Man started throwing out ideas – and if you know him, you know when he throws out brainstorming ideas they are frequently things like, fly to the moon or take a trip to Egypt. Come on buddy. Hone it in.

Eventually, he actually nailed one.

I’ve ran in the rain, but I don’t believe I’ve ever ran in the rain and done a cartwheel down the street with people walking by … while it was dumping cats and dogs.

I did it and it was awesome. I mean like, awesome awesome. Wake-you-up-make-you-feel-alive-awesome. I just so happened to do a cartwheel under a canopy of my favorite flowers and my feet hit the top of the canopy and a bucket of water came pouring down on me. It felt good. I couldn’t stop smiling while I was running like a fool.

Day 6: New Eats
By noon I was having the same problem as day 5. Crap, I have nothing to do! So I drove until I found a restaurant I’d never been to for lunch. I’ve driven by it probably a thousand times, but for whatever reason, I never stopped in.

I went in, had a solo lunch and found a new Greek lunch place. It wasn’t amazing or groundbreaking, but it definitely wasn’t bad either! I had been looking for a Mediterranean place right around the office, and I’d literally been driving by it for about 2 years.

I double upped this day.

I have always heard about/seen the super dilapidated Dry Creek Cafe on Mt. Bonnell Rd. Every time I drive by remember I want to visit. I finally planned it and had some friends come. The place is in one of the ritziest neighborhoods of Austin, but truly is a hole in the wall. Literally, there are holes in the walls and floors.

Day 7: The Little Details
Have you ever noticed the school on the top of West Lynn in Clarksville? Mathews Elementary? I’ve walked and drove by it for years. Never paid any attention because I was more focused on making sure kids weren’t crossing the street. A total valid reason to not notice it.

I took the extra few minutes on my neighborhood walk to visit the school up close. It’s a historical school and is really quite beautiful.

This prompted me to notice a street that borders the school, which I had never been on. It wasn’t life-changing, but I believe that sometimes it’s lots of little awareness experiences that are life-changing.

Day 8: Winflow for Happy Hour

I love Winflo and it’s right by my house now. My mom had never been and I’d never been for Happy Hour – before it’s filled with people. This is kind of a “cheat first-time”, but it’s all I got.

Day 9: New Drink 

I’ll be honest. I was running out of things to try this day. So at dinner I ordered a drink I would never order. Who knows, maybe I’ll find a new favorite drink. Not so much, but it was worth a try.

Day 10: “Rollin’, Rollin’.. No, Not on the River

It was Mother’s Day and my mom loves to golf. I am a mini golf pro, but I’ve never been on a golf course – other than when I was a cart girl working. But I never went to play golf with someone.

So that was a first. I didn’t play except on the green, but I had a lot of fun!
I also have never rolled down the hill on a golf course or done cartwheels and handstands while no one was looking.

Day 11: Feeling Alive

I went to a bar on 2nd street that I’d never gone to before. It was great company and good drinks. I could have “check, checked” that off my list for the day.

But the part I want to write about was not that.

I was tired and ready to be home. As I drove from 2nd street to my neighborhood, I noticed the light in the sky was nothing short of unbelievable. I knew it would fade fast. The best place in town to see the sunset is Mt. Bonnell, but the sunset would surely be gone by then. I should just skip it and go home. Eh, the couch sounds comfortable.

Then the reminder kicked in. No, this month is about getting out of patterns and saying no to thoughts like, “the couch sounds good.” Even if I miss the sunset, at least I tried.

I didn’t miss the sunset. And it was the most awe-inspiring, make-you-feel-awake sunset I think I’ve ever witnessed in Austin.

Day 12: Bad Attitude Turned Good … From Running? 

I had planned to go to a new yoga class with the “online super star” Adrienne from the online videos. Thanks to my bad planning (and horrendous Austin road closures and traffic), I missed the class. I was already having a bad day, and this spun me into being angry and frustrated. Dammit Austin traffic, I want to go back to Telluride where 4 cars is a rush hour! Why do we have to be here this summer!? Instead of holding onto the bad mood, I ran around Town Lake in a place I haven’t been in forever and have never run before. It should be noted: I didn’t run until recently when I was “trying something new.” Honestly, I’ve never even understood why people like running. Now I kind of even like it. What is happening to me!?

Day 13: Trader Joe’s 

The new Trader Joe’s opened recently at the Seaholm development. Not only was this a “first” experience, it may be a “never again” experience. Not the part about going to Trader Joe’s (I’m actually addicted already when I found dark chocolate peanut butter cups), but having every front parking spot open. I parked 10 feet from the door. Take that Whole Foods.

Day 14: It’s a Fiesta! Not really

I tried a new Mexican restaurant with some friends. The only thing good was the company, but I’d driven by the restaurant for a while wondering if it was tasty. Now I know.

Day 15: Bestie Dinner

After watching Pitch Perfect 2 with my bestie – greatest movie series ever – we went and caught up at The Goodnight bowling alley and restaurant. Honestly, I wasn’t a fan of the place and most likely won’t go back, but I’d never been. Check, check.

Day 16: Herky Jerky

I heart beef jerky in a serious way. A friend told me about homemade jerky at Easy Tiger. Tested and approved: 100%. It’s seriously the best beef jerky I’ve ever had.

Day 17: MegaBus

The MegaBus is a low cost, double decker bus that travels to and from major cities. Austin has one. I needed to travel to Houston for a Reset Retreat partner meeting for 24 hours. I had so much to do and riding in a car for 2 + hours each way was going to cut into productivity.

So I booked a seat for under 20 bucks, sat way up high with a good view, and got SO much work done. They have internet! On the way home, it was only 9 bucks.

Day 18: Brainstorm Goodness
This was a day of travel (again on the MegaBus back to Austin) and work (a huge all-day brainstorm session), so I didn’t have a chance to focus on something new. However, I spent hours with my partners in the same room – who normally are displaced all over the country or world – and white boarded our strategy. Not that I had a question before, but boy was I excited to have these gals in my corner by the time we finished.

It wasn’t something I sought out to experience for the first time, but that’s all she wrote this day.

Day 19: Oops
I honestly have no memory of what I did this day. (Sigh)

Day 20: Skipping the Line

Global Entry: I’m a fan. I signed up for Global Entry a few months ago, which is a prescreening approval process allowing travelers to go through the speedy security line. This is great because having to take off my shoes and put them where thousands of people stand each day is something that really grosses me out. I used global entry for the 1st time and got to keep on my shoes. Yes, please. May I have another.

Day 21: Coloring! 
I colored in an adult coloring book. I used to love coloring as a kid. I don’t ever do it anymore. Now that adult coloring books are becoming a thing, I think I might claim this hobby again.

Day 22: Cancer Free News 

While we were in Telluride earlier this year, we received the terrible news that my Man’s dad had leukemia. On this day, we got the amazing news that he was cancer free.

No, it wasn’t something I set out to do differently, but whatever I did differently that day didn’t matter at all.

Day 23: Doggone Lovin’ 


I let a dog sleep on my bed. I have never, ever done this. I do not like dogs in general. Or I should say, I do not like dogs close to me in general. I think they are wonderful creatures .. but mostly from afar. Maverick is another story.

He’s basically a cat who loves to snuggle, so naturally I love him.

Day 24: Shetland pony?

I pet a shetland pony. Oh, who am I kidding, I’ve done that before. Pass? Ok, wait! I have one: danced on a “bridge to nowhere” at the lake house. You’d have to be there.

Day 25: Car Saved by Flood Water
Does witnessing my car being saved from a brick wall breaking and creating a surge of water count as something I’ve never done? Or how about running through flood water to attempt at saving flooding cars. Or seeing your high school football stadium under 6 feet of raging water? Or watching Lamar become a river?

These aren’t things I set out to do, but it will be something I will forever remember.

Day 26: No Idea

I got nothing. After a day of floods and traveling, I think I was most likely so focused on playing catch up, I didn’t venture off into something new.

Day 27: Live Music + Yoga
2 blocks from my home is Blue Honey Yoga. I figured, what the heck, I’m on a yoga kick this month. Let’s try a new one! This was a much harder yoga class than most I’ve taken, but I was unexpectedly able to a do a crows pose. If only I had a picture of that to show.

Something more amazing happened. During the cool down, we were laying on our mats with our eyes closed. Like most yoga instructors do, light music was turned on during this part. It was magnificent classical guitar music. I kept thinking, this place has the best sound system! It’s like the music is live.

It turns out it was live! Our yogi was playing classical guitar for our yoga class. How cool is that?

Day 28: Free Vodka? Yes, Please

We toured the Deep Eddy Distillery. I was hoping to get some top secret information, but it was still very cool. Plus, it was a special event. Free Deep Eddy? Um. Yes.

Day 29: Homeless Man Taught Me Biggest Lesson 

I do not like giving money to people begging. It goes against so much that I believe in about working hard, owning up to your path and making a change, etc.. That all being said, I am completely aware that a very high percentage of people who are homeless are also mentally ill. And some people literally got dealt a hand they can’t win at. I almost tear up every damn time I hit a traffic light and someone is asking for money. Every damn time. I always wish I had snacks in my car, yet I never make it a priority to do so.

Today I found a man sitting outside Starbucks who was clearly homeless. He wasn’t begging. Just smiled at me. I asked if he was hungry. I went and bought him lunch.

Inside Starbucks, an employee awkwardly said, “I’m so sorry to have to ask you this…” Immediately I thought I did something wrong. I wasn’t supposed to give food to the person. Then he finished with, “that man isn’t asking you for money is? He’s not bothering you, right?”

It hit me like a brick wall: I had previously not done this because I was afraid of being judged, of saying something wrong, of having an unpleasant engagement. Mind blown.

Day 30: Singing on Twitter – Sh** Got Real

When I say I’m a singer, I feel like a fraud. I frequently change it to, “I used to be a singer.” I have written songs, gone to a professional studio to create with my producer, had a CD release party, I’m on iTunes, and I was the lead singer in a MoTown band, but I haven’t done anything in nearly 2 years. 2 years ago I realized that my lifelong goal of becoming a professional singer was actually not quite what I wanted. I’ve been on a quest to find what I do love about singing, because it’s still my religion. The pulse that keeps me ticking. The thing I was supposed to do…in some way. I’d still like to put music out there in the world.

I’m a recovering perfectionist. I was driving and thought, you know what I’ve never done that’s pretty darn scary? Post a raw video of me singing to social media. Eek. I turned a couple channels on the radio to find a song I knew and pressed record. Go bold or go home, right?

Whadda ya know? The song was “First time.” Here it is.

Day 31: For Someone Else Instead of Me

A friend was in town, so instead finding something I had never done before, I took her to do something she had never done before. Turns out, that’s pretty fun too.

In summary:

I have been reflecting why I did this in the 1st place. It was to get a little outside my comfort zone, actually DO things I frequently think about but don’t do, and ultimately feel more alive in the process.  So I began making a more thought-out list of these things, so there wasn’t a scramble, “I need to do something new today. The day is almost over!” It became exhausting at times and it wasn’t doing it’s job.

All in all, this month has really made me take notice that there are so many things – big and small – that I don’t do because I’m afraid if people will judge me. What a waste of mind share.

Want to join me in doing some out-of-the-box things this summer? Let me know! I’m going to need a buddy to do some of the things on my new list!

I think I’ll step it up a notch. I guess that means I’m finally going to get my ears pierced. Anyone want to be my date? 


We Signed a 5 Month Lease: Enter Happy Dance and Anxiety

We just signed a 5-month lease in Austin. This would normally be considered a short lease for most, but we haven’t signed a lease more than 1 month long in over a year and ½. This is a BIG F-IN deal!

As my shocked friends said, “You’re putting down some serious roots!”

I could say that we got bored of the adventure or tired of not having a home to call a home. But I’d be lying.

In fact, we had been planning leaving Austin for about 2 months during the summer. You know, when it gets to be 100 degrees every day, and it’s unbearable. There’s honestly no reason we wanted to be in Austin during the summer.

But, I can’t always have my cake and eat it too. Or in this case, have an entrepreneur man and travel like we hoped this summer. Trust me, I’m not actually complaining on this one!!

For work reasons, Man simply couldn’t leave like we had thought. If we wanted to be planning for our future, we had to hang back for a while.

So, we’re pressing PAUSE. To be continued soon… 

I have mixed emotions. They range from complete excitement to complete anxiety: What if I get comfortable again? What if I like having a home, home again? What if we don’t go back to the adventure? It’s terrifying to me because I had been in a big rut before we started and I want nothing to do with that rut again.

To keep the momentum going of not getting myself in old patterns, I’ve started a 30 day challenge: do 1 things I’ve never done before each day. This is way harder than I expected.

So the good news! Yes, there is good news!

I love my house. I mean, I really, really love my house.

Screen Shot 2015-05-21 at 11.15.53 AM

  • It’s in the BEST location – My favorite ‘hood in Austin: Clarksville. We actually stayed in the garage apartment behind this house before, so we are already very familiar with how much we both love the area.
  • It feels like a home: I have a dining room table! A real one. AND a kitchen nook. AND French doors. AND a living room with a couch and 2 chairs. Woah, woah, I know. I don’t want to get ahead of myself, it’s still a small home, but it feels huge in comparison to many homes the past year and 1/2 .

dining 2

  • I’m digging the décor. It came furnished and it’s cozy and well done. This makes me a very happy camper because all of my furnishings are either in a storage unit or tossed from the flood in our storage unit. That was fun.
  • Kitty! I GET TO HAVE FLUFFBALL! She’s the sweetest cat ever and I miss her SO much when she’s at my mom’s (when we can’t keep her). She’s so happy at her new house and likes to chase her toys and then slide across the hard wood floor. Hilarious. I just want to snuggle her all day everyday. She does not feel the same.


  • I don’t have to move for 5 months. That’s pretty exciting in itself. We don’t want to quit the LifeVenture outside of Austin, but we’re exhausting a lot of our options for Austin. And moving just to move is NOT fun.
  • I can play catch up. I spent the past 7 months starting a new company (Reset Retreat), maintained my current company (Pigtail Media), traveled like crazy and became a bit of a crazy person because of it. I’m able to actually spring clean, go to doctors, get my car fixed, organize the office, etc. It’s bringing some calm to my life I didn’t realize I needed.

kitchen 2

If you are in the Clarksville area, let’s grab a drink at Clark’s Oyster Bar or Winflow – my neighbors – or come visit! I actually have a place for you to sit now.

This property is managed by Diane Dopson, who we really have enjoyed working with! They have great rental properties – both short and longterm.  

Falling in Love with Telluride

You know how there are times in our lives where we look back and think, “wow. That was quite some time.” Telluride will be one of those for me.

When we first ventured out into what we’ve been calling our “LifeVenture” over a year ½ ago, we had planned to pack up our belongings, put them in a storage unit, live on vacation rentals in Austin for 3 months, and then travel for 1 month to Costa Rica and work remotely. The idea was to get a combination of the local feel and a tourist feel. We still haven’t made it there.

It turns out, being away for that timeframe required some changes in our businesses and in life.

So, while the mountains aren’t exactly Costa Rica, we found a sweet town to live in for a month this January. I also didn’t have to attempt my terrible Spanish here, so that’s something. We rented a home with a few additional bedrooms. With some prep and invitations to friends a few months out, we set up our “hotel.” Friends would come and go the entire month to meet us in a winter wonderland.

Location: Telluride, Colorado. (with the closest stoplight being about 1 hour away, it’s far out)
Duration: one month (with 1 short 48 hr visit back to Austin for a meeting)

There were so many amazing moments. Of course, just like life everywhere, not everything was rainbows and butterflies the entire time… (also known as what you see on a Facebook stream).  I spent 2 weeks with a sinus infection. I turned into a bit of a brat because of this. I worked insanely too much leading up to the launch of Reset Retreat. Above all, this was the month that my Man found out his dad had leukemia.

But this is a “Lifeventure” not a vacation, and with that, life wasn’t put on hold. We kept on moving, but did so with our eyes wide open.


Telluride is the perfect small town. It has everything you need, but it’s a little dot on the map. Instead of the small town mentality, tourism brings unique people from all over the world. It’s a place that is difficult to travel to and not cheap to live in, thus attracting people who really want to be there. It creates this little bubble of happiness.

 Friendly: These people are happy
I’ve never met so many friendly people in one place before. Because the gondola is like the city bus – it’s filled not just with skiers, but people coming and going from work between the Mountain Village to the Town – you get cozy with people very quickly. It’s a 15 min. ride, so it’s enough time to learn about someone … and a bit awkward if you don’t. I loved chatting with people and learning their stories.

Fat tire biking expedition in some deep snow!

Walking everywhere:
We had a car, but there was never a need to drive anywhere. I think I drove in the car a total of 6 times and that was to go sightseeing further away and then taking a shuttle bus to the airport. Our home was centered in town, so the Post Office, grocery store, liquor store, gondola, and bars/restaurants were only 1 to 5 blocks away – what else do you need? We even had amazing hikes that started 2 blocks from our house. I took quite a few hikes after closing my computer for the day!

My girls came to visit!

Friends! Friends! And more friends!
Screen Shot 2015-05-03 at 3.15.02 PMThroughout the month, we had more than 10 friends visit us! Some of them are people I very rarely get to see! Honestly, some of them I didn’t even know all that well, but they were down for an adventure. It was amazing having a mix of new friends and old friends collide in such a fun, adventurous place. I played “hotelier” by turning over the rooms every day or so. By the last week, one of the shuttle drivers noted, “I’ve come to this house a lot this month!”

And I learned that my “Mermaid Sister” (Mans’ sister) loves Legos as much as me. I really love Legos. Like a lot. 

Our house. Good God, our house!

We rented a real house. Not a 500 sq. ft. studio like we’ve been living in during this LifeVenture, but a real house with 3 floors, a dining room, multiple bedrooms, an entry way, and multiple fireplaces.

 The views from every part of the house were breathtaking. I had an office with a fireplace and a bedroom with a fireplace. (this was quite exciting for this fireplace-loving-girl). It was perfect, and I want it. Now I just have to make a couple million $ come out of my piggy bank.

 Living in a vacation:
I went to school in Tampa, and I will never forget going to the Don Cesar Hotel on the beach, enjoying a Pina Colada with tourists. Then realizing how luckily I was … living where people vacationed. My studies and work would go on, but I could venture to the Don Cesar Hotel and find that little piece of heaven any weekend I wanted.

Being around tourists is one of my happy places because they remind me to enjoy the moments: they fill each day. There wasn’t a day that passed in Telluride where I didn’t meet someone who said with a long face, “we have to leave tomorrow.” I had to contain myself every time by childishly wanting to announce, “NOT ME! Na na na na boo boo.” 

  Free gondola until Midnight:
Taking that daily gondola ride up to the Mountain Village above Telluride showcased some of the most magnificent views of mountains I’ve ever seen. And I grew up in Washington state.

The gondola is FREE and you can ride it until midnight! As far as I’ve heard, it’s the only free gondola of its kind in the U.S. So many days I just wanted to get away for :30, so I would ride the gondi up and down. Strangely enough, I wasn’t the only one doing this.

View from the bar on top of the mountain, a quick gondi ride up.

Best views around:
Because I was working remotely, a view from home made all the difference. There was an awe-inspiring view from literally anywhere you looked. I could sit in front of the fire, type away on my computer, and look up occasionally to remember, holy crap, I’m in Telluride!

Discovered on a hike about :15 min. from downtown. Amazingly pretty!

No traffic:
We were up at a look-out for happy hour one day and were watching the town from above. We started laughing when we noticed the one roundabout in town had 4 cars back-to-back. This was rush hour.

US Postal Office made me smile:
(Insert shocked face). Have you ever walked out of a USPS happy? Me neither. Until Telluride. Because the USPS doesn’t deliver to houses in Telluride (only to the Post Office), we had to ship to General Pickup. Picture this: hundreds of Christmas cards from residents were displayed all over the wall. The man working there knew everyone by name. Each kid got candy if they said hello to him. One employee actually gave me her phone # and said, “just call me if you have any questions at all about your packages.” What? I know! Crazy.

A hike behind our house one day.

I practiced my “professional hot tubbing” skills:
Let’s get real here: I don’t ski. Maybe someday I’ll enjoy the idea of putting something unnatural on my feet that make me fly down a mountain (or tumble), but right now, I think I’ll enjoy watching with a Rum Butter drink from the hot tub. Our house had a great hot tub that I got some good use out of.

Happy hour sledding after work. Never too old to play.

‘Happy Hour’ sledding:
Going alongside my “professional” hot tubbing skills is my semi-pro sledding skills. I’m tiny, ya’ll. This makes me go zoom zoom. We spent many “happy hours” sledding with friends. Nothing like pretending your 5 years old for an hour or so.

Anasazi ruins about 2 hrs away from Telluride. We climbed in some.

I love me some adventures.  Between exploring a completely frozen waterfall to elk spotting to Mesa Verde Indian ruins, I had a great dose of exploring every couple days.

Fire Festival in Telluride

The fire monster we met during a free fire festival one weekend. Must watch the video below!

One of the most random things we’ve stumbled upon (which says a lot):

A free fire festival was happening one of the weekends. No words are needed, just watch this … mechanical fire dancing alien video.   

When I returned to Austin, it was a massive shock to my system. Everything felt so spread out, traffic-filled, and fast paced. Just going to the grocery store was exhausting. Or getting from one side of town to the other was frustrating.

The view out one of our windows.

“So do you live here in Austin?” My initial reaction was, “No,” Then I realized what I said. “I mean, yes. I live here, but it’s confusing.”  A Freudian slip? It was the 1st time I didn’t stamp Austin as my own with magnificent pride.

I think a little part of my heart was left in Telluride. I love that town so much. Hopefully I’ll get to experience it one summer, because let’s be honest, this gal could do without 20′ weather. Either that or I need to grow some fat to keep myself warm.

View more pictures of the LifeVentures from Telluride on Instagram. Check out the road trip from Austin to Telluride here.

If you’re interested in renting the home we stayed in or traveling to Telluride, be sure to visit Latitude 38, vacation rentals. They were wonderful to work with and we highly recommend their services! 

Road Trip to Telluride

When you spend the time packing up enough stuff for an entire month in a town, you mine as well make the road trip getting there one to remember. January is traditionally a pretty slow month for us – plus I work on the road frequently anyways, so we decided to take our sweet time getting to Telluride by way of little adventures along the way.

Location: Austin to Telluride, Colorado: 1200 miles or so
Duration: 10 days (ish?)Screen Shot 2015-05-05 at 5.15.34 PM

Austin to Houston

Our lease was up a few days earlier than when we planned to get on the road and the Longhorns were playing a game in Houston. We decided to visit our friends and enjoy the Bowl Game, even though this did set us in the wrong direction for Telluride.

Houston to Amarillo First off, that drive from Houston to Amarillo is long. Very long. We were in Amarillo less than 24 hours, but that was by far, the coldest i’d ever been. With it being 6 degrees (windchill being a lot less) and extremely windy, I couldn’t believe we were still in Texas. No offense, Amarillo: Been there, done that now.

It was pretty cool, however, that as we were heading out of town, we saw the Cadillac car art. I completely forgot Amarillo was home to the famous art. We stopped, walked around freezing our behinds off, and quickly headed back towards Santa Fe.

Santa Fe, New Mexico 
We had visited exactly a year before, but I eased into this visit more. Last year, I went from hotel to hotel, trying to meet General Managers for business development. That’s scary business. I let this trip be more relaxation and it was great.  New Year’s Eve was once again spent in a 400 year old building. It was fun to talk about how much had actually changed in that span of 365 days, and we could attribute so much of our growth from the way we were living: being more open to opportunity and change. Also, just living life in the moment more than before. (Boy am I still a work in progress on this)  We went to an amazing store – which doesn’t even seem right to call it a store because it was like a museum – filled with old doors from all over the world. It spanned about 2 blocks thick! This might not have been impressive to all, but coming from a dad who was a craftsman builder, seeing the details of this work was fascinating to me.
Pagosa Springs, Colorado 
One of the best hot springs I’ve been to, and strangely enough I’ve been to about 5 pretty impressive ones in the past year. I love them all, but this one is by far the nicest facility. The town of Pagosa Springs is quaint and “western” like many small Colorado historic towns, but this one just happens to have a massive hot spring running right alongside the river in town. There are tubs that range in size and temperature, one reaching 112′ – which as it turns out, is about as hot as I take my baths. Note to self: This is why you get woozy after your baths. Gotta turn it down a notch!

 The pools have phenomenal views of the river, town and skies. If you’re ever looking for a romantic long weekend, I highly recommend this place.

Durango, Colorado
Still a small town, but it is bustling in comparison to Pagosa Springs. We stayed at the historic Strater hotel downtown, which was quite the experience. We typically opt for a newer hotel over a historic one, frequently decorated with floral wallpaper and doilies. But we thought, what the heck, let’s try something different. To our entertainment, it was just that and more: in fact, there was a “room diary” left by prior guests and included everything from mundane entries to steamy stories of adultery. This was way better reading than anything we had brought with us and gave us hours of laughter.

Some serious drop offs. The good news is, during the blizzard, we didn’t KNOW they were that big. HA

Leaving Durango, we decided to take the Million Dollar Scenic Highway because last year we made the luckily-non-fatal mistake of driving over the treacherous pass through a blizzard. No joke. A blizzard on the side of cliffs is not particularly recommended. But because there was a blizzard, we didn’t catch the expansive views. Take two.

Looking down on Silverton from Million Dollar Highway

The views certainly did not let us down.

We made a stop in Silverton, a dot-of-a-town in the valley of the Million Dollar Highway, to see what it looked like without a blizzard covering it. We had been in this same exact spot a year before (in the picture above) and we didn’t know there was a town of that size because of the blizzard. It was a mining town and is still linked to Durango by the Durango and Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad. It feels like you’re stepping back in time because it’s so far removed from easy access and normal civilization. It’s now home to an extreme ski mountain, where I witnessed a skier ever so nonchalantly do a backflip 10 ft from my car window as we were driving in the parking lot. Well, hello there buddy! 

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The town of Ouray.

Ouray, Colorado
Ouray (pronounced “your a”) is the town on the edge of The Million Dollar Highway and has its own hot springs and historic downtown. The town once had more horse and mules than people, though maybe that’s not surprisingly with about 30 mines at its peak.

Above Ouray during the blizzard.

Above Ouray NOT in a blizzard.

The prior year, we came upon the town after hours of driving in the middle of nowhere, and our GPS said we had arrived. We were confused. We literally couldn’t see the town because the blizzard was that blinding. So, we had quite the laugh when we rolled into town this year and realized how much we had missed.

We took a random turn to follow “ice park” signs, not realizing it was one of the premier ice climbing parks in the world. This is man-made in a beautiful gorge. THIS is why I love unexpectedly taking turns on unknown roads! Who knew we would run into this masterpiece with people climbing. Crazy people that is. We stayed in a very cute hotel – nothing fancy, but a hot springs was a hop skip and a jump outside our door. So, after hours of exploring, we eased into the wooden tubs with natural water heating our bodies and the stars dazzling us above.  Even though Ouray is only about 6 miles from Telluride as the crow flies, it takes about 1 1/2 hr to get there. Unless you have a jeep and it’s the summer when the snow is melted. In that case, you could take the one-way jeep road. Next time perhaps.


I felt like a little kid arriving in Telluride. I just couldn’t stop smiling and saying, “Oh my God. This is our HOME for a month!” Here’s the blog about our month in Telluride. 

View more pictures of the LifeVentures of our road trip on Instagram.  

Where the Skies Really Are Bigger: West Texas

West Texas actually surprised me. Other than Marfa, Big Bend National Park and the Observatory, I had no desire to visit the nothingness of West Texas, which for you non Texans is about the size Colorado. I’m all about exploring, but it’s almost faster to get on a plane and visit Rio than it is to get to Big Bend. However, a unique opportunity to work remotely and spend time with The Man came into the picture. My company Pigtail Media specializes in experiential, social media marketing for the travel and hotel industry, so traveling can actually be very productive. People see photos and must think I never work, and as lovely as that sounds, it’s not even close to the truth. In fact, I could use some help with my addiction to work.

No filter.

No filter.

But, plugged in as I am, weeks like this remind me I’m tremendously grateful to be able to take my work anywhere.

Friends married with an incredible backdrop.

Friends married with an incredible backdrop.

The Man was launching The Beer in West Texas and had a beer conference in Colorado. He spent a week traveling From Texas to Colorado while I stayed in Austin for a required meeting. I then flew to meet him in Tuscon for a wedding at a Dude Ranch.

The past month ½ had been filled with intense work. Like the kind that you just have to remember to put one foot in front of the other and have faith you are actually moving. So taking 2 days to chill on a Dude Ranch was much needed to have a quick reset. Cool factor: It was actually the ranch where Nickelodeon’s Dude Ranch was filmed. I LOVED that show: probably because it was basically a show where they managed a hotel. Funny how things align years later. Double cool factor: We spotted a super rare Gila Monster. SO COOL!

Alpine, Texas. 3 days

Sunday we made the long drive to Alpine from Tuscon. I had no knowledge of the town prior. As in I didn’t even Google where it was. On the way, we had to drive through El Paso (which I have been to), but the highway required us to follow along the Rio Grande for about :45 min due to construction. Stop and go traffic on an 8 hr drive is … awesome. Annoying, but it gave us a unique opportunity to really take in Mexico on the other side of the massive fence. We were complaining about traffic, while shanty homes littered the hillside a mere 300 yards away. Slap of a reality? Yeah, I think so.

Alpine, Texas

Alpine, Texas

Once we finally arrived in the dot-of-a-town, Alpine, we were greeted with a blast from history: It felt like we were in an old western movie. The historic hotel is known to be haunted. Here’s a little fun fact about me: I’ve always been completely interested in ghosts and mysteries, but I’m terrified I will someday see one and I will never be able to sleep again. The Man didn’t know the second piece. And so, as I try to go to sleep, he starts in with, “What’s that shadow? Did you hear that noise? It must be the ghosts! Ooooo. Boooo. Spooky!” Let’s just say that between the train outside our window going by 4 times a night and the fear I would crack open one eye to find wrinkled-up-cowboy-ghost beside my bed, I didn’t sleep much that week.

Besides the “hauntings,” the place was actually quite great. I set up “Pigtail Media headquarters” for the week in the room. The Internet was pretty spotty at times -meaning one wireless supplier manages most of the town, and well, they went down. So essentially the majority of the town had no internet for a day.). I held one conference call in the freezing cold one morning because that was the one place I could get a signal. Ish. Ok, it was like 45 degrees, but I only had one light sweater – It’s Texas! I had no idea it would be cold.) Another video conference call had me worried a ghost was going to walk in the frame. I’m sure those on the other end loved my frequent checks behind me.

The stories from the locals were somethin’ else. Truly amazing in all honesty. Tales of real struggle. But also of finding peace, finding themselves, and just being. Staying a few days let me settle into the feel. I took the time to chat with everyone I could to learn about them.

But this was definitely a small town, and I was happy as a pea to move along to the next town and adventure after a few days. One local put it well, “Marfa is way smaller. See, they only have 1 grocery store and 1 dollar store. Alpine has two of EACH. Much bigger!

Before heading out, we visited the University of Texas McDonald Observatory. I saw one of the most amazing shooting stars of my life. The skies in Texas really are bigger, and I think they might be bigger in West Texas. So here we were, 5 hours or so from a city life in one of the least populated places in the US, and I run into a person I previously worked with on a week-long project in Toronto 6 years ago. The world is a crazy-small place.

Marfa, Texas – 1 day

Marfa is a town of 2,000 and it’s in the middle of nowhere. I mean nowhere. Yet, like a local told me, you could be in the middle of New York and ask anyone in the art scene if they new Marfa and chances would be high they’d know. This place is now a haven for art. Probably the most famous “landmark” is the Prada stand-alone “store,” which is an art exhibit, though it’s technically not even in Marfa.

I’m not sure I “got” Marfa – In the way most people “get it.” It was amazing to me, but it was more about the locals and the awe-inspiring landscape, which is not the story I had heard. However, I think when events come through, maybe it’s a different story.

El Cosmico

El Cosmico

I finally got to see what El Cosmico was all about! The “glamping” – Glamour Camping – hotel, from the extremely creative Liz Lambert. She is also owner of San Jose in Austin among along other boutiques. I desperately wanted to stay in the one of their teepees – my mother spent some time in a teepee before I was born, and I felt like I should experience something like that … but in the comfort of a hotel-like situation. Unfortunately all teepees, tents, trailers and yurt were booked. This was the middle of the week. Crazy. I was able to get a personalized tour, which was really special to me.

We stayed at Thunderbird Hotel, which also has Liz Lambert’s design spin on it. While she no longer owns it, it still has her unique touch. Adored it! I met with the GM who happened to be born and raised in Marfa. The stories she shared of the changing town, and her intense love for the tiny community warmed my heart. She knew how to enjoy the little moments and good people life gives us. I wanted to take her back to Austin.

You wouldn’t expect a dot on the map to hold a high dollar restaurant, but never fear, you can easily spend $100 + on dinner here. I must say, it was delicious and the surrounding was perfect.


If you’re never heard of the Marfa lights (unexplained lights 1st spotted in the late 1800’s that are still deemed a mystery by researchers), it’s worth a read. Long story short, we didn’t see them, but enough cowboys and Rough Rider-likes shared very difference stories with us. Enough to convince me something is not normal out there.

Lajitas – 2 days

Lajitas Resort is, once again, in the middle of nowhere. See this pattern? Texas is big, ya’ll. We passed zero towns for an hour getting here from Presidio, Tx. Zero homes. Zero cows. Not a bar of service. Zilch. Nada. The road followed the Rio Grande for magnificent views in every direction.

Mexico boarder

Mexico border in the distance.


The resort is on the banks of the Rio Grande and has all the modern conveniences. No potential ghosts or unexplained Marfa lights here, but wow does it have views.

The best office view I've ever had.

The best office view I’ve ever had.

Officially, this was one of the best views I’ve had from “my office.” I sat on the verandah with Mexico in the background and video conferenced with my Reset Retreat partners, one in Portland and one in Croatia. Technology blows my mind sometimes.


Rio Grande

There were not a lot of options for food, but luckily one included eating in a ghost town up the road about :15 min in a new direction. Terlingua was a Ghost Town, but now holds the Star light Theatre (also a restaurant), a coffee shop and a few scattered residences and businesses. Ruins surround the rest of the area. It’s a special little place. And if you’re out there someday, order yourself a Guns and Oil beer under the stars. I hear they have ‘em out there.


Terlingua cemetery


Big Bend – 1 long day


We hiked about 9 miles and drove about 175 miles … in a day. My kind of Saturday adventure. There is so much to share, so I’ll leave it to a few pictures.

Incredible Mother Nature.

Incredible Mother Nature.

We hiked inside a Rio Grande canyon.

Rio Grande Canyon

Handstand in the canyon of the Rio Grande.

We took a long hike up to one of the most beautiful 360 degree views I’ve ever seen. And I’m from Washington State: I’ve seen my fair share of them. This was breathtaking and we only passed a few people the entire time.

Magnificent views.

Magnificent views.

We ended up at the Hot Springs hanging half way into the Rio Grande just as the sun was setting. It could not have been more perfect timing. 7 other people from Austin were also there – one a survivalist, which made for unique conversations. The Beer made a celebratory cameo as we cheered the West Texas launch. Everything was quiet. Unbelievingly quiet. Except for the storm water rolling by in the Rio Grande a foot away. And then a million stars came out.

Hot springs along the Rio Grande River

Hot springs along the Rio Grande River

A two-hour drive back that night, ended us in Marathon at the historic Gage Hotel where I could have spent another few days. To be back by Monday morning workweek, it was on the road again to Austin for a month in the South Congress area!

If you ever get a chance to visit Big Bend and West Texas, be prepared for skies bigger than you can imagine and a chance to enjoy nature and really appreciate the individual sitting right next to you.


South 1st Street: Home # 17

16 Austin homes later, we still hadn’t stayed in the Boudlin Creek area (South Congress/South First, etc.), minus our very first home experience when we started our LifeVenture. We were only there 5 days, so while it was certainly an experience – boy was it an experience – we didn’t get settled into the neighborhood at all.

After so many homes, you’d think we’d been to every ‘hood in the city, but nope. One of the best areas had only been an appetizer.

Duration: 1 month
Location: South 1st Street (across from Sway and the food trailers – about 4 blocks from the heart of South Congress district)


We decided to continue another month living with our friends who had just moved to Austin. Because of this, we got a larger home than normal, which was a nice change. Bigger being relative, but still. It had multiple rooms. I know, living the spacious life.

This month was the most fast paced month in my entire year. (I would use the word busy, but I treat busy as a dirty word because I used to say it in place of thoughtful comments. “How are you doing? Ohhh I’m sooo busy.” Blah blah big deal. We’ll all busy.) But, in all honesty. I was busy as hell.

My company, Pigtail Media, was involved in a boutique hotel conference in Vegas one week and then I went to Belize for a mega intense work research trip the following week for Reset Retreat. There was little breathing room for relaxation or anything other than putting my head down and focusing on making the most of incredible opportunities before, during and after. It was also the most inspiring and productive week of my year if not the past 4 years. It did make it more difficult to enjoy the home, though. But that’s ok.


Here are some highlights:

Patios, patios and more patios. 3 separate areas in all. The weather was starting to change, so we were able to make use of awesome patio space. Lots of great dinners outside with great people! Thanks “Jaden” for your amazing cooking and keeping us healthy. I also really enjoyed sitting on the patio in the morning and getting started with work early – then seeing the world wake up and get started around me. I don’t know why, but I absolutely loved this.


One massive bathtub. This wasn’t in our room – why you put a gigantuous claw foot tub in the guest bedroom confuses this bath-loving girl. I do mean gigantuous. The top of the tub line went up to my neck. Now, I’m small, but that’s a big tub.

I had a few days with the house to myself after the crazy travel schedule to light some candles, grab a good book, and eh, almost flood the bathroom. Twice. It turns out this massive tub was also the fastest filling tub in history. Crisis averted in the nick of time. Bath fully enjoyed.


Really cool doors, when they were there: So, this house had some strange quirks…like a strange roundabout hallway instead of a door to the master suite. The doors that were there were ridiculously cool. (Another worthy quirky mention: the two half sized fridges instead of one big one, even though it was a full sized kitchen. Didn’t get that one.)


Food trailers and restaurants across the street: And lots of them. Sway (my favorite Austin restaurant), Elizabeth Street Café, a new coffee shot called 7th Flag, and food trailers galore were all just across the street from us. We were dangerously close to Gordoughs, which I managed to actually not visit. My stomach is still thanking me – the menu item I love is fried chicken on a donut with honey butter glaze. I don’t even like donuts.


All in all, this was a really great home experience and I was a little sad to leave the home. It was onward to another pretty interesting transition with many moving parts: I stayed at my mom’s again for a week while she was out of town to take care of kitty and to not deal with ACL price spikes in vacation rentals. Crazy insane. Cary was traveling for work, which normally I can work remotely doing alongside him, but I had to be in town for a monthly meeting. I met up with Cary in Tucson for a wedding and an amazing trek across the Southwest.

That’s a blog I’m very much looking forward to sharing!


Temporary Stint: Home # 16

I made a big oops. I thought we had to be out of our Barton Springs house on Thursday to move into our 3-day temporary home back downtown on 6th street – we couldn’t get into our new rental quite yet. We all packed up everything (remember we had roomies at this point, so it was quite a lot of stuff in 2 cars), and in the process of driving to the new rental, I realized I was off by one day. We weren’t moving out until Friday. Pretty much everything had to be unpacked and repacked in 24 hours again. Yeah, big oops. That sucked.

Location: East 6th street. The same condo building, but not the same unit as this.

Duration: 3 days

A short walk from the home.

A short walk from the home.

Top Trip Rental was nice enough to let us stay in one of their new rentals downtown during this 3-day window, so back to East 6th and Brazos we went. The property hadn’t been stayed in yet, so it was fun to be the first to test it out.

Chereen, the founder of Top Trip Rental left such a thoughtful welcome gift for me. It was a pic of me and my good friend when we attended an event they put on at the mansion property we stayed in. Personal touches go a long way for me.

Near the house.

Near the house.

There’s not a lot to say here, simply because we were only there for 3 days and we had just lived in this area. I really loved the interior upgrades, though! One really fun night was taking our New Zealand friends to the Capital at night. Did you know it’s open at night to walk INTO? I like exploring places we’d been to a million times at an unconventional times of the day.

We didn’t even really unpack at this casa, so the next move 3 days later was no biggie at all. We were headed to an area of town we hadn’t yet stayed in: South 1st street.

More on house # 17 soon!

1 Year Anniversary: Barton Springs – Our Home # 15

Over a year ago, Cary and I decided to live on vacation rentals for 3 months (see why). A fun and adventurous idea turned into a way of living that was monumentally changing the way I saw life and how we lived each day: What was important to us. What was not important to us. When 3 months came and went, it became harder and harder to imagine going back to that life before because of the endless opportunities we were creating.

Austin Barton Springs House

Here’s our experience at home # 15.

Barton Hills (2 blocks from Barton Springs)
1 month

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It started off terribly. After a very long travel day from our Croatia/Germany trip, we ended up at our new house as it neared midnight, only to find the lock box not working to let us in. I hadn’t been that tired in a really long time. Exhausted to the bone, and it was going to be an early morning back at work. We ended up booking a hotel room that night. It was either that or sleeping in our car. It was August. That was certainty not going to happen. Actually, let’s be honest, it wasn’t going to happen anyways. The management company reimbursed us for the trouble and all was well  by about 10 in the morning. There could be worse things than waking up in a hotel room.

Top Trip Rental


Roomies! We had roommates for the first time in 4 years. They were friends from New Zealand who had just moved to Austin. They were also on the boat with us in Croatia, so we already knew we could get along well. It was actually really fun having people around. It didn’t hurt they were amazing cooks. ☺ We were also getting to see Austin through the eyes of newbies, and it reminded me of how special our “little” town is.

Barton Springs Austin

Barton Springs – night swims: If you’ve never done a night swim at Barton Springs before, you’re missing a truly Austin-like experience. Let’s just put this out here: I am a HUGE weeny when it comes to cold water. Actually water in general. I much prefer sitting above the water and not being in it. But, getting in that 68’ degree water after the August heat was nothing short of awakening. It became our every-other-night routine. Cary and I have never really had a routine together, and that time was so special to me. Minus when I learned there actually are snakes in Barton Spring.


Unexpected routines I liked: Normally routines are not something that I love (in case you didn’t get that from my previous posts – ha), but I found another routine I really loved: being kind to my body in the morning. Typically, my mornings consist of rush, rush rush. Partially because I can’t make myself get up earlier enough to not be rushed. Because we were going to bed so early during this time, I was not very tired when I woke up super early. I did yoga on the patio, ate a healthy breakfast and watched people going to work in traffic from afar, and then brought out my computer and was still ahead by 9 am. As I write this, I realize it’s a routine I should try again. 

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Another treehouse: We tend to keep finding houses that feel like treehouses. I absolutely love it. This one was nestled by a big fat tree that provided glorious shade on the porch.

The house, overall, was not my most favorite, but perfect for the time: It was a bit older than than most others and a few things went wrong while we were there, but the location and the “treehouse balcony” totally made it a great place for a month! The rental company really stepped up to make it a great experience as well. It was not by accident that we ended up so close to the coolest spring in Austin during the hottest time of the year. It made August bearable!

barton springs

When people ask why we are doing this, one word now comes to mind: Opportunity. For this summer, it was the opportunity to get the hell out of Austin’s 100 degree weather as much as possible. I made it 21 days being gone. I’ll take it! I always hear people say, “I would be totally fine skipping Austin in the summer.” Having the opportunity to actually do that – or some of that – is really special to me.

To find more information about this home, visit this link with Top Trip Rental.  You couldn’t get much closer to Austin City Limits Festival. 


Home Sweet Whole Foods: Home # 14

I’ve found our favorite location: As you may have read before, Clarksville is my absolute favorite part of Austin. This condo was on the edge of Clarksville (2 blocks away from home # 9), but closer to more restaurants, bars, the park and Whole Foods. I didn’t even have to ask neighbors when I needed butter, I just walked 2 blocks. Okay, I’ve never actually asked neighbors for butter, but…being that close to Whole Foods’ Flagship (and Snap Kitchen) during this timeframe when I didn’t have a lot of extra time, was fantastic!

What I think all neighborhoods should look like.

Outside our home. What I think all neighborhoods should look like.

Location: West 6th street (on the edge of Clarksville and between Z Tejas and Whole Foods.)
Duration: 3 weeks

Last night was our last night – and for the first time, I’m kind of wishing I was coming back. Gasp! I’ve had similar feelings weasel their way into my consciousness at other homes, but probably not as strongly. Three weeks simply wasn’t enough.

It’s no secret that I love tree houses. I mean I really like them. It’s not like this feeling when a kid is deprived of some childhood experience and she always wants it even as an adult. My dad built me awesome tree houses… and I’m still trying to find ways to live in places that feel like tree houses. Actually, I’m determined to stay in a tree house at least one night during this LifeVenture. This home had that feeling: lots of different levels of the apartment. Our upstairs felt like we were in the trees.


There were many levels to the condo complex, making it feel like a treehouse to me.

We absolutely loved the light in the upstairs bedroom, and the 2 balconies. It was a little too hot to really enjoy them much, but one rainy morning, I had a work date with my girlfriend Katherine of Austin-Tatious – it was nice to get some outside time during work.  The kitchen was great and had everything I could need. This is only the 2nd time that we’ve had a kitchen so completely decked out since we moved. I SO NEEDED THAT REAL kitchen! Surprisingly, this house was extremely quiet for where it was located. I give it 5 stars.


Everything was brand- spankin’ new.

There was a one day gap between us leaving this home and us boarding a plane for a vacation, so we are staying in a hotel for one night.  This is the part I hate about our lifestyle right now: having to think super hard about what you need, where you need it, how long you need it for, and where the other stuff is that you don’t need right then. There’s a lot of “WHERE IS THAT SHIRT THAT I NEED WITH THIS OUTFIT!” Thanks for your patience, Cary.

Trips are especially confusing because we plan to end our leases on the day we travel: we pack up, stop by the office and leave our extra stuff there (sorry office!) and hit the airport. It’s a lot of moving parts. Not that I’m actually complaining, because this 1-2 days of peaked frustration will totally be wiped away when I land in Croatia for a vacation!

To be true to living life differently and continuing on my research and diligence of boutique hotels, we are checking out the new LoneStar Court hotel in the Domain in Austin.


LoneStar Court Hotel – incredibly well done.

I’m sitting at the pool, typing away. I may have pushed myself to “bad Cierra stress” mode the past couple of days, and especially today, but this is a pretty darn cool way to remember to enjoy the moment.

Bon voyage!


Heart of the Life Music Capital of the World: Home # 13

When I first moved to Austin after living in Washington state, I was 13 years old and would ask my mom every once in a while to drive down historic 6th street at night just so that I could feel the pulse of the city. Coming from a small farming community, it was somehow comforting to know that there was always excitement happening nearby. To this day, I still drive down East 6th street to get the dose of comfort: Knowing that as life’s routine happens, I’m still only a quick drive away from people living life in the moment. It’s a good reminder for me to appreciate where I am.

Naturally, when a vacation rental became available on East 6th street, one of the few residential buildings on this strip, we had to take advantage of the unique opportunity. Let’s be honest, East 6th street wasn’t a place we were ever going to want to permanently live. Why not make a fun experience out of the place that gives this city its pulse?

So, welcome to LiveVenture home # 13:

Location: Littlefield Building on Brazos and East 6th street – across from the historic Driskel Hotel.
Length: 3 weeks

Littlefield home 2

The upstairs 2nd bedroom looking out of historic 6th street.

I knew we were living in the heart of downtown when… I was at a new friend’s house and wasn’t sure how to get back to the freeway, so instead of driving around aimlessly, I put ‘Austin’ into the GPS so it would take me towards downtown. Once I found the freeway, I would just turn the GPS off. By the time I hit the downtown area, I had my music turned up and my convertible top down; I didn’t actually hear the GPS until I was 1/2 block away from our house. The GPS lady says, “you have arrived in Austin.” My home was literally where the GPS considered Austin. 

It’s been interesting to see the pattern of the city: what the daytime workforce looks like, what the afternoon happy hour group looks like, what the young party crowd looks like, and the after 2 am group who just wants to party a little more…(those complimentary ear plugs from the management company were a blessing. ) I realize 4 things while living here:

  1. Our city really does party seven days a week, and live music is really played almost all day on each of those days.
  2. There is quite the homeless community. And I do mean community… There are clear “cool places to be” and “popular” people.
  3. Between 2 & 3 AM really truly are dangerous times to be on the road. It was terrifying watching how many drunk people walked out of the bars at 2 AM and most likely hopped in a car.
  4. Austin really is still way cool. In a 21 day span, with no planning of calendar of events, we ended up downtown in the heart of two massive events: the X games and the Rot Rally.


X Games invading downtown.

X Games invading downtown: Check out the guy in the air.

X Games invades…unexpectedly: We took a night stroll to the Capital to find the X Games set up with only the event organizers and the skate pros practicing for the kick-off of the festival the next day. We had no idea there was this even happening downtown less than 24 hrs away. It was the calm before the storm and we got to see their intimate practice. It was pretty awesome to actually see the event packed with people the next day.

Top Trip Rental, who manages the condo we were staying in, extended an offer for us to stay in another property for one night for a fun experience. This was just a wee bit different: 4,000 sq feet, 2 car parking garage, and an indoor pool for starters – literally on East 6th street and hidden among the bars. One would never expect it there. We were able to bring a few friends and toast to unique experiences, complimentary of my new favorite rental company (hats off to them!). I also went back for a party and met mermaid friends in the pool a week later. Check out the blog about that here. 

A night out on the town: college-style. Who says 30 is a drag? Ok, a lot of people, but I’m determined to still have fun. While I like to have fun, I would not put me in the “partier” category. But you put me living on 6th street and with a friend (new to Austin) who hasn’t experienced it much, it’s a recipe that had to be mixed up. We started with the Rot Rally and closed down Maggie Mae’s with a dance party on the roof. I haven’t done that since college, and most certainty wouldn’t be able to do it often, but it was one night to remember. And one that I wouldn’t have done if I didn’t live a couple blocks away.


View from the patio of the storm.

Sometimes all you need is a bottle of wine.
People watching is amusing. People watching on your balcony with a bottle of wine on 6th street with your favorite person in the world? Well, that’s down right delightful.

An incredible thunderstorm rolled in one night. Sure, Austin has big storms all the time. I am known to become wide eyed and stick my head to the window, being mesmerized by the lightening. With historic 6th street in the forefront of one of the larger storms I’ve seen in months, my storm watching was taken to the next level. Amazeballs!


Right: Stephen F. Austin Hotel with the best view in town.

Being a tourist in our own city. There were too many great bars to name all, but a stand-out night was enjoying one of the best views in Austin: The Stephen F Austin Intercontinental outside patio. It also just happens to be where I had my first internship in high school. Easily walking to the Capital and the Congress Bridge to watch the bats was also great fun. I had so many places I had planned to visit, but time simply ran out. Another LifeVenture stay down there might be in our future. Perhaps not during the Rot Rally, though. 🙂

Going from our Creek Cottage (home # 12)a complete serene home, to East 6th Street was a big change. But as dramatic as the change was, we eased into it quickly and started enjoying the new home right away.

This location and home truly exemplified the reason we are living this LiveVenture: to live life differently and to notice and appreciate our surroundings.

Until the next adventure,