Fall Festivities in Austin

Fall, while not as cold as many other parts of the country, is still one of my favorite times of year in Austin.  The summer heat starts to die down {slowly}, and it starts to become very comfortable to be doing things outside that don't include water.  We've enjoyed a few gorgeous hikes in the Hill Country  {one, I'll be sharing in an upcoming post}, and we've also enjoyed some good food and festivities this season.  Here are a few snaps from the past month or so.

One of the highlights of the season - making incredible baked pumpkin donuts with cinnamon sugar - thanks to my sweet friend Amanda and her recipe {find it here on her amazing blog}!

And our table, ready for Thanksgiving, which was delicious!  We got to spend the day, cooking, eating, and relaxing with my parents at home here in Austin.  We are so thankful for our life here, our family and friends, health, jobs, and everything else God has blessed us with.  I hope you had a fantastic fall season wherever you are!

Thanks for reading!


The {New} Magnolia Silos

It's been over a year since Magnolia Market has moved into their new location at the silos in downtown Waco, Texas, and it just felt like time to take a quick day trip up to visit again.  Last weekend, Matt was busy all day, so it was the perfect time for me to go take my time and wander around the grounds.  And wander around I did.  The last time I was up there, it was literally just a store.  I was really very impressed to see how much progress Chip and Johanna have made in just one year - it is literally a complex of different areas to eat, drink, shop, play, and spend your day at.  Beside the main store, they have Magnolia Flour {the bakery}, the soccer field {a large grassy area with balls, games, swings, and even bean bag chairs for adults and kids alike to enjoy}, the Magnolia Seed + Supply Shop {with garden}, and a food truck area with a ton of covered outdoor seating and string lights.  The whole place just screams, "come and stay a while!", which was clearly Chip and Johanna's intention behind The Silos.

Even with all of the new Magnolia additions, my favorite part was still the store.  For such a large building, it really doesn't feel too overwhelming, because they have it divided up well.  I noticed a large amount of new products since visiting last year, and the vignettes and stylings just provide so much home inspiration for me.  I definitely left feeling... well, inspired {I'm trying to think of another word to use here, but this one just keeps coming to mind}! 

Another stand-out was their new bakery - an adorable black and white brick building that welcomes you to the Silos.  Just as cute on the inside, the bakery was simple, rustic, farmhouse - just like the rest of the Magnolia brand.  With a line wrapping around the side of the building, I parked myself in line, expecting to have some time to read on my Kindle, but it moved surprisingly fast.  Although they have other baked goodies, I mainly came for the cupcakes, and they did not disappoint!  I took home three to try {although only two actually made it back home to Austin}: "Lemon Lavender" - lemon and lavender vanilla cake with lemon buttercream icing, "Shiplap" - vanilla cake with vanilla buttercream icing, and "Nuts + Bolts" - vanilla cake filled with pecans and walnuts and cream cheese icing.  All of them heavenly {Nuts + Bolts was my favorite}! 

The best part is that before Chip and Johanna converted the silos, my friend Tessa and I had stopped by on our trip to Waco {read about it here} and predicted that the little building out front - previously an abandoned flower shop - would end up being a bakery.  But it really exceeded my expectations {in design + cupcake goodness}.


London Trip

One of the most incredible parts of my summer {and life in general} was, no doubt, my trip to Europe with one of my very best friends, Amanda.  While living in Okinawa together, Amanda and I had always wanted to take a girls trip somewhere in Asia, however, due to timing and other things always going on, we never ended up making it happen.  I'm totally fine with that, though, because we more than made up for it on this trip!

Amanda and I spent an absolutely amazing couple of weeks travelling throughout London, The Netherlands and Croatia, making some great memories.  I want to share our travels with you of course, but I've decided to break it up  into a few posts to help get the true feeling of each place.  Up first... London!

I had my first Air BnB experience in London, as we stayed with the most sweetest young family south of the city center in the Clapham area.  We rented their upstairs loft, and we had a short walk each morning to the tube station through an adorable neighborhood full of parks, coffee shops, and tall row houses. 

Everything in London that we wanted to see was somewhat spread out, which led to us spending quite a bit of time hopping on and off the underground subway {or "tube" as they refer to it}.  We did end up jumping in one of those famous little British taxi cabs one time, just to say we did.  If you ever spend more than a day in London, I would definitely recommend getting an Oyster Card for the tube - it was an incredibly easy system to use, and it just makes everything so much quicker!

Beside hitting most of the main attractions in London, our main priority was experiencing Afternoon Tea while visiting.  It's kind of our thing:)  Plus, missing out on Afternoon Tea while in London would be like missing out on swimming while in Hawaii - it's a must.  We made reservations in advance to two of our favorites {there were so many choices that it was beyond difficult to decide on just two}: Sketch + The Orangery at Kensington Palace.  While it was such a treat having tea in a gorgeous garden, at a real palace, our stand-out favorite was tea at Sketch.  What a unique place - decorated all in a powdery pink with velvet upholstery, and of course - quirky sketches adorning each of the walls.  We loved it! 

Another highlight for me was climbing to the very top of the dome at Saint Paul's Cathedral - the place where Princess Diana was married to Prince Harry.  It is an incredibly large and gorgeous building, and the Whispering Gallery inside the large dome was really cool to see as well {you can whisper at the wall in the dome, and someone all the way on the other side can hear what you whispered as the sound travels along the wall}.  It may have been 528 steps to the very top {with a lot of sweat dripping, not going to lie}, but the view of London and the Thames River from the top is amazing - especially on a clear day like we had!

The Tower of London and London Bridge were some other favorites, as well as visiting Notting Hill and the famous Portobello Market.  What an adorable neighborhood - I could have browsed the market and the streets, just staring at the colorful row houses for hours and hours!

The nightlife, the gardens, the detailed and historic architecture, the curved streets, the plethora of adorable pubs... and the generous amount of sunshine we were able to enjoy... all pleasantly surprised us!  I don't know if I'd take another trip to London unless it were for a specific reason - I enjoyed this city very much, but I got a good feel for it in the 4 days we were there.  Plus - there's just so much more of Europe to explore!! 

Thanks for following along on my journeys!