We All Survived April, Y’all!

It’s been almost a year but today felt like a good day to start blogging again, so hello! Hi!

We did it! We survived! They said it couldn’t be done, what with two eclipses and the blood moon and all that but here we are! I’m not even going to try to do a recap of the last year because no one cares but the last month was pretty eventful so I’ll at least go over the highlights:

1) Alex and I traveled to West Texas for the Viva Big Bend Food Festival. It was amazing and highly recommended for a long weekend getaway. The Big Bend area is amazingly beautiful, the people are friendly, and there is so much to do. My only qualm is that it’s so far away (~6.5 to 7 hours from Austin depending on traffic) because Texas is so dang big.

We did a few official food festival events as well as some off the map stuff. We stayed in Alpine, Texas which is a weird little college town (emphasis on little) with a lot of character. Our trip included a cocktail tour put on by Tito’s Handmade Vodka (where a party bus took us to three locations with a different cocktail at each stop), the obligatory visit to Prada Marfa, a tour of a diary goat farm (the highlight of the trip for me to be honest), hiking at Big Bend National Park and a “star party” at the University of Texas’ McDonald Observatory.

Definitely not drunk

Alex on the Tito’s bus

Figuring out what to do next in Marfa

Dress: Target, Hat: Amazon, Sunglasses: Francesca’s, Bag: TJ Maxx

Alpacas at Marfa Maid Dairy

Alpacas at Marfa Maid Dairy

Me and me bff Cuatro at Marfa Maid Dairy

omg bb goat!

More like Prada Valentine

Prada Marfa

Santa Elena Canyon at Big Bend

Santa Elena Canyon

2) Alex and I got engaged! To circumvent any awkward interactions spurred by “how did he ask?” and “let’s see the ring!!”-type inquiries: I asked him, he said yes! There’s no ring because I feel like it’s kind of weird to buy yourself an engagement ring if you’re the one doing the asking? I did buy him a ring but it was more symbolic because he’s not really a jewelry person. Anyway, we’re still in the preliminary stages of wedding planning but I expect that’s going to be a topic of conversation around here more and more so stay tuned.

D'aww.

A couple of cuties.

3) We went to a wedding and I met an alpaca there! Also our great friends, Eddie and Erica made it official in a beautiful, Gatsby-themed celebration and we had a wonderful time staying at the Hyatt Lost Pines resort through the weekend. I wish they would get married every weekend!

Tail-end of BooBoo off to the right, there.

Dress: Luxe Apothetique, Headband: Francesca’s, Sunglasses: Francesca’s, Shoes: Target

4) Cooper is still the cutest. You can keep up with him searching for the Instagram hashtag #coopertheworst.

Boop.

Obligatory “I’m Not Dead” Check In

I know it’s been, like, a million years since I’ve updated so I don’t even know why I try but hello again.

So much has happened since the last time I posted that I don’t even know where to start. SO MUCH. Cooper and I have moved in with Alex downtown, Alex and I went to Colorado for our annual ski trip, SXSW 2013 happened, I applied and got accepted to a 10-week immersive web developer training program here in Austin, the President (yes, as in the POTUS) came to visit my office last month and last week we went camping at Garner State Park:

old baldy cacti view from painted rock rio frio

These days I am spending my free time reading World War Z by Max Brooks and studying up for MakerSquare, which starts next week. You can follow my progress at my new “professional” (lol) blog/portfolio site bridraffen.com.

All Hail West Texas, Pt. 2 (More Pictures)

When I left off the last post, we had just started (full) Day 2 at Big Bend. We ate breakfast and packed up the camp since it was to be our last night there and hit the Ross Maxwell Scenic Drive through the park. We stopped along the way and hiked the Mule Ears Point Trail, which I found more forgiving than the Window trail, despite the lack of shade. We hiked all the way down to Mule Ears Spring, which was all dried up, despite all the rain we got the previous night and back to the car, about 3 miles round-trip. From the trailhead, it was back on the road with stops at Tuff Canyon for some pretty scenic views.

See the “mule ears” in the distance?
Tuff Canyon
Cerro Castellan as seen from Tuff Canyon

All Hail West Texas, Pt. 1 (Picture Heavy)

I just got back from the most amazing Memorial Day Weekend, I hope all you Americans enjoyed yours, as well. And the non-Americans, I hope you enjoyed your non-Memorial Day weekend, too!

My boyfriend has been trying to get me out to Big Bend National Park in West Texas basically since we started dating a few years ago. I was a Girl Scout for ten years but with my mom being the leader, we were more Troop Beverly Hills than Red Feathers* types. I am also blessed with biology that causes me to be swarmed by mosquitos and other insects that want my blood within mere minutes of being outside, making me not a prime camping candidate. When we first got together, I wasn’t as Outdoor Afro** as I am now so he had to ease me into the idea with short hikes and picnics around Austin to longer day trips and camping overnights at state parks in our area. After a successful 3 day/2 night stay at Rocky Mountain National Park last summer during which I wasn’t eaten by any bears or cougars, I finally relented to the Big Bend trip last fall.

We left out late on Friday night so we didn’t arrive at Big Bend until after 1 a.m. As soon as we got there, we staked out an unoccupied campsite at the Chisos Basin campground and Alex quickly set up the tent while I took care of the reservation fees. The night sky was so clear you could see the Milky Way so I begged Alex to take the rain cover off the tent so we could sleep under the stars. The drive in was especially dark and creepy (no lights along the roads) but the campsite was quiet and peaceful, so I really had no idea what to expect when I woke up in the morning.

Continue reading

Ahem.

I think that’s enough radio silence for now.

Hi, remember me? I think I might actually be ready to start writing again. I’m still working a ridiculous amount between jobs uno y dos but why not pile on more to my sense of responsibility and obligation, right?

In the meantime, I’m going to update the lazy man’s way: things I bought fairly recently, c/o Instagram.

Jason Wu for Target dress, 50% off! I still haven’t had the occasion to wear it yet, though.
Banana Puddin’ cupcake from Sugar Mama’s Bakeshop. Only on the menu on Wednesdays, highly recommended.
Labradorite crystal necklace from Mana Culture. It came with a helpful card of the “properties” of the crystal. I may not buy into all that, but I liked the way it sparkled and I’ll take whatever good juju I can get.
Gold Chrome Slider iPhone case from Incase. Gold on the outside, pink on the inside, makes a decent mirror in a pinch.
Pigasus bank from Open Sky. Because why not?
OMG, Spring, you guys!