European Adventure | Day 12

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I've been putting off writing this post since this is my last one for our European trip. It's hard to believe four months have passed since Mom and I returned from Europe. Our last full day in London was a busy one, but we definitely made the most of our time there.

After eating breakfast that morning, we headed out to the Churchill War Rooms, which were truly fascinating. These were the rooms where the British government strategized and coordinated the Allied Forces during World War II. The museum has carefully preserved how things looked back then, so it was interesting to look around and think about all of the history that had taken place there. The War Rooms also included a special museum on Winston Churchill that we both enjoyed visiting.

London Eye

London buses

Houses of Parliament

Riding the London Eye

Our next stop was the London Eye, so we walked across the Thames to get in line. It took well over 30 minutes to board, even though we had tickets for a specific time. Once we made it on board, we went around one time and gained an interesting perspective on the city below. I loved taking pictures from the different angles. After we finished the ride, we decided to share a waffle covered in cream, chocolate sauce, and strawberries for lunch. Yum!

Platform 9 3/4

Wesley's Chapel

Wesley's Chapel

Once we finished lunch, we tried our luck with the Tube. We first went to King's Cross Station so I could see Platform 9 3/4 (Harry Potter pilgrimage complete!) and then rode on to Old Street Station to visit John Wesley's Chapel and the museum attached to it. As Methodists, it was very special for Mom and me to visit the birthplace of Methodism, and it was nice to go somewhere nice and quiet (especially compared to the rest of London).

Unfortunately, I began to feel a little sick at this point (tummy and back, I'm looking at you), which made it difficult to enjoy the last few things we wanted to see. It didn't help that we had trouble finding the British Museum — we think we completely circled it one time — and had to wait in a long line for the restroom once we made it in. Since we were both tired, we found the Rosetta Stone and some Egyptian art and decided to say we had seen the British Museum. Maybe I'll make it back someday.

British Museum

British Museum

Since it was getting later at this point, we headed back toward the hotel and decided to eat dinner at Pizza Hut of all places. It actually ended up tasting pretty good (or maybe I was just tired and ready for American-style food). Afterward, we walked back to the hotel, where we were able to rest.

And with that, our two-week European adventure came to a close. It really was a dream trip, and I'm so glad I was able to spend it with my mom.

Summer Catch-up

Hi, how are you?

With temperatures hovering near 100, it's hard to believe summer is almost officially over. However, the first UT football game is less than two weeks away, which means my family will begin making regular weekend visits to Austin very soon. As usual, my summer has been busy at work, but I've managed to have several fun weekend adventures. Since I haven't been able to write about them yet, I thought I would do a "catch-up" post to cover all of them.

June – Family Fun in San Antonio

Paul, Esther, and Grace (Esther's sister) came to visit me one weekend back in June. Since Grace had never been to San Antonio, we decided to drive down there on Saturday morning. We hit most of the traditional San Antonio destinations — Alamo, eating at Casa Rio on the Riverwalk, and taking a boat tour. After the boat tour, we headed back to Austin and made a slight detour at the San Marcos outlets (Paul never had a chance with three women in the car). Once we made it back to Austin, we dropped by campus and 6th Street and then stopped at Amy's to end the day.


Paul and I at the Alamo


July — Cats, Dogs & the Citywide Garage Sale

Toward the end of July, I visited the Blanton Museum of Art to see In the Company of Cats and Dogs. The exhibit focused on works of art that featured cats and dogs over the ages. I appreciated seeing the different cat paintings and photographs, but the best part may have been the cat videos at the end. After I left the museum, I walked over to the gift shop, and as I was leaving, I saw UT's famous albino squirrel. Legend has it that if you see the albino squirrel before a big test, you're sure to ace it. Let's hope this sighting brings me good luck!

After this momentous sighting, I walked around campus for a little bit before heading over to Barton Springs. Once there, I ate at the new food carts near Chuy's. I was a little disappointed in my fried chicken (it was hard to cut, a little red, and definitely NOT Southern), so I treated myself to a cupcake from Hey Cupcake! Later I went to the Palmer Event Center for the Citywide Garage Sale, where I found a daisy Pyrex dish.

Blanton Museum of Art

Hello Cupcake!

Barton Creek

August – Girls' Weekend in Dallas

For the last few years, Mom and I have met up in August for a girls' weekend (2012 and 2013), and this year we were excited to invite Esther along for the fun during the first weekend of this month. Mom and I met up first at the Grand Prairie outlets and then drove on to Southlake. Esther joined us soon after we checked into the hotel. That evening we ate dinner at Brio, shopped around Southlake, and enjoyed gelato from Piccomolo.

The next day we visited a few thrift/antique stores in Grapevine and then drove out to McKinney. Downtown McKinney was really cute, and we enjoyed looking in the shops around the square. Our first stop in town, though, was Emporium Pies. I had a piece of cherry pie, and it was absolutely delicious. After leaving McKinney, we stopped at the Allen Outlets and then came back to the hotel. That evening we ate dinner at Kobeya, a Japanese restaurant, and picked up cheesecake at The Cheesecake Factory (yes, we did well on sweets during this trip).

On Sunday, we ate breakfast at Corner Bakery, and then Esther decided to head back early. Mom and I drove over to Dallas to visit the big Half-Price Books (it's a tradition). Afterward, we ate lunch at Twisted Root Burger and shopped at North Park before heading our separate ways.

Emporium Pies

McKinney, Texas

Girls' Trip to Dallas

July 2014 Round-up

Water lily

The end of July has come and gone, so it's time for my monthly round-up post. These are some of the highlights of the past month:

  • Spending the July 4th holidays at home in Henderson. As usual, it was fun to celebrate the holiday at the farm, and I also enjoyed going sunflower hunting in Louisiana and attending the Texas Shakespeare Festival.
  • Driving out to the Hill Country Galleria one Friday after work to eat a late lunch at Mandola's and shop.
  • Visiting the In the Company of Cats and Dogs exhibit at the Blanton Museum of Art one Saturday. I also went to the Citywide Garage Sale afterward and found a new Pyrex bowl.
  • Relaxing in the evening after stressful days at work.
  • Treating myself to a manicure and pedicure one Friday afternoon. I felt super pampered.

Books I read: Call the Midwife: Shadows of the Workhouse (Jennifer Worth); Goodnight June (Sarah Jio)

Movies I watched: The Grand Budapest Hotel, Mrs. Dalloway (DVD), Bernie (DVD), Becoming Jane (DVD), Veronica Mars (DVD), You've Got Mail (TV)

TV: Castle reruns, Harry Potter Weekend, random UT bowl games on the Longhorn Network

About My Monthly Round-Ups
At the end of each month, I take a look back and write a post about the month's highlights, as well as what I read and watched. To see all of my round-up posts, visit this page.