Music Monday – Spring

It’s spring and nothing puts me in a better mood than driving with an open sunroof listening to good music. I’ve put together a playlist for just this activity and wanted to share it with you. It’s about a random as you’d expect given my love for almost any music with a good beat. Some new, some old – Enjoy!

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Less Traveled

I’m an over thinker to a fault.

It leads to worry and questions of what if.

It’s something I’m trying to be better at.

Because of this, I am always multi-tasking. Always keeping my mind busy so it’s less likely to over-think and lead me down a path of questions and what ifs for which I have no answers. I never allow myself to just be – be in the present and absorbing where I am without distractions.

This weekend changed all of this.

Within 10 minutes of our house is possibly one of the best kept secrets in Austin. A lovely hiking trail and park along a creek. As I was mindlessly following the trails this weekend I chose a path that appeared “less traveled” and in a direction I had never been before. It was scattered with rocks and had roots twisting up through the dirt creating trip hazards. Bordered on each side with thick cacti. I pressed on not knowing what to expect next.

It’s funny that I chose this path. Normally, I’d choose the clear path. The one that had no obstructions and looked totally reliable. Soon the path become a narrow passage through a dry forest of vines and branches, which eventually led to a steep downhill section and followed by a fork in the trail.

To the right, I heard cars speeding by – that would take me back along the road.

To the left, I heard nothing and I knew a creek was close by – I’ll choose that way.

The path continued and soon began to have little offshoots leading into the water. Eventually I ended up here:

I cannot even begin to describe the peace, solitude and contentment that I experienced as soon as I saw this opening. Small calming waterfalls, large dry rocks in the middle of the water to sit and relax on and no one around. The water is shallow enough to take your shoes off and get your feet wet as you wade through to the dry rock or deep enough to get a little swimming action in (as evidenced by the rope swing). The only noise was of the water flowing over the rocks – near complete silence that forced me to just be.

This place quieted my soul and mind in a way I have never experienced before. I was present and free of distraction with nary an over thought in my mind. It was pure bliss and much needed.

I’ve gone back 2 more times since I found this and each time I find myself craving the silence and peace more and more. I never want to leave – but eventually I look down, notice that time has gotten away from me and I head back to reality – refreshed and revitalized.

That trail “less traveled?” Truly made all the difference.

Mölkky

Several years ago, I visited Finland with my mother and sister. We had a wonderful time staying with a past exchange student’s mother in the quaint countryside, eating traditional home-cooked meals, braving windy days, and strolling cobblestone streets.

In our downtime, we were introduced to a traditional Finnish game called Mölkky (or, as I like to call it, The Finnish Log Game). The game is simple to play and we quickly became addicted to playing it every night of our stay. Towards the end of our trip, I made it my mission to purchase a version of it to bring back to the states. This game has followed me to every picnic, team outing, beach vacation, retreat, and BBQ I have attended in the last 3 years. It brings out the competitive streak in my most mild-mannered of friends and sometimes leaves us scratching our heads as to how a stick of wood can bounce around a pin mere centimeters away.

This weekend I took my Finnish Log Game to a women’s retreat with the church Adam and I have been attending in Austin, and once again I found lots of people enjoying the game and wanting to play many times over. It reminded me to bring it out hibernation when I’m at home, because I love playing it so much.

As with many games, I’m sure the rules I learned to play by are quite different that the original rules, but who cares when you’re having fun?

And yes, I’m aware that video was filmed in France – not Finland – but it was the most fun representation I could find 🙂

Mayfield = Heaven

This past weekend, Adam and I stumbled upon the Mayfield Park and Preserve in Austin. It’s quite possible it’s Austin’s best kept secret..but now I’m letting the cat out of the bag.

This place is incredible. From its perfectly maintained gardens, to its free-roaming peacocks, to its hiking trails along and across streams; it’s officially my new favorite place in Austin.

After the torrential downpour Austin experienced Monday evening and early Tuesday morning, Adam and I decided that later this week would be the perfect time to re-visit Mayfield and hike the trails. Camera in tow.

Wow. I just thought the garden area of the park was gorgeous. But these trails? Some of the prettiest I’ve ever seen. It was a total escape and you truly felt like you weren’t in the middle of a large city.

Texas Bluebonnets were in perfect harmony next to the rugged cacti that could be found throughout the park.

And, if you’re patient enough (or, like us, time it just right) you might just catch the peacock showing their full colors.

I’m certain that we will become regular visitors of this hidden Austin gem.

Shake your tail feathers.

Engagement Pictures

It’s been just over a week since Adam and I met with the fabulous Karen Segrave McCall, owner of KES Weddings, to shoot our engagement pictures. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t a little nervous about how the shoot would go down, because I really wanted the pictures to reflect our personalities without looking posed or fake.

Can I just tell you how lucky we got? Not only was Karen able to capture our personalities flawlessly in the pictures, but she also made sure that we had input on shots every step of the way! It was such fun traipsing about Little Rock with her for two and a half hours to find settings that “fit” with us.

The biggest surprise came to us Sunday morning, less than 24 hours later, when I checked my email and saw that she had already made our proofs available to look through. I immediately opened them up and started swooning. They were full of emotion, laughter, love and joy and we couldn’t be happier!

Karen has been so sweet to allow me to share some of my favorites with you. So, without further ado, I present our engagement pictures.

I can’t recommend Karen highly enough if you are in the market for a wedding photographer. I’m so excited to see what she captures for my bridal portraits and at our wedding!

all images via Karen Segrave McCall|KES Weddings