Sunday Funday at Fairmont Austin

Sunday Funday at Fairmont Austin

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It’s no secret that I enjoy a good Sunday Funday with friends, add in a pool deck, downtown views and some libations and I’m sold! This past Sunday I visited Rules & Regs, located on the 7th floor of the newest hotel on the scene: Fairmont Austin. This luxury hotel has an epic Sunday Funday experience that will have me back until summers end. Rules and Regs throws a Sunday Funday concept that serves bubbles only!

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Upon arriving to the hotel, I visited concierge where they directed me to a VIP table located inside Rules and Regs on the 7th floor. I was greeted with a bottle of Veuve Clicquot and Monet. The DJ was bumping Drake and other music that had me bumping and grooving the entire time. My friend Michael accompanied me and we were very pleased with the downtown views and gorgeous swimming pool to our left. The service here was impeccable!

We continued our Sunday Funday with a little bit of everything from the menu, which includes: tuna rice paper salad rolls, tuna poke rice salad, roasted fish tacos, the Mexican shrimp cocktail and my favorite, the niman ranch beef hot dog.

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If you’re looking for a new Sunday Funday spot with a more elevated experience, or need a spot to create your own escapades day or night, Rules & Regs is for you.

See you there!

Life After College

Life After College

YOU GUYS, I GRADUATED THREE YEARS AGO TODAY! Time has definitely flown by. Thinking back, I remember feeling like my entire academic career had led up to this very moment, I mean hadn’t it? This is what the world had convinced me that I needed to do in order to be successful: you go to school, you get a degree, you get a job…. Realistically, it sucks the way society tells us what we need to do, or who we need to be in order to succeed, but also, I am really grateful for my accomplishments and perseverance since my time at Texas State! To be honest I didn’t even know if I was going to have a job after graduation. Back in 2015, my apartment lease was ending, I hadn’t found a job anywhere in Texas (didn’t apply outside of the state for many reasons) and I was honestly getting ready to move back to San Antonio with my family. About a few weeks before my lease in San Marcos was over, I got a call from Target that I got the job, I would then be the new Visual Merchandising Team Lead (aka manager)–and I took it! A few months into my position, I knew it wasn’t for me. I started job hunting for social media and marketing  roles, and landed a position at Facebook Austin as a Risk Analyst on a contract. After my two year contract was over with Facebook, I moved to Indeed as a full time employee. WOO! WOO!

And here I am today, a brown boy from San Antonio, Texas, first generation college student, first family member to move away from my hometown–I couldn’t be more proud of myself and my mom for all the sacrifices she’s made for me to get where I am today. Thanks madre!

LIFE HACKS + LESSONS

  • FINDING MY VOICE

    • Post-graduation, I started using my voice, asking more questions and saying “no” unapologetically and when necessary. I was never the person to raise my hand and ask a question or give an answer freely, but finally at the age of 26, I feel more confident doing so!
    • When I first started blogging last May, I was overwhelmed by the amount of emails and notifications I was receiving! 12 months down the road and I feel a lot better about responding and communicating with PR companies, brands, other influencers, my followers, etc. Basically, I’ve learned when you do something over and over and over, you eventually will master it.

 

  • YOUR DEGREE PROBABLY WONT MATCH YOUR PROFESSION

    • Unless you are majoring in a hard science, you probably won’t get a job that exactly aligns with your degree plan.
    • Unless you’re going to grad school your degree isn’t going to dictate your profession. Like with me, I have a bachelor of science in fashion merchandising and I’m working for a corporate tech company as an analyst in the engineering department.

 

  • THE BEST YEARS

    • College really was the best years of my life! I learned to work under pressure, made the best of friends and I developed a fierceeee work ethic.
    • Jumping from class to class really helped me learn how to juggle multiple responsibilities at one time.
    • I regret not taking advantage of the student recreation center (of which came out of my tuition every semester) and taking time to enjoy the San Marcos river more often.
    • Chimy’s! Enough said! 😉
    • Overall, my experience at Texas State was a rollercoaster of a journey and I wouldn’t trade it for a single penny! I absolutely love my degree, my lifelong friends that came out of it, the gorgeous campus and the professors here really go above and beyond to see you succeed–hey Ms. Fluker!

 

  • UP YOURSELF

    • Don’t be shy to show off your strengths, because if you don’t do this for yourself, nobody else will! If you’re good at something, share it with the world!
    • One thing I feel that helps me with meetings and events is my punctuality. I am always the first or one of the firsts, to show up to an event or a family gathering–it shows a lot about your character and helps people take you more seriously.

 

  • VACATIONS DON’T EXIST

    • Summer vacations? What are those! As an adult you have to make time for yourself and take initiative to go explore a new town! So hop on the plane and never turn back (kidding) because off-days really don’t exist post-graduation.

 

April Recap | Where I Dined this Month

April Recap | Where I Dined this Month

Hey guys! I’m excited to announce that every month I will be writing a recap of highlights and moments from my recent foodie adventures. This is a new blogging project for me and I look forward to writing these types of posts at the end of each month! Hope you guys enjoy!

April 4 – Il Brutto

I had the pleasure of experiencing the soft opening of New Waterloo’s newest concept, Il Brutto. The soft opening had drinks, food and free tattoos! The pizza and delicious deserts here will have you coming back for more!

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April 8 – Sway

For one week only, Sway was celebrating Thai New Year with a special menu. The limited-time Songkran menu was a combination of Sway’s yummy dishes with a Texas flare! My friend Edgar joined me and we dined on the patio with cocktails and laughs! My favorite was the alligator!

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April 9 – Rise UT

There’s a new biscuit and donut shop near the University of Texas at Austin and I’m obsessed! I was invited to the soft opening of Rise, a national chain with it’s first Texas location located here on Guadalupe! The biscuits are made from scratch and the donut selection is extensive.

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April 9 – The Funkadelic

For my birthday I enjoyed brunch at the hottest new brunch spot, The Funkadelic! This hip and friendly restaurant has French toast, nachos and some all American breakfast items–there’s literally something for everyone! Over in Sunset Valley, The Funkadelic’s quirky vibe fits right in with the Keep Austin Weird culture! It was such a perfect birthday brunch! Cheers to 26.

 

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April 11 – Andiamo

Andiamo released their new Spring menu and I had the pleasure of tasting it first. I don’t normally rave too much about a restaurant but Andiamo deserves all the attention (and more)! The food is prepared beautifully, with every ingredient carefully chosen and the owners born in Italy you’re bound to take a bite of authentic Italian-cuisine! The pasta ravioli was my favorite!

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April 13 – Squeezeary Austin

Round of applause for my new favorite juice and coffee shop: Squeezary Austin. Take a look at my recent blog for more. BTW, the photos don’t do it justice!

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April 16 – Ranch 616

Ranch 616 was introduced to me by my good girlfriend, Megan, and I’m so happy that she did. I’ve been coming here for years and I was thrilled when owner, William, asked me to come and try their new drink menu! I LOVED THE SANDIA SANGRIA! My friend Olya accompanied me, it was her first time and she’s already been back for more–it’s that good. Located over on West 6th St., Ranch 616 is perfect for birthdays, happy hour or any occasion worth celebrating!

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April 17 – ADP

Austin Daily Press has a new location on Cesar Chavez. This location is focused on tortas and tapas (hence the logo) but the pastries are also worth noting! The croissants (dare I say it) are better than Easy Tiger’s!

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April 22 – Swift’s Attic

The AIDS Services of Austin kicked off their annual #DiningOutForLife at Swift’s Attic! I had the pleasure of enjoying Swift’s Attic impeccable brunch for a cause and got to meet Project Runway designer, Mondo Guerra!

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April 23 – Bento Picnic

Calling all healthy eaters, Bento Picnic finally has a brick and mortar! Friendly staff, healthy bites and a gorgeous dog-friendly patio. Located on the East Side, you’ll want to move to East Austin with all the new restaurants popping up! Order the guacamole!

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April 28 – Saint Bernards x Tiny House Coffee

My friends over at Tiny House Coffee Roasters launched a collaboration with Saint Bernards and it’s so freaking good! I snagged a bag of their limited edition coffee ground and boy is it strong! There was an espresso lesson from Tiny House’s lead barista, free donuts from Round Rock donuts and Ruthie (Saint Bernards mascot) was there too!

 

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April 30 – Brick Oven 

Yesterday, I was at Brick Oven for dinner with my roommate Ivonne. Brick Oven is located on Red River and has been open for over 30 years! From the beginning, Brick Oven has stayed true to their Italian roots and they continue to have some of the best food in town. If you like cheese, need a good excuse to eat carbs and love pies–Brick Oven is for you!

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Thanks so much for reading guys! Follow me on Instagram for real time updates! What was your favorite restaurant on my list? Have you ever been to any? Did you find a new place to try? Let me know in the comments. xx

– @markyatx

(New) Year of Change

(New) Year of Change

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With 2017 coming to an end, I can’t help but be thankful for all of the changes (good and bad) that have helped me grow as a person these past 12 months. I’m also really grateful for all of the opportunities that have come my way since launching ITSMARKYATX. I’ve always had a fond for detail, photography and writing in general — if you recall from my first blog post, creating content has always been a passion of mine, from being Editor of my high school newspaper to being part of the yearbook committee — and I didn’t really know how to channel my creative energy into my daily life as an adult. Working in tech a lot of things are very black and white, thankfully, my blog has helped me paint all the colors that were missing from my life.

For 2018, I have a lot of goals in mind and I figured I could write this blog post to help jot all of my resolutions down! In the case that I get a creative slump (as I often do) I can look back on this post and remind myself all of the great things I had in mind…

Resolutions

  • Try to have more fun with family and friends by taking time to live in the moment
    • I can do this by putting my phone down from time to time, and not feeling the need to put every single second online is a huge goal of mine. Challenge accepted.
  • I really want to get into writing Yelp reviews and eventually becoming a Yelp Elite
    • Yelp can be a tricky application because you not only have to write really good reviews, you have to constantly provide feedback that people want to read and see.
    • Of course, this would add yet another social app to be on top of, so we will see how the year goes…
  • Moderation, Awareness and Consciousness
    • I definitely need to be more aware of what I put inside my body… being a food blogger makes it difficult to “eat well” but by simply being more conscious and aware of what I’m eating will make me a lot happier, not to mention healthier.
  • Yoga! Yoga! Yoga!
    • I currently have been having some muscle spasms in my back, and have been really, really stressed out lately….. I’m trying to figure out the root of this stress and have considered going to see a therapist. Trying to relax your mind from overthinking too much is harder than you’d think… pray for me y’all… I always try to keep it positive but lately I’ve been in a huge funk and my hormones are definitely off balance.
    • My doctor has highly recommended for me to do yoga, and I plan on jumping on the bang wagon more seriously in 2018.
  • Find a Church
    • I really want to find a church I can attend regularly in Austin that will accept me for who I am. If you have any recommendations let me know.
  • Self Care
    • Wether it be through more exercise, exfoliations, massages, facials, getting rid of toxic relationships, saying “no” more or taking a soothing bath from time to time, 2018 will be all about taking care of my body and mind. God’s will.
  • Blog MORE
    • A huge resolution of mine is to be more active on my blog!
    • I have to say that when I started blogging I didn’t expect it to grow as fast as it has, what went from a hobby has turned into something bigger than myself and I would not have it any other way! I have made some great friends and have been able to experience some really good eats and experiences that I would have not been able to do on my own — for that I am forever grateful for the people who “follow” me online and for the people in my life that have encouraged me to follow what seems to come so naturally to me.
    • So thank YOU! To say I have been holding myself back for some time is an understatement. I was really afraid of opening up to strangers because of my own self doubt and insecurities (I grew up Catholic, okay!), but I’m learning to love myself more and more each day, something I truly feel I would have never been able to feel had it not been for my blog and the hundreds of virtual interactions I make with all of you.
  • The Year of Happiness
    • Like Ru Paul says, “If you can’t love yourself, how the hell you gonna love somebody else?” a quote that has stuck with me since first watching Ru Paul’s Drag Race in college. It has truly become a life mantra of mine.
  • Post More Raw Photos
    • I’ve learned that people don’t care about the perfect tweaks and touches. I’m excited to post more raw, in-the-moment photos, like the way I used to when I first started Instagram. I want to stop critiquing my work so harshly and just have fun with my content. I’m excited!
  • Say “I Love You” more to family and friends
  • I want to be more active as a content creator 
    • I want to show all of you more of what Austin has to offer by creating authentic photos and really fun blog posts that better introduce you to who I am as a person and what I like to do in my city.
    • A weird obsession I’ve had since say high school (think Laguna Beach era) has been to be a really energetic, positive person that people can follow online, someone you can reach out to whenever you need a recommendation of what to eat and do —  blogging has definitely done that for and I absolutely love it.
    • I love when you guys ask me for a food recommendation, or some tips on “where to go for Tex-Mex,” it really makes my heart warm. So thank you, and never be afraid to ask me for a rec!
    • I want to take each blog post more professionally. It’s all about the layout!
  • Mindfulness
    • I need to get better at saving my money and stop making useless transactions! Until I’m making a triple digit income I’ll start to care a bit less, but for now I have to stay mindful.
    • An app that has helped me stay up-to-date on all of my spending has been the Mint App, check it out in the App Store if you need help budgeting your hard earned cash. #notsponsored

Thanks to everyone who continues to support my blog shenanigans and foodie adventures around Austin, Texas. All of you have touched my heart in more ways than one, thank you for being my friend.

In 2018 I want to produce a more eclectic variety of content on my blog, I really want to bring a lot of fun and different posts on @markyatx. Obviously, blogging is a big passion of mine (now) and it has really changed the game for me. Originally, I intended on being a life and style blogger, I would currently say that I am more of a food blogger with a fashion forward edge, but on 2018 I plan on mixing the best of both worlds.

With that said some blog (and Instagram) posts that I plan on putting out in 2018 include:

  • Weekend Eats (think along the lines of this post)
  • More #OOTD’s
  • Restaurant Grand Openings
  • “Best Of’s” (think “Best insert food type here in Austin”
  • Morning/Night Routines
  • What Would Mark Wear
  • Pop Up Shops in Austin
  • Events Happening Around Town
  • SXSW (can’t wait!!!)
  • ACL (maybe)
  • Product Reviews (maybe)
    • think men’s products
  • Partnerships (think along the lines of this post)
    • life and style related
  • Restaurants I Love This insert month here

Wishing all of you a happy and cheerful holiday season!!!

Love,

Mark Rodriguez
@MARKYATX

My Austin Weekend

My Austin Weekend

SATURDAY

Happy Monday, y’all! The weekend is over and I wanted to share some of my weekend-eats throughout the city. It is no secret that I like to stay loyal to eating/buying local throughout Austin, so in @MarkyATX-fashion, I visited a few trendy spots around town.

Saturday morning, I visited Sa Tén Coffee and Eats, located inside Canopy over on Springdale. Canopy is an East Austin warehouse that has been redeveloped to showcase local art and host creatives alike.

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I grabbed a cappuccino to help kick start my morning. Sa Tén has recently partnered with Rosen’s Bagel Co., to provide some traditional bagels and inventive schemers to enhance your bagel experience! I didn’t grab a bagel (this time) I was still full from dinner the night before, but definitely grab one if you’re ever in the area!

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Sa Tén Coffee and Eats
916 Springdale, Bldg 3, Ste 101
Austin, TX 78702
Mon – Sun: 7am-10pm
512-524-1544

For #brunch, I went to Unit D Pizzeria — one of my favorite spots to grab pizza — I was invited by Shalou, the owner, and accompanied by my friend Taylor. I was there to test drive Unit D’s new Weekend Lunch! I definitely saved my appetite that day, and was excited to try some of the new sandwiches added to the menu! You can really taste all the love and flavor in each bite when you’re at Unit-D!

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Caesar salad with Anchovies

I started with the Caesar salad, and ordered a couple sandwiches and a sausage pizza with egg! Unit D has been testing adding eggs to their pies, and when Shalou asked if I was interested in sampling one, I said “yes” with no hesitation.

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A Croissant Sandwich, the best!
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Turkey Sandwich
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Sausage Pizza with Egg on top

Unit-D Pizzeria
2406 Manor Road
Austin, TX 78722
Mon, Wed – Thurs: 5pm-10pm
Fri: 5pm-11pm
Sat: 11:30am-2:30pm, 5pm-11pm
Sun: 11:30am-2:30pm, 5pm-10pm
Closed Tuesday
512-524-1922

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Blackened Dragon
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Poke Me Long Time

Later that evening, I went down to East Austin to sample 1606 East. 1606 East is a food trailer park on the East Side, from Mediterranean, to Poke, the eatery has some really good food, for a really good time.

Food Trailers include:

  •  BLACKENED DRAGON – from chicken, to vegan cauliflower chicken, you don’t want to skip this food truck
  • AUSTIN HALAL – absolutely loved their humus and falafel’s
  • POKE ME LONG TIME – funny name, delicious, freaking Poke
  • TAMALES VITAL – not kidding, these were some high end, authentic tamales

1606 East — Food Truck Park
1606 East 6th St.
Austin, Texas 78702

SUNDAY

Sunday I woke up at 8am, and traveled down to one of my favorite coffee spots on South Congress: Mañana Coffee Juice and Bakeshop.

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Drip Coffee from Mañana

Unfortunately, for the rest of the day I forgot my Canon, but did have a few eats around town that I would like to mention. For brunch, I went to Bouldin Creek Cafe with my friends Tyler and Michael. Afterwards, we went to Moojo on Guadalupe, Michael wanted a cookie ice cream sandwich. Tyler and I were craving Bubble Tea, so we went to my favorite spot for squishy pearls: Coco’s Cafe. I ordered a large Avocado Smoothie with extra pearls, and Tyler ordered a small without pearls. Once we each had a treat of our own, we walked over to the brand new mini-Target (which was so freaking awesome by the way, I was so close to buying a Nintendo Switch) and wandered aimlessly wishing we were still in college… simpler times!

Overall, I had a great weekend with friends and can’t believe how quickly the weekend always flies by.

I hope everyone has a Happy Thanksgiving, eat lots of food and enjoy your time with friends and family.

25 Random Facts About Me + Life Hacks

25 Random Facts About Me + Life Hacks

Last month, I turned 25 – and decided I wanted to share 25 random facts about me to match my old age (kidding), as well as a few life hacks I’ve discovered along the way. Thank you times 100 for following along, it means the world to me; I have so much content coming out this summer (like Battle of the Tacos!!) so stay tuned… INTERNET HUGS!

  1. My first crush was in the 3rd grade, and his name was Severo. Can you help me find him?
  2. I locked my keys inside my car post-college graduation and was 3 hours late to my own party. I still think about the Menudo that never was…
  3. #OOTD is literally my favorite hashtag on the planet!
  4. I was the editor of my high school newspaper, as well as class president.
  5. We all make mistakes and nobody expects you to be perfect, but what you do after a mistake speaks volumes.
  6. You don’t have to search after people, if you have a strong bond with someone you will know.
  7. Getting to where you want to go takes time and a lot of effort, relax a little bit and understand there is a bigger picture developing right before you.
  8. I had five internships in college – ALL UNPAID!!
  9. Be nice to everybody because you never know whom you are coming in contact with or who he or she can become in the future.
  10. Run your own race and know that you can do it… put yourself out there and really, really try.
  11. If you want an iced mocha but don’t want to pay $5, you order an iced doppio (two shots of espresso) with two pumps of regular mocha and add your own milk, honey!!! You just saved $2.50!
  12. I got my first tattoo at the age of 19, mostly to irritate my mom. LOL
  13. I press the snooze button two times each morning.
  14. My favorite place to eat in Austin, hands down, is Matt’s El Rancho on Lamar. Shout out to my friend Megan for the introduction!
  15. Attend all of your classes in college; sticking it out for three hours is much better than the anxiety you get from skipping. You know it’s true.
  16. Ideally, I see myself living in New York City, although I’ve never been.
  17. Impromptu pictures is like, totally my thing. Give me a nice wall and it’s going down.
  18. Living in peace is key, but be careful of people who want to steal that away from you. It’s okay to set boundaries and not allow everyone in. シ
  19. Find me wearing Birkenstock’s with socks! Don’t @ me.
  20. The goal is to have my own company where I can help brands grow through social media – pay me to travel, puh-lease!!
  21. You’re always going to have haters. Don’t get caught up. Ignore them.
  22. Most people of my generation stumble through their lives and end up in routines. Life is an experiment – take the plunge!
  23. I’ve read the entire Harry Potter series, THRICE.
  24. “Should’ve Been Us” by Tori Kelly is my all time favorite jam.
  25. I came up with the handle @markyatx in 2012, and my closest friends literally call me that by name. =)

Writing for Tacos – My 1st POST!

Writing for Tacos – My 1st POST!

Ever since high school I’ve had a mild obsession with fashion bloggers, it was one of the reasons why I decided to study fashion merchandising in college. I quickly fell in love with the fashion program at Texas State University and the people that encompassed it. It was interesting being one of three guys in the room, as all my classes were 95% female – including my professors! Fast forward to life after graduation when I moved from San Marcos to Austin and started to follow local bloggers, public figures and Instagram users that had a niche of the who, what, where of Austin, Texas. Like the FM program at Texas State, I quickly noticed the blogging community in Austin was predominantly women (I mean girl power! Am I right?) and the question remained, “Should I start a blog?”

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Grabbing a cappuccino at Mañana Coffee, Juice & Bakeshop

If you ask any of my friends they can attest to the fact that I’ve always had an eye for things like food photography and #ootd’s. I craved going to retail store grand openings, coffee shops, and local restaurants – to this day you can find a long list on my iPhone of places I want to eat, drink and play throughout the city. Traveling throughout Austin and documenting everything it had to offer quickly became a hobby of mine; I started to use my Instagram as a platform to showcase the ever-changing city.

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Brunch at Hillside Farmacy

On March 15, 2017 (aka SXSW) I was up at 630am to attend Create & Cultivate, a movement looking to create and cultivate entrepreneurs to meet like-minded individuals, all while learning tips and tricks from some of the best in the business. Speakers included YouTube sensation, Jenn Im; fashion blogger, Courtney Kerr; Austin-based blogger, Camille Styles; Kristen Bell and much more! I was eager to learn! I was inspired!

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Camille Styles sitting next to Courtney Kerr (far right)

Sitting in the audience, I saw Courtney Kerr coming in my direction; I thought this was my chance to put myself out there! I thought maybe she could fall in love with my charisma, offer me a role in her company and fly me off to Dallas (a guy can dream). I happily introduced myself, she greeted me lovingly and immediately asked if I had a blog… (uh oh!) I explained to her that I worked in tech and didn’t have a blog of my own, but that it was on my bucket list. Kerr gave me the look of death, I had literally offended her, “What are you doing with your life?” she asked jokingly. If you follow Courtney you know she is real, raw and blunt – probably the secret to her success – and I appreciated her authenticity. “If you love it, do it!” she said. Little did she know she had just given me the jump-start I needed to pursue the creativity growing inside of me… it was time to turn my Instagram bio “Writing for Tacos” into a reality.

Now I’m no expert on fashion or blogging for that matter, but I’m ready to show Austin through a different lens – literally. Cue P!nk and let’s get this party started! Celebratory drinks anyone?