Dainty Details

The ambiance of Austin is a beautiful thing. I find myself constantly awed by the creativity so evident in shops, gardens, restaurants, and homes in this bustling city. Each new business fighting to stand out amid the endless creativity. Each adding their individual twist to the colorful landscape that is Austin. In a city full of color, ideas and creativity, we often overlook the dainty details that build on one another to form that complete idea, the whole, the ambiance.  The following images are my homage to the dainty details of one of my favorite Austin locales.

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Dainty details courtesy of Elizabeth Street Cafe.

 

The Neverending Search for Happiness

It is one of life's biggest questions, "what does it mean to be happy?" How can I tell if I am happpy? How does one attain this state of being and why do I seek it so fervently? Every individual faces these questions at one point in their lives. In fact, I'm sure every individual faces these questions at multiple points in their lives. There are a million different books, articles, studies, and blog posts devoted to this very topic. Happiness. Can we attain it? 

I struggle daily to answer these questions for myself. Am I happy? This question is incredibly deceiving. There are days that I feel happy. There are days that I feel as though I'm on Cloud 9. Days where I love my life, I love where I live, I love exploring all the beauty that surrounds me. Days where no matter what is thrown at me, my spirits remain high. But these days are more-often-than-not the exception.

It seems for every day that I feel completely fulfilled and "happy" I have 5 times as many days that I feel frustrated, lost and sad. Is something wrong with me? Am I a victim of genetics and this is simply a result of my chemical make-up? Am I destined to live a life that is always seeking and never satisfied? 

My religious background  has firmly planted in my head the idea that if I can't be happy, there is a problem within me. I am lacking something. Happiness, they say, is following Jesus. Happiness, they say, is trusting God. Happiness, they say, is living to glorify God and love people and read scripture and follow his commands and worship him in all I do. Still I am not happy.

Is it really that simple? Is it possible to love God and trust His plan and still not find happiness? Is there not a place for these other emotions as well? Can we not also glorify God in the midst of pain and loneliness and sadness? Are these seasons of emotion not valid and useful? 

This post is not about the answers, I can't claim to have any of those. I find that the more I experience, the more I question. And the more I question, the more I feel. And I feel so much more than happy. 

Sadness. Anger. Grace. Confusion. Focus. Love. Loneliness. 

For every "good" emotion there is just as powerful of a "bad" emotion but what if none of these are "good" or "bad?" What if each is valuable in it's own time. Each of these emotions can bring about something good, something useful. 

I wish this was the more common message taught in church. I am not happy and I believe that God accepts that, He accepts me. For too long, loneliness and sadness has brought me guilt and shame. I am not a happy person. I want happiness, I seek it, but it does not come naturally to me. It is not a switch I can turn on. I know many people who have that ability, it is one I envy but it is not me. 

I am learning to be content with who I am. I hope that others will allow me to be that person and to feel whatever it is I may be feeling. Feeling is valuable. Feeling is powerful. Feeling is good. 

I still want to be happy. I seek it daily in my life. But just because I haven't attained it yet, doesn't mean that  I am lacking. I am so much more than happy, I am filled with thoughts, feelings, emotions, and questions that keep me seeking. They keep me searching and hoping and yearning for something more.


The Chair Necessities

I saw her sitting among so many others. She was simple yet elegant. There was nothing glamorous about her appearance and yet she stood out like none before her. She was subtle, straightforward, classic yet modern, and I loved her at first sight.  After 3 years of discussions, 9 months of determined searching, roughly 72.5 trips to West Elm and 1021 searches on their website, I have finally found my chair. Perhaps an explanation such as this seems a silly way to introduce a chair, but a chair that has been in the making for three years deserves it's five minutes in the spotlight.

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Please join me in welcoming Eleanor to our home. She's a beauty from West Elm. I have to say I waited and waited for the deal of the century to line up with the chair of my dreams and I succeeded. Last weekend Jack and I ventured down to the West Elm outlets in San Marcos where this elegant piece was on red ticket clearance. Red ticket clearance = sale + 30% more off at the register. It doesn't stop there however, at the register I was told of an upholstery sale in which my chair was also included, and so, another 25% off. At the end of the day my purchase was $400 less than retail. 

Finding the perfect chair for our home after 3 years of waiting...incredible. Finding it for the deal of the century...priceless...well nearly. 

From Austin, With Love

Annie's Cafe

A couple weeks ago, Jack and I decided to splurge on Sunday brunch at a classy little downtown cafe, Annie's. The cafe is located in the center of downtown on Congress street. Despite the intrigue, we hadn't tried Annie's, because finding parking on one of the busiest streets in the city always feels like a daunting task. However, we finally decided, no more excuses. 

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Annie's Cafe was everything I hoped it would be and more. The cafe has a classic elegance to it yet still manages to feel warm and inviting for the casual Sunday brunch. I picture Audrey Hepburn doing her stroll past the Tiffany's windows and walking straight into Annie's for a little breakfast and coffee.

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The cafe decor is both simple and elaborate with incredibly high ceilings and large windows that fill the space with natural light. Brick walls and tall mirrors surround the modern bar which boasts an impressive cocktail selection. Annie's is the oldest restaurant downtown and manages to hold true to that heritage while maintaining a fresh modern twist to both the decor and menu.

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I happen to love all things Hollandaise and decided to try the eggs benedict plate with wedge potatoes. The Hollandaise was unlike any I've had before. I still can't quite place my finger on what made the sauce so unique but the creamy texture and hidden kick definitely allowed this dish to shine.

The coffee was fantastic and quite possibly the largest cup I have ever seen. 

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Annie's is the absolute perfect Sunday brunch location. We haven't tried out their lunch or dinner menu but judging by the atmosphere and quality, it's sure to be a win.

From Austin, With Love