There is no other time of the year that I read more then during the winter. With many days spent inside fighting the arctic chill of the Northeast it is the best way to fight the winter blues. If reading books isn't your thing I highly recommend downloading the Audible or Audiobooks app. They give you two free books just for signing up.
I could not put this book down. In Bad Blood, John Carreyrou tells the story of a charismatic young entrepreneur named Elizabeth Holmes. Her startup Theranos was created to help revolutionize the health industry by getting people's vitals using a single drop of the blood. The only problem was that the device only worked a small percent of the time. This novel describes the hostile work environment at Theranos and how Elizabeth was willing to do anything but tell the truth.
Robert Greene is a literary genius. He is the author of five international bestsellers: The 48 Laws of Power, The Art of Seduction, The 33 Strategies of War, The 50th Law and Mastery. This book showcases how to understand people's drives and motivations. I highly suggest reading any of his books to gain insight on important historical figures and how they used psychology to their advantage.
Based on three years of interviews with Holocaust survivor Ludwig (Lale) Sokolov this book showcases the severe brutality of the concentration camps and the mental strength needed to stay alive. It was through Lale's kindness to other prisoners and optimistic deposition that he overcame any mistreatment thrown his way. It always showcases the deep love he has for a girl named Gita that he meets at the camp and how selfless he is to keep her safe.
This book is a great coffee table read composed of 2-3 page short stories per chapter. Written by B.J. Novak also known as 'Ryan' from The Office. He is such a clever storyteller and this book with literally make you laugh out loud.
Stephen King is my FAVORITE creative writer. His memoir On Writing is also incredibly good too. This book is a captivating thriller and mystery case based in the small town of Flint City. A baseball coach named Terry Maitland gets accused of killing an eleven year old from the team. All DNA evidence points to Terry but, he was with a group of people during the accident so he has the perfect alibi. Who could have committed such as horrendous crime?
Now twenty-five year old, Ishmael Beth retells the story of his time as a young solider in Sierra Leone, West Africa. Only thirteen years when he was thrown into this bloody war, he discusses his innocence being stripped away and the brainwashing of the children. Ishmael Beth is an incredible person that speaks about human rights and is an ambassador for UNICEF to protect other children of war.
Cal Newport is an associate professor at Georgetown University and is the author of six other popular books. Technology is so beneficial in communication, business, and our everyday lives. But Newport makes some excellent points about taking breaks from your phone and how addictive the need to check Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram can be.
This book was recommended to me by a friend, and at first I was skeptical. I usually do not read books about dating / relationships. I LOVEDDD this book so much though. Pastor Ben Stuart explains the importance of going through each season of relationships and creates a strong parallel to scripture in the Bible. This book is incredibly helpful, comforting, and insightful. 10/10
Although this memoir came out in 2014, I recently re-read it because it is so incredible. This book moved me to tears several times. I HIGHLY recommend you check it out. Amanda Lindhout was a young traveler. She was confident, savvy, and thought she was invincible. That is until she is captured in Somalia and tortured in the most inhumane ways for fifteen months. Her story teaches empathy and forgiveness even after reflecting on this difficult tradegy.
This book tells the story of Jho Low, a businessman from Malaysia who used his social connections to the country’s former Prime Minister Najib Razak to transform himself into an international financier. Low persuaded Razak to create an investment fund, 1MDB, financed with government money, which Low managed behind the scenes. Then mysteriously five BILLION dollars goes missing. Low has recently been arrested on charges of corruption, but the impact to Malaysian government is still greatly effected.
After a few days in Almafi we decided to travel about a half hour north to another coastal town called Positano. Notorious for pastel colored buildings and beautiful cliff views- this is the most iconic part of southern Italy. We checked into an adorable family owned B&B and headed straight to the beach (it only took 500 steps LOL). When we finally got there it was the golden hour & the views of the town were absolutely STUNNING!
Where to Stay
We stayed a family owned property in Positano called II Gabbiano. Each one of their twenty rooms has a sea view & a free breakfast included. Just beware of hidden fees like getting cappuccinos or snacks from the hotel staff (they are not free - yikes!). Another quirk of the hotel was that each time you left you had to give them the metal key to your room so that you wouldn't loose it. One major perk of the property is that it is only about a ten minute walk to the heart of downtown and a lot of popular restaurants.
What to Do
1. Go to Capri
My Dad likes to joke that we never stay in one place for long... While this may be true - you cannot miss the opportunity to go to Capri. From the docks of Positano it is a 20 minute ferry ride to the island, and will only set you back 30 euros roundtrip. Initially, I felt like the island was VERY VERY touristy. But once we took a bus to upper part of the Island (also referred to as Capri) I fell in love with the traditional Italian shops & stunning views. While we were there we took a chair lift to the top of the highest point of the island. Although, the single seater chair lift up the steep cliffs was incredibly scary I would definitely recommend doing it.
2. Go Restaurant Hopping
I decided to embrace the high carb Italian diet by trying different pastas, pizza, and local favorites like gelato. The best part is you won't gain any weight because it will be a cardio workout up all the stairs to get back to your hotel afterwards.
Where to Eat
There are no bad places to get coffee in Italy- I swear. My favorite place was close to downtown Positano called Collina Bakery. The employees were so nice & they gave me a free cappuccino when they found out we were visiting from Boston.
When we went to Capri there was an absolutely beautiful restaurant called Panorama Pizzeria. Mark Zuckerberg had literally eaten there a few weeks prior. The hospitality of the wait staff, incredible food, and views made it the best dining experience I have ever had. *Tip* Many restaurants in Italy charge each person a cover when you sit down. Therefore, it is only necessary to tip 3-5 euros if your service was extra special.
We had some amazing restaurants right near our hotel in Positano. But also if you walk along the beach there are many options to choose from. Chez Black has really great pizza and pasta (lol like pretty much everywhere! But it is also right next to the only club/night life spot in Positano called Music on the Rocks. It does not open until 11:30 pm & the drinks are pretty pricey but it is inside of a cave so the interior was worth checking out.
After an almost 9 hour plane ride, 6 hour time change, and 2 hour drive up the treacherous cliffs of the Almafi Coast sits atop a picturesque mountainside. My parents were brave enough to rent a BMW despite the many warnings of narrow roads, spotty navigation, and lack of signage. I sat in the back seat biting my nails directing them on our GPS. Amidst our jet lag & exhaustion we arrived at our little bed & breakfast just before sunset. Since this was my first time traveling abroad I thought I would share about how wonderful it all was, but also my tips if we were to do the trip again.
Where to Stay
The hotels in the Almafi Coast & Ravello are all very small, family owned, and can be super expensive... It is best to travel towards the beginning of October when it is considered the slower period to find cheaper rates. We stayed at an adorable B&B just outside of the downtown Almafi called Hotel Villa Felice Relais. There was a bus you could take for only 2 euros to go around the area & was fairly easy to use. If you want to be right in the action I would recommend staying in downtown. The prettiest hotels I have ever seen in my entire life were called Santa Caterina in Almafi and Belmond Hotel Caruso in Ravello.
What to Do
1. TAKE THE BUS TO RAVELLO!
This place is absolutely magical. It is located about 15 minutes north of Almafi. Taking the bus up the sides of the steep mountain were absolutely terrifying, but if you can get over a fear of heights it is so worth it. Downtown Almafi can be packed with tourists but this is a much quieter and relaxing town. There is amazing shopping, cafes, and many photo ops.
2. Visit the Almafi Cathedral
Situated right in the center of downtown the Almafi Cathedral (Duomo di Sant'Andrea) is the focal point of Piazza del Duomo. I highly recommend going inside to see the beautiful paintings and sculptures - it is breath-taking!
3. Hang on the Beach
The beach here may be a bit rocky, but the beautiful landscape is hard to pass up. We hung by the coast at a little beach club & restaurant and had some aperol spritz. The weather stays beautiful until November 1'st and plenty of people were still swimming. *Tip* The stairs to get down to the beach can be daunting. It was at least 400 stairs from our hotel to get to the water... Be prepared for a workout!
4. Head to a Winery
You cannot go to Italy without visiting a winery! My brother found us a lunch & tasting on Airbnb about 45 minutes from Amalfi. It is all family owned & the staff was extremely knowledgeable about the winery. We sampled five different wines, had a spaghetti lunch, and ate delicious cake for dessert. You can find the tour here.
Where to Eat
If you like croissants and good espresso Pasticceria Andrea Pansa is the place! Our hotel had a breakfast every morning, but I wanted to try something new out on our second day in Almafi. Pasticceria Andrea Pansa is right in downtown and was very popular. *Caution* iced coffee is not a thing in Italy. I made the mistake of ordering it my first day & it came out like a blended Frappucino. It's best to stick to espresso!
Right on the waterfront is one of the top restaurants in Almafi called Marina Grande. The staff here is so nice & I had the absolute best pasta I have EVER eaten. The food is very reasonably priced and you cannot beat the waterfront views. 10/10 would recommend.
For the best pizza in Almafi you must go to Donna Stella Pizzeria. It located about a 10 minute walk from the center of downtown. There are little lemon trees growing above the tables & the family that owns it is very sweet. My friend had her wedding rehearsal dinner here!
With sweat dripping down my face from the Florida heat and hundreds of students trying to fit into one lecture hall, the first day at UCF hit me like a ton of bricks. The classroom had over 900 students in it which was twice the size of my entire high school back home... The girl next to me leaned over and asked where I was from. I replied "New Hampshire", and I got a blank stare back. My heart sank, and the expectation I had set for college began to diminish.
The bell rang, and I was thrown into a whirlwind of 65,000 students moving quicker than the streets of Times Square. What was I doing here? I struggled to find things in common with people who had been born and raised down south. I did not know a single soul in Orlando, and it became apparent I would have to work hard to branch out.
I came to UCF with the intent of getting the "college experience", but over the years I have gotten so much more than that. Once I dropped my expectations and cookie cutter image of what school "should" be like I began to enjoy myself. I tried new things, made friends, and am forever grateful for the experience of being a campus ambassador for KIND. The people I have met here have had such a positive impact on me, and truly helped me grow as a person (I promise I'll stop getting sappy now)... These are the ten things that make our school unique, awesome, and why I am proud to be a Knight!
1. Our School Spirit
As undefeated national champions this year, our school pride is on another level! The football games at UCF are definitely something you don't want to miss.
2. The Campus
Our school has super modern classrooms with new things constantly being built (hence the acronym Under Construction Forever)... The sunsets over places like Lake Claire or the Reflection Pond still take my breath away. Luckily, despite the large size of our school it is all in the shape of a circle so it is very easy to find things.
3. Homecoming Week
From free concerts, fireworks, or a huge football game this is one of my favorite times of the fall semester. Our school has had performers like Big Sean, Martin Garrix, and Ludacris.
4. Universal Knights
What other school closes down a theme park for a night for their students? UCF used to have students wait in line for hours on campus to be one of the lucky few to get a free ticket.
UCF takes football very seriously - they close down our campus whenever there is a game. Thousands of people line up on Memory Mall to tailgate. From alumni, family, and students there is such energy as we all head into Spectrum Stadium to cheer on the team.
6. The Events
On any given day there could be bounce houses, zip lines, or free t-shirts being given out on campus. Our school constantly has SO much going on it can be hard to keep up with it all. One of my favorite events was when we partnered with the Wellness Center to give out flowers and KIND bars to students on Memory Mall.
7. The Ridiculous Parking
Every year I try to see how long I can go without buying a parking ticket. It becomes a game to see if they can figure out I put an old ticket on my car (they always find out). Not only are they brutal about ticketing, but it's a running joke that it takes longer to find a parking spot then it does to do our homework.
8. Spirit Splash
During Homecoming Week thousands of students skip class to run into the large fountain in front of our library. They all race in search of getting a custom rubber duck from the water.
9. Our bar being called the "Library"
The name of this place has given me countless excuses over the years... "No, Mom - I can't talk right now I'm at the library!" (she definitely caught on eventually). From block parties, happy hours, or ladies nights this place is iconic to our school.
10. The Myth "U Can't Finish!"
There's a running joke at our school that if you walk across the Pegasus seal at our Student Union that you will not graduate! I'm very superstitious so I've stayed clear of it... But proud to say I finally completed my undergrad degree.
The past few weeks have been nothing short of a whirlwind. On top of wrapping up my college career and moving - the most dauntless task has presented itself... LANDING A JOB! From countless phone interviews, cover letters, LinkedIn messages, etc... Finding a job has become a job in itself. It has been overwhelming, but I have successfully landed my first full time position. My best advice is to know your worth, create a portfolio, and maintain the hustle everyday.
Also, if you really want to work for a specific company or move somewhere - remember how young we are. You have plenty of time. Even if you have to initially accept a different type of role or not live in your dream city. Hard work always pays off and if you keep the drive nothing can stop the plan for your life.
Here are my tips on how to differentiate yourself and get the person's attention who matters the most - the hiring manager. Who's ready to graduate?
What Do I Say to a Recruiter?
In the business world - it is just as important who you know as what you know. If a friend or family member happens to work at a company you are interested in reach out. You can send a friendly Facebook message or write to them on LinkedIn. But what if you don't know anyone? It can be nerve-racking to reach out to someone online, and on top of that what are you even supposed to say? Thankfully, recruiters like to get to the point. Your message can be short - this one is my go-to.
How Do I Stand Out?
This is a tricky one. Having a flashy resume and cover letter are great, but in a pool of hundreds of applicants it can be easy to get lost in the shuffle. I usually like to follow-up with a phone call to the company 3-5 days after submitting my application. This shows 1. you are very interested 2. you are driven. Also, the biggest thing that has helped me not only look professional but impress potential employers is my portfolio. I highly suggest even if you don't have an extensive resume starting a blog or creating content will make you unique. Although it seemed cheesy at the time, this is the picture I submitted with my original application to KIND. My hiring manager was impressed I went out of my way to GO ABOVE WHAT IS EXPECTED. I can attribute it to why I got the job (thanks for the idea Mom).
Can I Create One Resume and Cover Letter?
The answer to this is absolutely NOT. Unfortunately, having a standard resume and cover letter will come across as generic and unimpressive. Hiring managers will know you are applying to countless jobs, and it may come across as lazy if you do not put in the effort to customize it. Think of it like a friend sending you a chain e-mail. You may wonder if it is even relevant to you or if you are getting spammed. If you want to differentiate yourself, then you have to try. Definitely do not scrap your cover letter or resume completely, but look at the job description and put a few bullets to what your relatable skills are. See below for my example of a job posting and cover letter.
Where Do I Look For a Job?
So the harsh reality is many companies hire internally. If they do post the job online by the end of the day job sites like LinkedIn and Monster will be swarmed with applicants. Do not be discouraged though. The best way to reach a company is through the Human Resources department. If they do not have their team members listed on LinkedIn, it never hurts to give the company a call. People like helping college students / recent grads. Even if the company is not hiring most people will say send me your resume anyways - if something opens you will be first on our list. BINGO!
How Should I Answer Interview Questions?
This is your moment- you have worked so hard to get to this point of getting the hiring manager to interview you. Come prepared to be asked lots of scenario questions to prove you are a team player. Be poised in your answers - easier said than done- but remember they are already interested in you! Let your confidence shine. My favorite method for answering questions like what is your biggest failure or tell me about a time you went above and beyond is the STAR model.
How Do I Handle Rejection?
Let's be real- nobody likes hearing the word "no". But look at all your greatest role models from celebrities to family members - they all have one thing in common. Adversity. I listen to countless podcasts like Gary Vaynerchuk and Tony Robbins. They will keep you positive and tell you to keep aligning your purpose with your passion.
© Copyright 2018 Rachael Maurais
If you're trying to step up your Instagram game or even just want to become a better photographer, knowing the basics are crucial. Fortunately, there are no exact rules you have to follow. Photography like any art is completely subjective, but there is a science behind it. Luckily many photography apps out there such as VSCO, Adobe Lightroom CC, or Snapseed can help take your pictures from wow to... OH MY GOSH THAT'S AMAZING. Here are the ten tips I try to follow when I do a shoot or want to post content on social media.
1. Use Natural Lighting
Shooting outside is easily my favorite place to take photos. Lighting is the key factor in achieving a given look for a picture. Natural light is a simple tool that can influence the way your audience feels about your work. I try to shoot when the light is a bit softer around sunset also known as the "Golden Hour".
2. Apply the Rule of Thirds
The grid feature on Instagram should be your best friend! This asset ensures your pictures look like a balanced and even piece. The concept is that an off-center composition is more appealing to the eye than when a subject is placed in the center of the frame. When deciding which elements of a photo are most important try to place the elements are or near the grid intersections.
3. Sharp Contrast
When taking a photograph contrast comes in two forms - tonal contrast which is the difference between blacks and whites or color contrast. In the above photograph the contrast between the blues and orange work well together since they are opposing colors. Cold colors and warm colors almost always contrast and light colors offset dark - easy enough.
4. Shoot with a Neutral Background
This may seem like an obvious one, but often times people take pictures with very distracting backgrounds. An image looks a lot cleaner if shot against a white, black, or gray back drop. Simplicity is key.
5. Consistent Filters
When taking multiple pictures for a gallery or even social media, it is important they all have the same aesthetic. Apps like VSCO are very helpful to set the same filter to all your photographs.
6. Create Depth
This picture was taken on the mountains closest to my house in NH. Although, I appear to be the focal point the background is more interesting to viewers. Having a strong depth of field makes your picture appear three dimensional.
7. Have a Clear Focal Point
What draws your eye to this picture? Since the image is primarily all blacks and whites- the yellow on the cupcake pops. Do not confuse the viewer with too many competing focal points. The focal point should occupy only a small part of the image, but will ultimately have a big impact overall.
8. Use Angles
Normally when shooting tablescapes, I prefer to shoot from an aerial viewpoint. But sometimes it is better to take it horizontally or vertically to get a different vantage point. Get creative when taking pictures--nothing has to be in a perfect straight line.
9. Understand Aperture
Aperture controls the amount of light allowed to travel into the lens of your camera. The smaller the number the wider the opening. Hence, the smaller that f number the blurrier your background will be.
10. Shoot What You Know
Definitely most important out of any of the "rules" is to find what your passionate about shooting. My mind changes daily from travel, food, to fashion.
© Copyright 2018 Rachael Maurais & Elizabeth Masibay
It is hard to believe that December is right around the corner! Fall semester flew by in the blink of an eye. Since there is not much of a season change living in Florida, the holidays tend to creep up on me. After finals finish up I am home free to spend time with family, and drink PLENTY of hot chocolate fireside. To help get into the spirit I put together a list of my favorite holiday traditions. What does your family do for the holidays?
1. Watching Holiday Movies
From classics like Home Alone, Elf, or The Grinch my family binge watches the Hallmark Channel during the month of December. It is the perfect activity on a snowy winter night. We make fresh hot chocolate and peppermint bark to snack on.
2. Playing in the Snow
After a fresh blanket of snow covers the ground, I put on my winter gear and head to the slopes. Snow angels, sledding, and snowball fights are all possible outcomes of a day off from work. A North Face jacket and UGG boots are a must.
3. Baking Cookies
Fresh baked gingerbread or sugar cookies are a classic at any of our family parties. Whether they are store bought or homemade – I think I eat more cookies than Santa during the month. My favorite recipe can be found here.
4. Picking out a Tree
Our town in New England has the cutest tree farm called Noel's. It's complete with a petting zoo, tractor rides, bonfires, and even Santa himself. Whether you have a faux or real tree decorating is always the best part.
5. Decorating the House
Our house looks nothing short of Santa’s Workshop during the holidays. I make homemade wreaths each year with branches collected from our own back yard. This video has a great tutorial on how you can make your own.
6. Buying Gifts
My family has recently started doing “experiences” like trips or concerts for our presents. I still like to buy immediate family and close friends small personal items to show my appreciation. The best holiday gift ideas can be found on Nordstrom & The Washington Post.
7. Giving Back
Easily one of the most rewarding parts of the holidays is giving to those that are less fortunate. My family always volunteers with Toys for Tots by sorting gifts and buying for the local shelters. But even writing cards for others is an affordable and easy thing to do. Check out the fundraiser that Macy’s does every year in partnership with the Make-A-Wish foundation.
8. Ice Skating
Looking for a way to mix up your routine workout at the gym? Ice skating is hands down my favorite cardio exercise during winter. Burn up to 650 calories an hour and glide around on skates? Count me in.
9. Winter Bonfires
Starting a fire with snow coming down is no simple endeavor. My survival instincts kick in as we gather handfuls of pine needles, and branches to use as tinder. Once it gets sparked we all bundle up and toast marshmallows under the moon lit sky.
10. Holiday Parties
Ugly Sweater Parties, Frozen themed Happy Hours, and New Year’s Eve celebrations are all a must in our house. We love looking for ideas on Pinterest for drinks and desserts to surprise our guests with.
© Copyright 2017 Rachael Maurais
Since starting "Maple Leaves to Palm Trees" it has been such a learning experience! I love getting feedback from others about my writing, post ideas, and photography suggestions. I have received many of the same questions from readers so I thought I would do my best answering some of them!
What does a brand ambassador do, and how can I become one?
I am currently a campus representative for KIND Snacks at the University of Central Florida. My job is to plan events on campus and build partnerships with like-minded organizations. My counterpart and I promote the brand by giving out products for students and others to try. We also do random acts of kindness for others such as giving out flowers or volunteering. It is the most rewarding job because, people appreciate our presence on campus so much. I got my job from applying to a posting on LinkedIn. But Indeed, Monster, and campus job postings are also great places to look!
When do you graduate, and what are your plans?
I try not to think too much about the future, but setting goals has always been extremely important to my success. I graduate in the Summer of 2018 (yikes it's coming up). My dream job is to be a field marketing manager. I am open to moving to any city (sky's is the limit)!
Was it hard going to a school so far from home and, will you stay in FL?
To say adjusting to UCF was difficult would be an understatement. The first two weeks submersed me into extreme culture shock. Having grown up in a town of only 7,000 going to a school of 70,000 felt like a city. Not many people knew where New Hampshire was, and I felt like a complete outsider. I begged at times to give up and go home for good. But I knew this was the easy way out. I pushed through my first semester, and things got so much better. My biggest advice is to NOT GIVE UP! UCF has become my home away from home. I would not have had half the amount of experiences or opportunities had it not been for putting myself out there. I do not have any concrete plans to stay in Orlando permanently but, who knows what the future will hold?
What camera do you use?
I have a Nikon DSLR D3100 but, I typically just use my iPhone 7. It takes really great quality photographs and, is easier to upload right away to social media.
Why are you a vegetarian, and will you ever eat meat?
When I was two years old my mom made the transition to consume a plant based diet. Following in her footsteps, I quickly picked up her healthy eating habits. Flash forward twenty years later, and I have never eaten meat or fish. This is just the way I have always been, and I cannot see myself (at least in the near future) eating any animal products. It is such a healthy lifestyle, and there are so many great alternatives to meat I never feel like I am missing out.
© Copyright 2017 Rachael Maurais
I don't know about you guys, but this time of year leads to tremendous amounts of baking, overindulging, and countless excuses not to go to the gym! Between Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas I just cannot say no to sweets. Making an effort to stay healthy during the holidays can be a challenge, but here are my best tips to keep up. Do you guys have any suggestions for me? Please comment below.
Have Fresh Cut Fruit in the Fridge
Around the afternoon I get the worst cravings for snacks! I have started keeping fresh cut mango, watermelon, strawberries, etc. in the fridge all ready to go. Not only do these fruits keep me feeling full, but they also prevent bloating for the rest of the day.
Skip the Holiday Flavored Drinks
Have you ever actually looked at the ingredients in a Pumpkin Spice Latte or Peppermint Mocha Frappuccino? Well, I have some sad sad news... They are FULL of artificial ingredients and sweeteners. A grande sized cup has over 50 grams of sugar... Instead grab an iced coffee or tea with only one or two pumps of flavoring if you want to feel festive.
I made this absolutely delicious Pumpkin Marinara sauce this week. It was tempting to go crazy and eat the whole pot. Instead I made grilled Brussels sprouts and carrots to compliment the meal and not fill up on carbs. You can eat anything you want in moderation.
This might seem like common sense, but even if you are going to be eating a Thanksgiving day feast have breakfast in the morning. It will make you feel fuller and prevent you from overeating when lunchtime rolls around. My favorite breakfast to cook is peanut butter toast with banana because, it is packed with protein.
Stick to a Workout Routine
I usually try to workout at least 5 times a week. But during holidays when I'm traveling and finishing up finals this number begins to dwindle. To stay committed I plan my workout schedule at the start of the week. My gym offers a variety of exercise classes so I feel more motivated to stick to a schedule.
© Copyright 2017 Rachael Maurais
Since my brother and his wife moved to Austin a few years ago, I have fallen in love with the city. Every time I visit we eat amazing food, dance the night away on 6th Street, and shop until we can't anymore on South Congress. This city is full of hipsters and some of the best live music in the country. Here is a list of some of my favorite places to explore in Austin. Have you guys ever been to Texas?
Graffiti Park at Castle Hill
Be prepared for the biggest and most colorful wall mural you have ever seen. Hipsters, artists, and teens spray paint the walls at Castle Hill on a daily basis. If you’re feeling brave take a quick hike to the top for some of the coolest views of downtown Austin.
The Capital Building
The amount of history in Texas blows my mind! If you can’t make it to The Alamo in San Antonio, the Capital building in downtown is also beautiful to explore. You can take a self guided tour or walk through with an expert that will give you all the insight.
Barton Springs Pool
If you are looking for a place to cool down in the hot Texas heat, I highly recommend hanging out at the Barton Spring Pool. Spend the day exploring the 358 acres of trails and wildlife at Zilker Park, which lies adjacent to the man-made spring. They also offering paddle-boarding and kayaking if that is more up your alley.
After taking a short drive through what feels like the Hollywood Hills of Austin, Mount Bonnell stands out prominently. Overlooking the Colorado River and Lake Austin, you can get some killer views of the city from this vantage point. The hike to the top is nice and short, and if your lucky maybe you will get to see Matthew McConaughey sipping his morning coffee from a mansion. (A girl can dream right?)
Jo's Coffee Shop on South Congress
Known as the SoCo shopping district, South Congress is an iconic part of the Austin. Lined with amazing shops, food trucks, boutique hotels, and restaurants it is the place to be. Looking for a cliché place to take an Instragam photo? The wall on the side of Jo's Coffee Shop on South Congress Avenue is the perfect spot (plus there coffee isn't half bad).
Lady Bug Lake Trails
This is the perfect Saturday morning spot to relax and walk your pup. You are guaranteed to see dozens of cute dogs jumping into the Colorado River, and might even make a few friends along the way. The trails are great for hiking or walking alongside the lush greenery and peaceful riverfront.
Welcome to my blog, my name is Rachael. I'm a twenty-something year old from New England. Follow my journey into the world of marketing & entrepreneurship. Please write to me with any questions you may have!