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.
It is no secret to my family or friends that I have been a vegetarian my entire life. Growing up my mom worked in the organic food business. After learning the ins and outs of the meat industry, she made the decision to eat a plant based diet. I was two years old at the time, and I wanted to follow in her footsteps. I have never had the desire to eat meat or fish, because there are so many wonderful alternatives. If you are thinking about making the switch or just feel like getting more veggies into your diet, these suggestions should spark your hunger.
Vegetable Pad Thai
This recipe seemed intimidating to me at first, but it is honestly so simple... Pick up some rice noodles, peanuts, and limes to get the most important elements. Mix together soy sauce, vegetable broth, brown sugar, and red chili paste in a jar. Once the noodles are done cooking pour over the noodles add scrambled eggs and stir-fried veggies with scallion for extra flavor.
I order this dish nine times out of ten at any Italian restaurant! Cook up some al dante fettuccine and add your favorite tomato sauce. Dip the eggplant slices with beaten eggs, bread crumbs, and shredded mozzarella. Bake for around 35 minutes until golden brown, and bon appetite!
Whenever I do a cleanse, it can be so hard to feel satisfied from just eating fruits and veggies. To prevent my body from going into a craze and raiding the fridge, I make a rainbow salad. It has almost every antioxidant and vitamin you need to kick your butt into shape. I add hummus and olive oil on top for added flavor. Taste the rainbow!
Whether homemade or bought from a jar at the store, I am obsessed with pesto. I always have a fresh basil plant growing in my kitchen so it is tempting to add it to a lot of my dishes. I usually pair my multigrain pasta with a light salad with arugula, cranberries, and walnuts. The best part about this dish is that it takes under 20 minutes to cook!
If you want an easy meal that will get you through Monday-Friday I highly recommend vegetable wraps. You can chop all the vegetables ahead of time, and when you are ready to eat heat the multigrain tortillas in a skillet. Sometimes I add Mexican cheese or brown rice to mix it up during the week. This is my go-to when I am running short on time or want something easy.
© Copyright 2017 Rachael Maurais
Fall has always been my favorite time of year. As soon as Labor Day passes I hang faux colored leaves and light pumpkin scented candles. Growing up in New England, I have seen some of the prettiest apple orchards, fall foliage, and historic haunted houses. Since the season is celebrated quite differently in Florida, I wanted to share the things I love the most (regardless of where I am).
From flaky pies, apple crisp, or cider donuts I turn into Rachel Ray during the fall. After a day of apple picking, we can't help but head to the kitchen for a treat. I will admit that I probably go through an entire jar of cinnamon every season.
2. Fuzzy Sweaters
With the crisp chill in the air, I break out my cardigans, riding boots, and outerwear. Although I can't layer my clothes as much as I'd like to in Florida, I still throw on a light sweater to pretend it's getting colder out.
3. Autumn Hikes
One of my favorite activities is to walk the trails by an apple orchard near my hometown. Mack's Apples bursts with fall colors, crisp fresh air, and deep amber sunsets. The crowds thin out late October and the bugs are all gone. If you're lucky, you will even stumble upon a pumpkin patch through the woods.
4. Ghost Tours
Whether it be Nightmare New England or Halloween Horror Nights, I absolutely love getting a group of friends together for a spooky night out. My family lives close to Salem, MA where the witch trials took place. Since there were so many superstitious things happening here, it feels like a real life Halloweentown.
My friends and I all get together to have a "Friends-giving" before heading home for the holidays. We each make a dish and someone new hosts it each year. Sweet potatoes topped with gooey marshmallows and cinnamon is my favorite contribution to make.
It's time to grab a fluffy blanket and curl up by a bonfire after a football game. My friend is an expert at telling ghost stories, so we all pour a glass of wine and listen in. Someone usually plays a joke and starts making sounds from the woods just to scare me. BOO!!!
7. Seasonal Beer
Whether you are huddling around a campfire or pre-gaming for a haunted house, craft beer is a must. At Notch Brewery in Salem, MA they serve up Octoberfest Lager, Harvest Pumpkin IPA, and Green Ghost Pale Ale. Sit outside and munch on a soft german pretzel with a large pint of a dark brew.
8. Dressing Up for Halloween
I feel like you are never too old to dress up for Halloween. This past year I celebrated in Austin, TX as Legally Blonde. Each year I try to get more and more creative by searching Pinterest for ideas. Trick-or-Treat?
9. PUMPKIN SPICE
My friend said to me the other day, "If there were pumpkin spice paper towels you would totally buy them,". He's right because, each time I go to Target I wind up with half a cart full of goodies. This Pumpkin Spice Peanut Butter from Fresh Market is addicting!
10. Farm Visits
From corns mazes, pumpkin patches, and apple picking a trip to your local farm will definitely help you get into the spirit. Wilson's Farm in my hometown has the yummiest hot apple cider and donuts to munch on while picking out our pumpkins.
© Copyright 2017 Rachael Maurais
If there's one thing I know like the back of my hand, it's the drive from New England to Florida. Normally people cringe at the sound of a road trip that far, but it excites me. Since I have done the journey over a half dozen times, I thought I would share my favorite places to stop along the East Coast. Comment below to share your favorite travel destination.
1. Portland, ME
If you like ocean side views, and the freshest lobster in the country than this is the city for you. The Old Port has the cutest converted warehouses filled with restaurants and shops. On a summer Friday night, bands play on fishing docks and the city truly comes to life. I highly recommend a bar called the Drink Exchange where the prices of drinks fluctuate based on the demand.
2. Burlington, VT
The best time to go to Vermont definitely has to be in the fall. When the leaves change color in the mountains, the views are absolutely breath taking. Take a stroll around Lake Champlain for some Insta worthy pictures. Before leaving town be sure to see the iconic Ben & Jerry’s shop on Church Street. You can get some free ice cream (Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough yes please!) and take a tour of the factory in Waterbury, VT.
3. Portsmouth, NH
This quaint New England city is easily the best kept secret of the Northeast. It is situated in the heart of an authentic old settlement. Houses built in the 1600’s, and parks bursting with fresh flowers add to the historic charm of this beautiful town. Grab a cup of clam chowder and sit along the waterfront while ships and fisherman come into the port.
4. Boston, MA
Easily one of the most historic cities on the East Coast, Boston is my home away from home. From the North End, Back Bay, or Southie each part of town has it’s own unique flavor. Enjoy a Red Sox’s game at Fenway or go kayaking on the Charles River, and I promise you will feel just like a local (minus the Bostonian accent).
5. New York City, NY
Home to some of the most amazing restaurants, shopping, and sight-seeing in the country NYC has a special place in my heart. Our favorite spot for treats is called Momofuku Milk Bar. There is always a line of people eagerly waiting for a “Crack Pie” soft serve ice cream topped with Captain Crunch cereal (Warning: it’s addicting).
6. Washington, DC
I would not be a true American without including Washington, DC on my list of top cities. It is so fascinating to spend the day learning about our history at the Smithsonian’s and monuments (which are all free to enter). One of our favorite areas of town for dining and shopping is Georgetown. Check out Sprinkles cupcakes while you are there, it will not disappoint.
7. Charleston, SC
It’s hard not to want a southern accent after driving through the heart of downtown Charleston. Pastel colored houses and historic boutique hotels make me feel like I’ve been transported back to the 1600’s. Take a horse drawn carriage or trolley tour to get a quick overview of this renowned city. For breakfast you must go to Callie’s Hot Little Biscuit for some mind-blowing grits and biscuits.
8. Savannah, GA
Known as Charleston’s “sister city”, Savannah is just as charming and picturesque. Spanish moss-covered oaks, cobble stone roads, and quaint city squares add to the uniqueness of this beautiful place. We usually go out on River Street where there are plenty of restaurants and shops to discover. Did I mention there is no open container law here?
9. St. Augustine, FL
The oldest city in the country, established in 1565, St. Augustine has the prettiest Spanish architecture I have ever seen. Home to Flagler College, where supposedly Henry Flager’s ghost haunts the dorms… There are some incredible old properties like Ponce de Leon Hotel and Hotel Alcazar to visit.
10. Miami, FL
From the crystal clear ocean at South Beach to the colorful murals of Wynwood, Miami never disappoints. Rent a bike and drive up and down Ocean Drive to take in all the sights. Our favorite place to go in the evening is Bodegas. After devouring tacos and guacamole at the food truck, say the magic word to enter the speakeasy bar concealed behind a metal doorway. In true Miami fashion they will have you take a shot of tequila to get in, and get the party started.
© Copyright 2017 Rachael Maurais
Since I am from New Hampshire, I have never really experienced a hurricane. Last fall Hurricane Matthew was supposed to come through Orlando during my twenty-first birthday. The storm thankfully changed it's course and we were not as effected. The news has been broadcasting Hurricane Irma for days, and I fear our area might face some major problems. In preparation of the storm, I have put together a list of things my roommates and I have collected to stay safe.
1. Pack a Travel Bag
In case of evacuation I put together an overnight bag with snacks, toiletries, and other travel essentials (Sam Hunt cd is a must). I probably won't need the sunglasses, but you never know...
2. Binge Watch Netflix
With classes being cancelled, no work, and not being allowed to leave the house we definitely need some activities. If you have not seen Bates Motel yet, I highly recommend checking it out over the next few days (Michael Kors slippers are optional).
3. Stock up on Wine
This amazing wine subscription called Winc gets delivered right to your door! If you order it pre-hurricane like I did, you don't even have to leave your house (I love the twenty-first century). I got a four pack with two whites, one rosé, and one red. Take a brief taste test online upon signing up and they will send the perfect bottles to suit you.
4. Get Battery Operated Lights
As much of a sucker I am for Yankee Candle, it makes a lot more sense having battery operated lights. I picked up a few strands at Target that will last up to 48 hours. The last thing we need is a hurricane and a fire? #amIright?
5. Buy Non-Perishable Food
It is very convenient when you work for a snack company, and this sort of thing happens. Thankfully I have enough non-perishable food to last until 2020. #kindawesome
6. Have Clean Water
Clearly I procrastinated in this area... By the time I went to the grocery store everything from canned food, bread, and water was cleaned out. I drove to gas stations, Target, CVS Pharmacy and all I could find was single bottles. Twenty dollars of over-priced water later, and I am set.
I put this in all caps because, I can simply not live without coffee. All the locations near us are already closed, so I made sure I stocked up on the pre-bottled kind.
8. Find Hurricane Buddies
My roommate is also from the northeast and has never experienced a hurricane either. Luckily we have Lizzy from Miami to guide us through the storm. We even blew up our proper floatation devices just in case (haha).
9. Have a Hurricane Party
This one goes without saying... Turn up your favorite Drake album and make some stormy drinks to get you through the weekend. Hurricane cocktails might even be on the menu here...
10. Stay Positive
There is only so much we can do in this time of crisis. Luckily, the storm will pass in just a few days. We are praying that people in South Florida do not face severe damage. I hope that everyone stays safe and keeps a positive mindset during this time. Please hope for the best ♥
© Copyright 2017 Rachael Maurais
Day after day I find myself waking up and immediately hitting the snooze button. This internal struggle goes on for about a half hour or so until I'm absolutely forced to get out of bed. With nine am classes becoming part of my daily routine this semester, I had to figure out a way to turn myself into a "morning person". Hope you guys find these tips just as helpful as I do.
1. Read Inspirational Quotes
I post new goals, phrases, or aspirations on my bathroom mirror on a monthly basis. It's the first thing I see when I wake up, and I could always use some encouragement on starting my day. This quote is at the WeWork office in Miami. Every time I read it, I instantly feel more motivated.
2. Break a Sweat
It can be tough to fit a morning workout in sometimes, but even spending 15-20 minutes to get moving is a start. I do simple yoga stretches and core exercises like planks to clear my mind each day.
3. Drink Water
Although I am a huge coffee fanatic, I always wake up and have a full bottle of water to drink. Adding fresh fruit or mint helps to add flavor and mix up my daily routine. Drinking water in the morning will also help boost your metabolism and curb your appetite.
4. Get Creative
All too often we become rushed in the morning. This is prime time to get your creative juices flowing and set your groove for the rest of the day. Journal for ten minutes, draw a picture or make a Pinterest worthy breakfast. Whatever you've got to do to set the tone for your day.
5. Make Breakfast
I am a hugee sucker for avacado toast lately... but if you put a bowl of fruit in front of me I promise I will eat it. Morning is the usually when I crave sweet things like pancakes with maple syrup and fresh berries.
6. Be productive
I generally spend Sundays pre-planning my week ahead. Making to-do lists and schedules keeps me feeling on track. It is also a great opportunity to get organized and respond to e-mails. The planner below can be found at Francesca's.
7. Get Caffeinated
There have been many studies on the effectiveness of drinking a cup of coffee in the morning. Coffee is scientifically proven to improve cognitive performance, prevent depression, and it's high in antioxidants to boot. Join Starbucks Member program to get free drinks and redeem other coupons.
8. Appreciate Someone
I set reminders in my phone to reach out to family and friends I haven't talked to in awhile several times a week. Life can get super busy, but sending a quick text or card means SO much to someone. I have a pack of thank you cards in my night stand to send out periodically as well. Target always has the cutest ones for only a few dollars.
9. Plan Ahead
I try to pick up my outfits the night before to ensure I have enough time to get ready in the morning. I absolutely hate rushing and can be pretty indecision on my clothes, so this helps A LOT.
10. Have Gratitude
"Learn to be thankful for what you already have, while you pursue what you want,"- Jim Rohn. It is so crucial that we all as individuals take a pause each day and reflect on our blessings. During Hurricane Irma in Florida I realized how many people (myself included!) can take simple things like fresh water or food for granted. I have started a gratitude journal to remind my self of how lucky I am each and everyday.
© Copyright 2017 Rachael Maurais
As Labor Day is approaching faster than we can say September, I start to reminisce over the warm summer months I spent in New England. Although, I am as happy as anyone to have the Pumpkin Spice latte back in my life I will still miss many things only summer can appease to.
1. Getting Ice Cream just because...
There's an amazing restaurant spot near the coast of Rye Beach in New Hampshire. The Beach Plum serves everything from lobster sandwiches to Moose Track sundaes. I always go for their classic soft serve (with rainbow sprinkles duh).
2. Baseball Games
Picture thousands of Soxs and Yankees fans drinking Bud Light and throwing peanuts at each other in the stand at the end of the ninth inning. The Soxs have had a rough summer against their biggest rivals, but Bostonians never loose their dedication (they just buy more beer).
3. Trips to the Lake
Squam Lake in Holdneress, NH has the absolute best views of mountains and wildlife. You can spend the day out jet skiing or hiking the trails at the science center. Every year we head up to spend the Fourth of July with family friends.
4. Spontaneous Road Trips
Driving from school in Orlando back to Boston for summer is no small feat. The trip goes by so much quicker by making pit stops like Savannah, Charleston, DC, NYC along the way. Did a mention my car gets 32 mpg?
5. Rooftop Bars
One of my favorite things about summer is the refreshing cocktails sipped poolside at rooftop bars. Revere Hotel in Boston, MA has some of the best views in the city. Another great local spot is Legal Harborside in the Seaport District. #Roséallday
My family invested in this propane fire pit from Target, and I think I used it more than our pool. It was so relaxing to sip my coffee and roast marshmallows on the deck without going to all the work of starting a fire.
7. Farmer's Markets
Our town in New Hampshire is a small farming community, so we are so lucky to get some of the freshest produce in the summer months. A local farm stand near my house even lets us pick most of our fruit and vegetables ourselves.
8. Iced Coffee
Although, I am so excited for Starbucks seasonal beverages like Peppermint Mocha, it is always sad making the transition from iced to hot drinks. But, who said we had to stop drinking the mimosas?
My mom and I always make sure to do a picnic each summer at an old estate called Crane Mansion in Ipswich, MA. The grounds are so elegant complete with marble statues, and rolling landscapes leading out to the ocean. We pack sandwiches, cheese, and red wine to pretend that we are re-living the Great Gatsby era.
This shot was taken at the top of Mt. Washington at the highest peak in New Hampshire. Although I do admit I took a train up to the 6,228 feet summit, our state has so many amazing views to explore. It's great to mix up a day at the gym by being outside and enjoying the natural beauty around us.
© Copyright 2017 Rachael Maurais
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!