Unlock your potential

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“People are always blaming their circumstances for what they are. I don’t believe in circumstances. The people who get on in this world are the people who get up and look for the circumstances they want, and, if they can’t find them, make them.”

~ George Bernard Shaw

 

About a year ago I went through a really low point in my life. I fell into a routine of using my imagination as an outlet. When I closed my eyes I was able to picture a better, healthier version of myself. I fantasized about what my life could look like. But with time I realized something that would soon lead me to a life transformation: you can’t dream if you don’t use it as inspiration. 

Don’t get me wrong, I am not writing this as if my life is all of a sudden figured out, it’s not. I am simply writing this because I was able to realize the change I needed so that I could grow. And if this happens to help someone else out there, then that is even better.

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My story:

Going into college, I felt this immense amount of pressure that I had to live up to. It wasn’t pressure from any one in particular, but the pressure I put on myself to be great. For pretty much my whole life, I had a roadmap of my future. I put all I could into one basket because that was what I knew. That was what I was comfortable with. But one day I realized that maybe it was time for me to find what else I am meant for.

The pressure to succeed in one aspect of my life was limiting my growth in everything else. I wanted to become the best version of myself but I felt that under the circumstances, it was not possible. I constantly played different scenarios in my head, but I always ended up avoiding the change. 

My reality was that I not only had to change my life drastically but I had to immerse myself into new environments that I was not comfortable in. It was 100% up to me to see the change I wanted and to act on it.

“You can’t just have a dream, you have to have a plan”

And guess what happened? 

All that pressure that I was putting on myself and all of that stress about what people would think, it suddenly went away. Because work ethic and determination isn’t something someone can just give you, it’s something you created for yourself. And it doesn’t end when you quit a sport. If you were able to work hard to get to that point of success, you will be able to outwork people throughout your whole life. That urge and grit you had to be the best will continue to translate into all aspects of your life. 

So my advice to you, identify what in your life is holding you back. What is stopping you from becoming the best version of yourself? Is it someone? Is it fear? It is embarresment? Or is it simply that you will be uncomfortable with change?

When you start to only dream, you are failing yourself. 

Act on those dreams. Make a plan for yourself. Figure out what makes you happy and start designing the best way to utilize that. Because there are so many things out there now, there is no need to drown in anxiety when you can plant your seed and start growing somewhere else. 

 

Top 10 Trendiest Restaurants in Austin, TX

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Over the past decade, the culinary scene in Austin Texas has exploded with amazing new food trucks, restaurants and popups.  New restaurants and bars fill the city and offer locals and visitors endless options for a great meal. Austin of course is known for insane BBQ, but that’s not the only good food that you can find. Tex-Mex, Seafood and Asian fusion are also some of the great choices that can be found across the city. As the food scene continues to grow it can be hard to make a decision on where the best place to eat is. I have created a list of my 15 favorite, trendy restaurants in the city.

1.) Red Ash Italia

 

This industrial Italian place is located in the center of downtown Austin and has some of the best Italian food you will ever have. In the mood for juicy meat or warm gnocchi… this is your place. Although it is on the expensive side, Red Ash also offers unbeatable happy hours from 4:30 to 6:30, Monday-Thursday with great prices on pasta and wine. This place is always packed (you will understand why after trying it) so make sure to make a reservation. Don’t leave without trying the crispy bread drenched in garlic butter.

Recommended Dishes: Hot & Crispy Country Italian Bread, Wood Roasted Meatballs, Thick Cut Bone-In Filet, Small Potato Gnocchi “Gratinata”, Rigatoni Alla Campagnola, Papparadelle alla Bolognese.

Website: http://www.redashgrill.com

Address: 303 COLORADO STREET
AUSTIN, TEXAS 78701

2.) Sway

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Trendy. Thai. Sway is located across the river in the south side of Austin, and serves up amazing Thai Cuisine. I recently visited Sway with a few friends and the meal blew us away. Cripsy chicken wings, spicy curry and mouthwatering bowls. The idea is to order a bunch of things, family style, and try a bit of everything. The outdoor patio offers great vibes so I highly suggest calling for a table out there.

Recommended Dishes: Tom khan gai, Peanut Curry, Pork Fried Rice, Son in Law, Brussel Sprouts.

Website: https://swaythai.com/

Address: Multiple Locations*

3.) Grizzeldas

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One word… Margaritas. Grizzeldas is easily one of my favorite restaurants in Austin, TX. Walking in feels like your walking into a  real-life dream because the decor is fabulous. The food is spectacular and the drinks are even better. Get there before 6:30 on weekdays and they have great deals on all their best drinks. Be prepared to spend a little because the meal can get pricy, but it is worth it. For sure worth trying if you are visting or live in Austin. (The chips and guacamole is to die for)

Recommended Dishes: Guacamole, Fajitas, Ceviche.

Website: https://grizzeldas.com

Address: 105 Tillery St, Austin, TX 78702

4.) She’s Not Here

 

She’s not here is located in downtown Austin and has a great selection of cocktails as well as sushi rolls. They just added on a super trendy front patio which is great for outdoor cocktails with friends. Monday through Thursday, Sway also has a pretty good happy menu with 7 dollar cocktails and deals on food. Recently this has been one of my go-to spots and should not be overlooked in the Austin food scene.

Recommended Dishes: Crab Butter Hand roll (pictured), Wagyu Rib Eye, Crab Salad

Website: https://www.snhaustin.com

Address: 440 West. 2nd St. Austin, TX 78701

5.) Carolines / Upstairs at Carolines

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Upstairs at Caroline’s not only offers food and drinks but an experience. This is one of the trendiest spots in town and is great for day drinking. Upstairs there is a fun outdoor bar, filled with spots to hangout and play games while downstairs you can get quality food. Great on a sunny day aswell as a rainy day since they have covering over the rooftop patio. Don’t miss this great location.

Recommended Dishes: Margaritas

Website: https://www.carolinerestaurant.com/upstairs-at-caroline

Address: 621 Congress Ave Suite 201, Austin, TX 78701

6.) Emmer and Rye

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This Rainey street gem is possibly one of my favorite restraunts of all time. Yes, it is that good.  From the brunch time pastry cart, to savory dim sum, you simply cannot go wrong with anything on the menu. AND, not only is the food remarkable, but the interior is straight out of a catalog. The chef focuses on healthy food and tastes from around the world and brings them back to us in Austin. The food is served dim sum style, meaning carts come around and you can see and chose what you want (its like a real life yelp) If you are visiting austin and are in the mood for a tasteful meal, I would 100% recommend this spot.

Recommended Dishes: Blue Crab, Pork Belly, Blue Beard Durhum Spaghetti ‘Cacio E Pepe’

Website: https://emmerandrye.com

Address: SkyHouse, 51 Rainey St #110, Austin, TX 78701

7.) Loro

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If you’re looking for a cool outdoor patio to have drinks with friends, I 100% recommend Loro. This restaurant is located down congress and has the best outdoor seating of any place in Austin. This “Asian smokehouse” offers great drinks and even better food. Although they are known for great meat, everything on the menu will impress. The atmosphere is fun and exciting, and is perfect to go grab drinks and hangout for a while.

Recommended Dishes: Crunchy sweet corn fritters, Garlic Rice noodles, Pork Belly Rice bowl, and the margaritas!

Website: https://loroaustin.com

Address: 2115 S Lamar Blvd, Austin, TX 78704

8.) Joanns Austin

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I mean seriously, who doesn’t love a classic diner meal? Down on south congress you will find a new poppin restaraunt that is designed as a local, neighborhood diner. Joanns Austin offers classic Tex-Mex food as well as healthy California style healthy plates. (I mean was this place desgined for me??) Have an afternoon drink at their poolside bar, and even catch great deals during happy hour (weekdays 4-6). Also, make sure to check out their instagram to find out about fun events they have going on.

Recommended Dishes: TBD

Website: https://joannsaustin.com

Address: 1224 S Congress Ave, Austin, TX 78704

9.) P6

 

LA meets New York meets Austin. This luxury rooftop lounge is the hottest new place in Austin, and is the definition of trendy. They offer great cocktails and Mediterain style small plates. Due to its prime location and river view, you are going to be paying a bit on the upper end. The place can get pretty busy so call and make a reservation before. (See if they will save you a spot outside)

Recommended Dishes: Tuna Crudo, Warm Gougères, Toasted Almond Mai Tai

Website: https://www.thelinehotel.com/austin/food-drink/#p6

Address: 111 E Cesar Chavez St, Austin, TX 78701

 

10.) Arlo Gray

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If you’re in the mood for a upscale, more intimate meal, Arlo Gray is all the rave in downtown Austin. The luxury menu offers a diverse drinks menu, with a huge wine selection. They are known to have a wonderful brunch set up, beautiful settings and a damn good burger. Along with the great food, the restaurant has some of the best lake views and is a perfect location for sunset.

Recommended Dishes: Burger, Bloody Mary, Prawn Agnolotti

Website: https://www.thelinehotel.com/austin/food-drink/

Address: 111 E Cesar Chavez St, Austin, TX 78701

 

How to get a Student Visa

One of the least talked about struggles of studying abroad is applying for a student visa. Unlike passports, obtaining a visa is a long, tedious process that cannot be expedited. Before you start dreaming about living in another country and traveling around the world… plan out how you are going to get this done. The visa application program differs depending on where you study abroad, so make sure you check with your abroad counselor as well as with your local consulate.

What is a student Visa?

In order to visit another country for longer than 90 days, you must have government approval. For students, this is approved as a “student visa.” In order to get your visa accepted, you must go through an application process and provide proof that you are enrolled in a school in your host country. This being said, you cannot apply for a visa before getting admitted to your program.

How do I get it?

There are a few different ways to apply for a visa, but each one of these takes time. Every country offers various ways of obtaining a visa, some stricter than others. Depending on the country you study abroad in, they will have you attend an application center or make an appointment at a consulate. Visa’s take about 6-8 weeks to be processed so make sure you take this into consideration when making an appointment.

1.) Make an appointment at your local consulate.

Months before you plan on traveling abroad, go online and make an appointment at the consulate, in the state of your home school. For example, if you go to the University of Texas and are planning on traveling to Barcelona make sure you make an appointment at the Spanish embassy in Texas. This is not always emphasized and has caused so many issues for students. These appointments need to be booked MONTHS in advance, as they fill up fast. Applying at a consulate is the cheapest option since you are not going through anyone else.

2.) Visa Application Center 

Some countries give you the option to apply for a visa at application centers. If this is the case for you, the process is way less stressful, but should still be taken seriously. (Spain does not allow this). This being said, make sure you get an appointment and give yourself enough time for it to be processed and sent to you.

3.) Travel Visa Services  

Many abroad programs offer visa programs that make it easy for students to apply. This can be pretty costly but is generally the easiest option. You will be required to send in all the paperwork along with your passport and proof of residency. They handle the rest and then mail you back your passport and vias. BUT, the process takes longer than other options AND means you will not have a passport for about two months. This being said, do not plan on traveling or leaving the country during that time because it will not be possible. (This happened to me and it sucked) Again, make sure you are proactive and give yourself enough time to send in all the required material.

Things to Consider

You will not be allowed to travel abroad without a visa. I have heard actual horror stories about students not being able to go because they didn’t figure out their visa situation. You don’t want to be one of those kids. Make sure you give yourself time and plan appointments far in advance. Although your study abroad coordinator might think she is giving you the correct information, double check with your local embassy that you are following the correct procedures.

 

 

Healthy Mango Chicken Curry

 

For weeks now I have been dying to make a yummy chicken curry. After scrolling through a million recipes I found this delicious Mango Chicken Curry Sauce. After a few tries and various substitutions, I came up with a great whole30 approved recipe, that is quick, healthy and tastes amazing.

 

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Ingredients:

  • 2 pounds of boneless chicken breasts
  • 1 red bell pepper
  • 1 yellow (or green) pepper
  • 1 1/2 tablespoon olive oil
  • Lime slices
  • Chopped cilantro
  • Quinoa or rice *optional*
  • Chopped Cashews *optional*

Coconut Mango Curry Sauce

  • 1 13.5 oz. can coconut milk
  • 1 cup chopped mango
  • 1 cup mild salsa verde
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3 tablespoons coconut sugar *optional*

 

Instructions:

Prep

  • Slice the bell peppers into even strips
  • Cut chicken breast into medium-sized cubes

 

Cooking:

  • In a large skillet, add olive oil and let it heat up. Next, add in the chicken and cover the pan with a lid until the chicken is almost completely cooked. While the chicken finishes cooking, add in sliced bell peppers and let them saute for 4-5 minutes.

 

  • Sauce: Add all the ingredients [above] of the Mango Curry sauce into a blender and blend until smooth. According to your liking, try the sauce and add coconut sugar to sweeten. I suggest 2-3 tablespoons.

 

  • Add quinoa to boiling water and let it cook until ready to serve.

 

  • Pour the finished mango sauce over the chicken and bell peppers and let it simmer. The consistency of the sauce should change into a smooth layer. Mix. If the sauce is not sweet enough, add another tablespoon of coconut sugar and mix thoroughly.

 

  • Add a few scoops of cooked quinoa into a bowl and pour the chicken mango curry overtop. Finish it off with chopped cilantro, cut up cashews and slices of lime.

 

Enjoy!

 

8 Foods You Must Try in Barcelona

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Traveling to Spain anytime soon? Not only will the sites and the great weather amaze you, but you are in for an even bigger treat when it comes to food. Whether you are looking for a Michelin star restaurant or some cheap tapas, Barcelona has it all. Each region of Spain is known for its specialty of food, so don’t leave without trying it all. Here is a list of the top 8 foods that you must try in Spain.

 


Paella

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No Spain vacation is complete without trying a fresh plate of paella. This rice and seafood dish is the number one food that Barcelona is known for and can be found at most major restaurants. They also offer chicken paella or strictly vegetables if you are a vegetarian! If you want to taste the best, here is a guide to the best Paella in Barcelona.

 

 

Tapas

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When arriving in Spain, tapas and sangria should be the first meal you sit down to. If you don’t know what they are, tapas are small dishes of food that are typically served with drinks. They are the most common Spanish meal and can be found in every city across the country. The best way to get a real feel for Spain is to come hungry and order a lot! The plates are small and super cheap so make sure you order a few!

 

Patatas Bravas

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This dish is very common in tapas bars and goes very well with a cold beer. Patatas bravas are cut up cubed potatoes that are baked in oil to give them the perfect crunch. They are then topped off with spicy tomato sauce. These are one of the most commonly ordered tapas, and you can taste why.

 

 

Jamón

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Jamón is a classic piece of the Spanish diet. If you are unsure what this is, think prosciutto but half the price and just as good. This dish is served in every tapas bar and can be paired with bread, cheese or a piece of melon (my fav). Restaurants and stands also offer to-go cups of Jamón and cheese, so make sure to grab one as you explore the city.

 

Pa amb Tomaquet

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Pa amb Tomaquet, a staple part of the Spanish diet. If you’re a fan of bruschetta, this is a good choice for you. You will find this in every restaurant as it is hands down one of the most popular foods in Spain. This dish varies a bit between restaurants but it consists of baked bread, tomatoes and olive oil. So yummy.

 

Tortilla De Patatas

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These Spanish omelets are found all throughout Spain and are made from egg, potato, onion, garlic, and olive oil. They are many times served cold as an appetizer, but are even better when they are hot. It’s super delicious and is a must try.  These can be found at most tapas restaurants!

 

 

Olive Oil

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You have never really tasted olive oil until you come to Spain. This is pretty much used in every form of cooking but tastes even better with just a piece of bread. All throughout the city you can find stores that offer premium olive oil. This is personally one of my favorite foods in Barcelona and you absolutely cannot look it over.

Sangria

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Your Spanish vacation doesn’t really begin until you order a pitcher or two of sangria. This sweet alcoholic beverage is filled with red wine and fruit and brandy… what could be better? Pretty much every restaurant will offer this drink, in many different forms too! Although it is not super common among locals, is it essential for people coming through.