i did a study abroad once | sunday stories #1

This is the first post in a Sunday series I’m doing. I’ll be telling my adventures from my  time studying abroad during a summer in college. Back then, I started my first blog (which has since been deleted) and it’s fair to say I didn’t post as consistently as I wanted to while in Spain. Now, I feel it’s time to bring back those vintage posts starting now!


I’d always wanted to visit Spain. My ancestors hail from the Northeast region aka The Basque Country near San Sebastián and I was drawn to the country and the culture from a young age. When my Spanish teacher during spring semester of my fourth year in college mentioned that he led a partial summer-intensive study abroad in Northern Spain, I was instantly intrigued. He highly encouraged me to apply. So I did.

Spoiler Alert: I got into the program and was both ecstatic and nervous to be going on such a grand adventure. A group of about 30(?) students from the University of Utah (my school) were going to be traveling and studying together. This structure made me feel a LOT better. Plus, my Spanish teacher was leading the trip which also added to the comfort level of the whole excursion.

You see, at this point, the only time I had been out of the country was to go to a week-long summer camp in Canada. So Europe was a whole new world as far as I was concerned. I needed an adult who knew what they were doing to guide me (and everyone else) through said new world.

We had several pre-trip meetings so we could get to know our fellow travelers and plan flights accordingly so we wouldn’t be navigating alone. Again, more comfort before the discomfort began.

I studied in Oviedo, Spain, which is in the Northern region of the country and about a 30 minute bus ride to the northern coast. If you’ve seen “Vicky Cristina Barcelona” you might have heard of the city. Side Note: Woody Allen loves Oviedo so much they have a statue dedicated to him. True story, see below.

Though you may have never heard of this city or consider it a tourist town, it is for Spaniards. Oviedo is the capital city in the region of Asturias. From what I was told, this is the place where the Spaniards won their first battle in taking back Spain from Franco. (Correct me if I’m wrong, but I’m going based off what my Host Grandma told me!) Hence why this is such a big attraction for Spaniards.

Oviedo is the chosen city for this particular study abroad program because Americans don’t visit, usually. AKA English isn’t widely spoken. Which means when you’re struggling to order a Spanish Tortilla (also known as the greatest thing besides wine to come out of the country), you are forced to find the words in Spanish to complete your order. This is the best way for your brain to learn and store a new language, to be thrown into the scenario and just do it. I guess this is why they call it an “intensive.”

The program was about a month and a half long, which was perfect for someone who couldn’t see themselves dedicating an entire summer to living abroad away from my friends and social life in Utah. Looking back on it now, however, I wish I would have spent more time in a study abroad program. Such is life!

Overall, you must know that this trip absolutely changed my life. I got to make some amazing friends, see a beautiful part of Spain I would have never considered visiting, travel to the small, mountainous village where my great-grandfather was born and finally have my own sort of “Midnight in Paris” adventure with my family. Most importantly, on this trip I discovered that I am a writer through and through.

I’m excited to share my adventures, thoughts and vintage blog posts with y’all over the next few weeks. The idea of revisiting them and providing fresh insight is also very exciting to me, so, stay tuned!

I also highly recommend you listen to the song “Oviedo” by Blind Pilot. While there is an Oviedo in Florida, the lyrics of this song convinced us that it was, in fact, written about Oviedo, Spain. Plus, I love it and it reminds me of my time there!

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Read post #2 here!

concert diaries | one night with dead and co

Ohhhhh boy, where do I even start with this one. I get excited all over again just thinking about this show.

If you listened to Episode Six of the Pod, you heard me talk allll about seeing Dead & Company a few months ago. Now that I am an official Deadhead, I figured I needed to revisit the topic since I can’t shut up about being a Deadhead. Haha.

I knew I had to witness John Mayer and his guitar playing again, because I felt like it was such a spiritual experience the first time around. However, I didn’t really do much in terms of finding tickets for this show until, oh I don’t know, the day of the show. What can I say? I work well under pressure.

So I found these tickets, but wasn’t sure exactly where the seats were until we got there. Surprise, surprise…Jess had secured a lovely spot in the pit. That’s right, we witnessed the glory of Dead & Co with John Mayer from relatively close. Riiighttt abouuuttt hereee…

And everyone there seemed to have about 30 years on us…talk about slightly intimidating. But if we’re being honest, I would not have wanted to be inducted into the Deadhead cult in any other way. (Don’t get me wrong – I say that with great love and admiration.) Everyone was so friendly and the vibe was the closest thing I’ve found to the Bonnaroo vibe while not actually on The Farm. Plus, it’s pretty amusing to watch hundreds of people my parents’ age smoking joints so freely in public while also wearing tie dye. Just sayin’! Everyone I encountered at the show was so excited that the next generation actually knew who The Dead were and wanted to see the latest version of them live.

A little history…

I grew up listening to good music. Like reealllyyy good music (thx Mother and Patricio!) In fact, my very first memory in my life  is riding in the back of my dad’s old truck on our way to our annual family camping trip in Sun Valley and “Here Comes The Sun” by The Beatles is playing. That moment has shaped my entire life since.

Naturally in junior high, I went rogue and got obsessed with Lil Wayne (sorry not sorry). Then at one point in high school all I cared about was rock climbing, tie dye and old school rock music. (I feel like now I’ve found a solid balance…for the most part).

This is when my Grateful Dead listening adventure began. I specifically remember driving to a local coffee shop after school, windows down, blaring “Scarlet Begonias” and “Fire on the Mountain” and “Casey Jones” the whole way there. At this time, I threw them in the pile of bands I could never see live along with Bob Marley and Nirvana. Regardless, I still listened and loved.

I even used the line “What a long, strange trip it’s been” in my last editorial piece in the school newspaper during my senior year.

So when Dead & Company manifested and John Mayer was invited to play, I saw the slight chance appear. But really, are there any Deadheads in Vegas? Turns out yes, yes there are.

The concert experience itself was one of the best I’ve ever witnessed outside of a festival. It was refreshing to be around people who wanted to focus on seeing and experiencing the show rather than Snapping the whole damn thing.  I was in awe to be able to see all of these legendary musicians performing in front of me. This was one of those shows where you close your eyes and literally feel the music. It was truly amazing.

I found myself swaying along as the band jammed out and led us on a journey. So far out that, at certain points, you couldn’t even remember what song they were playing. I barely touched my phone and I found myself truly lost in the music. I wasn’t ready to leave, I didn’t get impatient for the song to end and I felt so peaceful the entire time. Plus being able to see the band when I wanted was so nice. Frequent concerts when you’re 5 foot nothing means you don’t usually see any of the action. Such is my life.

After it was over, I found myself wishing I could go back again. I could see why people have literally followed this band since day one. Most importantly, I finally felt like I could call myself a true Deadhead!

I promptly went home and subscribed to Amazon Prime so I could watch “Long Strange Trip”, the six episode documentary on the history of The Grateful Dead. The doc is so carefully and deliberately done and it offers a fascinating look into The Dead and what they have meant to fans over the years. I highly recommend.

So if you can…go see Dead & Co. Watch the documentary. Both are essential if you even like one song from this band. Truly a life changing and magical experience.


donut bar aka the best donuts in the world | where to eat in vegas

Let me tell you something… I am SO GLAD gourmet donuts are trendy right now because they are my absolute favorite dessert. I don’t need a pie or a cake or a cupcake. Just give me the damn donut and no one gets hurt. Kidding…kind of.

Now, allow me to introduce y’all to one of my favorite donut spots in Las Vegas: Donut Bar! Located in Downtown Las Vegas.

I don’t really know how or when I discovered this place, but I can tell you it’s been my go-to donut spot for the last two years. That is, as long as I wake up in time because they go FAST. Yes, they are that good.

The shop itself is small and features the donut counter, an espresso bar, a cute little fish tank with fake donuts inside and a small counter area that offers seating. Head out back and you will find a courtyard shared with a few other downtown businesses where you can sit and enjoy your selection. 

the courtyard is shared by donut bar, a tattoo shop, a restaurant and a yoga studio

Ok, let’s get to the actual donuts. Donut Bar has been featured on Thrillist, USA Today, Ellen and is on the list of the Best Donut Shops in America. Clearly, these guys are legit. Not surprisingly, they tend to sell out fast – usually around noon or 1pm, so make this place a priority regardless of the hangover.

Real talk, these are the largest donuts I’ve ever seen. Most are as big as my hand and will leave you full for an entire morning. Maybe longer. Mmmm carbs! But worth it…so very worth it.

Since I frequent this shop quite a bit, I decided to ask the staff for a recommendation on my most recent visit. I should mention here, the Donut Bar staff is super friendly and nice. They have always been willing to answer questions and are ready to give a suggestion when needed. They are also super patient when you’re ordering which is a nice touch since they are a plethora of donut varieties from which to choose.

These are the two they recommended for me:

#1 – Blueberry with Meyer Lemon

First, you must know that I am NOT a fan of blueberries, unless they reside in my pancakes. When this donut was recommended to me I was hesitant, but willing to give it a chance. The cake donut turned out to be very tasty and the lemon frosting added a complimentary, tart flavor that really balanced the donut. I definitely recommend if you want something less sweet.

#2 – Chocolate Vegan

A vegan take on a classic donut. This cake donut does not seem vegan at all (for all those not into the vegan thang.) It’s not too sweet and it satisfies that chocolate craving.

Here are some of my other recs:

Homer’s Donut

Oh My Birthday Cake Oreo

Maple Bacon

Chocolate Bacon

In conclusion, the donuts here are big and sweet and provide an amazing amount of flavor. You probably won’t need another meal until dinner and/or your pregame snack for the evening. Probably. The varieties are unique and change everyday, so there is always something new to try.

This is my favorite donut place in Vegas and I highly recommend you go!


Prices range from $1-$4

Address: 124 S 6th Street, Downtown Las Vegas


Monday – Friday: 7am – the donuts are gone

Saturday – Sunday: 8am – the donuts are gone

Website: https://www.donutbar.com/

11 things you should never assume in las vegas

There can be quite a few misconceptions about Las Vegas and I’m sure I haven’t even heard them all. I thought I would provide y’all with a handy little guide of things that you should never assume while in Las Vegas. You know, just to help you out before you get here.

1. The girl you’re talking to is a tourist. Some of us local chicks can and do frequent The Strip.


2. The local girl you’re talking to is a prostitute or a stripper. Believe it or not, those aren’t the only two occupations for women in Las Vegas.



3. The dude buying you a drink at the bar, whether local or tourist, is single. Hahaha. It’s not funny. But it does happen.



4. The guy you’re buying coke from isn’t a cop.



5. The coke you’re buying from that guy is actually coke. (I think we all remember The Hangover??)



6. The cop you just walked by isn’t a drug dealer.



7. You’ve consumed enough water. Trust me…you have not.



8. You’re going to have a “mellow night out.” Again, hahahaha.



9. You don’t need to be on time for shows, clubs, reservations, etc. Just because “it’s Vegas” does not mean you can show up whenever you please. Failing to show up on time when it’s scheduled or reserved is not only rude, but I’ve seen people lose dinner reservations and club tables due to tardiness. Not to mention, if you’re on a guest list at a club and you show up too late, you won’t be getting in for free, if at all. Which brings me to…



10. You’re going to get into a club wearing jeans. Trust me you will not. As “trashy” as some people proclaim Vegas to be, a dress code is very much alive and well here. Please try to look like you didn’t just chug beer and cheap margs at the pool all day. Don’t be the one in the couple who shows up as a hot mess while the other is dressed to the nines. HUGE pet peeve of mine to see while out. Also guys…don’t wear white shoes to clubs. You won’t get in, I swear. Plus, dressing up is fun and the people who get all the attention are the ones who look the most presentable. Or have the biggest hair.


11. You will pay less than $15 for a drink most places on The Strip. Yeah you read that correctly, the average starting price is $15. The mixed drinks I end up purchasing usually hover in the $18-$20 range. Two years ago I found this absolutely ridiculous. Today, I’ve learned the importance of the pregame.

I hope you enjoyed some of the observations I’ve made on a fairly consistent basis. If I’ve provided a lesson, good. If I’ve provided a laugh, even better!

for today…this is enough | augblog

Today did not go as I had planned.

I planned on getting up nice and early and going for a run. Didn’t happen.

I planned on having some down time this afternoon to work on a different post I had in mind for today. Didn’t happen.

We’re learning new things at work that involve data and numbers. Yeah, I know, COMPLETELY opposite of what I am as a human. I fucked up part of the project I’m working on, not once, but twice AND the entire office got to hear about it on an email chain. Good Hell.

You could say that today I felt pretty out of control which, as a self-admitted control freak, is not an easy thing to confess on a blog.

The one thing I knew I had to do was go to my Wednesday night Hot Power Vinyasa yoga class (that I hadn’t been to for a few weeks) because it was my teacher’s last night teaching.

It kicked my ass. I knew it was going to be hard due to my break from it, but good Lord it was a struggle.

After shaking, silently cursing and creating a small lake of sweat on the floor next to me, my teacher ended the class by saying “just by getting on the mat you are doing enough.” Immediately, my entire day and the leftover stress fell out of my brain.

On days like today, just showing up can be enough.

Which can be hard if you have a million tasks to get done in several different areas of your life AND you’re on a timeline. It’s easy for me to look at my day and say “I should have done this and this and this.” However, it’s much more comforting to say “you made it through today and that is enough.”

You must know, I really hate everything I’m saying if I’m being honest. As much as I want to be ok with my not-so productive day, there is a small part of my brain that is not happy with me aka Mr. Anxiety. I think if my anxiety was in human form, he would be sassy and fierce.

Let’s be real…it would be RuPaul. Telling me to lip sync for my life. Or at least to keep packing boxes.

This is an important point to mention (not about RuPaul lol). We see people online, telling us how to feel and what to think and we’re on the other side thinking they must have it all together and know exactly what they are talking about. So naturally, we should listen to them. Naturally.

I am not one of these people and I am happy to admit when I don’t know something. Or, if I’m struggling with something.

So maybe we all need to give ourselves a break? Maybe we need to take some of that compassion from yesterday and use it on ourselves?

And maybe we need a Leslie Knope GIF to carry us out. Yes, still loving Parks and Rec by the way!

easier said than done – lessons from gandhi

Hey Team…Happy August!

“How is it already August?” – said every girl on Instagram ever.

Sorry, had to. Hahaha.

But in all seriousness, it came pretty damn fast.

For today’s post, I had something completely different in mind. Then I came across something I wrote down and saved for later a little while back. Disclaimer: “a little while back” means “I really don’t know when I wrote that down.”

This also marks the start of what I’m calling #AugBlog, where I will attempt to blog everyday this month. Stay tuned because I’ve got some…interesting Vegas vibes coming!

Side Note: I finally started watching Parks and Rec today and I am already done with Season 1. I have no idea why it took me so long, especially since The Office is one of my faves. But now I’m fully onboard.

And I love this man already.

Now that I got that confession out of the way…onto what I really want to share with y’all.

Gandhi’s Top 10 Fundamentals for Changing the World (with my commentary):

1. Change Yourself – this is huge. It can be hard to look at ourselves and our actions and acknowledge that we need a change.

2. You Are In Control – just like I talked about on Monday.

3. Forgive & Let Go – easier said than done, trust me I know. I also know from experience that it is really nice when you do.

4. Without Action You Aren’t Going Anywhere – I talked about this back on the first episode of the podcast.

5. Take Care of This Moment – living in the present is, again, easier said than done. The biggest tip I can offer with this, put the damn phone AWAY! When appropriate, because, I still have to document the #VegasLyfe ; ).

6. Everyone is Human – from world leaders to the neighbors upstairs…yup, all still human. Here is where compassion comes into play.

7. PERSIST – when you can’t hold on…hold on. And throw on “All These Things That I’ve Done” by The Killers.

8. See The Good in People and Help Them – Clearly, “easier said than done” was the theme Gandhi had in mind with this list.

9. Be Congruent, Be Authentic, Be Your True Self – look at yourself in the mirror and stop telling yourself what you want to hear. Tell yourself what you need to hear, with love.

10. Continue to Grow & Evolve – it’s a process. It will ebb and it will flow, so have patience with yourself.

i unfollowed kylie jenner and here’s what i think about it| marathon monday week #12

Recently, I did three things to make my life simpler and I didn’t even realize it. They are as follows:

  1. I unfollowed Kylie Jenner on every single social media outlet. Shocking, I know, because isn’t she supposed to be the patron saint of social media?
  2. I cancelled my Hulu account…for the time being. A Hulu rabbit hole is almost as bad as YouTube rabbit hole. Almost.
  3. I went back to my favorite park to run. I know what you’re thinking, “there are parks in Vegas?”

    answer: yes

Let’s start with the KJ scenario. I would see her posts and really stupid snaps and get annoyed because of how dumb I found them and because of how much time I was wasting on them in general. Then one day a couple weeks ago, I said “I’m done!” and promptly made it my mission to unfollow. Everywhere. I couldn’t handle the pout or the fact that she has more cars than I have vacation days left for the year. Why in the world was I subjecting myself to the nonsense? That’s when I realized…I didn’t have to at all! Unfollow…BYE FELICIA!

Next up, Hulu. I found ways to get things done “while watching Hulu” – a really dumb idea if you’re trying to clean the bathroom and the TV is in the living room. Or if you’re trying to edit or do work that requires you to pay attention.

Side Note: I do NOT believe in multitasking (unless both activities are mindless). This is an concept that was introduced to me in a book I now love called “The One Thing.”

Plus, I already subscribe to Netflix and HBO and for someone who promotes going out and living your life, I figured I would practice what I preach and make an effort to watch less TV. On top of this, think of all the things I can now do with that extra $11.99 per month! Like park at a resort on The Strip for a night! (Paying to park in Vegas is bullshit. Ask any local.)

Finally, switching up where I was running last week. I went back to my favorite park to run. We’ve had some crazy thunderstorms and flash floods happening in the Vegas Valley lately. This cooled the afternoon temperatures and provided some very desirable cloud coverage.

I took the opportunity to sleep in and run after work, which I like to do anyway. Running is a stress reliever for me, so being able to do it after a day at the office is perfect. Of course this meant I had to go run at my favorite park in Vegas, Sunset Park. The park has plenty of courts, playgrounds, grassy areas, a nature preserve with a pathway and even a pond with ducks. The ducks are my favorite because I really want a pet duck, but I have neither the time nor the space for one. : (

one duck in question

Running at Sunset Park last week was nice because I didn’t have to worry about cars, semis, the homeless population or creepy men who yell at me and try to lure me into their trucks. Although, I have seen plenty of drunk people. They’re all harmless, I assure you.


By eliminating these potentially deadly distractions, I was better able to stay in my own lane and focus on the task at hand: pace, stride, mental focus and strength, what Tom DeLonge is ACTUALLY saying in that Angels & Airwaves song. You know, the important stuff. Wait, am I aging myself? I still do have headphones with a wire. Insert grandma emoji. Ok tangent over.

I think it is so important to eliminate distractions and stay in your own lane for a plethora of reasons. Not only will you be a less dreadful human to those around you when you stop caring about what your peers are doing, within reason, but you will also eliminate unnecessary bullshit from your own life.

When I stopped caring about what other people thought or what they said about me, I felt so much lighter and free to live my own damn life the way I pleased. On the other hand, when I stopped caring about what the bitch in the cube down the row was doing with her day aka not actually working, it felt so good. It truly didn’t matter because it did not affect me in the slightest if she wasn’t actually doing her job. When I stopped paying attention to what that one bitch on Facebook I went to high school with was doing, it felt even better. We don’t even live in the same state!! And when I unfollowed some girl who is younger than me and richer than Gatsby, I lost the stupidest waste of time in my life.

Ahhhh, that makes more time for sleeping, running, socializing and planning my Halloween pre-game party. Not to mention the elimination of an unnecessary and premature spike in personal blood pressure.

See what I’m getting at here??

See how much easier and stress-free it is to stay in your own lane and eliminate distractions?

Whether I’m running or watching Snapchat Stories while oil pulling at the end of the day, I only want to consume things that will leave me feeling inspired and not wanting to murder someone. I don’t want the anxiety of dodging cars or the occasional creeper as I’m training for the hardest thing I’ve ever done physically. While the latter isn’t always possible, I can take steps to make sure the other parts of my life are as distraction-free as possible.

Remember, YOUR life is in YOUR control. YOU have the power to welcome and remove those things that are not supporting or inspiring you.

Happy Monday! Go out and kill it!