Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Out and About: We Olive & Wine Bar

My parents treated us to a Sunday Funday at Austin's newest wine bar, We Olive & Wine. It's not local to Austin, as it's a franchise, but the Hill Country Galleria location is amazing! They had a 3 piece band playing from 4-6 (Andrea Marie and the Magnolia Band) who were surprisingly talented. Their website dubs them as a country band, but they played everything from The Eagles to Stevie Nicks to a Katy Perry "Roar" cover. It was the perfect background music for sipping on wine and eating delicious food.

Their wine menu allows you to order a taste, a glass, or a bottle, and I loved having the chance to try a few wines before committing to a whole glass. Mitch (the manager) even brought me another taste or two that he insisted I try before making a decision. His best suggestion was a 2012 Selby Merlot (a red I almost never drink), and it was so good, I ended up ordering 2 glasses. The wine menu had some really great, reasonably priced options. 

Mitch also gave us a brief tour of the retail space, and made suggestions on wine and olive oil pairings. We Olive makes their own olive oil and vinegars, and they line the back wall allowing you to taste as much as you like. I hadn't thought to mix any flavors, until Mitch pointed out the Blackberry Vinegar and the Basil Olive Oil made for a fantastic combination. It was so good, that I had him immediately fill two bottles to take home. At $22 each, I thought the price was a tad steep. But he told me at checkout that if you bring back your empty bottle, they take $6 off the refill. I have cooked with really crappy olive oil, and am certainly willing to pay $16 for a really good quality one. They also have an incredible assortment of gourmet foods that make perfect gifts (hello, Espresso Caramel Sauce!!)

The Holland House: We Olive & Wine Bar
Olive Oil and Vinegar Bar

The Holland House: We Olive & Wine Gourmet Food
Gourmet condiments for tasting

At our table, we ordered several rounds of food to share. We started off with a duo of Chipotle Pumpin and Black Olive with Blood Orange Olive Oil hummus, and also Stuffed Peppadews with Salami, drizzled with aged balsamic vinegar. I loved that they served the hummus with local carrots. It was pretty hard to narrow down which flatbread we wanted- so we ordered two. The Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Caramelized Onions and Blue Cheese, and the Parmesan Asiago and Prosciutto. Both were delish!

The Holland House: Hummus Duo
Hummus Duo

The Holland House: Stuffed Peppadews
Cream Cheese Stuffed Peppadews with Salami and Aged Balsamic Drizzle

The Holland House: Parmesan Asiago and Prosciutto Flatbread
Parmesan Asiago and Prosciutto Flatbread

If you are ever in the Hill Country Galleria area, I highly recommend stopping by We Olive & Wine. Not only is it franchised by a local father/son, but the people working there truly love what they do, and do their best to make you feel welcome.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Calm before the storm

Life lately has been somewhat blissful. And by blissful, I mean so relaxing and unexciting that there really isn't much to report. We've intentionally laid low- enjoying time at home, and casual get togethers with friends. It's helped get over the sadness of our first fertility treatment by leaning on friends and family, and finding plenty to laugh about.

My sister planned a very last minute GNO (girl's night out) recently, and 4 of us were able to get together for some girl talk at a new restaurant on Burnet Rd. Taco Flats was once a smoky bar on a not-so-popular stretch of Austin road that closed almost 30 years ago. The new owners asked the original if they could use the same name, and gave it a complete makeover. The space is great- it's definitely more bar than restaurant, but we were really impressed with the tacos we ordered. The corn tortillas were a little bit of heaven, and the pricing was just right to enjoy 2-3. I always love being able to taste different options. There were plenty of laughs (and plenty of conversation to never leave our little table), and it was just good for the soul.

The Holland House: GNO
Girls being silly at GNO

We also got together with a group of running friends last weekend for a serious game of Cards Against Humanity. If you've never played it, you're missing out. Dubbed "a party game for horrible people", you definitely have to check political correctness at the door. It's funny the things you can learn about someone while playing this game. It also helps if alcohol is involved. I don't think I've ever laughed so hard in my life.

The Holland House: Cards Against Humanity

Finally, this past Saturday we went over to a friend's house for a little football and fajitas from Lupe Tortilla (yum!!). Even though the weather was crummy, we still had fun catching up and wrangling a bunch of kids. Between all of our friends, there were kids ranging from 1 month old to 10 years old. There was A LOT going on in the house, but it's the kind of craziness that you love to be surrounded by. The girls took 5 minutes to run outside and snap a picture. It's so rare that we're all together, and so fun to see the pictures of us throughout the years. They are friendships spanning almost 18 years, and it's been such a blast to witness all of life's changes with these girls.

The Holland House: The Girls
Could my sister and I look anymore like twins in this picture?!

This week I'm headed out to Bastrop for our annual Education Sales Meeting for work. It will be 5 long painful days, with lots and lots of learning. I'll probably log close to 70 hours of work between now and Friday, and am dreaming of Saturday morning when I get to sleep in and do absolutely nothing. From then on- it will be holiday craziness, and I can't wait!

Has anyone started decorating for Christmas yet? Which holiday traditions are you looking forward to the most?

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Next Steps

Monday morning was our scheduled blood test to see if our first round of assisted fertility treatment worked. I knew on Sunday afternoon that it had not, and it's been a tough couple of days. We knew that the chances of this working (especially on the first try) were really slim. But you still go into something like this with a lot of hope. What's the point in doing it otherwise?

I'll spare you all of the details, but the way that my doctor's office handled the results of the blood test left me less than impressed. As Hank said, there wasn't a whole lot of "warm and fuzzy". Infertility is a very emotional thing, as I learn more and more each day. It's important to have a doctor that can provide the right amount of "this is the way it is" paired with the warm and fuzzies that you want (and need) when things don't turn out ok.

A co-worker of mine who did IVF several years ago encouraged me to reach out to her doctor. It's a woman (big plus in my book), and my co-worker could not say enough amazing things about her. I feel like I owe it to myself to at least get a second opinion before moving forward with what we believe to be our next step- IVF. That type of procedure (and the weeks that lead up to it) is no walk in the park. I want to make sure that we aren't missing anything before making such a big commitment, so we have a consult scheduled with her the first of December. From there we'll make a new plan.

Until then, my plan is to take care of my body, continue with acupuncture treatments, and just enjoy being with my husband over the holiday season without having to worry about all of this crap. Maybe what they say is true....that if we stop thinking about it for a bit, it will happen. For this Type-A, totally OCD person, that is no easy feat. But I'm willing to give anything a try right now.

The Holland House: Hope

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