In my book, everyday is Gordo’s day, but since this past Wednesday was National Dog Day, how could I end the week without giving some love to my favorite pup back in the Lonestar State??

Gordo is a Westie. My mom, sister, and I originally wanted to name him Oreo, but my dad claimed if he was buying us this dog, he got to name him. So Gordo it was. People sometimes say “Wait why Gordo? Is he fat?” – Gordo means fat boy in Spanish haha – but Gordo is quite the opposite.

Totally unaware Annika is about to crack an Easter confetti egg on him...

Totally unaware Annika is about to crack an Easter confetti egg on him…

FaceTime with my BFF.

FaceTime with my BFF.

Gordo loves watching TV, like before him I had never seen another dog watch like he does, and I still haven’t. Whenever basketball is on, he will sit at the edge of the rug in front of the TV and move his head back and forth, following the ball. Whenever House Hunters or COPS is on, he can immediately tell because of the theme songs, and comes dashing and barking from the other room to eagerly sit beside us. Some of his favorite movies are The Lord of The Ring trilogy and Jurassic Park.

Watching TV alone and totally content.

Watching TV alone and totally content.


Gordo loves bananas, carrots, cheese, and peanut butter to an extreme. He is the best cuddlier and most attentive listener. Whether we are leaving him for a few hours to run an errand, or days for a trip, the goodbyes are always filled with lots of hugs and reassurance and treats. He can be a little bit of a diva and hand you the occasional sass, so he fits right in with the family.

The way Gordo greets us every time like he hasn’t seen us in a full ten years is the best feeling. The way he follows my mom around the house, like they are a couple of magnets that can’t be separated, is just about the sweetest thing. He will stare you down if you are eating vanilla ice cream until you give him a lick. He knows when everyone wants to just chill, and when he can get someone to run around the house and play hide and seek. He is cooperative when we want to give him new hairdos like below.



So we are probably obsessed with Gordo to a potentially unhealthy level, but I feel like most dog owners are the same way. The dogs deserve it. They keep us sane and healthier and happier. So, Happy Belated National Dog Day Gordo, we love you pup!



It’s official – I’m a Texas Ex! I can hardly believe it. What a wonderful weekend of celebrating with family and friends it turned out to be, despite the insane thunderstorms and tornado warnings that swept the city Saturday night. I am beyond grateful for these last four years and all that The University of Texas has given me.

Eric and I’s families were total troopers on Friday. I graduated at 3:30 pm, and immediately after was Eric’s ceremony at 7:00 pm. It was a whole afternoon of consistent readjusting in our seats and snapping more photos than I thought possible, but it was totally worth it!




Around 10:00 pm when it was all over, we jetted over to Conan’s Pizza Central by campus for some late night noms with both families. My parents actually used to go on dates here when they were just a couple o’ college youngins in ATX. The place was pretty empty since it was way past dinner, we could’ve fooled everyone into thinking we booked a room for our own private party.  Eric and I were spoiled with sweet cards and gifts, and it made my heart so happy  to see our families mixing and mingling over pepperoni and cheese.

The next day we got an early start to visit what had been on my Austin bucket list for a very long time – Salt Lick Bar-B-Q. Indulging in some delicious BBQ with family and friends was completely worth the drive out to Driftwood. I am so thankful to have such wonderful people to celebrate life’s big moments with, and that love chowing down on some good ol’ Texas BBQ as much as I do.



Saturday night turned out to be less (0r more?) eventful than expected. The University of Texas at Austin is known for its spectacular university wide commencement and fireworks show once all of the independent college graduations are finished. When the bipolar Texas weather decided to create hours of tornado warnings and black, raging skies, the university was forced to cancel this huge event all grads and their families look forward to.

We were totally heartbroken, because we were all counting on that huge moment to make the closing of this monumental life chapter real. It was then that the Class of 2015 embodied all the admired and expected characteristics of a typical Longhorn, and planned their own commencement for Sunday night.

As sad as I was that my family couldn’t be with me, I was so happy that the students were still getting to have this monumental experience – even if it didn’t happen as planned, but then again, does life ever happen that way?? It was the first time commencement was cancelled, but it was also the first time the students have ever put on their own. Pretty awesome if you ask me.

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The old and new Student Body Presidents spoke, as well as the one and only University President Bill Powers. Hearing him officially declare us graduates, and even getting a last minute photo with him, were extra special since it was his last year serving as UT’s President. The whole shebang ended with an incredible fireworks show. The ceremony left us feeling all warm and happy and grateful inside, giving us the closure we needed.

It is crazy to think that my chapter at UT has come to a close, but I am forever thankful for the person it has shaped me into and all the friends, memories, and opportunities I get to move forward with. Thanks mom and dad for helping me make dreams come true.


Hook ’em forever.



I am really excited for today because my lovely sister, Annika, is here to talk about her time in Chicago this weekend. You’ll get to see her perspective on The Windy City and some great photos she snapped while visiting. Enjoy!


Hello beautiful people! I had a blast this week on the family trip to Chicago to visit Dayna! Growing up, we’ve always been extremely close, so this summer being without my favorite person/best friend/role model/partner-in-crime has been difficult for sure. Some good family time was just what the Reyna family needed!

This trip was my second visit to Chicago, and was much more enjoyable than the first time I visited in March, when freezing snow covered everything. Chi-Town is beautiful in every way…the people, the weather (which if I may point out, is a far more pleasant than the Texas heat I’m back in), the architecture, and of course THE FOOD.

Eataly is basically one of the most amazing places I have ever been. We have traveled quite a bit, yet I have never seen a restaurant quite like this. Their slogan is the Italian phrase “alti cibi,” which means “high food.” As soon as you walk in, you find a market full of fresh produce and dessert bars galore. You can then take an escalator to the second floor, or what should be known as Heaven on earth. Every form of Italian deliciousness is spread out into different mini restaurant areas – thankfully there are pictures to guide us non-Italian speaking folks. Homemade bread and noodles, fresh seafood, pasta, cheeses, and wines, oh my! I probably would’ve been ok with just staying there instead of the hotel for the week.


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Exploring the lake was another one of the coolest things we did during our visit. The warm breeze and sunshine made the perfect setting for a good run. I couldn’t help but pause to get a picture with this breath taking view of the city! After cleaning up, my parents and I went back to sit along the water and enjoy a picnic in the shade.


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We entertained ourselves throughout the day with lots of good shopping down Magnificent Mile while we waited for Dayna to finish up work. It was so nice to have her with us all day on the weekend! She took us biking, to the farmer’s market (read more about that here), the beach, and her favorite restaurants around town.


She was by far the best tour guide and saying goodbye to her this time was not terribly difficult because I knew it would only be for a few weeks! I can’t wait to visit this incredible city again. Chicago has definitely scored high on the list of my favorite places. If you have the chance to visit, I hope you can take advantage of all it has to offer. You know what they say,  “When in Rome…” – well, I guess I should say “When in Chicago!”

Hope everyone is having a good week!

With love,

Annika Reyna


Isn’t she the cutest?



We are a family that loves being in the kitchen – my parents and Annika mostly for whipping up phenomenal dishes, me mostly for taste testing or assisting with basic recipe tasks. So one thing I knew my family would really enjoy doing during their visit, especially my sweet momma, was checking out a Chi-Town Farmer’s Market.

Eric and I actually passed through this same Farmer’s Market on Division Street during his trip, but I was excited to go back to take some more time to check out the different vendors and snap some photos. Be warned, there are quite a few on here today, but I just couldn’t help myself. It was all so beautiful!





The vendors were so charming and friendly. Some even had samples for the market attendees. Lots of families, couples, and dogs made their way through the tent filled street. What a wonderful sense of community that was there existing on a perfect summer day.





I’ve learned that there are tons of farmer’s markets that go on throughout Chicago, you can basically find one every day of the week somewhere. I wish I had endless time to go check them all out. Or even to pick out lots of fresh ingredients for a delicious meal. As you’ll probably see from the pictures, everything looked amazing. One of my favorite things in the world is a good bowl of fruit, so everywhere I turned I was tempted to grab a handful and indulge.





The Farmer’s Market was the perfect start to our Saturday and I’m so glad I could share it with the fam. We ended up picking up that Zucchini bread and some cherries to munch on as we walked to the beach. I’d love to check out a couple more markets before my summer in The Windy City is over. If you’ve got any to recommend, I want to hear!

Hoping for another week of sunny and breezy days. August is just around the corner people (*crying internally*) –  we gotta soak up this summertime while we can!


The weather has been on point these last few days, which has been perfect for my family visiting. Since I have been going from exercising to the office to spending time with them, it has been a pretty busy week, but I’m loving it. Here is a quick snap of the sissy and I from when they first got here on Wednesday! I’m excited to have a full day to explore with them tomorrow.


And incase you need some inspiration for today, this morning I saw a young couple walk out of Starbucks and hand a homeless man a breakfast sandwich and coffee they had clearly purchased for him. It made my heart so happy. What a beautiful and simple reminder of the good out there in the world.

Well, hopefully I’ll have some more time and photos to spare for Monday! For now, I’m just happy it’s Friday and that means a couple days of rest are just around the corner. Hope everyone has a wonderful weekend!