Roses, Ramblings and Life Right Now

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It was the day after Valentine’s Day, and I decided to buy myself roses.

I’ve never been a huge fan of Valentine’s. I’m a Halloween-Thanksgiving-Christmas (don’t make me pick one, they’re a package deal.) kind of human, and all other holidays following just don’t seem to sparkle quite as much.

My husband is not a writer but is definitely the hopeless romantic of the two of us, and will spend prolonged amounts of time trying to find the Hallmark card to perfectly suit our love.

Still, the day after Robby drove across town to acquire my very favorite cupcakes and brought home said perfect Hallmark card, I found myself discovering the pure joy that is Amazon Grocery.  Seriously, how can one say no to two dozen roses for $13.99 plus $10 off your first order? This is not at all a sponsored post, just me saying I will gift myself practically free roses any dang day of the year.

I haven’t blogged in roughly ten thousand days, so it may seem odd that I am coming on here to tell you that I bought myself roses about a month ago. It just felt nice. I like buying myself flowers. I like taking myself on dates. I like traveling alone. It’s all so liberating, and the older I get the more I thrive on feeling liberated.

But let me tell you other things too.

I spent the first few days of February in Los Angeles, sipping on rosé sangria, strolling the Santa Monica pier and looking at things I could barely afford to touch on Rodeo Drive. It was a trip full of laughter and girl talk and late night prank calls on my husband, because I am a mature adult. On our last night there, we finished happy hour and realized we were in walking distance to Venice Beach. With the wind in our hair and a slight chill in the air, we made it just in time to watch the sun set on the rolling waves. Life is magic sometimes.

Robby just turned 37 a few weeks ago. He’s old but also my favorite human and I love him a lot. A marriage goes through so many seasons, and we’re fortunate in that most of ours have been happy ones. But this one that we’re in right now? It’s one of the best so far. I mean, the guy still makes me googly eyed on a regular basis. Last week we shared an impromptu slow dance in the dining room to the the song we had our first dance to over ten years ago. I can’t type that without smiling. Eye roll, vomit, repeat, am I right?

For reference – I’ve loved him a lot since he was 25, at which time I was 19 and thought 25 was incredibly ancient. I turn 31 next month. GOOD GOLLY.

What else? I spent 2019 traveling to new places like Quebec City and Guatemala and Jamaica, and also learning to fight for myself in ways that felt both uncomfortable and empowering. I am still learning how to feel okay being uncomfortable. And to be honest, I feel uncomfortable almost every day. Because I’m challenging myself in new ways almost every day. In learning that discomfort and growth are oftentimes congruous, it’s something that I’m getting better at every day too.

And that’s put me in a really great place for 2020.

Traveling is still something that’s so important to me and always will be, and I’m giddy about my upcoming adventures both big and small. But there are other things on my horizon too. And no, that’s not another baby. Not yet. And, world? Honey? I love you, but it’s none of your business when “yet” ends for me. It baffles me that I was considered young to have a baby at 25, but now at 30 the world feels equally happy to inform me of my ticking clock. Ladies, that means we have maybe a five year window in which society deems it ideal for us to have our babies. Gross, right?

Soap box aside, I have big plans both travel and non-travel related for this new decade.

My twenties were so good to me, but thirty has treated me nicely in ways that I didn’t even begin to think about prior. In old people ways, if you will. A recently paid off car note. A growing savings account. A career that both rewards and challenges the hell out of me. A loud list of things that I plan to do in the next decade.

I want to buy a new house in an adorable town square and speak Spanish fluently and write a book. I want to take a solo trip to Europe and go on a road-trip to Utah and take my husband on a skydiving date. I want to run more races and read more books and love on my humans every chance that I get. I’ve got all of this and a whole lot more on this list, and that makes me smile.

Because I trust myself. That was something I learned to do in my twenties. To want something and go after it until I have it. But speaking loudly about these dreams and goals before I actually have all of them, and feeling confident enough in myself to do that? That’s thirty talking. And damn, I really love the way that she sounds.

DeSano Pizza Tasting

I’m a picky pizza person.

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I’ve always been particular about the width of the crust paired with the amount and taste of sauce, and the ratio of said sauce to cheese and other toppings. It’s a tricky business, y’all. My husband and daughter both love Little Caesar’s. Just the name makes my nose involuntarily turn up, so they share a father-daughter pizza night during my grad school classes on Tuesday nights. So really you could argue that my pizza snobbery has started a cute tradition.

But I digress. I recently was lucky enough to have a blog tasting at DeSano Pizerria. Please know that I do not take it lightly when I tell you I have found my new favorite pizza place, or that this was amongst the best pizza that I’ve had in the United States.

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In fact, everything about this fast-casual restaurant was reminiscent of Italy to me.

This might have been due to of all of the ingredients transported from Italy to Texas. Or possibly the four brick ovens from Naples. Or the Italian wine sold by the bottle, crazy affordable yet noticeably high quality. Maybe it was the fact that all of the inventory is placed in the front, so that the authenticity became apparent as soon as I walked through the doors. Perhaps it was the charming and welcoming staff, who could toss some mean pizza dough to boot. Or maybe it was the moment my eyes met their first Italian fork mixer, which spins the dough as delicately as would a person’s hands.

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Speaking of quality, this might be the word that describes DeSano Pizzeria best. Owner Jimmy Fitzgerald, whom I had the honor of sitting down to dinner with, knows a little something about this noun. He’s opened and worked in restaurants all over the world, and does so with both integrity and pizazz. (A coincidence that pizza and pizazz are so close in spelling? I think not.) Every single ingredient put into the pizza at DeSano is so clearly of the highest caliber. The world is literally searched until the absolute best is found, and this fact is evident in every bite. But more than anything for me, it was simply Italy at first bite.

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 Take the mozzarella di buffalo, for example. This is the cheese that is added to all but one pizza, and is also found in the best caprese salad I’ve ever had the honor of tasting. It comes from not a cow, but a water buffalo. A water buffalo! Jimmy explained to me that this is the “secret” ingredient of DeSano. Upon tasting, I immediately understood why. It is richer, creamier and more decadent than cow-based caprese. It also made me want to invest in a water buffalo. Let me know if y’all have any leads for me there.

Can I just rave a little more about the pizza? Because it was everything. The crust was thin but sturdy and perfectly charred. The mozzarella di buffalo, in all of its glory, paired magnificently with just the right amount of tomato sauce. This pizza passed my picky-pizza-test with flying colors, guys. I’m talking head of the class, teacher’s pet, A+,all-the-other-pizzas-are-annoyed-but-secretly-jealous kind of passing.

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As my conversation with Jimmy continued and course after course appeared, the more deeply I fell in love with DeSano. I swooned with adoration and mouthwatering happiness over the Nutella pizza and the homemade meatballs and the pistachio cannoli. I couldn’t believe my good fortune when the sweet and spicy flavor of peppadews danced in my mouth. All the while, I felt as if I had been transported to a café in Italy, whilst drinking wine on tap, sitting on a gorgeous wooden bench and getting lost in good conversation.

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DeSano started in Nashville and has, thankfully, just found its way here to Austin. This pizzeria is so authentic that born and bred Italians often visit for comfort food. As for us Austinites? Until we figure out how to create a transportation device, this might just be our next closest thing.

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I’m already itching to take my little tribe back to my new favorite and family-friendly pizzeria. Bryn can play with pizza dough while I sip on red wine and Robby enjoys a draft Peroni. Then we’ll all feast on a Margherita pizza made with the exquisite mozzarella di bufala. That’s my kind of family tradition.