visiting austin

By January 22, 2015 Travel

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Austin, Texas. Where the food trucks are aplenty and the residents are obsessed with living there. My girlfriend and I arrived in the city Sunday afternoon and immediately got ourselves into the Texas getaway mood with chips + guacamole, margaritas, and the most indulgent Tex Mex brunch we could find. In our 3 nights / 4 days we ate well, snapped lots of pics, sipped fresh craft cocktails and tasty smoothies, and met countless friendly folks. We packed so much into our few days there that I kept a little travel diary to remember it all. While there were loads of highly recommended spots we didn’t get to hit – here’s what we did do, along with what we’d suggest for others visiting the Texas town!

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Sunday:
2 pm – Checked into the Austin Motel. It’s right in the fun South Congress neighborhood. Almost everything we wanted to see / do was within a few blocks. Kitchy themed rooms (we ended up with the Great Wall of China room!) and while the whole place was pretty dated, it was in a super fun area and had tons of character – we didn’t want a big chain hotel downtown that you’d find in any other big city!

2:30 – Late brunch at Guero’s Taco Bar. We ordered guac and both got the chilaquiles (the tastiest cheesy mess of tortilla strips topped with beans, fried eggs, salsa, avocado, and ranchero) + margaritas and a mayahuel (fresh squeezed grapefruit juice + tequila). We loved sitting outside right on South Congress Street to enjoy this big meal and take in some great people watching. They don’t have the tagline ‘Keep Austin weird’ for nothing!

3:30 – Wandered through the shops along South Congress. Uncommon Objects was an odd / cool / worth-seeing shop, Service was a neat mens store with great lines, and Co-Star had some of my favorite womens lines + a vintage designer section in the back. Also a handful of sweet vintage shops along this street.

7 pm – Took about a 15 minute walk downtown to 6th St. We checked out the Rattle Inn where I had a really yummy prickly pear cocktail, then to Dogwood (raondom fact – it is owned by former Bachelor contestant Brad Womack), and J Blacks for a craft cocktail and a late night margarita pizza. Sipped on a nightcap while taking in some live music at the Continental – it was a light crowd that night but was a fun spot with a few couples waltzing around the dance floor.

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Monday:
9 am – Walked across the street from where we were staying to the Austin Juice truck. Oh man oh man. It was just too good. My friend and I both got the ‘Chocolate Freak’ – it was just so delicious and kept us full for hours. We wandered around more of the South Congress area and stopped for a late morning cafe au lait at Jo’s. The iconic Austin ‘I love you so much’ is on the side of it, and it’s literally next door to our hotel. It’s fun to watch all types of people stand in line to get their pic in front of this sign – couples, parents with babies, goofy kids and their cute dogs.

11 am – Headed back to the downtown area around 2nd Street to poke around some boutiques.

1 pm – Stopped at La Condesa for a light bite. We ordered a guacamole tasting plate and I had a fresh house-made horchata to drink.

2:30 pm – Enjoyed the sunshine and mid-seventies temps relaxing at our pool.

5:30 pm – Met up with a new Austin resident / girlfriend from home at La Perla for a happy hour glass of wine + roasted brussels sprouts and a wedge salad loaded with fresh crab. They have a big yet quaint patio with darling lights hanging overhead.

7 pm – Hopped in the permanent existing line outside of Amy’s for their famous ice cream. I had coconut but my 2 friends both got the Mexican Vanilla – which was by far the best choice.

 

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Tuesday:
9 am – Back to the Austin Juice truck for another morning smoothie. I tried the ‘Coco burning love’ in a bowl, so it was topped with granola + fresh fruit. We spent the morning driving around some fun areas and checking out apartments for my girlfriend who is planning to move to Austin.

11:30 am – Stopped at Radio Coffee and Beer for a caffeine break. They had a tasty looking taco truck parked outside and kombucha on tap but I stuck with my almond milk cafe au lait, enjoying it from their enormous outdoor patio.

12:30 pm – Spent the afternoon on Lady Bird Lake, on ridiculously fun and goofy looking water bikes. It was a cool way to see the city from a different angle, and it’s situated right between South Congress and downtown.

4 pm – Happy hour at Lucky Robot. We sat outside on the patio and had the crunchy atomic salmon roll and the hama hama roll (SO GOOD!), along with a thai basil lemon drop + peach blossom breeze cocktails.

7 pm – Grabbed a cranberry mule on Rainey Street – a darling area full of bars housed inside old bungalows. Played several rounds of BINGO with a group of fun locals.

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Wednesday:
8 am – Hung out sipping coffee on the outdoor patio at Jo’s while my friend met with a potential employer. They serve my favorite – Stumptown Coffee – and it was another great people / dog watching spot.

10 am – Mexican breakfast at Curra’s Grill. Apparently they’re known for their ‘avocado margaritas’ but after our past few gluttonous days, we just couldn’t do it! Next time!

11 am – Checked out a few more shops – Stag, By George, Sunroom, and Kickpleat. They were all lovely boutiques full of beautiful things – it was probably a good thing I only came with a carry on bag and didn’t have much room to spare!

12:30 pm – Strolled around Hope Outdoor Gallery – a graffiti park that’s an explosion of color + messages – some hidden and some quite loud. You could stare around at all of it for hours and would continue to notice new things. You wouldn’t even have to appreciate art to enjoy seeing this – it’s truly amazing in person.

1:30 pm – Snapped a pic in front of the iconic ‘Greetings from Austin‘ mural and grabbed a coconut chai from the Macaroon spot next door.

2:30 pm – Checked out the area around University of Texas campus and drove by the capital – which I knew would be big but it was just massive – really a gorgeous, impressive building.

4 pm – Made our way back to the airport to head home. Ready for a little post-Austin detox but already looking forward to my next visit to the happy / weird / friendly / fun city!

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5 favorites

By January 17, 2015 Life

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I’m packing up and heading to Austin, Texas this weekend for a girls getaway with one of my best friends. So for this weeks ‘5 favorites’ it seemed appropriate to cover my top 5 must-haves to take with me while traveling. While there’s the obvious ones I’m not going to mention (toothbrush, deodorant, and for me – eyelash curler) – I can otherwise pack pretty light these days, no matter where I’m going or what I’m doing.

1. You know all those little samples you get at the makeup counter or in your Birchbox? I throw them all into a basket in my bathroom. Then instead of packing small bottles of shampoo, conditioner, face lotion, face wash, etc, I throw a few in my bag when traveling. You’re guaranteed to not have a mess in your bag due to bottles bursting open and spilling, and once you use them while traveling you just throw it away and don’t have to worry about re-packing them.

2. Black tee. This is the most versatile thing you can travel with. If needed – you can wear it to travel in, dress it up with jewelry and make it night-out appropriate, or even wear it to sleep in!

3. Small storage bags. I usually throw a baggie, plastic grocery sack, and a shoe bag or jewelry bag in my luggage. They’re nice to help store / separate items while traveling, can be used to prevent dirty soles of shoes from getting on the rest of your things, or to throw wet swimsuits / flip flops in.

4. Biosilk. I’ve been obsessed with the smell of this for years, and if I need to pack light for a quick getaway – for me, this is a must. I use it for everything – from smoothing a bit into my hair while wet, to using as an all over body lotion to keep my skin soft, and I’ve even used it on my face when I didn’t have any facial moisturizer on hand. It’s the best smelling multi-tasker out there.

5. So this one may seem silly, but if you’re truly trying to pack light, I could forego all makeup and just pack my eyelash curler/mascara, and a red lip gloss. It’s the quickest way to change up your look without doing much at all. I love this one and this one.

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checked cape

By January 14, 2015 Style

Cape3 {this indian summer cape, j brand jeans, ilse jacobsen boots, gap mittens (similar), fur scarf (similar here)}

After living through 30 years of bad winters, you’d think I’d be used to them by now. But year after year I continue to be surprised by how freezing cold it actually gets outside. A solid pair of winter boots gets me through the bad weather without worry of ruining my favorite go-to pairs, so while I love these Ilse Jacobsen boots, I’m really wanting to add a pair of classic LL Bean boots to my closet.

I’m looking forward to escaping the chill this weekend with a trip down south to Austin, Texas. I’ve never been but have always heard the best things about the city. Would love any recommendations of favorite spots to shop, eat, drink, and check out! I’m excited to leave the snow boots behind for a little bit of sunshine.

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Photography by Justin Meyer

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all in place – jewelry

By January 12, 2015 Home, Life

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This is part 1 of 2 organizing posts over the next week in collaboration with Marshalls where I’ll be sharing how I’m keeping up on my New Years resolution on living with less stuff and clutter. This past weekend I tackled a major area of excess in my home – my jewelry! After first doing an inventory of everything I had – aye aye aye – I ruthlessly purged a lot and put a load in the ‘to donate’ box. I had far too many bangles I never wore anymore, necklaces that just weren’t my style these days, and pieces with small broken parts that I’d resolved to get fixed for the past year.

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After paring it all down, I evaluated what I had left to determine what sort of organization made sense before trekking to Marshalls. There I found loads of simple acrylic boxes, pretty trays, lovely mirrored drawers and more that was perfect for the way I wanted to store some of my most treasured jewelry. I carefully put all my favorite pieces into a space they belong in, and love the way it turned out.

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Up next – I need to get my necklaces organized but on a bigger scale I’ve got my eye on tackling my kitchen pantry as the next area to get organized. Check back soon for part 2 of my home refresh with Marshalls.

*Thank you to Marshalls for sponsoring this Project Fab post.

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