Stay-cation

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The past 10 days have been jam packed with activities. We had two waves of house guests as well as logging in a good amount of hours with friends. Due to the schedules that Adam and I both keep these days, it was a bit outside of our norm and made it feel as though we were the ones on vacation! This also explains my absence from blogging for the past week…when I did get into the studio it was pretty quick and focused on getting orders out the door. I spent more time doing laundry (so many sheets, blankets and towels!) than I did in the studio last week, ha! I oddly took very few photos though all of the fun, and the majority of the photos that I snapped were with my sister Gillian when she was here as I very rarely see her. Regardless, I decided to collect all of my favorite moments right here as one of the best parts about blogging is that you are keeping a record of your life, and I love looking back at past events. So here is our July, 2015 impromptu Stay-cation

Barton Springs
At Barton Springs Pool
At Barton Springs Pool
Sister antics at dinner
Sister antics at dinner
One of many, many wonderful meals out on the town
One of many, many wonderful meals out on the town
Aggressive sister love in 2011 (top) and 2015 (bottom)
Aggressive sister love in 2011 (top) and 2015 (bottom)

We ate all the things, saw all the places, listened to live music, went dancing, ate more of the things, went new phone shopping (4 of us have new phones now, yay!), played board games and ate some more things. In the wake of all of this merriment, I’m a bit exhausted, bloated from eating all the things, and some how haven’t had time to wash my hair in three days, but I had such a fun time!

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Playing hooky

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We’re in the last few days of June, summer is officially here and it’s hot in Texas. It’s also about to be my slowest month of the year with Manic Trout. So when Adam begged that at 4pm today, I take a break for a few hours and go to Twin Falls, which part of the Green Belt here in Austin, I didn’t have to think that hard about it. It’s been rare that he has had a sunny day off with all the rain we’ve been having, so we both jumped at the chance to go for a swim with friends.  I’m so happy we did as it was a beautiful hike to the falls and back, the water was perfect, it wasn’t too crowded and thanks to all that rain, both little falls were flowing beautifully!

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Deep Thoughts From The Past Week

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At Lenoir in Austin, TX

1. Peeping through windows in fences is fun! It also prompts lots of poses…I should really peep though more fence windows.

2. I really like having short hair in theory. But in practice, I didn’t like it 90% of the time as for me it was much more high maintenance than really long hair is. I think this is due to my fine curly hair…it need attention to look good short. 

3. The bond that you have with people you attended boarding school with is like no other.

4. Volunteering does for my heart what exercise does for my head. I have been figuring out what to do next for too long since stepping down from my last board position and I didn’t realize how much I missed it until I finally started again. Service is good for the soul.

5. Having two dogs in bed with you is not conducive to a solid nights sleep. I don’t think I’ve had one night of uninterrupted sleep since Mora moved in. And its almost always Faye who is disruptive.

6. Which brings me to my next deep thought, that Rat Terriers are incredibly food motivated and get worse when there are multiple of them. Are they egging each other on?

7. I’m pretty sure that I only eat fro-yo as an excuse to eat candy. Which by the way, I have been really good about besides a handful of fro yo splurges in the last 6 weeks!

8. People in the South, and Texas is included in this, move slow on many levels. Shipping seems to be included in this. There is no sense of urgency here!

9. Running in 100 degree temps is brutal, but it’s also a little extra satisfying when you’re done and you know you survived it.

10. This one is more of a question…is it necessary to drink water in the middle of a 40 minute run when it is 90-95 degrees out? Somedays I’m ok, but other days I think that I should have one of those little water bottle belts when it’s this hot. I would prefer not to have to wear one or carry water though, so if I’m fine not having water until after I’d like to wait.

 

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Deep thoughts

Mammatus Clouds over South Austin, May 25, 2015
Mammatus Clouds over South Austin, May 25, 2015

1. The deepest thought recently is still about what I do here on this blog. I’m getting there…but I still think about it more than I write here, obviously.

2. I have lived in this house for almost 2 years. The entire time, there has been a whole foods less than 5 miles away and I never went in it. Last week I remembered that you can buy prepared food there. Now I have been there 3 times in less than one week.

3. You know in instagram, when you click on the search and select photos…well tonight my feed was almost all photos of watermelon. What is that all about??

4. Dealing with major storms like tornado warnings, severe thunderstorms and flash floods is exhausting.

5. The rare and elusive Mammatus clouds were over head in Austin Monday evening. It was for some reason really bright in our part of the sky though so they were kind of lame when I took a photo. You can see my photo above and then google “mammatus clouds austin” see how awesome they were. Unbelievably gorgeous and maybe worth all the crazy weather? Maybe not.

6. When glass windows explode into your garage shards of it get everywhere. In every single nook and cranny. It took me three days just to get it all off of my car, and I still saw the glimmer of a tiny piece on my windshield when I was speeding to whole foods earlier.

7. As much as my generation still gets a lot of nosey smack talked about women not having kids, especially when they opt to marry, its pretty crazy how many of my peers are in the same life path as compared to our mothers generation. (This has been a big and emotional topic on my facebook page and I will one day write about it here, just not yet).

8. Mammatus is one of those words that looses all meaning when you say it over and over. Like asparagus.

9. I broke my own rule and have been trying to adapt the deliciousness of instant pudding to dairy free. I typically try and avoid the fake version of foods as its just never the same (see turkey bacon or non dairy cheese). After a week of trying different recipes and ways to make it, I have finally come to accept that it sucks unless its made the right way. Never eat the fake version!

10. My youngest sister texted me two sentences a few weeks ago: “If you wrote a book, I’d read it. Just sayin :)” She is not the first person to tell me that…all signs point in the direction of writing here more often…will it happen is the question.

 

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Guy food

A feast of meat at La Barbecue
A feast of meat at La Barbecue

Next week Adam is headed off to begin training for his new job and will be in Miami for 2 months followed by a month in Vegas. If it were anyone else, they would be sent to North Dakota or something, but no, Adam will be in fabulous locations where he can golf on weekends. This is his last week at his current job so we’ll have a few days to have a few romantic dinners and true date nights before he goes, but this week seems to be a celebration of all of his favorite foods. I have not been participating in all of these meals, but due to his excitement over it, I joined him for pizza again on Monday and we’re about to grill burgers, which I eat sans bun and with a side of spinach. We’ve had sushi (sashimi for me) at Piranha, barbecue at La Barbecue, Pizza at Home Slice and Adam has had tacos from the truck down the street, P. Terry’s burgers and who knows what else when he’s been out and about. I don’t think he has realized that he’s working his way through his favorite meals, but one by one, he has been requesting them! What are your favorite foods that you would load up on knowing you’d not have them for three months?

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We celebrated the end of summer with tacos and ping pong.

Ping Pong at South Austin Trailer Park & Eatery

This past Sunday, I was responsible for choosing the lunch for visiting family. There would be at least 10-16 of us, it was their last day in Texas and they were meeting up with us after walking around on South Congress. I decided that as they had not yet enjoyed the pleasure of dining at a food truck in Austin this trip, or had tacos for that matter, that the South Austin Trailer Park & Eatery was the place to go. My beloved Torchy’s Tacos are there, as well as shaded tables and ping pong for Adam and the boys when they become restless during the pre eating family catch up chit chat that was unavoidable with a group of female cousins.

It was the perfect way to celebrate the end of summer, although even with the shade, the 100+ degree temps left us all headed for a cool swim or a nap after we dispersed.  That however is just as much a part of an Austin summer as anything else!

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Top 10 things that I say now that I’m a Texan

With Willie Nelson in Austin
Posing with Willie…something I thought I’d never DO before I moved here! (w/Thea 2012)

To celebrate three years living in Austin, Texas, I have made a list of how it has influenced the things I say, some of which make me laugh they seem so foreign coming out of my mouth!

1. “Oh thank goodness, its cooled down!” – Said while seeing that the temps would only reach 95 that day.

2. “I’ll just grab a taco from a truck on the way there” – because you can do this anywhere in Austin, and they’re all delicious.

3. “Is that [restaurant, house, store, etc] North? Then I can meet you there between 1pm and 3pm or after 8pm.” – Traffic is horrendous in Austin. If you live South, it will impossible to go North during peak times, i.e. 7-9am, 12-1pm or 3-7pm and vice versa. Its a problem but at least we know it.

4. “We can’t plan on having our [event, show, wedding, anything happening any where in the vicinity of campus] that weekend, there’s a home game.” – Meaning UT football. Austin is many things and one of those many things is a Texas college town. Football is like nothing I have ever seen here in Texas, high schools have huge stadiums. Its unreal.

5. “It’s raining, so at least there will be no traffic” – Native Texans do not drive in the rain, ever.

6. “We’re going to [insert any of 20 super popular eateries where no reservations are taken or you have to stand in an hour long line]? Well, I better eat a snack first” – I will stand in line for over an hour any day for La Barbecue though, its worth it. Speaking of which, I also now classify barbecue places by the meat they specialize in.

7. “This rest stop doubles as a Tornado evacuation shelter” – This is for real, the first time I saw one of the signs, I’ll admit I was freaked out. Texas is tornado country and the thunderstorms can quickly escalate, as I recently experienced thanks to the alert piercing through my phone. There are also Tornado sirens in Texas, although I don’t think Austin has them, this fact alone freaks me out. I’m still not completely comfortable talking about tornados, but I’m getting used it. I am also still ticked off by the 2 four inch divots in my car hood thanks to hail which is common in summer storms.

8. “I’ll most likely just wear a dress and cowboy boots” – Not only did I not own cowboy boots before I moved here, but I certainly would not have worn them with dresses. Now this combo is my winter staple.

9. “I’m a Texan.” – I’m pretty sure that as the term “Native Texan” exists, transplants are allowed to call themselves Texans.

10. “Babe, will you get the Gecko out of the house?” – Because they often zoom inside, as do palm bugs, which FYI are huge cockroaches that yes, do fly!! Fortunately, in our house, one of us is in charge of large insect removal (crickets are also a huge problem in October!) and the other reptilian. This is fortunate as reptiles freak me out and Adam is afraid of bugs. But seriously, I am very calm about massive cockroaches when then run in from the porch…that took some getting used to!

The one thing I don’t say? “Y’all”. I still use “you guys” which instantly gives away that I’m a Yankee (which I also never say). Thanks for giving me a broader vocabulary Texas, I love living here!

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The best Barbecue in Austin

Le Barbecue, Austin TX

As I live in the city that everyone is currently obsessed with, I am often asked a lot of things about living in Austin. One of the most asked questions is where to get the best barbecue. This is a valid question as Austin has such incredible options in this category and that the top 5 places constantly appear on the food network, shows like Jimmy Kimmel and are frequented by celebrities, famous chefs and even Obama on his last trip through town. Fun fact, Obama is the only person who has ever been allowed to cut the line at Franklins. Anyway, I personally, hold my allegiance to La Barbecue.

Le Barbecue, Austin TX
Austin is an incredibly dog friendly city and there are often furry friends in line.

Since I was first introduced to this amazingness by my fellow foodie friend Matt, they have relocated three times. As La Barbecue is a food truck, this is not all that big of a deal and I have happily followed it to every location. Their newest home is off of E. Cesar Chavez near 35 and they have joined Hey Cupcake, Garbos, Ms P’s Electric Cock, Fishey Bizness and fyi in the Good Life Food Park. Word on the street is that La Barbecue was wooed with the promise of the space to add two additional pits to keep up with their growing popularity and I have to admit that today the line did seem to move a little faster and the food last a little longer than it has in past visits.

Le Barbecue, Austin TX
The kiddie pool gives you the option to take a much needed break from the 100+ temps while waiting on line

As always, the free kegs on weekends were flowing freely and even though I was sipping my travel coffee, the beer was making it easier than ever to make new friends and chat away the wait. The live band playing off to the side and the aroma of slow cooked in meat in the air kept smiles on our faces and thank fully only the beef ribs were sold out by the time we made it to the front of the line. The truck opens at 11am and it not uncommon for everything to be sold out within a few hours. I have arrived at 1pm on a saturday to be greeted with the sorry folks, all sold out for today sign already up.

Le Barbecue, Austin TX

There were three of us dining today and we shared generous portions of brisket, pork ribs, smoked turkey, hot guts sausage and buttermilk bacon potato salad. We added sides of bread (well, not me), pickles and onions and what a feast it was. I am still drooling over the happy memories of that brisket…and the sausage…and the ribs…oh its all amazing, who am I kidding! If you are one of the lucky ones to live here, or if you just plan on a visit, I highly recommend that La Barbecue is on your list of must eat at places, just make sure you’re in line by 11:30 at the latest!

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Jury Duty

 Texas Capitol building in Austin

Ah, those two dreaded words. I have been dreading jury duty since the day I received the letter 2 months ago. As the week approached I began having daily panic attacks about it occurring the week that both the Spring Collection was due to debut and that I was starting with a second showroom. This basically meant that my normal work days would escalate to pretty crazy, and the idea that I would possibly have to be sitting in a court room for eight of them made me freak out. Yesterday I was so stressed that I was basically a seething mess.

My blood pressure escalated with this mornings traffic which seemed to be even worse than the normal rush hour horrific-ness of Austin. When I was stuck on on the S 1st bridge for 20 minutes I began experiencing such a high level of both road rage and dread that I would be late that I worried I was going to pass out. I also knew going into it that the parking would be hell, but I actually found a spot only a few blocks away and I ended up arriving just a couple of minutes late. There was some sort of delay in the selection process so it didn’t matter at all and I calmed down and settled into my book for what I knew would be a long day of sitting.

Within the hour, we were all called into the court room and the judge informed us that the good news was that the trial due for today had two witnesses not show up and therefore had to be issued a continuance. This meant that we had fulfilled our duty and were dismissed. The bad news, in his opinion was that it was a murder trial and those are the most interesting to be on a jury for.  He then gave a rather lovely speech thanking us for showing up and performing or civic duties and off we went.

I got back to my car and now that my panic was over, realized I parked right right in front of the capitol building. I gazed at it for a few moments, snapped this photo and headed off to a last minute lunch with Adam at Bouldin Creek where I enjoyed a basil grilled cheese and my incredible luck.

 

 

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Snow day, Texas style

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“Snow”

We had a snow day in Austin, TX today. No joke, the entire city was shut down for the day even though precipitation was over by 7am. All government offices were officially closed and most businesses followed suit. People were told to stay home and not to drive at all. Those of us who are transplants from colder regions all just shook our heads and laughed as the photo above is of our back porch during the height of the storm at 2am last night. In defense of Austin, it was mainly ice and the roads were pretty bad, but in all seriousness, come on now Texas.

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