MY FOREVER LOVE // AUSTIN TEXAS
Austin, on the eastern edge of Texas Hill Country, is not only the state capital, but lays claim to being the "live music capital of the world." It’s also a center for film and home to the University of Texas and Formula 1's Circuit of the Americas raceway. Its abundant parks and lakes are popular for hiking, biking, swimming, boating and other outdoor pursuits. It's the home of the greatest tacos, especially of the breakfast variety. (tacos are my love language) Austin is also the home of The Flagship Whole Foods. This is like no other Whole Foods ever. I could spend an entire day here. They have 8.00 wine flights that I cannot stop dreaming about. The iconic grafitti makes my heart happy and all the food trailers make my taste buds dance. They are everywhere!! The queso, the BBQ (All Hail Brisket) The Kayaks,Amy's ice cream, avocado margaritas, Alamo Drafthouse, Austin City Limits, SXSW, Moto GP, Barton Springs, every little store and restaurant on South Congress.
One of my besties lives there too.. and her hammock is one of my most beloved places. That hammock and morning coffee makes this heart pitter patter. (love you Karen) Do I have your attention yet??! It's also the place I ALMOST left Tulsa for. Literally was going to grab a uhaul and just go and figure out the rest later. I was actually on my way there ... three weeks from moving and then I met my Rodge. (we know how that story goes) It's so weird to think about how different my life would be there. Would I have met Rodge anyway? I really think so!!! This one was just meant to be and there was nothing that was going to stop that. (luckyyyy me)
It really happens when you least expect it. I could not have been further from wanting to even find a partner. I had learned to be happy with just myself and that's when you truly leave that door wide open. So here I am in T-town 7 years later. Still.
I am most excited when it's time to road trip to The ATX. Miles and miles on 35 South with great music and good reads. (I am typically the passenger) And my favorite vintage cowboy boots always accompany me on my journey as well as my favorite pearl snap vintage tops, sundresses, and a beloved vintage cross-body bag. (don't forget your big sunnies too). The yoga mat comes with me. The city so inspires my practice. Everyone is incredibly active and fit and it's contagious. And a yoga class at Black Swan has to be the greatest hour on this earth. Highly highly recommend.
I typically stay at The Fabulous San Jose Hotel. A half-mile south of downtown, in Austin's authentically funky South Congress neighborhood, The San Jose perfectly fits its location: It's unpretentiously stylish, relaxed, and comfortable, and surprisingly easy on the budget, cheaper even than the big chains downtown. (lodging is just pricy in Austin. They have something going on every weekend too so book in advance.)
Once a thirties motor inn, it’s been renovated in a sort of Texas-Zen style, with bare concrete exterior walls under red tile roofs and crushed granite walkways traversing a courtyard garden planted with native vegetation. The former motel rooms and bungalows have been redesigned in a stripped-down modern style, with queen beds, sparkling white bathrooms stocked with Dr. Bronner’s peppermint soap and Malin & Goetz apothecary, writing desks with Eames side chairs, and not much else. Adore the minimalist interiors, handmade furniture, custom sheets, and kimono bathrobes! The snack kit in the hotel room is fabulous (I swear Liz knows Herdez salsa wins me over every time. I can eat that stuff with a spoon) and the hotel is dog friendly. (my spotted boys love this.) You can also reserve a bicycle. (another huge plus). Liz Lambert is an absolute goddess.... and I highly recommend this amazing article on her, The San Jose, and her other properties. I loved reading about the history of the hotel that I hold so dearly in my heart.
The pool area is fabulous. And I adore The Courtyard Lounge greatly. Beautiful greenery, fantastic cocktails and beer, (i love the cider), weekend brunch, a live DJ, and on certain nights they do tarot readings!! The poetry in the powder room is fun too.
My favorite Austin mornings are sipping iced lattes with the locals at Jo's, the coffee stand across the parking lot with outdoor seating and a front -row view of South Congress. It's the most perfect people watching spot and so many adorable doggie sightings!! Get the Iced Turbo please and thank me later!!
The "I love you so much" mural is an Austin staple that makes every pit stop bring a smile to your face no matter your mood. This story has its highs and its lows, but is as sweet as the words themselves. In 2010, local musician Amy Cook took a can of red spray paint to write a beautiful and simply scripted love letter to her partner Liz Lambert, majority owner at Jo’s. With the already high foot traffic at the location, an immediate influx of people sought out the wall, taking photos with friends and lovers alike. The site quickly went viral.
Vintage shopping for unique treasures is my absolute favorite hobby and Austin is at the top of my shopping list! No trip cannot have Feathers included. Feathers Boutique opened its doors in October of 2005 and has quickly become a favorite stop among fashionistas from around the globe.
Specializing in hand-selected vintage clothing for women, Feathers has expanded its collection to include an array of artisan jewelry as well as vintage home decor and gifts. The owners have such an eye for curating every single piece. They offered so much inspiration to me when starting my own vintage and high end designer e commerce. Here are just a few of my beloved treasures from them but trust me...there are just too many! Don't skip this on your travels. Make it happen fashion junkies.
photos above: Sunnies: vintage oversized babes straight out of the 70's / boots: vintage blue booties from the 80's and I have repaired them so many times because I can't let them go / necklace: vintage Kenneth Jay Lane butterfly ( SJP wore this piece too so I had to have it ) Pic with Lin and I: vintage Oscar de la Renta floral scarf and amazing vintage cross-body
Don't miss a trip to Waterloo Records if you are a vinyl lover. A lot of personal vinyl collection has come from here. They have a lot of the more indie artists that I cannot find anywhere else and will special order you anything your music loving heart desires!! I seriously can spend hours here!! They book the best FREE shows during SXSW too so make sure to take full advantage. I saw one of my favorite bands there ... A Sunny Day in Glasgow. I was able to meet them and get an autograph and photo opportunity! (my heart kinda exploded)
OBSESSED WITH YOU WATERLOO!
Now for the eating and the drinking ya'll ...
These are my personal faves!
Aside from Jo's Coffee previously mentioned...
Definitely get your caffeine fix at Tom's Roasting Coffee Company on South Congress. Amazing patio area and these folks love giving back to the community which is a major plus.
Brunch + Bottomless mimosas at Takoba should be a weekend ritual. Everything on the menu is divine. Give me all the queso fundido por favor! Great patio seating too!
Botticelli's ...(aka heaven) s a fun and tasty Italian Restaurant located on South Congress right across the street from Hotel San Jose. They serve fresh and delicious Italian food combining old family recipes with new, inventive ones. They have both an intimate Italian Trattoria in the front and an incredible beer garden out back. Live, local music graces the beer garden Thursday through Saturday. Full menu is available in both the front & back of the restaurant. The whole menu is divine. The wine list is even more divine!
Travel back in time to Little Barrel & Brown also on South Congress. (same owners as Boticelli's too). Good Food. Good Folks. The whole menu is exquisite and the cocktails are all delicious. (so delicious you start squinting your eyes in pics after two.)
El Meson Tequileria...I mean when In Texas...keep the tequila and salsa coming please. Amazing menu, amazing margaritas...I cannot wait to go back!!
Maudie's....My absolute favorite tex mex. Get the blueberry margarita and the Rockin' Ruthann's burrito please !!!!! I cannot go to Austin and not have this.
Lucy's Fried Chicken...Need I even say more? The menu, the cold beer, the very ATX atmosphere...One of Austin's favorite homegrown restaurants, Lucy's Fried Chicken take on comfort food classics, and fried chicken that's pretty dang perfect I am drooling!
For lunch do go get a sandwich or salad or both at Henri's. It's adorable, delicious, quiet.
Located in the same parking lot as Henri's is Lick Honest ice creams. Can I just say I had the cilantro lime goat cheese thyme and honey flavor !! Still licking my lips.
Galaxy cafe.... the migas breakfast tacos might be the best thing in the world. Delicious oatmeal too.
Salt Lick. Stubbs. Franklins.......just do them all!!!!
I do not even have photos because I cannot even wait to eat that delicious Texas BBQ.
Home Slice Pizza....they are open late...trust me you will want to do this at 1 a.m.
In the day time you can usually catch live music too... especially during SXSW ! (In crust we trust.)
For something quick..I love P. Terry's. People rave about In and Out but P. Terry's is the best! Grass fed goodness and local ingredients! And sometimes my nail polish matches their cups!
Uchi is a MUST. Tyson Cole will change your life. Happy Hour is fantastic there. The crudo and the hot rock scallops are life changing. And I adore the decor. Hands down the best sushi of my entire life!!
Uchiko ... also the brilliant Tyson Cole's ...
The same delicious sushi! An impeccable sake menu. And I will never forget the one time Mike Judge made me eat a beef tongue. I am still not sure how I feel about that.
Justine's Brasserie...Do eat all the steak and all the snails and drink all the wine while listening to their record player. You can find your pretend France here !!! SWOON.
Do cocktails at The Downtown swanky W hotel. It's one of my favorite W's in all the land.
Do catch all the live music your heart can desire at The Continental Club. This place is special. My favorite show ever was Ian Moore. Love him in those intimate settings. And if these walls could talk...well goodness I could just write a whole separate blog about mine and Karen's adventures here for so many years. Sooooooo many memories live within this space.
Okay so the finale ...
I leave you with my most beloved ATX memory .. Shooting with the ever so brilliant Todd Wolfson. He is legendary. And I am honored. Check him out here http://www.artslabormagazine.com/25-of-the-most-beautiful-austin-musicians-ever/
Have a beautiful SXSW 2016 lovers! I am with you in spirit. And dear Austin prepare yourself because I am coming for you in April and I am ready to give you the biggest smooch hello. (But please bring the cooler temps so I don't melt away!)
Here are a few things to get you SXSW ready! Ordering this shirt right NOW to satisfy my taco love language.