travel notes

Archive for June, 2011|Monthly archive page

Weekend adventuring

In Austin, downtown, Faith, Food, Music, Outdoors, Texas, Town Lake, Traditions, Travel, Venues on June 27, 2011 at 7:45 pm

Looking to spend a weekend away in Austin, or just get out and explore the city? Hopefully my weekend highlights will help you plan your next adventure.

Friday evening: 

Get your groove on at a live show by The Matchmaker Band: a mo-town cover band, funky, great for dancing! 

Saturday morning: 

Stroll the Farmer’s Market on 5th and Guadalupe (9 am – 1 pm).  I bought an odd-shaped heirloom tomato, and drank a mango hibiscus iced tea. I sampled locally made Kombucha Ginger drink – I love love love Kombucha! – and this small batch was just as good as any of the bigger companies I’ve tasted. Also nibbled on yummy goat cheese from Swede Farm Artisanal Goat Dairy. 

Visit some of the downtown shops such as Finch (appropriately featured on Apartment Therapy’s blog).

 Saturday afternoon: 

Stroll around Town Lake

Grab a bite at Whole Foods Market 


Saturday evening: 

See a movie at The Alamo Draft House– one of the coolest things in Austin. You order drink and food by candlelight, and enjoy a scrumptious meal while watching a movie. This is a must-do!

Sunday morning: 

Visit Austin Stone Community Church

 Have brunch at Halcyon on 4th and Lavaca St.  A hip little spot for coffee by day or wine by night. I recommend the spinach, egg, and mushroom crepe – delicious and light! And one of the better cups of coffee I’ve had in a while.

Sunday afternoon: 

Breathe, smile, be thankful 


Thursday Therapy Chilean Style

In Uncategorized on June 24, 2011 at 9:32 pm

You know those networking events where you’re bored of small talk after the first five minutes and giving the bartender a nod to pour you another? Last night was no such thing!

I arrived at Le Sombra Bar & Grill promptly at 6 p.m. and had to pull myself away three hours later. It was the launch of Austin’s Thursday Therapy, a casual networking event for wedding planning industry professionals. I was invited by Kelly Simants who started it back in Dallas and is now taking it nation wide. She is originally from Seattle, so it was love at first sight. I met so many other  amazing people (mostly photographers) in the industry. I was once again humbled by how welcoming and affirming Austin folk are of my decision to up and move to a new place.

A note about La Sombra: the plantain cakes were yummy, as well as these little fried balls of dough sandwiching black beans and pulled pork on top. The $5 cocktail of the night was agave and guava topped with a splash of champagne. Really unique, not too sweet, refreshing! Live classical guitar music, a delightful little patio with umbrellas, and tropical foliage really did make me feel like I was in Chile.

Armonia di Spirito, Driftwood TX

In Uncategorized on June 23, 2011 at 6:10 pm

I took a drive out to Driftwood, Texas to visit a new event venue, Armonia di Spirito. And boy was it worth it! Marcia, the owner, is so gracious, and I can hardly wait to plan events here in the future.

Armonia di Spirito photo gallery

It is a very upscale place, so if you’re wanting luxurious and intimate, this is ideal. And yet, located in the Texas hill country, with the best barbeque joint (Saltlick) literally around the corner available for catering, it would make for a great ranch style wedding as well.

Have an upcoming event? I would be happy to give you a tour of the venue. 

Daily discovery 3: Blues on the Green

In Uncategorized on June 23, 2011 at 5:04 am

I almost missed the day’s greatest discovery. Hot, hungry, sweaty, stuck in traffic, I realized I was across the country from home, family, and many people I love, all symptoms leading to a grouchy, teary meltdown. I nearly just called it a day and drove home. But didn’t.

So happy I went through with the evening plans. I discovered:

 BLUES ON THE GREEN.  Free summer concert series at Zilker Park.

Every other wednesday, local musicians play on a big stage, the city skyscrapers light up behind them as the sun sets, and people sprawl their picnic blankets across the lawn for what seems a mile, with their plastic wine and beer glasses. Some people dance, some twirl glow-in-the-dark hula hoops, some people are throwing frisbees.

Austin is absolutely the most fantastic city in the world. I heard someone describe Austin-ians as “laid-back, good-hearted” people. I think this sums them up nicely. I am inspired by how they live life having FUN and they inspire me to have fun alongside of them.  While so much of the world is trying to exemplify a cool image, Austin folks are too busy having a good time, and in doing so, they are nonchalantly, decidedly cool.



Hello, world.

In Uncategorized on June 23, 2011 at 4:45 am

Hello, World. What will we discover today?

In lieu of conscious stweardship, I reminded myself  I do not have to try every restaurant in Austin  the first couple weeks. And believe me, I want to! Instead for lunch I grilled some chicken with my (locally made) Stubbs BBQ sauce atop mixed greens, strawberries, feta cheese, and blush wine vinagrette. Yum!

(Side note: Stubbs is an awesome Texan BBQ joint on Red River – old stone building restaurant with a concert venue below, so you can chow down on brisket and ribs and hear some great musicians. Last week I heard Ponderosa from Atlanta, and Eagle Murray Pritchard band, both really good.

After experiencing my first Texas storm, (yep, the lightning, rain, and thunder really is bigger here!), I was thankful for a little cooler morning to run. I am excited to see what the day will bring.

It’s good to be a girl

In Uncategorized on June 21, 2011 at 4:05 am

Took a little trip to The Domain this evening, the outside high-end shopping mall, and made some very happy discoveries.

Discovery no. 1: Southwest fabrics! I finally have a reason to wear them. As I am all about color this summer, these tops will give a nice pop with a skirt or just jean shorts: coral Navajo, black/taupe edgy lines, and fresh mint green pyramids.

Discovery no. 2: Madewell. Am I completely behind the times and revealing my “Spokaneitis?” It’s a sister store of J-Crew, and they incorporate vintage items into their aesthetics and décor such as old food scales, sewing machines, soap jars, suitcases, and old-timer cameras. The clean lines and stripes resemble J, but it’s much more of a boutique feel. They have an event on Thursday night to benefit the Art House. I promise lots of photos!

40 days of discovering Austin

In Austin, downtown, Food, Outdoors, Town Lake on June 20, 2011 at 8:54 pm

I woke up today and realized I have 40 days left of house-sitting. The place I am staying is in North Austin, which is quite a few miles from the downtown “scene.” So, to turn challenge into opportunity, I will be posting a daily discovery of Austin to encourage myself to get out and explore.

discovery no. 1: Royal Blue Grocery. The one on 6th and Congress. I really can’t describe how happy this quaint mercantile made my soul. I was lost in the isles of prettily packaged organics and homemade Jeni’s ice cream, boasting flavors such as Ugandan Vanilla Bean and Brown Sugar Almond Brittle.

“how much?” I asked the guy with the long hair, tattered corduroy shorts, flip-flops, who was, yes, dipping pita chips into hummus while working.

“$11.95.” almost apologetically. My eyes must have grown large. “but it’s worth it.” He assured me. Hmmm, who knew ice cream would be an item on my to-save-for list? In the meantime, I will just dream about the raspberry champagne sorbet. Sigh…

Requirements to work here: must wear harry potter glasses, have at least one subtle tattoo, and own a pair of robin-blue vintage earrings.

(bonus) discovery: Kayaking on Town Lake. I went to The Rowing Dock off Barton Springs and for $10 could paddle around in the sunshine, enjoying the greenery of West Texas on one side, and the sight of downtown on the other. Truly fantastic.

Flying South; All Things Austin

In Food, Mexican food, Music, New York, Tacos, Texas, Travel, Venues on June 19, 2011 at 1:14 am

Prepare thyself! This blog recently took a very distinctly Southern direction.  Audaciously, unashamedly, I will be travelling/ exploring/ reviewing all things AUSTIN for a while.

With it being the Live Music Capital of the World, and bearing the slogan: “Keep Austin Weird,” not to mention delicious food trucks and hipsters on every corner, I’m convinced there’s more than enough to keep things from ever getting vanilla around here.

I’ve been here officially for one week. Here are (just a few)of the spots I’ve stumbled upon:

Torchy’s Damn Good Tacos(a food truck in the South Austin Trailer Park Eatery) – I got the taco of the month and it was d—- good! Blackened salmon with black bean, red pepper, and corn salsa. And a poco chico. So refreshing!

Guerro’s Taco Bar  – located on South Congress, also known as SoCo (not to be confused with SoHo in New York!) Don’t  miss their shrimp tacos on whole wheat tortilla’s. And take advantage of their salsa bar! I’m usually not a green salsa gal, but theirs is a secret recipe I can eat by the spoonful.

Barton Springs Pool– the local watering hole – Once I got over the fact that this 65 degree natural pool fed springs was not an isolated, idyliic spot for musing with my journal, I enjoyed the flocks of people for sheer, unabashed people watching. This is where the hippies come. Bring your gypsie swim wrap and you’ll fit in just fine.

La Palomas – I got invited to an event at this beautiful, classic Texan events venue (Thank you Kevin @ Brass Tacks events!) Sitting atop a hill in Lake Travis County, it was stunning with the sun setting on the open barn floor. If you’re getting married soon, I would seriously consider this place. Gorgeous! And the ladies who live here and run the place are darling, hospitable souls.

Clive’s– a few incredibly nice people I met at La Palomas took me out to this little joint – and it is a definite favorite already. Stripped wood walls and string-lit patio give it a rustic barn feel. But the décor of white leather chairs is a surprising contrast and takes the classiness up a notch.

Palm Door Events – boring on the outside. Urban oasis on the inside. Attended an art show here.  It’s a new venue – I would definitely check it out.

The Driskill Hotel  – I absolutely love this place! It’s proof that every real city has a gorgeous old hotel – this is on 6th Avenue – a historic gem, and also an elegant offering amidst the dives (albeit fun dives) on 6th. The hibiscus Brasilieus Batini is a legendary mixed cocktail with ginger and hibiscus, and the crab salad sliders are um, scrumptious.  Live music on Thursdays, and half off drinks and apps 5:30-7:30 daily!

Sadly, I am sitting in a very, very vanilla Starbucks as I write this. Cliché but air-conditioned, so definitely worth it.  And a good resting place to reflect on being 25, a new girl in the city, where I’ve come from, and where I’m going. But more on that another time.