Category Austin Events

several weeks of celebrations

The past several weeks have been absolutely full to brim with fun work and personal events! It’s a big month all around!

We kicked everything off with the opening of the Austin Boardwalk. The private donor event was first (and it was so beautiful and perfect) and I got to wear my new Stitch Fix Sally Mixed Stripe dress in a very appropriate cocktail length/summer weather event. Add another to the list for ‘my job exceeds every and all expectations’.

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And then we followed with the public grand opening! And what a memorable day it was – bands playing, drum lines marching, aerial dancers dancing (and a partridge in a pear tree?)! My co-worker and I got this fun photo with the giant ribbon cutting scissors. This project encompasses so much to the community – connection, safety, health, beauty, progress. I’m floored that I got to play the tiniest of little pieces in it’s implementation.

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At the public opening event there was a stunning performance called East~West by Blue Lapis Light Aerial Dancers to celebrate the connections achieved through the completion of the Boardwalk trail. The underpass of IH-35 at Lady Bird Lake was made beautiful (probably for the first and maybe only time) by these talented dancers.

Blue Lapis Light Performs

We finished off that weekend by celebrating a dear friend’s wedding, which took place at the Zilker Clubhouse (check out that incredible view)! Isn’t that hanging backdrop beautiful?

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And we wrapped up the work events with a practically sold out 10th Anniversary of the Maudie’s Moonlight Margarita Run & Party. The run portion was successful and the party was beautiful, but we were unfortunately driven inside by tornado warnings and rain.

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Next up, celebrating our 5 year old… And then I am going to take a very long nap. 😉

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McKinney Falls State Park

I’m always stunned at the natural beauty in this area of central Texas. There are some many great parks in the area, just minutes away from where we live.  We ventured out to McKinney Falls State park to do a little hiking on the other day that Jason had off. It was perfect hiking with a toddler – nothing too crazy but enough tree roots and rocky terrain to keep things interesting.

The trail took some interesting twists and turns.

McKinney Falls State Park

Doing a little boardwalk detour around Old Baldy.

McKinney Falls State Park

A beautiful narrow bridge over Onion Creek.

McKinney Falls State Park

Some fascinating underwater rock formations as we got closer to the lower falls. It seriously looked like the surface of the moon on the approach – so cratered, grey and rocky. Very interesting.

McKinney Falls State Park

And we reached the lower falls!

McKinney Falls State Park

Here they are! We’ve been a little light on rain so I was just happy to see any water flowing.

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Cheese.

McKinney Falls State Park

Father and son hanging out on the edge of the falls. I stayed a little further away. Heights are not really my thing.

McKinney Falls State Park

We then hiked back to the upper falls. Pretty peaceful and quiet there.

McKinney Falls State Park

A lovely morning of hiking with some beautiful scenery. Seriously love this place.

 

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Austin staycation

Jason had a couple of vacation days at his current job but since he is starting this business, we aren’t exactly in a financial state to travel! We decided to stay around Austin since there are certainly plenty of things to do around here.

Friday morning we were getting ready to go and Jude pulled this look out. We’re working on a full sleeve of angry birds tattoos and one ended up on his belly (turns out angry birds tattoos are a great discipline motivator – yay for things that aren’t candy or electronics).

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Yes, I totally just posted a picture of my kid in his underwear with a crown. File this one away under ‘photos I can’t wait to show his first girlfriend’.

We headed down to the trail and jumped in a two person kayak with a kiddo attachment in the middle. Check out that beautiful Austin skyline in the background. I could go on and on about how much I love that we have a lake and a greenbelt trail system in the core of the urban-most area of the city . . . but I’m sure only my landscape architecture friends would appreciate that (of which, there are probably only a couple that read the blog).

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In case you didn’t realize how beautiful Austin is. . . check out this view into the hill country from the water. So beautiful.

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It was so much fun and so peaceful in the lake. I was worried that Jude was going to a) freak out, b) jump in, c) be scared, but he totally loved it. He put his hand in the water and let it drag through while we paddled. We saw no fewer than 200 turtles and several egrets and white swans. The wildlife definitely held his attention.

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Today, we are heading over to McKinney Falls State Park for a little more vacationing. I’m looking forward to seeing the falls, the giant trees and the beautiful landscapes all just about 15 minutes away from us in South Austin. Love this city.

 

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birthday staycation

I know, my birthday is in December, but this year Jason outdid himself and gave me a birthday present of friends coming to town to visit in mid May. I like getting to celebrate my birthday twice – pretty sure this needs to happen annually. As you saw in Toddler Tuesday a couple weeks ago, Jude was getting to play with his friend P, from Chicago and that meant that the rest of his family came to visit as well!

Monica and I ‘met’ long before our kiddos were born through blog-land. You may remember that Monica came to visit for a sewing retreat some time ago and that’s when we met in real life for the first time. I still can’t believe that we are such good friends in real life because of our blogs. It kinda blows my mind! And what blows my mind even more is that our families as a whole get along so well together. And it all started from blogging. Crazy. Technology can be so great.

Beth and Monica

Well, one of the things our families both appreciate is really good food. And you guys, Austin has some of the best food. I really, truly believe that. And when you’re in Texas, one of our food groups is BBQ so we had to show them Franklin’s BBQ – the best BBQ in the nation. I mean, it has to be true if Bon Appetit says it, right? 😉

Franklins BBQ

I’m a huge Uchi/Uchiko fan so I was pretty pumped that Paul Qui won Top Chef Texas – he is the executive chef of Uchiko, the best sushi restaurant in Texas. So good. I wish I could eat there every day.

Uchiko

And a visit to Austin wouldn’t be complete without tacos. . . and our favorites are Taco Deli and Torchy’s Tacos. Oh and TexMex. OK, I’ll run through the rest of the list faster now – we also ate at Phil’s Ice House, Amy’s Ice Cream, Olivia (hear me sing “kid free Mother’s day!!”), 400 Rabbits, the Elephant Room, Contigo, Midnight Cowboy, Second Bar + Kitchen AND Austin Beerworks 1st Anniversary Party. Whew. That’s a lot. But it was all so good. I like acting like a tourist in my city if it means I get to eat like this!

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And we didn’t just eat the whole time (although it kinda felt like it!), we did visit some Austin icons like Mount Bonnell, Alamo Drafthouse (the new South one), Zilker Zephyr and Playground and the All Abilities Park in Round Rock.

It was just such a good time – the kids totally occupied themselves, the parents got to relax and talk uninterrupted (who knew?) and we got to spend time deepening friendships. I’m sad that we live so far apart but so grateful for the time our families got to spend together. Best staycation and birthday ever!

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Berry Pickin'

Earlier this week we packed up and and headed out towards Marble Falls to do some berry pickin’ at Sweet Berry Farms.

Berry Pickin': Sweet Berry Farms

I’d never been berry picking before and we had just narrowly missed strawberry season. You see, strawberries don’t last long in the Texas heat. But you know what thrives in this ridiculous heat?

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Blackberries! They grow wild in the rocky medians. They climb fences. They are often thorny and unstoppable. But they are delicious. So we went to claim a pound of sun ripened sweetness. Don’t tell anyone that we ate as we picked. I mean, that’s what you’re supposed to do, right?

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I’m pretty sure Jude enjoyed himself as well.

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There’s nothing like a sun warmed blackberry picked right of the vine and popped into your mouth.

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This makes me look forward to some peach pickin’ out in Fredericksburg.

P.S. – Thanks to our good friend and current roommate, Christine, for taking pictures!

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Austin: Grand Opening of The WonderCraft

The Wondercraft is a new group of crafters that travel around Austin in their refurbished Airstream trailer, teaching classes and spreading the crafting love. Last night they had their grand opening at the Art Pad and Jason, Jude and I decided to go check it out!

A few shots of the set up in the parking lot that I took with my iPhone.

The WonderCraft Grand Opening

The WonderCraft Grand Opening

The WonderCraft Grand Opening

They had a screen printing station where you could screen print a tie. Jason picked an airstream trailer and I printed it on the tie we choose. It was my first time to screen print and it was quite fun! I would love to learn more about how to do it at home!

Airstream Trailer Tie

I bought one item (although I was tempted to buy other items, I forced myself to resist), and at $5 for these great earrings, I felt like I was getting quite a deal! Check out Gem Junkie’s Famous $5 Earrings on etsy!

$5 Earrings!

I happened to be one of the first 25 people to arrive at the Art Pad for the grand opening, so I got a door prize! And what a door prize it was. Everything was in a handmade, screenprinted tote with a tie as a handle! So cool!

The WonderCraft Door Prize Bag

It included many fantastic things; my favorites were an embroidery set from Sublime StitchingForest Friends, a Lil’ Lavender Sachet, Bourbon Bites from Blue Note Bakery, a reclaimed magnet made from security envelope lining from pomme frites, feather clip from Diamonds and Guns, vintage Japanese lucite earrings from SoCoDivka Designs (so excited about these!), earrings from deLisa designs jewelry (excited about these as well – I can’t wear the dangly earrings as frequently with a grabby baby), delicious smelling bow tie one on soap from Nepenthe’s bath time, and stationary paper from paper place.

Door Prize!

Also in my door prize was a free ticket to Shop Austin, on April 17th, put on by the Lone Star Ladies, that’s raising money for the Frontier scholarship. I’m looking forward to going to that show – it sounds like it’s going to be fun!

I also found out about Austin Creative Reuse, which is something I would like to investigate more once they are up and running. I can’t believe it’s taken so long for this to get started in Austin since there is such a vibrant crafting community here!

Good food from the Blue Star Cafeteria, great sweets from the Cupcake Bar (so much better than Hey Cupcake!), great drinks from Apothecary Wine Bar. All in all, a night well spent!

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Christmas Photos

So really, this was an accidental Christmas photo. Our friends Claire and Chance launched their new company WholeNine at the relaunch of our friend’s restaurant Obee’s a couple weeks ago and our other friends, Elizabeth and James of Vignette Photography, were there with a photo booth. Whew. Lots of friends! Anyways, we stepped into the photo booth for a moment and ended up with a photo that we decided to use for our Christmas cards.

I love it.There were a couple other cute ones, like these:

Check out the rest of the photos here, if you’re interested!

We tried to get a Christmas photo at home but ended up with this, which is still cute but rather ‘deer in the headlights’ from baby. He didn’t understand why Jason wasn’t behind the camera.

‘Wait, why am I looking at that black thing that’s blinking? Daddy’s right here!’

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AustinPost.org

I was asked to repost some of my blog posts on this cool new website called AustinPost.org. Check out my first repost!

I’ll probably be reposting a few of my favorite recipes posts on there. Any suggestions of your favorites that I’ve suggested to you guys?

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Oh Lisa.

So, I did a review of Lisa Hannigan’s debut solo CD Sea Sew awhile back, and then I found out she was going to be at South by Southwest (SXSW). And then I found out, not only is she going to be at SXSW, she was going to play a free show during lunch today.

I was very happy about this.

So, Mindy obliged my crazy request to take our lunch hour to venture downtown into the SXSW madness and try to catch Lisa in concert. And, although they moved the show from 12:35 to 12:10 (so sad!) we still got to hear a couple of songs and listen just a couple feet away from her on the sidewalk (the bar was at capacity). I love living in Austin for exactly this reason. I mean, where else can you hop over to a pub during lunch and hear a free show from a fairly well known musician?

I think I may have a little girl crush on Lisa now. She sounds exactly the same in person as she does on her CD and to me that’s the mark of a great musician. And come on, I mean, she played a blow keyboard! When was the last time you saw one of those?

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And her band played a bunch of fun other random instruments. Like the hand organ. See it with the red mushroom on it?

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What a good lunch break!

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Austin Restaurant Week!

It’s here again! March 1-4 and 8-12, Austin Restaurant Week is a good way to get out and experience three course meals at some of the restaurants that are typically too expensive for your normal budget.

Some of the standout restaurants on the list, to me, are:

  • Green Pastures – $25 per person; All of the food I have had here at special events has been outstanding. Seems like the best $25 deal!
  • Driskill Grill – $35 per person; This is a rare occasion to be able to eat at one of the most premier restaurants in Austin! Go! Don’t hesitate!
  • Parkside – $35 per person; They were recently written up in Bon Appetit as one of the best ‘Brew Pubs’ in America. I think that makes it worth trying out.
  • Paggi House – $35 per person; Don’t know much about it except that I’ve wanted to eat there for awhile.

There are other fantastic restaurants on there, some of which I’ve reviewed, but I think these four are new to the list.

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