Archive for the ‘Austin’ Category

The Blathering

Ok. So, I figured I’d better get on this before it’s irrelevant. And to be honest, I started twice last night, gave it up for the night and finally am finishing this morning. I’m not sure I’ll do the whole weekend justice, but I’ll give it my best go. 

I haven’t talked much here about why I did the accent vlog post or the 13 things, but this past weekend, along with almost 50 other women bloggers, I was in Austin for The Blathering. It’s not a conference, but more of a weekend long meet and greet. And it was awesome!

Taylor was worried I’d show up and there would be a bunch of 50 year old perverts. Other people’s husbands thought it was going to be a bunch of crazy cat ladies. But it was completely legit. And the bitch/drama potential is high with 50 women, but it wasn’t like that at all.

A lot of the attendees have been talking about finding their people. And I completely agree. I didn’t know anyone else who was attending, other than perhaps a few blog post comments over the past few years and my recent joining of Twitter (which was almost exclusively done so a few people would know who I was before I showed up) and was thankful to find my people in a small group I met at the hotel before the shindig started. I’m so happy to have met and spent most of the weekend hanging with Kelly, Tara, Kate, Stephanie, Sarah, Julie, Becky, Becca and Linnea. (I hope I haven’t missed anyone…if I did, please know it wasn’t intentional!)

The weekend was semi-planned, with the perfect amounts of organized events and free time. The Organizers did a fabulous job! I mingled with everyone on Friday at the opening BBQ dinner. I was a little excited to meet Emily and Jonna,  whose blogs I’ve read for a couple years, but am certainly not a regular commenter on either. They were both super nice and very friendly. I also met Regan, and am pretty sure I came off as a bit strange, but I really wanted to meet her since she’s good friends with Kristin, who basically talked me into going but then was unable to attend. (I had such a great time, I can’t possibly hold it against her.) During free time during the day on Saturday our small group went to brunch at Magnolia Cafe together and then hung out on South Congress. Dinner on Saturday night at Z’Tejas was a hit and I was super lucky to sit by Becky so we could each try half of the two dessert choices. I said a few goodbyes at breakfast on Sunday morning, but for the most part slipped out the door to avoid too much awkwardness.

I feel a little sappy saying this,  but I was pretty sad leaving Austin and my new in real life friends. At least we can keep up on Twitter and through our blogs, but it’s just not the same as hanging out in Room 204 of the Hyatt Place until after midnight. There probably won’t be any #theblatheringhooker sightings. I can still app people, but not to arrange brunch plans. And making fun of horrible clothes at the thrift shop just isn’t as fun with my husband.

Everyone I met was so genuinely wonderful, and I wish there would have been more time to talk with everyone more. But I can’t wrap this up without a special shout out for Becca and Becky with whom I shared the most laugh out loud moments and inside jokes to carry us until the next time we meet. 

And for your viewing pleasure, a few pics I ripped off from Becca and Becky’s blogs since I didn’t take very many pictures myself. And I certainly haven’t uploaded any of them yet.

Becca and her taxi. 🙂 (Thanks again for being chauffeur for me and Becky!)

Julie, Becca, Me and Becky at dinner Saturday night.

Until next year ladies….


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Quick updates

Valentine’s Day Weekend
Taylor and I went to Austin for Valentine’s Day weekend. We pigged out on a lunch of prosciutto and arugula pizza, margharita pizza, tiramisu and wine (well I did anyway) at the Trattoria Lisina, where we had our wedding reception. It was super delicious, as we expected.

On Valentine’s day morning, we enjoyed a casual breakfast of avocado, tomato, cheese and olive omelet, topped with lemon sour cream. Taylor had a bacon and cheese omelet and pancakes. The food was so good, I kept eating even though I was full and finally  just had to get the waitress to take my plate. If you’re ever in Austin you should visit the Magnolia Cafe (we went to the one on South Congress).

After breakfast, we visited a few shops on South Congress before heading back home. Unfortunately I have no pics to share with you, so you’ll just have to take my word for it, and check the places out for yourself!

This Week
This week has been pretty uneventful. We go to work, then come home. Some nights I went to the gym here at the apartment. Some nights we ran a few errands. We find something for dinner, watch a few episodes of something on Netflix (this week it’s Dexter), then it’s time for bed. 

I was playing around and made a yummy spinach and baby bella mushrooms omelet/frittata. I topped my half with goat cheese! It was so good, we made it again the next night.

This Weekend
Went to a 2-year-old’s birthday party. The birthday boy is my best friend’s kid, and the little guy is so sweet. After cake and presents, and all the kids left, Taylor and I stayed a little while, since we only get to see them a couple times a year. Taylor read him a book or two, we all attempted assembling some of the gifts and I got to participate in bath time. A couple weeks ago I sent some bath markers and tablets that change the color of the water. I teasingly wrote my to my friend that “I hope we can still be friends” after sending such a potentially dangerous gift. But he loves it (he thought he peed in the bath when she put the yellow one in), it helps her get him in the bath and the stuff doesn’t seem to stain, which I was afraid of.

Next Week
I’m spending the rest of today getting ready for a trip I’m taking to Los Angeles this week. Luckily I don’t have to drive anywhere, but I’m still not super pumped about the trip. I need to do a little research to find a couple things to see and do while I’m there. I’ll be spending half my time near the airport and the other half in Long Beach. I’ve found a possible whale watching excursion I could go on. Any other suggestions?

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After working on the flowers, we realized it was time to decide where we wanted to go for girls night. I didn’t really have a traditional bachelorette party, and my girls don’t live in the same town, so we thought it would be fun to spend Friday night out on the town.

I called Bess Bistro (it’s owned by Sandra Bullock) and made a reservation. We didn’t have a lot of time so we hurried up and got pretty, then headed out.

andrea bess bistro june 2009 (Custom)

The place was really fun and the atmosphere was cool-the place was in the basement of a historical building. There was a DJ playing music.

andrea and girls at bess bistro june 2009 (Custom)

We shared appetizers of fried artichokes, had delicious wine,

andrea bess wine june 2009 (Custom)

yummy comfort food (macaroni and cheese, croque monsieur, pot pies, garlic shrimp, fish and chips)

andrea bess mac and cheese june 2009 (Custom)

andrea bess croque monsieur june 2009 (Custom)

andrea bess pot pie june 2009 (Custom)

andrea bess garlic shrimp june 2009 (Custom)

andrea bess fish and chips june 2009 (Custom)

and dessert that was just to die for (fruit and chocolate fondue and profiteroles).

andrea bess dessert june 2009 (Custom)

Once we were stuffed, we headed out to 6th street for a little more fun.  The first club we went into was empty, we were literally the only people in there besides the bartender and the DJ. They wouldn’t even play the songs we wanted to hear so we left.

The next place we went ended up being where we stayed the rest of the night – Pete’s Piano bar.

andrea and girls at pete's piano bar june 2009 (Custom)

We had a couple drinks, and were lucky enough to snag a table, so we spent the rest of the night singing and dancing along to the dueling pianos, people watching and taking pictures. Not long after I danced on the stage (with other people, and only very briefly, not even worth the photographic evidence) we decided to call it a night. We headed back to the hotel and crashed.

The night was really even better than I could have ever hoped for…it was so much fun! And I’m so lucky to have such great friends.

You haven’t missed too much yet. Catch up on the rest of the wedding weekend here.
Simply Perfect – Pre-Wedding Weekend

Simply Perfect – Friday in Austin

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I promised back in the previous Austin Foodie Post that there was one more place to tell you about.  It is truly one that deserves it’s own post. 

Taco Xpress. It’s great.  Go to the website (then come back!)

Ok, so you’re back.  How fun is that?!?  Seriously, the place is as great as the website.  I went (with my colleague) on a Sunday for the Gospel Bruch/Hippie Church (12-2PM).  Check out the pictures.  Some aren’t that great, but you’ll get the true feel for the place. 

This was the sign at the entrance.  The line was out the door and we could barely find a parking space when we arrived close to Noon. 

We luckily found a table.  The walls and ceilings were decorated with plenty of cool/eclectic finds.  Much cooler than your typical neighborhood bar & grill type joint. 

After enjoying my migas, we found a place outside for the gospel bruch/hippie church.  You can see the singer in the background here…

And this guy was passing out flowers to all the ladies in the audience. 

And plenty of people found themselves free to move their bodies and just dance to the music.


It was really fun. If we weren’t getting married at 1:00 on Sunday, I’d definitely bring everyone down to the Taco Xpress to experience the fun. 

Maybe I’ll find time to go during the wedding weekend.  You know I can’t turn down good mexican food.

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When I last left you, I was down on South Congress at Uncommon Objects.  Not to far from there, were the greatest places to eat.  I just have to share, and hope you can go there and/or that I will be able to go back during my wedding weekend. 

First a gratuitous photo of the Austin Motel sign.


The night before my conference began, my colleague/friend and I had a chance to wander.  So we walked around 20+ blocks from downtown to the area. 

We knew we had to get a cupcake from the silver Airstream trailer.  Hey Cupcake! had a variety of cupcakes.  I really wanted a Michael Jackson (chocolate with sour cream icing) but they were out, so I got a vegan strawberry cupcake.  It was tiny compared to the other regular cupcakes.  I was sad, but the cupcake was tasty. 

After a while, the line got longer.  While enjoying our cupcakes, we enjoyed the sounds of a guitar player/singer.

After the cupcakes (I know, dessert first!) we decided to eat dinner.  Doc’s Motorworks isn’t terribly far from Hey Cupcake!  or Uncommon Objects.   

I chose the delicious Chicken Fried Avocado.  It’s got a chicken and cheese mixture inside a 1/2 avocado, battered and fried, then covered with a tomatillo cream sauce.  It was SOOO GOOD!  The picture definitely doesn’t do it justice.

That was it for that night.  But during our trip we also enjoyed Home Slice Pizza (the margarita slice was huge and had tons of toppings.) You can dine in or get it to go.

We also REALLY enjoyed the Magnolia Cafe.  The spinach artichoke dip was the best ever! The food was very reasonably priced and had a huge selection.  It’s also open 24 hours a day. 

I’ve got one more restaurant to tell you about.  The experience was so great it gets it’s own post.  Hopefully work and life will calm down a little so I can get to posting a little more regularly.

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Austin – Uncommon Objects

My Austin trip two weeks ago was great.  Although it was for work, I still managed to have a great time…isn’t that how traveling for work is supposed to be?!?  I did go up early to do a little bit of wedding stuff, which I’ll get to soon enough.  (I would have had a HUGE Austin post with all the stuff I did in it, but despite how easy it is to upload photos here, there is some trouble inserting many photos into one post, because I have to do them one by one if I want to make commentary. And I’m lazy.)  Anyway, enough blabbering. 

One of my favorite finds of the trip was Uncommon Objects on South Congress. 


This antique store is SO GREAT!  Actually, calling it an antique store is probably an understatement.  They don’t even have the Welch’s jelly jar SLASH drinking glasses that antique stores around here have and call antiques.  There are old pharmacy prescription records, petticoats, valentine cards, pictures, books and so much more.  My colleague (who attended the conference with me) and I went there twice, and spent probably 3 hours total there. 

I could have bought a lot more but I settled on Skip-Bo.  This edition is from around 1967  and has a  sweet, velvety red box top. 


Taylor and I have played Skip Bo with his great aunts and their friends on our hurricane evacuations. 



I think the rules of this particular Skip Bo game are a little different than the new rules, but that’s ok with me.

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