Austintacious

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Austin is hands down my favorite part of Texas. I cherish the time in my life when I went to UT and lived in Austin, I never thought I would leave. I felt very connected to the city because of the unique culture and being the LIVE MUSIC CAPITAL of the country! Being part of the music scene shaped my individuality and made me more confident in myself and how I expressed myself to the outside world. Austin truly is a special place, and while I don’t always get to visit when I am back in Texas as my family resides in Katy/Houston, the times where I get to experience ATX brings me right back to my happy place. 🙂

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We decided to surprise my parents for Thanksgiving this year because they have been through so much with Hurricane Harvey (you can read more about it on my sister’s blog as she documents the process of them rebuilding their home). But before we made our way to Katy, we wanted a night of debauchery all to ourselves in my old stomping ground!

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We stayed off of Town Lake, close to Rainey Street where all the old Victorian homes are converted into bars. It wasn’t John’s first time to Austin, but he loved it more than the previous visit due to the fact that we had moderate temperatures rather than triple digit heat. We had a lovely stroll around Town Lake, made our way to Congress for some delish BBQ, and bar hopped from Dirty 6th over to the East side.

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Dirty 6th is where I used to go out back in my early college days. They call it Dirty 6th because it’s like a smaller version of Bourbon street and can get pretty wild on the weekends full of underage drinkers with fake IDs who can’t handle alcohol, various  bachelorette and bachelor parties from all over, blended in with college students and tourists. It’s a mix of people with cheap drinks and shots with not a lot of rules (i.e. it’s not uncommon to see people casually vomiting and having sex in parking lots. TRUE STORY I SAW THIS ONCE). FUN TIMES! hahahahaha. This is why you have to hangout when it’s not crowded, i.e. during the middle of a Tuesday before a holiday when all of the students are gone.

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Me, chillin’ on the rooftop of one of my favorite spots when I was 21, Maggie Mae’s.

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This might be the cutest dive bar sign I’ve ever seen!

I love vintage inspired neon signs SO MUCH. Since I’ve moved away Austin has definitely stepped up their neon sign game, it’s almost as strong as Portland – which is the King of neon signs. This bar was kinda weird but had a cute sign so I’ll give them that 🙂

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We always walk pretty much everywhere when we are on vacation. We enjoy exploring neighborhoods, stopping for a drink or two along the way, and exploring things you might miss out on if you just took a car. People also don’t walk in Texas so we def got a lot of looks – but I NEED TO HIT MY STEPS, dammit!

Shangri-La is my favorite bar and I HAVE to go every time I’m in the city. I love the hodgepodge of furniture, beautiful light fixtures, and quirky patio and vibe (I swear I would live on the East side if I was still there). I will never get over how cheap it is to drink in Austin compared to SF – let’s just say happy hour in Austin is around $3-4 a drink while in SF it can be $5-7 ($7 for HH WTF?!). Also – NEVER FORGET to photodocument your memories when a photo booth pops up.

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Later on in the night we met up with my niece (who is pre-med at St. Edward’s) and had a BOMB DOT COM Mexican feast at El Borrego. I normally frequent Polvo’s when I’m in town, but the wait was just insane and I honestly think the food at ELB was better (while the ambiance at Polvo’s is nicer, so depending on what you are going for it’s a toss up).

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After dinner we made our way to Rainey street for some delicious local beers and donuts, before calling it a night. We opted for breakfast tacos from Juan in a Million in the morning prior to our journey to Houston, which was so effing delish OMGEEE. I always talk up breakfast tacos so much to John, and as a California dude he has never understood the hype, always preferring burritos. This time he ate his words (literally) and agreed that breakfast tacos are where it’s at, and we need them STAT in SF (howww do we not already?!).

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You’re Juan in a millionnnnnnnn! (I always hear that song from Miss Congeniality when I see this sign).

Austin, it was a blast like always! I will always love you, my first love ❤ but there was a Thanksgiving feast waiting for us in Houston so we had to say goodbye. Don’t hate us, k??

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Houston, We Have A Problem

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We had a blast with family while we stayed in Houston over the holidays. While my family lives in the Katy area, John and I stayed at the cutest Airbnb apartment in Montrose and explored so many places I’ve never been, including THEE BEST BBQ that John and I have ever had at Midtown BBQ. TALK ABOUT BRISKET CITY! We also enjoyed the most DELISH burgers from the Burger Joint. I’ve lived in California for 9 years and I can say that burgers (and BBQ tbh) in Texas are WAY BETTER, there is no discussion – thanks!

Why stop at BBQ and burgers when you can stuff your face even more with TEX MEX?! The original Ninfa’s on Navigation did NOT disappoint. I swear every time I go to Texas I end up gaining 10 pounds from the heavy food and lack of exercise! #itsworthitthough #foodforever #nomnom #quesofordayzzz One of my favorite memories was of John getting his combo plate, which came with a crispy taco, and him saying “is this why you like Taco Bell so much? Because you grew up eating crispy tacos?” ROFL – Californians…. (Probably a good time to declare my deep love for Taco Bell as well) 😉

IMG_9424.jpgIs that Jesus, coming eat some Tex-Mex?!

The Houston museum district is one of the top 3 of the country because they get exhibits that won’t reach the rest of the US, like the Degas exhibit we saw at the MFAH. I love how all of the museums are close together, scattered throughout the park among the abundant water fountains. (SRSLY thought there are like 10 water fountains within 4 blocks). The last time I brought John home a couple years ago, we actually saw an off-Broadway version of Best Little Whorehouse in Texas under the stars in the park at the museum district… ❤ memories!

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15780940_10108774696888970_6334422281782792163_nJohn, standing with 1/10% of the water fountain population within the Houston museum district.

Another thing we did was check out the HOUSTON SPACE CENTER because *ahem cough cough* JOHN WILL BE WORKING FOR NASA starting at the end of this month!! In the Bay Area location of course. MY BF IS A SCIENTIST Y’ALL! And since he had never been to the space center prior, we made a trip of it with my sisters and my youngest niece and nephew. But MAKE SURE you get the timed tickets online prior to your visit, it saves you HOURS upon hours of waiting for the tours. #impatientashell

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Houston, you are very diverse and pretty cool. Until we come back again! Over and out ❤

A Night In San Antonio

15622143_10108750468986880_5549738964464900180_nI grew up for most of my life in San Antonio (despite the time we lived in Ohio for 4 years) but since I’ve been living in California, my parents moved to be closer to my sisters in the Katy/Houston area. I haven’t been to San Antonio in about 5 years and John has never been, so when we decided to go to Texas for the holidays I made the executive decision to spend a night in San Antonio and have a good ole classic night on the Riverwalk for Christmas. It’s SO BEAUTIFUL during the holidays if you haven’t been I suggest you visit during this time because it’s a #win.

We stayed at the haunted Emily Morgan hotel, which is on the list of top 10 haunted hotels in America. While we didn’t see anything too crazy, I did have crazy dreams about Santa Anna and Mexico City, and my sister’s TV went on and off in her room! (Emily Morgan is also the name of the Yellow Rose of Texas, who was also a lover of Santa Anna. AND MY NAME IS EMILY!!! Coincidence much?!!) The hotel is next door to the Alamo, which is a quick and free visit and amazing way to explore Texas history. (You can see the Emily Morgan hotel in the background next to the flag. I mean it just looks scary AF, right?! I wish I got a picture of the creepy gargoyles up close but I forgot. OOOPS).

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You can buy beers and margaritas from the BierGarten once you are in the Riverwalk and walk around with them and explore, which is nice because I like to drink my booze and multitask. We had some chips and queso at Casa Rio (my favorite Mexican on the Riverwalk) which felt amazing because you can’t get good queso in California (this is a fact and not an opinion). Then we rode a boat just as it got dark to watch the beautiful lights and point out scenes from where they filmed the movie Selena (A FAN FAVORITE IN THIS HOUSE!). But beware, if you wait too long the line is insane. Also there can be a lot of screaming children so you have been warned…

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Afterwards, we headed to the Pearl area to explore some bars, mostly the rooftop bar at Paramour, and walked around the new developing artsy part of the Riverwalk which was 100% awesome and something I’ve never done before. My favorite was the goldfish art exhibit under the freeway because they light up at night and were so pretty.

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After a night of eating and drinking and crazy dreams, we woke up and ate big ass breakfast tacos from Taco Haven, a San Antonio institution. It was a short trip, but better than not going at all! I love you San Antonio! Until next time…

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