KEEP AUSTIN WEIRD

Two months ago, (while sipping tequila), my girlfriends and I decide on a whim that we’re going to go to Austin, TX for Labor Day Weekend.  Flash forward to Hurricane Harvey.  This of course occurs a week before our trip, and Austin has taken in a lot of the evacuees from Houston.  What started out as a fun girls trip is now a huge dilemma because we didn’t want to fly to Austin for queso and fun when there are people sleeping on cots at shelters who have just lost their homes.

After much discussion, we decided that we can go and do some volunteer work while we’re in Austin.  Once we arrived though, we found out that you can’t just show up at a shelter and pass out water.  We had to apply online, go through orientation and training, and commit to almost 10 days of volunteer work.  We were there from Saturday through Tuesday, so this didn’t work out.

But as it turns out, the vibe in Austin was “normal” and business as usual.  UT Austin had their first football game of the season (sorry about the loss), people were drinking and partying on 6th Street, and the city didn’t feel or look like it was under any kind of hurricane distress.  We decided to make the most of our trip and attend events that would help out Hurricane Harvey.

I use to live in Austin, and I loved the city.  It has a huge food truck industry, and there were so many things to do and explore.  Here is my list of things I recommend doing when you visit Austin:

  • Swim at Barton Springs (It costs $3 if you’re an Austin resident and $8 if you’re not)
  • Eat Tex-Mex at Chuy’s (It’s not the best food, but if you want yellow cheese, unlimited chips and salsa, and frozen margaritas, this hits the spot)
  • Grab a drink or two or three on Rainey Street (there are SO many bars, and you can just hop from one spot to another)
  • Eat brunch at Café No Sé (probably the healthiest meal we had while we were there, and the place is stinking adorable)
  • Get a slice of the Texas Cheddar Cheese Curd pizza at the ABGB (I ordered two slices of pizza and a beer for $12)
  • Try the esquites at ATX Cocina (this is a fancy new gluten free restaurant near the W Hotel, and has a great ambiance; be sure to make a reservation because this place does not accommodate well to walk-ins)

You would never expect the capital of one of the most republican states in the US to be as liberal, open minded, and creative.  No one was riding around on horses, except the cops on 6th Street.  And there was so much diversity in this great college town.  Austin is not a city you would expect to find in conservative Texas, but I guess that’s why it’s considered weird. #KeepAustinWeird

Dress: Band of Gypsies / Shoes: Marc Fisher (sold out | similar look) / Bag: The Line / Sunnies: Illesteva

Photographed by Mire Yang

Here are some personal photos I took of our trip:

Our AirBnB Austin home had so much charm and originality.

This bedroom just says TEXAS.

While we waited for our table for brunch, we stopped by the antique store, Uncommon Objects.

Absolutely loved the brunch we had at Café No Sé.  Highly recommend their Bloody Mary.

Our first night out, and we decided to venture into Rainey Street.

DALLAS DELIGHT

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As an actress and fashion blogger living in LA, it can be tough going home for the holidays.  I’m happy if I can go home for either Thanksgiving, Christmas or NYE.  I would be insane to think that I can actually get all three holidays off.  However, this year is special and I had the privilege of going home for the week of Thanksgiving and will be home again for Christmas AND NYE! Yay!

Virgin America had a wonderful special and I was able to get a roundtrip plane ticket between LAX and DAL for only $288 with tax and fees.  I love flying Virgin America because the planes are always clean, chic, and comfy.  This was my first time flying Virgin America between LA and Dallas, but I will most likely fly with them from now on when I go home.

PART ONE | DALLAS
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I’ve always been the stylish one of the family.  Between my mom and I, we probably have some of the best designer bargain buys of Dallas circa 1992 – 2000, which is before I moved to Atlanta to attend college.  With that said, I knew that returning home for Thanksgiving this year wasn’t going to be a simple task of wearing sweats on the plane.  If indeed comfy sweats, it will be stylish and with a pair of five inch platform heels, which is exactly what I decided to wear.  My next post will be about the outfit above.
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I’ve mentioned before about my love for Classpass, (read WORKOUT-AHOLIC).  Each time I head out of town I just change my city location on my app and I’m able to sign up for classes at my new location.  So far I’ve been lucky and have traveled to cities where Classpass is available, (i.e. Atlanta, Dallas, etc).

This time I signed up for a 6am Arms and Abs class at Burn Cardio Studio and I even stayed after for their Spin class.  It was rough getting up at 5am, but I knew that I had to get at least one decent workout in before we headed down to Port Lavaca for the grand Thanksgiving feast.  (I don’t consider playing with dogs and my nephews as a “real” workout.  See BABYSITTERS CLUB for outfit details above).

There were only three of us in class, but two of us were newbies and our instructor, Jennifer, was super nice and attentive.  I’ll definitely take class again from this studio when I head back to Dallas for Christmas in a few weeks.

PART TWO | PORT LAVACA
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This small beach town was a breath of fresh air for this city girl.  The town gave off that feeling of safety and quaint happiness.  I don’t think I could ever move to a place like this and feel content with life, but I can see why people love the quiet, peacefulness.  The weather was rainy and warm until the last day, so the mosquitos were on full force.  I went out for a jog or two to burn off some of that Thanksgiving meal, but I ended up coming home with at least ten bug bites.

Black Friday was a big success as all my shopping was done online so I didn’t have to deal with the chaos and the whole “waiting in line” ordeal.  More fashion posts to follow.  We also visited the Lighthouse Beach and decided to have dinner at Bubba’s in Seadrift, TX.  Nothing washes down cajun and fried food like a good Shiner Bock beer, (#onlyinTEXAS).

PART THREE | DALLAS
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We were back in Dallas by Saturday evening and ready to just chill and drink some whiskey after a long nine hour car ride.  Sunday involved football and putting up Christmas decorations with my nephews.  Monday was my last day in Texas, so we decided to have lunch at Astoria Caffe and Wine Bar in Addison, TX.  The waitress was nice enough to still offer us the lunch special after 1pm, and we chased down our meal with some Mimosas and Bloody Marys.

The topper of the day was when my sister and cousin-in-law suggested that we continue having drinks at the Whole Foods in Village On The Parkway.  I figure they meant we’ll just buy a bottle of wine and take it home and drink.  What they actually meant was to open up the bottle of wine AT Whole Foods and drink it AT their bar. You heard me correctly.  The Whole Foods in Dallas off Beltline offers craft beers and cork service at a bar located INSIDE the store. It was AMAZING!  Sure the wine is marked up a few more dollars, but they don’t charge a corkage fee for drinking the wine at their store.  I hear they offer this service too at one of the Whole Foods in Pasadena, CA.  Will definitely have to go and check it out!  dallasdelight_IMG_6681dallasdelight_IMG_6553

The week was just filled with laughter and good quality family time.  I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday!  Does the Whole Foods store near you offers craft beers and wine service?  Let me know!