Tuesday, September 5, 2017

End of Summer

It's kind of hard to believe that summer is basically over. It won't feel like fall until at least November here, but Labor Day has passed and school has started so I guess that makes it official! Here's a few thing we've been up to lately:

A couple weekends ago, Ali, my coworker Nicole, and I went to a concert after work. Before we moved to Austin, I had never heard of Cody Johnson, but now we've been to two of his shows so I guess that makes us official fans?! He's a 'Texas country' singer which is apparently NOT the same thing as 'regular country' but I can't really tell you the difference.

Most of the other concertgoers looked something like this. We were in the minority and obviously need to acquire cowboy hats asap. 
 A sea of unironic cowboy hats. Love it.


A friend from work sent me a Blue Apron deal for a free week trial. We picked out our meals from their choices for that week and our shipment arrived last Tuesday. We really liked all three meals. The first was some mix of minced beef and peppers, the second a beef, eggplant, and rice dish with Indian flavors and the third meal was baked chicken with sweet potatoes.
Some of my friends wanted to know if we would order again and while we really did like the recipes,  it's a pretty expensive service ($10/person/meal at full price) and you still have to do quite a bit of cooking. They are definitely not all super quick and easy recipes. I can see this being a great option for people who travel a lot or a single person who would benefit from receiving the exact amount of an item needed for a recipe so there's not a lot of extra leftovers. We definitely won't use this as our primary means of cooking, but it's a fun option that we might try again. Plus, you learn some new flavors, combinations, and techniques so it's kind of fun!

This last weekend, my dad was in town for a convention in San Antonio. His conferenced ended Friday, but he stayed until Saturday morning in order to have dinner with Peter and me on Friday night. We went to Wildfish Seafood Grille and it was quite good. We didn't make a reservation, so the only available seating was outside. I was a little nervous that, like at any point in the last 4 months, it would be unbearably hot. Luckily, it's been cooling down just enough at night that it was actually really pleasant out. I ordered the salmon:
And since my dad's birthday is later this month, the waitress brought him a dessert on the house. I picked it out, because dessert is my area of expertise, and it was so good. We don't get to see family as much as we'd like living so far away, so it was really fun to be able to get together with my dad even if just for a few hours!
Ali had friends in town this weekend, so she showed them all of the must-see sights around Austin. On Saturday night we went to Top Golf and despite our lack of skill, we had so much fun. Actually, Ali's friends were pretty good golfers, but Ali and I looked more like this...great form!
And two memes to end the post, because this is just hilarious: 
I tweeted this while watching Men Tell All and it really is so true. You don't really even have to be a Bachelor fan to understand this one.



 linking up with Gretch Runs & See You In A Porridge 
Monday, August 7, 2017

A Goat and Froyo

This weekend was pretty epic, mostly because of our Sunday activities, which I'll get to in a second. 

I was driving Ali's car the other day and turned around to get something in the back seat and saw this hilariously ironic ice scraper. I try to explain to friends at work the torture that is scraping off a snow-and-ice-covered car in the dark at 6 am, but I'm not sure they could totally appreacite it. I suppose an accurate description would be Texas in the summer, but the opposite. The end of July was BRUTAL, so we're happy that it's been a little bit cooler than normal this week. Today the high was only 89 and that was perfect. 
On Friday, I went to a work event up in Round Rock to see their minor leauge baseball team play. I'll admit that I went mainly for the free food and drinks, but we did watch a little bit of baseball too ;). It was fun, but when I heard that there would be transportation provided, I pictured some sort of coach bus or something. As one usually does. Wrong. It was a straight up renovated school bus/party bus that did not have air conditioning. WHAT??? To make it worse, I was wearing jeans and the team t-shirt they gave us that was long-sleeved. See below. It was hot, to say the least. If you follow me on Snapchat, you got a glimpse of the festivities.
This part of the post is going to be wholly uninteresting so feel free to skip over, but I just have to talk about it because it's been a theme of my life the past few weeks. My camera is still broken. After getting a new one put in, replacing the lens, then resetting the whole phone, and finally getting a brand new phone. IT STILL DOES THIS:
When I went back to the Apple Store today (third Monday in a row- they recognized me this time), they were totally confused and didn't know what to do. Apparently someone at Apple is calling me tomorrow to walk me through a deeper re-set to see if the issue is somewhere in the software on my iCloud. Or something. I have no idea. All I know is I can't take pictures in which there are lights and it really drives me crazy.

On Sunday, we embarked on a pilgrimage of sorts and it was everything we hoped for. There's a coffee shop out in Lakeway, which is west of downtown, called Civil Goat. This place has become a bit famous on social media lately because they have a cute mascot that roams the premesis. His name is 'Butters the Goat' and he has an Instagram account, for those who like to follow animals (a surprisingly large portion of the population). We got there around 10:30 and there was no goat to be found. We ordered coffee and waited a bit, but after about an hour we finally asked if Butters was going to be making an appearance. The boyond-hipster girl working there was not impressed with our questions, but let us know ever so kindly that he would probably show up in the afternoon.

We decided to move along to our next stop, but had to take a quick lunch break at Torchy's first, because any good pilgriamge includes queso. After Torchy's, I noticed we were about a mile away from a house I'd found for sale earlier this week, so I wanted to drive by quick to scope out the neighborhood. It was such a cute place, recently re-done and sort of modern looking on the outside. If we were ready to buy right this second, it would have been hard to pass up!

After that quick detour, we went down the road for the second stop of our pilgrimage: Froco Frozen Yogurt. Hear me out. This particular yogurt shop is of interest because it's owned by none other than Teen Mom's Farrah Abraham. I shamelessly love Teen Mom, and since Farrah lives just outside of Austin, we're always on the lookout. Unfortunately she wasn't there today. According to her Instagram story she was in Vegas doing some 'Back Door Teen Mom' event. If you don't know what that's in reference to, I wouldn't google it.

The poor girl working behind the counter was like 'oh no, more Teen Mom groupies' when we walked in. She can probably spot our kind from a mile away. She claimed to not know who Farrah was before she started working there, which I at first highly doubted. But then I thought about it a bit more and realized that it is entirely possible that a 16 year old missed the whole Teen Mom thing. Further confirmation that I am old.

Anyway, she took our photo for the Instagram account, and Farrah commented, so basically we're famous now.


Because we are insane, we decided to swing by Civil Goat one mroe time on the way home to see if Butters had arrived. He had. The hipster was none too thrilled to see us again, basic bitch-ing over the goat, but such is life. Butters was adorable. And I'm now inspired to buy a goat once we get a house. Peter is not on board as of now, so please leave your pro-goat comments below. 


So, that's about it. We saw a goat and ate froyo and it was glorious.



Monday, July 31, 2017

The Best Pool Day Ever and a Visitor!

We've been pretty busy around here lately! My step-mom, Loree, came to visit for a few days and we fit in a ton of fun Austin activities. I just noticed while looking through pictures that I took next to zero photos of actual people these past few weeks. Whoops!

The weather has pretty much constantly looked like this lately:

 So we've been doing a lot of this:
While Loree was here, she rented out a cabana for all of us at the hotel where she was staying, the Van Zandt. It was absolutely amazing and we all agreed that it felt like a vacation in our own city. We spent the whole day hanging out by the pool and ate and drank a bunch. The cabana rental carried a mandatory food and drink minimum, so we were all happy to "have to" order a few extra drinks!
I got the French toast for brunch and it was delicious. The hotel has a nice restaurant called Geraldine's that we went to on Easter earlier this year when Peter's family was visiting, and all of the food came straight from their kitchen.

Ali snapped this picture with a hilariously accurate caption. Peter was pretty much in his personal heaven watching golf in the cabana with a fan pointed at him while eating breakfast. Not pictured: his breakfast beer.
 This was their house mojito. I kind of felt like I was eating a plant, but luckily I love mint!

 Kathryn and me in the pool.
 It was really packed by late-afternoon, but then rain clouds rolled in pretty quickly and they had to clear the pool deck. We moved inside to the bar and had one last drink before walking around Rainey Street for a bit and then turning in early.
Loree and Kathryn made the trip up to Waco to check out the Fixer Upper compound on one day:

We made the trip down to Lockhart again with Loree to eat at the original Black's BBQ one evening. On another afternoon, we discovered the happy hour at Hillside Farmacy. I'd been once before for brunch, but the happy hour deal was amazing- everything was half price including their generous portions of mac and cheese. I highly recommend! 
When Ali and I went for brunch earlier this summer, we had to wait in line for quite awhile to be seated. I loved that the place was pretty much deserted during happy hour.
Loree made a reservation at Juliet, a cute little Italian restaurant not far from us. The food was really good and we definitely want to go back. Also, note the annoying lens flare (I don' know what to call it?) in the photo below. I got a new phone in the spring and it's been doing this thing where I can't take low-light photos without this happening. So, I took it to the Apple store last week and they put a whole new camera in my phone. That didn't fix the issue, unfortunately, so today I went back and they did a total reset on my phone. I went through the trouble of downloading all my apps, etc. only to find out tonight that the issue isn't solved. Ugh. Luckily it's still under warrenty, so I have to go back later this week to get a new phone. But I digress...

This isn't really a life update because nothing has happened yet, but we are in the very early stages of house hunting! By this I mean I've been checking the Realtor.com app obsessively and trying to convince myself that the really cool $5 million dollar house on Lake Austin could somehow be in the budget. I've already learned that it's infinitely more fun to look at houses that you can't afford!

What we HAVE been doing is driving around a lot, looking at houses for sale (actually in the budget) and checking out the neighborhoods. Right now we live in South Austin, but we aren't by any means tied to this area. There are tons of neighborhoods north that we don't really know anything about and a few more traditional suburbs too. It's kind of crazy what you can get in the suburbs and it's a tiny bit tempting, even thought we'd rather be closer to the city.

So, that's how we ended up in Pflugerville, a suburb northeast-ish of downtown. Fun fact: Friday Night Lights was filmed at Pflugerville High School, which I got a total fail of a picture of below:
Texas Forever!

Kathryn finished her internship and left yesterday for Israel, where she'll be for 10 days. We get to have her back here in Austin for a weekend when she returns before heading back to school.
That's about it! I'm still in the process of redo-ing my blog, which is happening painfully slowly. Stay tuned ;)



Monday, July 17, 2017

Day Trips: San Antonio and Lockhart

This weekend, we decided to head back down to San Antonio so Kathryn could see some of the sights while she's still here. It's been so fun having an additional roommate this summer and she's only here for a couple more weeks before she is off to Israel in August before finally heading back to Minnesota for the school year.

On Friday night, we stopped by Home Slice Pizza, our favorite South Congress restaurant, to grab some dinner. We got a large specifically so we could take some home and reheat it the next day for lunch. Well, that didn't happen. The three of us somehow managed to eat this entire pizza, which is equally impressive and embarrassing. I wish this picture fully conveyed the sheer size of this thing, but you'll just have to trust me that it was embarrassingly large.
On Saturday afternoon we went down to San Antonio and stopped at the Alamo. I took zero pictures, probably because it was literally 104 degrees and I couldn't think about anything other than getting to the air conditioning asap. We also stopped by Mission San Jose, but there was a Saturday evening mass going on, so we couldn't actually go in to see the beautiful altar. I've been once before and it's truly impressive.
As you can tell, there was a storm rolling through late Saturday afternoon. On the drive home, it rained a bit and then the temperature dipped to 75! I don't think it's been that cool during the day since March.
We had a light snack/dinner and margaritas at a Mexican restaurant along the River Walk and then headed back to Austin. San Antonio is so pretty, so old and highly underrated if you ask me.


On Sunday, we had simultaneously one of the best and worst ideas of our lives. I kept hearing about this BBQ place in Lockhart, about a half hour south of Austin, so I suggested we go for lunch. Peter did a little more research and apparently, Lockhart is the BBQ capital of Texas, and there is a total of four somewhat famous places we just had to try. All in one day.

Our first stop was Black's, which I think is the most famous of the Lockhart BBQ joints. We were there nice and early and barely had to wait in a line, which I think is pretty lucky. People take their BBQ seriously here and we've waited for hours- not kidding- at some places. Plus, I was really happy this line didn't extend outside, because HOT.
We decided to try to pace ourselves, so we only ordered one cut of each brisket and a rib, plus a side of mac and cheese. Peter always rolls his eyes when I insist on ordering sides. He says he can't waste stomach space on non-meat items. Okay then! I think the sides make or break the meal.
 The inside...very Texas.
 Our plate.
 Our second stop was Smitty's Market, just down the road from Black's.
This place had a really cool setup with these huge smokers with open fires in the back of the building next to the counter. I can't imagine working in this back room- it was a million degrees.
The pitmaster saw us taking pictures and called over Kathryn and me so we could get a better view! YUM.
One of the funniest things about these BBQ places is that they don't give you actual plates. They just wrap up your food in a few paper placements that you use and hand you a knife and spoon.
 "No forks" was an actual policy in this place. I guess it's a tradition?
Our third stop was Krewz Market, which a nice local behind us in line told us is owned by the same family as Smitty's. Apparently a long time ago, the sister owned the building where Smitty's is located, and her two brothers ran the restaurant. She raised the rent on them at some point, they got angry and then started a competing place down the road. What a feud!
 Hilarious sign on the door.
This was the only place we had to wait in line and it took about a half hour to get into the room with the smokers. We planned to hit up the fourth spot, but we were all about ready to burst and ended up taking some of the below meal home with us. I suppose this is a good thing, as it gives us an excuse to head back to Lockhart!

We all went home, took a nap, and didn't eat dinner. Kathryn and I picked up Ali at the airport- she was at a wedding in Minnesota- and got ourselves ready for the week ahead. All in all, a great weekend!

Linking up with Biana

About


Welcome! I started Laura and Peter Down Under in July 2014 when my husband and I moved from the States to Melbourne, Australia for his job. I blog about expat life, our travels, food, and whatever else comes to mind. Follow along on our adventures Down Under!

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