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10/31/2013

Texas Recap: A Little More of Austin

I know I haven't posted in a while and I apologize.  Life has been getting in the way.  Life and baking.  And pumpkin carving.  And my body trying to force me into hibernation!  Seriously, I feel like I can't stay awake lately, even with mass amounts of coffee in my system.

Anyway, back to our Texas trip.  You might remember my recap of Austin and ACL through Instagram? Or you might not because it felt like eons ago!  Well, that was about it.  I didn't take my camera to ACL and standing in the sun everyday for three days really wears a person out, so during ACL we didn't really do anything besides ACL.  But on Monday, after the festival was over, we made two stops in the Austin area before we headed to San Antonio.  First, we stopped at the State Capitol building.
 But the thing about the capitol building, any capitol building really, is that during a govenment shutdown it's really not very exciting.  But, it was a pretty day and the area around the capitol building was pretty deserted, which was kind of cool.  So, it was all good.

 The aspect of the capitol building that I thought was really cool was the underground portion that you could see from outside.  Oh, Texas, how things are different there.  This really would work in Ohio...I can just picture the open area full of snow and ice and some poor grounds guy down there trying to shovel it out with a snow shovel.





After our brief stop at the nearly deserted capitol building, Antoine and I made our way to Driftwood.  Driftwood is about 30 minutes south-west of Austin and home to the original Salt Lick BBQ, our main reason for visiting.  If you go to the Austin area people will likely tell you to go to Salt Lick, that or Franklin's (which we didn't have time for).  We were actually smart about it and went shortly after they opened and had lunch, before it got too busy.

A couple quick things about Salt Lick...it's delicious (as evident from my previous post), it's like a little oasis in the middle of nowhere, people are super nice, and it's BYOB.  Oh, and it's totally worth the little detour.  Get the beef ribs, they've got tons of flavor!

After we gorged ourselves, I snapped some photos because it's really pretty there.  Like way prettier than you expect a BBQ joint to be.  And I spotted this little bird bath off to the side with several finches splashing around in it...I could resist taking their picture.

So cute!


And that was about it for Austin.  While we had fun at ACL, I feel like it kind of distracted us from the rest of Austin.  We will definitely have to take another trip out there sometime and actually check out the city for real!

Anyway, Happy Halloween everyone!  Stay tuned tomorrow for more Texas goodness.

10/22/2013

ACL & Austin in Instagram

Sorry it took me so long to get on this Texas recap thing, but there's been some stuff going on that was more important than the blog.  But I wanted to get back into the swing of things and start off this recap before I forgot all the wonderful details from our trip to Texas.  I thought I'd begin with the main reason we went to Texas in the first place, Austin.  And more specifically, the Austin City Limits Festival.  I've only been to a couple of music festivals in my life, none of which were very large, but ACL has always been on my wishlist.  My bucket list, if you will.  It always seemed to have the best lineups, and the completel lack of camping in the middle of summer (which I am not a fan of), so Antoine and I finally decided this was the year to do it.

We bought our tickets and then they announced the lineup, that's how it usually goes.  Initially we were a little bummed about the lineup...not that it was bad, but we were hoping for more of our favorites.  Still, after we inspected the lineup a little further we decided it was still going to be a great weekend of music and we were excited.  After we bought our ACL tickets we decided to make a little Texas road trip out of the trip and added San Antonio, Fort Worth and Dallas to the agenda.  And that's how our trip to Texas came to be...
We flew out early Friday morning, the first day of the festival, and landed in Austin a little after noon.  In hindsight, it might have been better to fly in Thursday, so we would have been a little more refreshed to the first day of the festival, but oh well.

I went into the ACL experience expecting to be overwhelmed.  And while the crowds were a little daunting at times, I am happy to say that I didn't have one single crowd-induced panic attack! 

The highlight of the first day, and one of my favorite shows of the festival, was Vampire Weekend!  They were fun and their performance was perfect!

Before Day 2 of ACL we met up with my cousin and his girlfriend for a little sugary sustenance at Gourdough's.  We got the Fat Elvis (a donut with peanut butter frosting, bacon and caramelized bananas) and the Granny's Pie (a donut with caramel, pecans, bananas and graham cracker crumbs)...and wowza!  They were delicious, but our heads felt all fuzzy afterwards from all the sugar.  Warning: if you go to Gourdough's, which you should because it's delicious, two people only need one donut!  Please heed my warning, it's for your own good!

Fueled by an insane amount of sugar we headed off to Day 2 of the festival.  First up was Deap Vally, two rocker chicks who killed it even though the lead singer was losing her voice!

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Next up was Walk the Moon, during the hottest part of the whole weekend!  But it was so worth it because they were sweating even more than the crowd, their energy was insane and they put on arguably the best show of the weekend, in my opinion!  It doesn't help that they are all so ridiculously adorable!!!

By the end of Day 2 we were so exhausted, but at least we got to see some fantastic bands...and the weather started to cool down a little that even which was nice.

Antoine's friend Phillip, who went with us to the festival, was nice enough to show us around town.  On Saturday night we tried one of the few places in town he hadn't been, Ms P's Electric Cock.  It's a cute little airstream trailer with a gigantic neon "CHICKEN" sign out front and their serving up some tasty fried chicken!

When A and I got back to the hotel, we finally noticed the crazy sunburn I had gotten that day despite the fact I was wearing SPF75.  OUCH!

Sunday morning, before the festival, Philip, Antoine and I headed to 24 Diner for some brunch.  The highlight for me was definitely the milkshake, roasted banana and brown sugar!  It was so insanely good!!  Probably one of the best shakes I've ever had!

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Day 3 highlights were definitely Grouplove (in the video above), the National, and Phoenix, even though Antoine was about ready to fight some rude jerk in the crowd!

The sun coming through the iconic tree at Zilker!  FYI: this is the crowd during a slow time.

On Monday morning, after three days of standing out in the sun, Antoine and I were in need of a little relaxation, aka San Antonio.  But on our way to San Antonio we made one last Austin stop, Salt Lick BBQ.  Antoine and I had both never been, but heard such good things so we were committed to trying as many things as we could.  Antoine got the Rancher plate, which included brisket, pork ribs, sausage and turkey, and I got the beef ribs and then we shared.  We both agreed the beef ribs were the best and had the best flavor!  We also both loved their sauce.  And I was surprised by how much I like the sausage and the potato salad, which are two things I'm usually not crazy about in general.  If you're in the area, I'd say Salt Lick is a must!

All in all, Austin was fun but exhausting!  We loved the bands we saw (though Portugal. The Man was a little bit of a disappointment), but in the end we were just tired.  Three days of nonstop music and sun might be a little too much for us, but we were glad we got to experience it!  And we were glad Philip decided to go with us, because we got to check out some tasty food thanks to him!

Check back later for some more Texas Recap, but be patient with me as it's going to take some time to add the insane amount of photos I took (as per usual)!  Until next time...

10/11/2013

More Park Shenanigans

We're finally back from our Texas trip!  We survived, though I'm so ready for my pajamas and a nap.  It was an exhausting trip, so frankly the last thing on my mind right now is editing pictures.  Instead of jumping into a Texas recap, I've got one more batch of park photos (from when Amanda and Aaron were in town) to share. 

On the last day of Midpoint, before we headed down to the festival, we took the dogs to a couple parks for a walk and some sight-seeing.  Although Amanda used to live in Cincinnati she, like myself, had never been to Alms Park so we started off there.

Then we headed over to Ault Park to take a walk through the woods.
And, naturally, we made the dogs jump over logs.  For fun.  Poor dogs!

Aaron trying to tell Cheese to hold so I could get a picture.  Of course this one ended up being far cuter!

The leaves are starting to change and I love it!

I'm sorry, more bumble bees.  I can't help it!  But now that its Autumn, be prepared for moss, mushrooms and pumpkins!  This is your warning.

What a weirdo!

Any clue what this is?  It was growing from one of the trees in Ault Park and I don't think I've ever noticed it before.

Happy Friday everyone!  Any exciting plans this weekend?  On Saturday we're picking up a free tree we received from the Re-Leaf program and planting it.  Then on Sunday we're going pumpkin picking!  And hopefully somewhere in there we'll be resting and I'll be editing some Texas photos.

10/09/2013

My Happy Place

French Park has quickly become one of my favorite places in Cincinnati, but you already know this because I can't stop talking about it and posting photos of it.  But now that Fall is starting to show its color, I'm really loving just walking through the woods with Antoine and Cheese.  The way the light streams in through the leaves and that happy little creek that runs through the woods.  It's definitely one of my happy places!


And the French Park garden...don't even get me started!  Such a great selection of flowers that it has me geeking out every time we go.

Alright, I'll stop being a dork now.  Well, I'll try...but I think I'm likely to fail so you'll just have to deal!

10/07/2013

My Own Special Weirdo [Dog]

Happy Monday everyone!  Antoine and I are heading to San Antonio today, and eating some BBQ along the way.  Since it's Monday and that means all you poor souls are probably at work, though I'm not because I'm on vacation (haha!), I thought I'd share some photos of my little weirdo, Cheese.  He's such a goofball and I just can't get enough of him.  And frankly, I'm kind of missing him like crazy right about now (even though his uncle is taking very good care of him and probably snuggling with him like crazy)! 

Behold, the Cheese-man running like a spastic psycho-dog who's tongue apparently has a mind of its own:

And here's what he looks like after he runs around like a mad-hound...
He's a dirty, slobbery, stinky, drooling mess...and I love it!  Seriously, basset hounds are just like the best dog ever!  The end.

10/04/2013

The Bee's Knees

I'm sorry, but I just can't seem to help myself when it comes to bees this year!  I'm obsessed, what can I say.  Even more shocking is that throughout all of summer, jamming my camera into these bees' little faces and I haven't been stung once!  I haven't even come close.  I think they like having their picture taken.  And as long as they're cool with I'm just going to keep on snapping photos of them...so there!


This guy was my favorite, because of his crazy, psychedelic eyes...
All these were taken at French Park last weekend.  Apparently, French Park is like a bee mecca...perhaps that's just another reason why I'm so crazy about that park!

As you read this, Antoine and I are flying high in the sky on our way to Texas!  As soon as we land we'll be heading off to the Austin City Limits Festival to check out some great music.  I'm particularly looking forward to Kings of Leon, Vampire Weekend, Portugal. The Man, and Walk the Moon!  While I'm super excited, but I'm a little bit nervous about the crazy big crowds that will be at ACL!  The hermit inside is panicking a little, but I can't wait for the all the music, good food and cool western-y stuff (like the Longhorns in Fort Worth).  Texas, here I come!