Okay, I’m officially feeling almost 100% human again (see more here about my fun Adventures in Food Poisoning).
THE REST of the trip was peachy keen and fun!
Here’s a little recap of how it all went, and, some important “shots of my outfits” that I made Ivan take of me literally so that I can refer back to them next year (if he wins a trip again) so I can answer my inevitable future question of… “hmmm… what did I wear last year?” 😜
Thursday, May 4 (Day 1)
Thursday was our travel day. We had a 6:30 a.m. flight from our local airport (super close), so we left home around 5:00. This was a bit of a milestone moment, because we actually just left the boys home alone sleeping while we left for the airport! I mean, they stay home alone all the time, but this required them to get themselves up on time, eat and bike to school on their own, while we were completely unavailable. Woo! (My parents were coming to stay with them, but had a conflict and couldn’t come until later in the day on Thursday.)
I had them text my mom when they made it and reminded them 4 times to close the garage. Ivan’s (local) sister was also on standby in case of any issue, so I felt totally fine with this plan. The boys seemed completely unfazed by the whole thing as well. Growing up!!!! sniff sniff.
Flights (Madison –> Chicago, then Chicago –> Austin) were all good.
Upon arrival, we were transported to hotel and checked in. We got a 24th floor corner room which was awesome! Loved the huge windows looking out over the city.
It was mid-afternoon by this point and we had a company cocktail party to attend at 5:30. We headed out right away on foot to mostly find some FOOD!
Ended up at a Mexican restaurant (of course). I am sure we could have found something “better”, but we just kind of picked something fairly nearby so it didn’t get super late. This was fine! It looked out over the city- I could actually see the Capitol building- and was tasty. It was kind of a funky little open-air place.
Post-lunch, we just wandered around 6th Street (the main “drag” in the downtown area with all the live music bars, etc.).
We also peeked inside this old, historic hotel called The Driskill.
We didn’t stay, although the hotel bar was super cool, so I told Ivan we’d have to come back for a drink another time.
At 5:30 was the “casual cocktail hour”, so we cleaned up for that, and I changed out of my “flight/ arrival clothes”:
into my “cocktail hour outift”: 😝
(I mostly just wanted to freshen up after having been in those other clothes since 4:30 a.m.).
Cocktail hour was nice on a rooftop patio! The had a special drink (palomas) + full bar + a bunch of heavier appetizers.
When that ended, we had the rest of the evening free. We decided to walk over to try to see “the bats” fly out from under the South Congress Bridge. Apparently thousands of bats live under there and fly out each night in very impressive fashion, and it’s a whole tourist attraction. This happens supposedly at dusk, so the timing was right.
We walked the ~1/2 mile or so and found a spot on the bridge among a crowd.
Well. It was a very pleasant evening to stand out on a bridge, albeit a bit breezy. We ended up running into some other event attendees that Ivan didn’t know (from another area) and we kind of hit it off with them/ ended up exchanging numbers and hanging out other times during the trip. BUT, the bats never flew out! We stood there until after 9 p.m and nada. Finally we gave up and left, though I’ll bet good money that the minute we walked away those little buggers flew out.
Oh well!! It was nice and warm out and the views were pretty, so I still enjoyed myself. 🙂
By this time it was well after 9, so we decided to go out for a bit on 6th Street.
Again, I did basically zero research into Austin, so perhaps we missed out on some amazing live music venues…. but we decided to hit up Pete’s Dueling Piano Bar, since I had heard of this place and I play the piano and I like dueling pianos and it was close to the hotel.
It was a LIVELY place!! Full of young people and lots of cowboy hats and many bachelorette parties. Wedding season, I suppose? The music choices were great sing-a-longs but I didn’t think these were the best dueling pianists I’d ever seen. Their voices weren’t that great… but oh well!
Back at the hotel after, it was getting close to midnight! We were both kinda hungry though since our “lunch” was mid-afternoon, meaning we really didn’t eat that much at the happy hour thing/no official dinner.
Swung by the main hotel bar which was still buzzing with people for another beer (Ivan), some tea (me) and a night cap dessert to share.
That was end of Day 1! As usual, I’m blabbing on way too much here, so let me try to hurry this up a bit….
Friday, May 5 (Day 2)
Friday morning we had a hotel/ company buffet breakfast before Ivan had to attend an hour long “work session”. (The only “work” that occurred on the whole trip.)
I had an hour to myself, during which I just puttered around the room, called my Dad to check in on the homefront and sat in this chair for a bit:
Also, here’s a shot of my press-on nail manicure:
(For reference, here they are now today, Wednesday May 10, exactly 7 days from when I put them on (Wednesday night May 3), in case you’re wondering how the press-on nails hold up:
Anyway, Friday late morning we left for our “planned activity” of the trip. We had chosen the Austin by Land and Lake Tour that was offered, a city overview.
The tour was nice! We visited the pretty Capitol building from the outside first and walked around the grounds a bit:
Our guide was very informative.
We drove through part of the University of Texas at Austin campus:
Saw various other parts of the city and drove through the South Congress area. The guide talked most of the time and shared lots of interesting tidbits.
We stopped for a photo op at this famous Welcome to Austin mural:
And finally, we took a boat trip!
It was HOTTTTTTTTTT on the rooftop (there was indoor seating, but I couldn’t see as well from inside!). But we couldn’t really in good conscience sit and complain about the heat when we have been complaining about the cold for the last 6 months now, could we. 😉
A few people we talked to later seemed to think this whole tour was kind of boring. I don’t know, we really didn’t at all! The guide was informative, and it was a nice overview of Austin. We found it very enjoyable! Not to be all chipper Mary Poppins over here, but we really are pretty merry travelers. There’s not usually a whole lot we don’t like. (shrug?) I guess I prefer to be this way. 🙂
After the tour, we took an Uber to…. In and Out! I know, not famous Texas BBQ or anything, but we freaking love In and Out burgers. And we don’t have In and Out in Wisconsin!! So we always have to get it whenever we can. 😉
We ended up deciding to walk the full 3 miles back to the hotel since we calculated we had just enough time. (There was a planned company dinner out at 5:30/ 6, so eating an entire Double Double at like, 3 p.m. was probably not my wisest move, but I was starving. Whatever. Figured I’d just eat lighter later.)
Checked out a couple more murals on the way back, and also walked through some of the campus area. Ivan commented multiple times how much he enjoys that we both like to WALK a lot on trips. 🙂 It’s relaxing, and such a fun way to see a city.
Friday night was the “Texas casual” theme night at a brewery, where it said “cowboy boots and hats encouraged”.
Well, I didn’t have either of those, but this is what I ended up with:
We took a shuttle bus to the big brewery with outdoor seating. (IT WAS HOT!!) They had live music which was great and lots of food (BBQ, mac and cheese, salad bar, chips and salsa and much more….which, thanks to In and Out, we went pretty light on….), and an open bar.
We tried to stay outside as long as we could because the music was nice, but eventually we moved to the inside bar part which was slightly cooler.
It was fun! We chatted with lots of people and had some drinks, and took silly photos in the photo booth.
After this, we were shuttled back to the hotel, where a bunch of people wanted to go out!! I was kind of “drinked out” by this point, since I had already drank more on this trip than I usually drink in like, 2 months. But we went anyway…. it was Cinco de Mayo and a LOT of people were out. We ended up at a place with a DJ and we pretended we were 22. LOL. (I did not feel 22, however.) It was actually very fun, but not something I need to do often, let’s just say. 🙂
Saturday, May 6 (Day 3)
Saturday was our free day. We slept in until 9 (after our late night out “partying” HA), and then went to the company brunch like proper 40 year olds.
After that we set out to basically just wander around. There are definitely other “things to do” in Austin, but we just didn’t have that much time and weren’t really looking to have to like, Uber to a museum or farther away destinations, etc. We had heard a cool bi-annual street festival was going on near the hotel, so we thought we’d check that out and also try to catch some music.
First we walked up and down “Historic Rainey Street” (which isn’t much to see by day- more of a nighttime venue), but it was nearby and a nice walk.
Then we headed to 6th Street for Pecan Street Festival! There were tons of fun vendors set up- like a huge market with products and food and live music stages, etc.
I loved these journals I saw at one stand:
hehehehe! If I were a manager, I’d totally get that one on the left and just leave it casually laying out on my desk.
Eventually we stopped into an air conditioned bar with live music and got a beer. It was lots of fun and had a cool vibe.
After wandering the festival some more, we ended up back at the Driskill for a drink in that very unique looking hotel bar. (Which I unfortunately didn’t get great pictures of.)
We had to be back to the hotel to get ready for the fancy awards dinner Saturday night, so that was about all we had time for. I’m sure Austin has much more to offer, but on this short trip with a bunch of pre-planned events, we were a bit limited!
I already shared a bunch of pics from the awards night in my other post, but here’s just a couple more:
I was feeling a bit tired by the end of the evening, probably in part from the early flight into late nights plus WAY more alcohol than I’m used to and just a hectic pace. (That’s the only thing I maybe don’t like about these trips…. obviously it is not required to drink! But the whole thing has a “celebratory” feel to it and it just seems like they are always offering you a free cocktail, etc… everyone is sipping wine or a drink at all the events….and it feels fun in the moment…. and then with Austin being kind of a big bar/music scene, that added to it even more this time. I just can’t handle that much booze!!)
We opted OUT of going out on 6th St again with some other people and just finished our current dinner drinks in the pretty hotel bar. This was only like T-6 hours before I got sick, so this was about where my trip really ended. 😉
Sunday, May 6 (Day 4) and Bonus Day 5 (lol) Monday, May 7:
Food poisoning/ sick in bed ALL DAY on Sunday. No further detail needed!!
Monday morning we flew home at 8:30 and THANK GOD I felt good enough to fly. Not 100% but only remaining symptoms were just weakness and tiredness. I dozed/ listened to podcasts the whole way home.
And that was our trip! Days 1-3 were great, Days 4-5 were not so great!! haha! But at least we made it through the entire actual “real” part of the trip part before I got sick, and, I’m fine now. Ready to forget about that part and just focus on the fun memories. 🙂
13 thoughts on “Austin, TX Recap!”
Oh wow, what a big moment, to leave the boys at home asleep! I bet they felt so grown up.
Your hotel room is gorgeous, but I had to giggle at the TINY trash can. Why are hotel trash cans SO SMALL????
All of your outfits are so cute. You are influencer-ing me and I want to know where you got everything, especially the green pants (both pairs), the green shorts, the blue and white sleeveless blouse, and the gingham button down please and thank you.
So glad you are feeling almost back to normal!
Hahaha about the trash can!! You’re so right! I hadn’t even noticed, honestly! lol!
And thank you. 🙂 A majority of what I had along was ALL from Loft!! The more turquoisey green pants I wore with the black tank top I bought at the Loft outlet last summer, so not sure if those are still around. The black dressy tank was a recent Stitch Fix purchase and I love it!
Let’s see, the green tie waist pants I wore on the plane I just ordered from Loft and I LOVE…here’s the link: https://www.loft.com/sfcc-76-loft-promo-bucket-extra-20–sfp-040323/cat5190016/602643.html?dwvar_602643_color=3546&pid=602643 It calls them a “jogger” in the ad but they are NOT like an exercise jogger at all! Totally great for dressing up or down, and so comfy that I actually bought all 3 colors! I feel like they have a nice modern, loose feel to them too. Super happy I bought them and pretty sure I’m going to live in them this summer. (They are the white ones I wore as well- I didn’t bring the navy blue ones along.)
The green shorts I bought many years ago at Gap and they have held up great for ages. Love those too.
The sleeveless blue/white dressy top was another Loft purchase from I think 2016!
And I recently just ordered the blue and white gingham plaid shirt along with those green pants from Loft, here’s the link: https://www.loft.com/clothing/tops/catl000011/grp_609368_3260.html?priceSort=DES I LOVE this shirt too! I tucked in the back and tied the front. 🙂
The orange top was another recent Loft purchase too: https://www.loft.com/clothing/tops/catl000011/613323.html?priceSort=DES
I swear not ALL my clothes are from Loft, but I do tend to find lots of cute stuff I like there! And I like that we have an outlet not that far from home so in person returns are an option if I need to take stuff back!
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I love Loft — although I think sometimes it can be hit or miss with fit. Thank you for being my personal stylist today. 🙂
Because we rarely eat out and even when we’re on vacation, my husband primarily eats packaged foods in hotel rooms, I have to say I HATE SMALL WASTEBASKETS IN HOTEL ROOMS. It is a neverending source of frustration for me. I have started taking small garbage bags with me to hotels and literally handing over trash bags of trash to the front desk with a polite request to dispose of them. I mean. FOR REAL. Even if we weren’t eating all our meals in the room, you can fit like two pieces of paper in those baskets. Ahem. Pet peeve activated.
I’m glad your trip was great until it wasn’t! Although, I’d be disappointed if not to see the bats!!
I agree with NGS re the tiny trash; if you get one takeout meal you have basically already filled it up! However, I have not resorted to bringing my own bag, but I have used the laundry bag as an extra trash bag before!
Yeah, I have noticed it especially because I feel like on normal trips with the kids, we often end up bringing back some leftovers in a box to the room…and many times we end up later throwing them out, because, well, we thought we’d eat them, but really never had the chance because we were out and about…. and anyway, I always notice the leftover pizza box or take out box do NOT fit in the little garbage cans, so then I feel bad leaving stuff piled up for the housekeepers when we check out (if there isn’t a larger garbage available elsewhere that I can find). Using the laundry bag is a good idea!
Love the blue top you wore to the brunch. where is it from? You have said you’re not that into fashion but your outfits were all great!
Aww thanks! I listed a bunch of the stuff above to Suzanne- I think that blue one was an older dressy tank from Loft, but from many years ago now!!
You look super cute in all of your outfits! And now you have a “look book” post to refer to next year if Ivan qualifies again! He’s really on a roll qualifying the last 2 years!
I’ve been to Austin several times as a friend used to live there and I don’t feel like there is a TON to do so I think you have kind of seen the sights. Like you guys, we are very easy to please. It’s rare for us to complain about things on vacation – we are usually just so happy to be somewhere else! But I’d rather be like that!
love the recap. sounds like a perfect couple gateway trip. I am the same with checking frequently what’s happening at home. I think no matter their age, you are never sure all will be well when you are gone.
I’m ordering the press nail set, looks sooooooo good!!!
I love your dress jean jacket combo, looks so relaxing and cool. the entire outfit you had during this trip is so nice, very feminine and casual.
It really seems like you were there for days and days! I think part of that is your wily outfit switches! I am definitely more of a minimalist packer than you and will often bring things I can mix and match, but that is probably totally gauche when you are at a work thing and will be seeing the same people over and over. However, I definitely do not have as many cute outfits as you do, so if I went to an event like that, I guess I would need to hit up Loft! 🙂
I will say- I felt at liberty to just pack however much I wanted because it was only a few nights and we had free checked bags! (And with needing formal wear, it made sense to use the bigger suitcase, anyway.) So I just went ahead and piled in extra outfits, shoes etc without a second thought because I had so much extra space this time, anyway. Might as well! Made it much easier to not have to even attempt all the mix and matching etc.
Happy to hear you felt better to fly! I have never been to Texas but always wanted to go. Your outfits are beautiful, I think you’ve captured the “country” vive with elegance.