Concert last week at Stubb’s to see Ben Rector & Tyrone Wells.
It’s that time again!! That wonderful fall time of year when Wurstfest comes to New Braunfels. Meat, beer, friends, meat, beer, music, meat, beer, carnival rides, meat, beer, crafts…did I mention meat & beer?
Last year, I went to Wurstfest during the day. I’m glad that I day timed it for my first time. It’s much easier to navigate around and get your bearings during the day. Because at night, it gets cra-zy. Crazy fun though!!
This time, I wurstfested it up with Jessica. And we met up with Mary Helen and her friends.
First things first…get beer.
Second on the agenda, eat some sausage on a stick!!
Third, buy a fun hat! Everyone has a hat at Wurstfest. I don’t think that I look good in hats, so I opted for the hat attached to a headband. I got several compliments on it, so yay me!! Mary Helen’s friend bought a beer hat with blinking blue lights on it. It came in handy a few times when we got separated from the group. She was easy to spot with her hat!
Fourth stop, ride the ferris wheel. I did this last year with my aunt too. It’s a fun way to check out the event as whole.
No beverages allowed on the ferris wheel.
My favorite picture of Jessica while she was taking pictures. She looks gorg!
Next up, eat more, get more beer, find Mary Helen and friends again.
Last stop, end inside Wurst Hall for some polka & chicken dancing.
See you next year, Wurstfest!!
Last month, I went to my first ACL festival. My first year in Austin, I felt too new to the city to go. I didn’t even know where Zilker Park was at that point. But this year, I had to go! At the same time, I was terrified!! I love concerts, but crowds of drunken fools….eh, not so much.
It was that fear of the unknown that got into my head. How far will I have to walk? How hard is it to get from one stage to another? Will I get beer spilled on me? How hot will it be? What if I have a panic attack due to the crowd?
Finally, I just had to make a deal with myself. Julie–you’re going!! But if you go for an hour or two and you hate it, then leave! I decided to go to ACL by myself so that if I did get overwhelmed and left, I wouldn’t be putting anyone else out.
Shovels & Rope
And sooooo, I LOVED it. I had a blast. I randomly bumped into Heather on day 1 and we hung out. And I hung out on and off with my friend, Ben on day 2 & 3. But if my friends wanted to see one band and me another, we just parted ways. I felt so proud of myself for getting over my fears and navigating the mayhem quite well.
Everyone has their own preferred way to get to ACL. Walk, bike, cab, dropoff….I opted for the free shuttle. I parked downtown and walked a few blocks for the free buses that picked up in Republic Park. There was a steady stream of busses, so the wait time was minimal. Then you dropped off fairly close to the ACL entrance.
I had a sling bag with me containing cash/ID/debit card, 2 water bottles–one full, one empty, sunscreen, my cell phone, sunglasses, face/hand wipes, and aspirin. You can bring blankets/chairs, but I wasn’t lugging that around. It was easy to navigate the stages from the maps we were given.
I opted to not drink any beer during ACL. 1. I wanted to keep my wits in case it did get super crowded. 2. I didn’t want to have to trek out & wait for the port-a-potties. Ew. Basically, it was so hot on Friday & Saturday that I just sweat out all the water I drank & didn’t have to pee once. Overshare!!!
I actually started to feel like I was going to pass out on the first day after only being at ACL for an hour! The sun was beating straight on me. I hightailed it for a shady area and chugged some water and just sat until I felt okay. I was a bit freaked out by this & thought about leaving, but that’s when I ran into Heather—so she really saved ACL for me!! After that, I was more conscious of my water intake & was a-okay.
Pro tip: (yeah I’m a pro now) During ACL (and SWSX), KGSR & KUTX offer free morning shows. It’s so worth it getting up early to see this show. It’s several bands…only a couple songs each…but I was on the 2nd row at the KGSR show on day 2. I was able to resolve some concert conflicts as these bands were playing at ACL during the same set times as other bands I wanted to see.
Court Yard Hounds
Walk the Moon
Bands that I saw during ACL 2013: Noah and the Whale**, The Lone Bellow**, Franz Ferdinand, The National**, Haim, Little Green Cars**, Dana Falconberry, Silversun Pickups, Lissie**, Walk the Moon**, Aaron Behrens and the Midnight Stroll, Wilco, Kings of Leon**, Court Yard Hounds, Shovels and Rope, Jake Bugg, fun.**, and Vampire Weekend**
**the ones I liked the best
I’ve already bought my 3 day pass for the first weekend of ACL festival 2014. Hope to see you there!!
So another 2 months has passed since my last blog post. It seems I only get the itch to blog after 2 month hiatuses.
June started off strong with lots of fun with friends and traveling. But for the last 6 weeks, I’ve been battling my upstairs neighbor with an annoying dog and tennis elbow in my right arm.
I had no problems with my neighbor for months and months. And then it seems his girlfriend broke up with him and moved out. And I was left with this jerky jilted neighbor and his jerky dog. (I don’t know that he was jilted, but I like to imagine that the girl came to her senses & left him.)
The neighbor guy worked at night and the dog didn’t deal well with being alone at night. The dog would bark and howl from about midnight until the owner came home from work at 4 am. UGHHhhhhhhhhhh!! I would call every week to complain to my leasing office. And I left notes on the neighbor’s door. But he didn’t seem to care.
I had to leave my TV’s and ceiling fans on at night to try to dull the noise. And I wore earplugs every night. I really feel for new mothers now. I was going bonkers. But the guy finally moved out a few days ago! It’s been blissfully quiet for the past few days. Haley seems to be in better spirits too. I know I’ll only get a few weeks of peace before a new neighbor moves in. Is it too much to ask for that it’s a 70 old woman with no pets?
As far as the tennis elbow, it still hurts. I have a brace that I wear during work, since I type all day long. And I have exercises to do from the doctor. I also ice it at night. But it’s frustrating. I’m pretty sure it should have healed by now. I’m just ignoring it basically. :/
Let’s move on to the FUN things I’ve done the past 2 months though!!
2. My BFF’s Chris & Sarah came to Austin to visit.
We went to the Mumford & Sons concert! It was my favorite concert to date! Loved every moment of it!
I ate this amazing quinoa salad at Snack Bar!
We had Sunday Funday by starting with brunch at Max’s Wine Dive. Get the SXSW…jalapeno cheese grits with pulled pork! I want to eat that again right now. Yum!
We continued Sunday Funday at Kung Fu Saloon for drinks and games.
I took Chris & Sarah to Gourdough’s. It was my first time too!! We may have went twice in one day…it was vacation after all.
We finished off the trip with a visit to the Oasis on Lake Travis.
3. Only 2 weeks after Chris & Sarah came to Austin, I flew to Charlotte to visit them. We plan visits around concerts. Mumford & Sons in Austin……ANDDDDDD……NKOTB/98 Degrees/Boyz II Men in Charlotte. I met up with Sarah, Kelly, and Trish my first night in Charlotte to see this boy band extravaganza. It was so much fun!!! NKOTB put on a hell of a show. We really got our money’s worth.
***Here’s when I started getting tennis elbow so hence the few pictures in Charlotte or back at home.
4. A week after returning from Charlotte, I drove home to Wichita for 10 days. My Mom had recently broken her hip, so wanted to see her and be home for the 4th of July. She’s recovered now and is walking without a walker or cane, yay!!
For the 4th of July, I offered to be in charge of appetizers and dessert. My parents are very meat & potato-y, which is delicious, don’t get me wrong—but after a week, I was craving fruit & vegetables. So I happily went to town on the appetizers.
Dessert was a make your own ice cream sundae bar! I thought of this idea on a whim, but it was really fun!!
I always love going home to see how much my 4 nephews have grown!
That’s all for now. I’m going to do my best to not wait another 2 months until next time. But if I do, I’ll have fun updates as I’m going on 2 more trips over the next few months.
Since I hadn’t blogged 2 months, I figured that I’d do a recap/what’s Julie been up to lately post.
Let’s take a walk down recent memory lane.
1. I tried ramen for the first time!! I went to Daruma Ramen with some lovely ladies. It was very good, although I have no comparison! I doubt that I’ll try it again anytime soon due to the Austin heat.
2. I met Fabio of Top Chef fame! He came to Book People on his cookbook tour and met with local food bloggers early for a meet & greet. Very personable guy!
3. I’ve been back a few times to my favorite bar, Easy Tiger.
4. I tried fried fish bones at Kenichi. Crispy suckers.
5. I’ve been to Trailer Tuesdays at the Long Center for the past 3 months. Last week, my favorite truck, Llama’s, was there. Love their pork belly sandwich!
Lobster sliders from Dock and Roll
Yeti Frozen Custard
6. I went to the Bon Jovi concert with some friends. How does he still have the energy?!
7. My pupster, Haley, has arthritis. She’s on some pain meds now and seems to be feeling better.
8. I recently finished reading Honeymoon by James Patterson. I’d been in a book slump and hadn’t liked the last 3 books that I started to read. My Dad recommended Honeymoon. Really enjoyed it…a fast read.
9. Did you watch Behind the Candelabra on HBO about Liberace?? Crazy train wreck! I couldn’t stop watching!
11. I went to Kansas City for my friend, Alison’s wedding. The chapel was so beautiful! I loved the design and how the light at sunset came through.
12. I went on the Up & Down Tour at Casa Brasil & South Austin Brewery. An afternoon learning about coffee and beer….what more can you ask for?!
13. I attended the media tasting for Umami Mia Pizzeria in Austin. I wasn’t a fan of the pizza, but I was a big fan of their cocktails. My favorites were the Tuscan Sipper & the Blackberry Caipirinha.
14. I did try some awesome pizza though….at Via 313. Yummmmmmm!
15. I attended my first 2 crawfish boils recently. Such a fun time! I’m more into the corn & potatoes though. But crawfish boils make for good pictures.
16. Brunch at the Clay Pit! It was so good!! Glad that I finally tried it.
17. I binge watched Season 4 of Arrested Development in only 3 days. Has anyone else watched it?? Are they going to make more episodes? Because that last episode…what??
Annnnd I’m done!
Did you miss recap 1?
Long before I knew that I’d partake in SXSW festivities, I knew that I’d be going to the TECHmunch food blogger conference! It was my first food blogger conference. I was ready to soak up the info…and food!
Prior to the conference, we were invited to a wine tasting event presented by TECHmunch, Forkly, and Whole Foods. It was called Tango con Vinos Argentinos….wines from Argentina. I tried 2 Malbecs that I enjoyed and really liked chatting with Babette, the founder of Bakespace & TechMunch.
Churrasco style meats–get in my belly! Yum for the garlic pepper sausage.
My first swag bag!
TECHmunch Austin was held on Spring Forward Sunday. It was bright and early…too early! The first thing on my mind was COFFEE!!
Thank goodness for Chameleon Cold Brew Coffee!! This guy was SO nice and he got a lot of love from the food bloggers during the conference. We were in need of some caffeine! He said that he doesn’t add any creamer to his coffee since due to their brewing methods, it’s less acidic already. I usually drink my coffee black already, so I followed his suggestion. He was right on, very good!!
After I had a morning jolt, I got to know the folks that I was sitting by. Who was I sitting by? Two reps from Peanut Butter & Co! What luck!!! Why yes, I would like to become friendly with super nice & funny people that also work for a peanut butter company that I heart!
A mid-morning break to enjoy strawberry & mixed berry smoothies from Driscoll’s.
An afternoon cupcake break courtesy of KitchenAid.
There were many good speakers during TECHmunch.
Some of the highlights for me:
Natanya’s presentation on Finding Your Focus
My takeaways from her: work on your point of view. When you find your unique voice, your audience size may grow. What emotions do you want to convey in your blog? For me: laughter! Snarky, but fun!!
Serena’s presentation on Setting up an Editorial Calendar
I’d never considered an editorial calendar, but it would be a great planning, organizing tool for my blog. She suggests it to plan out posts. For example, for holidays, post about that holiday recipe about 2-3 weeks prior to the holiday. Then maybe a reminder post/link on the day of the holiday.
Stephanie’s presentation on SEO & Getting the Most Out of Your Content.
SEO still overwhelms me!! As a very part-time, sporadic blogger, I’m not ready to invest in learning SEO strategy, but still great info. She did suggest going to Google trends to get ideas for content as well. Since nowadays I enjoy blogging about pop culture more than recipes, this idea may be a great one for me! All of the Google trends now are March Madness related and I included a blurb about it in yesterday’s post.
Meghan’s presentation over Food Styling
Meghan’s presentation was my favorite! It was so fun learning insider tricks. As a food stylist, Meghan has many tools: Q-tips, makeup wedges to clean up spills…a water bottle to mist food…denture glue to hold food together! She wears white gloves to not get smudges on plates and uses tweezers to delicately reposition food.
She suggests keeping boxes of instant mashed potatoes on hand too! There may not be a whole lot of soup in that beautiful picture of soup you love! It may be filled with instant mashed potatoes on the bottom to add height and then carefully deconstructed soup added in to the bowl.
OH! And the best part of the day!!!! Guess what I won?!?!?
I’ve recovered from my first SXSW in Austin! If you’re not familiar with SXSW, it’s a 10 day interactive, film, and music festival that invades Austin every year. It’s overwhelming, but awesome! I’m going to share a few posts with you about my experiences. I didn’t buy a badge for SXSW, but there are plenty and I mean PLENTY of free events to get into!
It was a drizzly day, but that wasn’t going to stop people looking for cheap eats! After helping hand out wristbands at the Long Center, Mary Helen, Meredith & I (and our new friends) headed over to Kenichi for sushi.
I had the Maguro “Yakiniku”-Zuke (Korean style BBQ marinated tuna, avocado, crispy garlic, asian pear) and the Pork Belly Kushiyaki (sesame mizuna, teriyaki).
I’d heard about this event from other bloggers. Christy & Elizabeth are two of my blogging friends who were also judges! There were 15 entries with creative & tasty uses of bacon. The contestants had to make ample amounts for the crowd to try too! I mean, I wasn’t there just to look & smell bacon….I need to EAT some bacon!!
Slaw P Bacon entry
An array of bacon samples that I devoured….including bacon gumbo & cabbage bacon rolls.
Drunken Crusty Pigdough….what??! Cookie dough & bacon….the judges were a fan of this entry.
Bacon Scotch Eggs…loved the look of this one and the flavor of the mustard.
My overall favorite was the Bleu Bacodilla entry. You can find pictures and recipes here.
After the Bacon Takedown, I convinced Mary Helen & Meredith to come with me to the Intercontinental Hotel bar for a drink. It’s right next to the Paramount Theatre where Paul Rudd was screening his new movie. I thought that maybe we’d eye spy a celeb in the hotel bar. No such luck…but it gave me a chance to charge up my cell phone.
SXSW tip: you MUST bring your cell phone charger with you! SXSW is tech overload and you will be on Twitter constantly checking for updates on free events, etc. So, you’ll want that charger on hand!
While on the hotel balcony, the girls saw the Jeni’s ice cream truck and flipped out! I mean, seriously, they were excited! And thanks to Twitter, we learned that they were going to the Royal Blue Grocery store that was less than a block from us.
I opted for the salty caramel!
We finally decided to make our way back to our cars. But along the way, we learned that there was free food and an open bar at the Bing lounge. Hey, might as well stop by….:) It was PACKED in there. People love free food & alcohol. We made our way up to the 3rd floor, fought through the crowd…and got a free Coolhaus ice cream sandwich! Yay for more ice cream! It was my first Coolhaus experience and it was worth making my way through drunk people! But it wasn’t worth trying to capture a photo in a crowd like that!
We devoured our ice cream sandwiches and were outta there!! So it was a solid first day of SXSW’ing—-bacon & ice cream!
More to come with my other adventures!!
In November, one of my bestest friends in the whole wide world, Sarah, came to visit. Sarah did a little research online first and asked if we could go to La Condesa for dinner her first night in town. Far be it from me to say no to tacos, guac, and beer!
I asked Sarah…..will you get up and stand in line at 9:30 am to eat BBQ with me tomorrow? Sarah said yes, of course. Yesssssssss!!
I finally got to try Franklin Barbecue!
Franklin’s is known for having some of the best brisket in the country. Just ask Anthony Bourdain. It was delicious, but I liked the ribs even better.
After devouring some meat, we headed off the duck tour of Austin. I don’t think Sarah blew her duck whistle once. But I made up for it for the both of us.
The State Capitol building
During Sarah’s visit, we also took in two concerts. We saw Snow Patrol (great concert!) at Austin Music Hall and Counting Crows at Stubb’s.
I was very nervous for Snow Patrol as I’d read bad reviews about Austin Music Hall. So maybe the reviewers were whiny….or the hall was improved…or both, but I really enjoyed the venue!! The only downfall is that since it’s near condos/apartments, they have to stop concerts at 10 pm. I wish that Snow Patrol could have played longer.
Our other adventure during Sarah’s visit was the Austin Eats Food Tour. I’d been wanting to try the downtown Austin tour for awhile and had a Groupon to boot! The tour met on a Saturday morning the Republic Park farmers’ market.
Our stops on the food tour:
1. Dai Due Butcher Shop
3. Hut’s Hamburgers
4. Haddington’s–I’d already been to Haddington’s twice before, but this was my first time trying a Moscow Mule! Loooooooove!!
5. Walton’s Fancy and Staple — The shortbread cookies are so good!
For Sarah’s last day in Austin, I suggested a Sunday Funday of brunch and bar hopping! We had brunch at Bess Bistro (otherwise known as Sandra Bullock’s restaurant–as is Walton’s). Then we headed over to Kung Fu Saloon and met up with with my friend, Brandi, and her hubs.
To end on a killer high note, Sarah and I had dinner at Uchi. Oh Uchi….I love thee!! Uchi, you are way better than Uchiko (sorry, Paul Qui). If you’re in Austin and you love sushi, you must go to Uchi. Go early (happy hour prices), get the shag roll, get the maguro sashimi and goat cheese…thank me later!
Sarah, I hope you come again in 2013!! Maybe for a little ACL concert action!
Over Columbus Day weekend, my friend, Kelly, came to visit me from Charlotte.
(Yes, Columbus Day weekend….one of my New Year’s resolutions is to be more timely with my blogging!)
Kelly was my first friend to visit, so I was stoked! I gave her the option of day tripping to San Antonio or to Fredericksburg to go to the wineries. I was thrilled when she chose Fredericksburg!
In addition to touring wineries, we also ate at Torchy’s, shopped on South Congress, went on a tour of the city, had drinks at the Driskill, and went to the movies to see Pitch Perfect.
Cheers! Having oyster shooters at Perla’s.
Pork belly “sushi” at Uchiko. Nom nom nom!!
On our way to tour the barrel room at the Grape Creek Vineyards.
Can I climb in and take a swim?
We also visited Four Point Cellars, William Chris Vineyards, and Woodrose Winery.
Brunch at Matt’s El Rancho
Always get the Bob Armstrong dip!
Banana Pudding with Rum Sauce at 1886 Cafe & Bakery
My only regret during Kelly’s visit was wearing new shoes that ended up cutting into my ankle her last afternoon in town. I hated being a grumpy hostess for the last few hours that we hobbled around. Hopefully I will lure her back with more wine!
For Christmas this year, I stayed in Austin. My parents came down to spend the holiday with me and my aunts & uncles.
Haley loves visitors!
Family brunch at Kerbey Lane Cafe. Everyone loved it!
My aunt & uncle at the Armadillo Christmas Bazaar
Every arts & crafts fair should have a live band!
Shopping at the Domain
Dad & I taking a break from shopping to sit outside & enjoy a beer.
Love this new dish towel that my aunt Ann got me!
My Dad asked if we were going to have our breakfast date at Whole Foods to get coffee and a muffin like when they visited this summer. Yes yes! A new tradition!
Brunch at Magnolia Cafe
I made Christmas Eve spaghetti & meatballs!
New owl nightlight lamp from my parents! My owl obsession is going strong!
My cousin Kristy has had a great 2012….getting fit! I’m so
jealous proud of her!
My cousin-in-law makes a great turkey!
Mom & Ann
I made fudge for the first time!
Thanks again Mom & Dad for making the long drive down to spend Christmas with me. But next year…leave the flu at home.