Birthdays are Bigger in Texas

Barton Springs circa 1982 via

Barton Springs circa 1982 via

Austin is a wonder. It feels young and exciting, but also more relaxing than New York. There are new restaurants and food trucks to try, charming vintage boutiques to peruse and some swell bars for enjoying many a margarita. Plus, there’s live music – The Continental is one of my dad’s favorites (but I haven’t been able to go yet). And finally, there is the water. There is so much water everywhere and I can’t even begin to express how much joy this brings me. It was 102 degrees yesterday, but after a dip in the crystal clear (and absolutely freezing) Barton Springs, I felt cool and relaxed and like I’d just spent 5 days in Hawaii. The day before my birthday, I went inner-tubing on Lake Travis – it is possibly the most fun activity I did in my 24th year (and just in the nick of time). Suffice to say, Michael and I spent hours daydreaming about setting up shop in one of the many little bungalows on South Congress; with their gardens and affordable rent prices, how could we not?!

I also celebrated my 25th birthday with Michael and my dad. A quarter century old and a lot to celebrate. It was the perfect Most Special Day. There were mimosas, Happy Birthday songs performed live, birthday cake for breakfast and a big celebratory dinner in the evening. It was made all the more special because I had the great gift of spending it with my dad. It made the start of this year feel pretty magical. Plus, Michael bestowed on me a truly wonderful gift. For now, I’m dubbing it, The Birthday Book – a beautiful leather-bound notebook filled with letters from my very closest circle of friends. Each year they will write something new in The Birthday Book – some years it will be the story of how we met, others our silliest adventures. It is a book of love and memories and it made me cry immediately.

My Austin favorites from this trip:

Torchy’s Tacos – We checked out the one in South Congress. I will be dragging my dad back there for the fried avocado taco and the Baja shrimp taco for sure!

GourDough’s Specialty Doughnuts – Another wonderful Austin food truck. Doughnuts topped with insane ingredients including Grilled Bananas & Cream Cheese Icing with Brown Sugar and also Fudge Chocolate Icing with Grilled Strawberries – too, too good. There’s also a fried chicken one but I’m a little scared of it!

Flashback – A wonderful vintage boutique that’s well organized and well curated. It even has a great sale room in the back. I picked up many a birthday treat in there.

South Congress Books – For rare, vintage and new books. A great little book store that I could spend a few long hours in!

We’re off to explore Portland today. There are walking tours, rose gardens and lots more food trucks ahead of us.

My Portland favorites will be up next week!

– Violet





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