Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Austin Visit/ Fixer Upper Pilgrimage

As I revealed in my last post, we're officially moving to Austin, Texas on Monday!

In preparation for our move, I visited with my mom and Ali (who is also moving!) on Labor Day weekend to tour the city and scout some apartments. Neither Peter nor I have really been to Austin before, minus a quick drive through for me on a classy spring break trip to South Padre in college. We loved the city and the visit pretty much solidified our hunch that Austin was the right place for us to go. The only downside of our visit was the fact that it was still about ten million degrees in Texas, and our hotel's air conditioning broke one night. Needless to say, it was a really, really uncomfortable night of sleep! Other than that, we enjoyed our trip and can't wait to explore Austin some more starting next week. If anyone lives in/has been to Austin and has some recommendations for things to do/see/eat, let me know :). 

There's a Man V. Food episode in Austin that features Round Rock Donuts, so we obviously had to go. Unfortunately, we got there a few minutes after the cafe part closed, but we were still able to drive through. The line was about 20 cars long, but it was worth the wait! We'll definitely be back to this gem. 
Another restaurant featured on the episode was Salt Lick BBQ, about 30 minutes southwest of Austin. This place did not disappoint! The BBQ was amazing, as was the entire restaurant, which consisted of about 4 buildings. Below is the outdoor waiting area, where you can BYOB while you wait to be seated. The line seems to be pretty long at all hours of the day, so this area is probably a lifesaver on busy weekends when I can imagine the wait would exceed an hour.
They had freshly-squeezed lemonade for sale, which was a genius idea given the scorching heat. I can't imagine how much money they rake in on the lemonade sales alone.
I ordered this GIGANTIC pulled pork sandwich. I could only eat about half of it, which was annoying because it was amazing.
 The barbecue pit. I think there were two or three of these spread throughout the restaurant.

Waco Day Trip

Everyone and their mother is watching Fixer Upper on HGTV these days, so we had to make the trip down to Waco while we were so close! It took us about an hour straight down 35, so it was an easy day trip from Austin. We went directly to the silos, where there's a cute bakery, food trucks, and this warehouse full of Joanna-inspired merchandise. I could have purchased everything in this place.
My mom, me, and Ali outside the Magnolia store. It was HOT on this day and we pretty much melted, but it was worth it! I think being hot is going to be the theme of our lives very shortly.
Ali with this super-Instagrammable sign. 
 The silos!
We then drove around Waco obsessively trying to locate houses that had been featured on the show. First of all, Waco is pretty small and there's really not a lot there except Baylor. Secondly, we were only able to find one of the houses, but it was my favorite they've done- the shotgun house!!
We then creepily tried to find Chip and Joanna's house (unsuccessfully) and headed back to Austin. We rested up for a few minutes at the hotel and then drove out to Lake Travis for dinner. The lake is more of what we Minnesotans would consider a river, but I suppose in a state without 10,000 lakes you take what you can get. It's really pretty and was a great place to watch the sunset.
 Lastly, a bit of street art!

We found an apartment on the south side of town and can't wait to get moved in this next week! More pictures to follow, I'm sure.
Tuesday, September 27, 2016

What We've Been Up To And Where We're Moving

After a bit of a blogging break, I'm back!

We've been in Minneapolis for about five and a half weeks now and have been fitting in tons of fun activities with family and friends. Our time in Minneapolis is winding down, but I thought I'd summarize some of the highlights.

Lake Vermilion

We spent a few days on Lake Vermilion in northern Minnesota with my family immediately after arriving back in the States. We stayed at Ludlow's Island Resort, an old favorite that I hadn't been to since the summer before college, I think. It was a quick trip, but fun to hang out with family at the lake. 

Our cabin for the long weekend:
My youngest sister Kathryn had a few friends come up for the first couple days of our trip. They (along with Peter) tried stand-up paddle boarding, which looked entirely too difficult/risky to me. My other sister, Ali, and I took out one of the paddle boats and followed them instead.
Best part of the weekend? Spending time with my adorable niece, Hadley.
Each time we head up to Lake Vermilion we rent one of the resort's pontoon boats for a few hours and make our way across the lake to have dinner. The trip is always fun and sometimes eventful- one year we ran out of gas during a thunderstorm and had to be rescued. Based on this information, you may assume we aren't great boaters, which is absolutely correct. 
 We caught an amazing sunset on the way back from dinner and thankfully had our nice camera out to capture it.

Minnesota State Fair

I could do an entire post on the ridiculous amount of food I consumed at this year's state fair, but I'll spare you and just post a few photos. Let me just say: you haven't lived until you've been to the Minnesota State Fair.

Deep fried macaroni and cheese on a stick. Amazing. 
 Cheese curds, which would be utterly disgusting in any other setting but somehow taste fabulous at the fair.
 Sweet Martha's Cookies.
This one's a little blurry, but chocolate covered key lime pie on a stick. Yes, that's a thing. 

Family, Etc.

My mom and I met my grandparents for lunch in the town where I attended college. It was so fun to see them, and also to drive around campus and reminisce a bit. 
The Six Pack, where I lived my junior and senior years of college with six other girls. Last I heard, the house had been condemned and was set to be torn down, but #stillstanding. Apparently, there was black mold in the basement or something, which is entirely believable and a bit unsettling.
 One of the greatest places on Earth.
 And finally, our moving truck all packed and ready to go! We're moving on Monday.

Where is it going, you ask?


And the best part? We somehow convinced my sister Ali to move with us, so it's basically going to be a giant party. More details on that later...

I think I'm going to keep blogging about random insignificant details of my life, but I might need to change the name of my blog since we're not exactly Down Under (although, Texas is technically down and under Minnesota). So, suggestions for a new name welcome ;). It remains to be seen if anything interesting enough to actually write about happens now that we've moved our lives back Stateside. Time will tell!


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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