Friday, October 21, 2016

San Diego

Two weekends ago, after unpacking and settling in as much as possible in Austin, Peter and I headed off to San Diego to attend his grandpa's wedding. It was a really quick trip, but neither of us had ever been there before, so we made sure to check out a few sights. In  hindsight, I wish we would have brought our real camera (aka not my iPhone), but it was packed away somewhere and that was pretty much the last thing on my mind after the move! 

We arrived on Friday afternoon and went straight to check out Torrey Pines Golf Course. Peter loves to golf (I can't for the life of me hit the ball off the tee) so he wanted to look around and grab a souvenir in the gift shop. He picked up a bag tag, which Ali saw sitting around the apartment the other day and thought was a large metal bracelet. Shows how much we know about golf, I guess!
Afterward, we checked into our hotel and then walked around downtown La Jolla, which is pretty much the cutest little city ever. Being by the water with the beautiful cliffs in view reminded us a lot of Australia and how much we miss it!
The weather was perfect the whole time we were there, which apparently is pretty typical of San Diego.

This beach had a big colony (pack? herd? IDK?) of seals living on it. They were super cute but smelled horrendous. There were people swimming with them, despite signs that warned of high bacteria levels, which was pretty repulsive. People will do anything for a good selfie, I guess. 
I wasn't sure how close you could get to the seals without being attacked, or whatever seals do, so we kept our distance. They looked nice and friendly but then a few started fighting pretty aggressively, so I decided to keep my distance. Plus, some of them were massive. Like, monster seals. Another reason not the wade into the bacteria-infested waters, if you ask me.
We got a drink at this cute rooftop bar and watched an amazing sunset before dinner. The weather, the sunset, and the scenery were all pretty idyllic.
The wedding took place on Saturday morning and was held at the beautiful Melrose Ranch in Escondido. The weather was perfect, of course, but you could definitely feel the difference in temperature between the coast and inland. We were pretty warm by noon. 
I took a picture of the ceremony, which was attended by about 15 immediate family members. It was such a nice service, and Peter's grandpa Ed and his new wife Jean looked great!
We took a few pictures after the service and then had some brunch before exploring the ranch a bit. 
There were a couple rescue donkeys on the ranch and they came right over to us when called. So cute! This place got me dreaming of the farm I'd love to own someday, which Peter isn't exactly on board with....yet! He's convinced I would play with the animals and he would get stuck doing all the non-fun barn chores. This is probably true.
We drove up one of the hills and got a great view of the ranch. It was pretty much the perfect venue for a fall wedding, complete with a large renovated barn (for weddings and other events) that I didn't take a photo of apparently.
On Saturday evening we stayed in San Diego and got a chance to explore the downtown area. We had an awesome Italian dinner in the Little Italy neighborhood followed by gelato, of course.
I had a 6 am flight to catch Sunday morning, so it was a fairly quick trip, but Peter and I definitely enjoyed our first visit to the San Diego area. 

For the first time in years, we don't have a trip on the calendar. We're focusing on getting settled in Austin at the moment, but we do plan to take some weekend trips in the coming months, so stay tuned!
Thursday, October 20, 2016

Tacos and Ice Cream

In the short time we've been in Austin we've gotten a chance to check out the local food scene a bit. This is pretty much the most important part of any city, right? So far, we've pretty much focused on tacos and desserts. Obviously.


Okay, Torchy's Tacos is the greatest restaurant ever in the history of the world. I'm not kidding. There are a million different tacos to pick from and they're all soooo good. Plus, they're huge and you can kind of customize how spicy you want to make them. Side note: coming from the North, I think we have a different concept of "spicy" because I typically order mild but even that here is pretty hot. Ali accidentally ordered a taco with "diablo sauce" and pretty much had a heart attack.

There are a bunch of Torchy's locations, each with a different style/atmosphere, and I have a personal goal to visit every one of them.
We headed to Snooze on Sunday morning for brunch, and I ordered these breakfast tacos. I asked for the spice on the side, which was a good move. Snooze is actually a Denver-based chain and it's extremely popular. We woke up early and got there before 9 am just so we didn't have to wait in line. When my mom, Ali and I were in Austin over Labor Day weekend visiting, we tried to eat a late brunch at Snooze and ended up going elsewhere because the wait was almost two hours. 



Ali got pancakes at Snooze, which pretty much count as dessert ;). You can order three different flavors, so she got one chocolate chip, one cinnamon roll, and one blueberry danish. They were equally amazing. 

There's a cute little food truck area in the South Congress neighborhood not far from where we live, so we decided to try out Hey Cupcake! and all agreed they were some of the best we had ever had. P.S. they aren't kidding about the traffic being TERRIBLE in Austin. We live about two miles from this area, and it took exactly six minutes when we went after dinner the other day when there was little traffic. But, during the day it takes a good 15 minutes to get there. We've driven around at 2 pm and encountered rush hour level traffic that you'd expect in a much bigger city. Pretty much, we just avoid 35 altogether if possible.
The other night while Peter was out of town, Ali and I heard about free scoop night at Lick ice cream. Parking was a bit of a struggle, but the free (and really good) ice cream made it worth it. Plus, Lick gets all its milk products from a small family farm in Texas, which is really cool. 
Lastly, we went for a drink the other night at a coffeehouse nearby and I spotted this Minneapolis-based coffee for sale! Kind of random, but fun to see something from home.

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Hello From Austin!

We're settling into life in Austin, so I thought I'd share a few pictures and a little update. We arrived last Monday and spent the week feverishly unpacking before departing again on Friday for a wedding in San Diego (more on that later). We barely left the apartment all week and when we did it was to grab household items we forgot/needed at Walmart. Sidenote: I think I've found the most bizarre Walmart on the's right here in Austin! I thought nothing could beat the Branson Walmart, but this is definitely a contender. Over the course of our multiple trips last week I saw three people carrying dogs through the grocery section (since when is this socially acceptable?), someone in the parking lot tried to sell us drugs, and we saw a semi-nude child riding in a cart. Luckily, we discovered the sole Super Target in Austin near our house and have been sticking to that ever since. 

So, we arrived Monday and checked into the leasing office to get our keys and parking pass (for the car we don't yet have). This is the cute little communal coffee bar across from the offices. 

And here is the common living area, where you can hang out, watch TV, or work.
Our apartment complex has two buildings: the first was completed earlier this year and is full, and then the second is still under construction. We are some of the first tenants in the second building, pictured below, and when we arrived there were only two other cars in the parking garage. Since the building is still under construction, our amenities won't be finished until early December, so we have to trek to the other building down the street for the pool and gym until then. A bit annoying, but we got a great deal on our rent, including the first two months free, so we can't complain too much!
And now for a few pictures of our actual's the kitchen.
And a wider view of the kitchen from the living room area. Excuse the dirty I said, there's still a bunch of construction going on so the hallways are a bit dusty!
The living room:
I snapped (If you want to see additional fascinating content follow me! My username is laurahinderaker) this picture, and the sentiment remains true. It's still in the 90s here in Austin and there's no sign of it cooling down anytime soon. Any Texans reading...does it ever cool off?!
I spent the better part of one day last week assembling this IKEA TV stand. I have a serious love/hate relationship with IKEA. Mostly hate. We've moved around a lot, which has translated into a lot of IKEA furniture building and I'm sort of over it. If I never have to put together another LACK or MALM item, I'll be extremely happy. Once I finished this stand, I went to attach the back panel and realized I was missing a few pieces. At least, I thought I was. IKEA directions are the most confusing/least helpful thing ever. So, Ali and I went back to IKEA yesterday and tried to get the missing pieces. I felt like a complete idiot when the guy informed me that the piece I thought I needed more of was actually just supposed to be one piece that was basically a tool that I thought was a legitimate part. Awkward. So, today I'm going to tackle the rest of it.
After our weekend in San Diego, I flew back to Minneapolis to make the drive down to Austin with our roommate, aka my sister Ali! She stayed to work an extra week at her job before moving down, so her room has been used as a pseudo storage area until now. We took two days to drive down, which wasn't so bad given that we could switch off driving every few hours. We got to see a lot of sights between Minneapolis and Austin...aka fields and not much else ;). We've now got the basics set up and are settling in nicely. I'll post some more pictures when we have everything finished! 


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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