Monday, July 31, 2017

The Best Pool Day Ever and a Visitor!

We've been pretty busy around here lately! My step-mom, Loree, came to visit for a few days and we fit in a ton of fun Austin activities. I just noticed while looking through pictures that I took next to zero photos of actual people these past few weeks. Whoops!

The weather has pretty much constantly looked like this lately:

 So we've been doing a lot of this:
While Loree was here, she rented out a cabana for all of us at the hotel where she was staying, the Van Zandt. It was absolutely amazing and we all agreed that it felt like a vacation in our own city. We spent the whole day hanging out by the pool and ate and drank a bunch. The cabana rental carried a mandatory food and drink minimum, so we were all happy to "have to" order a few extra drinks!
I got the French toast for brunch and it was delicious. The hotel has a nice restaurant called Geraldine's that we went to on Easter earlier this year when Peter's family was visiting, and all of the food came straight from their kitchen.

Ali snapped this picture with a hilariously accurate caption. Peter was pretty much in his personal heaven watching golf in the cabana with a fan pointed at him while eating breakfast. Not pictured: his breakfast beer.
 This was their house mojito. I kind of felt like I was eating a plant, but luckily I love mint!

 Kathryn and me in the pool.
 It was really packed by late-afternoon, but then rain clouds rolled in pretty quickly and they had to clear the pool deck. We moved inside to the bar and had one last drink before walking around Rainey Street for a bit and then turning in early.
Loree and Kathryn made the trip up to Waco to check out the Fixer Upper compound on one day:

We made the trip down to Lockhart again with Loree to eat at the original Black's BBQ one evening. On another afternoon, we discovered the happy hour at Hillside Farmacy. I'd been once before for brunch, but the happy hour deal was amazing- everything was half price including their generous portions of mac and cheese. I highly recommend! 
When Ali and I went for brunch earlier this summer, we had to wait in line for quite awhile to be seated. I loved that the place was pretty much deserted during happy hour.
Loree made a reservation at Juliet, a cute little Italian restaurant not far from us. The food was really good and we definitely want to go back. Also, note the annoying lens flare (I don' know what to call it?) in the photo below. I got a new phone in the spring and it's been doing this thing where I can't take low-light photos without this happening. So, I took it to the Apple store last week and they put a whole new camera in my phone. That didn't fix the issue, unfortunately, so today I went back and they did a total reset on my phone. I went through the trouble of downloading all my apps, etc. only to find out tonight that the issue isn't solved. Ugh. Luckily it's still under warrenty, so I have to go back later this week to get a new phone. But I digress...

This isn't really a life update because nothing has happened yet, but we are in the very early stages of house hunting! By this I mean I've been checking the app obsessively and trying to convince myself that the really cool $5 million dollar house on Lake Austin could somehow be in the budget. I've already learned that it's infinitely more fun to look at houses that you can't afford!

What we HAVE been doing is driving around a lot, looking at houses for sale (actually in the budget) and checking out the neighborhoods. Right now we live in South Austin, but we aren't by any means tied to this area. There are tons of neighborhoods north that we don't really know anything about and a few more traditional suburbs too. It's kind of crazy what you can get in the suburbs and it's a tiny bit tempting, even thought we'd rather be closer to the city.

So, that's how we ended up in Pflugerville, a suburb northeast-ish of downtown. Fun fact: Friday Night Lights was filmed at Pflugerville High School, which I got a total fail of a picture of below:
Texas Forever!

Kathryn finished her internship and left yesterday for Israel, where she'll be for 10 days. We get to have her back here in Austin for a weekend when she returns before heading back to school.
That's about it! I'm still in the process of redo-ing my blog, which is happening painfully slowly. Stay tuned ;)

Monday, July 17, 2017

Day Trips: San Antonio and Lockhart

This weekend, we decided to head back down to San Antonio so Kathryn could see some of the sights while she's still here. It's been so fun having an additional roommate this summer and she's only here for a couple more weeks before she is off to Israel in August before finally heading back to Minnesota for the school year.

On Friday night, we stopped by Home Slice Pizza, our favorite South Congress restaurant, to grab some dinner. We got a large specifically so we could take some home and reheat it the next day for lunch. Well, that didn't happen. The three of us somehow managed to eat this entire pizza, which is equally impressive and embarrassing. I wish this picture fully conveyed the sheer size of this thing, but you'll just have to trust me that it was embarrassingly large.
On Saturday afternoon we went down to San Antonio and stopped at the Alamo. I took zero pictures, probably because it was literally 104 degrees and I couldn't think about anything other than getting to the air conditioning asap. We also stopped by Mission San Jose, but there was a Saturday evening mass going on, so we couldn't actually go in to see the beautiful altar. I've been once before and it's truly impressive.
As you can tell, there was a storm rolling through late Saturday afternoon. On the drive home, it rained a bit and then the temperature dipped to 75! I don't think it's been that cool during the day since March.
We had a light snack/dinner and margaritas at a Mexican restaurant along the River Walk and then headed back to Austin. San Antonio is so pretty, so old and highly underrated if you ask me.

On Sunday, we had simultaneously one of the best and worst ideas of our lives. I kept hearing about this BBQ place in Lockhart, about a half hour south of Austin, so I suggested we go for lunch. Peter did a little more research and apparently, Lockhart is the BBQ capital of Texas, and there is a total of four somewhat famous places we just had to try. All in one day.

Our first stop was Black's, which I think is the most famous of the Lockhart BBQ joints. We were there nice and early and barely had to wait in a line, which I think is pretty lucky. People take their BBQ seriously here and we've waited for hours- not kidding- at some places. Plus, I was really happy this line didn't extend outside, because HOT.
We decided to try to pace ourselves, so we only ordered one cut of each brisket and a rib, plus a side of mac and cheese. Peter always rolls his eyes when I insist on ordering sides. He says he can't waste stomach space on non-meat items. Okay then! I think the sides make or break the meal.
 The inside...very Texas.
 Our plate.
 Our second stop was Smitty's Market, just down the road from Black's.
This place had a really cool setup with these huge smokers with open fires in the back of the building next to the counter. I can't imagine working in this back room- it was a million degrees.
The pitmaster saw us taking pictures and called over Kathryn and me so we could get a better view! YUM.
One of the funniest things about these BBQ places is that they don't give you actual plates. They just wrap up your food in a few paper placements that you use and hand you a knife and spoon.
 "No forks" was an actual policy in this place. I guess it's a tradition?
Our third stop was Krewz Market, which a nice local behind us in line told us is owned by the same family as Smitty's. Apparently a long time ago, the sister owned the building where Smitty's is located, and her two brothers ran the restaurant. She raised the rent on them at some point, they got angry and then started a competing place down the road. What a feud!
 Hilarious sign on the door.
This was the only place we had to wait in line and it took about a half hour to get into the room with the smokers. We planned to hit up the fourth spot, but we were all about ready to burst and ended up taking some of the below meal home with us. I suppose this is a good thing, as it gives us an excuse to head back to Lockhart!

We all went home, took a nap, and didn't eat dinner. Kathryn and I picked up Ali at the airport- she was at a wedding in Minnesota- and got ourselves ready for the week ahead. All in all, a great weekend!

Linking up with Biana
Monday, July 10, 2017

Weekend Recap

This weekend consisted, as usual, of a bunch of food and hot weather. Story of our summer down here! On Saturday night we were looking for somewhere to get dessert and among the ten million various ice cream places, we found this bite-sized cheesecake food truck. Because that sounded like a  lot more fun than ice cream, we headed over to check it out. THEY WERE SO GOOD. The truck is officially called "The Celia Jacobs Cheesecake Experience" and I think we got to talk to Celia herself. We ended up taking one of each flavor they had left, and they were all delicious. 

 It was a super cute truck in a kid-friendly food truck park/playground near us.
On Sunday Kathryn and I met a friend of mine from work for a gospel brunch at Threadgill's. If you have absolutely no idea what this means, you're not alone. I didn't either until a few months ago. Apparently, gospel brunches are a thing here and they're even gaining momentum as a sort of hipster experience. Who knew we were so cool? Basically, you eat brunch and listen to a gospel band.

Here's my plate of food picked up at the all-you-can-eat $12 breakfast buffet.
And the band. We were seated right in front, but I couldn't get a very good picture due to the light coming in through the windows. This actually reminds me of an issue I'm having with my iPhone. At night or if there's bright light, like in the picture below, it won't focus and the light always spreads out across the entire frame. Any iPhone experts out there?

Anyway, It was super fun and the band was good! They played mostly bluegrass type gospel music and we all really enjoyed it.

That about sums up the weekend. I'm still in search of a new blog a girl out!

Linking  up with Biana

Thursday, July 6, 2017

4th Of July Weekend

I'm so slow on this blog revamp it's embarrassing. I'm trying to do 3 things while having approximately zero computer knowledge.

1) I want to transfer my blog to Wordpress, as it seems like the most intuitive platform for what I want to do. Blogger has been fine, but I'm ready for an upgrade.

2) I've spent countless hours trying to think of a catchy name for my blog now that we're not 'Down Under'. I come up pretty much blank every time. If you have any creative ideas, please let me know!

3) I've picked out a new layout on Etsy so I need to make that switch once steps 1 and 2 are done.


My London and Paris posts are forthcoming, but those take a bit more time to put together, so I thought I'd catch you up on what we've been doing since we've been home.

We checked out a new winery near our apartment one night, with the hit of the night being the owner's dog. I forgot the name of the breed, but it was basically a short-haired German Shephard that is usually used for police work in Europe. He was SO smart, and it kind of made me want to get what Peter would refer to as a 'real dog' someday. Usually I go for the little white fluffy dogs, which Peter thinks are ridiculous and useless, but there's something to be said for a dog that knows what's going on.
I saw the below concoction on Instagram, so we had to go get one, especially because it was about a million degrees all weekend. I have absolutely no idea what was in it, but it was delicious. I had to have a bit of help finishing it, though, so I'm glad there were a few of us to pitch in!
We also hit up Jester King Brewery, which is a bit out in the middle of nowhere, but it was fun to get out of the city for a bit. 

On the actual 4th we started off the morning with a trip to Georgetown, a cute little suburb north of Austin. There was a festival going on in a park along the river, so we hung out there for a bit. 

Kathryn picked up this mini flag and didn't put it down for the rest of the day.

This particular gathering featured some AMAZING patriotic attire. I used to wonder if anyone still purchased those flag tees from Old Navy and the answer is YES. I've never seen so many in my life. This guy pretty much won the whole day with his flag and eagle shirt.
And another one. Where do I get one of these?! And the socks!!
We headed back home for the afternoon and stopped at Kelly's Baking Co. on the way for some 4th of July themed cookie dough cones. 

After resting up and eating dinner we headed out to see the fireworks. We couldn't tell which direction they were launching, so we chose a random spot that ended up being perfect.

 And to close, two of my favorite Independence Day themed memes seen on Instagram this weekend:


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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