the big 3-0

holy shit, i'm thirty years old.
you know what's really funny?
in french, you say "i have thirty years."
"j'ai trente ans."

i have thirty years under my belt. hitting a midlife crisis of sorts. what's my legacy? been thinking about the big ones. being single. being proud of my career and wondering if i work too much (obvi, i always have). missing my friends, and hoping i'm making God happy with how i'm handling this mess.

and then i put all that on the shelf and was escorted by my sisters to Austin, Texas.



this was one of the sweetest presents i've ever been given - i mentioned in passing that 30 should maybe be commemorated by a big trip... i'm not a big birthday person, but come on, it's a milestone. and for my Christmas / birthday present, my sisters and parents got together and assembled a sisters-only trip to somewhere none of us had been and that we'd all want to visit... and it had to be somewhere that would warm our chilled chicago bones!

day 1


after a few airport issues, we got into austin in the early evening.
from baggage claim, i already know i'm gonna dig it.
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we met jenna at our hotel, where she had champagne at the ready


and headed out to 6th street for dinner. after a brief stop for tacos, we went to maggie mae's, where we listened to a guy cover mumford and sons, counting crows, and... soundgarden?! impressive.
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we went to the rooftop - and right off the bat, anne found her plaid bretheren. except for that little punk on the right, he can go take a long walk off a short pier.
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i look drunk here already, but that's just me struggling with the red-eye flash thing, you know how it goes off twice. whatevs.
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this street is teeming with awesomeness.
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we actually met up with - kind of a crazy connection - jenna's fiance's sister's friends - at this great bar called kung fu


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with FREE SKEE BALL. obviously we camped out here for a while
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friggin love my sisters
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kind of the theme of the night
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after plenty of skee ball and drinks, we took a pedicab home :) this poor old guy offered to take all three of us - sad for his elderly physique, and sad for us to stare at his old butt for a mile. don't worry, anne tipped him well!


and it DID also result in one of my favorite photos of the trip

day 2


there was a marathon going on around our block so the street was full of people in workout gear - very inspiring for us to get moving. kicked it off with coffee
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got a picture of jenna's hand distracting anne,
with the capital building in the background
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all day we found evidence that austin LOVES annie
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side note - this is the only thing we didn't get to all weekend :)
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anyway, in the grand tradition of anne impersonating local sculptures...
here she is as nightwing.
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making our way up south congress, we found some love
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then tacos at gueros.
seriously, literally the best tacos i have ever had in my whole life.
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after brunch, we tried to get legit cowboy boots at the shop
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i had kind of hoped to pick up some quirky, awesome boots but these were running in the $400-$1600 range, it was a little shocking and a lot of awesome.
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joke was on THEM – i found mine at a street fair a few blocks down the road
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this woman had a few shelves-full but in a pile on the ground, anne helped me find a nice, understated brown pair that felt right. and she was all "you found them on the ground? half off!"

and i was like, SCORE. DONE.
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this street fair was cool - jewelry, boots, snacks, everything.
and in 80 degree weather!!!


loving this trip, every minute. austin was so cool because it felt like a neighborhood. it wasn't huge parks and museums, it was some guy in a red shirt with a shaved head doing better drawing with a pen at a bench than i did in a semester of drawing in college.
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i even picked up this funny little feather clip in for my hair


it was also a great chick trip...
tons of boutique stores where the sisters had some good clean fun
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and more evidence of it being annie day!
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for dinner we went to a beautiful place called lamberts
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the appetizers were fitting: anne with sangria, jenna with sparkling wine, me with some bourbon on the rocks.
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and a perfect birthday dinner.
pulled pork, pickles, and bourbon. i could eat this every night.
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it was seriously best birthday ever.
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dessert was a recommendation from the waiter: coffee ice cream and donuts to "compliment" the carrot cake they gave us to celebrate with!
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the bar upstairs was gorgeous
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the bass player caught me staring... haha
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the neon really was this red... and this awesome
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after dinner it was getting to be late on a sunday night... so we decided to take the scenic route home and sweet talked our way into the upper porch of lance armstrong's bar
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my sisters are the prettiest girls on the planet
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they gave us blankets, and we spent the night talking with some guys from a bachelor party - i keep describing it as "twelve guys NOT looking to get laid talking to three very nice girls." they were total gentlemen, and it was a very nice way to pass the time with some strangers.
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we headed home on the late-but-not-too-late side;
the cab ride was super trippy
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day 3


anne had to park it at a coffee shop, so jenna and i took a hike and let her work. we found a side street that has gained some attention as a normal street that became a series of bar-houses at night. does that even make sense?

i would have loved to see this spot in full swing, beer in hand
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this little green house was another little treasure
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eventually we found ourselves at a place called moonshine for breakfast
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where J and i enjoyed some paprika-treated popcorn,
spiked tea and spiked lemonade
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amazingly satisfying on a steamy monday morning. happy president's day!
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this photo...
i don't want to be a creeper, but i just loved this nice moment between strangers
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annie met us there
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we pulled the trigger on lunch - the mac & cheese might have been the best in the universe. the salads were pretty fantastic too, if i lived here this would become part of my routine.
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the back porch was great, but i bet the front porch would be a hoot as well
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and for the final leg of our journey, we meandered around the University of Texas campus
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stretching out the last fleeting moments before we headed home.
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30? SO FAR SO GOOD. loved the trip. love my sisters!