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.

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.

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.

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.

this street is teeming with awesomeness.

we actually met up with - kind of a crazy connection - jenna's fiance's sister's friends - at this great bar called kung fu


with FREE SKEE BALL. obviously we camped out here for a while

friggin love my sisters

kind of the theme of the night

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

got a picture of jenna's hand distracting anne,
with the capital building in the background

all day we found evidence that austin LOVES annie

side note - this is the only thing we didn't get to all weekend :)

anyway, in the grand tradition of anne impersonating local sculptures...
here she is as nightwing.

making our way up south congress, we found some love

then tacos at gueros.
seriously, literally the best tacos i have ever had in my whole life.


after brunch, we tried to get legit cowboy boots at the shop

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.

joke was on THEM – i found mine at a street fair a few blocks down the road

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.

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.

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

and more evidence of it being annie day!

for dinner we went to a beautiful place called lamberts

the appetizers were fitting: anne with sangria, jenna with sparkling wine, me with some bourbon on the rocks.

and a perfect birthday dinner.
pulled pork, pickles, and bourbon. i could eat this every night.

it was seriously best birthday ever.

dessert was a recommendation from the waiter: coffee ice cream and donuts to "compliment" the carrot cake they gave us to celebrate with!

the bar upstairs was gorgeous

the bass player caught me staring... haha

the neon really was this red... and this awesome

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

my sisters are the prettiest girls on the planet

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.

we headed home on the late-but-not-too-late side;
the cab ride was super trippy

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

this little green house was another little treasure

eventually we found ourselves at a place called moonshine for breakfast

where J and i enjoyed some paprika-treated popcorn,
spiked tea and spiked lemonade

amazingly satisfying on a steamy monday morning. happy president's day!

this photo...
i don't want to be a creeper, but i just loved this nice moment between strangers

annie met us there

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.

the back porch was great, but i bet the front porch would be a hoot as well

and for the final leg of our journey, we meandered around the University of Texas campus

stretching out the last fleeting moments before we headed home.

30? SO FAR SO GOOD. loved the trip. love my sisters!