Summer’s Last Hurrah: Austin, TX

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Hey All!

I was lucky enough to say farewell to summer 2014 with my Andy in Austin, TX.  We try to take as many trips to as many new places as we can and as cheap as possible. Austin is an  amazing city for twenty somethings like us! Its like the entire city is one giant Wick Park/ Logan Square, where every bar has an outdoor patio decked out in string lights!

We had  a fantastic time, but couldn’t get our Midwest bodies to adjust to 100 degree weather. Here are a few highlights from our trip that you should definitely check out if your heading to Austin

1. Pools & Springs

It didn’t take long for us to realize its nearly impossible to be outside during the day if you are not in some kind of water. But not to worry, Austin has a ton of really fun and gorgeous places to go if you’re trying to beat the heat.

We paddle boarded on Lady Bird Lake (not as hard as I thought it would be), took a drive to Hamilton Pool,visited Barton Springs, another natural spring right in Austin.

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Hamilton Pool 
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Paddle Boarding on Lady Bird Lake 

2. Lodging & Transportation

Andy and I stayed at an AirBnb with a young couple who lived just a few miles from downtown. The room was only $45 a night (sooo cheap) and we were able to use their fridge, coffee, and TV! This was our second time using Airbnb and I would totally recommend it if you’re traveling on a tight budget.

So Andy and I aren’t 25 or older, so renting a car would have cost us our souls. BUT Austin just got Lyft and Uber, which made getting downtown and back super cheap. If you’re traveling to a big city, check and see what ride share programs they have and you could save yourself from wasting a ton of money on rentals.

We also rented a ZipCar for one day to get to Hamilton Pool. Its a really good idea to get a membership to ZipCar or Enterprise because you can rent cars by the hour AND they cover insurance and gas! Not a bad way to get around town.

3.  Food & Drinks

Obviously saving the best for last, FOOD and DRINKS. Let me tell you, Austin has no shortage of delicious food (TACOS) and craft cocktails, and the best part is they’re supa cheap. My favorite places were recommended by my friend who is from Texas (thanks Dacy!). The first being a hamburger place with all fresh local ingredients and buns made in house called Hopdoddy Burger Bar. We also went to a fantastic ice cream shop, Amy’s. It was decked out in superhero and cartoon creations and had a photo booth (I can never pass up a good photo booth)! It was a great place to beat the heat and enjoy a treat.

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IMG_1594Rainy St. Bar

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Yellow Jacket Social Club

Here are a few more pics!

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Baylor Street Art

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Salt Lick BBQ

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Congress Bridge (home to the largest bat colony in North America-so squeaky!) 

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BBQ Pit at Salt Lick

 

What was the highlight of your summer?

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Kansas is cool: here’s proof

Logan and I set out on a little road trip to Kansas City last week. He has family that lives there, so we were dying to see them and use it as an excuse to take a mini vacay before our internships start. A quick 7 hours later, and we were ready to party: Kansas City style. Here are 5 reasons Kansas is way cooler than you think it is.

1. Beer, tapas, beer, sammys, beer, sushi 

FOOD.jpgKansas has AMAZING food, and beer! While we were down there, we were totally spoiled and were taken to lots of Kansas City restaurants. All of the food I had was delicious, but I think my favorite meal was actually this simple sandwich (first pic) from The Foundry. We also enjoyed tapas, tacos, paninis, sushi, pizza, salmon, and lots of treats! Logan even tried a bison burger (bottom right picture). It’s safe to say that I feel like I’ve gained about 10 lbs, but it was totally worth it.

2. They have movie theaters with beds

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You read that right guys, they have movie theaters with chairs that recline into beds! What?! Yes, it’s true. We went to see x-men at a theater where the super comfy leather seats reclined all the way back so it was like a bed. It was definitely the best movie-watching experience I’ve experienced in my short 21 years on this Earth.

P.S. the new X-Men movie is fantastic.

3. They give you free beer

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We went on a brewery tour at Boulevard! As you know, I do love brewery tours (read about my Galena brewery tour, and Milwaukee brewery tour experiences), but the best thing about this tour was that it was completely FREE and included 3 beer samples *yumm.* The one bit of beer info I held on to was that lagers ferment longer than ales. I discovered a new love for unfiltered wheat beer, have you ever tried it? Also, shout out to Mason (Logan’s brother, and our excellent Kansas City host) for joining the 21+ club!

4. They have markets galore

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The best part about exploring someone else’s city with them is that they know all of the best places to go. The City Market, and Overland Park’s farmers market were no exception. The City Market was filled with all kinds of little shops and produce stands. I got 3 delicious mangos for $2! We also wandered into an Indian spice and fruit shop (middle picture), where I loaded up on some tasty dried fruit. At the Farmer’s Market, Logan and I tried some delicious honey spread, and some unique caramels (rice krispie, butterscotch, and Nutella flavored) *yummm.*

5. The people there are pretty cool too

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The best thing about Kansas City is that it’s home to a lot of people we love. Logan’s brother, his brother’s girlfriend, his aunt, uncle, and cousins live there (along with their furry friends!). It was so much fun to spend some quality time with these amazing people. I feel so lucky to have a connection with such a great family (thanks for dating me Logan); I couldn’t have asked for better company while falling in love with a wonderful city.

Big thank yous go out to Mason & Alex for letting us stay with them, Kristy & David for spoiling us rotten, Kassie & Joe for giving up their weekend to hang out with us youths, and my 3 furry new boyfriends for letting me love on you all weekend. 

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Adventure Time: MKE, Beer, and a Giant Pretzel

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Logan and I go to school in a pretty small Wisconsin town. We love our little town, but we also love exploring all the wonderful Wisconsin cities around us! We are smack dab between Milwaukee and Madison, among other smaller cities. You know what that means?! Lots of mini weekend adventures! This weekend we went on a mini spring road trip to Milwaukee (only an hour away from us).

LogiMarketOur first stop was the Public Market! Inside it has tons of little booths with food, wine, and home goods. We both ordered these really amazing pita wraps *soooooo tasty*! While I wanted to try somethings from every booth, and by every booth I really mean the dessert ones, I somehow managed to resist.

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CardsCollageThe Public Market is in the Third Ward of downtown Milwaukee. The Third Ward has a lot of little boutiques, really nice apartments, and endless coffee shops. We went into a little paper goods store (my fav because they have all the little adorable trinkets I want, but absolutely don’t need) where I stumbled across these adorable friendship cards! Perfect little reminders to give to your favorite humans.

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The next stop was my favorite stop of the day, Lakefront Brewery! Logan found out that Lakefront gives the best brewery tours in the country, so we obviously had to go. It was our duty as American citizens…I always thought I would be a wine person, but my love of beer is very real. For $7 we got 4 glasses of beer, a pint glass to take home, the tour AND a coupon for a free pint of any Lakefront Beer at a restaurant. My favorite beer was a rice beer (S/O to all you gluten-free people out there); I liked it so much I used two of my tokens on it…

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We ended our evening at Upper 90, a sports bar located in the Third Ward. We were both stuffed from our tasty beer, but made room for a giant soft pretzel appetizer and cashed in our coupon for a pint of beer.

We had so much fun exploring Milwaukee! It’s hard to believe in a little over 6 weeks we’ll be graduating and moving back to Illinois.

Have you been on any fun weekend mini trips?!

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Valentine’s Day Getaway: Part 1

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Valentine’s Day was especially fun for Kayla and I and our respective beaus this year! After a couple hours in the car going up and down winding back roads through the very hilly Illinois countryside, Logi and I were reunited with our BFFs Kayla and Andy (I hadn’t seen her in 5 weeks *tear*). The four of us decided to take a weekend trip to a small ski resort town in Galena. Luckily, our family friend owns a cottage there, so we were able to make it our own little home for the weekend.

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I know you would think that going to a ski resort town would mean the four of us would hit up the slopes all day long, but this is far from the truth. There is only one daredevil among us who was willing to risk their life skiing down black diamond slopes (that daredevil would be Andy). While Andy was hitting up the slopes on Saturday; Logan, Kayla, and I read our books, watched DVDs, and went to a coffee shop downtown. We are all coffee addicts, so we try and find new coffee shops to visit regardless of where we are. This place was really cool because you could super customize your order; they had a ton of different roasts, sweeteners, and sugar options. Logan and I opted for a s’more latte *yum*!

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After spending some time at the coffee shop, it was time to pick up Andy because we decided we couldn’t just leave him stranded on top of a mountain (although we did contemplate it).  Since we are all 21 *WOOT* we decided to make the most of this amazing resort town and go wine tasting downtown. This wine shop gave you the option to choose 6 wines for $5, what a bargain, am I right?! All the wines we chose were super delicious, and they were nice enough to serve us chocolate chips with our wine. Can you say heaven?!

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After wine we decided we needed dinner, but also needed some good beer. Logan AKA “Yelp Master” found this brewery that was just a little walk from the wine tasting place. We all ordered our own flights of beer that were made right in the restaurant! We hadn’t planned on going on a brewery tour when we decided to eat there, but when we found out the next tour was only a few minutes after we arrived how could we say no?! Our tour guide was a very friendly South African who owned the brewery. We learned a lot about beer while drinking it, so I’d say it was a good experience.

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Please excuse the blurriness, I was trying to be a little sneaky while taking the brewery tour picks. I must also add the food and atmosphere at Galena Brewery were spectacular. They had sweet potato fries (my all time fav), and live music! Overall, it was a great way to spend a Saturday night out. I promise you our weekend wasn’t one big boozefest, stay tuned to hear more about our weekend adventure!

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