Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Austin Wine & Music Festival Weekend, Part One

The Austin Wine & Music Festival happened this weekend and we have had tickets forever - ever since I bought my Katy Perry tickets, as I had bought the wine and music festival tickets the same day. We made a whole weekend out of it and found a special deal to stay at the Renaissance again, because that's what we do. One of my favorite things about the Renaissance in Austin is the beautiful courtyard in the back we can walk through to one of our favorite restaurants,
Cheesecake Factory, like we did Saturday night for mojitos and cheesecake.

Afterwards, we walked back along the lit up courtyard,

where I had way too much fun taking pictures in their new, lit up gazebo in their courtyard - the perfect place for a wedding ceremony. The way the top lit up in the sky reminded me of a starry night and made me feel a little like Leisl in The Sound of Music.

We slowly made our way back to enjoy the Renaissance's gorgeous indoor pool and sauna. The indoor pool was PACKed Saturday night, as was the outdoor pool, so we ended up steaming in the sauna and enjoying a night where we didn't have to do anything but lay in bed and relax.

The next day, we decided to have a leisurely brunch at our favorite (notice a theme here with our favorites? It makes it all that more relaxed) brunch spot, Iron Cactus cafe.
They are the only restaurant in town I know of that has a full brunch buffet with actual breakfast items like made to order omelettes in front of you, belgian waffles with fresh strawberries,
a full dessert bar and not just the regular tex mex fare that I've noticed most Austin brunches serve, although they have that, too,

as well as fajitas in case you're in a lunch mood, it's just not the main star. I grew up on Sunday brunch in Aptos, Seacliff, Soquel, and Seascape (someday I'll have to do a post on my favorite brunch spots in those cities), and this is the closest thing I've found to one of those amazing brunches I enjoyed as a kid in California in Austin. The best part? We had the entire relaxing patio to ourselves.

After brunch we still had some time to kill so we stopped by Lick It, Bite It, or Both - a cupcake shop that is a client of Brando's and one that I've been hearing about through the local grapevine for awhile. Brando was craving Hey Cupcake so I convinced him to try something new.

Plus, I was hoping they had good coffee as I hadn't grabbed any at Iron Cactus and didn't want Starbucks over-caffeinated coffee. We caught them right as they opened, and perhaps caught them a little surprised as they weren't quite sure what to do with us at first since we didn't have an order to pick up, but they warmed up to us. They didn't have the coffee I was craving - they had Dunkin Donuts coffee which happens to be their favorite, and a lot of peoples apparently. I did mention my favorite Austin local coffee, Owl Tree Roasting Company, to the owner, so perhaps the next time we stop by we'll have some local delicious and amazing coffee which puts me right back to Hawaii in two sips.

They had the CUTEst idea to have a bucket full of markers, cupcake wrappers, and double sticky tape for people to write on then stick on their wall. We made our own, then spent a good twenty minutes perusing the other cute cupcake wrappers on the wall.

 For Shawners
 For a good friend of mine, Genie
 For Brando and I
 Loved the artsy ones

I didn't make this one, but it was perfect any way

to be continued (as I realized it was way too long of a post otherwise,
even with my traditional long posts) ...

Friday, May 27, 2011

I Heart San Francisco

One of the highlights of our epic California trip was seeing the Golden Gate Bridge. I've seen the bridge before, of course, and even walked it for the first time last year on a super fun double date with my sister and her man. Those photos truly deserve a post on their own, so here's just a few photos from that  double date.

This time, I was SOO excited to bring the boys and show them one of the (my own personal) wonders of the world. Memories of that bridge permeate my childhood, and I wanted to share that with them, and experience the amazing views of the bridge from the Marin headlands side of the bridge that I hadn't seen before.

We made the drive up to the very top of the Marin headlands and hopped out for photos.

Apparently, I felt I needed to bring a little bit of Texas to California.
Plus, I had just got this shirt and I LOVE it.
Way up here at the top of the Marin headlands there were much fewer tourists. Combined with the lack of tourists due to being there on Wednesday, it made for a peaceful venture.  After photos, we drove back down along the road that curved around the side of the mountains, which you can see in the distance,

to the vantage point I really wanted to see the bridge from. Brando had resisted stopping there in the first place to go to the top of the mountain, and I had resisted going to the top of the mountain. We were both grateful we each compromised and did both, as his view was an expansive, gorgeous view of the California coastline, the Golden Gate bridge, the city, and San Francisco bay. Mine was a gorgeous close-up view of the enormousity of the Golden Gate bridge (ooh, I sooo love that view) and a beautiful, up close view of the San Francisco bay.

In all my oohing and aahing, this was the boys' reaction.

Yup. That's pretty much how they stayed the entire time - completely uninterested over what is so special about this bridge. It had to make me laugh. In the meantime, I took in the beauty and serenity in awe

 and Brando took in the dangerous scenes while I documented his possible demise, as normal.
Surprisingly enough, seeing the Golden Gate bridge wasn't the highlight of the trip. At least not for the boys, and though the bridge was the highlight of the trip for me, discovering an unknown to us place made it even better. Though I really want to include our not so secret discovery in this post, it also really deserves it's own post, so here's just a few photos if you want to guess.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...