Monday, February 20, 2012

Sunday Fun Day

Yesterday, Brando and I attended the Austin Monthly Bridal Bash with my girlfriend and her fiancee.

Side note: How hot is my husband? He's prepping for surgery for his sinuses and has been taking Prednisone to prep (an awful drug along with 90% of drugs in my opinion, but him being able to smell again for the first time in eight years has balanced out my worries) which has completely cleared up his sinuses and has even made his face look different - less swollen and puffed up.

I was sort of expecting a Tribeza type bridal event like Brando and I are used to and were so inspired by, but I'm sad to say it was nothing like it. The tickets were a lot less expensive, and that must make the difference. Unfortunately, I'm not even sure they pulled it off well for the price of the tickets. There were three aisles and the center aisle had a strange inward triangular setup that left some of the booths crowded in the center facing each other with barely enough room to walk in between. There was a lot of bumping into each other at the end of our time there and I am glad we came early before there were so many people in such a crowded space. There were a few booths at the end that were completely uncrowded, which I thought was strange to have them there when the space could've been used to make a more free flowing area for all the booths. Then, there was a gentleman's lounge that perhaps could have been better utilized for more booth space as well to allow more space to walk around. As it is, the gentlemen's lounge was almost unnecessary as there were enough cupcakes and other treats as you walked around to keep most gentlemen happy.
Any way, this wasn't meant to be a review of it, but that's how it went down. We had a blast, any way, til' we had a beer just before we left and our stomachs hurt from the over-carbonation of the Miller Lite. We knew it was the beer and not the freshest yummiest gummy bears ever, because my girlfriend was the only one who didn't drink though she ate the gummy bears as did I and her stomach was fine.
Later in the evening, after I laid out at home for a few hours (love Austin weather!), Brando and I went on a date to the Cheesecake Factory. The evening was perfect to sit outside underneath the gas heaters. Brando had already eaten at home, so I ordered a few fun appetizers, fried zucchini, my favorite, and an oh so delicious gorgonzola, pear, and arugula flatbread.
I also ordered hot tea which felt so quaint with the honey, lemon, and basket of bread next to it.
We enjoyed the quiet patio until it slowly filled up at Austin's normal dinner time - 7pm. Since we already ate, we were happily on our way by the time it got too crowded.
Love the Paris cafe feel and lighting of this photo
A gratuitous photo of Brando and I at the bridal event and I'm off for the day!

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Happy Valentine's Day!

Looking for things to do in Austin, whether you live here, are visiting, or maybe even looking for things to do in Austin while at SXSW aka South by Southwest? Check out this treasure cove of things to do in Austin from GSD&M's Pinterest. My Valentine gift to you! Don't miss my own collection of favorite things to do in Austin, as well.

Image created with Red Stamp

The photos above are perfect for this post as the first two are in Austin, and the third, TSR, is a short twenty minute drive south to New Braunfels. From top to bottom: hiking at Commons Ford Ranch, symphony at Zilker Hillside Theatre, and wake boarding at Texas Ski Ranch. TSR also offers wake boarding, helicopter rides, sphere rides an indoor trampoline park, and ATV riding!

Monday, February 13, 2012

Moments of My Week

I love seeing other people's Instagram feed posts, so I thought I'd do my own. These are from the last two weekends and this last week.

1. Being 'pinned' by my Star Scout. SO PROUD OF HIM.
2. Breakfast made by my boys and I - Shawners made blueberry and chocolate chip pancakes, Justinbustin made oven-baked bacon, and I made the eggs.

3. Sunday brunch and shopping date with my man
4. Flowers from two separate occasions from my man -
the small one while we were on a date, and the gerberas just because

5. Black Forest and white chocolate raspberry macarons at La Patisserie with Mai
6. Strawberries and cupcake wine on a lazy Sunday afternoon

7. Valentine's chocolate strawberry cupcakes from Lick It Bite It or Both
8. And last but not least, puppy chow made with Shawners - he hasn't forgotten about it after Ashley gave us puppy chow in Arizona

Thursday, February 09, 2012

Heywood Hotel Grand Opening

Heywood Hotel is the East Side's first boutique hotel in Austin. Mai and I were able to spend a day together the other day doing what we love best - exploring Austin. Attending the grand opening of this absolutely adorable hotel Mai has been following the progress of and recommending friends stay here for awhile was one of the things on our agenda. And what a cute place it was! Excuse the iPhone quality photos. Fortunately, the sun was shining so beautifully and each room was so full of light that most of the places photographed just fine.
Mai and I enjoyed fresh hibiscus lemonade then perused the open rooms complete with local artists' works from the local art to the pillows, and chose our favorites. As I was going through my photos, I realized I obsessed over the many skylights which made the entire experience in each space feel light and airy, one of the architectural genius touches of this place. 
 Please note the photo above is a 360 degree panorama to show the decorating and finishing details and not an accurate or to scale architectural representation of this particular room.
 One of the enclosed patios with an open air skylight streaming in sunlight over head.
 A bathtub and open shower with an enclosed skylight letting the light flood in.
 Another gorgeous skylight. 
After we had seen all of the gorgeously architect-ed, styled and surprisingly affordable rooms, we again walked upstairs to the peaceful open air upstairs courtyard.
As you walk up the stairs to the open air courtyard and upstairs rooms

 Photo credit for the above photo goes to the lenders for Heywood, Capital CDC. Included because Mai and I are in the photo. That's me, in the bright orange and hot pink dress, and Mai in the navy and white.
 We sat down to enjoy the gourmet cheese and fruit spread with spicy pecan brownies in that same courtyard,
before the owners, Kathy and George gave a little talk. The architect from KRDB, Chris Krager, spoke first. Note: May be boring, but totally fascinating to me information ahead on the architectural work, design, and pure tenaciousness it took to make this place.
He talked about how his colleagues and he joked that this project was tougher than the Austonian as they managed to fit SO much into such a small space - the average lot size of a house in East Austin. He also spoke about how, in turn, it was such a rewarding project because they did find that they could do so much in such a small area.

Council Member Mike Martinez spoke how he was in support of the project from day one, supporting Kathy and George's dream to bring a boutique hotel to the East Side.
My favorite though, was hearing Kathy talk about her dream that has been in the works for three years, how they sunk all their savings into it, the support of her and her husband's parents, and, most of all, the support of her husband, George.
Hearing her speak was so inspiring. She talked about how amazed she was at the things her husband did throughout the process that she didn't even realize he was capable of and the new found admiration and respect she had for him out of that. She thanked her husband for supporting her, believing in her more than she did, and, most of all, for keeping her sane.
Her references made me laugh at how similar their relationship sounds to Brando's and I, but they have accomplished SO MUCH. Gives me hope and inspiration that one day Brando and I will accomplish as much as well. Her words of advice for following your dreams, which I loved, were, "Find someone who believes in your dream and you as much, or more, than you do." Then, "Be tenacious." The people she found to believe in her dream was the architect she hired, the councilman, and most of all, her husband. Then, her husband spoke about how he was so proud of her and all of her hard work over the last three years. He spoke about how amazed he was when she branched off into areas of expertise she'd never worked in before and blew it out of the water. He mentioned how none of this would have happened if not for her. Their story was such a sweet love story of working together and accomplishing your dreams that left me totally inspired, and even more in love with their now finished project, the Heywood Hotel.


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