1. "Live, travel, adventure, bless, and don’t be sorry." -Jack Kerouac

     
  2. Austin, TX (day two)

    My second day in Austin was as lovely as the first! I started at Gourdoughs donuts where I had the ‘Mother Clucker’ — a delicious honey butter donut topped with fried chicken strips that was to die for — then headed downtown to explore a few shops around 2nd street (check out Mercury, photographed above, or Luxe Apothetique). I walked around for an hour or two in search of street art (see my lady post!) and ended up at Gloria’s for the strongest margarita I’ve every had (and it was only $4!). Lunch was at Elizabeth St. Cafe, a much lauded french-Vietnamese boulangerie that lived up to the hype. The pho was delicious, the drinks were unique and refreshing and for dessert I had a captain crunch macaroon and croissant bread pudding topped with cilantro ice cream. I thought I’d died and gone to heaven. The day got even better after lunch when I headed to Barton Springs to soak up some sun and take a quick dip in the freezing cold water. So refreshing! After a quick nap, I headed downtown to Rainey Street for Friday night festivities and explored a half-dozen of the old-houses-turned-bars. Clive and Lucille’s were particular favorites! As was the food truck serving late-night pad thai! This morning I grabbed a quick brunch at Bouldin Creek Cafe (vegan ambrosia and granola, yum!) and headed to the airport. Yeehaw!

     
  3. Austin Street Art

    Austin had the coolest street art. I found these gems all over town!

     
  4. Austin, TX (day one)

    Coming from the coldest winter in Chicago history, the warmth of Austin alone is enough to make it heavenly, but the city certainly lives up to the sunshine! My trip started with a late night stop by the Easy Tiger for German beer and pretzels, then this morning began bright and early with a visit to Torchy’s Tacos for the most delicious breakfast taco of my life: chicken and waffles with bacon and a fried egg! It was rather rainy, so after Torchy’s I swung by Houndstooth coffee for some caffeine and then headed to the Alamo Drafthouse for a movie and a milkshake. The afternoon and evening were spent in East and South Austin. In East Austin, I started at True Hearts for sweet, handmade goods and then sipped an alcoholic strawberry soda at Hillside Farmacy. Heading to South Austin, I took the quintessential ‘I love you so much’ photo at Jo’s on South Congress then walked up to Uncommon Goods to peruse some old photos and vintage goods. Dinner at Home Slice Pizza, then a trip to the flagship Whole Foods store, and I was beat for the day. Heat really takes it out of a winter-city woman!

     
  5. Turns out the travel tip I submitted to CNN iReport while I was on the road last summer actually got published in the December issue of Travel and Leisure! Who knew?! (Note to self: Check email more often than once every three months.)

    You can read the whole article here!

     
  6. Milwaukee, WI

    I made a quick trip to Milwaukee this afternoon to see David Bazan perform a small show and was able to spend a few lovely hours on Kinnickinnic Avenue. I stopped Top Shelf Guitar Shop first and then had a quick lunch at Guanajuato. After lunch I grabbed coffee at Collectivo, which is an amazing roastery and café. The space manages to be big but feel small, the faces are friendly and the coffee is strong. After coffee was a visit to Acme records. The space is beautiful — old wood refinished to cover the floors, walls and record shelves — and the collection is eclectic — international, funk and offbeat indie. After records, I went to Odd Duck for small plates and cocktails. I had an amazing pork belly bulgogi and a bitter rye cocktail, and then walked back across the street to Acme to hear Bazan’s acoustic set. I’ve missed being on the road and I’m so pleased the weather’s getting warmer so I can start traveling again!

     

  7. "Practice kindness all day to everybody and you will realize you’re already in heaven now."
     
  8. Happy 92nd birthday, Jack! You, handsome devil, you.

     

  9. "Perhaps it’s that you can’t go back in time, but you can return to the scenes of a love, of a crime, of happiness, and of a fatal decision; the places are what remain, are what you can possess, are what is immortal."
    — Rebecca Solnit
     
  10. The new year’s brought plenty of new dreams and adventures. Check in soon for updates. For now, here’s a little hometown love from me and cloud gate