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travel: shamelessly in love with austin.

on my last vacation i discovered something.
i discovered that austin, texas is perhaps one of the greatest places i’ve ever visited.
and while oodles of people told me “you’ll love austin…”, i was still surprised that not only did i love austin, but i LOVED austin.
in fact, one drunken evening, i called my husband and told him “fuck vegas, all our vacations are to austin from now on!”

this city.
it’s the fucking best.
its pure rock and roll, the nicest people and the best food.
if it was in canada, i’d have moved there already.

so… the original draw to austin wasn’t the city itself, it was this festival.

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and this was incredible.  it was amazingly run, clean, efficient… just surpassed all expectations.
i’ve been to a lot of large scale events and this was hands down the best run.
i can not say enough good things about the management of ACL festival.

their food options were out of control… some of austin’s best restaurants and food trucks representing.  none with a lineup longer than 10 minutes even in the peak of dinner rush.

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the beer hall… and it’s important to note that this is a beer HALL, not a beer GARDEN.
because in the great land of america, you get to be a big kid and you can take your beer wherever you damn well please.
and they sold 20 different craft & local beers throughout the festival.
the main beer hall was over 20,000 square feet, again, with no line longer than 10 minutes even in the heat of the day.

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besides the festival, we did some shopping and eating at south congress… which was very cool and we spent a good couple of hours and some decent money in the little funky shops…

we also did the requisite tourist activity and visited the gorgeous capital building…

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and on our food tour we hit some really cool places and noticed that austin loves its infused booze.
and bar worth its salt was infusing their own liquor and some of the brews were wild.
some spicy, some insane and others complete genius…

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the craziest one we tried was the franklin’s brisket infused bourbon.  it was salty, beefy and smoky.  truly one of the most inspired and unique tastes i’ve encountered.

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but this… this is what i came for.
my beloved silversun pickups played on saturday and fucking owned it.
i had a spot right up front and took a million pictures…
the played three of my all time favourites.
they played 10 songs total, which i can’t complain about…
and they declared it to be their last performance until the new album comes out next year.
it was fucking worth every penny i spent.  i’d do it again in a heartbeat.

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in fact…
i already know i’ll be back next year.
thanks for the super awesome fun times austin!

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food & travel: austin, texas

well… it feels like its been forever since cass & i booked our trip to austin… but finally the countdown is at under 2 months and we’re starting to get VERY excited.

my right hand (wo)man found an amazing blog called Fed Man Walking that we’ve spent a few hours drooling over and dreaming up all the delights that we’re going to try while we’re there…

we’ve mapped out most of the places that we’re planning on visiting and made some guestimates as to what we can walk to and what will be bus or taxi…

and we’ve got a loose itinerary.

we arrive on wednesday and will have had a looooong day of travel with an early morning start, so we’ll probably just check in, chill out, go for a swim and wander the immediate area around the hotel.

thursday we’ll be bright eyed and bushy tailed and plan on a morning run/walk and some solid city exploring, some pool swimming, relaxing ect
then we’re very stoked to be seeing The Book of Mormon that night!

friday is when we really get going… we’ll be up early for our pre-ACL food tour with Austin Eats Food Tours.

Get your ACL festival morning started right!  Experience Franklin BBQ (no line), Torchy’s breakfast tacos, Blue Ox BBQ, Sugar Circus Bakery and Hops and Grain Brew prior to arriving to the festival!
What’s included:  breakfast taco, brisket, sausage, turkey, pork tenderloin, pulled pork, 3 local craft beers, dessert & drop off at the festival!

and then the main event… off to ACL festival!  we have poured over the schedule, highlighted our picks and have formulated a plan of attack.
on friday we’ll end the night with depeche mode.  after the festival… who know where austin will take us…

saturday will hopefully treat us with a bit of a sleep in…  maybe a morning swim… and then off to ACL fest for silversun pickups at 4pm! ❤  ❤ ❤
after the daytime shows are over at ACL fest, we’re heading down to Emo’s to check out the late night show with franz ferdinand and smith westerns which should keep us in just the right amount of trouble all night 😉

sunday is our gospel brunch date at stubb’s bbq!
then we’re off to the last day of ACL fest with the closing performance from lionel richie.  yup.  after the festival, who know?  we may have to crash from exhaustion or we might have it in us to rock austin for one last night…

monday we head home at 3pm, so we’ll still have the morning to have one last exploration and shopping endevour before we start the journey home.

ya, i’d better book that tuesday off work for sleep and recovery.  just typing all that exhausted me, lol.

46 days to go…

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travel & music: austin city limits festival 2013

well… it’s time to let you in on my next fabulous adventure… (okay, i’m technically going to LA next, but that will be a wedding and maybe a little sightseeing for a very fast 4 nights)
my bestie, ms price and i are heading off on a fabulous adventure to austin, texas for the austin city limits music festival!

are we stoked?  YA, WE ARE!
we’re actually bordering on downright giddy about it.

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so, not only is the festival lineup absolutely ridiculously awesome in general, but it basically reads like a who’s who of natalie’s favourite bands; silversun pickups, QOTSA, depeche mode, arctic monkeys, franz ferdinand, muse, the cure, the national… yup.  i’m in fangirl heaven.

see… every time one of these big festivals gets announced i think, gee, that sounds okay, but it’s usually like a handful of bands that really interest me (and i’ve usually seen them all play before, under better circumstances) and a bunch of hipster bands that like 5 people know… and when i really start to think about the logistics of it all (camping, a bazillion dirty hipsters pissing me off, travel costs ect) it starts to be less and less appealing and i just pass on it.  hence why i’ve never actually made it to a sasquatch or coachella or bonaroo despite knowing loads of people that go religiously every year…

but this one?  i get to stay in a hotel. (a NICE hotel, with a rooftop pool, i might add) and the lineup isn’t just a few bands i like, it’s a bunch of bands i LOVE. and, it probably goes without saying that silversun pickups performing will make me spend all of my money to be there to see it.  (obsessed, i am.)

when i add in the fact that cass was down for a bff girl’s getaway, all the stars aligned.  plus austin!  how cool is that?!  i’ve only ever been to dallas, and austin has definitely been on my list of places to visit for a while now.  i mean, its a food truck & bbq mecca.  obviously i must go there and eat all of the things.

luckily for us, the fabulous lana gay has already charted this territory for us and come through like a champion with a 4 page list of all the things to do and see in austin.

first official thing on the schedule?

gospel brunch at the world famous stubb’s bbq.  lana tells me that it books up early… like, months in advance… so, like the good little planner i am, i’ve booked us in for the 11am gospel brunch with the full view of the band.  …another one that i can cross off the life to-do list.

besides that, we’re looking at a city food tour and a few other activities, but much is pending the schedule of the bands.  with SO MANY bands that we want to see, making sure we hit all their sets is top priority.
which is why we made the wise decision to fly in a little early to get a full day to just do austin.  and also to enjoy our swank suite at the omni that is 1086 square feet and has a rooftop pool. (!)

fun times ahead!