96 Hours in Austin

South Congress, Austin

What a weekend it was! I touched down in Texas Friday afternoon and was greeted by a wave of warm, muggy air that didn’t let up until Sunday. A gaggle of girlfriends from high school and beyond piled into an AirBnB rental and we prepared to marry off our own darling, K. K and C, an Austin native, asked me to officiate their ceremony in the front yard of C’s childhood home. Such an awesome community vibe. I warned them when I agreed that I wouldn’t be able to hold it together. I’m a wedding crier, what can I say? True to form, I made it about seven seconds before my voice started to break. The whole weekend was triumphant celebration of love, friendship, family, and the steadfastness of relationships over time.

Spending time in Austin is always a laid-back adventure in eating and exploring. I stayed an extra day to give myself a chance to see other Austin friends (thanks to the awesome Elissa for making it possible!) and, let’s be honest, eat more. Crammed in more tacos and one of the best banana splits I’ve ever had. Vegan or not, Sweet Ritual makes some of the best ice cream around!

Sub Pop Records, SeaTac

Stubb’s BBQ at Mean Eyed Cat, Austin

Becoming beeeeeautiful butterflies

Success!

…sort of

Welcome

K’s gorgeous tablescape

K+C=<3

Pergola hand built by C’s dad

Natty love

Texas wildflowers

Texas chic

After hours

What’s cooler than being cool?

I said, what’s cooler than being cool?

ICE COLD

[No alcohol was harmed in the making of these photos]

Clive, Austin

“Easter Brunch”, Torchy’s Tacos, Austin

Ginny’s Little Longhorn Saloon, Austin

The insanely packed magic of Chicken Shit Bingo, Austin

Internet buddies IRL

Sweet Ritual Banana Split, Austin

Girls Weekend

 

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International District, Seattle

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Gossip Coffee & Tea, International District, Seattle

Friday afternoon I peeled out of work early to catch the bus down to Oregon and spend the weekend with Sparky. It was a pretty fantastic 48 hours of catch-up, manicured nails, wine tasting in downtown Newberg, and a boat load of quality time with one of my besties (it’s a tier not a title). Her husband invited his best friend for the weekend which at first bummed me out, I want some quality Seth time too. But by Saturday morning I realized it’s sheer brilliance. Everyone had a bffl to hang out with so everyone got to do exactly what they wanted to do. While the boys went to some car meet-up (I have no idea, I barely paid attention) Sparky and I tried on 17 million shades of lipstick and then trotted off to get our nails did. Rounded out an A++ rainy Saturday by walking between tasting rooms and ordering a cafeteria tray full of smoked meats before snuggling up on the couch and watching Carrie and the Russian.

I’ve been giving basic a bad name, folks. The shit is FUN. Thanks a million to Sparky and Seth for being the hosts with the most forever and ever.

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Woke up like dis pt 1

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Woke up like dis pt 2

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Time to play

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Test driving MAC’s Lady Danger

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Cliff Creek Tasting Room, Newberg, OR

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Purple Cow Tasting Room, Newberg, OR

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Storrs Smokehouse, Newberg, OR

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SATC Season 6 marathon

 

The bestest of weekends

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Portland, OR

Today Kat is starting a new job. I’m particularly pleased about this news as it is a position with the university I work for so I could conceivably send her work related emails that conclude with Amy Poehler gifs. The world is truly a great place.

To mark this transition and to embrace a tiny sliver of relaxation in our own lives, we took a four day weekend. The first half was a trip to the always charming Portland, OR to attend a political conference. Saturday morning I poked Kat until she concluded her scroll through instragram so we could walk to Bijou for brunch. We talked nationalism, reformism, feminism, and imperialism all day. We got drunk in a living room in SE Portland and split a cab home. Sunday was stunning and the drive north was crisp and colorful in the way November aught to be and often isn’t in the Northwest. A giant rainstorm over Tacoma marked our return to the Puget Sound we know in our hearts. Monday and Tuesday were a blur of cooking, shopping, and cleaning all topped off with banya!

Congratulations, babe! I know you’re going to kill it!

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Bijou Cafe, Portland

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Portland Outdoor Store, Portland

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Portland, OR

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Oregon State

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V.I. Lenin, SE Portland

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Saturday Farmers’ Market, Portland State University

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Making politics happen

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Sunday morning coffee and Lena

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Trove Vintage, Seattle

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Lucca, Seattle

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Banya 5, Seattle

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Cassoulet + Jess and Rory (!!!)

Ms Liz Goes to Washington

My employer jetted me off to DC for several days to attend a conference. Not one to take a food/drink/friends opportunity lying down I promptly made some calls and lined up some dinner dates. In true DC form, I made my per diem work for me and then milked my connections to get improved government access.

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Small plates at Bar Pilar.

The People

Friday night, I met my high school buddies Julia and Laura for dinner at Bar Pilar. A Hemingway-themed bar on 14th Street, the menu is small plates-centric (which I’m told is very DC) and the drinks are spot on. It’s fun being so much closer to the South, with Virginia just over yonder. The pork ribs and mac-and-cheese all seem more genuine despite being in as equally hipster surroundings as the restaurants I frequent in Seattle. Julia and Laura are totally what I think of when I think “young in DC”: hard-working, successful, in possession of security clearances. Obviously, they put their pants on one leg at a time like the rest of us, but what is the joy in traveling if you can’t imagine how your life would be different if you had made different choices?

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Lighting at Ambar.

On Saturday I joined some of my favorite internet friends at Ambar in Barracks Row. A Balkan restaurant with well executed, sharable plates (DC, I see your game), we had such a great time chatting and catching up while working our way strategically through their drink menu.  Melanie had tried to convince me to skip Italy and go through Croatia and Serbia with her. I’m not saying I made the wrong choice, I’m just saying the food at Ambar gave some of my fonder Italian memories a run for their money. After dinner, I got up to use the restroom and as I was walking back to the table, I noticed that nearly every man in the entire restaurant was wearing a cashmere v-neck sweater. Virginia may be for lovers, but DC loves their structured casual.

You can read Carrie’s awesome book reviews for big and little kids at Somewhat Bookish and see photos of Nicole’s insanely adorable son at Grape Soda Kitchen.

The People’s House

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The White House. Maybe you’ve heard of it?

Despite spending approximately 97.5% of my life being extremely unimpressed by the American government, I have to admit the West Wing is pretty damn cool. They only allow you to take photos outside of the building and in the Press Briefing Room hence the rashly snapped, poorly lit masterpiece below. Annie Leibovitz I am not. I accept my limitations. (That is my actual, real life boss though. She’s totally the cutest. We took a second selfie to impress her teenagers.)

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Florescent lit boss selfie.

Julia masterfully wove us through the Mess, complete with U.S.S. Constitution decor, the Cabinet and Roosevelt rooms, and the crown jewel, the Oval Office. I dutifully fulfilled my pledge to make as many West Wing, Scandal, and House of Cards references as possible. My parents paid for four years of university political science education and instead got thirty-five minutes of jokes about Olivia Pope’s wine sweaters and Frank Underwood’s ruthless pragmatism.

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CJ Cregg, where you at?!

The personal highlight was the briefing room. I obviously did my best CJ impression. All the seats in the briefing room are labeled with various media outlets. The presidential press bureau assigns and reassigns the seats among themselves. The American TV giants make up the first row, larger newspapers are in the second, and smaller outlets are intermingled with international bureaus throughout the rest of the room.