Monday, March 19, 2018

NOLA

My mom, aunt, sister and I finally took our girl's trip to New Orleans. We've been talking about this trip for what seems like forever. New Orleans totally blew my mind. It's unlike any place I've ever been. It felt like walking through a time machine. We all appreciate ghost stories and creepy history so it was the perfect trip to take with these gals. I have been very intentional about being in the moment recently so I was thoughtful about using my phone (or thoughtful about not using my phone) so I didn't take many photos but here's a few that I snapped.







We stayed at the Biscuit Palace, which was an INCREDIBLE space. It was a 200 year old space that was converted from a mansion and recently renovated into a boutique hotel. We loved the space and the building managers. We were in a perfect location between Frenchmen's Street and Bourbon Street and walking distance to everything in the French Quarter. The building was sort of falling apart. You can see in the last photo that the ceiling under the stairs collapsed during our first night, which added an element of adventure to our stay. Our first stop upon arrival was Lafitte's Bar, which was a block from the Biscuit Palace. It's an old Blacksmith that has continued to operate with candlelight and strong drinks (I also learned it used to be owned by a pirate and operate as ground zero for illegal operations). Lafitte's was one of the coolest places we visited.






Obviously food was one of the most exciting things of our trip. We enjoyed po boys, etouffee, a snow ball, dirty rice, crawfish and my sister made us go to Mother's for authentic nawlins everything (including bread pudding).  The first photo is from a coffee shop called En Vie which has breakfast in a cup and that might have been my favorite food because it had grits, eggs, bacon and potatoes all shoved down in a cup and eaten with a spoon. I also really loved the district donuts. The best best part of NOLA is drinking while you walk around. We had A LOT of champagne and mimosas. 







We spent most of our time in the French Quarter and were very lucky to have tickets to see Preservation Hall, which was incredible. The street music was amazing and I loved hearing music everywhere we walked. We did take a day to explore Magazine Street. We took the street car all the way down to Audubon Park and were able to check out some of the amazing and gigantic mansions and an old creepy cemetery. We had all read Anne Rice's book "The Witching Hour" before going on the trip and were able to see her home, which is the home written into this book. I didn't take any photos from that experience. My most favorite thing I did was go on a walking "ghost/voodoo/pirate/vampire/zombie" tour of the French Quarter. We saw all the famous ghost spots and I hope to go back someday to explore more. My other favorite thing was the artist night market. Ask me someday about the ghost that haunted our room at the Biscuit Palace, too. 

Thursday, February 22, 2018

My dad retired and we went skiing in Wisconsin




That's right. My old dad retired. We celebrated with a big family dinner at Surly Brewery which was awesome. There were giant pretzels and beer for all!




The real party was a week later when we took our annual Witt-Blue-Bachman sleep away ski trip. This time we stayed on Turtle Lake and skiied in Cumberland. I think it was our best cabin yet. We enjoyed excellent food and drink, lounging, ping pong, bumper pool and watching some netflix. Bowie mostly enjoyed running. Non stop.
Grandma and Grandpa brought lots of fun projects like slime.


Running: Action shot.




Josh in the weird indoor sauna.
Big muscles opening his popper.
We also made it out for some winter appreciation- a walk on the ice and skiing. Bowie did not want to be in the ski pulk so he had to go back to the warming house and got the award for shortest ski ever. He also spent time on our ice walk hiding under the sled and pooping.









Super beautiful and relaxing getaway with some of my favorite people. I can confirm that my dad is an expert at being retired.


Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Austin, Tx



Josh and I took some time between Christmas and New Years to visit Austin, Tx. We are so thankful to my parents for watching Bowie so we could travel just the two of us. The time together was relaxing and restorative. You can see above that we left Minneapolis in the midst of a polar vortex or a snow bomb or whatever it's called. The bad news is that Austin wasn't much warmer but 45 seemed pretty warm in comparison.





The first thing we did when we arrived was to walk to Vera Cruz for tacos and aqua fresca. Austin has the BEST food trucks and also has a lot of them. We anticipated a lot of eating and drinking on this trip but were surprised to find all the super healthy options available to us. Instead of alcohol we drank a lot of coffee, kombucha and fresh juice. And also alcohol. I have a thing for beverages and Austin did not disappoint. Also Topo Chico is superior to La Croix and anything in a glass bottle has a place in my heart.






I didn't get any photos of our airbnb but it had an adorable backyard oasis with a hot tub and a pool. You can look at it here: https://www.airbnb.com/rooms/16881707 and you should definitely stay there if you want an amazing host and this back yard. We went in the hot tub as much as possible. We were walking distance from all of the amazing food on Cesar Chavez and from Rainy Street, which is a portion of the city where all the homes had been gutted and turned into bars and restaurants. It was so fun to walk down a city block and know that we could go inside each house for a different surprise.


We loved breakfast (and salty dog kombucha) from Cenote, which was walking distance from our airbnb.




We also loved the Japanese/Texan fusion at Ramen Tatsu-ya. Brisket ramen. Um yes. Topo Chico whisky high ball. Yes and yes. Chili cheese takoyaki. Definitely.





Were were able to hit up graffiti hill on a warm day- which was truly so cool and fun. It's open to anybody who wants to graffiti and there were a ton of people making new additions. The place was littered with bottles of spray paint and color and music blasting. It was so fun. From there we also walked to Book People and I got about a million new book suggestions and bought "The Ocean at the End of the Lane" by Neil Gaiman and it's outrageously good.

We ended up on gross South Congress, which everybody suggested but I do not suggest. It was very touristy and expensive and felt a little like a hipper Wisconsin Dells. Torcy's Tacos were gross and we got locked out of our bank account so it felt a little sad.


We rebounded by renting bikes and visiting Barton Springs, a year round gorgeous cold spring/swimming pool in Zilker Park. I wish it has been warm enough to swim (although plenty of people were swimming). We still dipped our toes.




We also had the opportunity to see a show at Electric Church. I'm so happy my husband salmons me to the best local music at the best venues whenever we travel. The bands were fun and the venue was even better. During the shows they have a dude creating live visuals on the screen behind the band of found film clips and oil and paint mixtures. Very trippy and a great addition. I mainly enjoyed talking to people around the bonfire out back. Everybody was really nice and welcoming and I just love Austin.


So I definitely didn't take the best photos of this vacay but in sum Austin is a fantastic city. We managed to make a lot of friends (a.k.a. every mystical person or parent of young children within 10 feet of wherever we were). Austin is growing so rapidly that I worry it won't have the same local charm in a couple of years as it gets too expensive and expansive. I was struck that we didn't see a single chain store while we were there. Every business is small and independent and cool and I hope that never changes. I'd love to go back again when it's hot and we can see more music but for now I think we did everything we wanted AND managed to take naps and hot tubs. We missed Bowie a lot and were glad to get back to him and I'm really excited to begin planning our next travels to include him.