Friday, August 17, 2018

The 48 Hour Tourist: Austin, TX Edition

We continue our guest blogger series with Melissa Rosenberg of The Melrose Chronicles! Melissa is a seasoned traveler and has written her own travel newsletter, plus has been a guest writer on other travel blogs and websites. Who better to tell us all about a fun destination like Austin, TX? Check out her 48 hour travel guide, complete with packing guide, below! Also, be sure to check out her Instagram @themelrosechronicles.

Hey Y’all! My name is Melissa and I’m an actor, dog mom, coffee lover, and travel enthusiast! I’ve checked off 48 of 50 states, traipsed all over Europe, and of course, am always planning my next adventure.  While I feel lucky to have seen so much of the world, people are always asking me: How have you seen so much!? The answer is short but sweet—literally.

48 hours.

No, not all of my trips are this short—you could never meander the London streets correctly or work on that Seaside, FL tan in only two days—but occasionally, just for a getaway, 48 hours is all you need to explore a new town and notch off a fabulous city on your travel bucket list while still getting a sense of the area and feeling like you achieved a great deal!

I wanted to share with you top tips and trades, recommend restaurants and rendezvous’, and even the ever popular: “But how do I pack for such a short trip?!” in one of my favorite cities:

Austin, TX is quite simply everyone’s cup of tea. There’s great foodie finds, unique shops, night life galore, outdoor escapades, and tons of fun to fill your time with so: let’s jump in!

Packing Guide for 48 hours of Austin Awesome:
First of all, the trick to short trips is not to over pack. Keep Calm and Carry On—for real! You won’t need anything more. Check out these items I took on my most recent visit:

*Packing guide details at end of post*

Day One
After an early travel morning or perhaps a late night flight after a long day of work, I always find my body craves a little movement to work out all the travel kinks. If you’re like me, you’re already sporting your yoga pants so head straight to Black Swan Yoga. With three different locations, this studio is hands down my favorite start-the-day-feel-good type of class, and the best part: it’s donation based which is a total thumbs up-ward dog! Don’t have a mat? Don’t worry—you can borrow one for $5.

Yoga not your thing? Part of the beauty of Austin lies in the access to nature. Take a stroll around Lady Bird Lake (formerly Town Lake)! It will ease you into the day with fabulous views of downtown, paddle boarders on the lake, and a simple, sight-filled introduction to the city.

Now I bet you’ve worked up an appetite! There’s nothing I love more than sharing Austin food favorites so pending your mood here are a few options of ATX classics and new brekkie bests, alike:
You can never go wrong with the tried and true, Kerbey Lane Café. With seven locations and a presence since 1980, this signature café is the only place where it is totally acceptable to have your pancake and eat queso too. It’s open 24 hours, has tons of vegetarian/vegan options, and is downright delicious.

Newer to the 512 crew is June’s All Day Café. Situated on a South Congress Ave corner, this two year old restaurant packs a mature punch like it’s been hanging around the Austin restaurant scene for years (not to mention, it’s an Instagramer’s dream). Enjoy a sit down experience in the cozy bistro atmosphere and if breakfast impresses you— I have no doubt it will—come back for happy hour 4pm-6pm daily with 50% off all food and various drink specials.

Three Words: Nutella. Morning. Bun. Josephine House is one of those special finds that makes you feel like you’ve found a secret hideout spot in a vast city. It’s quaint, full of charm, and simplistic in the best kind of way. It’s quite small so be sure to make a reservation if you want to sit down or just pick a pastry picnic to go.

Other great spots to check out: Taco Deli, Juan in a Million, Bouldin Creek Café (vegetarian/vegan), Moonshine (for a weekend brunch experience)

Time to explore! There are about a million options but for the Mod Circus crowd, let’s dive in to some fashion frolics. South Congress is my favorite wandering place. It’s quintessential Austin boasting quirky shops, First Thursday festivals, food trucks, and more. For my fashionista’s looking to take a piece of Austin couture home, if you’re feeling…
Vintage: check out Feathers Boutique
Current Trends: score big at Favor the Kind or Creatures
Witchy Wonders: explore edgy at Blackmail

Other SoCo specialties: Kendra Scott (infamous Austin-based jewelry—this is one of the first locations), Stag (men’s shop), Lucy in Disguise (incredible costume shop with some excellent vintage buys), Prima Dora (souvenirs ), and there are always pop-up trailers worth perusing

With famous festivals like Austin City Limits and SXSW, you can’t come to Austin without hearing some live music. To end an awesome day of exploring, see who’s playing at Stubb’s (double the deal if you get some TX BBQ), Antone’s, Emo’s, or The Backyard. (Insider tip: 9 times out 10 you can also stumble upon live music at any downtown restaurant on a weekend night or outdoor park.) Sit back and relax as you wind down the day with some great jams.

Day Two
It’s time for morning stretches and fashion catches as we race to squeeze in as much more Austin as we can. The 2nd Street District is home to some serious boutique beauties and you are sure to snag a special something to take home. First, there’s an actual ModCloth store—that’s right, you can shop the ever popular online mecca in person—as well as great spots like United Apparel Liquidators, which always has steals on upscale items, Prize, hosting super home décor originals and unique pieces, and the impressive Esperos handbags/backpacks where a portion of proceeds go towards raising money for women’s education. The 2nd Street District is a bit pricier but pieces are distinct and creative, making it a great area to find the ultimate Texas treasure.

By now, you’re probably feeling inspired to ‘Keep Austin Weird’ and keep on trucking through another day of Texas adventure. Speaking of trucking: Did you know that Austin is one of the first cities to rev up the food truck industry? You can see them everywhere around town and it’s safe to say your Austin experience won’t be the same if you don’t make a pit stop. Continue your day by heading to one of several area food truck gatherings (South Austin Trailer Park & Eatery, The Picnic, East Side Food Park…the list goes on) and get a sampling of tasty treats from popular wheeled meals like Gourdough’s, the OG Torchy’s Tacos—get the queso, trust me—or even mmmpanadas.

If a sit down meal is more your style, I suggest heading to one of my all time favorites, Elizabeth Street Café. It’s an eclectic mash up of Vietnamese and French in an old converted home that is refurbed in the best Austin way. There’s a community table up front if you want to meet some locals and make a friend as well as a great outdoor patio-like space if it’s a nice day.

Another staple area to check out for both food and fashion is South Lamar. If you want another food fusion option, check out Chi’Lantro: a Korean BBQ meets Tex-Mex joint. Opt for the killer kimchi fries or fresh take on a rice bowl. Strut is not only a stellar shop name but also home to some sensational shopping. Grab some excellent accessories and browse apparel. Artisan threads are great but artisan ice cream? Right down the road is the newest addition to the Austin Awesome Ice Cream Association, Lick.  With everyday flavors featuring Texas Sheet Cake and Chocolate, Olive Oil, & Sea Salt as well as incredible seasonal flavors like Carrot & Tarrgon and Fromage & Fig, you can go classic cone or go off the beaten spoon with honest, Texas ingredients. They even have dairy free and vegan options!

Other fun things to check out on South Lamar: Alamo Drafthouse (this was one of the first locations for the now nationwide moviehouse and it has received a major upgrade to become part of a larger plaza and living space), Neiman Marcus Last Call (the high end retail store which was actually created in Dallas, TX has it’s clearance store just off South Lamar—totally worth a rack browsing), or South Austin Museum of Pop Culture (a wacky and wonderful little museum).

By now, you have probably eaten too much and spent too much money on dresses, but are feeling like maybe you want just a little bit more to close out your whirlwind weekend. Make your way to Zilker Park with a blanket and a good book and enjoy the setting sun as your weekend comes to a close. If you are visiting during the summer, see if anything is playing on The Hillside—each year, the park hosts a totally free summer musical that you can watch and enjoy with your own picnic (including glass free beverages). Or, gather that blanket and book to check out Auditorium Shores instead for some tunes (Blues on the Green and other live music events often occur) and a great view. Either option will refresh you and give you a little more taste of Hill Country Culture.

I hope you enjoyed your Austin escape! There’s always so much to do and so many choices to make but this is snapshot of what I assure will leave you saying, “I’ll come back real soon y’all!”

Til the next 48 Hour Tourist, follow Melissa on Instagram @themelrosechronicles for more travel inspiration…and lots of dog pictures.

Packing Guide and Outfit details: 


Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Lavender, Emerald and Metallic, Oh My!

It's that time of year again, where we want to start mixing in fall wardrobe staples, but it's still blazing hot outside. Transitional dressing can be fun, but also a little overwhelming. A great way to play around with transitioning your wardrobe into fall is to experiment with colors and textures! 

I love the combo of lavender and emerald green together. I got inspiration for this outfit from a blossoming bush in my backyard that was set against my checked patio rug. 

I also love the combination of silver and lavender and thought this would be a perfect opportunity to inject a bit of a fall metallic into the outfit in the form of silver sandals. 

I hope that lavender will stick around into fall so I can continue to wear this fun color combination! What trends are you looking forward to wearing soon? 

Shoes (similar)


Friday, August 10, 2018

Nutty Russian Cocktail

I love a good White Russian as a nightcap, but in the summer, the idea of heavy cream sounds a little, well, heavy after sweating all day long. So, I tried something different and it was a total winner: almond milk! It's also a great non-dairy option too if that's what you're looking for. To reinforce the "nutty" theme, I also added a few drops of almond extract, which really gives it a lovely aroma and extra essence when mixed with the coffee flavor of Kahlua.

I made this drink in our new drinkware from Crate and Barrel that we're loving. It feels perfectly retro to match our vintage-tropical themed dining room decor!

Let's get to it!

2 oz vodka
1 oz Kahlua
2 oz almond milk
a few drops almond extract

Add ice to a rocks glass and pour in vodka, Kahlua, and almond extract. Add milk on top and stir. Ta-da! It's so easy peasy and makes a great light dessert that fulfills your sweet tooth, but doesn't feel as heavy as icecream or full cream nightcaps.



Monday, August 6, 2018

Ruffled Gingham Jumpsuit

I've always thought that August was the Sunday of the summer. You know, the fun time of the weekend (aka summer) are winding down, and you have to think about going back to work and school. While I'm getting excited for fall, I'm also still mourning the end of summer and trying to soak it all in while I can. That means I am also wearing as many summer trends as I can! 

I always love gingham, but I'm also really loving jumpsuits this summer, so this little number is the best of both worlds! 

I'm also getting in time with my belt bag, oversized round sunnies and pearl slides too! Go ahead, kick up your heels and enjoy the rest of summer while you can! 

Belt bag (similar)


Monday, July 30, 2018

Take My Money Monday

Welcome to Take My Money Monday, where we round up what we're currently loving and tell our favorite retailers to just go ahead and take our money already! We're in that weird in between stage where we're still trying real hard to hold on to summer, but also getting slightly excited for fall and all of the new fashion trends it brings! See what we're eyeing below!


I still want to embrace summer and wear all the summery things, but I'm also excited about all of the new fall trends that are cropping up! 


To balance the changing season on the horizon, I'm loving lightweight items in fall patterns or fall pieces in summery colors. And, as usual, I'm definitely digging on all the retro trends!

1. Pink Jeans
2. Striped Front-tie Blouse
3. Earrings
4. Beaded Bag
5. Plaid Blazer
6. Pink Blazer Dress
7. Blue Romper
8. Black and White Set


Friday, July 27, 2018

Five Friday Faves

It's time for another installment of Five Friday Faves! This is one of our favorite series where we tell you about five random things that we are currently obsessing over. Be sure to check out our previous posts herehere and here.


Platform Sneakers
I'm loving the platform sneaker trend right now! It's the perfect way to spice up an otherwise casual outfit. I can't wait to take this trend right on into the fall! I've shared some of my current favorites below. 

Everything but the Bagel Sesame Seasoning
You guys. This seasoning is soooo good! It's a great way to ahem, spice up, all sorts of tasty treats. So far, we've added it to chicken and on bagels (because duh), but I'm excited to experiment with it on more meals! 

Getting Curious with Jonathan Van Ness 
If you love Queer Eye, then you will love this podcast from Jonathan Van Ness! It's the most delightful thing I've ever come across. Not only do you get to listen to Jonathan and his fabulousness, but you also learn quite a bit too! 

Nordstrom Anniversary Sale
It's that time of year again! The Nordstrom Anniversary Sale is the perfect time to stock up on basic pieces and fall staples. Check out our sale picks here

Sharp Objects 
The HBO miniseries based on the novel by Gillian Flynn is currently airing every Sunday evening, and I have to say, my husband and I are hooked! If you read the novel, then you know how the story goes, but it still is a really well made show that is definitely worth checking out.


Coil Hair Ties
I'm loving these hair ties that look basically like mini adorable landline phone cords. They make for a perfect loose ponytail, since you only need to wrap it around a couple of times and it really grips in your hair. Like scrunchies, they feel a lot better than a typical hair tie on your hair!

After a trip to Barcelona last month, I fell in love with this sparkling Spanish wine. It's very similar to champagne, but with a little bit less fizz. It's fresh and just perfect for summertime sipping!

Pom Pom Earrings
These earrings are nothing new, but I've really been loving the lightweight, versatile style of pom pom earrings. They don't even really feel like you're wearing anything!

Baker Boy Hats
These hats were big last winter, but they still haven't gone anywhere this summer, and I'll probably be adding more to my collection come this fall. This '90s throwback accessory can be paired with a dress for a fun weekend ensemble, or a casual tee and jeans to spice up a casual look.

I've been using the lightroom app for photo editing on my phone lately and it's been pretty great! I love that you can set your presets, essentially making your own filters, and saving those presets to use on photos later for similar editing. 

Let us know in the comments what you're loving lately too!


Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Summer Plaid

Plaid isn't just for autumn! I love this super Americana-looking plaid top with coral and teal tones added in for a fun modern twist. I feel like the vibe of the top feels very 1960s summer, so I accessorized accordinly with white cateye sunglasses and a fun round purse. 

This button front denim skirt has been my go to all summer. It goes with anything style-wise and the cut jives with about any top. These pink slides have also been some of my faves for summer, because obviously blush is a neutral. 

I love that this look can be super '60s-imspired while still being casual and laid back.  

Now I need to go chase down a bomb pop to match my outfit! 


Outfit Details:
Denim Skirt (similar)
Retro Purse (similar)
Sunglasses (similar)

Thursday, July 19, 2018

Citrus Jumpsuit


I have been LIVING in jumpsuits and rompers this summer, and you know that I love a good tropical print, so when I saw this jumpsuit (with kimono sleeves no less!), I knew it had to make its way to my closet. It's basically all the things I love, combined into one marvelous jumpsuit! 

Made of a super light material, paired with the low front and back, and the billowy sleeves, it's the perfect thing to wear on these hot summer nights we've been experiencing lately.

It would be criminal not to accessorize this sweet little pineapple clutch! I kept the rest of my accessories minimal since I'm basically a walking, talking Chiquita Banana ad over here. Now, excuse me while I go find myself a Dole Whip. ;) 

Jumpsuit (on sale!)

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