Brit’s Summer Travel Series: Austin, Texas

Brit’s Summer Travel Series: Austin, Texas

For the third stop on Brit’s Summer Travel Series, we are heading to the Lone Star state! Until a few months ago, I was just a visitor to Austin, not a resident. Through my visits to Austin over the years and after living here for a while, I have learned a few things about the capital of Texas and am sharing them with you for your next visit!

I’ve always thought Austin is where Texas meets L.A., and it’s crazy to think that nestled in the rolling hills of Texas, there is a burgeoning tech hub with chic restaurants and more outdoor activities than you can imagine. The first thing to figure out for your trip is where to stay and Austin hotels do not disappoint.

The coolest hotel in my opinion is the Hotel Saint Cecilia. This boutique hotel is in the heart of the city, just off of South Congress and a quick jump across Lady Bird Lake from downtown. If you’re interested in proximity to town, the South Congress Hotel and W Austin are both great options.

The Commodore Perry Estate is brand new and I haven’t had a chance to visit yet, but it looks incredible! Auberge Resorts brought the nearly one hundred-year-old Commodore Perry mansion back to life and the storied estate looks better than ever.

Austin’s restaurants are as delicious as they are well designed. My absolute favorite restaurant has to be Clark’s Oyster Bar. It is my vibe to a tee and the food is SO good! If you are a seafood lover like me, then this is the place for you. My husband and I love going for dinner together and it’s also a wonderful brunch spot with your girlfriends! I’m not sure if there is anything better than a dozen oysters with Clark’s famous French fries and a glass of one of their many fabulous wines. Their sister-restaurant, Perla’s, is also fabulous and is a larger space if you’re looking for a group outing.

If you’re interested in Mexican food or TexMex, ATX Cocina and Matt’s el Rancho are my favorites. Matt’s el Rancho is more traditional and great for larger groups and families… you can’t leave without getting the Bob Armstrong Dip! ATX Cocina is a gorgeous restaurant in downtown and they serve modern Mexican food and delicious margaritas.

For sushi, we prefer Soto on South Lamar, we love going for happy hour and getting the Chef’s Choice–it’s five pieces of some of the most amazing and innovative sushi I’ve ever had! We also can’t get enough of Sway…I think about their Blue Crab Fried Rice all of the time and the design of all of their restaurants is just so cool.

For lighter fare with subtle French vibes, I highly recommend Launderette and June’s All Day. The food is incredible and again, the vibe will not disappoint. If you’re looking for the most romantic spot in Austin, I suggest Mattie’s. The food is described as southern and it is delicious. But the setting in out of this world. The restaurant is in an old mansion and the grounds have the most beautiful oak trees that have…Peacocks in them! It is so wonderful and perfect for a date night or special occasion.

Austin is known for its taco scene and for good reason. We are still working on this list, but trying out taco trucks and restaurants in Austin has been one of my favorite things to do with my husband since we’ve moved here. If you’re not interested in driving around to look for a taco-focused restaurant, but still want a taco, you’re in luck. I’ve noticed all of the coffee shops here also sell breakfast tacos, which is something I am more than okay with!

The activities in Austin are endless and if you love the outdoors, you will be in heaven here! Unlike many other parts of Texas, Austin is jam-packed with lakes, rivers, hiking trails and plenty of bike lanes!

Whether you’re a Texan looking for a weekend getaway or from out-of-state, Austin will be the perfect destination for you! Come back next week to see Brit’s next stop on the Summer Travel Series!

XO,

Brit

Travel during COVID-19

Travel during COVID-19

As an avid traveler, the past few months have been incredibly strange for me. In my pre-COVID life, my husband and I would fly somewhere at least twice a month, but until last week, we hadn’t stepped foot in an airport since March.

To be honest with you, I was a bit trepidatious about going to the airport and actually flying. I had so many questions and had heard horror stories about not being able to use the bathroom or not having access to get water or food. In the weeks leading up to our trip, I called the Austin-Bergstrom Airport a couple of times to see what it was like in the airport. They assured me that places like Starbucks and Jo’s Coffee were open and all of the bathrooms were open.

I had also heard stories about crazy-long lines to check bags and get through security, but in our experience, it took less than 10 minutes to check two bags and we got through security in under 15 minutes.

The line for security at Austin-Bergstrom International Airport on June 7, 2020.

We flew from Austin, Texas to Panama City Beach, Florida for our first post-COVID vacation. There were no direct flights available so on the way to Florida we had a layover in Nashville, Tennessee and on our way home we had a layover in Houston, Texas. Our layover in Nashville was about 10 minutes so I can’t really speak to what that airport was like, but I would rate Austin’s airport as the cleanest and most efficient.

William P. Hobby Airport on June 14, 2020.

For our trip, we flew on Southwest Airlines and I have to give them such a major shoutout. Everyone from the people behind the counter checking bags to the people boarding you for the flight were so helpful. I think they are incredibly sensitive to the fact that people are nervous about flying again and they worked hard to make everyone comfortable and safe.

If you’re familiar with Southwest Airlines, you will know their boarding process is quite different than other airlines. You check in 24 hours before your flight and are assigned either an “A,” “B,” or “C” with a number between 1-50 behind the letter. That is still the same, but instead of calling passengers in groups of 30, the boarding agents now call passengers in groups of 10. I actually loved this aspect. It was much more civilized and I think it kept the bottle-neck of passengers way down. Until September 30th, Southwest says they are only booking flights at 60 percent capacity leaving the *dreaded* middle seats empty unless you are a family or group traveling together and want to sit in the same row. I loved this and on all four of our flights, there were empty seats and a lot of space between passengers.

None of our flights were completely full. The only people who sat in middle seats chose to sit in them or were traveling with their families.

I do think Southwest could improve the cleanliness of the planes. Our flight to Florida was around 6 a.m., so I believe the plane had been cleaned the night before and you could tell. Our seats were clean and the plane seemed fresh. Our flights home were a very different story. Our flight from Panama City to Houston had a quick turn-around time and there were still crumbs on my set when I boarded the plane. Same story on our flight from Houston to Austin. Luckily, I bring my own wipes and wiped down our seats, armrests, seatbelts and tray-tables, but I do think the airlines should be doing more to keep their planes clean. They were very focused on picking up trash and requested passengers hand them wipes people usually stuff behind the seats several times during the flight, but picking up trash alone does not equal cleanliness.

Passengers are required to wear masks while boarding the plane and during the entire flight unless they are eating or drinking, but while you are in the airport, you are not required to wear a mask. During our longer flights, Austin to Nashville and Panama City to Houston, we were offered a can of water and a snack, but I always bring my own water and snacks so I didn’t take any. On the shorter flights, Nashville to Panama City and Houston to Austin, beverage and snack services were not offered. We were able to use the bathrooms on all flights, but you are not allowed to form lines.

COVID or not, I always try to pack my own snacks. For our flight to Florida, I made Kodiak pancakes, and packed grapes and celery. I don’t usually like fast food and try to avoid buying salty snacks in the airport.

Overall, I really appreciate the changes airports and airlines have implemented and I think they actually make the process of flying less hectic. I do think sanitization efforts should be taken up a notch by sanitizing the buckets used for security, requiring passengers wear socks through security and that airplanes are cleaned AND sanitized thoroughly after each flight.

Up, Up and Away! Leaving Austin for the first time in three months to go to the beach!

Have you traveled during coronavirus recently or do you plan to soon? Leave me a comment and let me know your experience.

XO,

Brit

Back to Brunching

Back to Brunching

Depending on where you live, you might be able to go out to brunch this weekend! Here in Texas, restaurants started opening last week and this weekend, I am ready for brunch! I’ve already made reservations at Clark’s in Austin and I’m a little too excited about getting a frozen cosmo and oysters.

Since it has been more than two months since I last had brunch, I have already started planning my outfits for this weekend. From flowy dresses to pastel-colored shorts, I’m sharing my favorite outfit options for this weekend!

Pink Dress, Bucket Bag, Necklace, Bangle, Wedges
White Dress, Earrings, Clutch, Belt, Shoes
White Top, Pink Linen Shorts, Earrings, Pink Sunglasses, Fendi Bag, Bow Sandals

Are you brunching this weekend?! Leave me a comment and let me know what you think of the looks and how it is to get back into the swing of things!

XO,

Brit

Easy Red Coconut Curry

Easy Red Coconut Curry

Even though we are in quarantine and I am home all of the time, I still feel like my weekdays are crazy busy! Because of that, I love cooking healthy, one-pot meals throughout the week. Tonight I’m making my favorite red coconut curry recipe from Averie Cooks.

Thai food has always been one of my favorite cuisines and after living in Houston, Texas, for the better part of a decade, I got pretty spoiled when it came to getting the best Thai food or really any kind of food just down the street. My husband and I recently moved to Austin in the middle of the coronavirus pandemic so we know a little bit about the food scene here, but definitely not as well as we knew our favorites in Houston. Today I was craving curry, so I decided to make this delicious recipe instead of ordering-in.

All the ingredients you will need for the coconut curry recipe.

I’ve made this recipe about 10 times and I’ve decided the only red curry paste I like to use for it is the Exotic Thai Red Curry Paste. I’ve tried a few other brands and it really makes or breaks this dish if you don’t get a good paste.

The creator of this recipe, Averie Cooks, claims this fresh, nutrient-rich recipe is only 141 calories per serving. I serve my curry over rice so of course that number will go up. One cup of rice is generally 160 calories so you will be at 300 calories for one serving of this dish, which is amazing!

Not only is this dish healthy, but it is SO easy to make, you can make it all in one pan and it only takes about 20 minutes, which means you’ll have an easy clean up too!

Let me know what you think and if you try this recipe out!

XO,

Brit

Staying Active at Home

Staying Active at Home

Working out has been a part of my daily routine since I was in high school and when the quarantine caused gyms to close, I was thrown for loop. Whether it is yoga, cycling, cardio kickboxing or walking, working out is essential for me to stay healthy physically and mentally.

During quarantine, I have gone on long walks every day and have loved discovering new virtual workouts. In Austin, there are a number of trails to walk on that have remained uncrowded.


Town Lake in Austin, Texas.

As far as virtual workouts, I have been living for Megan Roup’s Sculpt Society and Baye Tilson’s yoga Youtube classes. On the Sculpt Society app, Megan provides such a wide range of classes from dance cardio to sculpting and meditation. She also offers several different lengths of classes–from 10 to 50 minutes so you can squeeze in a workout even on your busiest day.

Baye Tilson. Photo courtesy of Baye’s Instagram account.

Baye’s yoga classes have also been amazing and they are completely free to view. She regularly teaches yoga at Black Swan Yoga in Houston, Texas. She has a great energy and also offers multiple class lengths so you can always fit it into your schedule.

Prepping for a workout at home in my favorite new tennis shoes.

For me, working out is always more fun when I have a cute outfit. I recently got these multi-colored Stella McCartney for Adidas tennis shoes on the Shopbop sale and am in love with them. They are lightweight, but provide enough support for the jumping required in many of the Sculpt Society classes. I have also been loving these scalloped yoga pants from Lululemon.

What are your favorite at-home workouts? Leave me a comment and let me know below!

XO,

Brit

ABOUT BRIT

ABOUT BRIT

Thank you so much for visiting Basically Brit! For years, my girlfriends, family members and acquaintances have asked me for advice on what to wear, skin care tips, restaurant recommendations, travel ideas and more so I thought creating a blog would be a great way to put all of my thoughts out into the universe!

I am currently living in Austin, Texas, but have lived all around the United States. I was born in Denver, Colorado and moved to St. Louis, Missouri, Milwaukee, Wisconsin and Minneapolis, Minnesota, before I was five years old. I was mostly raised in Salt Lake City, Utah, but finished my last two years of high school in Manhattan, Kansas. Because I had never really experienced the American South and had a childhood dream to be an anthropologist of sorts, I decided to go to college at the University of Mississippi or “Ole Miss” as it is commonly referred to. While there, I studied Journalism and Public Relations and met my husband, Will, a couple of weeks after graduation. After college, we moved to Houston, Texas, where I worked as a brand ambassador for Milly at Neiman Marcus and as a writer for the Texas Medical Center news.

Outside of writing, I have always had a passion for fashion and spend way too much of my spare time shopping. I also love cooking, traveling, exercising, drinking wine and hanging out with my loved ones and I hope to share all of this with you! Leave me a comment if there is anything you’d like to know about me that I didn’t include and please follow me on Instagram @basically__brit . Can’t wait to meet all of you!

XO,

Brit