Fall is finally here y’all!! The heat in Austin has been so overwhelming the past few weeks so when we woke up to weather in the 50s, Will and I decided to have date night at one of our favorite outdoor spots, Cosmic Coffee and Beer Garden. Although Cosmic has a gravel patio, I just knew I had to break in my favorite new shoes from Zara!
I didn’t expect this, but baby blue or powder blue has become my most worn shade this month and might be my favorite color for fall. Here’s what I threw together to pair with my shoes.
Are you excited for cooler weather?! Leave me a comment and let me know which looks and colors you are loving for fall!
There are few things I love more in life than a good happy hour. Luckily, some of the top restaurants in Austin love them too and offer some of the best food and drinks in town at a fraction of the price. From $5 martinis to 50 percent off on food and wine, I’m breaking down my five go to spots for happy hour in Austin.
Taking the top spot on my list is Clark’s. We love going to Clark’s any day and any time so I especially love going when I can get a deal on my favorite food and drinks. Will and I love a good martini–Hendricks with a twist, straight up–so you can catch us here having a little tini time and enjoying the most delicious burger and fries in town for half-off!!
Monday-Friday: 3-5 p.m.
$5 Martinis, oyster shooters and draft beer, half off burgers and 50 cents off oysters.
Saturday and Sunday: 3-5 p.m.
Half off all bottles of wine.
Jeffrey’s is not only probably the best restaurant in town (in my opinion), they also have one of the best happy hours. I love this happy hour because they change it each night so it isn’t just the same deal every day. As a wino, I live for their Sunday night deal, which is half-off ALL wines, because I get a chance to try some of the most beautiful wines in the world at a really accessible price point.
Monday: All night
25 percent off all items marked with a diamond and $2 off beverages.
Tuesday-Sunday: 5-6 p.m.
25 percent off all items marked with a diamond and $2 off beverages.
Sunday: All night
Half-off any bottle from the Jeffrey’s Cellar.
3. Buffalina Due
When we first moved to Austin last year, I fell in love with Buffalina and when they closed, I was devastated. Luckily, they have a second location in north Austin and I make Will go as often as possible! Is there anything better than half-off on a beautiful bottle of wine and a couple of pizzas? I think not. A must-try if you are in Austin!
Seven Days a Week: 4–5:30 p.m.
Half off all wines under $100, $5 house wine, $5 draft beer, half off all pizza
4. Neighborhood Sushi
Many Austinites will tell you to try Uchi while you’re in town, but my go-to spot for sushi is Neighborhood Sushi. I love their vegetable tempura and I think their sushi is the best in Austin. They also have the perfect location right on South Congress so once you’re done with happy hour, you can walk down the street to enjoy some of the live music Austin has to offer.
Monday-Friday: 4:30-6 p.m.
$10 beer and a sake, $2 off drinks, 25 percent off all food.
5. The Backspace
We love the Backspace! It is a hidden gem in downtown Austin that serves incredible pizza and wines (lots of other food and drinks too, these are just my faves.)
Tuesday-Saturday: 5-6:30 p.m.
Half-off antipasti and half-off beers and wines by the glass.
I hope you get a chance to try these spots out soon! What are your favorite happy hours in Austin?! Leave me a comment and let me know!
This past weekend, my baby boy, Saint Charles “Charlie” McAshan, turned one! As many of you know, this little boy has brought so much joy to our lives and we were so excited to celebrate him. Although I did a terrible job of taking photos, I wanted to share the planning process and outcome of the party with all of you!
To celebrate this little boy properly, we decided to throw him a party! After a little discussing, we decided to make the theme of Charlie’s party frogs because of his obsession with his little frog toy. Nearly every day, Charlie will start crying at the base of the stairs and it’s because he wants his little frog from upstairs. It is literally the cutest thing so we went all in on the frog theme.
We wanted the party to be laid back so we ordered Torchy’s tacos for guests to snack on, served popcorn in these cute boxes and I made a fun dessert called “Frogs in the Pond” it is kind of like Worms in Dirt. We had a bunch of kids at the party and it was a hit with them, also the parents were ok with them eating it.
In addition to the food and snacks we served, I also ordered a custom cake from Hayley’s Cakes and Cookies for guests to enjoy. When I say we were blown away by how amazing it was, that is an understatement. I gave the Hayley’s Cakes team a very brief description of what we wanted and they created the coolest and most amazing cake for our boy!
To be honest, of course we were excited to celebrate our sweet Charles, but it was also our first chance to celebrate with friends at our new house since we moved in last spring. In total, we had about 40 guests at our house throughout the day and it was an absolute blast. We are so thankful for my dad–who flew in from Montana and helped set up most of the party, and for our amazing friends and neighbors who came by to celebrate with us!
Hope you all loved seeing our baby’s first birthday party!
Austin has been my home for a year now. When we moved in March of 2020, the world seemed to be crumbling around us and it took me a while to get acquainted with the city. But now, a little more than a year since we moved, I feel like I’m fully at home here and want to share my favorite parts of the city with all of you.
If you’ve been following me for a while or follow my Instagram account, you’ll know that I’m a pretty big foodie. So it’s only fitting that I start off this list by talking about my favorite restaurants in Austin. I broke this one up into two categories–my favorite places for brunch and lunch and another one for my favorite dinners in Austin. I did this because Austin is very vibey. I usually enjoy places with great patios more during the daytime and a sophisticated interior for the evening. So here we go!
Whether you’re visiting Austin for a quick weekend or live here full time, you’ll want to check these brunch/lunch spots out. I personally live for a Saturday brunch or long, bougie lunch during the week and Austin has the dreamiest restaurants that were basically made to do just that. First things first, Clark’s is my Mecca. I live for everything about Clark’s. In my eyes, they can do no wrong–even though most of their seating is now in their parking lot and it backs up to king of a noisy street, I just love it! Order yourself a bottle of wine, oysters and some shoestring fries and just enjoy your day! Truly the best.
I also love Josephine House and Aba for lunch and brunch. I will say that Josephine House is more of a vibe place for me than great food, but it is lovely and so nice for a girls brunch. Now Aba is a totally different story. They have the best patio in Austin, in my opinion, and incredible food! If you go, make sure you’re sitting outside and order some cocktails, the lamb ragu hummus, the whipped feta and the hamachi.
When it comes to dinner, I live for these three spots. They are totally different cuisine wise and by occasion. If you’re looking for a good, somewhat casual dinner, I would definitely recommend Launderette. Located in the up-and-coming East Austin, this spot is very hip and the food makes me feel like I’m hanging out in the south of France. When we go, I order the Brussel Sprouts, whole fish and french fries.
If you’re looking for an upscale, cosmopolitan Mexican restaurant, look no further than ATX Cocina. Our friends took us for the first time when we were preparing to move to Austin and we go back all the time now! In addition to having the coolest interior, they also have incredible cocktails, an impressive wine list and AMAZING food! We always get the chips and guac (duh), the octopus, the queso fundido and the pork tomahawk.
For special occasions and VERY romantic date nights, you have to go to Jeffrey’s. The Austin staple is located in Old Clarksville (the cutest neighborhood in Austin) and has the most sophisticated and cozy interior of any restaurant in town. If you can, ask to be seated in one of the booth enclaves. Pre-pandemic, Jeffrey’s was known for their martini cart–where they would make you a martini table side. I can say even without the cart, the martinis are incredible and not to be missed. Once your mini-time is over, take a look at their impressive wine list (we love the Châteauneuf-du Pape and Frog’s Leap) and literally anything on the menu. The steaks are SO good and the sides and starters don’t disappoint either. Jeffrey’s is the nicest restaurant in Austin and probably the most expensive too. If you’re looking to save some money, but have a great experience, go on a Sunday night when their entire wine list is half off!!
Thank the lord Austin is such an active town so I have a chance to walk off all of the food I eat here! When we moved to Austin last March, pretty much the only thing that was open was the trail around Town Lake and I pretty much went every day. The Trail Foundation made a huge effort to make the trail safe to all during the pandemic and it was such a solace for me. I still walk it regularly now with Charlie and we also love to go paddle boarding on the lake! It is such a fun workout and you and your significant other/friends can pack a picnic on the water by connecting your boards and floating together.
Although we have lived in Texas for more than seven years, we never really explored anything outside of Houston and Dallas until we moved to Austin. We have barely scratched the surface when it comes to visiting all of the Lone Star state, but we have totally fallen in love with the Texas Hill Country and wineries. The best part is that most of these within an hour of Austin so we can do a quick day trip or have a nice weekend away. Our favorite places in the Hill Country so far are Round Top, Dripping Springs and Fredericksburg.
I hope you’ve enjoyed my Austin Favorites! What are your favorite things to do in Austin? Leave me a comment and let me know!
Spring is finally here! Lately it seems like I am loving all things green and I don’t think I’m alone in that. According to the Zoe Report, the color green–which is known to elicit feelings of optimism and rebirth–is a trending color this season.
Susanna Merrick, founder of Aura Wear, spoke with the Zoe Report about the subconscious meaning of wearing green.
“When someone is attracted to the color green, they’re calling in growth, expansion, determination, focus, ambition, goals,” Merrick said in the Zoe Report article. “I always lovingly refer to green as the ‘Type-A energy’.”
If my color choice this season is any indication–I’m ready to get things done and look cute doing it. From my new bike to the dresses I’ll be wearing, it’s all green. Living in Austin, pretty much everyone has a bike and I am so excited because my parents got me this beautiful Reid bike for my birthday this year! It should be getting delivered in the next few weeks and I just can’t wait to bike around town and enjoy this beautiful weather.
My mother-in-law showed me this gorgeous peacock dress in the new issue of Garden and Gun magazine and I think it is an essential for your spring wardrobe. It can be easily dressed up or down, personally, I’d love pairing it with my white Veja’s for a fun lunch with my girlfriends.
Another highlight from my spring crushes is this lovely hand-knitted sweater from Fanm Mon. I discovered this brand from Arielle Charnas, the creator of Something Navy, and am just in love with their clothing. I think this sweater will help you seamlessly transition from winter to spring. I’m also dreaming of the wicker Prada bag for spring…it will be the perfect addition to almost any outfit!
While this LoveShackFancy dress might not be green, it is a staple for this spring and summer. From afternoon tea to a walk on the beach, this dress will be perfect for you.
If you would have asked me a year ago what my favorite thing to do was, I would have instantly answered, “going out to dinner!” I love trying new restaurants and cuisines, but lately, I prefer cooking at home. I’m not sure whether its because of COVID or our new puppy, but I love being at home so our date nights have transitioned from going to our favorite restaurants to cooking at home as a family.
When I saw Alex posting about this meal last night, I just knew we had to make it. Last year, my husband and I spent some time in the French countryside and ever since, I have such a new appreciation for chicken. The recipe Alex shared was inspired by the Cajun Chicken entree at Le Bilbouquet…one of my all time favorite restaurants. I’ve never had this dish in the restaurant, but I definitely will next time I go!
For our date night, we started off with a little cheese board when Will got home from work. I kept it pretty simple, but used my favorite ingredients. Central Market makes my FAVORITE crackers, the rosemary crostini crackers…they are a game changer so I started out with those, selected a basil pesto goat cheese and a blue cheese, peppered salami and holiday grapes to round out my board. I like to drizzle local honey over my blue cheese because I think it gives it a really nice balance.
Pan-Roasted Blackened Cajun Chicken with Oven Frites
by Alex Snodgrass – The Defined Dish
Pan Roasted Blackened Chicken
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/4 teaspoon dried rosemary
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
2 lbs boneless, skin-on chicken breasts about 1 1/4 pounds
1 tablespoon avacado oil
1/2 cup dry white wine substitute chicken broth plus 1 teaspoon lemon juice
1/2 cup low sodium chicken broth
1/2 teaspoon arrowroot starch
1 garlic clove minced
2 tablespoons unsalted butter or whole 30 use ghee
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 1/4 pounds russet potatoes or 2 large potatoes
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Pan-Roasted Blackened Cajun Chicken
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
in a small bowl, combine the salt,pepper, thyme, cayenne pepper, paprika, rosemary, and oregano. Set aside.
Pat the chicken breasts dry and season the skin side with half the spice mixture.
in a medium oven-safe skillet, heat the avocado oil over medium-high heat until just starting to smoke. Carefully lay out the chicken breasts into the hot skillet skin side down. Cook without moving until the skin is deep golden brown and very crisp, about 6 minutes. While cooking season the second side of the chicken with the remaining spice mixture. Carefully flip the chicken breasts and transfer the skillet to the oven. Bake until cooked through, or when an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the breasts registers 150 degrees, 12 to 15 minutes. Transfer the chicken to a cutting board and set aside, reserving the pan juices in the skillet.
In a medium bowl, combine the wine, chicken broth, and arrowroot and whisk until the arrowroot dissolves. Set aside.
Pour off all but about 1 teaspoon of the fat from the skillet and place the pan over high heat. Add the garlic along with the wine mixture, scraping up any browned bits from the bottom of the skillet. Cook, stirring until the sauce is reduces by two -thirds, about 5 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and add butter and the lemon and allow the butter to just melt. Stir to combine. Taste the pan sauce and season with more salt and pepper, if desired.
Slice the chicken breasts and serve on individual plates. Spoon plenty of pan sauce over the slice chicken and serve with the oven frites.
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Scrub the potatoes well, then cut them lengthwise into 1/2 inch wide fries.
Place the fries in a large bowl and toss with olive oil, salt and pepper until evenly coated.
Spread the fries across the prepared baking sheet in a single layer (you may need two baking sheets to ensure they are in a single layer and have plenty of room to crisp up).
Bake in the oven until potatoes are golden brown all over and crisp, about 30 minutes (and no, you do not need to toss during the cooking time at all).
This dinner was amazing!! My husband and I both loved it and were pretty impressed with just how good it was. The chicken was full of flavor and moist, the oven frites were excellent ( I roasted mine for about 45 minutes because I like them extra crispy) and we loved the salad!
What are y’all doing for your date nights this week?! Leave me a comment and let me know!!
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Have you traveled during coronavirus recently or do you plan to soon? Leave me a comment and let me know your experience.
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!
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!
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.
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!