Here, there, everywhere

Why hello!

It turns out leaving a great job, starting a new one, taking a pre-marital class, planning a wedding, joining a new Bible study group, getting another exhaustive round of health tests, having a health “scare,” traveling for two weeks and keeping up a blog (technically two) is very hard to do. This all seems perfectly obvious here on screen but somehow in my head seems like what we optimists call “a challenge.” I like challenges. I guess you could consider it my outlet for any and all of my competitiveness, because it sure isn’t making an appearance on a field or court any time soon. But at some point my realistic side goes, “Enough is enough. Why can’t I just go galavant around Italy again??”

Okay, so maybe not so realistic.

Not Italy, but I did manage to squeeze in some adventures…Here’s a peek into my impromptu blogging hiatus in LA and then Austin for SXSW:

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Food, friends and Franklin’s

Hey, remember back when I mentioned I spent a great weekend in Austin? My pictures have been begging me to go ahead and upload them already ever since. “You took us to be seen, didn’t you?” they say pointedly while taking up desktop space in a most guilt-inducing manner.

As with most Austin trips, food played quite the prominent role – and the Italian in me vehemently believes good food should be shared. So without further adieu…

franklin barbecue Austin porch

The boyfriend and I made the trek to visit with friends (just the sweetest couple, really) and make another attempt at Franklin Barbecue. You might have heard about this place recently seeing as Texas Monthly’s “Barbecue Guy” (it’s true, this job exists) just ranked it as the #1 best barbecue in Texas, and it’s been recognized as the best in the country by Bon Appetit. See, round one didn’t go so ideally in that I wasn’t actually there, everyone was apparently sleep deprived, one was too hungover to make it despite a valiant effort and one gas station stop for the impending sickness, it poured the Texas equivalent of freezing rain throughout the multiple hour outdoor wait and did I mention I wasn’t there? Despite all this, they came back from lunch saying how more than 100% worth it all this mess was because the meat was just. that. good.

This time around I made sure to secure my invitation and checked the weather – it was sunny skies ahead. Friday night drinking was held to a moderate level during our trip to a laid back downtown bar, Handlebar (as in mustache, found courtesy of a “Austin hipster restaurants” Google search), and dinner at Frank, whose hot dogs and bloody mary’s have made a couple tv appearances for their deliciousness. Bonus: they have plenty of gluten-free options! Of course, I couldn’t say no to a little champagne while watching the sunset and bats on the Congress Ave bridge, too.

congress avenue bridge austin bats

We woke up the next morning and made it to Franklin by 8:30 a.m. with lawn chairs and a cooler of mimosas and bloody mary’s in tow. A line was already beginning, but we weren’t too far back and the weather was beautiful so we were feeling pretty optimistic. While Franklin actually opens at 11, they’ve sold out of everything every day since opening two years ago, so you want to get there early to make sure they’ll still have the menu items you want. After a leisurely wait in an atmosphere of giddy anticipation from the crowd, the doors opened. I can’t even describe the richness of flavor, the silky texture of the meat, the way it literally fell off the bone and melted in my mouth…Just go there.

franklin barbecue line waiting tips

franklin barbecue BBQ food

franklin barbecue brisket picture

We wrapped up the weekend sunning our stuffed stomachs by the pool. Perfection.

Texas Monthly also ranked Dallas’ Pecan Lodge as number two, so we’ll be reuniting soon to see how it measures up. I’ll keep you posted!

Looking Ahead

New Year Quote

happy-new-year-cupcake

 

I’ve never been one for New Year’s resolutions, but clearly we’re goal driven people around Finding Tiffany’s. I do believe in striving to my best self every day, and I’m excited to continue learning and growing in the year ahead. The new year holds exciting opportunities at work, plenty of occasions in the works to play hostess for people I care about and travel sights set on D.C. and Chicago.

2012 was the year of…

Career. I launched my first blog and received two job offers to start my first “real” job.

Travel. New York City, Austin (twice), Atlanta, Fayetteville, Boston, Norman (three times) and New Mexico.

Community. A best friend moved back, I met two roommates, bonded with coworkers, joined a bible study with 20 amazing women and reconnected with some old friends in the area.

Independence. My own apartment, a new car and bills…all paid by yours truly.

2013 will focus on…

Health. Commit to yoga, run, eat (way) less sugar and finally follow through on some long-postponed healthcare appointments.

Relationships. Practice intentionality by actually responding to Facebook messages and in a timely manner, remembering birthdays and embracing snail mail for cards and notes.

Creativity. Learn photography with my new DSLR, dedicate more time to watching documentaries and independent film again and continue writing and blogging.

 

What do you think about resolutions? Have you set any goals or themes for the new year?

 

Austin, in short.

This past weekend, Sarah, myself and two of my very best friends headed south to Austin. This town is my town. Literally.

It really was  a blast. Everyone is so friendly, and it’s easy to strike up a casual conversation while waiting for a latte or for the “walk” sign to cross the street. I know both Sarah and I have so many things we want to share, so I’m going to TRY to limit myself to the top four. This. This is a challenge.

1. Summermoon Coffee Bar

I discovered this little nugget last time I was in Austin. I woke up too early one day, so I drove here to read and have some green tea. On my way out, I picked up lattes for myself and the rest of my friends. Best decision of my life. The lattes are seriously heaven. They use some kind of sweet milk… but they don’t tell you what is in it… not that you want to know how many calories are in there. Regardless. It’ll be worth it. (not to mention the place is adorable)

2. The Parks.

The first on the left was amazing and conveniently located next to a botanical garden. There were people playing frisbee, soccer and dogs running around off leash. It took every ounce of self control I have not to steal one. I survived and am not currently in jail, so the trip was definitely a success. The park on the right was kind of a funny story. We had mentally prepared ourselves for at least an hour or so hike. The walk up the “mountain” was about 10 minutes – Google search let us down. Ha! The view was amazing. We all picked out our future homes fully equipped with their own boats, filled with our hopes and dreams!

3. Record Store.

I have a record player… but it’s currently in storage and has been there for about a year. I never fully committed to living at home, but regardless I purchased three new vinyls. If you’re a professional vinyl collector – don’t hate. I’m no expert. I like to purchase vinyls for bands I know I won’t ever be tired of. Or bands that have unique, powerful sound. Especially older bands who originally published their music on vinyls, it feels like that’s how it was supposed to be listened to. I am DYING for a Louie Armstong vinyl. To get a good one it’s like $40-50, but I know I’ll eventually make this plunge.

Anyways, how could I resist buying vinyl in Austin?

I ended up choosing Sufjan Stevens, Cat Stevens and Bob Dylan. There were about 10 others I NEEDED. But I suppose there are other vinyl stores… I guess.

4. Art.

Do I need to even introduce these? It’s everywhere in Austin. Store fronts, store walls, random alleyways… the personality of Austin is art in and of itself. I love street art more than anything. It’s like the urban version of stopping and smelling the roses.