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Last weekend Ian and I went on a much needed vacay for the first time since before we were parents. It wasn't either of our first time leaving Sailor individually, but I'd only been gone overnight for funerals and him for work, so needless to say this was necessary. We took an extended weekend trip to one of my favorite cities, Austin, TX with a group of close friends. We'd all done this trip together a few years ago before anyone had kids, which now feels like ages ago. It was fun to come back again just a few years older, but not any more mature (at least when we're all together). Austin is so full of unique gems, and the city has a creative energy like no other. I thought it would be fun to share a few highlights from our weekend compiled from Instagram, Snapchat, and my phone, as well as some of my favorite spots that you have to hit up if you go there!

Processed with VSCO with a5 presetSunday afternoon drinks and football at Lustre Pearl.

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One of the main reasons for the visit was that one of the guys from this group (who lives there) just opened up a brewery called St. Elmo Brewing Co.  Ian and his friends are really into craft beer and have all been home brewing together for years, so this is such a cool moment for them and so awesome to get to see it finally come to fruition. Tim and his business partner Bryan did such an amazing job with the space and their beers are top notch. My favorites were the Dampf and Angus if you get a chance to go check em out, but I always get a flight at breweries so I can sample as many as possible!

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I can't possibly forget to mention their resident food truck Soursop, Southeast Asian with a French twist, serving the BEST STREET FOOD I'VE EVER HAD, and that's saying a lot for an Angeleno. Get the Pho-tine and Panang Eggplant. And everything else on the menu while you're at it.

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Their outdoor space was so dreamy with a casual hometown vibe. Between that, the beer, and the food, this is the type of place you could spend hours just passing time, and we did - two days/nights in a row.

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Sunday morning we went to check out HOPE outdoor gallery or "Graffiti Park" which is a nonprofit paint park featuring street art by local artists. You're supposed to register in order to paint, but everywhere we looked there were people with spray cans, so I guess they're not super hardcore about the rules. Lots of artists of all ages were there painting every last inch of wall, down to the dumpsters and bushes. It was cool to see so much freestyle art in one place.

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After the graffiti park, we needed an afternoon pick-me-up so we headed to Fleet Coffee where I had the most INSANE latte made with Fruity Pebble cereal milk + a Fruity Pebble crispy treat on the side. Worth flying back to Austin just for that. Caffe Medici was another great place to grab coffee, and Jo's is a can't miss spot as well but you already knew that.

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Curra's Grill, home of the avocado margarita. We always have to stop there for at least one of those and we kept trying to figure out how we could convince them to let us order another for the road!

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For our last dinner we went to The Beer Plant, an excellent vegan gastropub. At that point I was onto old fashioneds since I was a little beered out but the vegan fare did not disappoint! The other two nights we spent at St. Elmo, so we didn't do a lot of dining at different restaurants for dinner on this trip. But if you're referring to this post as an Austin guide of any kind, it's worth mentioning that on our previous trip we went to Justine's Brasserie, a truly magical French restaurant/bar filled with indoor and outdoor nooks that require many an Instagram. Even their website is a trip. Here's a pic from that trip, taken in a little indoor gazebo type room in the back of the yard, past the trees filled with disco balls...

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Sadly we didn't get to do any shopping on this trip (#travelingwithboys) but if you are headed to Austin, here are a few of my absolute favorite spots to hit up for retail therapy and unique finds:

Allen's Boots / Aisles upon aisles of authentic cowboy boots and hats. I got a great pair of Lucchese's there two trips ago.

Stag / One of my favorites mens stores ever (and psst there's one in Venice now too!) for the handsome hipster lumberjack in your life.

Feathers Boutique Vintage / Such a great curated selection of vintage clothing and jewelry - the kind of vintage you can wear everyday.

Sunroom / I love this boutique for clothing and accessories, and I can't wait to go back and check out their new location in the South Congress Hotel!

Uncommon Objects / Awesome, bizarre antiques and trinkets. You could spend hours browsing in here!

By George / A fancy shmancy boutiques with a killer selection of high end designer goods, but nothing obnoxious. Think Warm, Golden Goose, and Jenni Kayne. If personal gift registries were a thing (a la Carrie Bradshaw), I know where I'd be registering!

Overall it was another trip for the books, and I honestly dream of having a second home in Austin more than any other place (other than my home states of Minnesota and New York of course). What are your favorite spots there? Tell me so I can add them to my list for next time!