Last weekend, Grace and I went to Texas for the first time! We were there for a wedding, which was held about 30 minutes outside of Austin. We got to see a little bit of Austin itself, too, which is a city I'd always wanted to visit. We weren't there for very long, so we'll definitely need to go back--but we got to see some highlights, plus spend time with my whole family (that's my little brother in the pic above!).
As we were getting on the plane in LA, it struck me how weird it felt to be getting on a plane with Grace! We travel together so much, but we so rarely fly (hence the title of this blog). In fact, the last time we took a plane ride together was coming back from a trip to Belgium, where Grace is from, in spring 2016. So it had been a minute.
Side note: Grace is SO funny on an airplane and going through security. Those who know her, know that Grace has truly never met a stranger. She will talk up anyone and everyone she meets. That includes the TSA officers doing a full pat down (yes, she had to get extra screening--of course). And she loves to put on her headphones and dance in public on purpose to embarrass me. I make fun of her, but traveling with her is the best.
As we were going through the unfamiliar experience of flying together, I started thinking about the pros and cons of taking trips without the dogs. It's much more of a hassle (because we have to figure out what to do with them when we're gone), but there's something to be said for it in a different kind of way. So I'm going to recap our trip and then reflect below on how I felt about the experience!
The photo above is from my office the day before leaving for our trip. The weather was pretty gross in LA, so I was excited for a change of scenery! Little did I know that it was actually FREEZING (as in, 32 degrees, not an exaggeration) in Austin when we got there. No one was prepared! I guess we could have checked the weather forecast, but we just did not expect Texas to be so cold. Grace and I got in late Friday night, and the rest of my family was already there (but mostly asleep by the time we got to our hotel). We stayed at the downtown Courtyard Marriott, which was the hotel recommended by the bride & groom and it was nice! My one complaint was that our room had no floor length mirror, which was a problem for getting dressed up and ready for a wedding. But beyond that we were comfy there :)
On Saturday we woke up and got kind of a late start because of the time change (Austin is 2 hours ahead of LA, so 10am felt like 8am to us). My parents were already up, and my mom texted me around mid morning, saying, "Is Sudie in Austin? I think I just saw her walk across the hotel lobby!" Sudie was one of my college roommates and best friends, and she's going to be in Grace's and my wedding later this year! So it was so fun to run into her. I actually knew she was going to be in Austin the same weekend as me, but we both had a lot going on and hadn't figured out a way to meet up yet. So it was perfect that my mom literally ran into her. I texted Sudie and we ended up meeting up and spending the morning together with my family! It was such a fun surprise.
Before we had to start getting ready for the wedding, we walked all around SoCo, which is an area of Austin that my parents had heard was cool. It really was! We loved strolling, window shopping, and eating. Some of our favorite stores were Lucy in Disguise with Diamonds (an AMAZING thrift/costume shop) and Allen's Boots (where the picture below is from).
After strolling, we stopped in at Torchy's Tacos to eat. We'd heard it was one of the best places to get Tex Mex tacos in Austin, and it was SO unbelievably good!! I'm still dreaming about their fried avocado tacos. Omg.
Because the venue was about 30 minutes away from Downtown Austin, we had to head back to the hotel after lunch to get ready and hop on the shuttle! I wish I'd taken more pictures of the venue, because it was BEAUTIFUL. Now that Grace and I are engaged, I tend to notice things at weddings with a much closer eye, and this venue is totally somewhere I would want to get married if it existed in LA. It's called the Addison Grove, and it's a barn and surrounding grounds with the prettiest grove of trees for the ceremony. There were also a bunch of longhorns right to the side of where the cocktail hour was held, including a baby that was SO cute!
The wedding had a ton of really sweet touches. For one, when we arrived at the venue, servers passed out mugs of the most delicious hot chocolate! I thought that was the cutest touch for a wedding a cold day. We are planning on doing something similar at our wedding, except with refreshing lemonades and agua frescas because it will be summer.
The reception in the barn was magical. The band was really good and did a great job covering a ton of different genres. We are also getting a band for our wedding; I think they bring a really fun element to the reception. The couple actually had the same first dance song as we're going to have! I'll keep it a surprise for now, but it was cool hearing how a band would cover it, and we thought it was such a fun coincidence that they had the same first dance song as us (since it's an old song and I haven't heard anyone have it for their first dance song before).
I don't have any more pictures from the weekend (I was putting a lot of things on my Instagram story and forgot to save them!), but after the wedding we went out to a place called Container Bar in Austin. The bride & groom wanted to keep the party going so we all headed there! It was a bar made entirely out of shipping containers. It was pretty cool and the street it was on, called Rainey street, was VERY hopping on a Saturday night.
The next morning we met up with one of Grace's friends who lives in Austin, and we went to breakfast at Texas French Bread. I had the breakfast tostadas, and it might have been my favorite thing I ate all weekend! After that it was pretty much time to head to the airport and get back to our pups waiting in LA.
Speaking of which, now to my thoughts on traveling without them--overall I think it's good and important to sometimes travel without our dogs. What I'm about to say might be an unpopular opinion, and I hope it doesn't sound cruel; that's not my intention at all. But as I get ready to marry Grace, we have to take a step back and get perspective every now and then. I LOVE our dogs. But if everything goes as it should, our marriage will far outlive them. So, I think it's important sometimes to connect just us. This trip also helped me see how important that will be for our honeymoon. I had been toying with the idea of planning a honeymoon we could bring the dogs on, but after traveling by ourselves for a weekend, I really think it's important that we take our honeymoon without them, to just focus on each other.
All of that being said, road trips with the whole family will always by my favorite. And, when we leave, it's SUPER important to us that we can leave our dogs in peace and not worry. We had our good friend Sara stay with Willie at our house, and he had a blast. We boarded Bean to make things easy since he's still a puppy. And they both seemed to have a great weekend! Don't worry, this isn't about to be a blog about how Grace and I go on all these trips and just leave the dogs. We will still mostly travel with them. But it's nice to know that we can go away for a weekend and they will be okay--and we'll be better for it.
On a different note--I know I had a bit of a hiatus from blogging over the past two weeks or so, and I hate that. I have a TON of ideas and hope to keep the posts coming more consistently. Thanks so much for reading!