Sayonara North Austin

July 26, 2012 § Leave a comment

When I left north campus last year to move in by myself in Northwest Hills, I was ecstatic. Woo living by myself! Hooray for no more grungy college student apartments where roaches literally fall on your head!* Dog friendly community! All of these positives that made it feel like I was starting fresh as an adult.

[*One morning when my roommate and I were getting ready for class, she was blow drying her hair (a rare feat for us in college) when a roach, a giant flying roach, flew down from the ceiling and attacked her. Did we call our boyfriends at the time and have a panic attack? NO. We (she) killed it herself].

Fast forward two months and I was longing for my quirky college apartment, not the roaches but everything else, and dreaming about my runs through Hyde Park past the homeless people and the cute little families with hipster kids dressed in tiny skinny jeans.

“But Northwest Hills is so quaint with the deer and the nice houses and the old people!,” friends would say. Quaint is lovely for families, but my 23-year-old soul (yes, that’s right, I’m a whole 23-years-old now) craved personality and a quick commute.

Despite the sheer torture of moving, I picked up my belongings and my puppy and headed down south to live with one of my best friends and her dog. Stella and her pup are as in love as two dogs can be and they are flipping out now that they have a backyard to frolic in.

Our sweet doggies:

To pay homage to my year living on the other side of the great divide – Mopac – I would like to share a little story about the weirdest neighbor I’ve ever had the pleasure pain of meeting.

You know what kills a date worse than a misbehaving puppy (Stella, I’m talking about you) or an ex-boyfriend showing up? An old man who bangs, BANGS, on the ceiling non-stop. I never figured out what it was, but the old man below me would constantly make my floor shake with his banging madness. It sounded like someone was taking a giant metal pole and shoving it up and down.

Because he would bang long into the evening, I spent several nights lying awake at 1 a.m. imagining theories about what he was doing. I should preface this by telling you that he only had one leg, which was creepy and weird, but also sad. This caused me to believe that maybe he was exercising and using some sort of machine for physical therapy. Maybe? Or, perhaps he was a murderer and he was chopping up bodies. Despite my cheery personality, the man would never reciprocate my, “Hello!! How are you today?” My only consolation was that I could certainly out run the old dude if necessary.

Two of my girlfriends from Nebraska stayed with me during SXSW and the first night, they ran screaming from my bedroom because the pounding was so intense and weird. Trying to pretend like he didn’t freak me out every single night I said, “Oh don’t worry, that’s just my one-legged mass murderer neighbor.” “He’s harmless.”

The apartment complex itself was just fine. It was an upgrade from my college place and I never came across a single bug. And even though I spent most nights schlepping it down south to meet up with friends, I fell absolutely in love with a couple of restaurants and bars up north.

Aside from its twinkly lights and great beer selection, Pour House Pub on Burnet is special to me because it’s one of the first places where I bonded with some of my best friends. We’re kind of obsessed with each other now (in fact, most of us just moved within a 5-mile radius of each other), but a year ago my core group of friends barely knew each other. We simultaneously went through the “Oh crap, all of my friends just moved to other cities” phase and that plus common interests led to what we are today. There’s also cheap beer and a bunch of options on tap.

My other favorite hideaway joint is a tiny dive bar called Lala’s on Justin Lane. They bottled up magic Christmas juice and created a happy little hole decked out in lights, tacky decorations and trees. It reeks of cigarette smoke and you’ll leave in need of a long shower, but the Christmas tunes and cheap Shiner make the stench worth it.

Finally, Austin Terrier is a local sandwich/pizza shop on Greystone with the nicest owner you will ever meet. The food is good and made from really fresh, sometimes local ingredients, but the owner gets to know you and makes you feel like you’re a friend. They have reasonably priced wine and beer and it’s decorated all over with terrier décor. Oh and heyyy they now have half price wine bottle nights on Mondays. Drink up ladies and gents.

Am I going to miss north Austin? Probably not a bit. But I will miss these few hidden gems.

Stella and I are loving the south side of town with our new roommates.

Here’s the roomie and myself at Icenhauer’s after we decided to sign the lease on our new house. Order the Caroline! It’s the best drink on the menu for celebrations.

Happy moving weekend for all of my friends moving in to new places over the next few days. It’s all worth it!

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Bridesmaid Love

July 6, 2012 § 2 Comments

Glorious, glorious summer is here and in addition to long days on the lake, bare feet and bikinis – weddings are upon us.

My pretty friends are hanging on my fridge, smiling along with their save-the-dates and I’m pumped to finally be old enough to know people getting hitched. (I’ve heard this changes when you’re 28 and single, but for now it’s loads of fun).

Most of my friends with weddings this year happen to be of the male variety, but my sweet girlfriend and co-worker is marrying the boy she’s been dating since high school in September. Their love story is about as Austiny as it gets, all full of beards and homebrew, and gives me hope every time I hear it. A week or so after her fiancé proposed, she sheepishly walked into my office and giggled while asking me if I’d be one of her bridesmaids. I think her exact words were, “I feel like I’m asking you on a date, this is weird.”

Just a few months before, we were on the east side for a beard event and at some point in the long, silly evening, pulled each other aside and had a “you’re one of my favorite people and SOMEDAY you’re going to be in my wedding” moment. I can’t say for certain when my friend decided that she liked me enough for this, but for me it happened when we embarked on our first big work trip.

We were in San Diego and I had just broken up with my boyfriend at the time (hours before we got there) and was incredibly thankful to have an all-consuming, challenging week ahead of me. After working a 14-hour day, we got back to the hotel room, forced ourselves to shower and crawled into bed for an intense night of Shark Week (woo hotel cable!). Despite her really weird, but kind of adorable obsession with sharks, my friend threw off her comfy duvet and said something like, “Put on your heels and one of the million dresses you brought. I know you want to go out.”

She was right and minutes later, I was sitting at the rooftop bar eating from my napkinful of maraschino cherries (yes, sometimes I’m that girl) and flirting heavily with boys I would never actually want to date. No one is proud of succumbing to this flirtation, but when your heart is broken it helps to have a boy lavish you in cheesy compliments. When he proposed that we, “try a kissing game he just made up,” I handed him my sticky napkin and went to retrieve my friend who was animatedly spouting off shark facts to the guy he came with.

Despite her serious boyfriend, hatred of pretentious bars and love of Shark Week, she gave up her evening to cheer me up. There are so many other reasons why I love her, but this one moment was true friendship and I knew that she was special.

While I don’t think you always have a definitive moment when you know one of your girlfriends is just about as great as can be, I think it’s similar to when you realize you’re in love with a boy. Sometimes alcohol is involved, sometimes it’s not, but there comes a time when you are overcome with how much that person means to you.

Do I have a husband in mind? Absolutely not. And just for the record, I also do not have a wedding Pinterest board. They gross me out. But I DO have a group of girls that I can’t wait to share the experience with.

With other friends, the “bridesmaid” moment  occurred when we were both feeling exceptionally close. My college roommate and I professed our bridesmaid plans during a Grey’s Anatomy hibernation marathon. Another friend and I were dancing about on the sidelines at our kickball game when we spilled our thoughts on bridesmaid love.

As hard as I always try, I obviously can’t predict the future and don’t know if these particular women will still be my bridesmaids whenever I do meet the right guy. However, I do know that at this moment in time they are incredible friends who make my Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday, etc. nights way more fun.

P.S. Special thank you to my engaged friend for letting us pick out our own bridesmaid dresses. The icing on the cake as to why she’s the best bride ever.

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