Saturday, November 5, 2022

Austin, Texas

Austin has been so hyped up as of late and so my boyfriend and I were excited to spend a weekend there! As you'll gather from this post we basically ate & drank our way through Austin! Of course, we went to the historic Rainey Street and bar hopped a lot which was so fun and convenient. One night there was this amazing magician on the street that we made friends with and we were there to watch the World Series. Our favorite bars were Clive, Idle Hands, and Parlor Room! It reminded me of the Greek row in college. 
Scott found the cutest speakeasy that was on 6th Street - you enter through what looks like a sketchy door by pressing one of those call buttons. The drinks were delicious and it was such a cool vibe! 
We went to Jo's Coffee to see this I love you so much wall and grab breakfast, but the line was SO long so we ended up walking around in the area instead. It was super cute and very trendy!
We stumbled upon this ping pong bar and went in for a few games & drinks. We have a low-key rivalry over ping pong (even though I haven't won a game yet), so it was really fun to play in the middle of a bar! It is full of tables so I can only imagine how fun it must be when every table is playing.
Since UT Austin was so close, we walked around the campus and I actually got mistaken for a student lol. It honestly reminded me a lot of the USC campus! 
On top of the Marriott is this rooftop restaurant that seems to be pretty hard to get into! It reminded me of Elephante in LA except unlike Elephante the hosts were kind of rude to us... Don't know if that's typical for this place but thought it was overrated and probably would recommend sticking to bars on 6th Street or Rainey Street instead.
Blind Pig Pub
We frequented this bar a lot over the course of the weekend and it was mostly for the arcade games! It was such a fun, rooftop bar that had amazing live music and just overall good vibes! I actually had a lot of whiskey gingerales here which was a first for me. I can't help but smile when I think about this place though - has such a good time! 

Cooper's Old Time Pit Bar-B-Que 
We really committed to eating BBQ the whole time we were in Austin and our first stop was Cooper's! I loved how casual it was and the people were extra friendly! 
Terry Black's Barbeque 
I'd say Terry Black's is the most well-known BBQ and we fortunately beat the line! It is know for always having a huge line and so we went for breakfast lol and got there right when it opened which was perfect! When we left there was a HUGE line so going at an awkward time was the call.
Ranch 616
I came across this place on IG and thought it looked super cute! I also was dying to try their 'Fire in the Hole shot' which is basically tequila with a jalapeno in it. I was disappointed by the food options because I thought there would be tacos or something basic but it was a pretty fancy menu. We had the calamari which was delicious! 
6th Street
Voodoo Donuts 
For breakfast one morning we went to the infamous Voodoo donuts which was bomb! It is on 6th Street which was super walkable from our hotel. They also had very good coffee!
Two Hands
After not wanting to wait at Jo's Coffee we walked over to this super modern shopping center where we got breakfast! This was delicious and I loved how quick & easy this place was.

Courtyard Marriott Austin Downtown/Convention Center
I didn't take any pictures of our room, but my mom called ahead to have these treats in the room (thanks mom)! The room was pretty modern and we just wanted to be centrally located, which made this hotel perfect for us! A plus was that there was a Starbucks in the lobby. Really recommend this hotel!

Saturday, September 3, 2022

Waikoloa, Hawaii

One of my best friends moved to Hawaii and so it was the perfect excuse to take a vacation & visit her! She works at the nicest resorts on the island (The Auberge Mauna Lani) and unfortunately a bit out of our budget, but we saw still went there for a sunset drink & it was stunning!!
The Big Island is huge and we wanted to take advantage of seeing everything, so we rented a car. We mostly wanted to venture to the other side of the island to see these waterfalls and it was so worth it! We visited Akaka Falls & Rainbow Falls - they are only 30 minutes away from each other, but if you can only choose one I would say Akaka Falls was my favorite!
One of my favorite parts of our vacation was going on a catamaran that also had snorkeling and lunch provided. Normally these boats have 45+ people, but we got super lucky and there were only 6 people total!! We booked ours through Hawaii Nautical. The crew was so nice - they made us Mai Tais, served us lunch, and took us on a snorkel tour where we saw TWO turtles! I am still mad I didn't bring an underwater camera...but we for sure got our money's worth!
Another place we snorkeled and just hung out for the day was Waialea Beach aka "Beach 69." As you can see the water is crystal clear and there are a ton of cool fish that we saw while snorkeling! We brought lunch from Island Gourmet (it's like a Hawaiian Gelsons, but better) and had the best beach day! I'd LOVE to go back here!

Willie's Hot Chicken
Kona Brewing Company
Kona is a bit of a drive from where we stayed, but I am happy we went to both Willie's and Kona Brewing Company for dinner! They were both so delicious and had such good vibes! At Willie's, there was live music and the picnic benches under string lights were just the best - felt like a summer BBQ! And yes, the fried chicken was just as delicious as it looks! At Kona Brewing we had a beer while waiting for our table and the Hawaiian Pizza & Poke really hit the spot. Highly recommend both of these for a casual dinner or lunch!
Kula Shaved Ice
As I mentioned, the waterfalls were on the other side of the island, and with that meant we could go to this highly recommended shaved ice place! It was soo good and a great pitstop between Akaka Falls & Rainbow Falls! 
Our hotel also had some delicious food which was nice to have by the pool & lagoon! Here are just two of the many things I enjoyed during our stay. The shaved ice was actually from Original Big Island Shave Ice Co, Inc. which was in the same village as our hotel - highly recommend it!
Copper Bar
My favorite dinner on this trip was at Copper Bar which is located in the Mauna Kea Beach Resort. Normally I don't love to eat at hotel restaurants because the prices are normally $$$$ and the food is subpar, but this was the total exception! The view and live music made the drinks and meal 10x better! Having the whole group together at this dinner just made it even more special too! 

The View From Our Balcony
We stayed at the Hilton Waikoloa Village! While the rooms were a bit outdated, they didn't break the bank and the amenities that the resort had to offer were just what we needed for our vacation! And while the resort was huge, I loved that there was a coffee/snack store right by our room and so we didn't have to make a trek to coffee in the morning.
The resort has a walking path and a tram to each building. Of course, we stayed in the furthest building but given that we love to get our steps in and the tram is generally slower than walking we enjoyed walking to & from the lobby! 
There are plenty of pools on the property, but we spent most of our days at the lagoon where we saw turtles and snorkeled! All in all, a beautiful place to stay, but would love to stay at The Auberge Mauna Lani or Mauna Kea Beach Resort if we come back to the Big Island! 

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