TEXAS

March 24, 2016 |

Austin, TX

NewDarlings-Austin, TXNewDarlings-Austin, TXNewDarlings-Austin-18NewDarlings-Austin-17It’s been a busy few weeks here…it seems like we’re always saying that, but maybe that’s a good thing.  If we were to slow down, we wouldn’t know what to do with ourselves. We see this a lot with our parents, who are always on the go.  They’re at that age where they could have retired a few years ago, but something in them just wants to stay busy, wants to work, and keep their days full.  We never fully understood it until this last year. We would always tell them they should take a break and relax, but we see now that there has always been a drive and energy in them to explore new things, push themselves to new limits, and see what they can handle. The excitement and spirit that comes along with always being on the go has definitely been passed on to us.  Earlier this month we found ourselves in Austin, TX, experiencing the city for the first time, during SXSW with the Sperry crew.  We had been wanting to visit for quite some time now and to see the city alive during this festival was truly something else.  We visited Dallas briefly on our road trip back in September, but Austin was a whole different kind of animal. Everywhere we turned there were food trucks, people in the streets, and music coming from every building we passed. The city was alive and we loved it.

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We were in town for five days and shared the most incredible house with some friends. If we were ever to use the term, “we had a ball”, this trip would be the time to use it. Each day we all wandered the city on the hunt for the best restaurants and coffee shops, hit up some great vintage boutiques, and found ourselves dancing late into the night at some SXSW performances. They were the kind of nights where you just had to let yourself go, dance like a fool, eat a lot of junk food, and not care about how silly it all was. We ended most evenings grabbing some food to-go at a local food truck and brought it back to the house, where we all chatted in the living room till all hours of the morning. It felt so reminiscent of when we lived in New York…going to shows in the city, and ending each night by picking up some chicken and rice from The Halal Guys on the street corner.

It’s really amazing when you just “click” with people and can talk and laugh like you’ve known one another for years. We couldn’t have felt more grateful to be with such an amazing group.  We met Denny a few months back on our visit to Grand Rapids, and were so excited to finally meet his wife, bond over married life, and what living back east was like. We met Vincent and Isabel for the first time on this trip and instantly felt like we were old friends. Each night the hours got away from us… sharing meals, stories about high school, our families, and even some strange Disney movie theories. To say we miss them all would be an understatement, and we’re already looking forward to planning another trip together real soon.

One of our favorite things to do when we visit any new city is to live like the locals do. We got so many great recommendations and discovered some pretty awesome places while we were there.  If you find yourself in Austin, here are some places you should check out…

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Torchy’s Tacos – This place definitely lived up to all the hype! I mean the President even ate there just days before we did, so we knew it had to be good. We embarrassingly ate here twice while in Austin and it was SO good. Our favorites were the baja shrimp and the trailer park.
Josephine House – We stopped here for brunch before catching our flight back home.  It’s a little on the pricey side, but everything was super fresh and tasty.
Dolce Neve – Refreshing treats — try the strawberry sorbet or the oatmeal cookie ice-cream sandwich.
Easy Tiger – Great for beer, sandwiches, pretzels and people watching on the patio.
Homeslice – Such good pizza! Definitely the closest to “NY style” we’ve had since moving.
South Congress Cafe – If you get the huevos rancheros make sure you also get lots of water! (so spicy, so good!)

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SHOPPING
Esby – thoughtfully curated women’s apparel, well made, quality goods made in the USA!
Uncommon Objects – Fun and unique objects perfect for filling any shelf or end table in your home — they also had a great selection vintage postcards.
East Austin Succulents – We fall pretty hard for any succulent or plant nursery, but this place is definitely worth checking out.
Bricolage – Pretty floral arrangements and a beautifully designed space.  The owner was so sweet and welcoming.
Paper + Craft Pantry – This cute little shop was next to Bricolage. We picked up an embroidered piece to add to the gallery wall we’re working on at home.  They had a ton of great prints and stationery.

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SIGHTSEEING
Barton Springs Pool – A beautiful swimming pool created from underground historic springs. It was a great spot for us to relax a bit and people watch.
Mount Bonnell – A few of us headed here after dinner one night to catch the sunset.  The view of the city was gorgeous and although it was a bit crowded with tourists, like ourselves, it felt so serene and calm.

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March 13, 2016 |

Heading to SXSW

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We are so excited to be heading to Austin with Sperry for SXSW, today! We have been wanting to visit for quite some time now and to be able to go during SXSW is even better than we had hoped.  We’ll be there for five days covering the event, checking out all the music, films, and exploring downtown. We’ll be sharing bits and pieces of our days on instagram and snapchat, so be sure to follow along with us over there. 🙂

Traveling more was one of our goals for the new year, and so far we have been checking some pretty fun places off our list.  To be able to visit new cities almost every month, get immersed in the culture and food, meet new people, meet up with some old friends, and experience new things together has been a dream come true.

The one thing we don’t love about traveling is the packing.  We’re sure we’re not alone on that. Our last few trips to NY and on our cruise, we completely over-packed.  It was ridiculous.  The amount of shoes, accessories, and tops we brought along and didn’t wear were a complete waste of space.  Little by little, we’re getting smarter about packing and bringing along versatile pieces for day and night. Again, the philosophy of less is more, rings loud and true. Everywhere you look it seems festival dressing is all about bold prints and lots of accessories, and where that definitely works for some, for us — not so much. Here’s our minimal take on SXSW style, with some comfy and versatile pieces that will fit into your everyday wardrobe, and save you a little space in your suitcase too.

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October 21, 2015 |

Our Road Trip: Part II

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NASHVILLE, TN
We couldn’t have been more excited to finally arrive in Nashville.  The best thing about a road trip is the anticipation.  Yeah, it’s great to hop on a plane and be at your destination in a few hours (instant gratification!), but when you can milk 1600+ miles into four days of driving, bonding, and singing Bob Dylan’s entire discography, it just can’t be beat!  We saw some amazing things along the way, but Nashville had a special charm.  It’s a city with so much history, while also feeling like it still has so much to say.  We would wander around without any agenda, being redirected by the locals.  Unlike the other cities we traveled through, we actually spent some real time in Nashville.  We took our time and fully embraced the cold, damp weather that we are no longer used to since moving to Phoenix in 2013.  While there was physically no way we could have hit every place on our LONG list of recommendations…we gave it our best try! READ MORE

October 20, 2015 |

Our Road Trip: Part I

New Darlings - Road TripNew Darlings - Road TripNew Darlings - Road TripNew Darlings - Road TripWhen we moved in to our first apartment together, we bought this chalkboard map on etsy.  We started to shade in the states that we had visited together and realized it wasn’t very many.  When we moved from New York to Arizona, everyone acted so surprised. “Why would you ever leave NY?!”  Well, yes, it’s one of the greatest cities out there (personally speaking), but growing up in the same place our whole lives, we didn’t really travel often or experience different things outside of our community.  After speaking to many people our age, it seems we’re not alone.  People fall into the same routine and comfort of their surroundings, which there isn’t anything wrong with, but it was definitely part of the reason why we moved to Arizona.  We wanted a change.  We wanted to explore. Since, buying that map we’ve made it our goal to explore different cities together and hopefully over the next few years,  that whole map will be shaded in.

So, after months of talking about it, and endless excuses, we finally packed up and took a road trip heading east toward Nashville. It definitely would be considered a “mini road trip” to some, but for us it was our first time on the road, driving more than just a few hours, and it was the most fun we had in a long time.  We didn’t spend too much time in each state, as our main destination was Nashville, but it was so fun getting to explore some cities that we may not have chosen to fly to for a vacation. We got some awesome recommendations via instagram (thank you!) and filled our days exploring the local spots, singing along to random Spotify mixes, and eating way too many tasty meals along the way.

Here is the route we took and our recommendations for fellow travelers or natives of these great cities:

New Darlings - Road TripALBURQUERQUE, NM
First stop on our trip was Albuquerque, NM.  It was about 6 1/2 hours from Phoenix and by this time, we were hungry! We stopped at The Grove for brunch. We didn’t have much time in ABQ, so it was the perfect spot to quiet our stomach growls and perk up for the rest of our drive.  As huge Breaking Bad fans, we had seen The Grove featured on the show and were pretty giddy to have dined in the same establishment as Walter White.  Listed as the best cafe in New Mexico, The Grove definitely lived up to the hype.
After brunch we did what anybody visiting Albuquerque would do…We visited Walter White’s house!  We had read a little bit about the current owners of the house.  We knew they were very protective of their space, and that was certainly the case.  The owners made their presence known as they sat in their garage watching car after car stop in front of the house, snap some photos, and take off.  We just sat in our parked car for a good while, watching how many people actually came to the house and did exactly what we were doing.  It’s crazy what kind of attention a television show can give a city.  Not sure how the locals feel, but it was fun for us geeky Breaking Bad fanatics.

New Darlings Road TripAMARILLO, TX
We wish we had more time in Amarillo, but unfortunately, it was just a late dinner, breakfast at our Best Western, and then out the door.  By the time we got in to Amarillo, it was pretty late.  We had been driving way too much, and as we imagine most road trips go…it was a lot of driving and a lot of eating.  Being from New York, we definitely have a thing for pizza, so when somebody recommended 575 Pizzeria, that’s exactly where we went!  It was about half hour until close, and we felt a little bad ordering a ton of pizza, but the staff was super friendly, and served us some fresh pies.

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OKLAHOMA CITY, OK
When we asked for recommendations about our road trip to Nashville, we were pleasantly surprised when all the OKC recommendations started pouring in.  We didn’t know too much about this city before visiting, but man oh man, we had a good time.  We were able to spend almost a full day there, and honestly the only reason we didn’t get to do more was because we kept meeting the friendliest people who had so much to share.  The staff at Plenty Mercantile were incredibly sweet and helpful.  We walked around this beautiful store with heart eyes, and then they let us take a peek at their rooftop garden where they host events, workshops, and weddings.  It really is an awesome space and we HIGHLY recommend checking this place out!

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For coffee, pizza, and some incredible waffles, we also checked out:
Elemental Coffee: Cappuccino, quiche, and fruit was the perfect send off!
Empire Slice House: one of the largest pies we’ve ever had the pleasure of sharing!  Also, tons of magazine clippings all over their walls make for some fun conversation.
Waffle Champion: Soooo good! Handcrafted waffle sandwiches.  We can go on and on about the deliciousness of this place.  Truly such a fun experience!

New Darlings - Road Trip New Darlings - Road Trip LITTLE ROCK, AR
While in Little Rock, we met up with two friends we met through instagram, Tessa and Joe (The French Adventures). We had been chatting quite a bit via instagram for a while now and were really looking forward to finally meeting while we were in town.  To no surprise, they were two of the sweetest people, showing us all over their city and in only two short days, it felt like we had known each other for years.  They insisted on driving us all over town late at night,  showing us all their favorite spots and being the perfect tour guides. On our last day in Little Rock, we grabbed breakfast with them at Mugs Cafe, before they headed off to work.  It was such a pretty space and super tasty too. Photographed (above) were the biscuits and gravy, french toast, breakfast burrito, and breakfast tacos.  We definitely recommend this place, if you’re ever in Little Rock!

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Some other places we loved were:
Beige: Cute clothing boutique with some fun neutral pieces and beautiful artwork.
Fringe: Lots of boho favorites at this cute, chic woman’s clothing shop.
Mylo Coffee: Really beautiful coffee shop.  Great for espresso and tea dates ?
The Pantry Crest: A round of burgers with Tessa & Joe was a perfect double-date night!

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Huge thanks to the amazing team at Best Western for their hospitality and giving us a place to rest our heads each night.  It’s easy to feel a little out of sorts when being on the road and in a new city every day, but having the consistency of a friendly hotel was so comforting. Plus, the cute Southwestern decor in Oklahoma City made us feel right at home.

New Darlings - Road Trip New Darlings - Road TripIMG_5967Stay tuned for the second leg of our road trip, featuring: Nashville, TN & Dallas, TX!

Our road trip looks:

 

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