Renegade Craft Fair

Oh how I do love perusing the colorful and quaint handmade paraphernalia available at Etsy, but I often wish there was an actual storefront for the online craft-lovers paradise. Enter the Austin Renegade Craft Fair. I have my friend Eric to thank for introducing me to all the delightfulness found at Austin’s handmade marketplace. We hit up the Palmer Events Center on Sunday to indulge in all the free browsing of custom-made screen prints, jewelry, knick knacks, art and clothing our hearts could desire.

After being thoroughly disappointed by the lack luster and commercialized selection of booths and vendors at Austin’s Pecan Street Festival a few weeks ago, I was a little skeptical of what this smaller scale fair could deliver. My trip downtown this go-round paid off, as the Renegade Craft Fair was pretty much all I could have hoped for. The art ranged from cutesy to kooky and included a great selection of both local and national artists just hoping to have their work seen. The prices may have been a little steep, but nevertheless it was a great opportunity to pick up one-of-a-kind pieces and indulge in some serious eye candy.

I really loved the food-themed scarves that had been hand knitted by one of the vendors. The eggs and bacon scarf may have been my favorite.

I definitely recommend the Renegade Craft Fair for anyone who has an appreciation for handmade crafts and generally pretty things. I’ve hit up the Palmer Events Center for similar vendor-driven events, which includes everything from city wide garage sales to bridal exhibitions, and the Renegade Craft Fair beat them all by miles.  Do check it out.

Try it, you’ll like it.

Love the sights, sounds and people watching that go with SXSW but can’t bare the hour-long lines, over priced beer and crowds that could fill a pre-strike football stadium?  Head down Congress Avenue (about a mile from downtown) for a scene that is big on local charm and local music but scrimps on those other not-so-desirable parts of Austin’s biggest tourist attraction.

When my friend Jordan came into town for the last bit of Southby fun, fellow Austin local Leah and I took her SoCo way for some street-side shopping and free music shows. Not a shabby substitute.

Luna de Miel

It appears I broke the cardinal rule of blogging: not updating enough. Perhaps, though, I can be forgiven? In the hustle and bustle of bachelorette parties, auto break ins, rehearsal dinners, weddings and honeymoons, I fell behind on performing my internet duties. But never fear! I have returned and am ready to elaborate on the last of those aforementioned events, the honeymoon (or as they say in Mexico, luna de miel).

We ventured to the beautiful Puerto Vallarta for our week of post wedding relaxation. This was Heath’s first time out of the country, and my first opportunity to see interior Mexico, or rather, a Mexico other than what is on the other side of the Texas border. It. Was. Amazing.

We stayed at the all inclusive Grand Velas, an upscale, beach front resort with the friendliest (and maybe the most beautiful) staff ever who let us torture their ears with our terrible Spanish. In addition to butchering the Spanish language we also had the opportunity to do some eating.

There was no shortage of amazing dining options at the hotel. And since eating is one of Heath’s favorite hobbies, we were happy to indulge in all of them. We ordered amazing room service meals to our private terrace, dined in three upscale restaurants at the hotel: Lucca (specializing in Italian), Frida (Interior Mexican) and Piaf (French), ordered seafood delivered to us beach side on trays, and gorged ourselves from the expansive seaside buffet, Azul. Food ended up being one of the most exciting parts of the trip.

[Often, the restaurants would surprise us with honeymoon desserts. It was a delightful treat.]

In addition to eating we also enjoyed partaking in beach activities including boogie boarding (waves sometimes up to 10-15 feet), kayaking, beach volleyball, beach soccer and long beach walks. Beach, beach, beach! This was also our first beach trip together, (SHOCKING!) so we thoroughly enjoyed all aspects of beach life from the pink sunsets to the sand in your underpants.

While the hotel was amazing and had almost anything you could dream of needing during a seaside adventure, I couldn’t help but want to venture into the city. We ended up choosing the worst day to go because it was the same day a cruise ship docked in town. This not only means bigger crowds, but local merchants also drive up their prices because they know it’s the only chance the tourists will have to shop. Luckily my terrible Spanish wasn’t as terrible as I thought. I was able to barter and get a semi good deal on an awesome purse and earrings. Heath churned out the word “pelicano” to purchase, or “comprar,” a hand-carved pelican sculpture. We named him Angel-Miguel after our favorite staff members at the hotel who kept calling us Ken and Barbie.

Of course, after the city visit we were happy to spend the rest of the trip appreciating the beauty of the resort, getting massages and mingling with the other families taking in the beauty of Mexico. Viva la Luna de miel!