snowday in austin

austin got a snowday.

friday morning:

i awoke to floods of texts and emails and postings about how earth was coming to an end,
and austin, tx was frozen over.
i was so happy i didn't have to get out of bed.
after a few extra z's, i got out of my warm blanket cave and crept to the window.
i peered out the curtains and gazed upon the icy tundra that lay before me.
 that's right folks. we're lucky to be alive.

school- cancelled.
city offices- shut down.
my gym- closed.

looks like there's nothing left to do but curl up with blankets and cocoa.
and, of course build a snowman.
actual frozen pieces of water were slightly scarce,
but thanks to my car windshield, i was able to scrape this guy together:
 toby didn't see what all the fuss was about.
he was ready to get back to that blanket i mentioned earlier.
 oh and just in case you're wondering,
here's a farther back photo of mr. snowman
(for scale).
when it's really cold outside, there's one thing that always warms me up.
 i decided to make a whole bunch of tiny ones.
they last longer that way.
 toby got an ultra special treat also.
it kept him occupied for about 6 hours.
and over the course of the day my pancake pile turned into this:
and as my pancakes vanished and the sun came out of hiding,
poor little snowman could only wait; clinging to the last moments of his short and fleeting life.

saturday morning:

cold weather- gone.
ice- melted.
temperature- warm.
cocktails- tropical.

and now jump forward to today (tuesday):

snowday part two...

apparently in austin our seasons last about 24 hours and go through the full cycle
at least a dozen times before spring.

meanwhile in chicago, my little sis is reporting lots of negative numbers
and plenty of actual visible snow (enough for a whole family of snowmen).
so, it could be worse.

stay warm, friends!


starting the year off with bad decisions

h a p p y   n e w   y e a r ! ! !

these are the reasons i love new years eve:
- champagne
- black dresses (or skirts, or sparkle pants)
- dance party
- champagne
- black and white photos
- kisses

but there's always so much pressure to do something big on new years eve.
this year, we kept it a bit more low key, but it was every bit as fun!

the evening began with me doing heather and nataliya's eyeshadow.
i love doing eyeshadow. it's just like painting.
 then everyone gathered at our house for some pre dinner sips!
 i got to meet this lovely lady for the first time:
 and we got some mini champagnes.
 did i mention they come in cans and have a straw?
just like a juice box!
 then we walked a few blocks to perlas.
 we all got martinis
 and oysters!
 after a long and delicious dinner we all realized that it was 11:47.
we got the check and RAN home (uncomfortable shoes and all)
and dashed in the door just in time to pop a couple bottles, fill up some flutes,
and countdown to 2014!
happy new year!
 then we got silly.

we took shots of fireball,
group sang a really sloppy rendition of strawberry wine,
and haley and i got into a wrestling match on my concrete floor.
(this is a bad decision we've made before and i have a cracked knee cap to prove it)
there was also a disposable camera in the mix.

 i broke a beer bottle,
 jon went ahead and got a jumpstart on the next morning's headache,
 and we ate those macaroons i mentioned earlier.
 and other things.
 dance parties? yes.

the next morning we all woke up and met at hillside farmacy on east 11th.
this place is the jam.
 and they have the best bloody mary...
we drank a few and ate until we were stuffed.
what a good way to start a new year! 
i fully planned to getting to my resolutions after my hangover was gone...
i ate this:
fried egg blt on gluten free bread. are you serious!?

i have since been resolutioning pretty hard.
lots of workouts and lots of spinach smoothies.
2013, you were a good year,
but, frankly, i'm glad to be back on an even number.



post christmas | oysters, animals, and a road trip!

over the years, us gills have developed a very unintentional day after christmas tradition.
that is- we go to s & d oyster company
and stuff our bodies to max capacity with oysters, hush puppies, and a variety of fried things.
this is a tradition i not only love, but look forward to for weeks ahead.
here we are on our 2013 journey to s & d!
andrew and i split plate of raw oysters to start.
 then andrew got a burger and i got the fried shrimp/oyster plate.
of course it comes with fries and the best cole slaw you've ever had.
i just love this place. 
 the day after christmas also brought us sweet little nataliya!
nat is heather's roomie from chicago.
they got potlucked together when they were freshmen at SAIC
and it was a match made in heaven.
dallas probably isn't the most exciting place ever to visit,
but we tried to make it a fun time.

we visited the new klyde warren park
and sipped some vino at a little green table.
 christmas decor was up, which was nice.
the whole reason we went to this park was because we were told there was ice skating.
just for future reference, dallas people:
there is NO ice skating.
there is a big piece of plastic with walls around it.
kids put "skates" with plastic blades and scoot around
and attempt to have fun.
this was a pretty big disappointment.
but we didn't let it keep us down!
we got tickets to the perot museum!
my only regret is that i'm not still a child.
the perot museum is incredibly fun.
 their current exhibit is....
(wait for it)
 it's one of the coolest things i've ever seen.
 i saw that exhibit a few years ago that is this but with humans.
i, however, like animals a lot more than humans.
also, all animals are built differently so the exhibit is just gets cooler by the second.
 the giraffe was truly amazing.
 and there was one human.
 and this is a human brain:
we loved it.
 after adventuring on the other 4 floors, we were totally science and nature-d out,
and we headed home under a beautiful winter sunset.
 what a fun day!
 a few days later, my mom and i decided it was about time to go meet baby shea!
she is just the sweetest/tiniest thing you've ever imagined.
 we also gave the big kids aunt linda's christmas presents.
they were pretty fun, but the kids were way better at it than me.
 and much much more creative...
 ben created a truck/car/spaceship/boat.
pretty sweet, ben.
 and here's some more photos of the sweet little baby!
 kristen shea and olive shea.
love it.
 big sister avery:
 big sister sawyer:
it was magical.
loved every second of it.

but all our dallas fun was coming to an end.
it was time to head back to atx!
nataliya has never been to austin, so i was super pumped to show her around my hood.
we obviously had to take this dorky photo.
 it's a bummer that we didn't have more time.
there are so many fun things to do in austin,
but we only had about 48 hours to squeeze it all in-
plus i kind of drug the girls around on a couple boring errands i had to squeeze in.
sorry girls- PLEASE COME BACK!

we had lunch at elizabeth street cafe
which is easily one of my favorite spots in town.
 we got a carafe of punch
(the "shady blonde" punch - grapefruit, thyme, white wine, etc.)
and some macaroons (for later).
we tried not to look at them because we wanted to save them for new years eve...
which was quickly approaching!!
i'll give you the deets on that next time.