frown smile in full effect, go me!


Once upon a time when I was just a wee babe, Sir Brandon the Texan was studying accounting at UT Austin and watching a lot of James Bond movies with his roommates at 3AM.

I wasn't really a baby but I may have only been a freshman in high school. 

He probably also ate his body weight in queso. This seems like an easy assumption to make.

Now, having never been to Austin myself, nor in any part of Texas, really, I used to hear tales of his Austin and feel happily indifferent to the deal and never think anything more of it.


I flew to Austin for SXSW for a super hot minute to speak on a panel, Furniture Is The New Fashion, with Jenny Morrill, co-founder and CMO of Move Loot. (You can see the project we did that sparked our panel here! Oh gosh, that was maybe the most fun I've ever had on a collaboration. Ever.)

First of all, furniture IS the new fashion. In case you were wondering. Increasingly I feel in my life that I get more satisfaction from experimenting with the look in my home than I do with my clothing. I know how I want to dress my body by now--I mean, I'll only have this one body for the rest of my life and I've mostly figured out its coloring and proportions and there's not going to be too much changing between now and the grave, but with a house! A house is always changing. And its base tones are super easy to switch up, unlike skin tones. Especially considering how often we've moved, and how easy it is to work within that basic square shape we all get to live in. Our homes are definitely these perfect canvases and our furniture is easily the new fashion. Easily. 

Second of all, when I say I flew to Austin what I really mean is that I actually flew to Seattle, and then I flew to San Francisco, and then I flew to Austin. 

Thank you, airline industry.

But if you follow the trends within both industries (back to furniture / fashion) it's easy to spot how eerily they seem to echo the other. Fast fashion / inexpensive furniture / freedom of experimentation giving way to more sustainable shopping / quality-over-quantity / researched decisions -- consumers consume furniture now in the same ways we've lately been consuming fashion. Our options are limitless! The possibility for self-expression endless! We're showing off our homes to our friends and followers on social media now more than ever! Come on in, I'm proud of my kitchen!


The highlight of SXSW, if you don't count our panel, were the puppies.

Brace yourselves.


The one on the left is named Edward Cullen. No I know. Don't you want to squoosh him.

Woogle woogle woogle.

They were part of a St Bernard rescue group there to promote the Mophie. It was a cute deal, wherever you were in Austin during South By if your phone battery was dying, you could tweet out a help request using a certain hashtag and then a Mophie employee with a rescue St Bernard would come and find you and charge your phone for you. While you played with the puppies. Duh.

Clearly this and the micheladas were the highlight of my weekend.


I also got to visit with Stephanie Beard, owner of esby apparel, and eat Vietnamese fusion and play Pretty Woman in her store for a couple of hours. I tried literally EVERYTHING on. It was the best kind of morning. 

Stephanie specializes in the kinds of clothes that makes the woman under the fabric shine through. I can't think of a better way to describe that. You know that mix of effortlessness and perfectly executed shapelessness that says "don't notice my clothes, notice ME." But don't be dorky or anything, Natalie.

Her store is beautiful and right across the street from Elizabeth St, so do as Stephanie instructs and get the almond croissant plus the vegetarian breakfast bahn mi. Sub the egg whites for regular scrambled eggs and add some avocado. She's right about that. And then mucho sriracha. Oh man I'm ready to go back right this minute.

She also introduced me to Topo Chico.

Thank you Stephanie! I want your chair!!!!!!

After that I met back up with Jenny and her friend for gelato at Dolce Neve, and then we explored South Congress for some shopping + thrifting in the perfect 85-degree weather.

We finished up at the Hotel San Jose for more micheladas in the sunny sunny sunshine (MICHELAAADAAAAAAS) and then a quick Uber back to the airport for the red eye home. 

When I landed in Idaho, there was snow on the ground.

See ya indeed.


  1. Where did you get your jeans? I've been looking for a pair like them everywhere!

  2. I just can't even handle those puppies!!!

  3. Now you know I went to pinterest immediately to research this "bahn mi" there are so many versions! What did you have on yours?

  4. I always love your long travel posts. I feel like I'm there with you. It's amazing.

  5. Natalie, you look so much more alive since leaving New York. Good for you :)

  6. Man, heart me some Austin. Austin is my hometown and am missing it hard these days - been in Brooklyn now for 8 years with my hubs, and two boys. I know the secret is out about Austin, but if you could try and keep it to yourself, that would be greeeaaattt...

  7. AUUUUUUUSTINNNNNN! oh you made me miss it so so so much. but the weird thing is how after 6 years away i basically only recognize a few of those shops/restaurants you mentioned. austin has gotten way too cool for school, that's for sure.
    also, this is super random and unrelated, but i posted a video i made of my typical day as a stay at home mom (super silly, but fun!) on my blog and i wanted to tell you because i made your perfect sugar cookies for the video and mentioned them in my blog because i LOVE them! love love love them! if on the odd chance you have a minute and you want to see my movie, you can go here: not that i'm trying to put a plug in for myself or anything....;D
    thanks for the austin photos! makes my heart happy to know you liked it. even though obviously the whole world likes it now, haha!

  8. just went for valentine's/marathon weekend with my bf to his hometown...and just sat to read this as he settled in with a topo chico ;)


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