Last Thursday we headed to Austin, Texas, for a style blogger's conference put on by the Texas Style Council. Kels was going to meet all of her fashion blogger friends from the inter-web. And I was going along as her personal chauffeur/supportive husband. I loved running along side my wife chasing her dreams.
I have three observations before I go into the details:
- I didn't see a single cowboy wearing boots, spurs, chaps, a cowboy hat or a huge belt buckle (disappointed and relieved all at once).
- I'm not sure that everything is bigger in Texas. Most things were pretty comparable to everywhere else I have been...
- Have you heard of South by Southwest (SXSW)? Yeah, well here is a little key to coolness. If you are from Austin, or simply cool, you refer to it as "South by." That's it. To put it in a sentence, the most FAQ I got all weekend was, "Oh, are you here for South by?"
Here's how it went down:
- Drove to KC. Stayed in a matchbox (Microtel).
- Flight took off at 6 a.m. (way too early, but beautiful sunrise).
- Stop off at Dallas/Fort Worth.
- Arrived in Austin at 9:30.
- Picked up rental car (White Kia Rondo--we named her Rhonda, Trish's long lost cousin).
- Drove through ghetto to get to downtown (we were not impressed with Austin at this point).
- Found downtown (things were looking up); street parking cost $3 (nuts!).
- Kels got dangerously hungry. Walked around trying to find a place to eat. Found Austin Java.
- Were very tired and wanted a nap. Hotel check-in wasn't till 3 and we weren't able to check in early.
- Drove to University of Texas at Austin campus. Parked across from the football stadium.
- Walked around football stadium. Took photos. Sat on a hill by a cool fountain.
- Back to Rhonda. Parking ticket = $25 (second helping of nuts!). Permit-only parking sign had not been seen.
- Navigate our way through crazy Austin roads/loops, take at least three wrong turns/missed exits. Finally arrive at hotel.
- Rest for about an hour. Then Kels gets ready to head back downtown for the clothing swap hosted by swap.com.
- I venture to a coffee shop that has free parking. I started writing our fairytale. Still a long way to go.
- Kels texts me: "We're at 'the Hangar.'" I googled it before heading to the airport. It's a bar downtown, not a place that stores aeronautical machinery.
- We hang out. I meet some of Kelsey's Web friends. Web friends become real friends.
- We leave the Hangar and go to Chinatown for karaoke. Fun times. Enjoyable (no, I didn't sing).
- Getting late. Almost been up 24 hours. We head back to hotel to sleep.
- Wake up. Super tired, but ready to seize the carp.
- No continental breakfast, but the hotel had 'Candlewood Cupboard.' You enter with your room key and put your payment for goods into a slot on the 'honor system.' I buy chocolate donettes, banana, orange juice and chocolate milk.
- Kels gets ready to head downtown for the scavenger hunt. I'm still in my PJs: shorts, T-shirt and bird's nest hair.
- Drop Kels off downtown and I head back to the hotel to hang out by myself.
- Kels calls. She says we are meeting some new people for lunch. Bob and Linda (aka Rose a la mode). Bob has a sweet blog, Christian Personal Finance. (I had emailed Bob the day before wondering if he would be interested in meeting up. I wanted to pick his brain about blogging.)
- Bob, being the awesome guy he is, wanted to have lunch with us.
- Ate brunch at Taverna. Yummy. Snapped a picture with our new friends.
- Also met Tanvi. Very cool lady. She trades commodities for a living. What? How awesome is that?
- Found out Bob was attending the conference on Sunday. I'm interested. Kels and I ask Indiana
JonesAdams if I can sit in. She is super nice, so naturally she says. "Of Course!"
- Indiana introduced us to her husband. Chris. We decide to hang out for the afternoon.
- Chilled outside at Jo's coffee shop. Sun was hot, but very nice. Danny DeVito walked right in to get some food. (Sorry, no picture...)
- Scavenger hunt over. Kels and I head back to hotel to get ready for party.
- Party is awesome. Held at Bo Concept. Get to know more friends, buy some sweet Tikkr watch bands. Thanks, TIKKR, for sending my wife a free watch that I really like.
- Were going to get some late night food with new friends, but couldn't find the place so we headed back to hotel to get some sleep.
- Blogging conference put on by Texas Style Council.
- Lots of awesome speakers talked about fashion blogging.
- Bryan Skeen taught us how to take better photos for Snappy Casual.
- Learned about sponsorship, authenticity, building community and much more...
- Walked around looking for a place to eat. Finally settled on a fancy wine bar called Cru. Shared a steak pizza with Kels. Delicious!
- Headed to fashion show. Long walk.
- Wine bar's have really slow service. We were too late for the fashion show.
- It was getting late and had to be up at 4 a.m. to catch flight.
- Said goodbye to our new friends and headed back to hotel, sad that the weekend was already over and dreaming of the next time we can get back to enjoy Austin.
Here is a list of cool men I met whose wives/girlfriends are fashion bloggers, making them all amateur photographers by association. (We're starting a support group.)
- Bob Lotich- Christian Personal Finance
- Adam Towner- Adam Towner Photography
- Stew Allen- Stew's Day Doodle
- Bryan Skeen- Photographers Skeen
So there you have it. Whew! That was a lot to get out. I hope you enjoyed our whirlwind tour of Austin as much as we did. Check out the links above to meet some of our new friends. For more details on the fashion side of things, check out Snappy Casual.