Every sister duo has their song. You know, the one that comes on and you are jamming and it feels like you’re in your own world. Thats the one. My sister and I have our own set of songs but if we are on the road for anything “Good Directions” by Billy Currington is absolutely a favorite. It’s a love ballad, but something about singing it loud with the windows down and the breeze in our hair just feels so GOOD.
This past weekend, my sister (Celia) and I set out to explore Austin for our first solo adventure together without our parents. We have always been really close. There’s exactly 4 years and 5 days in-between our birthdays. We grew up doing a lot together. Matching outfits, shared birthdays, the whole shebang. Now that we are older and are on the path to form our own lives, we don’t get to spend as much time together so this weekend was really important for us. We left EARLY Friday morning and set out for my favorite city in the world, Austin, TX.
Our first stop was Perdenales Falls. We came here as kids, but a good number of years has passed since then. We remember bits and pieces of visiting, but it was way more exciting to hike and explore as (older) people. We went down to the falls and explored all the water carved holes, we looked through the green-blue water at the fish swimming in the lower parts of the river, we walked up the infamous spots of flash floods, and explored all the rocks and limestone that had been picked up and deposited from natural river flow. Everything was captivating. As the sun came out and set on the land, things started warming up and Texas natural life really showed all of her glory. After exploring the land around the falls, we took a hike to a part of the river we could really cool off in. We lathered on the sunscreen and we baked under the sun. It was so relaxing and so peaceful to be in the cool water. As the breeze rolled in, we made ourselves comfortable in order get the most even tan. At this point the sun was getting really warm so I got up from the water to grab some more sunscreen and a WATER MOCCASIN was hanging out right next to me. I didn’t yell (surprisingly). I think I took about 2 steps from where I was laying to where my bag was and grabbed all of my things. If there is something in nature I am not a fan of, its snakes. I just can’t do it. So, without thinking twice, we gathered our things and set out to have another adventure….far away from snakes. The day is barely getting started so this was a perfect opportunity to get to know more of the hill country.
The next stop was Blanco State Park. This was our first time here and the drive was quick. After being on the road all morning, I was really relieved to see the state parks were about 15 minutes from each other. Blanco was smaller than I imagined. This beautiful green river ran through the center of the park and made for the perfect swimming hole. There was no beach, no area to ease yourself into the water. Just hills alongside the river and a bridge to jump off of. So, Celia and I went for it. We held each others hand and took a leap of faith. The water was refreshing and so great to cool off in. The best part was…..there were NO SNAKES around! So we stayed swimming for a while, enough to work up an appetite, and then we loaded up and journeyed back into town.
Sandy’s was the place to be on this wonderful Friday afternoon. My sweet daddy had taken me here the last time I was adventuring in ATX so I had to come back with sista girl. The burgers were just as delicious as I remembered. They hit the spot and after filing up, I was ready to take on more adventures. Celia and I were not done being in the water just yet so we decided to join what everyone else seemed to be doing and rented a couple of paddle boards. Epic Sup offered the best deal and had the best customer service. Everyone we got to talk to was so nice and answered all of our questions. The paddle boards were clean and we got a great lesson before we were off on our own. I highly recommend them if you’re looking to rent a couple of boards for the day. We paddled our way out to the middle of the lake and it turned out to be the best and most exciting part of our day. I have a newfound love for paddle boards and now I cannot wait to do it again. After a few hours we tired out and decided it was time to check into our hotel and rest up before we explored the nightlife of the downtown streets.
We stayed on Congress Avenue and it was the perfect location. The capitol was in sight, we were right across from Yeti headquarters, and at night the walk was a good distance to the world-famous “dirty sixth.” After exploring downtown for a bit, we decided to call it a night. Saturday held new adventures and we were excited to get started.
We slept in for just a little while and grabbed a hearty breakfast so we could tackle whatever the day brought us. Since the sun was still waking up we decided to check out The Domain. I have shopped here before so I knew what to expect. But my sister had not so she was in heaven! From the flagship Erin Condren store to an ENTIRE E.L.F. Store, Steve Madden, David Yurman, and everything in between, this place was incredible. Celia was so excited to check out the shopping here. I found the BEST pair of espadrille wedges at Steve Madden that were practically made with me in mind. The perfect combination of glam AND comfort. We also experienced the e.l.f. Store and all of its glory. Both Celia and I needed up leaving with quite a few new things from all of the places we got to shop.
As our arms started to get numb, we decided to grab some lunch at Cyclone Anaya’s. I have been to a few other locations so I know which margaritas I like (and they are GOOD). Breakfast is served till 3 pm on the weekends (and I love breakfast) so I got a breakfast quesadilla and no regrets, it was amazing. We left with our tummies full and hearts ready for more adventure.
GoPro in hand, we opted for another paddleboard experience. When in Austin, right?? It was just too fun not to do it again. Although, we did explore a different part of the lake and it was totally worth it. But the rain decided to scare us a little bit so we got out after a couple of hours and found ourselves in……
A TATTOO SHOP.
Yeah, you read that right. This is no news for me. I have a few already, but this was Celia’s first. We both knew our parents would freak out so we made sure they didn’t see any pictures from this experience till we got back home (sorry mom). We had been thinking about this for over a year now. What type of ink would best suit both of our personalities and make is sister-special. So, we kept pondering and throwing ideas back and forth. It was a regular topic of conversation for us. Until one day, we were listening to Good Directions and the idea hit us. Coordinates! Because the song was about directions leading two people back together. But we didn’t want to be basic, so we took the customization further and had the artist draw some designs for us. I LOVE Texas so one of my first tattoos was a Texas outline one my ankle. Its sweet and dainty and no matter where my feet my go, my roots run deep here on Texas soil. So Celia chose to have a Texas outline next to her set of coordinates for her symbol to represent me. I have always seen her as a princess and her name starts with a “c,” which inspired the idea behind the symbol and there are 4 years and 5 days in between our birthdays so, that was the idea for the 5 points on the crown that I have adjacent to the coordinates. Then came choosing the actual directions. This was especially important to get this right so we don’t have something ridiculous on our bodies for the rest of our lives. But this ended up being the easiest choice for us. Celia and I were both born in the same hospital, but plot twist the hospital has since been torn down and no longer exists. Which made the choice even more special. When we got to the tattoo shop, I was more nervous for Celia’s first tattoo more than she was. But she was brave (and they didn’t even hurt) and I was so happy. We got to share the best memory together and now its on us for the rest of our lives. I am lucky to be so close to my first and lifelong best friend. Now, we get to share something special that only we (and you reading this) know about.
We felt like a couple of rad chicks walking around with our plastic wrapped fresh ink. Obviously we looked a little weird with cling wrap around our arms, but it was a conversation starter and we were really happy to tell the story behind the good directions.
Tattoos were the last big thing we did before we left Austin. We watched the bats fly off into the night, went down to the bike rally on 6th street, and did a little more shopping before we left. We had the most incredible sister weekend and I have grown even more thankful to have my little nugget in my life.
I love you, sista girl. Good directions will always lead us back together, no matter how far apart we live.