Thursday, May 31, 2018

University of Texas at Austin Graduation

It has now been a little less than two weeks since I graduated from college. And those two days were wonderful (but also incredibly sad). If you aren't familiar with UT's system, your graduation is separate from university-wide commencement. At graduation you walk the stage, accept a piece of paper that is not your diploma and you do that with your college (Moody where you at?). Commencement is much shorter and, let's be honest, more fun - there are fireworks at the end (see photo above). If you have been following along on this journey, you'll know I recorded one second a day my entire senior year, you can find that here, where you will see some moments from graduation and commencement. 
We started off the day of graduation with breakfast at La Madeleine and a trek to get my cookies for graduation, my mom surprised me with them, a whole post about that is coming soon. They were adorable. Then we got ready and went to lunch at Torchy's Tacos. I insisted that this be where we ate because my first day of college I had a Democrat taco (no avocado) and I wanted to make sure my last day of college had the same moment. Plus, who doesn't want a photo in their grad cap with a taco? We then headed to Frank Erwin Jr. Center for the graduation process. I ran into my former Ladybirds Vice President in the bathroom and we snapped a photo. Then we lined up by major, alphabetically, and walked onto the floor. Let me take a moment to say, graduation is an interesting deal. You sit in this alphabetical order with people you most likely don't know and that is how you end college. This also happened to me in high school. We spend so much time making friends at school and then we don't even celebrate this moment together. It's an interesting deal...
Journalism was the second school to walk across the stage, and I did it. I didn't fall or make a fool of myself and...it was the most anticlimactic thing I've done in a good long while. After taking, what seemed like, 50 posed photos that I will not be purchasing I sat back in my incredibly uncomfortable seat and waited for about an hour and a half to go eat dinner. Graduation is a strange time y'all. And this is just my experience, I'm sure others had a wonderful time. But I found the whole thing to be a bore and kind of disappointing? Like it was dumb of me to build it up in my head but come on? There should be more excitement in the air and it seemed like no one really wanted to be there (be forewarned, this all changes soon). 
We finally got out of the arena, snapped a few photos and headed to Mattie's at Green Pastures (one of my favorite restaurants in Austin). All in all that was a great experience, I would recommend it for anyone graduating from UT in the future. After that we stopped in at St. Elmo's Brewery in south Austin, it's one of my favorites and it seemed appropriate to drink a beer in my grad cap too...that thing never came off basically. Saturday morning dawned bright and after a quick breakfast the best friend was in town for a catch up and commencement. We had steaks for lunch then went to the Great Texas Exit at Etter Harbin Alumni Center for some free drinks and photos with Bevo (aka the best part of being a Longhorn). Commencement seats opened at 5pm (which is very early, because students are supposed to line up until 7, so what were we supposed to do in the meantime?) so we ran over to get good seats for my parents and Hannah. They ended up under some big oaks with a pretty good view of the tower. For those of you that don't know, at commencement there are speakers and then they turn the tower burnt orange with your graduation year's number and there are fireworks. I then walked over to line up with my fellow Moody grads to walk into our seats. 
The evening was nothing short of magical. I cried (tears of happiness, sadness and everything in-between). By the time we were singing the Eyes of Texas and the fireworks were being shot off I felt a  sense of place begin to develop. Sure, I was graduating from college - the best years of my life thus far - but I was becoming part of something so much bigger than myself. Basically, now I am a Texas Ex and I am so so so proud of that. There are amazing people out there doing phenomenal things for this planet and I can call them fellow alums. I'm thrilled with the new journey that is going to take place regardless of the sadness that sometimes still plagues my heart because I won't be on the Forty Acres this fall. But everything will work out. This is gonna be fun - xoxo darling & HOOK 'EM, Hayden.
P.S. There are more photos that go along with the post above. Also, have you graduated? How was your experience? 
Mattie's drinks are A+. 

St. Elmo's Kolsch is my favorite.
I clearly look like I know how to do this whole graduation thing...right?
BEVO!!
Love my besties.
My classy drinking buddy, Alyssa.
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Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Week Re-Cap: Part 2

Hannah and I's last trip to Kerbey
Lane while in college. Very much the end
 of an era.
After graduation (see tomorrow's post all about that) it was a whirlwind time in Austin. My apartment had the possibility of being sold extremely fast so instead of flying home for two weeks and then coming back to move me out my dad and I had to move out in two days and then drive all of my things home...a very adult way to end the graduation weekend. But we still found ways to have fun during this very sweaty, heavy lifting time. We visited the last of the breweries we hadn't tried in Austin (Last Stand and Oskar Blues), both of which were delicious and I would highly recommend. Last Stand is adorable and the drive partway through the hill country provides for a nice sunset trip. Oskar Blues is a staple of the American craft beer scenes, with breweries in Colorado, Texas and North Carolina. Dale's Pale Ale is their most famous but they have a Mexican Lager that I'm excited about. The taproom is an interesting mix of interior design but they have a stage so I assume they do live music. We finished out the night with Austin Beerworks, a true classic, and their Mexican Lager is wonderful. For me, light beers are where it is at, so it is awesome to see all of these breweries making an effort in that regard. After our final day in Austin for the foreseeable future (don't worry, I'll be at almost all of the football games in the fall) we headed out to Baton Rouge.
My dad and I have done Red Stick a bunch over the years because I was highly considering LSU so we have a few places we always like to visit. The first being Tin Roof one of the only craft breweries in Baton Rouge. We went when I was in high school so I had never tried the beers and they built a taproom in the time that had elapsed. The taproom is really nice, lots of "Geaux" signs and the beer is even better. After that we stopped in at The Chimes for dinner, a classic college spot that serves some spicy red beans and rice. We then walked around the LSU campus to see the changes that had been made over the years and visited Mike...because if you go to LSU how can you not visit the tiger?
The next day we went onto New Orleans. Let me stop right here and say that if you have never been to NOLA, please buy a plane ticket right now. That city is one of a kind and everyone should experience it. Our first stop was the National WWII Museum, something we have done before but about six years ago and it has expanded to take up almost four blocks of the Magazine District. The new pavilions are so well done and if you love history even a little bit you will need to visit. They make the exhibits so personal and you almost feel as if you are there with the soldiers in some aspects. We worked up an appetite in the museum so we headed to the Palace Cafe, a place I had never been but my dad assured me it was a staple. We, somehow, got street parking
The last time in 204...honestly kind of sad. I loved that apartment. 
(probably because it was a weekday and summer hasn't officially started).The cafe is owned by Brennan's (the people that brought us Banana's Foster) but has a much more casual vibe. Very much like a little cafe in Paris, it provides ample people watching and delicious sandwiches. We both opted for the Bresaola Baguette (brie, bresaola, apple, dark beer mustard, arugula and a mixed green salad).
It was perfection. We then drove to park at the old mint in the Quarter and walked to Cafe du Monde, my one thing I always want to do in New Orleans. This time I tried the Chicory Coffee and I kind of loved it. I am really picky about my favorite coffees because I think most don't taste like anything but the Chicory honestly gave it some good flavor. And we had beignets because why else would you go? After all of these adventures we hopped in the car and headed for Tallahassee.
Tallahassee is where I spent so much of my childhood so, since we had the extra time, we decided to stay an extra day just so I could see all that had happened to the capital city of Florida. First, we took a tour of the recently opened Grove Museum. It's the home of two Florida governors (Richard Keith Call & LeRoy Collins) and serves as an example of powerful women in Florida's history. The museum is excellent and if you are in Tallahassee you must make a stop to at least enjoy the grounds. The Florida Governor's Mansion is right next door so we popped over to get a photo through the gates. This is a scary (sad?) fact but I had never actually seen the front until that day! We stopped for BBQ at a Florida staple, 4 Rivers, who's mac-and-cheese and baked goods make it unique. Then it was off to walk my parents alma mater, Florida State. The university holds a special place in my heart and I would highly encourage any of y'all applying to college to visit. It's beautiful and they are a wonderful school. My favorite building on campus is Dodd Hall because it has this wonderful reading room that is usually closed but was open when we visited. It's now a place to quiet study or visit the FSU Heritage Museum. You'll see photos of it below and that stained glass window is beautiful. After our walk we headed to Proof Brewing that has a lot of options for all beer lovers. The taproom is cool but they are going to expand into an old Coca-Cola bottling factory soon! Then we had pizza at Mellow Mushroom (an oldie but a goodie) before driving over to Ology Brewing to end the night. They have less selection than Proof, but their Sensory Overload New England IPA is delicious. The next morning we had breakfast at Maple Street Biscuit Company and then headed home to Fort Myers.
The Honors College at LSU.
Mike looking majestic. 

While the immediate move was not the most fun thing in the world we had a blast and I wouldn't trade it for anything. Currently I'm enjoying some time off of school in FM, enjoying the heat and heading to the beach. This is the end of the crazy week-recaps, we should be back on normal schedule next week. What have y'all been up to? And have you been to any of these spots? - xoxo darling, Hayden.
P.S. Check out all of the photos from our trip below!
Planes at the National WWII Museum
The adorable menu at The Palace Cafe.
It doesn't get better than this. 
You can spot this over on my dad's Instagram.
The Florida Governor's Mansion.
The Grove Museum
Dodd Hall
Westcott Building at FSU
Proof Brewing
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