texas on a saturday night

Posted on July 28 2016

umano x olivia watson livvyland in austin

for the last stop on our #umanostatesofamerica road trip, we had to go big or just go home, so we picked a place where everything is bigger- texas, austin to be specific. referred to as the “live music capital of the world”, it’s easily one of the most interesting cities in america. known for keeping things “weird” the city is a creative mind’s paradise that’s full of inspiration and quickly being added to every traveler’s bucket list. we already know we’ve got to explore the longhorn caverns, hike up mount bonnell and stroll through the umlauf sculpture garden,  but we couldn’t resist the opportunity to get an insider’s perspective.
luckily, we had the best tour guide ever! olivia watson of livvyland agreed to give us THE SCOOP on all things austin. since she's a native austinite, virtual stylist and blogger extraordinaire we just had to pick her brain. she let us in on how she unleashes her creativity through styling, decorating, and running her blog. plus, she shared most of austin’s best-kept secrets with us. read on for our exclusive q + a.

umano x olivia watson livvyland in austin

how do you unleash your creativity?
ow: ooh that's a tough one. I unleash my creativity through photography, writing and styling. I am a huge fan of instagram and love the challenge of creating something aesthetically appealing, approachable and interesting - and in particular an image that looks best in a square! I am also a huge fan of writing and find the creative process challenging yet therapeutic. I studied journalism in college and ever since have found ways to release my creative energy through writing- for local publications at first and now with my own blog.
how long have you been in austin?
ow: I'm a born and raised austinite - so I've been here 26 years! a "true austinite" is what we're called... quite the rarity these days! it's actually funny to meet people around town because every time someone asks where I'm from and I tell them I'm born and raised in austin, they gasp and step back because we're basically the unicorns of the city- ha! it's like they've heard about us, but meeting one in the flesh is a different story!
any local inspiration?
ow: absolutely! growing up in austin, I feel like my style is reminiscent of the vibe of this city- down to earth, happy, approachable, individual. I love that this city is about accepting all kinds of people, "keep austin weird" has been our tagline for a very long time!

what’s your favorite hidden gem in austin?
ow: though I have one in mind, I honestly can't spill the beans because it's so precious and not yet overpopulated...sorry y'all, my lips are sealed for this one

umano x olivia watson livvyland in austin

best place to grab a cup a joe?
ow: tough call with this one. I'm a crazy coffee fanatic and given that I work from home as a blogger, you can find me at a different coffeehouse daily working from my laptop. if I had to choose just one, it would be caffe medici. amazing espresso and the people who own and run it are just the sweetest folks you've ever met. you can definitely see that their kind nature and enthusiasm for coffee trickles down to their employees too.
best place to grab a bite to eat?
ow: so many options in austin, but I'd say the go-to is tacos and tex-mex. my favorite restaurant is matt's el rancho, their patio is so pleasant and the fajitas are SO GOOD (yes, totally worthy of all caps)! their margaritas are also strong and delicious (the best combination, right?). I highly recommend!

where to hit up for a night out?
ow: I am a super granny these days (give me pajamas and a glass of wine by 9pm on a saturday and I'm happy as a clam), but if I were to put on my heels (er... wedges, let's be real) and venture to a bar, I'd say hit up the "east side"- which really just means east 6th street (east of I35, not the ‘dirty 6th’ part...very different scenes, ha!). it's definitely got the hipster vibe going for it, but the drinks are yummy and inexpensive and the people are a lot of fun. start at shangri-la, a super chill dive bar for draft beer or cocktails, then mosey on down the street and end at hotel vegas or the white horse for a night of dancing. prepare for an evening of sweaty fun, these places get super packed by midnight!
umano x olivia watson livvyland in austin

where/how to spend your saturday?
ow: saturday is my favorite day of the week because there's not generally a "sunday deadline" in the blog world, so I can actually sleep in, relax and cozy up on the couch with my fiancé as we sip our coffee in the morning. I look forward to these few hours of blissful relaxation every week! after that we generally either go visit with family (both of our families live in austin) or do something active outdoors - there are so many beautiful parks and natural spring pools in town. at night we like to grab a cold beer (ipa is our favorite) and dinner on a patio in austin.

finish this sentence: “if you come to austin, you cannot miss ________”
ow: zilker park. it's one of my favorite places with a gorgeous view of the austin skyline! this is where austin city limits music festival is held every year. austin is a very active city, and from zilker you can run the hike & bike trail, stroll along lady bird lake and rent canoes, go paddle boarding or take a dip in barton springs pool. I also recommend packing a picnic blanket, snacks and a good book. zilker is such a pleasant place for a few hours of r + r. just find a tree, because we're hitting over 100 degrees these days, ha!

umano x olivia watson livvyland in austin
what does the city of austin mean to you?
ow: ah man, gonna get emotional with this one! this city really is my heart and my home, it's crazy to have watched it grow from 450,000 residents in the 1990s to over a million in 2016. it's a happy and sad thing for austinites to witness- this city is changing before our eyes and definitely feels different. however, I can see that the heart of the city is still thriving and present, which makes me so glad to see!
any plans for this summer?
ow: blake and I had the most incredible start to summer! we went on a mediterranean cruise to spain, france and italy, and a week later I had my bachelorette getaway trip in costa rica. next on the agenda is a trip to disney world! let's just say we both have the travel bug and are soaking in every minute!! after that it's time to get hitched, september 17th is the big day. we are so excited!

with the olympics coming up, we want to know your favorite olympic sport and/or athlete?
ow: my favorite summer olympic sports are swimming, volleyball and gymnastics. watching the olympics was always a big deal in my house growing up, so it's something I still look forward to! I'm particularly excited to watch gabby douglas rock it out for team usa in gymnastics!



*photos via oliva watson