d*s book tour diary: austin

by Grace Bonney

Last week’s book tour leg ended with two days in Austin, Texas. I feel like I’ve been dying to visit Austin for years now and all the hype lead to an almost ridiculous level of expectation that I was convinced no city could actually deliver. But Austin did. From the moment we landed until our last breakfast taco at the airport, I felt like I was in that honeymoon stage of first falling in love. The weather perfect, the people were amazing, the food was delicious and I didn’t want to leave. It’s rare that I find a city outside of NYC that I want to live in, but this just shot straight to the top of my list. I’m already planning our next trip back and am so excited to share some of the highlights from our tour stop- including a little team bonding over tattoos. Thanks so much to everyone who came out to our Austin book event and to everyone in town who was so welcoming and kind. xo, grace

*Image above, an amazing outdoor dinner at Contigo.

I loved Spartan Home and Bows + Arrows. The wood detailing on the shelves at Bows + Arrows was gorgeous. It reminded me of the General Store in SF in a beach-meets-Texas way.

Tattoo in process. Photo by Matt.

My final breakfast tacos. Sniff sniff. I miss them.

26 more pictures (including a video of my first tattoo and a taxidermy squirrel band) continue after the jump…

I decided to get my first tattoo in Austin (partially inspired by the Stone & Honey rings I bought at Schatzelein). Matt from Wood & Faulk was kind enough to join me and make an afternoon of it. Amy was a champ and waited while both of us decided on designs and placement- and kept us amped up with lots of yerba mate tea. Matt’s tattoo was more personal than mine so I’ll just share a little process shot of his and a little after of mine below. Final thoughts: not nearly as painful as I expected and I’m really happy I decided to live in the moment and do it.

No sooner had we landed and Amy said, “I want to see some cows” did we look out the taxi window and see an entire field of them. Moo!

Curra’s breakfast was amazing. Seriously. The red tortillas were delicious. Growing up (at least in my family) in Virginia, Mexican food was not something we knew a lot about (at least not outside of Taco Bell). So getting to experience some truly excellent Mexican food was one of the highlights of this trip.

Scenes from an amazing pop-up shop called Tool & Tack. I hope they pack up and bring their show on the road to Brooklyn. It was awesome to see Natalie, Christine, Stephen and Shauna and our boy Matt selling beautiful work.

I wanted to take all the wacky vintage taxidermy at Uncommon Objects home. I’m still trying to figure out what sort of music a taxidermy squirrel band would play. My vote? Jugband music.

More awesome animals at Uncommon Objects- which needless to say was as amazing as everyone said.

This tongue disease chart (my best guess) most repulsed and fascinated me.

I almost took home this vase, but I was pretty sure American Airlines (which made our travel life this week a living hell) and their crappy bag handling/policies would find a way to break it. I miss you, red and gold vase.

More highlights from the shop…

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  • oh, i love austin! i used to live there and i miss the breakfast tacos (among many other things) so much. glad you had a great time!

  • your tattoo is great!

    did you buy the sparkly G ?

    also, that tongue disease chart, i thought it was an old timey BEER chart and the tongues were little wooden carved glasses of beer with foamy heads!

  • Totally beaming with pride right now. I moved back to Austin after I graduated from NYU in 2008 and I’ve come to love this city even more than I did as a kid. I loved meeting you at the book signing and I hope you come back soon!

  • I’m so sad to hear that I missed you being in Austin. I live here and love the city. I’m glad you enjoyed your time here. I also wanted to ask where you got your tattoos at, because it looks like True Blue, where I usually get my work done. I hope the overall experience was as fantastic as you dreamed.

  • I was just cruising threw Design Sponge (one of my favorite blogs to check out) and saw you had the shelves I made for spartan on there. Thanks so much for the complement. Glad you had a good time here. Come back and enjoy some more.


  • great tattoo. i just got my first tattoo a couple of months ago, in the same spot on my arm as yours. it says ‘brazil’ in a pretty script. (i was born in brazil and now live in canada). even though i had been thinking about it for a few years, i still had a panic attack that night thinking what the hell did i do?? but now i love it.

  • I hope you were able to indulge in the avocado margaritas at Curra’s, too! We go to Austin once a year for our anniversary and always have breakfast there.

  • so glad to you got to explore Austin – i feel like it’s our hidden gem here in Texas that only a few lucky enough to wander off the beaten path discover.

  • Thanks for coming out! Austin is the greatest place in the world (no offense everyone else). I’m also sorry I was incredibly akward and told you to enjoy reading too, when you were referring to your own book…can you say a little star struck!

    Next time you are here, check out Wildflower Organics, Back Home and Take Heart. Fun housy things!

  • You inspire me…I’m getting my first tattoo very soon and this helps with my courage! Here’s to living in the moment! Also awesome to have some of my Philly friends at the pop up shop!

  • Next time, buy the vase (or whatever item), and ship it! Places like the UPS store will even pack it for you. Sometimes I’ll go to the local post office and ship back dirty laundry in flat rate Priority boxes to make room in my carry on for antiques. It makes shopping while traveling a lot easier.

  • “I’m still trying to figure out what sort of music a taxidermy squirrel band would play.”

    It would have to similar to the Squirrel Nut Zippers. Do check them out, fun & funky toe tapping joy. ‘Squirrel Nut Zippers play an eclectic fusion of Delta blues, gypsy jazz, 1930s-era swing, & klezmer.’
    It looked like you had a great time & I do hope you gave the game card a good home.

  • Austin is on my list of cities I need to visit…my bucket travel list. Your photos have only reinforced my desire to get my Texas on. I’ve got a long way to go (Hawaii) but am convinced I’ll make it there one day for the art, music and Mexican food. Thank you for sharing your visit!

    I’m curious about your pics..camera or did you use an app like instagram, love the filtered vintage look.

  • You definitely chose a good time to visit. This is one out of about 2 months that the weather is amazing. 110+ degree summers seem to last AT LEAST half the year. It’s pretty awful. And then we have about 1 month of absolute frozen-ness. Other than that, it’s a fabulous city! :)

  • where are the blue and white mugs – on the painted wood – from? i couldn’t find them through the links. cheers gayle

  • Austin is awesome! I also didn’t think it could be one of my top places to live after Brooklyn, but that and Seattle are places I wish I lived if not Brooklyn.

  • So obsessed with Austin, and more importantly Uncommon Objects! Next time you are in town you have to eat at Torchy’s Tacos… I have seriously eaten there multiple times in a day :)

  • Thank you SO much for coming to Austin! If you do come again, you MUST visit Frank (for Brunch if you can) the bacon waffles and “red-headed stranger” (bloody mary) are to LIVE for!

  • Thank you for referring to breakfast tacos by their rightful name. Breakfast burritos do not exist in Austin ;-) I knew I loved you, Grace!

  • So glad you enjoyed your time here and the weather treated you well! Austin is a special, special gem.

  • I got my first tattoo in Austin too.
    You should check out Steve Wiman’s (the owner of Uncommon Objects) art work. It’s amazing. He pulsd from the stuff he finds for the store. He’s one of my faves!

  • When you fall in love with something as small as the vase in the future, pack that sucker up and mail it to yourself! Great plug for American Airlines. Be sure and give them the credit due! haha

  • It’s so funny – as soon as I saw a picture of you holding stuffed wildlife I said “She must be at Uncommon Objects” – ha ha! I’m so glad my home state did you right :) See you next week in Asheville!

  • It was great to meet you Grace! So glad you enjoyed your stay in our fair city. Just be glad you did not come during the summer though. We topped out at 105 degrees most days and it is hard to handle, believe me. But ATX is a great city for design and you fit right in. It is also a fab food city with so many diverse and delicious places to eat, especially trailer food. Come back any time.

  • Really enjoyed seeing these pictures, Grace. We were just there last week visiting from Virginia Beach and I totally know what you mean about eating real mexican food. No comparison. And I could have spent the whole day in Uncommon Objects. It’s such a well curated store of vintage treasures and artifacts. We had to leave Saturday afternoon, but otherwise I would have loved to have stopped by and said hello at the signing.

  • I’m glad I’m not the only one who fell in love with Austin! We did a road trip with our two little boys across the states and my husband and I loved it there! I would have to agree with you I love Brooklyn but Austin does have something special! :)

  • So glad my hometown provided the eccentric southern hospitality that we’re known for. Keep Austin Weird! =)

  • So glad you loved Austin!! It was great to meet you at the book signing. I actually drove from Fayetteville, AR for the weekend both to make the book signing and to see my sister who’s lived in Austin for about 12 years now. Awesome city huh? It’s my favorite. Glad you had a great time!!

  • met up with you in chicago right before your trip to austin + i said ‘i wish i was getting my book signed in austin’…love austin, i decided after my first trip that that is where i wanted this creative body to move when our kids are out of high school + am able to
    re-locate! the food + people + culture + weather + surroundings are all i need!
    p.s…my non-crafty husband made the wool leaf wreath in your book out of a beige tweed blazer + cream wool sweater…i LOVE it!

  • That’s my back in the picture, in the blue long sleeve! How funny to see! What a delicious restaurant, love Contigo!

  • Grace,
    I had a wonderful time at the book signing in Austin. I used to live there and love the city. I took a full three days off for the book signing and spent all of Saturday on a bike re-exploring the city I still love. Thank you for that opportunity.

    I would also like to know where we can find the pictures from the event, I want to share the experience with my friends and family. (I was so excited I forgot to take pictures)

    It was really great meeting you.


  • Glad you loved Austin! Born and raised here, I’m a little bias… so im always super excited when people love it [almost] as much as i do!