April was a whirlwind for me. I’ve been traveling a ton, thanks mainly to a work event in Miami and Southwest’s cheap fares to Austin, Texas. I wanted to catch up and share some of the things that I’ve been seeing, doing and eating.

I spent a weekend in Austin, Texas visiting up with some great friends from college. They played wonderful hosts, showing us around the city and introducing us to some of the best that Austin has to offer. I left Texas with tons of inspiration and ideas for hip summer entertaining.

I had some amazing beer…

Shiner Ruby Redbird really is the perfect summer brew. It’s got flavors of Texas Ruby Red grapefruit and ginger. I found some when I got back home to Atlanta, so look around your local grocery store and see if you can find this diamond for your next summer party.

…and some amazing barbeque…

This here is Rudy’s. It’s a local chain, and  the one I went to in Austin was curiously attached to a gas station. I immediately knew it was eaither going to be terrible, or the best thing I’ve ever tasted. I’m very pleased to say it was the latter.

The thing I loved most about Rudy’s was how everything at the restaurant—from the plain picnic tables to the “plates” of torn butcher paper—fit the atmosphere of a down home backyard BBQ. Oh, and they do barbeque right at Ruby’s, giving you half a loaf of plain white bread and all the pickles you can eat.

 …went to a unique bar…

The Brew Exchange belongs more at home on Wall Street than Sixth Sreet (downtown Austin’s historic nightlife district), but I’m so glad it’s found a home in Austin. All of the beers on their drink list are priced based on supply and demand (there’s even a beer stock ticker circling the interior of the resturant).

If, for example, a wheat beer begins to sell a lot, its price goes up; as a result, the price of the other wheat beers will go down (although the menu states that they won’t let the prices fluctuate more than a couple dollars from the “market” rate for each brew). It’s motivation to try something new, and if you buy at the right time, you can score a great deal on a great beer.

…and rekindled my love for Bulldog Margaritas.

We stopped for a quick drink while we cruised SoCo (the South Congress shopping district), and I had my first Bulldog Margarita of the summer. If you’re not familiar, a bulldog is basically your typical frozen margarita, with a mini 7-ounce light mexican beer dropped in neck-first.

 In fact, I left Austin with only one regret: That I didn’t drink enough of these.

So what’s a girl to do? Make them at home of course.

OK, Jeff-Foxworthy-style joke time: You know you’re Southern if… you noticed that I rebelliously drank my “Bulldog” Margarita in a Florida Gators cup.

All you need to do is make your favorite frozen margarita recipe in a blender (I swear by Bacardi Mixers frozen margarita mix), and serve it with a 7-ounce beer tipped inside (I found these Coronitas at my local liquor store). This is exactly how I spent my Cinco de Mayo: running from the freezer, to the blender, to the patio.

The best glass for these is a short tumbler or a big, heavy goblet-style glass. The tiny beer will tip over the typical top-heavy and shallow margarita glasses.

Up next for me? Trips to Chicago, Minneapolis and Cincinnati, plus a big wedding cruise in early fall. Is anyone else excited about summer travels? Where are you headed?

Photos from my Instagram account. If you’re on Instagram, follow me! I’m @formalfringe.