Free: 3 nights hotel room in Austin, Texas and flights

We recently got the IHG card and met the minimum spend of $1000. It has an annual fee of $49, And you will get 70,000 points.

The card gives you one free night a year at any of the hotels in their chain.
We used the 60,000 points for our 3 night stay in Austin at a new Holiday Inn and Suites Express in Austin.

We have never stayed at a holiday Inn before. The room was really nice-much like a Marriott  Springhill Suites, with a living room and bedroom and bathroom. It had a kitchenette too. The pool area was a step up from what I would expect with a Jacuzzi and rain wall. 

It included breakfast and an evening reception (snacks/wine Tues-Thurs). We didn't do either of these because there is so much good food in Austin. 

-So with free travel on Southwest ($12 per ticker taxes). Use points from a Southwest Credit Card or transfer points from your Sapphire Preferred Card. We have the Southwest Companion Pass.
-Free Hotel-Ihg credit card signup ($49 annual fee)
-And we rented from Silvercar which is an Audi A4 ($165) . I have a code that got us $50 off and $25 back in cash after our first rental so actually it only cost us $140.

This is a fun trip if you like to eat. There is lots of great food in Austin. A trip to the state capital, flying bats, a presidential museum,shopping, some live music and very safe.

what to do in austin

Silvercar Audi A4 Car Rental

rent an audi a4
We recently got back from a trip to Austin. We tried out Silvercar, a company that rents Audi A4's
They pick you up curbside at the airport. Just tap on the app and they are on their way.  You don't have to take the rental car shuttle. It was really easy and fun to drive too!
They area fairly new rental car company so they have all these promos going on. You can use my code JMILLER14 to get a $25 cash rebate after your rental and I will get $25 too. 

Our four day rental was $163 and then they rebated us an additional $25. So the price was really reasonable. 

Other things we like about Silvercar
-no extra toll fees-you pay the actual costs
-they will fill up the car and you pay the actual cost of the gas plus $5 for the convenience
-they drive you back to the airport in the vehicle you rented so there's no transferring luggage into another car.

Just Finished Reading : Goodnight June

goodnight moon
Just finished Reading Goodnight June: A Novel -loved it! If you've ever read Goodnight Moon as a child you will love the story that surrounds this novel and the story behind Goodnight Moon

Fun Things to Do in Southern California

laguna beach life guard tower
See More Fun things  to do in Southern California here and here.

14. Sea World, San Deigo CA-We played tourist and head to Sea World this week. It's a short and beautiful drive along the California coast!
15. Phil's BBQ-a big meal after Sea World -always a wait-always perfection!
16. Taco Asylum-Date night dinner after a walk at Balboa. Taco Asylum is at the Camp in Costa Mesa. Try the pb and J with bacon taco :)
17. Sawdust Festival, Laguna Beach , CA - A fun outing on Friday. We love watching the glass blowers in action.
18. Noah's Graduation Party. My sis-in-law is the best cook and party hostess on the planet :)
19. Bear Flag, Newport Beach and Newport Coast. Best place for fresh fish tacos!

We also enjoyed 2 fun family dinners, a Balboa Island visit with my brother and his adorable wife, a second walk at Balboa and dinner with my very fun in-laws from Arizona. 
I'm feeling so spoiled this week!

More date night fun!

We had fun adding to our list this week. We took two trips this week! We took a day trip to the Del Mar Area for some shopping and then we had a date night at Newport Coast.

maestros newport coast
10. For our shopping trip, we headed south to the the Carlsbad outlets. We love this small outdoor shopping site. It's just north of San Diego and right around the corner from Legoland. After a morning of shopping, we headed south to one of our favorites, The Carnitas Shack in North Beach. (We noticed they are opening a new location near Del Mar-yeah!!) This time we enjoyed the Carnitas Poutine Fries. Heaven-such deliciousness!

11. After lunch, we headed over to The Grand Del Mar, Trip advisor's number-one rated hotel in the US. While it didn't live up to that standard (really, that's a huge claim) , it is a lovely hotel with incredible staff. The grounds were beautiful too. We had planned on staying for Happy Hour but instead enjoyed some decadent desserts.

12. Date Night, Crystal Cove, Newport Beach, California.We started with drinks and appetizers at Javiers. The bar patio area was so relaxing that we stayed and ended up having dinner :) After dinner, we walked and shopped. There are so many fun little stops!

13. And then, on the recommendation of a friend, we ended up at Maestros for Butter Cake. The place was packed, even on a Tuesday night, but we found a spot in the bar at the piano. What a treat! Not only did we indulge in an over-the-top dessert, but had front row seats at private concert. The singer and keyboard guy were so talented. And with ocean views it was perfect!