Cotton Anniversary and Adventures in Austin

Marriott Austin Anniversary trip

“I participated in an Ambassador Program on behalf of Millennial Central for Marriott Rewards®. I received Marriott Points to facilitate my review as well as a promotional item to thank me for my participation.”

I’m not usually a traditionalist. I don’t have many family keepsakes, there aren’t really any heirlooms to speak of and I’m certainly not superstitious. But, for some reason I decided we should attempt to do the traditional wedding anniversary gifts. If you’re not familiar, there are specific gifts you should give for each year – the first is paper, second is cotton, third is leather, and that’s about as far as I know.

Last year, when we were opening our paper gifts, my husband joked that the first anniversary had to be paper because “everyone was too poor their first year of marriage for real gifts”. In our case, we were in the process of buying our first house, so we were about to write a HUGE check from our savings account. The official closing on the house was a few weeks after the anniversary, but we already knew how much we were putting down on the house. So, we were quite frugal with anniversary gifts.

Austin roadtrip

This year, we kept with the traditional gift of cotton but put our own spin on it. We opted for a weekend road-trip to Austin, with some great food, interesting adventures and a fabulous stay at Marriott South Austin. In case you’re wondering how any of those things are cotton related, here’s how cotton fit into the weekend:

  • fancy sheets at the Marriott (probably some cotton)
  • fancy robes (definitely cotton)
  • his gift: a rock-climbing rope (probably not really cotton, but I’m pretending it is.)
  • my gift: a new pink cotton dress that spontaneously appeared in my suitcase and some earrings (certainly not cotton)

As a Marriott Rewards® Ambassador, I was given some points that I could redeem at any of the 3,000+ Marriott locations. We opted for Austin because it’s close enough that we could easily make a weekend of it, but far enough to feel like an actual vacation. I’ve heard of many people doing Staycations in their own city, and while I like that, it’s also fun to play tourist in another area of your state. Joining Marriott Rewards® is free (here: and there are so many great perks for both business and personal travel.

We drove down Friday afternoon, had a brief stop in Hillsboro for some shopping and a Google Hangout. Some how in my planning that week I didn’t realize I had a Community Manager on-air hangout during the time we were planning on driving. It worked out fine, because Rory managed to sneak an adorable pink dress into my luggage while I was at the Starbucks. He admitted that he wasn’t prepared for the cotton gift thing before that stop.

We had an AMAZING dinner in North Austin at a place called NoRTH Italia. There will certainly be another post about that. For now here’s some food porn:

NoRTH Italia at the Domain :: Austin, TX


We arrived at Marriott South Austin pretty late that evening. We received such a warm welcome when we got there. One of the perks of being a Marriott Rewards Platinum Elite member is free upgrades. It was quite nice to find out we were on the Concierge Floor!

Marriott Austin Anniversary trip

Cotton Anniversary and Adventures in Austin

I’ll admit when they gave us vouchers for breakfast at checkin I was expecting some box cereal with some fruit on the side. I was pleasantly surprised at a full breakfast buffet. We spent Saturday being very outdoorsy. The morning started off with a 30-foot rope swing at Travaasa Experiential Resort. I handed my phone to an observer and asked her to shoot video. It’s actually hard to tell (even in vertical mode *gasp*) how high the drop was.

Post by Elysa Ellis. (email/RSS subscribers may need to click through to view the video)

Rory and his brother have been really into rock climbing lately, hence the rope as a gift, so we drove to a well known climbing area so he could do some bouldering. All of the athletic genes in my family went to my brother so I played spectator for that occasion. The weather was beautiful the entire day, so I didn’t mind an excuse to relax and enjoy my surroundings.

Austin, TX rockclimbing

After such an adventureful day, the super comfy King Sized bed at the Marriott was greatness. There may have been some napping before we got cleaned up and headed back out to do some foodtruck hopping. This trip was Rory’s first time to experience downtown ATX so we had a bit of a progressive dinner at 2 or 3 foodtrucks. If I can’t remember them all the calories don’t count right?

Sunday, we opted to take advantage of the complimentary late check out, because vacation! Overall it was a great way to celebrate our anniversary. If you are stuck on ideas for your cotton anniversary, or just need an excuse to get away, I highly recommend scheduling a weekend adventure.

Anniversary Weekend in Austin with Marriott Rewards

Speaking of anniversaries, Marriott is celebrating their 30th year this year! As part of their celebration, they are celebrating with its members all year long with a Year of Surprises. I told you guys a bit about it back in February. Well, May is the second round of nominations (the third will be in August). You have until the end of May to nominate a friend or family member that you think deserves a special celebration—and, if you are selected, Marriott will throw them a surprise party they’ll never forget! (official rules: Here’s a bit more about it in my latest video:

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Are you a Marriott Rewards member? If you end up entering the Year of Surprises let me know!

PS: Any ideas for the leather anniversary?