Class Pass just launched in Austin, and I am genuinely excited. Have you ever wanted to take a cardio rowing class? Perhaps you hoped to someday visit Ride Indoor Cycling? Maybe you’re more extreme (like me) and are just dying to sign up for a torturous session of boot camp at Heat? Class Pass charges a flat monthly fee of $99 that let’s you take a plethora of classes at places all around town.
The site is super easy to navigate: You choose your neighborhood(s), activity, time, and date. You can input as much or as little information as you’d like, and once you spot a class you like: you reserve the spot. I’ll be taking my first class on Friday and can’t decide between Zumba and barre. Don’t wait until after the holidays to get in shape! Class Pass gives you so many options that you’re guaranteed to find something you’ll enjoy.
Disclaimer: I will be trying these services free of charge. Opinions expressed are 100% my own.
You may be wondering how this healthy, happy hair (shown above) happened. Especially considering that with color treatments, and a staunch refusal to lose any length of my proudly grown hair had led us to what you see below.
Ouch! (And yes, both of those pictures were taken on the same day.) I decided to get over my haircut paranoia, and visit the luxurious (really luxurious) Jose Luis Salon on West 6th.
It was there that these two magical people transformed my look from Tara Reid ca. 2003 (sloppy makeup, and about a half foot of split ends) into sleek, modern fierceness. Tyler, a master stylist and I presume very talented musician from Minnesota, was well versed in current trends, and happy to talk to me about which direction he thought I should go.
He understood that I was scared of losing length, but also eased me into what needed to be done: chopping the dead weight off. We discussed blunt, razored edges, and he gave me exactly what he told me he would. (I should mention that he gives one killer scalp massage, and wanted me to disclose that he was only dressed as a cowboy for Halloween.)
As soon as my hair was finished, they offered to throw in some makeup. What?! I was getting my hair AND makeup done?! I felt a little bit like Cinderella as Sarah worked her magic with the airbrush on me. (Okay, at this point I felt more like Beyonce than Cinderella, which we all know is an even better feeling.) She let me ask a ton of pesky makeup questions, and didn’t bat an eye when I changed my mind for which direction I wanted my look to go in. She was so gentle, patient, and understanding when I complained that my eyes were watering during the eyeliner application that I told her she should be a pediatrician. (I have a hilarious image in my head now of her being a pediatrician for one of the kids on Toddlers & Tiaras, given her makeup talent.)
You saw how perfect my hair and makeup looked in the first image of this post, but as you can see in the one directly above, my whole look (minus the lipstick I surely drank off between F1 day parties and happy hours) held up. I looked and felt amazing, and had way too many people hit on me that day. (No lie.) If you want to to get your hair and makeup done for an event, or perhaps just to feel so good about yourself on the outside that it pierces your inside, I definitely recommend taking a trip to Jose Luis, and checking in with Sarah and Tyler.
Disclosure: I did receive complimentary services, but opinions expressed are 100% my own.
I have struggled with a variety of eating disorders over the years. In fact, I think my earliest memories are of the comforting feeling McDonald’s gave me when my mom woke me up in the middle of the night with the smell of French fries and the scratchy sounds of napkins being pulled from paper bags. (She worked late nights, and I had an obsessive, irrational fear that she would die in a car wreck.) When I smelled late night fast food: I knew she was home safe, and that it was finally time for me to eat.
I won’t begin to touch on the pains of being an obese kid or teenager, but at least you can see a small part of where it all began. I decided to have weight-loss surgery at age 20, and had it reversed (against my wishes) within a year because it became abundantly clear that I had gamed my surgery for bulimia, and lost too much weight, too quickly. I learned the mindset required to starve myself, and continued to shrink without the surgery. I thought I’d be happy when I got to 120110 98 lbs., but believe me: it’s never enough.
In a weird twist of fate, I won a stack of wine books in a drawing. I wasn’t into wine, but I’m the type that has to read every book in my house, and so I did. I learned that a glass of wine could contain endless flavors and aromas; things that I once ate, which were now a distant memory, were now accessible in a glass that contained far fewer calories than the dishes themselves. Some reds could smell of gamey meats, blueberry cobbler, or even cherry pie. Champagne contained lemon zest and yeasty bread, and Chardonnays were (some would argue unfortunately so) full of butter.
My obsession with wine grew, and I attended every class and tasting I could find. Given that wine is almost always served with food, I think you can see where the story goes. I was slowly reintroduced to eating, and eating well at that; I became less and less afraid of nibbling the bits of cheese that accompanied my Pinot. Over the years I became healthy, then slightly overweight, and then healthy again. My life became a balancing act: I did not want to miss out on the things that gave me pleasure, but I did not want to overindulge and face feeling extremely uncomfortable in my plump, loose skin. These days I try to eat a low-carb diet, and work out every day at lunch. I try not to starve myself. I never throw up on purpose. I wear short shorts because I feel good about my body.
And yes, sometimes I still see myself as incredibly fat. I love food, and I hate that I wasted so much time fearing it. I remember visiting France and only allowing myself a croissant and an Orangina most days, crying and trying to purge it somehow if I allowed myself anything else. My days are spent tottering on a mental tight rope: I never want to be obese again, and I never want to let that obsession with being skinny take hold.
This is a very personal post, and I hope you will all respond with sensitivity. I have been working on an autobiography off and on for many years now, and I felt that sharing this might help inspire me to finish it, and to quit fearing what others might think if they knew this about me.
The Fox Society is a concierge service that helps couples find amazing things to do together in Austin. You fill out a survey, let them know what you’re into/what you’d like to avoid, and they come up with a solid plan for you to have an amazing time with your special someone. I know that my partner and I can feel stuck in a rut – doing the same things over and over again, so I was excited to see (and do) their game plan.
We received a very elegant letter in the mail with our itinerary; we were to get Mexican food and drinks, take a screen-printing class at Craft, and snap some photos in front of the iconic ‘Greetings from Austin’ mural. I, the happy hour obsess-er, decided to tweak our plans a little, and head to Craft first, so we could catch the daily discounts over at El Chile (their happy hour starts at 3).
Walking in to Craft, I wasn’t sure what to expect. We had some time to kill, and decided to try out their ‘make anything’ services. You pay $10/hour, and are set up in a room with every possible bit and bob you can imagine. You literally can make anything, and they clean up the mess! Once I found a toy dinosaur, I was set on mounting him to a cube that I coated in glitter, and the rest is history. (It’s now the coolest desk ornament EVER.) We had so much fun being creative, that I felt like a kid again, and it was interesting to see the artistic side in my partner.
One of my favorite things about the itinerary was that everything was within walking distance; once we were finished at Craft, we posed in front of the Austin mural during our stroll to El Chile.
We had so much fun doing things outside of our usual routine that we decided to take it even further, and trekked out to Mayfield Park with a bottle of wine to look at the peacocks. It was an incredible day, and I got to see new-to-me businesses, and try stuff outside of my norm. If you and your partner feel stuck in a rut, give The Fox Society a try; you might just discover a new side of town, and a new side of your partner.
Disclaimer: I received this service free of charge for review purposes only. Opinions expressed are my own.
My hair was growing out, and as the roots got browner, the ends got brassier. I was looking slightly ragged, and had long since lamented that the last time I colored my hair, it didn’t turn out Targaryen White. I needed help, and decided to turn to Jami at Urban Betty Salon.
I dragged my poor boyfriend along, and thankfully we were both greeted with drinks. (I went with wine; he went with Shiner.) My stylist was almost immediately ready to take me, which can be rare, and she was beyond patient with my waffling back and forth on, “Should I go violet or platinum? Kelly Osbourne has violet, so maybe I should avoid that.” She brilliantly came up with the idea to put on a slightly violet toner that would appear lilac in certain lighting, and silvery-blonde in the dark.
I’m pretty chatty, and Jami kindly engaged with me as she worked. She took the time to explain what she was doing, and how long things would take. I, unsurprisingly, got a refill on my wine, and laid back comfortably as the chemicals worked their magic. When all was said and done, my hair looked exactly how I wanted (minus that fact that my @$%!%ing bangs won’t grow out fast enough!).
If you’re looking for a new salon, one that will make you post way too many selfies to Instagram during and after (*cough cough*), then I highly recommend UB. The place is spacious, stylish, and brimming with talented people that truly care about making you look and feel like, well, like I felt. Which is hot enough to post way too many selfies to Instagram when they’re done!
Wantable is a monthly subscription service that offers: intimates, accessories, and cosmetics. Given that I am completely addicted to subscription services, I gave in and decided to try out their jewelry.
After a brief yet fun quiz, the site determined what styles it thought would match my tastes, and I was on my way to receiving my first package.
I can’t say enough about the packaging. Everything comes in its own black velvet pouch with their iconic ‘W’ marking. The accessories I got were tasteful, useful, and I am still going bananas for the summer scarf I received. (It’s the size of a ship sail! The possibilities are endless!)
The peacock earrings are the perfect size to make a statement, and the turquoise necklace appears to be of great quality (unlike the pile of $5 breakable necklaces from a certain mall store that I usually wear), and it’s the perfect length. If you’re looking to try a high-end-yet-affordable monthly service, I definitely recommend giving Wantable a try. What I got versus the amount they charge is a bargain, especially if you fall in love with everything you get.
Disclosure: I did receive this free of charge for reviewing purposes, but all opinions expressed are my own.
Blush Box is a monthly subscription service that gives you a bit more than the usual make-up samples and skin creams. Blush offers sexy surprises at many different monthly levels (and they’re based in Austin!). You can opt for a box that’s more intimate and wild, or try something a little more tame. I got to try out their Panty Delivery, and decided to have a little fun with how I presented their products…
For only $24 you can surprise yourself and your partner with something new to wear beneath your clothing. I should also mention that this can come in handy if your subscription arrives between visits to the laundromat.
Speaking of these products coming when you’re in a bind and need them the most, they also have a Condom Courier. (You know that feel if you’ve ever had one of those moments.)
My box was thoughtfully packaged, and even came with a lavender sachet to keep everything smelling great. I love that they make sure to send you things that are both cute and comfortable, and you never know exactly what to expect (because that would be boring). They have everything from bridal gifts to seasonal boxes, and even more. Take a chance on something new and daring; give Blush Box a try.
Disclosure: I did receive these items at no charge in order to review them. All opinions expressed are my own.