Beauty Blog: Jose Luis Salon

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.)

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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.)

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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.

Food Find: Terry Black’s Barbecue

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We made a quick stop in to Terry Black’s to try Austin’s most talked about, new barbecue stand. The weather was nice, and their patio offered plenty of seating with a beautiful view of the Long Center.

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It was late in the afternoon, but we still managed to grab some of their last brisket. Given that I can’t have beer lately (blame it on the low-carb diet), I was happy to see wine offered by both  the bottle and half-bottle ($12-$18). There were no lines, despite the restaurant being moderately busy.

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We thought what we had was above-average, and even better when you factor in that there wasn’t a 2 hour wait, or a 3 hour drive to acquire it. I should also mention that given you don’t have to jump through hoops to get their food, it’s not necessarily an insane, melt-in-your-mouth, Franklin-esque experience. It’s still good though, and definitely worth a try on a lazy Saturday afternoon after a dip in Barton Springs.

Austin Eats Food Tour: South Congress Avenue

La Patisserie Pastry

Have you ever thought about visiting Austin? Better yet, Austinites, have you considered becoming a tourist in your own town? Perhaps you’re just hungry? Whatever the reason, you should definitely check out Austin Eats Food Tours. Recently, I dragged my boyfriend out of the house, and along with me on their South Congress walking tour.

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Now, I consider myself a bit of an “expert” (heavy accent on those quotation marks) on food in Austin, and even I, Amber (Ruler of the Seven Kingdoms, King of the Andals and the First Men), found myself genuinely enlightened. South Congress is a touristy street that most locals have found themselves on half a million times, and even though a few of the stops were pretty famous, each one offered something that I hadn’t really tried before. To kick off the tour, we met up by Jo’s to sample iced coffee with pastries from La Patisserie.

Snack Bar South Congress

After introducing ourselves to the group, we strolled down to Snack Bar, where the owner gave us a thorough history lesson regarding South Congress’s seedy past, and the relation her restaurant held to the iconic Austin Motel next door. (tl;dr: If you wanted hookers and crack back in the 80’s, SoCo was the place to be.)

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We were served her take on onomiyaki, which is a savory Japanese pancake, and learned about Snack Bar’s dedication to local, organic food. All the while I was pitifully trying to remove the shrimp from inside the pancake in a last ditch effort to “sort of maintain my low carb diet.”

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Speaking of diets, if you’re on one whilst taking this tour, then count it as your totally-worth-it-awesome-cheat-day-that-you-will-never-regret. NEVER REGRET! Our next restaurant was Guero’s, which had been around for much longer than I ever would have thought. A waiter told us about how the restaurant was once a feed store while we sipped small margaritas, enjoyed pork tacos, and watched tortillas being made right before our eyes.

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We left to hit the next place, and received rockstar treatment at Hopdoddy.

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Hopdoddy is known for having massively long lines, and worth-it-waits, but we arrived to a table set just for our group. Zero wait. Immediate samples.

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Drinks weren’t included at this stop, but I still took advantage of the bar using my own cash, as did a few others in the group.

Croque Madame

We ate quickly, and later learned that our group holds some sort of record for being the fastest eaters, then crossed the street to Burro Cheese Kitchen. Burro is a local food truck specializing in deluxe grilled cheese sandwiches.

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They even do sandwiches with brisket, and offer free beer once a week! Despite feeling a bit full, we devoured the unctuous croque madames, and cooled off with complimentary water bottles. The croque madames contained everything but the kitchen sink: sour dough, smoked ham, fried egg, fontina, pesto aioli, dulce de leche…

Homeslice Pizza

It’s at this point in the tour that we started to feel the fullness hitting us, but when we heard that Homeslice Pizza was going to be our next and final stop, we decided to soldier on.

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Homeslice has consistently been a local darling amongst New York style pizza fans, and pizza fans in general. They have that “quirky, South Austin vibe” and nothing exemplifies that more than their bizarre coloring books, which I always ask for.

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With our day coming to a close, we chatted with our tour guide and enjoyed the pitchers of beer he brought to our table (well, I got wine, I actually did pretty much maintain my low carb thing, believe it or not). My boyfriend moaned that he was in a happy state of food coma as I demolished the toppings from his pizza. It was a fun, filling day that made me see an all-too-familiar neighborhood in a new, mouthwatering light. Which place would you try?

What’s Inside: Blush Box

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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…

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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.

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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.)

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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.

There’s so much fun stuff going on at I Eat Fancy. Check us out on Facebook, and by “us,” I mean ME! I’ll see you in New York around the 26th.

By the way: now taking suggestions as to where to eat next!

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