Activities / Indoor

Everything You Need To Know About LIQUID, Austin’s Float Spa

02.21.18

Everything you need to know about Austin's float spa

I was honestly a bit scared to try my first float. The idea of being enclosed in a dark pod full of water for 60 minutes didn’t scream “FUN” to me at all. But since I was doing meditation every day for the month of January (and I’m a sucker for anything that might be turned into a blog post), I agreed when Liquid Float Center reached out to me and asked if I’d like to come in and try a float.

Here’s what you should know about Liquid Float Center:

  • Floating isn’t a new concept… Float spas have been around for decades, but they’ve just recently been becoming more popular and accepted by the general public.
  • What’s the purpose, you ask? Floating is a form of meditation and stress relief. When you float, you’re basically removing all of your senses and able to focus of breath, relaxation, and rest. You won’t see, hear, or feel anything for the entire duration of the float.
  • You won’t sink. The float pod is full of 1,000 pounds of epsom salt, so it’s impossible for the human body to sink. You’d have to work pretty hard just to push your arm or leg down through the 12-18 inches of water to the bottom of the pod.
  • Ya get to wear yer birthday suit! You won’t want any baggy clothes or swimsuit fabric distracting you. And if you’re worried about cleanliness, know that everything is completely sterile through a 24/7 state-of-the-art filtration system, so don’t worry about that. You’ll also be required to shower before/after the float.
  • You can bring your own music, use the spa’s music, or float in silence. I chose to float in silence to be able to experience my most relaxed state, but if that much silence freaks you out, you can plug in phone to play through the pod’s speakers.
  • It’s not scary! I’m including this because lots of people reached out on instagram when I shared that I was trying this saying that they’d feel way too claustrophobic to ever try that! I felt the same way, and I can now tell you that there was nothing at all that made me feel scared or trapped.

I was greeted in the serene lobby with a cup of hot peppermint tea before I was shown to my private spa room. The giant float pod filled most of the room, but there was a dressing area with a chair and a place to hang clothes, and a shower behind a glass wall in the corner.

I was instructed to rinse off in the shower before turning off the lights, stepping into the pod, and closing the pod door over me. I was a little scared of feeling trapped, but once I was in the warm water (it’s exactly body temperature, so you won’t feel hot or cold) my body completely relaxed.

I used wax earplugs to keep the salt water from getting into my ears, and a round foam pillow so my head could rest. I was instructed not to shave before arriving; all the salt would’ve made my legs burn. I was also told to cover any scratches in my skin with vaseline, and I wish I had done this a little more carefully…..1000 lbs of salt is a lot, and even a small burn on my arm from 2 weeks before could feel the salt for the first few minutes.

And then….I floated. For a full hour of no sight, sound, smell, taste, or feeling I rested completely alone in what felt like nothingness, and it was perfect. I didn’t have a timer, but I’d guess that it took at least 30 minutes for my mind to stop running. I was thinking about my to-do list, writing up blog ideas, thinking of my grocery list…you name it, my mind was there! But after about 30 minutes with no stimulation, my mind finally rested and I felt….nothing.

This might sound weird, but the best way I can think to describe the sensation of floating was a little like being dead. (I haven’t experienced being dead, obviously, but it’s how I would imagine it to feel to have no body and just a soul.) I literally could feel nothing. If I opened my eyes, I couldn’t see anything. My body was floating in a liquid substance that was my exact body temperature, so it felt like nothing. It was silent, expect for a very, very gentle humming somewhere in the building (probably a water pump.)

This was AMAZING because it’s exactly what I try to achieve each time I meditate! I want to be able to silence my mind and my feelings and just BE for a few moments. Floating did that for me. It was an incredible experience, and when the jet spas came on to signal the end of my 60 minutes, I felt completely rested and restored.

Everyone needs to experience floating, at least once. A float package would make such a meaningful gift to someone who’s experiencing a lot of stress (student, new mom, friend who started a new job). I’m in love with it!

This wasn’t a very technical blog post, so if you have specific questions, check out this guide and video on Liquid Float’s website.

Thank you, Liquid, for inviting me in to try a free float! 

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Coffee / Drink / Food / Neighborhood / Time of Day / Type of Restaurant

Austin’s First Biscuit and Jam Shop is Open, And It’s Adorable

02.19.18

Austin’s first biscuit and jam shop

Happy Monday morning to you! I’ve got an adorable little Austin shop to share with you today; I’m a sucker for a cute and cozy little nook in this city.

Confituras is Ausitn’s first jam and biscuit shop, and it’s absolutely oozing with charm! Owner Stephanie started Confituras in 2010 as a way to preserve all the delicious produce that she found at the Austin farmer’s markets. Her company grew, and grew, and grew, picking up awards along the way, and Confituras just opened their first brick-and-mortar on South Lamar about a month ago (in December 2017).

Although they started by making jams, jellies, and preserves, and selling them in the farmers market and around Austin (including Whole Foods and Antonelli’s Cheese Shop), the team at Confituras decided they needed something more for the new shop.

Jam needs a vehicle to get from jar-to-mouth. They toyed around with the idea of toast, but ultimately decided that it would be a bit too complicated to consistently make and serve high-quality bread in the small kitchen. Biscuits, though? YES.

Austin’s first jam and biscuit shop

Confituras uses Barton Springs Mill artisan bread flour to make their biscuits. It’s a blend of artisan grains that are better for your gut and make the biscuits hearty and flavorful. So even though you’ll find these biscuits to be flaky, buttery, and delicious, they’re not entirely bad for you… Splurge away, my friend.

Austin’s first jam and biscuit shop

You can order two biscuits, some whipped and salted butter, and your choice of jelly or jam (I tried the grapefruit jelly – yums) and enjoy it in the shop or take it to go. Biscuits can also be ordered by the single, doubles, half dozen, or full dozen.

They also have a rotating speciality soda. When I stopped in, it was Strawberry Soda with Rosewater. How pretty is that?! I love all the lovely dried rose petals sprinkled on top.

Some other cute touches:

  • They have a cookbook library that’s “leave one, take one.” If you have some extra cookbooks sitting around your house, drop them off at their library and see if there’s anything that catches you attention that you’d like to take in return.
  • They also sell items from local vendors. You’ll find homemade soap, salt, totes, and honeycomb.
  • You can buy their biscuit mix to make at home! I think that would be a sweet gift to bring to someone who needs a little piece of Austin.
  • There’s a small outdoor patio in the back, and in the future they’re going to work on making this a nice place to sit and enjoy your coffee + biscuits. Still to come!
  • Confituras is available to rent for baby showers, wedding brunches, small dinners, etc. It fits about 30 people.

Austin’s first biscuit and jam shop

Austin’s first jam and biscuit shop

Austin’s first jam and biscuit shop

Austin’s first jam and biscuit shop Austin’s first jam and biscuit shop

Austin’s first jam and biscuit shop Austin’s first jam and biscuit shop

Austin’s first jam and biscuit shop Austin’s first jam and biscuit shop
Austin’s first jam and biscuit shop Austin’s first jam and biscuit shop


It’s just another cute little shop to add to your “to-visit list” in Austin. I loved getting to chat with Stephanie and her team, and I’m absolutely adding this to my list of favorite biscuits in Austin.

Happy Monday, y’all!

Kelsey

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Food / Neighborhood / Time of Day / Type of Food / Type of Restaurant / Uncategorized

Classic Austin: Martin’s Kum-Bak Place Has Been Flipping Burgers In Austin Since 1926

02.16.18

Best burger in Austin: Martin's Kum-Bak

I’m on a mission to cover all of the old, classic Austin restaurants. I’ve lived in the city for too long to not have been to them yet. Take Martin’s Kum-Bak Place, for instance: I drove past this old place at least a hundred times while I was in grad school at University of Texas, but I never stopped in for a burger. Until yesterday.

Here’s what you should know:

  • It opened in 1926 as a drive-in and a tiny kitchen with 8 barstools. The space next door (which is now part of the restaurant) was acquired as part of Martin’s later.
  • It had a dirt floor until 1951, hence the nickname “Dirty’s.” (Don’t worry….it’s not named that because it’s actually a dirty place.) The name stuck, so even though it’s technically named “Martin’s Kum-bak Place,” the website is www.dirtymartins.com. You can call it either one and people will know what you’re talking about.
  • The burgers haven’t changed since 1926 (with the exception of one addition to the menu – the Guadalupe Red Hot Burger) and they’re made with 100% angus beef. Best burger in Austin: Martin's Kum-Bak

Best burgers in Austin: Martin's Kum-bak Place

Best burger in Austin: Martin's Kum-bak Place

Best burgers in Austin: Martin's Kum-bak Place

Best burgers in Austin: Martin's Kum-bak Place

Best burgers in Austin: Martin's Kum-bak Place

The picture above is of one of the first menus from Martin’s. Take a look at those prices! 25 cents for the basic hamburger…ha! I learned that the “sissy burger” was what anything was called when it had lettuce added to it. Daniel, the GM, proudly showed me around the restaurant pointing out the many pieces of memorabilia nailed to the walls of the winding restaurant.

This place has a funny layout because of the gradual additions that have happened through many generations. When you enter, you’ll be in the original counter area of Martin’s Kum-Bak Place from 1926. It’s teeny, and there are just a 8 bar stools and a few small tables.

Best burgers in Austin: Martin's Kum-bak Place

From there, you’ll walk through a narrow hallway (barely big enough for two people side-by-side) that’s lined with photos of celebrities eating at Martin’s. It spits you out in the small sports bar, which boasts two tvs and a selection of liquor from a recently acquired liquor license. Martin’s is now serving cocktails to keep up with the times! From there, you’ll be fed into the main dining room with rows of picnic tables. This used to be the patio, but it was turned into indoor dining (with air condition, hallelujah) and now it’s also available to rent for events.

Best burgers in Austin: Martin's Kum-bak Place

Best burgers in Austin: Martin's Kum-bak Place

Here’s what I tried:

  • The O.T. Special: Bacon | Cheese | Mayo | Lettuce | Tomato. The greasy diner burgers are hearty, made with 100% angus beef and seasoned well. This was a gooooood, messy burger. The bacon was a lot thicker than I’ve tried at other old-school Austin burger joints. YUM!
  • Martin’s Black Bean Burger: Homemade Black Bean Patty | Chipotle Mayo | Tomato | Chopped Cilantro | Sliced Avocado | Swiss Cheese | Wheat Bun. As far as vegetarian options go, this one ranks pretty high in my book. It was packed with flavor (thanks to the well-seasoned bean patty, chipotle mayo, and swiss cheese), and the wheat bun was thick and fluffy.
  • Fried pickle slices. Instantly addicting, served with a side of ranch for dipping. Because #Texas. These are a must-order item!
  • Hand-cut onion rings and hand-cut french fries. No cutting corners here. The fries were whole, raw potatoes a few hours before I put them in my mouth, and I could taste the fresh flavor. The onion rings were awesome (although I’m typically more excited about ordering fries than rings) and breaded with a thick, crunchy coating.
  • Chocolate malt with whipped cream and a cherry on top. I’m not sure why old restaurants are the only ones that serve malts, because they’re so tasty! I know they’re a dated dessert, but they’re pretty simple to make and just as good (better?) than milkshakes, IMO.
  • Strawberry Fields Salad: I actually didn’t order this, but Daniel (the GM) brought it out for me to try. I’m glad he did, because it was a fun surprise at a burger joint! All the produce was fresh, and the vinaigrette dressing was light and sweet. As far as spinach/strawberry/pecan/feta salads go, there was nothing terribly unique about this, but it was a healthy, tasty option that’s nice to have as an option among all the other indulgences. (I actually ended up boxing this up and taking it home to eat for dinner since I was so full from the burgers and fried goodies at lunch.)

Best burgers in Austin: Martin's Kum-bak Place

Order this: The “o.t. special” with 100% angus beef, cheese, bacon, lettuce, tomato, and mayo.

Best burgers in Austin: Martin's Kum-bak Place

Vegetarian option: Martin’s Black Bean Burger: Homemade Black Bean Patty | Chipotle Mayo | Tomato | Chopped Cilantro | Sliced Avocado | Swiss Cheese | Wheat Bun

Best burgers in Austin: Martin's Kum-bak Place

Best burger in Austin: Martin's Kum-Bak Place

Best burger in Austin: Martin's Kum-Bak Place

Something that struck me was how Martin’s Place has been able to retain its classic charm while still keeping up with the changing food culture (but only in the most essential ways.)

For instance, the burgers have been made the same way for 92 years and the menu has hardly changed. There are three cooks who have been there for 15 years (which is practically unheard of in the restaurant industry) and a whole lot of regulars who eat lunch there every week.

But the restaurant also been evolving where it matters, like acquiring a liquor license (important for sales during major sporting events so they can keep up with the cost of functioning in Austin) and turning the outdoor patio into an indoor dining space (since Guadalupe has become such a busy street, it’s wouldn’t be fun to eat outdoors so near the traffic.) They just got a shiny, new bar top and brand spankin’ new picnic tables made from east Texas maple; as charming as those old linoleum floors are, we all know how important aesthetics are in a trendy restaurant city like Austin.

Best burger in Austin: Martin's Kum-Bak Place


“Dirty” Martin’s Kum-Bak Place

https://www.dirtymartins.com

2808 Guadalupe St, Austin, TX 78705

Mon – Sun, 11 am – 11 pm

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Lifestyle / Neighborhood

A Galentine’s Brunch in Austin

02.13.18

Happy Galentine’s Day!

“What is Galentine’s Day? Only the best day of the year! Every February 13th, my lady friends and I leave our husbands and boyfriends at home and just come kick it breakfast style. Ladies celebrating ladies.” -Leslie Knope

My friend Kiera asked me a few weeks ago if I’d be willing to gather some of my fellow blogger gals to “model” (using the term very loosely here….we basically ate sugary snacks and giggled) for a styled Galentine’s photo shoot that she was photographing. Duh, yes! The end result was published on Every Last Detail, which you can see hereRead More

Austin / Lifestyle

A Weekend Recap (February 2018)

02.12.18

Every now and then I like to do a quick weekend  recap of what I’ve been up to here in Austin. (I did this one back in August, and then I shared my weekend eats in November.) Today, I’m sharing a peek into what my weekend looked like. Enjoy!


Friday night I played a concert with the Austin Symphony. It was “Jurassic Park in Concert,” so we played the John Williams soundtrack while the movie played in HD over our heads. Every musician gets a “click track” in her headphones to make sure we’re lining up exactly with the correct part of music. Movie concerts are always really fun to play. 🙂

After the show, I went home to see my little sister Kylee! She drove down from Dallas just to hang out for the weekend. We had no big plans except to watch a lot of Olympics and eat food…haha. Typical sisters weekend. Read More