Author Archives: Carlos

Wine Flights At Cru

Cru Austin Domain Location

Cru Wine Bar via photo courtesy of company website

Ok, so I know the previous post also discusses wine, but I want to talk about how some (myself included) are often overwhelmed by how much there is to know about wine. Taste, food pairings, regions, reds, whites, blushes! Luckily, my friend gave me a tip about a very reasonably priced solution right here in Austin. Cru, a wine bar with two locations in the Domain and 2nd Street District, does several things to make the somewhat elitist idea of wine knowledge fun and inviting—all at a great price. If you are new to the wine game, Cru’s popular wine flights are a great way to go! Each flight includes three different 2 oz. tastings of wines grouped by theme. The flights can range in price, with some as low as $11! Mandy Stiles, Cru’s event coordinator, demonstrates how less than $20 can get you great wine and knowledge:

Beside the flights, Cru also offers several deals you wouldn’t expect from the intimate candlelit restaurant. Weekly specials include champagne Thursdays (every bottle is half-priced), “Grillin’ Out” Sundays where from 1-5  there are Kobe Beef Hamburgers for $7 and a weekend Brunch from 11-3 with $7 bottomless mimosas. And it wouldn’t be an Austin establishment without a happy hour: Weekdays from 3-6 the appetizers and their gourmet pizzas are half off. I must say I was little bit intimidated by the idea of a going wine bar, but this one has a Facebook page so it is definitely a place where you can have some fun!

Posted by Jill Harris

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The Big Pink Building in the Middle of the Downtown

Photo by DGilder via Flickr Creative Commons Attribution 2.0

Photo by DGilder via Flickr Creative Commons Attribution 2.0

While South Congress has become the uber-trendy part of the street,  drive north a few blocks you can’t help but miss the huge Renaissance Revival building otherwise known as the Texas State Capitol, a downtown Austin landmark since 1888. While everyone knows it is the seat of the Texas’ government, legislature and politics, few know about what the Capitol has to offer citizens. There are daily free tours of the largest capitol building in the country. The tours include information about the architecture, building history and some state history as well (for those of us who are little rusty from that junior high class). The tours run seven days a week, with a very open schedule. The tours will allow you to experience several informational exhibits with information about the secret places in the Capitol and the architectural details of its famous dome. If you are lucky, a visit to the Capitol might even get you a meal. People looking to wine and dine legislatures give free incentive food that the even the interns take part in. So if you can pass for an intern (or a senator) step in line!

Posted by Jill Harris

RedBox-A Cheap Night In

Photo by R Burson via Flickr Creative Commons 2.0 Attribution

Photo by R Burson via Flickr Creative Commons 2.0 Attribution

If you are thinking you want to make it a couch night, RedBox might be the perfect solution. These little boxes have been popping up all over the nation including in Austin, allowing movie lovers to rent their favorite new releases for $1 per night and then return them. “What about late fees?” ” The boxes all look the same what if I forget which one I got it at?” ” How do I pay?” 

 Well, there are no late fees and you can return any DVD to any RedBox anywhere, there are several locations in the central Austin area. You can only pay by credit card, and you are required to type in your email when you first get the movie so the RedBox’s system can keep track of how long you keep your movie for. If you don’t return it by 9pm the following day, you are just charged another dollar.

And if you are the kind that likes to plan ahead, you can even reserve your DVDs at RedBox.com.

Now for those of you addicted to the convenience of the Nexflix consider this– You order your DVDs and yes they come right to your door, but in the lapsed time you might not want to watch the ones you ordered a few days ago… We are Americans! Austinites! Instant gratification! Its fast, cheap entertainment. What more is there to say.

Post by Jill Harris

Why Pay If You Don’t Know The Party is Good

Photo by Rebecca Ellen via Flickr Creative Commons 2.0 Attribution

Photo by Rebecca Ellen via Flickr Creative Commons 2.0 Attribution

Yes, Austin is known for its live music, but also its nightlife and with that comes its share of pricey clubs and bars. However, not every place is the right fit for every person, so why pay that annoying cover charge to that snobby bouncer if you don’t even know what is going on inside? Most often you have already waited in line or are with a bunch of friends so the paying is just something that happens….Stop! Its wastes money. If you are into exploring bars and don’t already have a set list of places you like to go, the Austin Chronicle’s Club Guide has a useful database of a lot of places that charge before you can even step in. Also, the Downtown Austin has a really good directory of nightlife spots with all the websites if you just can’t quite remember the name of the place you were Saturday night. Go figure, but it seems Austinites like to help other Austinites party. Another way to save when hitting the town is getting out early. Many places start charging cover after 10 or 11 p.m. and/or if they are having live music so planning or calling ahead is good too!

Post by Jill Harris

Hey Its Getting Hot Already

Photo by Davipt via Flickr Creative Commons 2.0

Photo by Davipt via Flickr Creative Commons 2.0

Its spring and for Austin that means the touches of summer weather. I recall one time when my friend told me she laid out by the pool in November…only in Texas. Anyways, almost everyone who has lived in a hot state knows the value of a good pool and if you dont have access to one Austin is great place to enjoy several cheap. Of course there is the famous Barton Springs, perfect if you want to read a book or take a very, very cold dip. For you history minded folk, there is Deep Eddy, Texas’ oldest swimming pool where you can get in for the entire day for $3 (less than a 90 minute movie). Although these two are the most famous there is also Hamilton Pool which we mentioned in a previous post, where $8 gets you in. A little less known is South Austin’s Big Stacy, which is open year around and perfect for everyone from experienced lap swimmers to those just learning. And here admission is free. Can’t decide? Here are a few tips to help you. If you want a warm pool, go with Big Stacy, an artesian assures its tempid (which is why they keep it open all year round). If you want to cool off with a cocktail after your swimming, try Deep Eddy, as it has Deep Eddy Cabaret located nearby. And if you want peace and quiet, take you iPod, pools are for screaming kids. Bite the bullet and get show off those tan lines when you are done.
Posted by Jill Harris

Death and Taxes

Photo by RRRay Man via Flickr Creative Commons Attribution 2.0

Photo by RRRay Man via Flickr Creative Commons Attribution 2.0

They are both inevitable. I don’t forget April 15th. One its my birthday and two….its TAX DAY-the filing deadline. Spring has sprung ladies and gentlemen and although we advocate living cheaply on this blog, we always appreciate a little extra spending cash from those tax returns to live cheaply with a little more ;)For those that are filing taxes this year things like Turbo Tax and TaxAct offer free online software to get the job done.  But if you don’t trust yourself, Jackson Hewitt  is offering $19.99 off their services if you come in now (and you only have two days so hey, why not). And while for many of us filing taxes can feel like another exam, many websites give students great tips to getting the most out of their returns. So file, but don’t spend it all at one 6th street! After all, we are in a recession!

Post by Jill Harris

Are we STILL looking for a place to park?

I cannot tell you how much gas I have wasted looking for parking in downtown Austin. Especially at night when everything is amplified by the fact that you are hungry, anxious to see that guy, etc. In light of this I decided to do some research and find out how the (nearest and cheapest) places to park and if anything was in fact free. After all, we girls by those shoes to look good in, not for long walks.

Photo by Tas246tom via Flickr Creative Commons Attribution 2.0
Photo by Tas246tom via Flickr Creative Commons Attribution 2.0

If you aren’t lucky enough to find a parking metered space (free on weekends and after 5:30) or if you cannot parallel park, another choice is the many parking lots and garages. I spoke to Stacy from Classified Parking Services who rents spaces downtown and she said that if you want save a few bucks stay away from the 6th and Congress areas, as they are most central and therefore the most pricey. Also, rethink parking when there is an event downtown as parking prices will go from the normal $5-10 to $20!

But for those of you going downtown going to do a little shopping during the week, there is a little bonus. The lot behind City Hall offers free parking with validation from 2nd street retail shops, Monday-Friday 8 a.m.-5 p.m.

Enjoy and remember…getting towed immediately ruins your night, possibly your week.

Posted by Jill Harris