Valentine’s Day Date Night Ideas in Austin

Valentine’s Day Date Night Ideas in Austin

Valentine’s Day is right around the corner, it’s a sneaky little bugger isn’t it?!

If you’re a bit last minute (like me!), or maybe you just found your Valentine – here are a few last minute Valentine’s Day Date Night Ideas in Austin sure to make your date’s heart skip a beat! 💘

Sunset at Mount Bonnell

Sunset will occur a few minutes after 7pm this Valentine’s Day. This gives you plenty of time to head over to Olive&June for Happy Hour! Enjoy a romantic glass of wine before heading over to Mount Bonnell which is only 4 minutes away down W 35th Street. 

* Happy Hour Special:  1/2 OFF beer, cocktails, and full dinner menu Monday-Friday 3-6pm 

Mount Bonnell:  3800 Mount Bonnell Rd; Austin, Texas 78731

Olive & June: 3411 Glenview Ave, Austin, TX 78703

Picnic at Town Lake

Valentine’s will be 60 degrees and sunny this year, perfect weather for a cozy picnic at Town Lake. Stop by Trader Joe’s at Seaholm for sandwiches, salads, snacks, and your beverage of choice. After the sunset, you can head back up to Seaholm for a yummy ice cream and fresh-baked cookie treat at The Baked Bear.

Trader Joe’s & The Baked Bear: 211 Walter Seaholm Dr Ste 100, Austin, TX 78701

The Baked Bear: 211 Walter Seaholm Dr #150, Austin, TX 78701

Taco ‘Bout Love at Fair Cider

Fairweather Cider is hosting Taquiero Mucho, a TACO PARTY, by Provecho ATX for Valentine’s Day evening! The event is FREE to attend, but you’ll need to purchase the tacos and cider. Fairweather will have ten ciders on draft and a variety of wines by the bottle or by the glass, with DRINK SPECIALS all evening! 

Fairweather Cider Co.: 10609 Metric Boulevard #108A Austin, TX 78758

Connect. Become. Discover. Yoga – LOVE Edition 

Have you been promising your honey you’d go to yoga with him/her? Here’s your chance! The good folks at Sanctuary Yoga are celebrating V Day with romantic sessions that include trust exercises, partner work, light acro yoga, as well as connection-building conversations and a fun happy hour to end the night! Grab your tickets here ($40-65) before it sells out!

Sanctuary Yoga: 1006 South 8th Street Austin, TX 78704

Valentine’s Evening of Big Band, Jazz & Swing w/ the Copa Kings, Golden Hour Quintet

Nothing says LOVE like dancing the night away to smooth jazz and playful swing. Or if you have two left feet, you might just want to go the cocktail and good conversation route. 😉Show starts at 6:30pm, and The Highball will have chocolate covered strawberries on the menu!

The Highball: 1120 S. Lamar Austin, TX 78704

Not enough time to #ShopLocal? 😬

Find LAST MINUTE gift inspiration on our AMAZON list, many with SAME DAY delivery!

Not-So-Secret Ingredient Can Boost Your Skin Hydration 1,000X Its Weight

Not-So-Secret Ingredient Can Boost Your Skin Hydration 1,000X Its Weight

DRY skin vs. HYDRATED skin

W hen you think of anti-aging skin care, what comes to mind? I bet the usual suspects… Retin-A, alpha hydroxy acids, and heavy hitters like Botox. 

But what if I told you there was another anti-aging powerhouse hiding in plain sight? One that you’ve probably passed over a few times while strolling the beauty aisle without even realizing it?

Despite it’s clinical-sounding name, Hyaluronic Acid (HA), is a clear, gooey substance that is naturally produced by your body.

The largest concentrations of it are found in your skin, connective tissue and eyes. Its superpower is retaining water which keeps your tissues well lubricated and moist.

However, as we age our body loses HA and our production levels decrease. This natural decline in hyaluronic acid is sped up by outside factors, such as UV rays and other environmental disruptors.

The body’s loss of its natural Hyaluronic stores lead to wrinkles and fine lines along with dry and saggy skin. ¹

In other words, those signs of aging we all dread can be DIRECTLY traced back to a loss in Hyaluronic Acid. 

So what makes Hyaluronic Acid so great? Let’s dive in…

Plumping Power x 1,000

Easily one of the hardest working ingredients in the beauty biz, Hyaluronic Acid is CRITICAL for hydration. 

This naturally occurring polysaccharide (carbohydrate) works to attract and hold onto moisture in our skin cells. This hydrating effect plumps the skin on our face it creates a noticeable reduction in fine lines and wrinkles.

It’s plumping powers are pretty astonishing too – Hyaluronic Acid can hold up to 1,000 times its molecular weight in water! That’s a lot of plumping power!

Long-Lasting Moisture

Hyaluronic Acid is also a powerful humectant.

This means that after it infuses the top layer of the skin with valuable moisture, it will continue to draw moisture in from its surrounding environment.

This is key for providing lasting hydration for the skin and helps ensure its hydrating benefits are long-lasting.

Rebuild Damaged Skin

Our skin is our largest organ with roughly 5 million pores that protects us from microbes and the elements.

However, as we age our natural lipid barrier breaks down and becomes less effective in blocking out harmful elements such as sun exposure, environmental pollution, and UV rays.

This ongoing damage results in uneven skin tone and dark spots, fine lines and wrinkles, and drier skin prone to inflammation. 

By supplementing with Hyaluronic Acid, you can work to rebuild the lipid barrier strength you’ve lost over the years. This healthy boost not only slows down the damage to your lipid barrier, but it protects and strengthens it too!

At this point, you might be thinking… 

Yes, there are limitations.

Truth is, the multiple signs of aging require multiple tools. While solving the hydration issue will definitely help turn back the clock, it isn’t a cure all. If you’re serious about waging war on aging, I suggest adding these complimenting ingredients to your beauty routine. 

Panthothenic Acid – the Healer

Pantothenic Acid, also known as Vitamin B5, is another water-soluble vitamin with impressive restorative benefits. A natural humectant, it hydrates your skin by absorbing moisture from the air. 

Vitamin B5 also works as a powerful anti-inflammatory agent and can jump start your skin’s healing process leaving you with soft, smooth and healthy skin in record time.

This advanced healing benefit is especially helpful in reversing the signs of aging such as rough, uneven skin tone. While we can’t turn back time and correct our past skin sins, we can minimize their effects with a daily healthy dose of B5.

Niacinamide – Dark Spot Eraser

Niacinamide, also known as vitamin B3, is a water-soluble vitamin proven to help visibly improve enlarged pores, uneven skin tone, fine lines and wrinkles, and dullness.

Niacinamide is especially effective for hyperpigmentation with clinical studies showing

35-68% lightening of skin after just 4 weeks of continued use.

Struggling with hormone-related cystic acne? Niacinamide’s calming and restorative properties help treat severe acne, especially inflammatory forms like cystic, papules and pustules acne. 

Citric Acid – The Exfoliator

Citric Acid is a naturally occurring alpha hydroxy commonly found in citrus fruits. When applied to your face, it gently exfoliates leaving behind a smoother, brighter, more even skin tone.

This is especially helpful for lessening dark spots, opening up clogged pores to prevent acne, and sloughing off dead skin cells that can worsen the appearance of fine lines.

And last, but certainly not least – this gentle exfoliation works wonders to help your skin absorb all the other wonderfully restorative ingredients in our pro-repair serum.  It’s the ultimate team player!

So tell me, do you think your skin would benefit from being plumped 1,000 times?
Hello hydration! Goodbye fine lines! 
But…how many products do I need to all these powerhouse ingredients? How expensive is it? I got you! This is where the news gets even better. 🙂 You can find ALL of these powerhouse ingredients in one SIMPLE serum. Yep, just one! And the best part? If you shop through my link (click the pink button on the right), you can SAVE 36% with the StungBeauty.Co Clean Beauty Starter Kit.  PS…and they also stand behind their products – check out the guarantee below!

 Rose Away the Day” replenishes skin’s moisture to visibly improve texture (1,000X plumping power)

“Clean Slate Cleansing Oil” deep cleans without stripping away precious natural oils

“Bee Stung Mint Kiss Lip Plumper” moisturizes and HEALS dry, chapped lips while creating fullness

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Autoimmune Disease Triggers: 73,000 Reasons Your Skin Care Is Making You Sick

Autoimmune Disease Triggers: 73,000 Reasons Your Skin Care Is Making You Sick

Have you had those mornings where you wake up with stiff joints, a pesky mental fog even the darkest java can’t shake, and a chronic worry this is the new normal? Once you hit 30, it’s easy to write off symptoms like these as just the joys of aging.

But is it really? For 50 million people and counting, it isn’t aging – its Autoimmune Disease. And if you’re not in the AD club, give it time. According to an AARDA survey, it takes autoimmune patients up to 4.6 years and 5 doctors to get a diagnosis. 

Let me repeat that – 4.6 years of knowing deep down something is terribly wrong, but being made to feel like it’s all in your head. If the symptoms I mentioned above feel familiar, keep pressuring your doctors for answers. You might not be crazy after all. And that’s not the only shocking statistic.

Of those diagnosed with an autoimmune disease, 80% are women. So if we do the math that’s nearly 40 million women, many of whom are of childbearing age. The most common conditions include Diabetes, Rheumatoid arthritis, Hashimoto’s autoimmune thyroiditis and Celiac disease. 

What’s even more frightening is when you break down the triggers of these diseases and their prevalence in our everyday lives. One example, is the group of chemicals called phthalates (pronounced “thal-ates”). It is an industrial plasticizer widely used in personal care products to moisturize and soften skin and to dissolve and combine ingredients, and has been found to directly contribute to the development of Diabetes. 

And we aren’t talking about a “slight increase.” The numbers are staggering. A panel of scientists in Europe determined phthalate exposure had a 40 – 69% probability of causing 20,500 new-onset cases of diabetes in older women. 

While findings like these have led the EU to ban and otherwise restrict the use of many of these phthalates, many are still legal and readily used here in the United States. 

According to EWG.org, a consumer health watchdog organization,

“Since 2009, 595 cosmetics manufacturers have reported using 88 chemicals linked to cancer, birth defects or reproductive harm in over 73,000 products.” 

After taking a quick scroll through their Skin Deep Consumer Guide, I quickly recognized many of the top offenders from my frequent trips through the beauty aisles. These are the exact products I’ve had on my bathroom shelves and very likely you have too.

The average person uses 9 personal care products a day for a combined exposure to about 126 ingredients. If you’re not actively restricting your exposure to these toxins, the likelihood of you being exposed to not only phthalates, but asbestos, formaldehyde, and others is very high.

So how do we protect ourselves? Or at least limit our exposure to these toxins?

Educate Yourself

Sure, there are mountains of highly technical scientific studies all with mile-long words, but don’t let yourself get intimidated! You don’t have to become an expert overnight. Instead, focus on learning about and identifying the notorious “Toxic Twenty.” These are the high profile chemicals most commonly found. Once you’ve familiarized yourself with these, you’ll be able to quickly recognize them on an ingredient list. 

Take the First Step

It’s easy to read these statistics and want to have a full-blown panic attack knowing there are 73,000 of these products in our marketplace. You might even feel compelled to ditch every single cosmetic you can find. I get it! While I’m a fan of the “all-or-nothing approach”, it’s typically not very realistic – or even necessary. 

EWG.org Skin Deep Database

A more measured approach would be to grab all your favorites and search them up on the Skin Deep database. From there, you will see the EWG rating of 1 to 10 (best to worst) of all the ingredients and their associated medical concerns. These ratings take into consideration their cancer risk potential, immunotoxicity, and even their effects on the reproductive system. If a product is chocked full ingredients that are ranking 7+, ditch it fast. However, if it’s mostly 2’s and 3’s with a few 6’s, it might be worth finishing and simply replacing it when the time comes.

Find New, Healthier Favorites

Few things are harder than change. You may have gone through 10 different moisturizers before you found your reigning 5 year favorite. But if that favorite is high in toxic ingredients, it’s time to find a healthier alternative. 

Fortunately, as consumer awareness of the Toxic Twenty has risen, so has the amount of healthy, responsibly produced alternatives on the market. Indie consumer brands such as StungBeauty.Co, are not only phthalate-free, but vegan, paraben-free, sulfate-free, silicon-free, and talc-free. Click below for a few bestsellers perfect for easing the switch to toxin-free cosmetics. All products are backed by a healthier skin in 30 days money-back guarantee.

By reducing your exposure to ingredients that are an immunotoxin, you are reducing your risk of developing an autoimmune disease. If you are currently suffering from an autoimmune disease, limiting exposure can help lower your chances of developing a subsequent one. 

While there isn’t a cure for Autoimmune Disease, the goal should be to manage and ideally improve your quality of life by limiting your exposure to known triggers that can spike inflammation. As you make adjustments to your diet, sleep and work to minimize stress, do yourself a favor and clean out that cosmetic counter too! 

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Things to Do in Austin: July 2019

Things to Do in Austin: July 2019

Top 10 Things to Do in July

1. Free Tango at Native Hostel

Everyone is welcome to a fun Tango Night at Native Hostel and Bar & Kitchen! This event is 100% free and starts 8pm. Evening starts with an intro lesson to authentic Argentine Tango (no experience or partner needed) and follows with two hours filled of social dancing by wonderful guest DJs. (July 1st)

2. 43rd Annual Austin Symphony July 4th Fireworks

Spend this Independence Day with 100,000 of your closest friends! Central Texans will hurry to claim their grassy spot at Vic Mathias Shores with the Austin Symphony Orchestra for the largest Independence Day Celebration in the state.  (July 4th)

3. Zilker Theatre Productions: All Shook Up

All Shook Up, set in 1950’s Middle America, is a new twist on Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night with 24 Elvis hits! The production starts at dusk around 8:15 pm, but be sure to get there early with your low-backed chairs and blankets to get your spot! (July 6th)

4. Live Music & Free Salsa Lessons at The Oasis

Breathtaking sunsets over the lake, authentic local live music AND free salsa lessons?! Yep. Your Sundays are officially booked! The Oasis has outdone themselves this summer. If you’re looking for a way to dance into the week, kick off your shoes and enjoy your Sunday Funday at the Sunset Capitol of Texas. (July 7th)

5. Jaws on the Water at Volente Beach

Not for the faint of heart! The fright classic Jaws is taken to a whole new level as you enjoy the flick while floating in dark, oh so creepy waters. If you’re brave enough to get tix, you’ll get access to all of the Volente Beach Resort rides, screening to one of the best films of all time, and an explosive finale to close out the night. (July 13th)

❤️ Family fun at Blues on the Green 🐶

10. Classic Game Fest

Step back in time and play all your favorite retro games at Palmer Events Center. There will be a costume contest and swap meet as well! (July 27-28th)

6. Sunday Evening Concerts in the Park

Grab your picnics! Austinites know summer has begun once the Austin Symphony’s Hartman Foundation “Concerts in the Park” has begun. All ages, including pets, enjoy relaxing Sunday evenings with different musical ensembles presented by the Austin Symphony Orchestra. (July 14th)

7. Blues on the Green

Austin’s favorite summer tradition is back for it’s 29th season! ACL Radio’s Blues on the Green invites music lovers out to Zilker Park to enjoy a family and pet friendly night of homegrown music in a relaxed atmosphere. Grab your family, friends, dogs, and blankets, and join us for Austin’s largest FREE concert series! (July 18th)

8. Float Fest

Held at Cool River Ranch, this year’s lineup includes Tame Impala, Bassnectar, Snoop Dogg, Modest Mouse, Run the Jewels, Glass Animals, Lil Wayne and more! Camping, RV, and tubing packages are still available, along with single day tickets. Feeling the need to be pampered? VIP packages are available ensuring your fest is a hellagood time and port-a-potty free. (July 21-22nd)

9. The Wine Down at ACL Live

Celebrating its 6th year, each month a different restaurant provides food samples and happy hour specials, while DJ’s spin the tunes. Proceeds from the Wine Down will be benefiting the Austin Music Foundation. Grace Pettis Band will be performing live starting at 5pm. (July 25th)

Sekrit Theater: Austin’s Very Own Secret Garden

Sekrit Theater: Austin’s Very Own Secret Garden

Secret Theater:

Austin’s Own Secret Garden

Sekrit Theater is one of those rare places of wonderment that calls every creative muscle in your body to flex.


Designed by artists, architects, craftsmen, wanderers, dreamers, and makers it is a place where magic happens. 

Part secret garden, part entertainment venue it is a versatile space that is the perfect canvas for photo shoots, weddings, events, film locations or just to hang out.

There is even a huge outdoor movie screen so you can watch cinema under the stars.

@512Insider Tip: Bring bug spray! 🦟

The most iconic fixture at Sekrit is the abandoned greenhouse of yesteryear. It’s the the backdrop for countelss photoshoots, weddings, and amateur films. 

When you step inside you can’t help but be struck by the beauty – and brokenness – of it all. If anything, it’s a metaphor for the many who seek the space out as a bit of refuge from normal.

Ironically, owner Beau Rechart bought the place back in 2007 on the recommendation of his therapist. It was suggested that he create a space that was quiet and safe. An oasis that might help pull him out of the solitary and secluded life he was leading at the time. 

Little did he know the space would take on a life of its own. Despite countless costly battles with the city, constant complaints from neighbors and endless criticism from skeptics, Sekrit Theater continues to breathe pure magic.

@512Insider Tip: If you would like to use Sekrit Theater as the backdrop for your next photo shoot or event, the contact details can be found on the left. 📸

One of my favorite memories at Sekrit?

Tucked inside a vintage school bus, craft cocktail in hand, drifting away listening to an acoustic set by one of Austin’s many talents. 

What’s yours? I’d love to hear! Leave a comment below or message me on Instagram @512Insider


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