Tag Archives: Austin

Grudges and Ghouls: The Conspiracies Behind Frost Bank Tower

The downtown Austin skyline is something to stop and stare at. The buildings that make up the city reach to several different heights and create a beautiful aesthetic that would look great in the background of any picture. At night, it transforms into bright colors that pull the eye like a magnetic force. Most downtown cityscapes have this effect, but somewhere across downtown Austin, that beautiful view may have a dark origin.

From its unique shape that seems to mimic a crown at the top of the structure, to the thick blue glass that makes up most of its exterior, Frost Bank is one of the most recognizable buildings in downtown and the only building with a connection to the Illuminati (allegedly).

The History of the Frost Bank Tower

Photo by Jesus Angel

Opened in 2004, the tower stands at 515 feet tall. At the time, it was the tallest building in the city. Since then, only four buildings have surpassed its height. No building in the city, however, has surpassed its logos — which are 420 feet high on the tower.

Frost Bank Tower received a fair amount of criticism during its construction from art critics and columnists alike. John Kelso, who was a long-time columnist for the Austin-American Statesman offered satirical criticism, and wrote the shape reminded him of  “a pair of nose clippers”.

Despite the initial judgment, though, Frost Bank Tower has gone on to win many awards, including “Best New Building” and “Best Architecture.” 

The tower is such a staple of the Austin skyline that it’s featured on the top of every Texas driver’s license.

Frost Bank seems innocent enough at first. It’s just a bold design with the usual praises and criticisms that comes with any new skyscraper. Until you take a step back and look at it from a new angle — literally.

Photo by Jesus Angel

Looking at the building head-on, it is just like any other tower trying to be unique in the skyline, but when looking directly at a corner, those tallest logos become eyes, and the building becomes a body. Before you know it, you’re looking at a futuristic owl.

Local Austinites noticed the animal in the glass so much they nicknamed the Frost Bank Tower the “owl building”.

The animal shape has lent itself to a couple of different rumors over the years. From grudges to ghouls there’s no shortage of a story to go along with Austin’s famous “owl building”.

The Grudge

“Rice Owl” by The Rocketeer is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Upon the realization that an owl lies hidden in the corners of the tower, several Austin residents connected this to Sammy the Owl, Rice University’s mascot. 

The story goes that a high school graduate who was hopeful of getting into the University of Texas at Austin got rejected. He ended up going to Rice and later became one of the architects for the Frost Bank Tower. As a slight to UT and their longhorn mascot, Bevo, the man ended up designing the tower so that an owl would always be looking over the city.

After some investigation, it turned out none of the architects working on the project were associated with Rice, and so the grudge became one of those myths people chattered about on the streets.

With one theory disproved, leave it to Austin to find another to take its place.

The Ghoul

“Owl” by Fuzzy T is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0 

The owl has a long, mixed history. It was once connected to evil energy because it was a creature of the night. However, a certain secretive organization refers to the owl as a revered creature of vigilance. 

That’s right, not only is the owl Rice University’s mascot, but also the Illuminati’s.

This is especially unfortunate when it’s also the animal connected to Moloch, a pagan god people would sacrifice children to in exchange for financial blessings. This sacrificial ceremony supposedly still goes on today, but that’s another story.

The rumors go the Illuminati used the owl-like structure to offer public allegiance to Moloch. There’s not much logic behind the claim, but over the years the story has built momentum and suggests a darker past for one of the most distinct buildings in Austin’s skyline.

But Why?

“Serfs Up ! Illuminati All Seeing Eye” by Serfs UP ! Roger Sayles is licensed under CC BY-ND 2.

Even if the rumors were true, and the Illuminati was so boldly putting itself out there in Texas’s state capital, the next thing to figure out is why. 

There’s no clear answer to that question, although research on why they would display symbolism, in general, helps connect the reason behind Frost Bank Tower’s public display with other alleged depictions.

Several theories behind any type of public connection to the Illuminati fall under some form of mind control. Whether it be in rock songs played backward or Disney movies like Alice in Wonderland, the imagery and sounds usually come with the promise of conditioning for mind control. 

A building probably couldn’t do that.

A more likely explanation would be that the public allegiance is a territorial marking of some sort, laying claim to a piece of Austin so that civilians know something bigger than them is always watching over, and always in control.

Affordable Graduation Gifts

Graduation is the next big step in adulting. Once students cross the stage they go on to do a number of things: some will go off to a new place to work, some may travel, some will get married, and others may head back home. Four (give or take) years of lectures and finals pay off with the diploma and it’s an overall exciting time for both the graduate and their loved ones. Usually this also leads to something nearly equally as exciting for the graduate- gifts! If you have someone close to you graduating and want to get them something without breaking the bank, these ideas are for you based on their plans (or lack thereof) after walking the stage.

If They’re Moving…

Monogram Mug

Photo courtesy of Target

Help add a personal touch to the graduate’s new home without giving them something too big that makes it hard for them to show their own style in the new space. A mug is a classic go-to, especially for coffee or tea enthusiasts, and is aesthetic enough on its own. This mug is only $5.99 at Target, but similar styles could be found elsewhere too. If they aren’t much for flowers there are also similar more minimal designs. Bonus? Add a gift card to Target or another home store to help them out a bit.

Succulent/House Plant

Photo courtesy of Etsy

Nothing says trendy like a succulent gift for a new apartment. These plants are low maintenance and can be purchased alone at an outdoor or grocery store for $5 or less. If you have a bit more room in the budget you can get them a cool planter like this sloth one for $18 or a personalized gift box for only $22 that you can check out here.

If They’re Traveling/”Finding Themselves,” etc…

Travel Size World Scratch Map

Photo courtesy of Amazon

Help the new explorer track their travels with a travel sized world map that they can scratch off after visiting each country. If they’re staying local, US maps are also available. Either way, this gift comes in at under $20 and is both thoughtful and aesthetic.

DIY Option: Travel Must Have Set

Photo courtesy of Amazon

To keep your gift personal and low budget, try this cool DIY option. Basically, find a cute travel sized bag/pouch (think the size of a makeup bag or wallet) and fill it with a few travel goodies like gum, candy, bandaids, travel charger, sleeping mask, whatever suits your fancy. You can make it as basic or as unique as you want. If they love Starbucks or McDonald’s there’s practically one everywhere so you could even put a $5 gift card in there to get them a drink/meal. These sets  can also be purchased, but I think it’s a cuter gift when it’s done personally.

Mini Backpack

Photo courtesy of Target

This travel essential is not only trendy, but super useful. Mini backpacks offer all of the same features as a regular sized one (including compartments to tuck away valuables) but with less of the bulkiness. They may not be the number one pick for an avid hiker, but if someone is just out exploring a few new cities, it’s a perfect pick. Prices vary on these tremendously, but you can purchase this one (either white or black) at Target for $20. I also recommend looking in-store at places like Urban Outfitters and American Eagle to shop their sale rack!

If They’re Moving Back Home…

A Book

Photo courtesy of Barnes & Noble

Hear me out! It isn’t super exciting, but books can be super helpful and a nice motivator or de-stressor. Finding a job is tough and even if they have one but have opted to live with their parents again, it is a big adjustment. “Almost Adulting” by Arden Rose has everything from sex to traveling alone to making friends, which sounds useful no matter what stage of life anyone is in, tbh. You can purchase it at a local bookstore or on Amazon here. Another great pick is Unfu*k Yourself by Gary John Bishop. It’s basically about…well what it sounds like. Pick up a copy here.

Lap Desk

Photo courtesy of Amazon

Whether it’s for job hunting, freelancing, or watching Netflix- a lap desk comes in handy for hours spent on the go and at home. I personally recommend going to HomeGoods or something similar to find a good deal, but a reasonably priced one can be found here.

Lush

Photo courtesy of Lush

Give the gift of relaxation after a long four years and go with a classic, vegan friendly option: Lush! They have gifts for both guys and girls alike and are super affordable. This “Happiness” gift set comes in at $19.95 and “Bath Art” is slightly cheaper at $18.95.

No matter what your budget or the graduate’s after college plans, there is definitely a thoughtful and useful gift you can give them. Especially if you’re having to buy multiple gifts, this list can be a life saver. Happy shopping!

Featured image courtesy of Pixabay.

How To Make Your Space Feel More Like Home

Living in Austin is exciting. The city continuously hums with the sound of traffic and conversations, as thousands of people shuffle around one another on their way to classes and work. The movement is constant and there are always things to do, tasks to complete, and places to travel. What we often forget is that the hustle and bustle of it all can be just as thrilling as it can be exhausting.

Most individuals return to their tiny spaces seeking relaxation and debriefing from their tiresome days. Unfortunately for us college students, even our homes can be carriers of stress and exhaustion. They are reminders of the laundry we are too busy to wash, the groceries we forgot to buy, and the desks we need to unscramble with all of our assignments and readings. Inhabiting a messy home leads to a lack of productivity, and it can be overwhelming even when you do finally attempt to clean. If you can relate to any of these struggles, continue reading to learn simple ways to keep your space as clean and comfortable as possible.

Separate Work & Play

Photo courtesy of Pixabay

Late nighters and crashing for an exam are often done in the comfort of our own home. There, we sit in our beds with our laptops in our noses and our books at our feet. While completing school work in your comfortable bed might seem like the best idea to engender your productivity, it might just do the opposite. Doing homework in your bed can without a doubt make you feel drowsy, lazy, and possible allow for too many phone breaks to check instagram and snapchat. This is because your bed is associated with relaxation, something that makes concentrating on homework very hard. If you were to shift your late night cramming over to your desk, you would quickly realize that you are much more motivated to finish the work so that you can earn some much needed rest. In general, your home should be associated with an escape from the stressful events during the day. Making an effort to keep the most comfortable and relaxing places of your house for debriefing only will provide you with a stress free zone to let loose.

Personalize Your Space

Photo courtesy of Pexels

As college students it can be hard to for the space you’re living in to feel like home. From horrendous roommates to tiny closets, there are a million things that make living arrangement uncomfortable. Although some of these events are unavoidable, creating a space that you love to be in can ease the burden off of your shoulders. The best way to create your own space is to surround yourself with all of the things that make your life feel full and happy. A great way to start is by hanging up pictures of you and your friends making your favorite memories, or displaying all of the sweet notes you’ve received from loved ones. Pin your favorite quotes, song lyrics, or life mottos to a bulletin board as daily dose of positivity and warmth. Hang up fairy lights, buy soft and warm blankets, and make your room feel like a sanctuary. Find simple and unique ways to turn the blank walls and stiff bedding into a space that you want to live in. Odds are the more thought and energy you place into decorating your space, the more you will strive to take care of it and keep it clean. A personalized room can make returning home more enjoyable, rewarding, and productive.

Keep Up to Date & Stay Organized

Photo courtesy of Pexels

The biggest contributor to a messy space, schedule and life is lack of organization. It’s a never ending cycle of feeling unprepared and stressed for the day that leads up to a clutter of clothes on the floor, a pile of dishes in the sink. The less we keep up with our mess the more time we need to clean it. Being proactive about the events on your schedule can lead to a more clear head and room. Invest in a desk calendar where you can write the dates of due homework assignments, tests, and social events. Also, consider adding a to-do list to your wall of thing that need to get done throughout the week to ensure that you don’t forget about the minuscule tasks that often get swept under the rug. It is always a good idea to use multiple calendars and reminders to help you stay on schedule. Making organizational space in your room can lead to a more productive and thoughtful outlook on your week.

Don’t Over Clutter

Photo Courtesy of Pexels

The worst space to come back to is a place full of impractical and useless items. Although the snow-globe collection you have had since you were twelve is sentimental and belongs in your room, finding enough  space for every single one of them and for it to not become cluttered is difficult. This can encourage a messy room from the start, because when it is filled it to the brim there is no space to accumulate new things to bring you joy. A simple way to start decluttering is to go through all of your things and donate the clothes that you’ve outgrown or items that you don’t have the space for anymore. Not only is this beneficial for others who can find use out of your unused items, but it will help simplify your space and make organization seem more manageable than ever. Being intentional about the items that are in your space can make your home more meaningful, overall increasing your productivity and ability to relax inside of it.

Display Your Passions

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Burnout is a common issue college students feel throughout the semester. With so many hours lost to studying in the PCL and tests constantly appearing on your radar it is easy to feel overwhelmed and like the work you’re doing is meaningless. This is when you lose sight of the bigger picture and you no longer remember why you started or what goal you’re working towards. A great way to avoid burnout is to turn your home into a space that reflects your dreams and motivators in life. Display a vision board of the careers you hope to pursue, the places you want to travel, and the people that are helping you get there. Understanding the endless amounts of opportunity and possibilities ahead of you will push you work hard and never limit yourself. Your space will transform from a living space, to a home where you envision your future and productively work towards it.

Featured image courtesy of Pexels.

4 things to do at ut before the fall semester ends

With so many new adventures and opportunities available at the beginning of the semester, deciding how to spend your free time can be an incredibly overwhelming decision. From balancing midterms, extracurriculars and a part-time job, you may not have gotten the chance to experience everything else UT has to offer. But it’s not too late. Here are four of the things you should do this semester while you’re at student at UT:

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1) Visit a Campus Museum

Not only does the University offer a great experience for sports fans, but it also has a huge collection of on-campus artwork and exhibits available for all students to enjoy for free. Some of the many museums on campus include the Harry Ransom Center, the Lyndon B. Johnson Library and Museum, the Blanton Museum and the Texas Memorial Museum; all of which have curated an incredible collection for you to admire for hours.

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2) See a Movie at the Texan Union

If you’re feeling like sitting down and just taking a breather before your next exam or big project, University of Texas Campus Events + Entertainment hosts a different popular movie at the Texas Union Theater every week for free. With movies such as “Mission Impossible: Fallout” and “The Incredibles,” they’ve probably got a movie playing that’s perfect for you, whether you’re a fan of horror, action, or any other genre of film.

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3) Spend an all-nighter at the PCL

While it may not be as fun as screaming your heart out at DKR or chomping down on some popcorn with all of your friends, spending long nights at the PCL is basically a rite of passage among UT students. Even if you don’t have a big test to study for or hours of homework on your plate, you’ll definitely bond with the hundreds of the other students as you all try to stay awake (especially if you’re not on a quiet floor).

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4) Attend Other Longhorn Sports Games

It’s definitely tempting to think that football is the only sport at UT. But along with visiting Bevo Boulevard and Longhorn City Limits on Saturdays, watching one of the many other sports teams at UT is also an incredible experience. Head to Gregory Gym to see the volleyball team win another game on their quest for another Big 12 championship, to Mike A. Myers Stadium to see the soccer team, or to any of the other sports arenas to observe any of the other great sports team at UT.

How to be Cute and Cruelty-Free In College

As college students, we tend to lose sight of shopping ethically in favor of buying what’s cheap and convenient – especially in terms of fashion. However, as much as we love saving money, it’s important to remember those affected by our purchases, and that’s not always limited to people. The animals we love can be hurt by major fashion brands, too. According to PETA, many animals that we hold dear to our hearts are being exploited by the international fur trade. This ranges from birds, cows, and rabbits, to snakes, cats, and dogs.

So, how does a broke college student go about buying clothes, makeup, and accessories even Bevo would approve of? By shopping vegan, of course! While the word vegan scares some people, it’s important to note that vegan just means something free of animal products.  However, not everyone has the time to research what they’re buying – so here’s a list of affordable brands to amp up your look while you’re here at the Forty Acres.

H&M

Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

H&M has made its mark as one of the few retailers to move towards sustainable fashion and beauty. None of their cosmetics are tested on animals, and they refuse to sell real fur. While the company does sell some leather products, they also have many faux leather alternatives that are just as cute. There isn’t an H&M near campus, but they offer free shipping for purchases over $40, and only charge $3.99 for anything below.

If you’re not interested in online shopping, the nearest H&M is located in The Domain at 11410 Century Oaks Terrace, Austin, TX 78758.

Forever 21

Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Like H&M, Forever 21 is another brand that has promised never to sell real fur. They offer an extensive variety of faux leather products; from jackets and skirts, to shoes, belts, and handbags. Forever 21 is one of the more affordable clothing brands on this list, but prices depend upon on the quality and complexity of the materials being purchased from this store.

Forever 21 is great for online shopping and offers delivery services, but it is also located in The Domain at 3409 Esperanza Crossing #110, Austin, TX 78758.

Target

Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Unlike H&M and Forever 21, Target can be found on campus off of Guadalupe – also known as “the drag” in the longhorn community. They offer many leather and wool-alternatives, though the selection may be limited due to the small size of this location. Vegan fashions would be easily accessible here due to the proximity of this store to campus, eliminating extra shipping costs you might be met with during online shopping.

This Target is located at 2025 Guadalupe St. Ste 01-100, Austin, TX 78705.

Patagonia

Photo courtesy of Patagonia

There’s not a Patagonia store near campus, but Patagonia merchandise is sold in the Tyler’s store off of Guadalupe Street. This brand uses more conventional materials to create their products, such as hemp and recycled cotton, but they also have wool-alternatives such as PrimaLoft® to insulate their parkas.  They also reduce their consumption of wool materials by using recycled wool in many of their products. This is a great brand to help you keep warm this winter, but it is more costly than the other brands.

Patagonia products can be found at the Tyler’s store at 2338 Guadalupe St, Austin, TX 78705.

Pacifica

Photo courtesy of Pacifica

Pacifica is a brand that specializes in skincare and makeup that prides itself on being 100% vegan and cruelty-free. Their products are formulated around natural ingredients and fragrances, as opposed to harsh chemicals, and the same can be said for their makeup. However, because of their ingredient choices and product formulation, some of their makeup is not as full-coverage as conventional brands.

Pacifica products can be purchased online, or in person at the Target on Guadalupe.

e.l.f. Cosmetics

Photo courtesy of e.l.f. Cosmetics

e.l.f.  specializes in makeup, and beyond that, they ensure their makeup brushes and tools are vegan. A lot of their makeup products not only benefit your look, but your skin, too; most formulations include vitamins meant to restore and refresh your skin, unlike other beauty products. Also, e.l.f. is a very affordable  for the college student on a budget.

e.l.f. products, like Pacifica, can also be purchased at Target on Guadalupe.

Photo courtesy of Helena Lopes from Pexels