Tag Archives: Sloane Wick

Is It A Rip-Off?: 2nd Street Edition

Second St. District is known in Austin for its vibrant boutiques, countless dining options and stunningly lit-up trees. It’s full of unique things to do and see — but half of them are complete rip-offs. So I’m here to tell you what’s best and what’s a mess. This week’s subject: Second Street.

1. Milk + Honey Spa

Verdict: Rip-Off!

Why: Let me get this started by saying, I’m all for treating yourself to a relaxing day and spas can be a great way to do that. However, paying $40 for a basic manicure or $80 for a simple haircut seems like the opposite of relaxing to me.

2. Toy Joy

Verdict: Worth it!

Why: Toy Joy is your childhood dream come to life. From one-of-a-kind toys to adorable trinkets to classic board games, everything you need for a fun day is here. It’s a blast for kids and adults alike. 

3. Violet Crown Cinema 

Verdict: Worth it!

Why: This is your chance to see awesome movies and support your local community at the same time. The Violet Crown partners with local businesses and nonprofits. So you can feel good about stopping by to watch a wide array of movies, from newly emerging cinema to beloved classics. 

4. Austin Rocks

Verdict: Rip-Off!

Why: This place is the textbook definition of a tourist trap. It’s full of overpriced souvenirs like $30 graphic t-shirts and $65 beach chairs. Trust me, your money is better spent elsewhere on Second Street.

5. Yummi Joy

Verdict: Rip-Off AND Worth It!

Why: This place, while arguably overpriced, is full of so many unique treats. From dill pickle soda to homemade chocolate pecan caramel fudge to grand truffles, Yummi Joy really does have something for everyone. Your wallet may be empty when you walk out of here but your stomach and heart will be full. 

Now go forward and stride down Second Street with truffles in one hand and Violet Crown tickets in the other. You’re ready for this! You won’t be scammed today. 

5 DIY Austin-Inspired Halloween Costumes

Halloween is just around the corner and if you’re anything like most college students, you’re looking for a last-minute costume idea right about now. You could go basic— maybe a witch or a ghost? 

No! Austin is full of unique, fun inspirations that you can easily convert into an amazing costume. Here are five ideas you can make at home. 

1. Bat 

Images courtesy of: Canva, Irandelson Salgueiro andMonstrea

Why: Austin is famous for the 1.5 million Mexican free-tailed bats under the Ann W. Richards Congress Avenue Bridge. It’s the largest urban bat colony in the world. So, what better way is there to celebrate our winged friends than dressing up as them on Halloween night (and donating to help them)? 

What you need: An all-black outfit with a set of wings. If you can’t find any convincing bat wings at the store, you can make your own.  

2. Tourist 

Images courtesy of: Canva, Flickr and Diane Cordell

Why: More than 30 million tourists visit Austin every year and they aren’t hard to spot. You can use Halloween to connect with your inner tourist and have some fun.

What you need: A pair of too-hot-for-Texas jeans, a UT or “Keep Austin Weird” shirt and a fake sunburn. Bonus points if you show up on a Lime scooter or with an Austin map and Austin City Limits pass. 

3. Violet Crown 

Images courtesy of: Canva, Monstera and Jc Laurio

Why: Did you know the color of the west hills and sky during sunset have been called Austin’s “violet crown?” You can pay homage to this idealistic view and make a simple, punny halloween costume out of it. 

What you need: An all violet outfit and a crown or tiara. 

4. Domino

Images courtesy of: Canva, Pixels and Pixabay

Why: Domino is amongst the most loved felines in all of Austin. He freely roams the UT campus and has belly scratches and food galore at his paw-tips. Honestly, who wouldn’t want to be him?

What you need: Some black and white clothes, drawn-on whiskers  and a pair of cat ears. 

5. Jo’s Coffee “I love you so much” mural

Images courtesy of: Canva, Vikas Mani and cottenbro

Why: This is an iconic SoCo spot. You see recreations of it on mugs, socks and ornaments throughout Austin. So, why not a Halloween costume?

What you need: A light green shirt, a red sharpie and the ability to write in cursive. 
No matter what you dress up as for Halloween, Austin is a great place to celebrate the holiday. So, go forward and have a safe and fun Halloween!

Is it a Rip-Off?: SoCo Edition

South Congress district, usually referred to as SoCo, is one of Austin’s most popular attractions for tourists and locals alike. It’s full of unique shops and funky restaurants — and half of them are complete rip-offs. So I’m here to tell you what’s best and what’s a mess. This week’s subject: SoCo.

  1. Jo’s Coffee 
Photo courtesy of: The Austin Chronicle 

Verdict: Worth it!

Why: You may say there are better places for coffee in Austin and you’re probably right, but Jo’s isn’t just selling specialized coffee, they’re also selling an experience. You can get a one-of-a-kind cup of jo (pun intended), the feeling of supporting a local business and an Instagram-worthy picture in front of the iconic “I love you so much” mural.  Seems worth it to me!

  1. Hopdoddy’s Burger Bar
Image courtesy of: Flickr and Thomas Hawk

Verdict: Rip-Off!

Why: The burgers are good but are they worth $10? I don’t think so. Combine this with having to pay an extra $5 for some fries and brutal wait times, and you have all the makings of a total rip-off. 

  1. TOMS
Photo Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Verdict: Rip-Off

Why: Honestly, this feels like a given. $50-$150 for mediocre shoes according to Vox reporting. Not to mention, having a huge company on SoCo feels wrong. The space is supposed to be for off-beat local— or at least semi-local businesses— not national giants. 

  1. Home Slice Pizza
Photo courtesy of: The Business Journals

Verdict: Worth It

Why: I have two words for you: Garlic Knots. When paired with a slice or two of Home Slice’s mouth-watering pizza, complimentary post-dinner candy and the electric decor, you can’t deny this is the place to be on a Friday night. 

  1. Amy’s Ice Creams 
Photo Courtesy of: Flickr and Jim Nix 

Verdict: Rip-Off AND Worth It

Why: I’ll be real. This place is pricey! One pint of ice cream costs almost $15. In that way, it’s a huge rip-off, but it’s also so worth it. All of the ice creams have a delicious sweet cream base and the menu is constantly full of one-of-a-kind flavors like Zilker Mint Chip. After snacking at Amy’s, your wallet may hurt but your taste buds will be singing. 

Now go forward and strut down SoCo with a Jo’s latte in one hand and your Home Slice leftovers in the other. You’re ready for this! You won’t be scammed today.

Featured image by Morgan Scruggs

Is it a RIP-Off?: Drag Edition

Austin is full of things to see, do and experience— and half of them are total rip-offs. So I’m here to tell you what’s best and what’s a mess. This week’s subject: The Drag. 

  1. Torchy’s Tacos 
Courtesy of: Visit Austin

Verdict: Rip-Off

Why: Come on. You knew this was coming. We live in Texas. You can get better tacos for less money at pretty much any food truck. 

  1. Whataburger 
Courtesy of: Unsplash and Tendaishe Gwini

Verdict: Worth It

Why: Say what you want about Whataburger not being as good as it was five years ago, it’s still a Texan staple. From the fun orange color scheme to the iconic Dr.Pepper shake, this is the place to go at 2:00 a.m. with $5 in your pocket. 

  1. Coco’s Cafe 
Courtesy of: Fearless Captivations

Verdict: Rip-Off

Why: To be honest, I’ve never gotten the hype around Coco’s. It has okay drinks, long lines and an expensive price tag. I’d recommend getting your boba fix elsewhere.

  1. Caffe Medici 
Courtesy of: Flickr

Verdict: Worth It

Why: Caffe Medici is a prime study spot. There is something on the menu for everyone, including coffee, matcha and Italian sodas. Plus, the atmosphere is student-friendly and there’s plenty of seating.  

  1. Kerbey Lane
Courtesy of: Kerbey Lane

Verdict: Rip-Off AND Worth It

Why: The food is mediocre but no one really goes to Kerbey for the food. They go for the tradition and for saying they ate chocolate cake with friends at 4:00 a.m. after finishing a final paper (possibly based on a true story). So, yes, it is a rip-off, but I also highly recommend you go sometime in your college career. 

Now that you’re armed with knowledge, go forth and explore the drag with confidence! You are most certainly not getting ripped off today.

5 Things you (won’t!) be missing During virtual orientation

The University of Texas is holding freshman orientation online this year rather than on campus. So, if you’re an incoming freshman you may be wondering “what am I missing?” Well, I’m here to tell you 5 things you’re NOT missing from in-person orientation.

1. The Heat

Courtesy of: Giphy

Texas heat is absolutely brutal. In-person orientation is basically a sweat-athon of walking in 100-degree Austin weather.

2. Getting Lost

Courtesy of: Giphy and the NFL

There are three things that are certain in life: Death, taxes and getting lost at in-person UT orientation. Don’t worry about not getting lost on campus at orientation, though. You have plenty of time to do it during the rest of the school year.

3. The GPS Taking You the LONGEST Route Ever Created

Courtesy of: Giphy

Technology is great, right? Wrong! At least not during UT orientation. Without fail, your GPS will route you the way that not only takes the most time, but also makes absolutely no sense. Seriously, WHO decided the best way to get from Jester to Moody is Guadalupe Street? I just want to talk.

4. Cramped Elevators

Courtesy of: Giphy and Nickelodeon

During in-person orientation, everyone stays in the Jester dorms. That means everyone is trying to use the same elevators, usually all at the same time. Who needs personal space, right?

5. Being Told Not to Bring a Blanket (And Then Freezing to Death at Night)

Courtesy of: Giphy and Sesame Street

If you didn’t know, the in-person orientation packing list specifically tells you that blankets will be provided so you shouldn’t bother bringing one. What they don’t tell you though is this “blanket” provides about as much warmth as covering yourself with an H-E-B receipt.

No matter if you went to orientation in-person or online, you’re a Longhorn now! So, get your horns up and your burnt orange shirt on. This is going to be a great school year!