South By Southwest has come and gone and it with have gone the 10 hour catering days, the miles of walking through blocked off streets and the massive crowds from the world over. While SXSW is an incredible experience and at times pretty damn cool, it’s pretty much just exhausting when you’re only working and not taking in shows or events.
I fled to my bestie in Houston this weekend and spent the entire time eating, sleeping and reading. It was heaven! besides walking to get food at cafes and bagel shops, we spent the weekend lounging in her apartment and finding our zen. I enjoy getting out of Austin for any reason but especially after my SXSW work week. It was really nice to escape the crowds and to not have to lift any sort of food item. =)
The other cool thing about SXSW is all the free stuff! Free swag abounds during SXSW. From sunglasses and chapstick to free Argan oil for us curly headed ladies, everyone who comes to Austin brings amazing stuff to just hand out. You can get free food and drinks pretty easily but the take home stuff is where it’s at. I missed out on some of the over the top stuff but still walked away with a little big o’ free stuff for myself.
Love me some free stuff!
Two t-shirts, ear buds, a sunglass protector case and three pairs of sunglasses. (Only two sunglasses pictured above.) I love free stuff, obviously, but these are all great things that I will actually use. I never invest in expensive sunglasses because I lose them really easily, so three free pairs is great news for the long Austin summer ahead. The t-shirts are great for working out of sleeping in. The ear buds are also perfect for working out. I’ve had my current pair for about four years and I’m glad to have a bak up in case they break.
Every year at the end of SWSX my favorite bar in town hosts an ‘End of SXSW’ Party. You have to have a Texas license to enter and the general vibe is ‘Thanks for coming, see ya later!’ to everyone who came into town for the festival. I love this bar and they have tickets for free beer and free massages. It was yesterday and it was a gorgeous 70 degrees outside.
I got there a little late and all the free beer was gone but luckily this is Austin and a beer is only $2. I tipped a dollar and then sipped on my beer in the sunshine on the back patio. My roommate met me there and we spent a lovely few hours on the patio. It was really great because even though I see this particular roommate all the time, it was really nice to talk one on one with him. Plus, 70 degrees and sunny makes everything better.
Sunshine, beer and total relaxation
After my beer I sauntered back inside the bar and up to the masseuse. I put my name on the free massage list and was pleasantly surprised to find that there was no wait and I could hop onto the table right then! I got a wonderful 15 minute massage. This woman was a total pro and used an amazing smelling peppermint oil to help work out the knots that I had acquired throughout SXSW. It was really nice to take a load off and have someone who really knows what they’re doing work on my neck and shoulders. It was absolute heaven.
After my 15 minutes I hopped off the table and tipped her $2. (The jar suggested $1 per massage.) So with the $2 for my beer, plus one dollar for tip and the $2 for the massage, I spent a grand total of $5 on an afternoon at my favorite bar, complete with massage and alcoholic deliciousness. It was money very well spent!
Kara Perez is the original founder of From Frugal To Free. She is a money expert, speaker and founder of Bravely Go, a feminist financial education company. Her work has been featured on NPR, Business Insider, Forbes, and Elite Daily.