Welcome to the second installment of Do This Then That! This is a series geared towards those who have little time or enthusiasm to plan, but still want to experience the beauty of the city.
If you’re new, check out my first post: Recharge Your Soul. The gist is that I compile lists that encapsulate the best pairing of what Austin has to offer (complete with added costs) so that you can just come to the site and start living your best life. For DTTT: Calm Down, I’m focusing on relaxation and chilling out with an added dreaminess and charm. Grab a friend, relax on your own, or go at your own pace. As a note, I do not receive any compensation for these suggestions, they are just things I genuinely enjoy and believe in.
1. Stop by I <3 Video and Rent the Taste of Tea
If you’re anything like me, you probably believe that movie rental stores are obsolete now that Internet exists. But for really good, really niche media, I’ve noticed a huge gap in the market. Places like I <3 Video are still around to fill that gap, for which I am eternally thankful. Many foreign films are not available online, least of all with subtitles, but that shouldn’t stop you from experiencing the storytelling of different cultures.
One of my absolute favorite films is called the Taste of Tea. It is a Japanese movie that is beautiful, mysterious, hilarious, and moving all at once. There’s no real way to describe this movie, but I’ll leave a clip here as a teaser.
Price: $3 for a weekly rental at I <3 Video
2. Visit Zhi Tea and Try the Special
I’m sure you’ve heard the charms of East Austin extolled at one point or another during your tenure here. While I love East Austin, it can be difficult to traverse all the little nooks and crannies if you are on a budget. It’s easy to get lost in a mess of beauty and find yourself having drained your bank account of it’s necessary filling.
Zhi Tea is a safe bet for the earnest East Austin explorer. Parking is free, the staff is very friendly and it’s not overcrowded, and this tea house is one of the best in the city. Zhi Tea is also located next to a few art galleries as well, so if you get a nice caffeine buzz going you’re not too far off from an impromptu adventure.
I highly recommend the specials because you can try it first, meaning you aren’t wasting coin on a tea you’ve never tried. Plus, the staff is so friendly that they can help you order something you DO like if the special isn’t your… ahem… cup of tea.
Price: $5-$20 depending on your order.
3. Take the Edge Off with David Helping’s Sleeping on the Edge of the World
While New Age music may not be at the top of everyone’s list, I would highly suggest checking this album out if you are looking for new ways to calm down. There’s something about the complex rhythms and ambient noise that is very comforting, especially while you are driving through Austin.
I like David Helping’s music because it’s accessible for the New Age genre, meaning there are often narrative structures as well as musical themes. Plus, his composition is gorgeous and really unfolds the scenery around you if you let it. I prefer it to more intentionally meditative music because it’s less cheesy. Give it a whirl and float through traffic to the destinations I’ve suggested.
Price: $10 to buy on iTunes, free with a music streaming site (Pandora, Spotify, etc).
4. Visit a Buddhist Temple and Meditate
While I myself am not Buddhist, I have the utmost respect for Buddhism. Many of my personal beliefs are grounded in the Buddhist tradition, so when I went on the prowl for a place to meditate, I naturally gravitated towards the Buddhist temples.
The most welcoming temple I’ve visited is off 360: The Fo Guang Shan Xiang Yun Temple. They often hold free events to the public and even have a little restaurant on site, however, I primarily visit them to use their meditation room. The temple keeps normal business hours, so you may have a harder time fitting it into your schedule, but if you can make it out you should.
The monks are so friendly and welcoming and the space is immaculately maintained. If you’re new to meditation, this is definitely a place to start. They even have pamphlets inside in case you have any lingering questions!
Price: Free, but donations are always welcome!
5. Get Your Cheese On at Antonelli’s Cheese Shop
It’s no surprise that stress eating can work pretty well at calming the nerves. In the age old human tradition of eating your emotions, I’d suggest eating those calories in cheese. Cheese is a special type of time magic that turns something ordinary into something beautiful and new. The *only* problem with cheese is that it is so expensive and can be a bit of a crapshoot.
Enter Antonelli’s Cheese Shop. This store is an Austin favorite nestled in historic Hyde Park. Antonelli’s cheesemongers have but one goal: find you the cheese of your dreams. You can sample every cheese they have, and they often have many pairing ideas on sample as well. The best part is you can buy exactly the amount you want of a cheese you’ve already tried, so you don’t have to fear wasting your hard earned cash.
One caveat: it’s best to set a price limit that you would be willing to buy up to, because cheese has a way of sneaking up on you. I’ve easily seen people spend upwards of $60 on cheesy goods ALONE. I usually set a goal of 2-3 cheeses for around $15 and come pretty close to that.
Bonus: Sign up for a cheese log with Antonelli’s! That way, you have a record of all the types you’ve tried in case you want to reorder but can’t remember the fancy names.
Price: Up to you! Generally around $10-20 or more.
Thanks for reading my latest installment of Do This Then That. Feel free to comment any suggestions or questions regarding your pre-planned adventure. Austin awaits you!
If you like what you read, feel free to share. Basic Rules: Be civil. We are all people and deserve respect. That’s a hard and fast rule, by the way, it is not optional. Other than that, anything goes.