In ALL, MY LISTS by Stephanie Klein50 Comments

So you’ll have to ignore this post if you’re not from Austin or not planning on a visit.  I need suggestions for the following:

An Honest Margarita: I want REAL mango puree (fresh) with a frozen margarita.  Please, help me here.  It’s amazing.  Practically everywhere in New York, you can find this, fresh ingredients.  Yet in Texas, I can’t find even one!  There’s something really wrong about this.
An Eyebrow Threader: This is an ancient form (also known as khite), where thread is used to remove hair instead of wax.  The thread twists and pulls out rows of hair.  It’s very precise, and far less expensive than waxing.  In New York, it costs $6 to get both eyebrows done. I learned of this, at first, by asking a transvestite where she got hers done.  I found this site, but I don’t know if any of the salons listed are any good.  If someone screws up your eyebrows, it’s as bad as gaining ten pounds.
A Thorough Bikini Waxer:
someone who knows to spread your ass and dig in the cracks with a waxy stick.  Someone who takes out tweezers when she’s done. 
A proper Manicure & Pedicure: I know Cuba Libre offers Martini’s & Manicures for just $10, but I need a place (or person) who takes the time to really push back those cuticles before clipping them clean off.  Someone who digs into your big toe and makes your toes look like small jewels.
An Exceptional Shoe Store: please don’t say Nordstrom’s or Saks.  Think boutique (other than the one in Davenport Village… already hit that)
Tennis Lessons: I don’t want the private kind. I’d like to meet other women at my level and all take the lesson together.  We’re not ready to join a tennis club, because that’s a major commitment monetarily, and we need to make sure we’re staying in Austin first.

Things to do: So far, I still want to rent a boat on lake Travis, go to The Oasis.  Tube down Guadeloupe River.  Hit up Barton Springs.  Photograph the bats under the Congress bridge.  See Esther’s Follies.  Tonight, I’m hitting Alamo Draft House for the Sinus Show (a live version of Mystery Science Theater).  I need to find a band that moves me like Ray LaMontagne does.  I don’t know how to go about finding the kinds of live music I like here.  You know, music reviews.  I need some (know a good web site for such info?).  I don’t want punk.  I want soulful music that makes me cry. I’m all about the lyrics!  I want to find a genius with words, not with drums.  That’s just me.


  1. Coming to austin next friday or saturday through monday and kicking the town around saturday evening if you and phil want to come out with us.

    Lake travis on sunday of course.

  2. Must you be SO disgusting in your descriptions? Vivid–yet ugly–descriptions like your ideal bikini wax ("ass spreading," "crack probing," etc) don't make you a dealer of cheap, tawdry talk — not a good writer. More, reading that is like seeing a train wreck… everybody stops to look at a train wreck… but then they MOVE ON.

  3. Oh Catherine. Thanks. But one needn't judge me on every single thing I write. This is absolutely what I'd say to any of my friends in requesting someone proper to do the job. If you're afraid of this, steer clear of my book.

  4. Frankly I found your "disgusting" descriptions brilliantly real. Your willingness to be absolutely frank is exactly why many of us keep coming back.

  5. Tubing the Guadeloupe: Try the "Rockin R" in New Braunfels.. and get the ones with a bottom. You'll know what I mean when you hit a rock!

    One thing about the Guad: It's an awful place to get the 'rhea!

    (Great to see you're having fun, SK!)

  6. My favorite margaritas were at Trudy's on W. 30th but they are not mango, nor frozen (neither of which sounds like a good margarita to me–to each his own) but on the rocks in a shaker and you were limited to 2. But I recall that Bahama Breeze (chain) and Baby Alcupulcos both had wonder fruity blended margaritas.

    As far as the eyebrow, waxing and pedicure, I never really partook of any of those activities in Austin.

    Things to do:
    Wine bar on 4th.
    There are lots of festivals (did you miss Eeyore's birthday this year).
    Rock climbing classes.
    Go boating on Lake Travis.
    Check out the weird shops on South Congress.
    Go see a play at one of the little theaters downtown.
    Take a nap on campus on the lawn in front of littlefield fountain (take a book, and a journal and pretend to be a student).

  7. I loved what you had to say Stephanie. That's exactly what I would say to my friends too. Thanks for keeping it real. Some people are just wrapped a little too tight….

  8. Totally unhelpful to you, but could be for me. Where in NYC did you used to get your eyebrows threaded??

  9. For the bats, you need to hurry I believe. Try it by water on kayaks from Austin Outdoor Gear and Guide or Austin Canoe and Kayak. They are on the web, can't remember the urls.

    I'll check with my sister on the other stuff. I don't have those problems.

    For the music, check out 107.1 or on the web at I listen online in Houston.

    You also need to take a hill country wine tour.

  10. Amen to the search for a bikini wax by someone who knows what the heck they're doing. If I'm going to drop upwards of $75, it better be properly landscaped, crack and all.

    My hat is off to you, Stephanie, for just being you. It isn't disgusting (cough, Catherine). It's LIFE.

  11. Be careful in Austin. It is still Texas. I lived in Austin for a year and it IS lovely but it IS Texas. Luckily, there are a lot of people from other cities that have infiltrated Austin in the last ten years which make it colorful and diverse but you also have some of the natives to deal with who think they are hip because they order a jamba juice from Whole Foods and consider a dining experience to be The Olive Garden or Macaroni Grill. A lot of housefraus driving their SUVs and mini-vans with their silver longhorn logo and kids names and lame sports splayed all over the back. Names they think are hip and original like Tristan, Paxton and Dakota (puh-leeze)You get my point. It may feel warm, sunny and vacation-ish right now but August/September are brutal. Hotter than hell. I think overall you will enjoy the experience but will need to move back East to really feel at home.

  12. OH! I forgot!!

    My favorite band of all time is from Austin:

    Their music will make you cry, their lyrics will make you want to wish you wrote them.

    Amazing live as well, as I've seen them perform about 11 times, but not sure if they're touring these days.

    Give Poi Dog a try; Listen to some tracks on their site – you will be hooked.

  13. Re: My comment a couple days ago, I called the salon (vanity) and they don't do threading, nor could my chica think of anyone, but I would trust them with the other stuff.
    As to the margaritas at Baby A's…warning, they will knock you flat out. You may find a mango one there, though.
    Also, the reason you are limited to 2 (shakers of) mexican martinis at Trudy's is self-evident.
    My favorites are the aforementioned shakers at Trudy's (just look for the 2-limit-warning on the menu) and the various shakers at Iron Cactus, which despite it's tourist-friendly location is such a fabulous misted patio heaven in the hot hot summer.
    Def get a bottom on your tube in the guadalupe river, and don't get too too tispy so that you forget the instructions for navigating the various obstacles.
    Shady Grove? Love it. I doubt that Chuy's puts fresh mango in their margaritas. The thing is, you are dealing the margarita purists, and once you leave there you will realize that you can't find one that good anywhere else…sniff. Wait…Jaime's (mexican village) approx accross the street from Stubbs. They have good frozen margs, and I feel good about your mango odds there.

  14. I personally appreciate the vivid descriptions…having never had a bikini wax I'd want a friend giving me the bitter truth ; )

  15. One last thing
    If you are planning to go to the Oasis you should consider spending the day at Windy Point Park first. Weekdays it is pretty empty and there are great places to perch along the rocky cliffs off to the right, and the swimming is good. Then, it's right on the way home to stop at the Oasis for a drink, on the patio (which is rebuilt, yes??). As for finding live music, you can always resort to wandering up and down 6th street and listening for what you like. A totally valid method. Been to Hill's cafe on S Congress? They have a busy music schedule. There are a million others. (broken spoke, continental club, antones) (goodness, I have made myself so jealous.) And for jazz, the elephant room. sniff.

  16. i agree with heather, i think you're keepin it real and thats why i keep reading!

  17. Hey Stephanie, I tell you – your descriptions want to make me pack up the darlings and head south! Enjoy your pre-kid freedom – wait, you already are. Good for you!

  18. Mango margartias at Fonda San Miguel–either the bar or for dinner. The food is amazing as are the drinks.

    Tennis at Caswell/Austin High with Mike C or Mark. If you call Caswell they should be able to put you in touch with Mike or you can take lessons at Courtyard without having to join.

    Listen to KGSR. Blues on the Green will start in July. I think Unplugged at the Grove has already started. Both are lots of fun and will give you exposure to bands for free. Buy your tickets now for the Austin City Limits festival in Sept., if you still plan of being here.

    Definitely avoid the Guad. on Memorial Day weekend, or weekends in general. Try a weekday this summer. You might wait for it to get hotter though as the water is quite cold and it is a long ride.

  19. Okay, one last time and then I promise not to post again! : )

    Best margarita recipe ever:

    6 oz tequila
    6 oz frozen limeade concentrate (1/2 can)
    2 oz triple sec
    1 tablespoon sugar

    Blend all together to desired consistency.

    Top with a healthy shot of amaretto. That's the kicker right there.

    OKAY, off to the liquor store! After all, it is FRIDAY!
    Other Steph aka Manic Mom

  20. I'm sure you're already familiar with her, but you should check out Kelly Willis if she's ever playing in Austin. It's country, but she's fantastic.

  21. a bit (but only a bit) off topic – one of the two remaining contestants on american idol is taylor hicks – and on one of the shows a few weeks ago (closer to the beginning of the "final 12" or whatever) he performed "Trouble", by Ray Lamontagne. On American Frigging Idol. That's when I decided he was my favourite contestant… I'm sure most of America (sadly) said "Ray Who?"…but that's their loss. taylor did an admirable job on the song as well…

  22. shoes – fetish, on s. lamar. while you're there, head a little further south for pastries and coffee, Argentine-style, at Buenos Aires cafe. or pop into "Happiness" for a plant, potted in colored crystals and home-spun vases of all shapes and sizes. next door you'll find cute and still-affordable tees at "Vanilla Girl," not to mention amazing homemade candles in scents like vanilla grapefruit and melon merengue.

    waxing – russian woman at cleopatra's. can't remember her name, but she's incredible and she digs deep.

    threading – place on guadalupe – the college kids go there. don't know the name but it's near 26th or 27th street on guadalupe.

    tennis – caswell, caswell, caswell.

    mani/pedi – oasis on bee caves.

    how to start any weekend day – go hiking around turkey creek (it's 3 miles of rocky goodness) in the late morning, then hit ski shores for fries and iced tea on your way back.

  23. oh, and music! –

    bob schneider (a must)

    the scabs (on the very rare occasion they play at Antone's, it's a don't-miss-unless-you're-deathly-ill must)

    carolyn wonderland


    grupo fantasma

    iron & wine


    the greencards

    alejandro escovedo

    anything playing at stubb's or cactus cafe, and for more

  24. catherine – whatever is up your ass probably requires more than a little wax for removal

  25. This may not be much help, but I love the margaritas at Cantina Laredo in Houston, and I believe they have one in Austin. It's a chain, but the margaritas are pure. I got a peach one, made from actual peach juice. I'll bet they have mango (not to mention delicious table-side guac).

    Trust me, I know how important a GOOD margarita is for a girl. Best of luck.

  26. go to shady grove, sit outside, and order a margarita. its one of my favorite austin spots. sooo texas- in a wonderful way.

  27. what's an eyebrow threader? sorry, i don't plan on visiting, but i still read! ~Jodi

  28. when i lived in san antonio, we used to travel up to austin to see The Lucky Strikes. Fun jazz/swing band. find them!!!

  29. I just lived in philadelphia for two years with no eyebrow threader. After living in new york for four years and getting it done religiously at pinky's…i think that is where you got yours done too. my advice to seek out wherever "little india" is in austin. that was the problem in philadelphia though–little india is not in the city, only in jersey and the suburbs. look for any areas of town that have a high concentration of pakistani and indian restaurants and clothes shops. good luck. i know the pain of not having a good eyebrow threader around!

  30. I love Strut on South Lamar and also Jezebel for shoes. You have to visit Waterloo Records and next door is Emerald's which has great shoe sales. They are affordable like that shop you mentioned recently in NY. Fonda San Miguel has fabulous interior Mexican food and they have a mango. I agree that Trudy's is good, but I would get their Mexican Martini (only top shelf), there is a reason that they limit you to two:) I like Bella Salon on West Sixth Street.
    Have you been to Redbud Isle? It is near Mozart's on Redbud lane, it has a dogpark which your dog might like; it really is a mini-isle! I really enjoy your blog, thanks for sharing!

  31. Look you want lessons… Caswell for cheap. Take group lessons with Lea Sauls… Ask him who he used to call squirrel and la ropa… we still keep in touch. He was my first real coach and the one I remember everything he taught me. I am now coaching myself.

    He teaches these great 3.0 lessons for women,about 8 women just gabbing and playing around 7 pm. I used to play in when I was 13. Caswell is better than Austin High because at Austin High your car will probably get robbed. You can also try Pharr Tennis Center with Ruben and Nancy and South Austin Tennis Center with Michelle and Sheryl. I love it there and they help you set up match play, group lessons. They are very nice.

    Shoes… By George. Austin has okay shopping. It may be best to go to Houston. One big pit stop.

  32. Mango Margs: Not nearly as difficult to find as you’ve been led to believe. Hula Hut on Lake Austin Blvd., La Feria on S. Lamar (best mariachis in town at happy hour on Thursdays), Vivo on Manor Rd and maybe Guero’s on S. Congress, Fonda San Miguel on North Loop and Maudie’s on S. Lamar. Go try the Avacado Margarita at Curra’s on Oltorf. If you want to lose all inhibitions and not remember a thing, try 3 of the blue margaritas at Z-Tejas, but go to the one on 6th St., not the one up north. And a better bet for Mexican Martinis (margs with olives served in martini glasses with a shaker full for refills) is Cedar Door on 2nd St. downtown. The best cocktails in town are either at Club de Ville on 9th and Red River or Starlite on 4th and Colorado. The food at Starlite is amazing as well (

    Exceptional Shoe Stores: Fetish, By George, Emeralds (all on N. Lamar between 6th and 12th), Legs Diamond (on Guadalupe), Factory People (limited selection, on S. Congress), Ven Shoe Salon (on 35th). We have an Aldo here (out at Highland Mall) if you need something quick, cheap and trendy.

    How to locate most all things in Austin (food, music, theater, politics, etc.): Pick up an Austin Chronicle (free “alternative weekly” newspaper) every Thursday. Kinda like the Village Voice before New Times bought them out. This week’s issue has the 2006 Restaurant Poll in it, which could keep you busy food-wise for weeks. Also at The alternative to that would be (part of the gothamist network). They do good reviews of everything, especially music.

    Some other suggestions:
    The wine bar at the San Jose Hotel (
    Sunday brunch at Fonda San Miguel on North Loop (
    Home Slice Pizza on S. Congress or East Side Pies on Rosewood
    East Side Café on Manor Rd. (be sure to check out their garden)
    Mars Restaurant on San Jacinto (
    Castle Hill Cafe on 5th St. – good for lunch (
    Find an Elk and get them to invite you to the pool at the Elks lodge one hot Saturday afternoon.
    Drive out to Krause Springs.
    The Harry Ransom Center and the new Blanton Museum at UT.
    Any of the Rolling Roadshow events from the Alamo Drafthouse ( (Example: they showed Jaws on their huge inflatable screen on Lake Travis and your seat was an inner tube on the water.)

    I could go on for pages. Hopefully this is enough to get you started. A word of caution: Dallas and Austin are diametrically opposed, so if you get advice about Austin from a random someone who lives in Dallas, be sure to confer with an Austinite before heeding it.

    Enjoy your weekend!

  33. Here's some local Austin music to check out…

    Matt the Electrician (this is the one that I'm almost certain you will like the most):

    Walter Tragert:

    Jon Dee Graham:

    Southpaw Jones:

    There are so many more, but what usually happens is that when you find one Austin musician that you really like that person will end up playing with someone else that you really like and so forth. The Austin music scene is incestuous like that…

  34. my last post, too, i promise.

    i see someone else mentioned going to see Kelly Willis (and I highly recommend getting down to Waterloo to purchase my favorite CD, "What I Deserve." how i left Kelly Willis off my list i don't know, as she is probably my favorite texas artist. and her husband bruce robison is amazing (one of my prized possessions is a picture I took with Bruce earlier this year). and bruce's brother charlie robison, married to one of the dixie chicks, is equally amazing.

    NOW, when bruce and kelly play together … fuggedaboutit. another 'must.'

  35. Hula Hut has awesome fresh mango frozen margaritas. And it's a cool place to go hang out by the lake. It's right next to Mozart's, where I believe you mentioned recently that you'd been …

    I always check out the Austin Chronicle for music recommendations — they're free all over town, or go to Welcome to Austin!

  36. I agree with Syd on the Trudy's Mexican Martinis but don't know much about frozen or mango things.

    I had a friend who took lessons at the Caswell Tennis Center. It's at 24th & Lamar and is part of the city parks system. Or try UT informal classes

    shoes – our saks is tiny, so the shoe dept is boutique-like. There's also Fetish at 12th (I think) and Lamar, Factory People on South Congress, and sometimes Julian Gold on W. 6th between Lamar and Mopac, though other times it's grandma-ish.

    music – I know what I like, but you pretty much just have to discover it yourself. KUT (the public radio station 90.5fm) usually has local or touring live acts at noon, and you can listen to the archives if you can stand the host. Jeff McCord and Angela Miller play great sets on the same station – mix of local and non, usually, to get an idea of who you'd like to see live. The Cactus Cafe on UT campus has amazing sound and is so intimate. but again, a mix of local and touring. But my real advice to you is this – don't let anyone try to convince you that Sara Hickman is the kind of soulful you're looking for unless by soulful you mean trite and ear-hurting.

  37. Hey Stephanie,
    This is the first time I have posted, but I have been reading your blog for a while…I LOVE IT!!! I from Texas, the Dallas area! I was so pumped when you said you where moving to Texas! Anyway about your post, way cute…same thing I would have said to my friends. About the Guadeloupe Memorial Day weekend is a great weekend to go if your wanting to party it up! I will be there…I can't wait to be floating down the river! Thanks for keeping me entertained!

  38. i only know things as such in Dallas and now, London. But, if you are ever in London I would personally take you anywhere of the sort! :) And, reading this makes me want to do all of these things!

    Hope you are adjusting well and loving life, my dear!

  39. I think Stephanie is "straight up" but never crude. And Paige is right, for 75 bucks you want it landscaped correctly.

  40. Mango and Guava frozen margaritas from Fonda San Miguel are made with fresh fruit puree. Baby Acapulco's is super cheesy and they don't even use tequila in their margaritas.

    Shaneela at Paris Designs (humble, no frills salon near Rundberg/Lamar) does outstanding eyebrow threading for five bucks an eye. She does Brasilian waxes, also.

    Shoes: Definately Fetish on 12th/North Lamar. Hop on over to Underwear, right across the street, (same owner) for a rainbow array of Hanky Panky's and other luxury undergarments to go with the shoes.

    KUT Public Radio for music/news. Live music almost every day around the noon hour and overall a very eclectic blend of programming. Playlists and upcoming live performances are always posted at

  41. you have probably heard of bob schneider, but i really think you'd love him check out his website for dates, but hes plays pretty much every week. If you want softer and soulful go when it says "bob schneider's lonlyland." you'll love it (he'll be at the saxon pub on the 22nd and then looks like hes touring the country)

  42. I just moved to Austin from San Francisco and can sympathize with the quest for certain things. I had a meal and a margarita at Cantina Laredo downtown Austin and found both to be very good (not sure about the fresh puree.) Have not had a bikini wax yet but thought this spa downtown looked nice
    Tennis?? I did start Bellydancing classes and love it! (makes me feel proud to be a woman.) Shoes/shopping I've been ordering online. Good luck! Johanna

  43. I'm glad for the gory details, because I never knew what a complete bikini wax was before I read you, Stephanie. And now that I do, I don't know why any sane woman would do it, but more power to ya, babe! Au naturel for moi. Just reading about your grooming requirements makes me tired!
    Good luck!

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