Hot Sauce and Aspirin

Some tips and tricks to survive a hangover.

Quick recap in case you missed Unofficially SXSX, Entirely Austin: Part 1. Last weekend was the closing weekend of South By South West, and my husband and I made our annual donations to the gods of music and indulgence, as a way to maintain street cred and continue living here. (Its a real thing, Austin is mysterious and you must pay homage, so it’s easier just not to move here.) This year we decided to learn what fun could be had with no RSVPs and no badges.

Now that you are caught up, it is Friday evening and we venture into the madness. First we checked out an event at Still, where Balanced Breakfast was hosting several bands and local artists. The owners at Still Austin are incredibly welcoming, one of them gave me a little demonstration of their mini still and told me about the giant scale one as well. They specialize in whiskey and gin, and even though neither of those is my favorite, the drinks were delicious and I will visit them again! After Still we decided to head home and dump the car so we could Uber downtown. (Responsibility is cool!) I also drank a bottle of Morning Recovery, in case the night got away from me! Since we had no clear plans, and were totally embracing the winging it angle, we had the Uber drop us off on South Congress. We figured pizza was a good start, so we went to the window at Homeslice, scarfed down some amazing pizza, and headed down Congress toward the city. Our first stop was at SXSJ, it’s an outdoor venue between Jo’s Coffee and Hotel San Jose. It’s always free, no badge required, and produces some awesome shows. We happened to wander in just in time for Broken Social Scene, and they were so fun that we stayed for their entire set. #SXSJ also had shopping, art, and beer, so we had a drink while we danced, then headed back into the night! While walking toward downtown, I realized I had to pee, so voted that our next stop be indoors. We walked over the gorgeous South Congress Bridge, and the Four Season’s beckoned to us promising clean bathrooms, great service and a full bar. Once I was situated at the bar, I took stock of my surroundings a little bit, and realized that David Komie of the Dharma Kings was at the other end of the bar with his band. Never a dull moment during SXSW! We ended up having 2 drinks there, then heading back into the crowd. The Four Season’s is a quick walk to Rainey Street, which is a street full of old houses that have been remade into bars. It’s pretty much the worst place in the world if you are over 30, but during SXSW, it’s the place to go. On Rainey a lot of the events were badge or rsvp only, but there was still a lot to do for those of us who were less prepared. We ended up going to Craft Pride, where Beth Lee and the Breakups were starting a set. They were the perfect continuation of our mellow night. Of course, it wouldn’t be Rainey Street if we didn’t witness a bouncer take down a patron, followed by a dramatic arrest. Once all of that subsided, it was around 12:30, and we felt like we accomplished Friday, and were ready for the rest of the weekend.

I also feel like this post is long enough again, so there will be a part 3 tomorrow covering Saturday and Sunday!

If you follow me on Facebook, you know I promised an entry today. The stipulation was that I would blog as long as I was not too hungover. I am not, and so here we all are!

Living in Austin is not without its hardships. Our property taxes are those of a city with much better amenities and infrastructure. Our traffic is terrible. Our houses are bizarrely expensive. Our people are entitled. But, for all of that, we have ACL, SXSW, The Congress Street Bridge, Dazed and Confused, and live music everywhere, all the time. We also still have the fastest growing population in the country, even though we have repeatedly asked you all to please stop moving here! For that, I place the blame squarely on South By Southwest. The weather ends up being annoyingly gorgeous, everyone is out in their quirky artistic glory, clothing is fabulous, celebrities are out on display. Austin appears as a glittering beacon of hope for all artistic types to earn salvation, or at least a living wage. What they don’t know is that for the rest of the year, our wages are low, rents are high, and everyone has a college degree and 7 jobs. But I digress! The point of this was not to paint a realistic portrait of life in this gorgeous city, it was just to tell you what I was up to last week. It just escalated so quickly.

Anyway, SX happens for 10 days during March, and it brings with it parties, free drinks, and a full social calendar. My husband and I never take time off for it, but we always dedicate at least 1 full weekend to finding some new bands and wandering around people watching. We also always sneak in an hour to hit the bar at the Four Season’s. It’s an excellent place to see the most random people while catching some mellow cover band. This year, we decided to go crazy and hit the town Thursday-Sunday. Normally I check my emails and rsvp to a few parties, but this year we decided just to wing it. No badge, no RSVP, no wristband, just 2 people wandering around to see what an average person could find without preparing or spending a ton of money. While there were a lot of events we were platinum badge only, there was still a ton of unofficial or low key things to do. On Thursday we decided to completely bypass all SXSW madness and hit a brewery. We went to Independence Brewing, andenjoyed a couple of their tasty offerings. Thursday also appeared to be trivia night, which drew a decent little crowd. We were too late to play, we walked in on round 3. But the quizmaster did a great job and had an diverse soundtrack for between rounds. If you are a trivia person, I would head to their Website and check that out! Let me know if you need an extra member for your trivia team, I’m always down for fun when I’m in town. That was it for Thursday, Brian had work early on Friday, and we still had a whole weekend waiting for us! But this post is already so long, and you all have lives to live. So come back tomorrow for the exciting conclusion where we actually hit up the SXSW events!

Like the Lord of the Rings and the Hunger Games, this saga will come in a trilogy, but the movie version will be in 4 parts, so I can make more money and spend more time at Disneyland to “film” during food and wine. Am I a genius? No, but I play one in part four of my LA Story trilogy.

I am a Disney World girl. Being born and raised in Massachusetts, it’s basically expected you will vacation in 3 places, “down the cape”, “on the Vineyard” (Nantucket more so these days), or “down to Florida”. Growing up we definitely spent more time going down to Florida than the other two, and some of that time was spent at Disney World. The first time I flew on a plane, I think I was around 5, and that plane headed to Disney World. After that, we revisited the holy land a few more times. But kid Julie had nothing on adult Julie. Now I take annual (or more) pilgrimages to stay at the house of mouse. Out of all the reasons to travel down to the parks, Food and Wine at Epcot is my favorite. In fact, there are photos both on previous blog posts and on my Instagram (hot_sauce_and_aspirin) where I am testing out hangover remedies at Food and Wine. With all of this well documented Disney Food and Wine love, imagine my excitement when I realized that the dates we planned to be in LA were also during their food and wine festival. Imagine my further delight when the random hotel we got as part of the Ellen package, (remember, LA Stories: Part 1,) was only 15 miles from Disneyland. So, I did when any Disney loving human would do, and purchased plane tickets that left LA at 8 PM (which became 9:30 PM, thanks weather.) and bought an extra pass for California Adventure, giving myself 2 full days to experience everything Food and Wine had to offer.

Upon arriving to California Adventures, I noticed immediately that it was not Epcot, so the funnel of people got pretty dense. They don’t have a whole world showcase to seamlessly merge with, so they use the walkway by the vineyard, on the way to Pixar pier for the bulk of it. The crush of humans was the only downside. The food was much better than the Florida counterparts. Almost every kiosk had a vegetarian option, and they were great! A lot of the ones in Epcot are desserts, so unless you just want cake and wine, it’s not always the best. I had fried corn nuggets, beer cheese soup, sliders, ceviche, sushi, other things I can’t remember right now, and it was all vegetarian! Plus, the drinks at the kiosks are full sized. That one is a little good, a little bad. You pay about what it costs for just samples at Epcot, but you are stuck with entire drinks, so you really can’t try them all. I mean, maybe you can, but I got way too drunk trying! How cute is that bottle? The beer was not bad either, but see what I mean about full sizes.

The selection was great, portions were great, but what about the prices? Honestly, for Disney, they were great too. For $54 you get the “sip and savor pass” which gets you 8 food items or non alcoholic drinks. A lot of the food items cost $9-11, so you save quite a bit of money that way. My sister and I each bought one, and we only ended up using 12 of the vouchers, so I gifted the last 4 to a lucky bystander. My recommendation would be to buy them 1 at a time for your group, repurchasing as needed. I also recommend that you skip using the vouchers for non alcoholic drinks, as most of them are between $5-6, it’s better bang for your buck to use the voucher for food and pay for the drinks out of pocket. Or better yet, just buy alcoholic drinks and use water fountains to hydrate. #ThriftyDrunkie.

Of course while you are at the park for food and wine festival, there are still all the awesome rides, which kind of makes Disneyland better than Epcot too. No offense to the Frozen ride or Spaceship earth, but Guardians of the Galaxy Breakout is far superior! Last recommendation, get the Max Pass. You can make unlimited fast passes from your phone, so you can ride Guardians 6 times. Or the Cars ride twice and Guardians 4 times, I don’t want to tell you how to vacation, you do you! Either way, if you plan on hitting up Disneyland sometime in the next couple of years, try to plan it during food and wine. Then you too can eat all of this!

And if you end up drinking every offering and you feel like garbage the next day, try less drowsy Dramamine, so you can still ride all the rides and not want to vomit or sleep! #HappyDisneyDrunkies

So ends LA Stories, the trilogy. And unlike the Divergent series, the protagonist lives happily ever after.

Leaving aside the madness that was Uber, I actually had a pretty great time while in the greater LA area. (Check out LA Stories part 1 for details if you are wondering how I seemingly dropped us all in here, mid story.) After the Ellen show, my sister scored us tickets to Disneyland for their 90’s nite. Imagine the happiest place on earth. Now imagine it without any little kids or lines. Now imagine that, but there is 90’s pop blaring, and everyone is dressed like an extra from Blossom or Fresh Prince. Then add special 90’s snacks and a free color blocked fanny pack, and you are almost to how great the event was! I didn’t take a picture of just the fanny pack, so enjoy my VIP swag from Ellen too.

My sister is a Disney super fan, and she discovered these after hours parties a few years ago. I’m always skeptical when things that are already expensive try to figure out ways to take more of my money. However, in the case of a Disney after hours party, give them all your money. In 4 hours you can easily ride every ride in the park, meet most of the characters, walk around unencumbered by massive crowds, and eat all the food you want without waiting in monster lines or fighting for a table. For this specific party, each land had its own soundtrack, which was really cool. And the Main Street square had a DJ who kept a crowd jumping, even in the rain. Check out the sweet 90’s banner.

Recently, we were at Disney World for one of their ticketed after hour events, and we rode all the mountains except splash, brrrr, then were the only people on the Pirates of the Caribbean ride for 5 boats in either direction. If you can afford it, (and let’s be honest, if you can afford Disney in general, you can likely budget in another $100 to experience the perfect line free night), you should definitely do it. Usually the after hours events are not theme parties, so don’t be disappointed if you don’t get to see Launchpad McQuack, Louis, or Hades. Note the staff in epic color blocked nostalgia.

Keep an eye open Here for Magic Kingdom or other Florida Disney World events, or fire up the old google for other parks or to see what die hard Disney fans are getting hyped about.

In addition to the totally rad 90’s party, it also ended up being Food and Wine fest at Disneyland’s California Adventure, so you know there will be an LA Story part 3 coming soon! And, for my favorite drunkies, this one definitely involves drinking! Cheers!

Oh, and since it’s “What Else? Wednesday”, if you are looking for a new blog to follow, check out my friend over at A Little Bit Of Nothing!

I’m home in Austin, just in time for SXSW. (Don’t move here.) Usually the universe has the cruel joke of making the 2 weeks of SX the most beautiful 2 weeks of the spring. It’s always warm but not too hot, sunny like 90% of the time, if it rains it has the decency to do it in the morning. As a result, all the industry folks here think Austin is paradise, and we end up with a population boom. This year, it’s pretty warm, but it’s also foggy, rainy, and so humid. Maybe that will cull the herd a bit. Either way, SX gets a lot of grief from us locals. It brings traffic, both auto and sex, crime rates go up, 6th Street gets even more dangerous, the price gouging, damn. It goes from like $3 for a lone Star to $12, and showing ID proving that you live inside the city limits all the time brings no mercy, usually. But, I have to admit, every year, I brave the nonsense and hit up some interactives, some bars, some free shows, and bask in the Austin of it all, appreciating the extra revenue flowing into the city. Still, don’t move here, this traffic people are blaming on the festival, it’s always here. Maybe not quite as terrible, but terrible.

Speaking of terrible traffic, I just spent 4 days in and around LA. It was my third time there within about 9 months, time to birth a baby, but not nearly enough time to birth any fondness for that metroplex. This journey was brought to me by an auction benefiting AstraZeneca Hope Lodge in Boston. If you want to see what they do, here’s a handy link I got from the google. https://www.google.com/amp/s/amp.cancer.org/treatment/support-programs-and-services/patient-lodging/hope-lodge/boston/about-our-facility.html

The auction package included VIP passes to the Ellen Show (filmed in Burbank), plus a free hotel stay, located in the not at all convenient, Long Beach. In Austin terms it’s like Georgetown to San Marcos. We used Uber everywhere, because we figured it would be easier than renting a car. $520 later, I should have figured that out! But, the Ellen show was so fun. David Letterman was the guest, DJ Twitch was there, Ellen’s mom was there, the host of the Spanish (maybe Italian, I can’t remember what she said) version of Games of Games was there. (It airs March 21.) It was a such a perfect first experience with her talk show, I immediately became a fan. One thing you don’t think about when watching the show at home, is how not spontaneous it is. They screen people at check in, and the prettiest people get sent to hair and makeup and are given seats near where the cameras will pan. There is a hype guy who tells you when to stand, sit, clap, and at what volume you should clap depending on the subject matter. The audience is really just a prop. I feel like that is the case for all shows filmed before a live studio audience. Either way, getting to see it all happen up close and person was an experience I won’t forget, that I also likely won’t have the opportunity to duplicate. If you are given the chance to do something like that at least once in your life, you should do it! Even if it means being in an uber for 4 hours in one day, wondering if maybe you were being abducted. But that’s a story for another day!

Hello, my favorite drunkies! Happy March, hopefully wherever you are, spring is starting to peek out and help winter find the door.  I am in Austin today, and it is FREEZING.  Like, 30 degrees, going for lunch wearing a winter coat, wistfully remembering sunny days, looking longingly at the weather app, cold!  A strange thing has been happening lately, and as such I have not been nearly as good about writing.  After my hangover marathon in St. Barth, I have not had another one.  Did I crack the code? Am I drinking whatever I want and someone feeling fine? Is 40 the new 20? HELL NO.  I went to a party the other day and had 3 beers.  I went to a musical and had 2 drinks.  I went on a cruise and was never hungover.  So if I cracked the code, I would have to say it is this, if you are going to drink way too much, do it between noon and 6 PM, then stop drinking, eat, and stay awake until at least 9:30-10:00 PM.  We got the drink package on the cruise, and in order to break even on that bad boy you need to drink at least 6 drinks per day.  Which seems like a hard task, but not if you start at breakfast! The point is, I have been silent here because I have not been hungover.  I have however, been traveling like a crazy person, having great adventures, and dealing with a super long flare of IBD, which is not IBS, google it if you are curious.  So, that brings me to right now.  I hate not writing, not interacting with you all, not shamelessly promoting things, not feeling connected to all my readers and commenting super fans.  But, I hate being hungover and making this stupid disease worse too.  So, Hot Sauce and Aspirin, much like this writer, is going to have to evolve in order to stay alive.  Which brings me to you.  I travel almost without ceasing.  I have been home since Saturday evening, and I leave again on Wednesday.  I could definitely chronicle the travel aspect of my life, (which involves a LOT of Disney, a lot of beaches, and a lot of cheap air travel), in between the hangover stuff.  However, I have a lot of faithful readers, and don’t know that their interest would translate to that.  I promise, it would not be just another travel blog.  There would definitely be too much drinking, dealing with chronic disease, shameless self promotion, the occasional political rant, and a lot of pictures of the good, bad and ugly of it all.  What do you think?  Should I shut the blog down, except for the few times a year I actually make myself sick, or should I evolve my party brand into something more?  Sound off in the comments, email, facebook or instagram, @hot_sauce_and_aspirin.

And don’t lose heart, my drunkies!  I may be 40, and temporarily evolving, but that never lasts long.  #Cheers!

It has been really tough to grab a free moment lately to write this post. I’m currently sitting alone in a cute little living room, with a large glass wall, overlooking a small courtyard and a cliff down to the ocean. I’m near the middle of a 2 week dream vacation, currently staying in a great little villa in St Barths. It’s gorgeous here, if you are trying to pick the perfect place for a honeymoon or tropical getaway, this blows every other place I have visited in the Caribbean right out of the water. The crowds are low, the beaches are gorgeous, food is delicious. It’s a little bit French, but I actually kind of like that rather than the normal chaos of the Caribbean.

But that is not why you are here, I’m sure! Not just to play where in the world is Eat Pray Julie. But to see what I’m drinking and how I haven’t died yet. This answer totally shocked me, but the internet already knew about it, so maybe you will be less shocked. On Tuesday we all got really drunk, at least a few of us did. We were drinking rum punch, heavy on the rum, starting at Shellona, where my dad thought the drinks were not strong enough so he started also getting extra shots of rum to add to them. Interesting side note, while we were at Shellona, we ran into the owner of Paul Mitchell and his entourage. I did not take a picture. After the awesome lunch we headed back to the house to swim in the pool and have more drinks. Which turned into our entire night, minus a well timed drunk journey to a local pizza place! (Here we are on the walk down the mountain to bring back pizza.) We devoured 3 pizzas, a ton of fries and maybe a salad, had a couple more drinks, and went to bed early. At 4:30 AM I woke up feeling like someone who had been drinking for 5 days, and not really hydrating. The issue was we had chartered a catamaran to take us out to some coves to swim and snorkel. And a hungover me on a boat all day, seemed to spell trouble. But either way I was not going to miss out, so I dragged myself up, drank a ton of water, washed my face, brushed my teeth, and got back in bed with an alarm set for 7:30. Unfortunately I never fell back to sleep, just stayed there being hungover wishing I was asleep. 7:30 came, I got dressed, and we started getting ready for the day on the boat. That was when one of the people in my group started handing out non drowsy Dramamine, in case anyone got boat sick. I don’t normally, but thought I might because my stomach was so unsettled. Before we even got to the port, the Dramamine kicked in and my stomach was 100% settled. It was amazing. It lasted around 8 hours, and I could tell when it was up because the hangover and upset stomach came back. But by then we were just getting back to the house, so it didn’t really matter! It was such an immediate and complete 180, that from now on, I’m adding it to my morning after routine. 1 less drowsy Dramamine, 1 Advil, 1 water, 1 coffee, and I bet, except for those really tough customers brought on by shots or champagne cocktails, I’ll be good. I even texted my husband to ask him to go buy some to bring for week 2 of the vacation, when he will be with me.

Thanks for coming on this journey with me! I can’t believe it’s been over a year with all you awesome drunkies! Don’t forget to follow me on Instagram at Hot_Sauce_and_aspirin and tag your party pics #HelloDrunkies so we can all follow along!

See you next time, probably from somewhere else in the Caribbean.