Instead of incorporating this housewares and antiques store into one of my “days” posts, I thought I would leave this post as a “stand alone”, depsite the fact that I took all of the pics on my first day there.
Uncommon Objects on South Congress in Austin is this HUGE store that has antiques, vintage and collectible items, reclaimed industrial items, and general awesomeness, totally PACKED into tons of little alcoves throughout the length of a football field. And everything is pretty resonably priced. I immediately thought about my friends back home who would have bonered out large to walk through this place. Take a look at the pics below. These are ALL from the same store:
CREEPY BABY FACE:
VINTAGE WEINER DIAGRAM:
My favorite thing was probably this huge old butterfly specimen case – it was about 6 feet tall and had old sun stains from where the specimens used to sit, and a few old wings hanging on pins here and there… so weird and creepy and cool:
As I mentioned on yesterday’s post, the day was drawing to a close and the sun was starting to set… I was lugging around a huge bag of purchases from the day, and was getting pretty hungry. Although you may not think it when you see my whaley thighs, I can forget to eat when I’m really excited, and I hadn’t had anything since that grody egg-and-cheese bagel. I thought I would walk back to the hotel and grab dinner at the restaurant, so I started walking back. Then, three fantastic things happened:
FANTASTIC THING NUMBER ONE:
I had this self-imposed goal to find a really cool pair of vintage cowboy boots while over in Austin. This is so that, when I wear this fantasy pair of ‘really cool vintage cowboy boots’ when I’m in Toronto, I can say “Yeah, I got them while I was visiting Austin. No big deal.” Which OBVIOUSLY, would make them extra-cool.
Although I had seen hundreds of pairs of boots, I clearly have some kind of swollen-cankle-slash-deformed-calf disease that has not yet been diagnosed, because nothing fit me. Either they were too big, or the ankle was too narrow, or the ankle was too big and they kept sliding off when I walked… DAAAAMMMMN YOOOOOU BOOOOOOTS! So, I was walking down the street and I saw this rickety old hand-painted sign that said “VINTAGE BOOTS” with an arrow. In my mind, I thought
Fortunately for me, it was the latter. Since the sun was setting, I caught the guy as he was packing up. I ran over like some kind of whaley-thighed, deformed-footed crazy person – I assume he smelled the desperation from a mile away, because he stopped, calmed me down, and helped me find TWO pairs of amazing boots.
These broken-down black motorcycle-cross-cowboy boots that make me look bad-ass; and
These oxblood cowboy boots with an eagle sewed into the front. An EAGLE.
Natalie’s feelin’ pretty good at this point. I bag up my two pairs of boots and continue walking towards the hotel – I have my DSLR on me so I tried to snap some arty pics, but lugging around 45 pounds worth of boots and clothes restricted my ability to ‘commit’ to my photographs:
Then I came across the second fantastic find of the evening…
FANTASTIC THING NUMBER TWO:
While taking pictures, I glanced through the window of this old-timey 60′s themed diner called ‘Snackbar’ and noticed this good-looking bartender serving drinks… I keep walking, walking, walking… I stop… I think…
“What the hell am I doing? Go have dinner in THERE with THAT GUY!”
So I did, and I met a whole crew of extremely friendly, extremely good-looking Austin hipster-esque bartenders and servers who are more than happy to discuss my trip and suggest places for me to frequent while exploring Austin. They were showing old 60′s Batman reruns with no sound, which brought me back to my elementary school days, when I used to come home after school and watch Batman and Gilligan’s Island instead of playing with actual friends. Memories.
The guy at the bar recommended the steak tacos, which were very, very, very good. I also ordered a Lone Star beer, and since it was happy hour, it cost about $1.50. My brain subsequently exploded, and my mouth subsequently consumed about 10 beers. Lone Star beers also have little messages in the cap to decipher… this one says:
“Half-ing a bang-up dime”
After finishing the steak tacos, my whaley thighs were still screaming for more food, so I decided to go with another of the bartender’s recommendations and get the “Okonomiaki”, which is this amazing spicy egg-sesame-something concoction. The food at this place was REALLY good considering it’s modest decor and laid-back appearance, and the bartenders were still entertaining me, so I was feeling pretty awesome.
There was an older man sitting at the bar with me who eventually smiled at me and slid down the bar next to me to strike up a conversation. He was super-nice and we ended up having a one hour conversation about music (he designs layouts for country music musicians like Willie Neslon), politics (he was very concerned that Candians hated Americans due to their conservative views), and Austin (he’s lived there his whole life). Great conversation, but I think it turned into a bit of a hit-on situation at the end when he offered to “go have dessert with me somewhere else”. I politely declined, and the innocence of my trip to Austin remained intact.
After settling up at Snackbar, I moseyed on back to the hotel – drunk, full of tacos and egg, and all vintaged-up. Just when I thought the day couldn’t get any better, when I got back to my room I found fantastic thing number three:
FANTASTIC THING NUMBER THREE:
In case you can’t see – that’s a dark chocolate cowboy boot filled with spiced pecans, some white chocolate and dark chocolate cookies and goodies and the BEST SALTED CARAMEL FUDGE that has ever existed on the face of the earth. Large pimpitude, indeed.
The whole day couldn’t be ALL amazing, or the fabric of the space-time continuum would likely implode. There needs to be a balance of good and bad to ensure that the world is at peace…. on that note… It was Saturday night, I was having an amazing time, so I thought I would be a crazy partier and go out on the town to a bar by myself and continue being social and making new friends. So I got all gussied up:
And went down to 6th Street, which I had been told by NUMEROUS people was the “place to be” on a Saturday night. I don’t know who these people thought I was, I’m guessing they thought I was a slutty, bleached-out hair college girl who cannot hold her liquor. Because this is what I saw:
Suffice it to say… I walked once up and down the street and went back to the hotel to take a long bath. Much better.
Stay tuned for tomorrow when you get to see inside the most brain-meltingly cool reclaimed and vintage housewares store that I think I’ve ever seen ever.
So, I agonized over how to report on my trip to Texas, because I feel like I might overwhelm everyone with information. I had such an amazing time and want to make sure that I get down all of the cool stuff so that you can all understand how much fun it was. I decided to just keep it simple and take you through my days step-by-step… so here goes:
Day One: Morning
My flight was super early, and since I’m clearly a terrorist (note: I am not a terrorist) and have to be strip-searched and prodded for hours on end before being admitted into the US, I had to leave about 3 hours before my flight to make sure I didn’t miss out on my whole weekend. Fortunately, since I’m a big pimp now (note: I am not a big pimp), my company sprang for the corporate limo to ensure I got to the church on time. Remember the BEAUTIFUL satchel I picked up in Chicago? Yeah, she got her own warmed-leather seat:
Off to Pearson, where flights to Houston are secretly hidden in the FURTHEST little shack of a gate at the VERY far end of the airport. Note that my beautiful satchel from Chicago does not have wheels. I had to carry her heavy leather ass for about 10 miles through the damn gateways. A mediocre egg-and-cheese bagel soothed my distress while I waited with some interesting characters in the “Gate-Shack”. Check out those SWEET matching hoodies. I wish I was part of the “Canadian White Wolf Hoodie” Pack.
After a brief layover in Houston, I made it to the first stop of the trip: Austin. Let me tell you, baby… Austin is like, Natalie’s dream city. As soon as I landed and checked into the hotel, I ran like a schoolgirl over to South Congress Ave (also known as “SoCo” to super-cool locals like me), because rumour had it that the best vintage shopping in the city was concentrated over there. Hoo boy. It did not disappoint.
First stop was “Parts and Labour”, which I thought was funny because of Toronto’s Parts and Labour. Ha ha. Same name. Anyhoo, it’s a small shop that carries a bunch of local designers, as well as a whole library of concert prints from local Austin shows. I managed to find some AMAZING prints from local printers like the Bearded Lady… some of which had Canadian bands (F*cked Up, Black Mountain, etc.) featured. Then I forgot to go back and buy them, so I’m going to try to get some online later. Anyways, they also had this local designer that made kind of southwesterny girly clothes, and I REALLY wanted to try on this super South Westerny get-up… which I did… I just got the skirt, though. I think that the bra-top thing would be a bit risqué on the Toronto streets (yes, I still have my jeans and boots on):
THEN, I found an AMAZING thrift store that was run by a local church. It really was a genuine “dig-to-find-stuff” kind of place… but if you know Natalie, you know that she LOVES that shit.
They also had a sweet-ass collection of mid-century and rustic old scales and shit like that. If it didn’t cost a kabillion dollars to ship shit now-a-day, I would consider buying this stuff-a-heres:
The change room was a bit disturbing:
I left the store with the following items for a whopping $18.00:
High-Waisted Wrangler Jeans
High-Waisted bleached-out Calvin Klein Jeans
Silk Poo-Green Tank Top (my favorite colour!)
SIIIICK 80′s splash-print dolman-sleeve blouse
Sigh! Already, my day felt like a success! I continued to walk down the street, relaxing and checking things out. OH YEAH – did I mention that it was like, 23 degrees Celsius and everyone was out in tank-tops drinking beer on patios? YEAH. For a chick like me, whose sole objective in life is to sit in the sun and drink beer while poring over my vintage deals of the day, this was the equivalent of 17 simultaneous orgasms. Probably.
I loved that they have this make-shift outdoor food-court place that consists entirely of airstream trailers. So. Totally. Wicked.
I had heard a lot about Cream vintage, so I went in there to check things out. Some really cool stuff, but nothing really “looked right” on me. I thought about buying this wicked pair of high-waisted yellow Levi’s jeans for P-Hops, because the waist was like a size 23, but I thought it would be a gamble…
I also got my first introduction to “New Bohemia Vintage” on Saturday (I say “first introduction” because I dropped by probably about 5 more times over the next 3 days…). It’s a huge spot with some REALLY awesome shite. I found a lot, including this wicked-cool wrap skirt with Canada Geese on it. I didn’t buy it, though.
As the sun started to set, I became more and more agitated… my #1 vintage goal (god I’m such a loser) was to buy a pair of really cool vintage cowboy boots, and with Saturday quickly drawing to an end, I had been unable to find a cool pair that fit my seemingly deformed feet (note: my feet are not actually deformed)…
Stay tuned for tomorrow, when I get hit on by an old man, meet some super cool Austin hipsters, and MAYBE get a pair of cowboy boots…. (?)….
Usually, I reserve my “Dear Stranger” posts for people who are totally clueless when it comes to clothing and style and stuff. HOWEVER, I’m making a special exception for you. You are super wicked-cool. Long dress with dusty boots and wild wavy hair? Wicked. Awesome oversized ring that glinted in the candlelight? Amazing. PLUS, your boyfriend is jaw-droppingly hot. You guys were like this little pocket of sexy-coolness eating your pasta over there in the corner.
I’m going to steal your style and try to re-create your outfit in an attempt to be fractionally as cool as you.