Sponsor Spotlight : Better Half Coffee and Cocktails

Better Half - AKA FELIZ offices

 
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Much of FELIZ has been planned from a booth at Better Half and at this season’s sale- you can enjoy cocktails designed by these brilliant folks. They are coming back to the sale as a sponsor, graciously bringing the Better Half experience to the Palm Door for FELIZ. What’s the Better Half experience? Super friendly people making super tasty beverages that combine flavors you’ve never considered but make so much sense when they hit your lips. We’ll share a cocktail recipe in the future, but something you just can’t nail at home is their food. An A+ time to experience it is during their happy hour bc ….

 All kinds- Beef, Chicken, and Veggie

All kinds- Beef, Chicken, and Veggie

Their burgers are $5.

And their burgers are some of the best in the city. The beef comes from 44 Farms in Cameron, TX, the chicken patty is ground in house, and they have a veggie patty, too. All $5 during HH.

…and that’s not all

Canned beers are $3.

Better Half stocks some of the best and weirdest beers in the city and almost all local. I don’t know what the Terpene Dream from Hops and Grain is but at $3 I’ll take it and probably love it.

So the HH schedule:
Every day (a rare weekend happy hour!) 3–6pm
And drink specials 9pm–close.
*Closed Mondays

Better Half is great for eating-meetings as you can get just about anything. From coffee to n/a drinks, to the best cocktails and food that addresses all diets. Maybe share the burger and their generous seasonal salad? Nice people and well-appointed digs. We’re very into it and excited to welcome them back to the sale!

 All this for $17.

All this for $17.

 Eat where the Toyotas eat.

Eat where the Toyotas eat.

Meet the Maker: Soele

Meet Soele — An Austin-based sweater company supporting artisan communities in the Andean highlands. Oh yeah, and another edition to the Fall FELIZ line-up! We're excited about their mission, commitment to fair wages and sustainable production practices, and reverence for responsible community collaboration. Read on to learn how the company was founded and what we can expect to see at the sale.

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We are excited to have Soele at the sale this year.! For those that may not be familiar with Soele, can you share a bit about what you’ll be bringing to the sale.

I'll be bringing the first three sweaters designed and produced by Soele. Two of which are made from 100% alpaca and the third is raglan-style pima cotton sweater. It's getting cold out and I'm confident that these provisions will help :).

Can you guide us through how you came to own your clothing line.

When I was 14, I lived in Germany for a year as an exchange student and went back about every year through college. Speaking German and having the freedom to explore the country via train has taken me to Berlin about a half-dozen times. Berlin is a crazy place because the post-war world was characterized by Soviet vs. Western tension and the city served as a kind of stage showcasing each side's resilience/ stubbornness. This meant that Berlin was never really ideal for big business, but was still the region's cultural epicenter, which underwent a kind of renaissance after the fall of the Wall in 1990. The city's culture embraced its newfound freedom with a sort of lawlessness in its fashion, party scene and ambience. When you spend enough time in a place like that, it's impossible to be satisfied with a "normal" job, so I started thinking of ways I could surround myself with more creative free-thinkers and leverage my background in traditional business to do some unique and impactful work that inherently deals with how people express themselves as individuals.

We’d love to know more about your mission for beautiful clothing with a global impact. How has this informed your approach to the design and the production of your garments?

November 2016 happened and I was pissed just like (what I had previously thought was) everyone else, but I spent too much time warring on social media and recognized that I needed to do something, so I tried to make a shoe in my kitchen. Seriously. My intent was to create a blueprint for how I could work with the disenfranchised and open a shoe manufacturing plant in Austin...once again, seriously. Obviously, this didn't pan out, so I went back to the drawing board. I heard about Fashion Revolution ATX- an event put on by Jen Lewis, founder of Purse and Clutch, to increase attention on how the fashion community must reorient itself in order to correct its dangerous history of wage abuse, environmental negligence, etc. There I met Jacquie Ring, founder of Moesel, and she took me to Peru and provided me with many of the resourced I needed and introduced me to the people I needed to know to get started. After this, I started doing serious research into sustainability practices and learned about how deeply entrenched alpacas are in the culture of many regions of Peru, which encouraged me to start working with alpaca fiber. Part of my research led me to Mike Safely, Alpaca Jedi and founder of the Quechua Benefit, a non-profit that has various initiatives (sustainable alpaca raising practices, a school in the Andes, and medical programs to help keep these kids stay healthy enough to remain in school and get their degree) to loop in the largely-forgotten people of the Andes. It's still a work in progress and right now a portion of the proceeds are going back to support the Quechua Benefit, but the plan is to include this organization more closely in the manufacturing and resource appropriation processes starting next year.

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How has owning your own clothing line impacted your personal style and/or your shopping philosophies?

I've always expressed myself through my sweaters and have categorized the rest of my clothes as just necessity....I'm from Minnesota, so only the 5th outermost layer is ever seen. Since I try and wear Soele sweaters as much as possible now, I suppose I really don't buy many clothes anymore. In all seriousness, before involving myself in this process I was pretty certain that factories meant that clothes were made by machines. After learning more and meeting the people who would be working alongside me to make something special, it alerted me to how frighteningly negligent and short-sighted the industry can be. Everyone deserves respect and if this notion means something to you, it is crucial to look deeper into your buying decisions and how you interface with people, irrespective of context and personal comfortability.

What’s in the future for Soele?

I'm working with a designer, Erin, who has tons of experience designing and creating samples for some big-name New York brands. We're on the same page with respect to the ethics of the brand, but the key difference is that she actually knows what she's doing in terms of producing clothes ;). I'm excited to see where this partnership takes Soele. I received some funding to throw a launch party, which will be in December. Wane (manager of some really amazing local artists, such as "the Teeta"), Adrian (founder of Brown State of Mind), and Joaq.n (creator of Nu Wave and, in my opinion, the best damn DJ in Austin) are helping me put this together.

And to get to know you a bit better...

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Where is home for you? Austin, MN. Home of Spam and can be reached by taking I-35 all the way northward from Austin.

Astrological sign: Libra

Last great travel destination? Mexico City with Abby/ @notaxontampons. I'm very surprised more people don't go there more often. Relatively inexpensive to get to, awesome people, great food!

What podcasts or books do you return to as a business owner? or just as a creative?

Small is Beautiful by E.F. Schumacher. Check this one out if you haven't. It's an excellent exposition on how we have a responsibility to care about how we use and appropriate finite, natural resources.

Altruism by Matthieu Ricard (known for being the happiest man in the world)- I finished reading the first 1/20th of the book and decided to go vegetarian. As it turned out, the "go vegetarian for these reasons" part wasn't until much later in the book.

What was the last big risk you took?

My mom still harasses me about not going to med school (to be fair, she's never seen my college transcripts, which would undoubtedly dispel this wish), but I think it's important that everyone make their own decision about what they want from life. The only proviso I'd add to that is that I think that this decision should be made after considering how it affects the greater society. Soele has been a series of risks varying in size, but to be honest, the biggest and most recent was what put me in contact with Mike Safley (founder of Quechua Benefit). I didn’t know him, but read his book and cold-called him to see if he wanted to work with me on this project and he was far more open to the idea than I would have ever thought.

You can shop Soele’s first collection of sweaters at the sale on December 9th. Until then, learn more about Soele’s mission and browse the collection here.

Meet the Maker: PRIMARY

FELIZ is excited to introduce PRIMARY to the fall line-up. The Los Angeles skincare line is run by former Austinite, Jessica Olsen, whose focus is on creating the absolute best non-toxic, clean, and effective products. We’re sold. Read on to learn more how her popular mineral deodorant was created and some of the benefits of her newest ingredient, CBD. PLUS she has a killer podcast rec. list.

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How did PRIMARY begin and how has it evolved since? 
In the simplest sense, PRIMARY emerged from a natural tendency to question the status quo. After trying what felt like every natural deodorant on the market, and still not finding my holy grail, I felt like there had to be a better solution. I set out to create something that was non-toxic and at the same time, smelled and looked beautiful. Something that I was excited to use every morning and that felt like a delight to re-apply throughout the day. The belief that everyday routines can and should feel special is the foundation for everything that I do.  I’m in the process of expanding the line to include other simple, effective, beautiful daily essentials. 

We love the idea of a non-toxic solution to deodorant, one of PRIMARY’s staple products. Tell us more about how you developed the mineral spray.
When I started digging into the ingredients of most natural deodorants, I realized they’re all pretty much the same thing: baking soda + cornstarch + shea butter + common essential oils like tea tree or lavender. And while there’s nothing wrong with that at all, it does means that if one product with those ingredients isn’t a good fit for you, none of them will be. I started researching the bacteria strains that make us stink, and ended up learning way more than I ever thought I would know about sweat, bacteria, and the human microbiome. In the process I also rediscovered a love of biology that I’d somehow left behind in my childhood days. I started working on a formula that made innate sense to me and as I started sharing it with friends, I realized I wasn’t the only one on the hunt for a clean effective deodorant!

PRIMARY centers around elevating daily rituals. Tell us more about some of your own practiced rituals.  
My morning routine is pretty special to me. About a year ago I started slowing the pace of my mornings in preparation for the day. I don’t sleep with my phone (or a clock) by my bed, and consequently I don’t reach for instagram first thing as I open my eyes. Sometimes it means I end up sleeping until 8am or 9am. First thing I do when I wake is journal or read a chapter of a book. Then I have water with lemon, brush and floss my teeth, neti pot (is that a verb?), and oil cleanse / massage my face with a rose quartz gua sha tool (I never know if I'm doing it "right" but it feels nice :)  .. I practice yoga in my living room with my husband and play with my cat Medusa for a bit (if I skip this, she’s a terror all day) Then I make green smoothies for us and my husband and I share our goals for the day before I head out to the studio space behind our home to work on PRIMARY. On a good day, this will be the first moment I take a look at my phone.

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Can you speak to the benefits of CBD and how you’ve approached integrating the ingredient into your products? 
The benefits of CBD are wide and varied and still being discovered, but man, there is no doubt that cannabis belongs in the wellness space. The exciting thing about CBD is that because it doesn’t have the psychoactive side effects, it’s incredibly useful for those who want to explore the therapeutic benefits of cannabis without "getting high".  When I first started looking for CBD supplements to use for my own anxiety and hormonal issues, it was challenging to know how much to take, when I should take it, and how to find a reputable source. The way everything is labeled can be overwhelming and there's a lot of "weedwashing" out there - people selling hempseed oil but labeling it as CBD etc.  I went through a lot of trial and error to find what worked best for me personally, and did a ton of research before partnering with a producer and manufacturer of full-spectrum CBD for the products I've developed. PRIMARY +CBD products were envisioned from the same founding principles which guide everything I make: the belief that self-care is a precursor to good living, the strongly held conviction that making informed choices need not be a dizzying challenge — and the radical idea that both should be a total delight.

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What is your relationship to sustainability? How has it evolved over time? 
I can’t imagine starting a business without first considering the environmental impacts. I’ve made all of the packaging for PRIMARY with recycling and circularity in mind. For example, knowing that I would be selling primarily direct to my customer, it seemed frivolous to put PRIMARY into cardboard packaging when it would already be shipped in a box. Instead, each bottle comes in a reusable bag. I have a partnership with one store in Los Angeles (East/West) to offer a refill on Primary at a discount to encourage reuse. My dream is to be able to offer a trade-in program with more stores throughout the country.

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And to get to know you a bit better…

Where is home for you? After a decade in Austin, I've called Los Angeles my home for the past two years.
Astrological sign: Libra (I balance)
What podcasts or books do you return to as a business owner & creative?
One of the things about Los Angeles, is that you find yourself in a car a lot of time -- which is the perfect opportunity to power through podcasts! I find that I'm mostly drawn to solo format or interviews. Not sure why, but multi-host shows can stress me out a bit! I’m primarily drawn to conversations about society, culture, entrepreneurship, wellness, self care, and self help.
It's a fairly pedestrian pick, but man, 
Oprah's Supersoul Conversations always hits the spot. It’s super comforting and my favorite thing to listen to while I’m making PRIMARY. And I recently started listening to Jen Gotch is OK...Sometimes and I’m so grateful for it. Her vulnerability is super inspiring and I relate to her stories and the format of the show in a very eye-opening way. 

Others that I return to...

How I Built This
HBR Ideacast 
TED Radio Hour
On Being with Krista Tippett
Expanded with Lacey Phillips
Deep Dive with Dana Falsetti
Hey Girl with Alex Elle

“Let it Out” “Good Life Project”  “Love Alexi” Marie Forleo and “The Big Payoff” have been recommended to me, so those are all on the list.

 
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Finish the sentence: I feel most creatively fulfilled when... I’m formulating a solution to a problem that will have a positive impact on others.
 
Which vendor are you most excited to shop at the sale? Oh man that’s tough. High Sun Low Moon for sure. I’m super excited to see old friends like Era Ceramics, Hey Murphy, Realm and Miranda Bennett Studio. And to see new things from people I haven’t met before like Lago, Guten, and Unravel Co. (Gah! Did I pick too many?!) 

Shop the PRIMARY collection on December 9th at the Palm Door on Sabine.

Sponsor Spotlight : Big Bend Brewing Company // Tour Alpine, TX

 
 

West Texas is near and dear to the FELIZ heart- many of our vendors name it as a recurring source of inspiration for their palette, pace of life, and connection to nature- making a point to go many times a year.

Today we’re celebrating FELIZ sponsor Big Bend Brewing Company! Based out of Alpine, BBBC takes you on a little libation vacation (HA) with beers like Terlingua Gold Pale Ale, La Frontera IPA and a double chocolate porter, Dark Sky that sounds like it would be great around a fire pit.

We’re sharing our favorite tips for BBBC hometown Alpine. Where to sleep, eat, shop, hike, and drink. *The BBBC taproom is high up on the list.

We picked a few highlights of the town knowing that a) it’s always changing, b) there is definitely more waiting to be found. Here are a few places that stick out in our memory. Tell us what we forgot!

 

EAT

After a day of exploring, a great tex-mex dinner at La Casita will be restorative. They carry Big Bend, too so make sure you wash down your enchiladas with a Terlingua Gold.

We recommend starting with a breakfast on the patio in The Century Grill at The Holland Hotel. Get out there early enough and it might still be cool out! You can set the tone for the day, enjoying the West Texas air and reading the local paper.

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HIKE

Alpine is home to Sul Ross University, where students like to study with the wind in their hair. Or one prankster did, anyway. Hike to The Desk at the top of Hancock Hill, have a seat, and take in the view.

COFFEE

Cedar Coffee and Supply matches the bright serenity of the town with it’s simple layout and top shelf coffee. If you aren’t able to leave all your work at home, stop in for some mid-afternoon caffeine and wifi.

 

Transpecos Guitars is a great shop to tool around in and hear the stories of the guitars and people who’ve passed through.

Looking for a souvenir cactus? Murphy Street Mercado has imported Mexican goods and a full-fledged nursery.

SHOP

I would consider going to Alpine just to peruse Ring-Tail Records. The kind of shop that has it all. Might we suggest a Doug Sahm record to get you in that tex-mex vibe?

 

DRINK

Y’all get out to the Big Bend Brewery! All the classics on tap, and a few weird ones. I have a suspicion you’d get the real local tips spending an afternoon at the taproom. Pick up a six pack to take camping in Big Bend. The brewery is open Thursday through Monday 4–8 but opens early at 1 Saturday and Sunday.

Make a friend at Harry’s Tinaja downtown and get a nightcap at the historic Holland Hotel, built in 1928. Ask your bartender if the ghosts have made any appearances lately.

 

SLEEP

Perhaps the most important part of your stay. Alpine has really great options and you can’t go wrong. As you drive into town, the neon florals of The Maverick Hotel welcome you. Good news - they have some of the comfiest beds in all of Texas and a lovely little patio.

The Holland Hotel already mentioned has a restaurant, bar, spa, and the possibility of ghost spotting.

If you really want to get away from it all- there are numerous Airbnbs. We selected this “Slice of Heaven” for it’s view, rustic aesthetic, and apparent abundance of geodes. A pot or coffee and that porch is really truly all you need.

 

Let us know your tips about West Texas!

Thanks to Big Bend Brewing Company and all of our sponsors for making the sale better and better every year. Check em all out here.

#seeyouatFELIZ!