Reporting Live from SXSW and the Cottonelle Refresh Lounge

SXSW2014

It’s been a bit of a whirlwind, and I’m about to head back into the fray. But I wanted to take a minute to recap some of the crazy fun happening at SXSW. If you’ve been following our Facebook and Twitter feeds, you’ve probably picked up on the fact that I’m visiting Austin this week as a Cottonelle Correspondent, seeing the sights and chilling in this very cool city.

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The Cottonelle Refresh Lounge is kinda swanky, IMHO. Image by Natania

I’ve never been to Austin, and the last time I was in Texas I was a teenager. But this city’s got a really nifty pulse, and it embraces its offbeat nature with style and panache. At the airport I noticed fun t-shirts emblazoned with “Keep Austin Weird” and pretty much accepted the fact that this was going to be a place I could feel at home in.

Once I got to the convention center–after meeting a cabbie from Morocco and having a great conversation in French about how the Square is changing the way they do business (no, really!)–SXSW opened up all around. It’s hard right now to parse the convention from the city, but the pulse is amazing. The mixture of people is like no other–it really is a confluence of interests. I mean, on the plane trip I flew with a dude and his cello (like, his cello had his own seat) and the music, artistic, and tech vibe just gets stronger the deeper you go.

But I’ve got to take a second to talk about the food. I’m a bit of a food truck nerd, and while my culinary adventures are somewhat stymied by my wheat allergies (it’s not gluten!), I got a little giddy when I walked into the food truck rodeo area. Every truck looked amazing, but I ended up at Be More Pacific, a fusion of Filipino/American cuisine–because they had spicy coconut bacon fried rice. With an egg on top. Having gone most of the day without food, it was a balm unto my soul.

I loved my hair! Image by Natania

Conveniently across from the food is where I hung out for the rest of my short first day. The Cottonelle Refresh Lounge is set up right there at the corner of Red River and Chavez, and it’s hard to miss. I noticed a funny piece yesterday in the Atlantic about the lounge, but they’re missing the point. It’s not just about technology. If you are a convention goer, and bustling from event to event, finding a moment to relax is truly difficult. Sure, we’re talking TP. But it’s more than TP. It’s a reminder that no matter how many Google Glasses and Segways are in the world, we’ve all got to get comfortable. We all need a break. That’s the whole reason the Refresh Lounge is here.

I’m a mom. I get this. Even aside from SXSW travels, finding time to refresh is almost impossible. Why not make that time as good as it can be? Why not make it special? Clearly, Cottonelle isn’t shying away from cheeky advertising. You’ve seen their commercials, right?

Anyway. I got my hair done at the Refresh Lounge. It was kind of awesome. I also charged my devices, had some great conversations, and enjoyed a cool beverage. If you’re at SXSW, you can do the same. Just come visit the Refresh Lounge and by tweeting #LetsTalkBums you can get a free massage, makeup and hair touchups, recharge your devices, get storage, get a drink, or just kick up your feet and relax. An oasis amidst the chaos, fun though it might be! See you there.

This post is sponsored by Cottonelle. 

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Natania Barron is a Gryffindor, a Took, and a Greyjoy (mostly because of the squid).