Going Off the Sauce III: Reflections

By Jillian Owens

Hi all!  When last we spoke, I was about to go off booze for 2 weeks.

So…did I make it?  Or did I cave to peer pressure, stress, or the desire to take a few luxurious sips of a crisp Pinot Grigio on a balmy SC day?

You’ll be happy to know I made it!  I went 14 days without a single drop of alcohol!  Huzzah!

It really wasn’t a big deal.

Marques was right.  I was incredibly surprised by how not a big deal those two weeks were.  I still went to events, parties, and bars with friends.  My social life didn’t change at all.  The only difference was that I wasn’t drinking alcohol.   And I still had a blast.  Anything I enjoyed with booze I still enjoyed without booze.

Having a fine time…totally booze-free!
Having a fine time…totally booze-free!

When I started this experiment, my friends thought it was kind of silly…a totally unnecessary display of self-discipline.  But despite thinking this, they were really awesome and supportive throughout the two weeks.  When they had parties, they made sure to have delicious non-alcoholic options available for me (which I never looked at as even being their responsibility).

Even bartenders who I was sure would get a bit miffed with my tea totaling ass were still super nice when instead of ordering my usual Moscow Mule, I ordered non-alcoholic Ginger Beer instead.   Of course I always made sure to tip just as much as I would for a cocktail to keep in their good graces.

No…that's not a stout.  It's just a root beer, y'all.
No…that’s not a stout. It’s just a root beer, y’all.

I discovered some tasty substitutions.

I discovered that a glass of sparkling lemonade in a wine glass can sometimes be just as nice of a treat after a long day at work as a cocktail.  And I actually had a ton of fun raiding the soda section of World Market for lots of of sparkling bevvies I had never tried before.


Drunk people didn’t annoy me.

I totally expected to find spending time amongst tipsy companions to be super-obnoxious, but it wasn’t.  Fun & Silliness are contagious, and I found myself giggling right along with the imbibers.

Nothing really changed (and I think that’s a good thing).

Everyone told me to expect to sleep better, run faster, jump higher, and become more productive while not drinking.  But that didn’t really happen.  I’m still ridiculously clumsy and I still don’t do mornings.  I wasn’t suddenly motivated to hit the gym with a new fervor (or indeed at all), and my productivity stayed at the same exact level.

It was kind of disappointing, really.

But there was one BIG advantage to my two weeks off the sauce…

I DEFINITELY saved money.  I still went out to bars with friends, but guess what?  At just about any bar I went to, nonalcoholic beverages were totally free.  As I said before, I still tipped my bartenders (so as not to be an inconsiderate jackass), but my most expensive drink of those two weeks was this:

Can you guess which one was mine?
Can you guess which one was mine?

That’s really it.  No great catharsis.  No brilliant conclusions to be drawn.  I feel reassured that my relationship with alcohol is clearly not destructive or problematic, so at least there’s that.



Bottoms Up!
Bottoms Up!






Welcome to your Kid-Friendly Columbia Weekend!

By Trinessa Dubas

So, the kids are all out of school and you don’t have an idea or a clue, but you have to find something entertaining and fun for them to do. Keep reading on, I’ve got some good news for you.

Surely, if you have been keeping up with this blog you have noticed that most my posts are things for the grown folk to do and save while having the time of their lives. However, this week I’m leaning more on kid-friendly. Go grab your kids, nieces, godchildren and nephews! This second week of June is perfect for you.

We all know it’s hot outside and kids are probably still hyped. First thing I want you to do is settle yourself before you get started with the family. Take a grown up break and then bring on the kids.This Wednesday (6/11), may I suggest a stop in at the Art Bar?

Most of Columbia knows Art Bar as a late night venue, but they have started opening their doors earlier for Happy Hour. This week Linda’s Karaoke will be in the house. For those of us that already know, I’ll just repeat. Linda’s karaoke has been voted best in Columbia more than once! So drop in after work and sing until you drop. There will be drink specials starting at 5. Art Bar 1211 Park St

I had to get the grown up thing to do out of the way. Now, over on the other end of downtown (Forest Acres) there is a farmers market happening. Don’t sleep on the ability to save money, have a good time AND eat well.  Every Wednesday until fall Forest Acres Farmer’s Market will be happening on the rooftop of Richland Fashion Mall. There are now tents, so rain or shine folks will be vending. 3-7p.

How much fun would it be to go on a moolight walk through the cemetery and hear stories of South Carolina’s past?  

Ooooohh ( my best ghost impression). Thursday (6/12) grab your flashlight and head over to Elmwood Cemetery and Gardens 501 Elmwood Ave for Moonlight Cemetery and Secrets from the Grave Tour.There are two family friendly shows. Before dark catch the 7:30 tour and after dark catch the 8 or 8:30 tour and discuss the lives and tombstones of some of Columbia’s most notorious and prominent citizens from the 19th and 20th century. $12 for adults $6 for children. Email reservations@historiccolumbia.org or call 252-1770 ext 23.

Friday, Friday, Friday. Don’t we just love Friday?  This week (6/13) Riverfront Park 312 Laurel St is continuing it’s summer movie series with a showing of Madagascar 3. Show starts at 8:30 bring the whole family. Blankets, lawn chairs and coolers are welcome. Arrive early for face painting and games. FREE

Let Saturday (6/14) be the day you cool off and really unwind.  Saluda Shoals Park (5605 Bush River Rd.) is having its annual celebration. There will be boating and tubing, as well as, vending and food. Tickets are $5 in advance and $10 day of event. The fun begins at 10a and slows down by 3p. Get out and grab some sun!

Also on Saturday(6/14) Finlay Park (930 Laurel St) is hosting its Summer Concert Series.

Every Saturday a different family-friendly band plays. This weeks headliner is Orquestra Mayor. I have to be honest I have not heard the band, but I trust Columbia. Karaoke idol will also be happening with a cash prize going to top winners. So if you can carry a tune, I say go for it. Grab a few extra dollars for next week (you gotta think ahead boo!). Picnic material is accepted. You know blankets, lawn chairs and “coolers”. FREE.FREE.FREE

Those of you who know me know there is no child that truly belongs to me, but Trinessa luh da kids (transl. Trinessa loves children) and I have a family full. I may or may not grab one or two and make some memories. You, however, YOU have no choice. Grab those babies and make your way around town. Let them run loose and tire their asses out! (makings of a better evening with the spouse). And if you happen to see me with or without…shout me out!!
Honey, I’ll see ya!

A Scavenged & Salvaged Porch Makeover

By Camille Johnson

Broke In Columbia does a really great job of providing information about where to go, what to do, and who to see when your bank account isn’t exactly overflowing.

The only problem is that sometimes not only is my bank account not overflowing, sometimes it’s what experiencing what most would refer to as a drought. That’s right, bone dry. Whether it’s the day before the next paycheck is going to be deposited, the weeks following an unexpected big bill (oh hey, I’m talking to you, new water heater), or you just simply don’t feel like going out and socializing, sometimes home is the best (and cheapest) place to hang out.

As someone who’s go-go-go, I don’t feel like this often, but when I do, I turn into full-on hermit mode. Here’s the thing though, hanging out at home isn’t that exciting (if it is at your house, please invite me over, I’ll bring snacks) and doesn’t always feel like something special, and it doesn’t have to feel like that. Making a place to hang out at home doesn’t have to be expensive (at all!) and goes a long way in making those homebound hermit days feel a little more special.

My way of doing this involves a $3 can of spray paint, patio furniture found in the trash, and whatever snacks I can buy at the dollar store with the change found in my car’s drink holders! I work downtown and in May all of the USC students pack up and move out of various apartments, houses, and dorms, leaving behind a slew of furniture in the garbage piles.

Sometimes these left behind pieces need to be trashed (better yet, burned), but sometimes you can find a diamond (or three!) in the rough. I found some dirty plastic patio chairs and a filthy plastic side table while running errands on my lunch break, and they were like this, but a bit dirtier. (I did not take a picture of the exact ones because it was lunchtime traffic and people were already honking…oops.)

Eh...Close enough!
Eh…Close enough!

I took my treasures home that afternoon and hosed them down after scrubbing them with a sponge, dish soap and bleach and let them dry (in Columbia heat that took all of fifteen minutes). I always have various paints, etc in my utility room, so I found what seemed like the fullest can and got to spraying (I didn’t sand or prime, just made sure all the pieces were completely dry). This paint sprays and covers really easily and is between $3 and $4, so it’s completely affordable too.



I was able to spray and cover both chairs and the table with just one can, but I’d recommend getting two cans, so you don’t have to stop in the middle of a project. (Later on I realized I did miss a tiny spot on the back of one of the chairs, but no one’s going to see it, so who really cares!)

I let the paint dry and cure for about three days under the carport (of course it monsooned during some of the days but it didn’t affect the paint at all) and now I have a pretty little place to sit, people watch, drink, read, do other hermit-y things on days I can’t afford to or don’t want to go out!

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