Tag Archives: austin

An Irreverent Guide To Austin

austin, tx

1. Austin is proudly not like the rest of Texas. And, yes, Austin is proudly Texan. Get over that conundrum and you will fit right in. We don’t necessarily like the rest of Texas all that much, but we certainly despise out-of-state visitors insulting anything about the great state we live in.

2. Austin is hot, often. For many months of the year it is just ridiculous to be outside, unless you are swimming or drinking iced-tea or cold, cold beer. The best way to be noticed as an outsider is to comment or complain about the heat.  We know. It’s hot.

3. Driving in Austin is horrible and gets worse each day. Add rain, a football game, or an armadillo in the road, and things get ridiculous. Also, know that pedestrians have no rights. Be warned. And, of course in Austin, as in the entire state of Texas, it is against the law to use a turn signal. A turn signal may distract other drivers, causing them to stop in the middle of the road, so it is best to not advertise your intentions to turn or change lanes.

4. Learning roads and place names is required, but won’t come easy. Make a note that Mopac IS Loop 1; no one calls it Loop 1, though. Similarly, Capital of Texas Hwy is 360, and Research is 183. 2222 is Northland or Allendale or Koenig, depending on what part of 2222 you are talking about. 290 is Ben White, but there are two 290 exits on I-35, and one of which is 2222 (which, as mentioned earlier, is Northland, Allendale and Koenig). Don’t try to figure it out. Just accept it. Also, listen to how words like Guadalupe and Manchaca are pronounced. Yep, odd. But don’t try to change it.

5. Austin is eternally casual. Tattoos and shorts are common, everywhere. The rich might have dreadlocks and nose-rings. “Keep Austin Weird” is a local motto and clothing is no exception. You can wear cowboy boots, but you’ll be surrounded by high tops, flip-flops, and bare feet.

austinmusic6. Music, music, music. 365 nights a year the clubs in Austin are alive with working musicians. From country-swing to power-pop, jazz to rap, we offer a loving variety of sounds. Be sure to visit a live venue, tip the players and staff, and sit back and enjoy what we refer to as paradise.

Source: Stanford Texas Club

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Paddling Texas Rivers

Texas, with its extensive river system, stunning lakes, and lengthy coastline, offers plenty of opportunities for kayakers, canoe owners, and other water enthusiasts. Texas Parks and Wildlife has a program, called Texas Paddling Trails, designed to develop public inland and coastal paddling trails. The network of trails, supported with maps, signage, and other information, provide paddlers of all levels the structure necessary to ensure a safe and enjoyable outing. Additionally, the trails are free to the public.

Texas Kayaking

There are over a million paddlers in Texas alone, and demand for trails is high. Texas Parks and Wildlife often works with partners to develop new trails. For example, in February 2013, as part of World Wetlands Day, Texas Parks and Wildlife partnered with local community groups to launch ten paddling trails along the Big Cypress Bayou and Caddo Lake in east Texas. With these ten new trails there are close to 50 inland and coastal paddling trails documented by the state. Each trail is fully documented, complete with notes on getting to the launch site, what to expect while on the trip, and other things to do in the area. To view more about the paddling trips, visit: http://www.tpwd.state.tx.us/fishboat/boat/paddlingtrails/

Texas offers plenty of options for the outdoor enthusiastic. The paddling opportunities developed by Texas Parks and Wildlife complement the extensive off-road biking, hiking, and camping options. Combine two or more of these activities to create an action-packed outdoor adventure vacation.

Source: Texas Parks and Wildlife

Property Tax Loans In Texas

Many parts of Texas have been fortunate to not be hit as hard by the down economy compared to the rest of the country. That said, Texas residents haven’t been exempt from the economic downturn. Many individuals in the Texas area have had difficulty paying their property tax bills due to a lagging economic climate. Property tax loans can cause distress and confusion when people first encounter them. Switching from one type of debt to another to cover their taxes on real estate might seem like an atypical approach, however property tax loans can be a great option for many individuals.

Property Tax Loan CoupleIf you find yourself in between a rock and a hard place with your property taxes, or even if you are to the point where your house might be foreclosed on, you should really consider a property tax loan. In Texas, you can get a property tax loan for a variety of property types, from land properties to residential or commercial. Property tax loans function as a lump sum payment to the original loaner, which then allow you to pay off the balance month to month.

In Texas, you can get a property tax loan quickly and easily. Most people will qualify for one as the barrier to entry is quite low, and people with poor credit can still readily attain them. Additionally, they’re quite a bit cheaper than the penalties you could run into with a tax assessor, and they guard you against running into further penalties. The best thing about them is that they pay off all of your initial loan, interest, and any penalties you have in one swoop.

For more information on property tax loans in Texas, please visit Hunter Kelsey.

Xeriscaping: Creating Balance

Xeriscaping typically refers to landscaping an environment in a manner that reduces or eliminates the need for supplemental irrigation. What comprises a xeriscaped garden will depend upon its specific xeriscapinggeographic location. However, most xeriscaping adheres to the principles of planning/design; appropriate plant selection; efficient irrigation; practical turf areas; mulching; and maintenance

In Central Texas, and especially Austin, residential garden design traditionally included a large lawn, with border hedges and flowering beds. With this design has come the introduction of many non-native plants and St. Augustine lawn which requires significant water to maintain. The exploding population and catastrophic drought have led many people to rethink their garden and landscaping decisions. Into this mix has arisen xeriscaping which tends to favor the replacement of non-native species with local flora that is drought and disease tolerant. This can include the reduction or elimination of a lawn.

Xeriscaping will not eliminate the beauty of your garden. It will require thought and planning as well as regular maintenance. The joy and reward comes from learning about local plants and reducing your reliance of expensive and precious water resources. If you are considering landscaping your property, give some consideration to xeriscaping.

Source: Xeriscape Austin

Cinco de Mayo in Texas

Cinco de MayoThis spring, Texans all over the state are celebrating Mexico’s defeat of the French at the Battle of Puebla. This battle, fought on May 5th, 1862, marked the final attempt of Europe, to control Mexico. So, you wonder why Texans are celebrating? Well Texas was Mexico at one point, in fact the General who won that famous battle, General Zaragosa, was born in Goliad! The history of Texas is deeply tied to Mexico’s. Things we think are part n parcel of being a Texan, like barbecue or chili, actually originated in Mexico. So, consider participating in some Cinco de Mayo celebrations, which often include Mariachi music and folkloric dancing as well as lots of delicious food.
Check out the following list for Cinco de Mayo celebrations near you!

• Austin will host their 8th annual Cinco de Mayo celebration at the lovely Fiesta Gardens, On the 4th and 5th of May. This is located on Lady Bird Lake just minutes from downtown. They’ll provide good food, Tejano music, and flamenco dancing as part of their celebration.
• Goliad honors its native son, Gen. Zaragoza, who fought the battle of Puebla. They celebrate Cinco de Mayo with an annual fiesta on the weekend closest to Cinco de Mayo. The local Zaragoza Society coordinates the celebration, which includes Mexican food and music.
• San Antonio devotes three days to the celebration of Cinco de Mayo.
• Alpine schedules an annual Cabrito Cookoff on a weekend for their Cinco de Mayo celebration.
• Dallas’ Cinco de Mayo celebration usually includes a wreath-laying ceremony at the statue of Gen. Zaragoza in Jaycee Zaragoza Park in West Dallas. Various neighborhoods hold fiestas throughout the city.
• Falfurrias holds its annual Cinco de Mayo celebrations each year at Lasater Park.
• Fort Stockton has an annual observance the Saturday following the 5th of May.
• Fort Worth marks Cinco de Mayo the last weekend of April.
• Freeport celebrates Cinco de Mayo each May.
• Grand Prairie in North Texas has a Cinco de Mayo art contest for area children. A parade, usually on the Saturday nearest May 5, starts at 14th and Main and includes the city’s school bands, and ballet folklorico groups, as well as speeches and mariachi music.
• Uvalde opens Cinco de Mayo with the raising of the U.S. flag at the Jardin de los Heros (Garden of the Heroes) Park. The cultural celebrations have been used to raise money by the American Legion for more than 25 years.

Discover African Cuisine

Given Austin’s emerging reputation as a food lover’s paradise, with its dazzling array of restaurants, food trailers, and specialty markets, it is little wonder that the town hosts a small number of excellent eateries focusing on the cuisine of Africa. A quick summary of these surprising places will whet your appetite for some adventuresome dining.

Ethiopian FoodFirst up is Aster Kassaye, who has lived and cooked in Austin since 1985. She is the owner of Aster’s Ethiopian Restaurant, centrally located near the University of Texas campus and IH-35. They serve meat and vegetable dishes as well as offering an excellent lunch buffet. Be sure to try the plentiful Fasolia Wott Platter, a mix of collard greens, lentils, and stewed potatoes served on the Ethiopian fermented bread called injera. You tear the injera into small pieces and use it to scoop the delicious food into your mouth.
Information: 2804 N. IH-35 / http://www.astersethiopian.com / 512-469-5966.

Tucked in the back of the CTC Garden on East Cesar Chavez Street sits the inviting lunch-oriented Cazamance Café, serving Senegalese food, sometimes with a Moroccan touch! Owner Iba Thiam opened his cafe in 2010 and it’s already a hit, being picked by renowned chef Paul Qui as one of the best in Austin. Try the Lamb Burger, served in a hollowed-out baguette and topped with tomato relist, cucumbers, and brie.
Information: 1102 E Cesar Chavez St. / http://www.cazamance.com / 512-487-7222.

Another recent addition to the African food scene is Habesha Ethiopian Restaurant, located near 290 and N. IH-35. Their Ethiopian specialties include the delectable sambusa: fried pastries filled with seasoned beef and served with a tangy green sauce. Delicious!
Information: 6019 N. IH-35 / http://www.habesha-austin.com / 512-358-6839.

If Nigerian cuisine is what you are after then Wasota African Cuisine is your place. Owned by the same folks who ran the much loved World Beat Cafe, Wasota menu includes meat dishes and a surprising array vegan options. Fried plantains, black-eyed peas, and sautéed spinach in spicy tomato sauce is a favorite.
Information: 1209 South First St. / http://www.wasotaafricancuisine.com / 512-565-3864.

At first mention, African food may seem unusual, but try one of the above places out and discover the rich and flavorful traditions.

Source: Austin 360

Blade Runner in Austin

Sarah Reinersten, the 37-year best known as the first woman on a prosthetic leg to finish the Ironman World Championship in Kona, Hawaii, was in Austin as part of the South by Southwest Interactive Festival. She spoke on the topic of “The Bionic Athlete and the Future of Sports” about prosthetic technology and the future of sports.

SarahReinersten’s story is an inspirational one. She was born with a bone disorder that led to her losing her one of her legs just above the knee at age 7. With the help of prosthetics she focused on running and by her early teens was racing in international meets. She later focused on marathons and triathlons, using a variety of prosthetic devices to enable her to compete.

While the use of prosthetics remains controversial, Reinersten remains steadfast in her belief that she is not gaining an unfair advantage, particularly in the triathlon where she still finishes far behind the top woman in the field.

“I am six hours behind them,” she says. “There is no advantage there.”

However, prosthetic technology has greatly improved over the past decade, allowing athletes like Reinertsen to focus on their techniques and improve their performance. Reinersten continues to train hard and is intent on qualifying for the 2016 Summer Paralympic Games in Rio de Janeiro. As part of her preparation, she will race the Capitol of Texas Triathlon in May. Catch her there, if you can!

Source: Austin American Statesman