Tips for Buyers and Sellers - RE/MAX 1 - RE/MAX 1

Posted on December 14, 2018

  Are you ready to buy a home and considering going in the route of new builds? It may seem like an easy enough process, where you get to call the shots of how you want your dream home to be, but there is a lot of risk when it comes to new construction if … Continue reading "Why You Need An Agent For New Construction"

Posted on November 30, 2018

Tis the season! Here are five wonderful holiday events happening this month in Austin! Mozart’s Coffee Holiday Light Show Now through New Year’s Day, Mozart’s will be celebrating the holiday season every day with their 9th Annual Joyous Light Show Celebration. Admission is free and there is no assigned seating. Sit back and enjoy your decaf espresso while you ooh and ahh at over 1 million twinkling lights.   Trail of Lights The beloved Austin Trail of Lights will light up Zilker Park once more on December 10th. Don’t miss the dazzling light displays and live entertainment from performers like Tameca Jones, the Ephraim Owens Quartet, and many more local artists! Check out the Trail of Lights website to view the full calendar of events and to purchase your tickets! Ice Skating at the Plaza The Whole Foods Flagship Store has already rolled out their rooftop ice rink for the winter! Now through January 21st you can enjoy gliding across the glistening ice while you admire beautiful views of the city. Follow it up with a steaming cup of hot cocoa! The rink is open daily from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. and costs $10 per person (includes skate rental).   Ballet Austin’s The Nutcracker It wouldn’t be the holiday season without Ballet Austin’s production of The Nutcracker. Returning for its 56th year, the show promises hundreds of talented dancers, beautiful sets and costumes, and a fabulous live performances by the Austin Symphony Orchestra. Weekend shows begin December 7th and run through December 23rd. Purchase your tickets here. Austin’s New Year The best family-friendly (it’s alcohol-free!) New Year’s event in the city, Austin’s New Year is held at Vic Mathias Shores (formerly Auditorium Shores). Celebrate the end of a great year and the beginning of an even better one with great performances by local artists including the Superfonicos and Los Coast. Delicious food and stunning artwork will be on sale as well. The best part? Admission is free! The event kicks off at 3pm and ends with a dazzling Fireworks display. Happy Holidays!

Posted on November 21, 2018

So you offered to host Thanksgiving Dinner this year, and now you’re panicking and stressing out about everything that needs to be done? Take a deep breath, we are here to help! Whether this is your first year hosting or you’ve been doing it for years, these tips can help you have a stress free Turkey Day stuffed with fun and great memories! Plan ahead Do as much as you possibly can the night before, so you’re not stressing out about having enough time to get everything done the day of. Set the table and double and then triple check that you have everything you need. Plan out your menu ahead of time so you don’t miss anything. Any dishes that can be pre-cooked and then reheated before dinner is served should be made the day or night before – think casseroles, pies, and cranberry sauce! Do accept help If your friends or family members offer to bring side dishes or help you cook, take them up on their offer! Have the kids or anyone you don’t trust in the kitchen help out by bringing drinks, setting the table, or tidying up. Don’t be afraid to get help from your local grocery stores and restaurants too! It’s totally fine to go store-bought on some of your Thanksgiving dishes. If you know a really great bakery or you love the brussel sprouts at that place down the street, order up! You want to be able to enjoy the holiday too, and you’ll never be able to if you try to do it all on your own. Don’t mess up the main event – tips for cooking the turkey Unfortunately, if you’ve agreed to host Thanksgiving dinner, you can’t rely on anyone else to cook the turkey for you. Fear not though, if this is your first time hosting and roasting a turkey, it’s not as hard as it seems. You should have already begun thawing your turkey, but if you haven’t, don’t panic. Kitchn has instructions for cooking a turkey that is still a little (or a lot) frozen. If you choose to brine your turkey make sure you remove the neck, giblets, and tail from the turkey and rinse it well before soaking it in the brine. It will need to soak for 12 to 18 hours, so this is something you should do the day or night before too, leaving time for the turkey to dry before you put it in the oven. When it comes to roasting the turkey, it’s actually quite simple – set your oven to 325 degrees and cook as directed. For more tips and detailed instructions Food Network has a great list of turkey recipes for Thanksgiving! Be prepared to deal with difficult guests When you get the whole family together it can sometimes be impossible to avoid the drama. We all have that one weird uncle, drunk aunt, or an annoying sibling we always end up fighting with! Keep guests entertained and happy by setting up some games for them to play. Cornhole or horseshoes in the backyard is great if the weather is nice, or have a deck of cards handy if you’re in cooler climates. Set the kids up with a movie or some fun arts and crafts to keep them busy. The men in the family will probably be happy as long as you have football on the tv. And of course, make sure you have plenty of beer, wine, and cocktails to go around – if not for your guests’ sakes then for your own! If all else fails and your Thanksgiving feast looks like it’s heading for a disaster… These restaurants put on some great Turkey Day feasts. Plus, a few spots from this list are still taking pre-orders for Thanksgiving Day takeout. Happy Thanksgiving!

Posted on November 05, 2018

The Austin American-Statesman NAMES RE/MAX 1 A WINNER OF THE AUSTIN 2018 TOP WORKPLACES AWARD Cedar Park, TX November 4, 2018 – RE/MAX 1 has been awarded a 2018 Top Workplaces honor by The Austin American-Statesman. The list is based solely on employee feedback gathered through a third-party survey administered by research partner Energage, LLC (formerly WorkplaceDynamics), a leading provider of technology-based employee engagement tools. The anonymous survey measures several aspects of workplace culture, including alignment, execution, and connection, just to name a few. “Top Workplaces is more than just recognition,” said Doug Claffey, CEO of Energage. “Our research shows organizations that earn the award attract better talent, experience lower turnover, and are better equipped to deliver bottom-line results. Their leaders prioritize and carefully craft a healthy workplace culture that supports employee engagement.” This is our fifth year in a row being named a Top Workplace in Austin and we couldn’t be more proud! It is always an honor to be ranked among the small businesses that help Austin thrive while maintaining the charm and uniqueness that make the city so special. RE/MAX 1 is more than a workplace, it is a family, and we are incredibly grateful to our amazing agents and staff members who make our office a welcoming and supportive space. In the last five years RE/MAX 1 has seen tremendous growth, but we have always maintained the culture and values that the brokerage was built on. We couldn’t do that without a great group of agents, so thank you all! “Becoming a Top Workplace isn’t something organizations can buy,” Claffey said. “It’s an achievement organizations have worked for and a distinction that gives them a competitive advantage. It’s a big deal.” About RE/MAX 1 RE/MAX 1 is a real estate brokerage devoted to helping its agents have an abundant life through exceptional training and support services. RE/MAX 1 agents are learning-based and committed to mastering their craft. The RE/MAX 1 team values integrity, commitment, discipline, mastery, and cooperation. If you are interested in joining the RE/MAX 1 team visit or call Molly McKenna, Director of Opportunity at 512.915.3244. About Energage, LLC Headquartered in Exton, Pa., Energage (formerly known as WorkplaceDynamics) is a leading provider of technology-based employee engagement tools that help leaders to unlock potential, inspire performance, and achieve amazing results within their organizations. The research partner behind the Top Workplaces program, Energage has surveyed more than 47,000 organizations representing well over 16 million employees in the United States.

Posted on October 18, 2018

Austin is well known for being one of the most dog friendly cities in the country, so there are plenty of great places around town that allow your pooch to have a seat at the table. Now that the weather is finally cooling off, it’s the perfect time of year for you to get out and enjoy some quality time with your pup. We’ve narrowed down a list of our four favorite dog friendly restaurants & bars in Austin for you and your four-legged friend to enjoy! Check them out and let us know what you and your dog think! Yard Bar 6700 Burnet Road Yard Bar is the pinnacle of dog friendly bars and restaurants with a full bar, craveable menu items, and a great happy hour for you and a large off-leash dog park with agility equipment and toys for your dog. The park is for members only, but day passes are just $5.50 per dog with monthly and annual memberships also available. They also have a separate park for small dogs who don’t want to hang with the big dogs. Plus, special menu items made just for your furry friends including ice cream and beef sliders! Banger’s Sausage House & Beer Garden 81 Rainey Street Rainey Street is one of the most dog friendly places in Austin – you’re sure to see at least one pup tagging along with his owner for Sunday Funday – and Banger’s is probably one of the best spots on the street for both humans and canines. With delicious food, craft beer, and live music, it’s the perfect spot to kick back and relax. Plus, dogs love the specialty sausage on the menu, made just for them! The off-leash dog park is currently closed while they work on the expansion next door, but there’s still plenty of room for your four-legged friends to relax outside on the patio! The ABGB 1305 W. Oltorf Street The Austin Beer Garden Brewing Co. is great for dogs in more ways than one! The large, shaded, dog friendly patio with biscuits and watering stations keeps your pup happy and hydrated while you enjoy craft beer, pizza, and sandwiches. Even better, ABGB also donates 5% of all profits to their Hell Yes Project Partners, which includes Austin Pets Alive! among other local nonprofits. ABGB is so dedicated to helping dogs like yours find their forever homes that they also introduced the APA!APA Series back in May 2014. Each Year they come out with a few new brews in the series and  $1 for every pint sold goes to Austin Pets Alive! Austin Terrier 3435 Greystone Drive As the name suggests, Austin Terrier is a great spot to bring the whole family, four-legged members included, for a relaxed, casual bite to eat. The spacious patio is dog friendly, and the restaurant staff is dedicated to making sure your pup is as happy as you are with free treats and plenty of water available. A kids play area with books (all about dogs of course!) and a giant chalkboard will also keep the little humans preoccupied while you enjoy some adult beverages with a mouthwatering sandwich, burger, or pizza. Everyone (including your dog!) will also want to try their famous Trio of Fries appetizer!

Posted on October 09, 2018

Moving into a new home? We know how exciting it can be! We’ve compiled a list of a few things you can do after your move to make sure your experience is comfortable. The hardest part of a move is getting settled in, after that, let’s handle a few loose ends that sometimes get forgotten about till the last minute. CHECK MAJOR APPLIANCES Be sure to check all the appliances to ensure everything is still in working order after the move. You want to make sure nothing was broken in the move or stopped working suddenly. Look at things such as your stove, dishwasher, washer and dryer, refrigerator, and microwave. If you brought any appliances yourself and you used movers, you’ll want to make sure everything still works with them, since mover’s insurance companies give a limited timeframe for when you can make a claim. CHECK ALL OF YOUR BOXES & FURNITURE Be sure to go over all your boxes and furniture to make sure nothing got damaged during the move. Be sure that everything has arrived and didn’t get lost in the process. If you notice something is missing a month later, it may be too late to file a claim with the moving company. Even if you don’t plan on unpacking everything as soon as you move in, just do a quick review and inventory everything you brought to protect yourself and your belongings. SET UP UTILITIES Did you remember to set up your utilities before moving in? There’s nothing more frustrating than moving into your home to realize the lights don’t work. Make sure you’ve gotten with all of the necessary utility companies to have everything turned on in time for your move. REGISTER INTO A GOOD SCHOOL You may have already known to look for a school for your kids prior to your move, but if you haven’t yet found one, be sure to research all the schools local to you to find the right fit for your family. The sooner you can find the right school and register, the easier and less stressful it will be to get the kiddos in and settled. REGISTER YOUR CAR If you’ve moved to a new state or country, you’ll want to make sure to register your car in your new hometown and update your driver’s license, tags, and plates. CONNECT TO YOUR NEIGHBORHOOD Join sites like or get a subscription to your local magazine/newspaper to stay in touch with what’s going on in your neighborhood. Be sure to also join local community Facebook groups. You can find out about events or concerns relating to your community. GETTING YOUR MAIL Have you updated your address for all the people you’ll be expecting to get mail from? Like your bank, friends, family, and services you still pay for after your move. Check with the post office to have things redirected to your new address while you work to update your info with everyone else. FIND THE RIGHT PROFESSIONALS If you’re moving far from your last home, you’ll want to have the right connections. Find a new doctor, dentist, vet, handyman, plumber, etc. Your real estate agent can be a great source of information for these kinds of things! Add your new contacts into an address book that’s easily accessible. INSURANCE COMPANIES More than likely, you handled home insurance and home warranty during the purchasing process. If you haven’t, be sure to get those taken care of right away. You’ll also want to get your auto, health, and any other necessary household insurances sorted for your move.

Posted on October 01, 2018

October is one of the best and busiest months in Austin. From ACL to Oktoberfest, there’s no better time to get out and enjoy everything Austin has to offer! Here are just a few of the spectacular events happening in Austin this month. The FOMO Factory Now through October 21st The FOMO Factory is Austin’s very first “immersive art pop up.” Located in a 4,000 sq. ft. pop up retail shop, this shop & gallery is unlike any traditional art museum. The FOMO Factory is meant to be a place where you can participate, take pictures, and even touch the art! You’ll feel like a kid again as you make your way through seven different displays, each of which capture the tastes, sounds, and smells of childhood from the playground to prom. And the name fits – all of your followers will definitely have FOMO when they see your selfies from the factory on Instagram! Tickets are $23 and can be purchased here! Boo at the Zoo Every Friday & Saturday in October The Austin Zoo will hosting this spook-tacular Halloween event every Friday & Saturday from 6:30pm – 9:00pm throughout October. The entire zoo will be decorated for Halloween, including a special haunted mansion. You’ll get to check out some of their nocturnal animals that you wouldn’t get to see on a day trip to the zoo! There will also be a haunted train ride running every 20 minutes starting at 7:00pm, plus Children’s Halloween Shows at 6:45pm, 7:25pm, and 8:10pm each Friday and Saturday. Tickets are $17.50 for both adults and children. Some attractions have limited seating available so reserve a spot early by calling 512-288-1490. Austin City Limits Music Festival October 5th – 7th & 12th – 14th One of the cities most beloved events of the year, ACL is a can’t miss, two weekend music festival. The line up this year includes Paul McCartney, Travis Scott, and many more! Plus feast on food from some local favorites like East Side King, Tacodeli, The Mighty Cone, and Salt Lick. And it all happens in Zilker Park, the best spot in town with stunning views of the Austin skyline for you to enjoy while you sing and dance the night away. Get your tickets here before they sell out! Bangers Oktoberfest October 18th – 20th No one does Oktoberfest like Bangers Sausage House & Beer Garden on Rainey Street. The three day event kicks off at 11am on Thursday and continues well into the evening on Saturday. Enjoy live music, games, a gun salute, delicious German cuisine, and of course a huge selection of German beer. Formula 1 October 19th – 21st Celebrate speed and sound at the Circuit of the Americas race track! Enjoy three days of racing with the Formula 1 Pirelli 2018 United States Grand Prix. While the racing is the main event, there will also be tons of stuff happening off track, including performances by Bruno Mars and Britney Spears. The Formula 1 races have become one of Austin’s greatest entertainment events so you don’t want to miss out. Tickets include admission to the concerts after the races on Saturday and Sunday! Purchase yours here. Austin Film Festival October 25th – November 1st The film and television lineup for the festival was just released last week! Some of the most anticipated showings include Widows, a modern day thriller with an all star cast including Viola Davis, Liam Neeson, Michelle Rodriguez, and Colin Farrell; The World premier of Waiting for the Miracle to Come starring the beloved Willie Nelson; and the Season 2 premier of the popular Netflix tv show, Friends From College. There will also be plenty of parties, Q&A’s, competitions, and other events to round out the week. For more info on ticket options and pricing click here! Texas Trucklandia Fest October 27th There’s no better place to have a food truck taste-off than Austin! From 12:00pm – 6:00pm more than 20 trucks will be competing for the $10,000 grand prize and the right to call themselves the “Best Food Truck in Texas.” Only 1,000 judges tickets will be sold, so if you want the chance to sample food from all of the trucks, you better buy your tickets fast! General admission ticket are also available and you can cast your vote in the “people’s choice” award, but the cost of food will not be included in your ticket. For details and to purchase your tickets visit the festival website! The event will be held on the Austin American Statesman Property, right next to the South Congress Bridge! Texas Book Festival October 27th & 28th A free event for the whole family, the Texas Book festival features over 250 authors from all genres. The event takes place in and around the grounds of the State Capitol Building from 10:00am – 5:00pm on Saturday and from 11:00am – 5:00pm on Sunday. There will also be a Lit Crawl at multiple locations in East Austin on Saturday at 7:00pm after the festival. The 2018 schedule of events for the Crawl hasn’t been released yet, but it’s sure to be a fun night of performances, games, trivial, music, and storytelling for all ages! A schedule of events for the whole weekend should be released on the festival website soon.

Posted on September 25, 2018

With the weather finally starting to cool down, it’s almost time to break out your Fall wardrobe! Before you do, try out some of these simple closet storage hacks. While you’re digging out your sweaters and boots from the back of your closet and getting ready to buy some new fall clothing, it’s the perfect time to reassess what’s in your closet and get organized!  1. Get rid of unused clothing It can be hard to part ways with clothing that you haven’t worn in awhile, but this simple trick will help make the cleaning out process so much easier! To start, hang all of your clothes on hangers facing the same direction. As you wear and wash your clothes, hang them back up, but face the hanger in the opposite direction. After a month or two look through your closet and see which items are still facing the same way they were when you started the process. These are the items it may be time to get rid of or put into storage if they’re just out of season. Once you’ve cleaned out the old you can treat yourself to a little shopping spree to fill up that newly unused  closet space! 2. Pegboard accessory storage Hang a pegboard on an empty wall or on the back of your closet door. This is perfect for hanging jewelry, scarves, hats, headbands, belts, and other accessories. You can have a piece of pegboard cut to your required dimensions at your local hardware store and you can find an assortment of different kinds of hooks for hanging items at a hardware store or on Amazon! If you want to add an extra special touch you can paint the pegboard to match your other closet or bedroom decor. 3. Shoe storage hacks Shoes can be one of the hardest things to find space for in your closet, but there are a few things you can do to make your closet space more functional for shoe storage. For high heels, find some empty wall space anywhere in your closet and mount crown molding to hang heels from. (Here is a great tutorial from a Home Depot Discussion Board!) This could even look nice on display in your bedroom or entryway. For flats and shoes without a heel, tension rods work great for corners and in small closets. Simply install two tension rods a few inches apart and place shoes on top. And of course we can’t forget about those fall boots! Pants hangers make for great boot storage. If you are low on hanger space, install a lower level closet rod in your closet for shoes! 4. Hang Sweaters (Without Ruining Them!) If you don’t have the shelf or dresser space to store your Fall and Winter sweaters, there is a way to hang them without the dreaded shoulder bumps and stretching. Using a regular old hanger, fold your sweater in half vertically, line up the sleeves, and lay the sweater flat with the hanger placed on top so that the hook lays between the arms and body. Wrap both the arms and body of the sweater over the top of the hanger and then through the center and underneath the bottom bar (Tutorial with pictures here!) This simple trick can help free up a ton of space in your closet! 5. Store items in labeled baskets and boxes to clear up clutter. Rather than just folding those remaining items that couldn’t be hung up and storing them carelessly in your dresser or closet, take it one step further and invest in some cute storage bins or baskets to store items on shelves or to keep dresser drawers organized! This little step will make your closet feel way less cluttered and adds a super cute and professional touch!

Posted on August 31, 2018

Take a well deserved break from working hard and enjoy your long weekend at one of these awesome events happening in and around Austin! Happy Labor Day Y’all! Labor Day Weekend Zip & Sip Zip Lost Pines | Cedar Creek, TX Sunday, Sept. 2 | 5PM Thrill seekers and adrenaline junkies will enjoy this one! Zip Lost Pines (located in McKinney Roughs Nature Park) will have the “Cactus Corridor” zipline, measuring 671 feet in length, open for $25 rides for Labor Day Weekend! When your ride is over you can hang out at basecamp and enjoy live music and lawn games like Corn Hole, Horshoes, and Giant Jenga. Local Austin brewery Hops & Grain Brewing will be providing the “sips” for the evening! Walk ins are welcome but space is limited, so we recommend reserving a spot ahead of time. Labor Day Weekend Scavenger Hunt Science Mill | Johnson City, TX Saturday, Sept. 1 – Monday, Sept. 3 | 10AM – 4PM If you’re looking for something to do that is fun for the family head over to the Science Mill in Johnson City! They have created a special scavenger hunt that is available for the whole weekend. All you’ll need is a smartphone to answer a few “fact or fiction” questions to complete the hunt, which leads you through the Mill’s exhibits and straight to the treasure! Test your knowledge and see if you can get to the end! The event is free with regular admission ($10 for adults, $8.50 for children) Labor Day Weekend Waves NLand Surf Park | Austin, TX Sunday, Sept. 2 | 1PM – 4PM Austin may be miles from the coast, but local surf lovers can still hang ten this labor day weekend at NLand Surf Park’s Labor Day Cookout! Enjoy food, great drink specials, live music, and special pricing at the surf park, plus arts and crafts for the kiddos. The Overlook is dog friendly, so the whole family can join in for this fun event. Labor Day doesn’t have to mean summer is ending, get out on the water and have some fun! Even if you’ve never surfed before you’ll be standing up on your board in no time on their Bay Waves for beginners and juniors! Bob Schneider’s Labor of Love Concert Nutty Brown Amphitheatre | Austin, TX Sunday, Sept. 2 | 6PM – 11PM Bob Schneider will be performing again at his annual Labor of Love Concert at the Nutty Brown Amphitheatre. Joining him will be local artists the Peterson Brothers and The Troll Smashers. Bob is a local Austin legend, so if you’ve never seen him in concert now is your chance! The event is open to all ages and tickets can be purchased on the Nutty Brown website! Deep Eddy Labor Day Pool Party Deep Eddy Pool | Austin, TX Monday, Sept. 3 | 1PM – 5PM We can’t think of a better way to say goodbye to summer than a pool party at one of Austin’s best swimming spots! This Labor Day Pool Party will be in honor of the hard working volunteers and city staff members who help Keep Austin Cool in the summer by maintaining local parks and pools! Have some fun in the sun and enjoy live music, aquatic performances, a polo match, guest speakers, and food and drinks from Jim Jim’s Water Ice.

Posted on May 23, 2018

Your Guide to Memorial Day Weekend in Austin There are tons of things to do in Austin this Memorial Day weekend and these events are some of our top picks. While you’re having fun, don’t forget what this holiday is really about though! Take a moment to remember and honor those who have died serving our country! Hot Luck Festival Get the weekend festivities started early with this festival that kicks off Thursday. A celebration of what Austin is best known for – food and music – this festival features tastings with award winning chefs from all over the country including tons of Austinites like the event’s founder, Aaron Franklin of Franklin Barbecue. And of course it wouldn’t be an Austin festival without live music. You can check out shows around town featuring artists like DJ Questlove, Galactic, and Joshua Hedley. Check out the schedule of events on the festival website. Tickets for food and music events are sold separately. Memorial Day Weekend Pig Roast at Duchman Family Winery Sunday night you can head to Driftwood for the Duchman Family Winery’s annual pig roast on the lawn. The event kicks off at 6pm and will feature live music from the Texassippii Two. Buffet tickets are $25 for adults and $10 for kids. Along with your share of a whole roasted pig you can feast on Mexican grilled corn salad, chips and guac, Mexican wedding cookies, and more! Adult tickets also include one glass of the Duchman Family’s delicious wine. You can get your tickets here, they must be purchased in advance! Life Time Tri CapTex If you’re feeling extra ambitious this Memorial Day you can register to race in the CapTex triathlon. This race draws both experienced athletes and first time triathletes alike, so don’t be intimidated if you’re new to the triathlon world! The race begins with a swim in Lady Bird Lake where beautiful views of downtown will distract you from how tired you already are! Next you will bike through town to the Capitol building and finish up the race with a run through Butler Park. The post-race party at Vic Mathias Shores is where the real fun begins! Register for the race here or if you’d prefer to be a spectator and cheer on the incredible competitors, head downtown early Monday morning. The first part of the race kicks off at 6:45am! Zip Lost Pines Memorial Day Weekend Zip Line Tour All weekend long Zip Lost Pines will be offering zip line tours through McKinney Roughs Nature Park at 10am and 2pm. You and up to five of your friends can all zip along together on the park’s 6 side-by-side zip lines. You’ll be flying at speeds of up to 40 miles per hour, so it’s the perfect Memorial Day adventure for all the adrenaline junkies out there! Tours take between two to three hours depending on the size of your group and feature views of the lost pine forest, steep canyons, and Colorado River valley. When your tour is over you can spend the rest of the afternoon playing lawn games like corn hole, giant Jenga, and Horseshoes and you’re welcome to bring your own food and beverages to enjoy! Tickets are $115 per person. Visit the Zip Lost Pines website to reserve your spot for the weekend! ABGB 2nd Annual Hell Yes Project Olympics and Memorial Day Party The Austin Beer Garden Brewing Co. will be hosting its 2nd annual Hell Yes Project Olympics on Monday starting at 3pm. Cheer on eight Austin area nonprofits while they give it their all in field-day style events in the hope of winning a $1,000 Gold Medal Prize. This year’s competitors include Austin Pets Alive!, Ghisallo Cycling Initiative, Austin Habitat for Humanity, Save our Springs Alliance, Health Alliance for Austin Musicians, Central Texas Food Bank, AIDS Services of Austin, and Foundation Communities. Competitive events include a water balloon toss, corn hole, Simon says, and more. For the grand finale each nonprofit team will take the stage for a live band karaoke performance. Crowd participation will help determine the event’s winner so don’t forget your foam fingers and be prepared to get loud! While you watch the friendly competition you can enjoy some of ABGB’s delicious food and beer. We can’t wait to see if Austin Habitat for Humanity can take home the top prize again this year! Visit the ABGB website for more info! Texas Military Forces Museum “Close Assault 1944” Remember what Memorial Day is really about at the Texas Military Forces Museum. The museum will be open and entry will be free from 10am – 4pm all weekend and on Monday. On Saturday and Sunday the “Close Assault 1944” reenactment will honor American veterans and and the history of the 36th Infantry Division of the Texas Army National Guard during World War II. Reenactments will take place at 11am and 2pm both days. Entry to the reenactments is also free! Visit the museum’s website for more info.

Posted on March 29, 2018

It’s that time of year again! Spring cleaning can be such a chore, but you’ll feel refreshed and ready for the warmer, sunny months ahead once you take the time to give your home a good, deep cleaning – inside and out! Read on for room-by-room tips to help make your spring cleaning a breeze! KITCHEN Clean inside the fridge Pull out any shelving that can be removed and wash with soap and water. Use a sponge and disinfectant spray to scrub the remaining surfaces. Don’t forget to wipe down the outside too! Clean inside of oven Sure you can use the self-clean function on your oven for this, but there’s an even better way! Baking soda and white vinegar are the ingredients for a squeaky clean oven. First you’ll want to remove the oven racks and anything else you might have inside. In a bowl mix a ½ cup of baking soda with a few tablespoons of water until it turns into a paste. Spread the paste all over the inside of the oven (just avoid the heating elements!), adding a little extra to the areas that have more build up. Let the paste sit for at least 12 hours, while you’re waiting you can clean the oven racks in the sink. After the 12 hours is up, take a damp cloth and wipe out the dried paste. In the tough spots a spatula works great for scraping off residue! If there’s still some left over, don’t worry – this is where the vinegar comes into play! Using a spray bottle, spray the spots where the paste remains, the two will react and start to foam. Using your dish cloth again, wipe out the remaining paste. Repeat the spray and wipe down process as necessary until your oven is completely clean. LIVING ROOM Deep clean carpets You don’t need to hire a professional for this! You can rent a carpet cleaner from almost any home improvement or hardware store for as little as $20 to $30 and they’re super easy to use. Move around your furniture and vacuum and deep clean underneath and in corners that often get missed during a regular vacuuming. Vacuum upholstered furniture and clean the drapes Vacuum all furniture (don’t forget to get under the cushions) using the upholstery brush or another small attachment for your vacuum. If you notice any stains, be sure to clean them according to the care label. Take down drapes, remove any hooks, and run them through a fluff cycle in the dryer with a damp towel for about 15 minutes. This will remove any dust and give new life to tired drapes. BEDROOM Clean & turn mattress While you’re cleaning all of your bedding, don’t forget to take care of your mattress too! Using one of the smaller attachments, vacuum the mattress on one side, then flip it and vacuum the other side before remaking your bed. Rotating your mattress once a year is super important to extending its life. You should also be sure to wash your mattress pad and bed skirt and run pillows through a fluff cycle in the dryer. Organize your closet The weather is finally warming up so it’s time to put away winter clothes! Store away coats, hats, mittens, scarves, and boots in the back of the closet or somewhere they can go unnoticed. Label boxes so when the fall rolls around you will easily be able to switch back to your cold weather wardrobe. Now you can organize your closet with bright, Spring colors on display! If you’ve had your Spring clothes in storage for a long time it’s a good idea to air them out before putting them away in drawers or on shelves. BATHROOM Deep clean shower and other surfaces. You should be cleaning your bathtub and shower once a week, but now is the time to really get in there and battle any soap scum or build up that has been giving you a hard time. The best way to do this is to spray a generous amount of bathroom or tile cleaner and let it sit for a while and soak up residue. Work on other spring cleaning projects and then return to the shower and start scrubbing! Pay extra attention to grout lines. If your shower liner or curtain is worn out or mildewy now is the time to replace them. Take similar steps throughout the rest of the bathroom. For faucets, shower heads, and drains vinegar works well for removing hard-water scale and mildew. Clean drains Use a bacterial drain cleaner (Or if you’re not a fan of the chemicals you can create your own drain cleaner using table salt, baking soda, and vinegar – learn how here.) to clean out build-up inside your shower and sink drains. If you’ve noticed water draining slower than usual in either one it might be necessary to snake the drain (be prepared to pull up some pretty yucky stuff!). Once you’re done, if you don’t have one already, invest in a mesh or rubber strainer to go over the shower drain – it will catch hair and save you a lot of time and trouble! OUTSIDE Wash windows You should be washing the inside of your windows on a regular basis, but you probably neglect the outside most of the year. Now is a great time to head outside and power pash or hand wash windows. For second-story windows a squeegee with an extendable handle works great. (Try this one from Amazon!). Keep in mind it’s best to wash windows on a cloudy day, that way the glass cleaner or cleaning solution won’t dry too fast and leave streaks. Wash patio furniture Clean and dust off any patio furniture that has gone unused in the chilly winter months. Dishwashing detergent is great for cleaning most outdoor furniture pieces, but check the care labels if you’re unsure. Maintenance check While you’re cleaning up your patio and yard you should also take the time to go around the house and check doors, gutters, the roof etc. It’s especially important that you clean and repair gutters before the rainy spring season really kicks in!

Posted on March 16, 2018

Whether you’re of Irish descent or just enjoy a good party, there are tons of great events happening in Austin to celebrate the patron saint of Ireland. Here are our top picks! Fadó Irish Pub & Restaurant With Fadó closing its doors this year, you definitely don’t want to miss their 20th and final St. Patrick’s Day Street Party. From 7:30am – 12:00am the 4th street pub will be celebrating all things Irish with a full Irish breakfast being served in the morning, music, and rugby and English Premier League on the big screens all day. Tickets are $10 from 9:00am – 2:00pm and then the price goes up to $20 after 2:00pm, so get there early! RSVP on Facebook and then purchase your tickets at the door! The event is kid friendly until 4:00pm. Jack & Ginger’s Irish Pub Jack & Ginger’s St. Patty’s Day Festival is back and bigger than ever this year! The pub is blocking off Rose Rose Ave in the Domain Northside again, but this year they’re taking over a bigger section of the street, nearly doubling their occupancy. The party kicks off at 8:00am and music starts at 1:00pm. They will have two stages with nearly ten bands playing into the wee hours of the night. There will also be dance contests, your favorite Irish comfort food, and of course green beer! The event is 21+ all day and wristbands are $10 from 8:00am – 12:00pm and after noon they go up to $20. Pioneer Farms If you’re looking for something to do with the whole family this St. Patty’s Day, look no further than Austin’s St. Patrick’s Day Festival at Pioneer Farms. This kid friendly event is authentically Irish – no green beer or leprechauns! Instead, they will have traditional Irish dancers, music, food, and drinks. For the kiddos they have plenty of fun things to check out  including face painting, laser tag, a video game theater, and a human gyroscope. Tickets are $12 for adults and $4 for children 13 and under. The event kicks off at noon. B.D. Riley’s Irish Pub B.D. Riley’s is starting the party early this afternoon with a full Irish breakfast and music showcase from Music from Ireland, featuring six great acts. No SXSW wristband is required for today’s event. Then, on Saturday, the real party begins at 9:00am with 6 Nations Rugby on the big screens. Plus, another delicious breakfast available until 5:00pm and Irish music all day long! Their kitchen will be open late, so you can feast on your favorites from their usual menu well into the night. The best part is – there’s no cover! Clive Bar Fans of the hit Showtime series Shameless will not want to miss the St. Patrick’s day celebration happening at Clive Bar on Rainey Street. Actors Shanola Hampton and Steve Howey, a.k.a. V and Kevin from the show, will be acting as guest bartenders! Of course there will be live music all afternoon and into the evening. The event is free and no SXSW wristband is required, but you definitely want to get there early, as space is definitely going to fill up quickly!

Posted on February 16, 2018

When was the last time you made a visit to the dentist’s office? Maybe you’ve been avoiding it because all the poking and prodding freaks you out or you’re worried you’re going to end up spending your entire paycheck on cavity fillings. Whatever your reasoning, it’s time for a visit. You could probably use one after all the sugary treats you indulged in for Valentine’s Day! If you’re new to town or just not happy with your current office, here are the top five dentists in Cedar Park! Cedar Park Premier Dentistry  209 Denali Pass Drive, Suite B We may be biased, because these guys happen to be our next door neighbors, but we think they’re some of the best in the biz, and so do all of their patients – they have a 4.9 rating on Google! Dr. Dale Williams and the rest of his staff are amazing and incredibly friendly. Plus, they use only the most advanced dental technology. They offer general dentistry and routine cleanings as well cosmetic dentistry services like “smile makeovers” and teeth whitening. Vista Ridge Family Dentistry  920 N Vista Ridge Boulevard, Suite 700 Vista Ridge needs no introduction, as the office was recently voted the Best Dentist in the Hill Country News’ Best of the Best Awards for 2017, a prize they also took home in 2016! They were also a Spectrum Award Winner in the dentistry category this year for their excellence in customer satisfaction and service. The office is cozy, welcoming, and comfortable. They offer a huge list of services from general and cosmetic dentistry to pediatric dentistry and even Sleep Apnea treatments. It’s super easy to schedule an appointment online, and they offer some great deals for both new and existing patients on their website. Reveal Dental  1785 E Whitestone Boulevard, Suite 400 Dr. Sura and his team at Reveal Dental want to make visiting the dentist something to smile about and patient comfort is their top priority. A visit to Reveal Dental isn’t just a quick cleaning once or twice a year, they want to make sure dental health and hygiene is a part of your everyday routine so educating patients is a big part of their philosophy. This is also a great office for the whole family, as Dr. Sura likes to keep the office kid friendly to promote a positive environment and break the stigma that the dentist’s is a scary place! Plus, Reveal uses “green” dental practices, so a visit to their office isn’t just good for your teeth, it’s good for the environment too! Town Center Dental  905 E Whitestone Boulevard Town Center offers a state of the art facility with some of the most friendly and compassionate staff in all of Cedar Park! Dr. Samir Momin has over 15 years of dental experience and has specialized training in full-mouth reconstruction and implant dentistry. The office offers general, cosmetic, and restorative dentistry and also specializes in endodontic services for patients with nerve damage or tooth decay. This office is great for the busy-bees of Cedar Park, offering weekend and evening appointments in a convenient location right in the center of town. And, with a 5-star rating on Google, they’re definitely one of the best! Discovery Park Dental  715 Discovery Boulevard Dr. Nitya Balan is extremely empathetic towards her patients and knows going to the dentist isn’t always fun. With that in mind she strives to make sure each and every patient feels comfortable and relaxed in her office and receives the most compassionate and gentle care possible. After 20 years of experience and consistently being ranked among the top dentists in Austin by both patients and insurance providers, we’d say she’s been successful in her endeavors! Working alongside Dr. Balan are five incredible staff members. Six different languages are spoken in the office, so it’s an inviting place for patients from all different backgrounds! Perhaps the best part about Discovery Park Dental is their cost-effective approaches to treatment plans and financing options and payment plans, so you never have to worry that your next visit is going to break the bank!

Posted on January 12, 2018

Who knew zebras could be a local gem? But it’s true! You can find zebras and much more just by traveling 50 miles south of Downtown Austin. New Braunfels is located along the I-35 corridor, just north of San Antonio. The little city makes for the perfect day trip, especially in the coming weeks and months when the weather starts to warm up! It’s a city rich in history, with German roots, and it has some of the best outdoor space in the hill country with not one, but two rivers running through the heart of the city. Check out our list of top spots and start planning your next visit to this little local gem! Thinking about making New Braunfels your permanent home? Contact one of our amazing agents and start your search today! Schlitterbahn Waterpark & Resort The weather might not be nice enough yet to take a trip to the number one waterpark in the world, but as soon as the temperature starts to creep up you won’t want to miss out! The park has expanded three times since it’s opening in 1979 and now consists of two separate sections with over 50 attractions spanning across 70 acres! Some of the incredible attractions include an uphill water coaster known as the ‘Master Blaster,’ water playgrounds throughout the park, and a lazy river that goes on for miles! Portions of the park are open as early as March, with the full park opening for the season on April 28th! Visit their website for more info or to purchase tickets! Comal River Known as “the longest shortest river in the world” the Comal River is a great way to cool off on a hot day and float with friends for a few hours! Even before the weather heats up it’s a great place to spend an afternoon – the water remains at 70-72 degrees year round! If you’re interested in floating, a trip typically takes between two to three hours and winds through Landa Park and past Schlitterbahn Waterpark, merging with the Guadalupe.There are tons of spots you can rent tubes and hitch a ride to and from the water on a shuttle. If you’d rather not get totally drenched or it’s a cooler day, check out Landa park for paddle boating and canoeing! Natural Bridge Wildlife Ranch Located west of Downtown New Braunfels, the Natural Bridge Wildlife Ranch will make you feel like you’re on a real life African Safari! The ranch, spanning 450 acres, is home to over 500 animals!! Of the 40 different species represented, some are native to the area while others come from exotic parts of the world, and some are even endangered species! Drive through the park in the comfort of your own car while zebras, buffalo, ostrich, antelope, and more nuzzle up to your hand in the hopes of a tasty treat! Or, if you want to stretch your legs you can head to the Walk-A-Bout section of the park and take a walking tour through the giraffe barn and Lemur Island. General admission is $22 for adults and $13.50 for kids ages 3-11. Prices include the cost of admission plus one free bag of animal food (additional bags can be purchased for $2.50). Tickets must be purchased at the gate. Visit their website for more info! Krause’s Cafe Krause’s Cafe carries on the traditions that German settlers brought to the city many years ago, serving classic German cuisine, but with a Texan flair. The restaurant features a large outdoor garden house, so it’s the perfect place to go now that the weather’s getting nicer! Plus, they have one of the largest tap walls in all of New Braunfels, featuring local craft beers along with important German drafts. You’ll definitely want to try their schnitzel and bratwurst with sauerkraut and spicy mustard or the pretzels and potato soup! The restaurant is open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner from 7:30am – 10pm on Monday – Thursday, 7:30am – 11pm Friday – Saturday, and from 8:30am – 9pm on Sundays. Check out their events calendar too, sometimes they have some great live performers and they also host a farmer’s market on the weekends!

Posted on December 29, 2017

New Year’s Eve Events in Austin Whether you’re celebrating with friends, family, or that special someone you plan to share a New Year’s kiss with, Austin has something fun for everyone this New Year’s Eve! City of Austin’s New Year 2018 This family-friendly event kicks off at 3pm on New Year’s Eve at Auditorium Shores and features live music, art, food trucks, and more! Headliners for the event include Brownout and Ian Moore Band. For the kiddos the “Kid’s Magic Forest” offers train rides, activity stations, a bike zoo, fairyland, a giant pinata, and more! To close out the night there will be a fireworks display starting at 10pm. You don’t even have to stay up until midnight to celebrate! Admission is free and pets are welcome (but alcohol is not)! Noon Year’s Eve Balloon Drop & Bubble Wrap Stomp Hosted at Austin’s Children’s Museum, Thinkery, this event is the perfect way to ring in the New Year with the whole family, without having to keep the kids up past their bedtime! Admission is free for Thinkery Members and $12 for non members. The event will feature arts and crafts, “snowball” fights, special performances, and not one but TWO balloon drops (taking place at 12pm and 2pm). Willie Nelson & Family New Year’s Eve Join the Nelson Family at the Moody Theater for an epic New Year’s celebration! Special guests include Lukas Nelson, Promise of the Real, and Blackberry Smoke. Plus don’t miss appearances by Father Time Texas and Baby New Year! Doors open at 7:30pm and the show begins at 9:00pm. If you’re already committed to other New Year’s Eve plans the show will also be taking place on Friday and Saturday. Tickets are almost sold out so don’t miss out! Third Annual Launderette New Year’s Eve Extravaganza The Launderette restaurant is serving up one tasty New Year’s Eve! For $85 per person you can feast on a delicious four-course prix fixe dinner. Some of the menu items include Tuna Crudo, Eggplant Feuille de Brick, Escargot, Rack of Lamb, King Crab Legs, and Chocolate Custard Tarts. We might not be able to pronounce all of it, but our mouths are still watering just thinking about each delicious dish! Visit the restaurant’s website to make a reservation between 5pm to 10pm on New Year’s Eve to join in on the excitement! Neon New Year’s Eve at Punch Bowl Social Avoid the downtown crowds and hit up Punch Bowl Social in the Domain for a fun and exciting New Year’s Eve party! The party is 80’s themed, so if you’re not quite ready to look to the future in 2018, then look to the past and head out in your best leg warmers and neon pants! Admission is free and you can purchase drinks and snacks from the venue’s regular menu. Enjoy bowling, ping-pong, karaoke, or just dancing and singing along to the live dj all night long – or at least until the ball drops! Event kicks off at 9:00pm.

Posted on December 15, 2017

Christmas is around the corner and if you’re scrambling to find last minute gifts for the special people in your life you’re not alone! What’s even more stress inducing than braving the lines with the other last minute shoppers is not knowing what to get for someone! That’s where we come in! Below is a list of some of the best gifts for all the people in your life, from the kiddos to the party animal in your friend group! And, all of these items can be found online so you don’t even have to leave the comfort of your couch to get your holiday shopping done. Turn on your favorite Hallmark movie, pour yourself a glass of wine, kick your feet up, and start shopping! For the beauty queen: We all know someone who hits up Sephora on pay day and spends her entire paycheck. (If you’re that someone, there’s nothing wrong with treating yourself this holiday season!) Save her some money and a trip to the mall with a subscription beauty box like Birchbox. You can gift a three month, six month, or year long subscription to a friend through the company’s website. It’s the gift that keeps on giving! It’s too late to order a box before Christmas, but for a post Christmas surprise, if you order by the 19th, the first box will be delivered before the new year. Their first box will contain five fan favorite items, but for every box after that your friend can go to the Birchbox website to fill out a profile and have their next boxes be customized with items they are sure to love, from hair and skincare products, to fragrance samples, to makeup! For the jetsetter: Have a friend or family member who always seems to be on vacation? Get him/her a unique gift that will help them remember their travel adventures when they’re back at home! Scratch the World® scratch off maps can be purchased on Amazon and are prime eligible, so you can get it before Christmas!. Every time your friend travels to a new city, state, or country they can scratch off that part of the map to reveal a beautifully styled cartographic map underneath. Not only is it a fun way for them to record their travels, but it makes a great statement piece in their home! For the foodie: An Instant Pot® smart Electric Pressure Cooker is the latest and greatest in cookware technology. More than just a pressure cooker, the Instant Pot® can be used as a slow cooker, rice/porridge cooker, cake maker, yogurt maker, steamer, sterilizer, and for sauteing/searing. It’s a one stop shop for cooking all the delicious food your friend/family member could possibly imagine! With a gift like this, you’re sure to get invited to all the dinner parties your friend is about to have, so really it’s like a gift for yourself too! The pressure cookers are all completely sold out on the company’s website already, but you might still be able to score one from Amazon or you can venture out to the stores and try to find one at one of the Instant Pot® retailers including Best Buy, H-E-B, Target, Kohls, Walmart, and Williams Sonoma. For the kiddos: A play kitchen is a Christmas gift classic for the little ones and with good reason, who doesn’t love looking back on fond memories of serving plastic spaghetti to their family and friends! This year though, do one better and get the little aspiring chefs, entrepreneurs, and hipsters in your life their very own food truck! Sold online at Pottery Barn Kids, the little canvas and metal framed truck comes with a window that opens when the orders up! They also sell plenty of accessories from plus sandwiches and burgers to wooden fruit so your little chef will have their truck up and running on Christmas Day! Just select next day shipping at checkout to make sure your food truck arrives in time for the Holiday! For the gamer: The Nintendo Switch has been all anyone can talk about since it was first released back in March. The Switch is the seventh major video game console from Nintendo and can be used as a home console AND a portable gaming device. Play at home with the family, on the bus during your commute to work, while you’re sitting in the doctor’s waiting room, on your lunch break, whenever  and wherever! All of your favorite games are available to play on the device, including the classic Super Mario. Purchase one for the video game enthusiast in your life online at Amazon, Best Buy, GameStop, Target, Walmart, or ToysRUs. For the party animal: For your friend that always brings the party, the JBL Charge 3 Bluetooth speaker is the perfect gift. This little speaker produces high quality sound to blast at your friend’s next shindig. It’s also waterproof, so they can even use it at a pool party when the weather warms up. The best part though, is the built in phone charger, so your friend can party all night and not worry about his/her phone dying and losing the tunes! Buy one for yourself too and connect the two for an even more powerful sound! For the selfie obsessed, Instagram addict: For the friend or family member who loves being in front of the camera, a LuMee® iPhone case is a necessity. The case lights up to capture the most stunning ‘gram worthy photos. Their selfie is sure to break 1,000 likes with the power of good lighting! The LuMee® Two offers front LED lighting for the perfect selfie while the LuMee Duo has LED lighting on both sides of the case, so your New Year’s Eve group shot will be just as spectacular! Whether she’s taking a selfie at the beach, at home, or at a concert, your friend will always have the best lighting for a flawless face with her! You can score a case on Amazon, the LuMee website, and at many other retailers. Happy Holidays!

Posted on December 01, 2017

Holiday Events in Austin ‘Tis the season! Don’t miss these spectacular events happening this holiday season in Austin! Trail of Lights The Trail of Lights in Zilker Park has been one of the top 3 largest Austin events since 2012. The holiday event boasts 2 million dazzling holiday lights featured in over 40 different displays. The park is broken up into sections, each offering a host of different delights! In Candy Cane Lane feast on tasty treats from local food trucks, try a plum & sage gin fizz at Kringle’s Kantina, bust a move at Groovy Grove, and don’t forget to leave your letter for Santa! You’ll find Santa’s house and workshop, a ferris wheel and carousel, and even more delicious food at the North Pole. At the end of the trail in Zilker Village you can warm up by the Yule Log, enjoy entertainment at the Zilker Stage, or get your fix on all the sweets in Candyland! The trail’s grand opening is Saturday, December 9th and admission is free for the first 6 nights the park is open! Prior to the grand opening there will also be a Fun Run on the December 2nd and a Preview Party on December 8th. Visit the Trail of Lights website for more information! Ice Skating on the Plaza It might not snow and the lakes might not freeze over here in Austin, but you can still enjoy the same wonderful winter traditions as your friends to the North! Until January 15th, the Lamar Boulevard Whole Foods Market rooftop plaza will be transformed into a glistening ice rink! The rink is open daily from 10am – 9pm. Admission is $10 per person and includes a skate rental. Enjoy drinks, snacks, and beautiful downtown views as you glide across the ice with friends and family. Check in with the Lamar Guest Services team (512.476.1206) before heading to the rink on a weekday, as sometimes private party reservations can cause the rink to close to the public Mondays – Thursdays. Ballet Austin Presents “The Nutcracker” It wouldn’t be the holidays without a production of “The Nutcracker” and no one does it quite like Ballet Austin! From December 8th through December 23rd the 55th Annual Production of the play will be presented by the Georgia B. Lucas Foundation Fund. Performing at the Long Center, hundreds of dancers decked out in gorgeous costumes will be accompanied by the Austin Symphony Orchestra. As is  tradition, this year the coveted Role of Mother Ginger will be played by local celebs including First Lady of Austin Diane T. Land, Steve Sunshine of the Steve and Amy Morning Show on SPiRiT 105.9, and the 2017 Texas Teacher of the Year Allison Ashley Friedlander. Tickets start at $12 and can be purchased through the Ballet Austin website. Holiday Sing-Along & Downtown Stroll On December 2nd head to the Capitol for some Christmas shopping you can actually enjoy!  The event will take place on Congress Street between 9th and 11th Streets from 5pm – 9pm. There will be a special night market with some great presents and many of the shops and restaurants will be open late to accommodate shoppers as well. In addition to the shopping there will be live music to keep you entertained. Kids are welcome and there will be plenty of fun activities to keep them preoccupied while you shop for their gifts. Kid friend include face painting, balloon artists, ornament making, gingerbread decorating, holiday card making, and carnival games, and a petting zoo. Don’t miss the tree lighting at the Capitol or the photo booth with Santa! The event is free, but don’t forget to bring some nonperishable food items to donate to the Central Texas Food Bank! COTA Winter Wonderland Circuit of the Americas’ first annual Winter Wonderland promises to be your new favorite holiday event in Austin! On December 1st – 2nd and the 8th – 30th, the race track will be transformed with millions of twinkling holiday lights. There will be fun for the whole family with a skating rink, carnival rides, a petting zoo, and even camel rides! Oooh and ahhh at the glowing light displays as you make your way along the track. Then pass underneath the tunnel of lights to get to Santa’s Haus and the North Pole, where live music will be playing all night long. Visit Vendor Village for some tasty treats and shopping or head further into the magical wonderland and visit the petting zoo, camels, or singing trees or check out the human snowglobe! If that sounds like too much walking, you can always hop on the COTA Express Train! Tickets are $16 per person (kids under 5 are free), but certain activities require a Magic Money wristband that can be purchased inside the park! The track will be open to the public from 6pm – 10pm Sunday – Thursday and 6pm – 11pm on Fridays & Saturdays.

Posted on November 15, 2017

Situated less than two hours west of Downtown Austin, Fredericksburg offers a small town feel with plenty of attractions. Fredericksburg may be best known for its wineries that have helped put Central Texas on the map for exceptional wine tasting. The little city is also rich in history and maintains its German roots with places like the Marketplatz, the Verins Kirche, and the Pioneer Museum. Lots of local shops and restaurants also pay homage to the German immigrants who once founded the city. When you add on tons of great museums, fun festivals and events, and one of the best spots for Hill Country outdoor adventures, this place really does seem to have it all! One day is not enough to explore all that Fredericksburg has to offer, you’ll definitely want to take a weekend getaway to this quaint little city! While you’re visiting, here are six areas and attractions you won’t want to miss out on! Downtown Fredericksburg Downtown Fredericksburg is rich in culture and German history, but is probably best known for the shopping! The central shopping district located along Main Street is known as “The Magic Mile” and begins just east of the Admiral Nimitz Museum and continues west to the Marketplatz. Shops offer anything from furniture and decor at the Auer Haus, children’s clothing at Beaulah’s Children’s Boutique, and cookware and bakeware at Der Kuchen Laden, to beautiful natural jewelry at Earth Treasures. The Marketplatz at the end of the shopping district is considered the heart and soul of Fredericksburg and hosts many of the town’s most famous festivals and events. Here you can also stroll through native gardens filled with heirloom roses and the kiddos can enjoy the playscape, a storytelling Maibaum, and a water wheel. And of course, don’t miss out on authentic German cuisine! The Auslander Restaurant and Biergarten has long been one of the most popular restaurants in Fredericksburg with hand-cut steaks, seafood, sandwiches, and homemade desserts, while the charming and unique Der Lindenbaum Restaurant offers truly authentic German dishes you won’t find anywhere else this side of the Atlantic! Lyndon B. Johnson National Historical Park Located just outside of Fredericksburg along the Pedernales River, The LBJ Ranch is rich in Texas history. The 36th President, Lyndon B. Johnson, was born and raised in the area that now serves as the park. The ranch was known as the “Texas White House” during his presidency because he spent so much time there. It was also his final resting place. You can spend hours exploring the park and visiting historical landmarks like LBJ’s birthplace; the Junction School where four-year old Johnson learned to read and where, 53 years later as President, he signed the Elementary and Secondary Education Act. Both the ranch where Johnson lived and the nearby farmhouse that his grandparents called home are open for touring as well. The park also hosts many fun events including stargazing and a Christmas tree lighting. Admission to the park is free, but donations are appreciated. A tour of the Texas White House is just $3, with free tours given on Veteran’s Day, President Johnson’s Birthday, and on First Lady Lady Bird Johnson’s birthday, which is coming up on December 22! Wine Tasting Fredericksburg is the heart and soul of the Hill Country wine region, with more than two dozen wineries and tasting rooms. Becker Vineyards is a local favorite and award winner and has even been served in The White House.The vineyard offers wine tasting and cellar tours, a wine club, picnicking, and even hosts an annual Lavender Festival. Another top rated Fredericksburg winery is the Grape Creek Vineyards and Trattoria, which features an Italian Villa tasting room and event center that will make you feel like you’ve been transported to Tuscany. 4.0 Cellars is another must visit, featuring a collaboration of three of Texas’ internationally recognized wineries – McPherson Cellars, Lost Oak Winery, and Brennan Vineyards. Tastings are typically well priced and can be enjoyed with delicious food and stunning hill country views! The area also offers plenty of great packages for the perfect weekend wine tasting excursion! The 290 Wine Shuttle brings you to more than ten incredible wineries along Highway 290E and the Texas Wine Trail offers tons of fantastic events throughout the year, including their Holiday Wine Trail in December! National Museum of the Pacific War The only institution in the country dedicated exclusively to telling the story of the fight in the pacific against Japan during World War II, this museum is located at the childhood home of Fleet Admiral Chester Nimitz. Originally the museum was built to honor Nimitz, but it was his wish that the museum honor all the the Americans who served in the war against Japan, not just him. The museum is open 9am – 5pm every day and features numerous exhibits including the original Admiral Nimitz Museum located in the restored Nimitz Hotel, along with the Japanese Garden of Peace, the Memorial Courtyard, the Plaza of the Presidents, the George Bush Gallery of the Pacific War, and the Pacific Combat Zone. Tickets to the museum are valid for a full 48 hours and cost $15 for adults, $12 for seniors, $10 for military, $7 for kids 6+ and students, and free for kids 5 and under. Enchanted Rock State Natural Area Located just north of Fredericksburg, Enchanted Rock offers some of the most breathtaking views in the Hill Country. Hike along 11 miles of trails or rock climb up the cliffs of the giant pink granite dome to enjoy a picnic at the summit, look for local wildlife and bird watch, or camp out for the weekend and enjoy the breathtaking sights and stargazing! Read up on local legends before you go to really understand the history behind the area and why they call it “Enchanted” rock! Entrance to the park is $7 and all trails except the loop trail close 30 minutes after sunset. For camping, the park offers both primitive backpack campsites that you must hike up to three miles to get to, or walk-in campsites that offer picnic tables, outdoor grilling, a tent pad, water, and nearby restrooms and showers. Primitive sites are $14 per night and walk-in sites are $18 per night. You can also get in on the Texas State Parks Geocache Challenge, for a fun “treasure hunt” that the whole family can enjoy! Eisbahn Eisbahn is a can’t miss annual holiday event sponsored by the Heritage School. A real ice rink is installed every year under a pavilion in the Marketplatz on West Main Street and locals and visitors alike enjoy skating, sipping cocoa, and singing along to Christmas music. Eisbahn was started in 2005 by the Fredericksburg Lifeline Foundation to raise money for Cystic Fibrosis and in 2008 the Heritage School stepped up to take over the event when the Lifeline Foundation could no longer manage and run Eisbahn. Today, the event is run by volunteers from the Heritage School and a portion of the proceeds continue to go to the Lifeline Foundation as well as the Boys and Girls Club of Fredericksburg and the needs-based tuition assistance program for qualifying families at the Heritage School. Eisbahn kicks off the Friday after Thanksgiving and continues through the weekend of New Year’s Day. Come-and-go day passes are $15 and include skate rentals.

Posted on November 10, 2017

THE AUSTIN AMERICAN-STATESMAN NAMES RE/MAX 1 A WINNER OF THE GREATER AUSTIN AREA 2017 TOP WORKPLACES AWARD Cedar Park, TX November 7, 2017  – RE/MAX 1 has been awarded a 2017 Top Workplaces honor by The Austin American-Statesman. The Top Workplaces lists are based solely on the results of an employee feedback survey administered by Energage, LLC (formerly WorkplaceDynamics), a leading research firm that specializes in organizational health and workplace improvement. Several aspects of workplace culture were measured, including Alignment, Execution, and Connection, just to name a few. “The Top Workplaces award is not a popularity contest. And oftentimes, people assume it’s all about fancy perks and benefits.” says Doug Claffey, CEO of Energage. “But to be a Top Workplace, organizations must meet our strict standards for organizational health. And who better to ask about work life than the people who live the culture every day—the employees. Time and time again, our research has proven that what’s most important to them is a strong belief in where the organization is headed, how it’s going to get there, and the feeling that everyone is in it together. Claffey adds, “Without this sense of connection, an organization doesn’t have a shot at being named a Top Workplace.” This is our fourth year in a row to be named a Top Workplace in Austin! We are honored to be ranked among the many wonderful small businesses that help our great city thrive. We are incredibly grateful to our agents and staff members who make our office a home and keep the brokerage alive and buzzing with collaborative energy. This amazing group of people is the reason RE/MAX 1 has been able to remain one of the best places to work in Austin for so many years! About RE/MAX 1 RE/MAX 1 is a real estate brokerage devoted to helping its agents have an abundant life through exceptional training and support services. RE/MAX 1 agents are learning-based and committed to mastering their craft. The RE/MAX 1 team values integrity, commitment, discipline, mastery, and cooperation. If you are interested in joining the RE/MAX 1 team visit or call Molly McKenna, Director of Opportunity at 512.915.3244. About Energage, LLC Headquartered in Exton, PA, Energage specializes in employee feedback surveys and workplace improvement. This year alone, more than two million employees in over 6,000 organizations will participate in the Top Workplaces™ campaign—a program it conducts in partnership with more than 40 prestigious media partners across the United States. Energage also provides consulting services to improve employee engagement and organizational health. Energage is a founding B Corporation member, a coalition of organizations that are leading a global movement to redefine success in business by offering a positive vision of a better way to do business.

Posted on November 03, 2017

With the weather cooling down and an extremely mild Texas winter ahead, it’s the perfect time of year to get out and enjoy the fresh air! There are many parks and natural areas throughout the hill country, but few offer great hiking opportunities and mountain views like those of our distant neighbors to the west. There are a few little gems scattered throughout Central Texas though, and only the best made this list! In no particular order, here are some of the best parks and natural areas for great hiking and even better views of our beautiful hill country. They may not have towering mountain peaks and soaring cliffs, but these spots all offer both challenging and tranquil trails to satisfy your itch for some outdoor adventure, no matter your skill level! Lace up your boots and hit the trail! 1. Barton Creek Greenbelt Located right in the heart of Austin, the Barton Creek Greenbelt has a range of trails to fit any skill level, from flat walking trails to fairly elevated terrain. Plus there are some great cliffs for climbing in some areas along the greenbelt. Several swimming holes are available for hot, sunny days when the creek is full. There are multiple locations to enter the greenbelt from, but the most convenient spot is at the south end of the Barton Springs Pool parking lot. This is considered the trailhead to the greenbelt and is a great place for beginners or anyone looking for a low-impact, relaxing hike. You can also access the trails from different spots  a little further down the street or just off of Loop 360 and Mopac, where you’ll find a little more diversity in the terrain, along with some great swimming holes and climbing spots. Austin being one of the most dog friendly cities in the world, your furry friends are of course welcome, just keep them on the leash at all times! 2. McKinney Falls State Park The only state park located within the Austin city limits, Mckinney Falls is located less than thirty minutes from Downtown in southeast Austin, along Onion Creek. The park suffered a lot of damage after the Halloween floods of 2013 and the Memorial Day floods of 2015, and the visitor center is still closed due to the flooding. However, the majority of the park is still accessible, and they’re still open daily from 8am – 10pm! When it hasn’t rained and the water isn’t too high, Onion Creek is great for swimming and you don’t need a license to fish from the shore in a Texas state park! The park also features 81 campsites and six newly remodeled cabins. For hiking and biking, the nearly nine miles of trails range from easy and flat like the 2.8 mile Onion Creek Hike and Bike Trail, to moderately difficult hikes with rocky terrain, creek crossings, and beautiful views of Onion and Williamson Creeks. The Homestead Trail is the longest at 3.1 miles, while most other trails are between 1 mile and 1 ½ miles. 3. Garner State Park Garner State Park is about three hours southwest of Downtown Austin and two hours west of San Antonio. Located along the Frio River, the park has about three miles of river frontage. On warm days, the park is of course a great spot for swimming, floating, and boating on the river, but the beautiful scenery and 11 miles of trails make it worth the journey even on cooler fall and winter days! Explore the 30-foot deep crystal cave or check out the mysterious old rock fence. From Painted Rock Overlook you can see views of the distant summit while you rest on top of the ridge, or catch hill country views from the Campos Trail Overlook. Adventurous and skilled hikers can take the short but steep trek up to the “Old Baldy” summit for amazing panoramic views. The park also has some great camping facilities from simple campsites for pitching your tent to cabins and screened in shelters. In the summertime the park’s concession building hosts a jukebox dance in the evenings, a tradition they’ve carried on since the 1940’s!  4. Lost Maples State Natural Area Many people believe you have to travel to New England to experience the breathtaking transformation of the fall foliage, but if you head about three hours southwest of Austin to Vanderpool, Texas, you can find the colorful leaves of the Uvalde bigtooth maples in mid October – mid November. Of course this is the best time to check out the park, but it’s a beautiful place no matter what time of year you go! Over ten miles of trails take you past steep canyon walls and across the top of a 2,200 foot cliff along the scenic Sabinal River. An abundance of wildlife and wildflowers add to the already beautiful landscape. The park is also great for bird watching and fishing along the river or in Can Creek. For camping the park offers 30 campsites with water and electricity available, or you can be a true outdoorsman and backpack to one of six primitive campsites. In addition the park hosts numerous events throughout the year, including stargazing with astronomers – without big city lights, the night sky is absolutely mesmerizing! 5. Pace Bend Park Nestled within a bend of the Colorado River, Pace Bend Park is less than an hour from downtown Austin and offers some of the best views of Lake Travis, with nine miles of shoreline. Hike along the cliffs and if it’s a hot day, take a leap into the cool blue waters of Lake Travis below! On the eastern side of the park you will find sandy beaches perfect for camping along the water, while the cliffs rise to the west. There are also Mountain biking trails and trails that wind through the interior of the park, where you might spot a whitetail deer, fox, or dozens of different species of birds within the wildlife preserve. The park is open for day use from sunrise until twilight and open 24 hours a day for overnight camping. Entry fees are per vehicle, so load up your car with the whole family or a group of friends for a fun day or weekend of outdoor adventures! 6. Colorado Bend State Park Colorado Bend State Park is further up the Colorado river, another hour northwest past Pace Bend Park. The park is 5,328 acres and offers 32 miles of hiking and mountain biking trails. Trails along the river showcase stunning views of the surrounding cliffs, while the Spicewood Springs trail winds across pools and waterfalls fed by the springs up to the canyon where you will be met with more beautiful views. The park’s most popular hike leads up to the 70 foot Gorman Falls along rocky terrain. Park Rangers also offer guided tours of the falls and wild caves. Being along the Colorado river also makes the park the perfect spot for fishing, canoeing, or taking a dip after a long hike. 7. Westcave Outdoor Discovery Center With plenty of hiking trails, a cave to explore, a serene waterfall, and a fully staffed education center, Westcave is more than just your average park. The preserve offers guided canyon and cave tours, night time tours, bird walks, and “star parties” where visitors can tour the sky through telescopes with the help of local astronomers. For no frills hiking you can head to the Uplands, 45-acres of unimproved hiking trails that wind through the savanna full of Live Oaks and Ashe Juniper trees. Spring and fall are the perfect time to go, when the savanna wildflowers are in full bloom. You can access the Upland trails Tuesday – Friday from 10am – 2pm and Saturday & Sunday from 9:30am – 4pm for just $7 per person. All guided tours are $15 per person. 8. Enchanted Rock Natural Area Located 18 miles north of Fredericksburg and just under two hours northwest of Downtown Austin, Enchanted Rock is worth the trek outside the city. Climbing the pink granite dome for some of the most amazing views of the surrounding hill country will definitely be the highlight of your visit, but the rock formations and wildlife surrounding the dome are just as breathtaking! Explore the area and learn of the many legends and folktales that have long been told about the magical rock. While the 11 miles of hiking trails will surely keep you busy, the area has much more to offer including camping, rock climbing, bird watching, stargazing, and more. The park is open daily from 8am to 10pm and all trails close to hikers 30 minutes before sunset. October – January the park is closed Sunday – Friday once per month for hunting and it’s also their busiest time of year so plan your trip accordingly! 9. Balcones Canyonlands National Wildlife Refuge Originally built to protect the habitats of Golden-Cheeked Warblers, Black-Capped Vireos, and many other native bird species, the Balcones Canyonlands Refuge has transformed over the years into the perfect, peaceful getaway spot for a weekend excursion. The park offers nearly seven miles of trails that wind through rough terrain and open meadows, and an abundance of wildlife including the birds the refuge protects along with migrating monarchs, gray fox, white-tailed deer, feral hogs, turkey, and doves. Seasonal hunting opportunities are available to hunters through the Texas Parks and Wildlife Drawn Hunts program. The park also offers numerous special events throughout the year, including a Christmas Bird Count coming up in December! 10. Wolf Mountain Trail in Pedernales Falls State Park Located just an hour west of Downtown Austin in Johnson City, Pedernales Falls State Park is a tranquil spot, surrounded by trees and shrubbery and rolling hills with rocky terrain, where the Pedernales River flows over and around limestone slabs. It’s the perfect spot for a day or weekend camping trip, with swimming, fishing, bird watching, horseback riding, mountain biking, and of course hiking. The park offers miles and miles of great hiking, but is most famous for the Wolf Mountain Trail. Home to the “prairie wolf,”  this is a challenging six mile trail that wraps around Tobacco and Wolf Mountains. Along the way hikers cross over Bee Creek and hike alongside the creeks steep canyon walls. About halfway up the trail, hikers will come across the Jones Spring and the ruins of an old stone settler’s house. This is the perfect spot to stop and rest, since the trail gets a lot more steep as it goes on! The trail doesn’t make it all the way up to the summit of Wolf Mountain, so for some of the best views follow the Pedernales River waypoint to the falls once you get to the end of the Wolf Mountain Trail.

Molly McKenna

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