Sunday, December 31, 2006


We haven't really done too much while here in McAllen. We did go to Hooters to watch the UT game. We ended up leaving early and watched the rest of the game at home! UT won, so that was good!

We also ate some really good tamales. I'm not sure where they came from, but they were delicious. I had never had cream cheese, jalapeno tamales before. I hope I can find some in Austin.

Today we are supposed to go to Mexico. I'm super excited because this is the first thing this weekend that we are doing that I want to do! I haven't been to a border town in years. This should be interesting! :)

Saturday, December 30, 2006


Yesterday, we flew to McAllen to see my husband's cousin, wife and baby. We flew Southwest because my sister-in-law gave us free tickets. I haven't flown Southwest in a long time. They do a cattle call type seating arrangement. Noone knows where they're going to sit until they get on the plane. We were second to last getting on the plane, so I didn't think I would even get to sit with my husband much less get a good seat! Well, we're walking down the aisle and I see two empty seats down the way. I begin thinking about knocking down the people in front of me to get to the seats before them. But, I don't have to. Noone picks these seats. As I get closer, I realize that they are EXIT seats! YIPPPEEEE!! Not only do we get to sit together, we get lots of legroom! The flight was kind of turbulent, but we got here safely!

Last night we went to eat at Outback Steakhouse. It was ok. It was fun just being with family! :)

Friday, December 29, 2006


Well, it wasn't easy, but I got DSW to return all my stuff and then I rebought it. Then I added another pair of shoes and a purse with the money that I saved! The manager was not very happy with me, but he let me do it. The girl who waited on me was very nice and helpful and not at all annoyed. I appreciated her wonderful service!!


Well, I got an email today saying that DSW has a 50% off clearance sale today. After I went and spent all that money yesterday at only 30%. I'm going to go try and get some money back. I'm so annoyed with them. It would be one thing if a couple of days had passed, but it was YESTERDAY! I haven't even had a chance to wear any of the shoes! - Well, that's not really true. I wore the skull and crossbones one to the mall. Either way, I want some of my money back so I can buy the one pair that I put back!!!

Barton Creek Mall

We went to see a movie yesterday at Barton Creek Mall. We went there about two hours early so we could eat first. There are only two sit down restaurants at that mall. I'm used to running out to North Park in Dallas, where there's a restaurant on just about any corner. Well, there are two at Barton Creek. You have your choice between California Pizza and Nordstrums Bistro. Both of them were crowded, but we opted for the pizza. While we waited, we did a little mall walking. It was fun.

After eating we went to see the movie at the theater in the mall. It's an AMC theater, which is probably my favorite. They have good seats at the AMC's and they are stadium-style seating. We saw The Good Shepherd, with just about every star imaginable. Even with all that star power, it really wasn't that great of a movie. It could have been. It just has a weak story-line.

Either way, I had a great time wasting the day away with my husband. We don't get many opportunities like that. Usually, we're both on the go!

Thursday, December 28, 2006


I love after Christmas sales! Since I didn't go to DSW the other day for the triple points, I decided to check them out today. WOOHOO!! They were having 30% off their CLEARANCE prices! I went wild! I bought 3 pairs of shoes and 2 BCBG purses.


We spent the better part of yesterday going through model homes to get ideas for backyard landscaping. My husband really wants to have a nice patio in our new backyard. My in-laws gave us money to either do a patio or get something else that is needed. (I think we need a kitchen table, but what do I know!) We saw some nice yards, but I don't think any of them really go with our backyard. If we have to have some kind of deck, I prefer the ones made out of large stone or slate though.


It's getting really close to New Year's, so that means it's time to start planning our Resolutions! As usual, my plan is to lose weight. I went out and bought an exercise ball. I went to a trainer that had me do some exercises with an exercise ball that were not too hard to do. I found a whole set with a ball, band and some waist belt thing at TJ Maxx while I was in Dallas.

Yesterday seemed like a great time to get it out and blow it up. I spent a whole lot of time blowing it up and when I took the pump out, the air went out with it. For some reason, they forgot to pack the plug in there. So, we went to the TJ Maxx on Great Hills and exchanged it for a good one.

I got the thing blown up now, so I guess I should use it.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006


I went back to Halcyon, on 4th street, for a cup of coffee today. It's a lot better than I had originally remembered it. It's on the corner of one of those older warehouse style buildings and some of the walls are exposed brick. The other walls have artistic photography that you can buy, if you like that sort of thing.

I ordered a carmel latte, as usual. Pretty much that is what I order at all coffee shops. This one was excellent. Not bitter and just the right amount of sweet. I also ordered a sausage, egg and cheese panini for breakfast. It was delicious!

They have free wireless internet, which is always a plus. My friend "Natalia" brought her laptop and we spent an inordinate amount of time pouring through the ridiculous websites that are out there. Plus, she brought pictures from her trip, where she ruined Xmas for her friend Buddy! LOL!

The worst part of Halcyon is the parking. I thought I had gotten lucky when I parked right out front. But it turned out to be an expensive parking space, as I was ticketed for going over the 15 minutes of allotted parking time! BOO!

Blog Features

I have been updating some of my blog features. I'm still in the learning stages of blogging. The newest feature is that you can subscribe to get my blog postings directly to your email. You can do this by subscribing to my blog through feedblitz. The location of the subscribe button is on the right of my blog where it has a space to put your email address and then hit subscribe me. This way you don't have to go to the feeds just to read the blog. Of course, there are several feeds you can continue to subscribe to as well.

I have really enjoyed blogging. If anyone has any suggestion for blog ideas or anything else that is helpful, make sure to comment! :)

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Chopstix Wednesday

Tomorrow is Chopstix Wednesday. My friend "Natalia" invented this weekly holiday. The gist of Chopstix Wednesday is that you only eat with chopsticks on Wednesdays, (hmm, pretty self explanatory)! The exception to using chopsticks is that you can eat with your hands if that is the normal way of eating the food, i.e. tacos. You can also use a spoon. You are just not allowed to eat with a fork or any other utensil with tines.

I like the idea of Chopstix Wednesday, because it slows down the food consumption and you eat less. I am extra excited about this week's experience, because my sister bought me new chopsticks for Christmas! YAY!

"Natalia" created a new group to help keep Chopstick Wednesday alive! Feel free to join and leave your mark on the group site. If you are the first person to comment, email your address and she'll ship you a brand new pair of chopsticks!
Come and join the fun!

What now?

Once Christmas is over, I always ask myself, "What now?" Thank goodness for email. That has to be one of the best inventions ever! I get updates through email from my favorite stores letting me know when they are having sales. Today, DSW is giving TRIPLE bonus points. Added to that, I have a $10 gift certificate from the bonus points I already have, so you know where you will find me today! I will hit all the DSW's in the DFW area, and if I get back to Austin in time, I will be hitting the ones there too!

After Christmas sales are a great way to spend the Christmas money that you get! I can't wait to get shopping! :)

Monday, December 25, 2006


Merry Christmas to all of my friends and family! I have been enjoying the holidays in Dallas. I spent the first night with my sister and spent two days shopping for gifts with my mom and her. I actually only bought a couple of gifts for others and found lots of treasures for myself!

The most unusual shopping trip was with my sister. We went to one of our favorite places to shop for different things, Emeralds to Coconuts on Henderson, and then we left to eat at Mai's on Fitzhugh and Bryan. When we went to pay, we couldn't find her credit card. We looked all over the car and decided to go back to Emeralds to Coconuts to see if we had left it with the saleslady.

We drive out onto the street and she goes to the far lane thinking it's a one way street. She starts calling Emeralds to Coconuts and looks up and there is a policeman trying to turn into the lane we are sitting in. She pulls back, never taking the phone from her head and the policeman rolls down his window and gives her a tongue-lashing. "Get off the phone and pay attention to what your doing!" She replies back to him, "I lost my credit card and I'm trying to call the store." Like the policeman cares. He yells back that he doesn't care and she needs to pay attention and drives off! She dodged a ticket there.

We go back to Emeralds to Coconuts, which is closed by this time. She decides to look around the parking lot, just in case it fell out of her purse. She sees something on the ground so she gets out for closer inspection. It's not the credit card. She looks around a bit more before she gets in the car and lo and behold, the card is right there on the ground! The day is saved!! Now she can continue shopping! YAY!! Boy was she lucky!

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Trail of Lights

The Trail of Lights at Zilker park is by far the most fantastic display of Christmas spirit that I have ever seen. Different companies from Austin sponsor or design a Christmas scene throughout the mile long trail. I took pictures of some of my favorite scenes and have the best ones on display. Some of my pictures were too dark.

One of my favorite displays was a bunch of handmade trees, each one with a different color lights. They had the music from Charlie Brown and the trees were synchronized to dance along with the music! It was awesome. I wish I could do something like that at my house! LOL!

Suprisingly, this is a free event. You can park at Waterloo Park for $5.00 and then take a shuttle for $2.00. We found a parking space in some fields behind the Chuy's and walked over there for free. At the end of the trail we found a mailbox where you can make a donation, so we supported the event that way!

I'm really sad that I waited so long to see it, because now it is over and I would have liked to have gone back several times!

Saturday, December 23, 2006


One of the most traumatic parts of moving to a new town is trying to figure out where to get your hair cut. I was very lucky that I found the right place to go the first time out! I had been driving by Avalon hair salon all the time when I first moved to Austin. I actually tried to go to another place as a walk-in and they couldn't take me. I remembered Avalon and walked over there and they said that Anna had a spot later in the day! The first time around I decided to play it safe and just get my hair trimmed. She did a really good job, so when I went yesterday, I decided I could be a little more bold, since I now trusted her. She takes her time and is not upset if you ask her to trim a little more after she is done. She cut my hair just the way I wanted it! I would highly recommend Avalon and especially Anna!

Hut's Hamburgers

An Austin Tradition since 1939. The building was opened as Sammie's Drive In in August 1939. It became Eli's lounge and then Picante's Mexican Restaurant. In 1969, the building was bought by Homer "Hut" Hutson and reopened as Hut's. Hut's was originally on South Congress. In 1981 the new owners bought the restaurant and have had it ever since. I found out all this information from their menu. I find places with a history fascinating.

As you walk in to Hut's you find all the awards proudly displayed on the walls. When you look around, you find that there is really very little room for anything else to be added to their walls, since all of the wall-space is being utilized. Upon close inspection, you will find animal heads, liscense plates, sports pennants, photos, and much much more.

The line for Hut's is unbelievable. We chose to eat at the bar to avoid some of the wait time. The bartender/waitress was very nice and paid just enough attention to the people that she served. There was one other bartender and we noticed that he had a shirt on for the next door restaurant. We inquired about his shirt and we were told that the owner of Hut's also owns the Italian restaurant next door. They are trying to cross advertise.

I'm not really a hamburger fan, but when you are in a hamburger place, you have to get a hamburger. I have to admit, that I really didn't like their burgers. I think it's because they were a bit large for my tastes. My husband absolutely raved about his, and said he would rank it up with the best burger he had ever had. As we were leaving, he was talking about when he could go back.

Friday, December 22, 2006

Whole Foods

Whole Foods on Lamar is by far my favorite grocery shop here in Austin. The photo above is a gingerbread house that they have on display there. Last year, my husband's family decided that we would make gingerbread houses. I have to go on record and state that none of ours looked remotely like this one. I made one from a kit, so obviously, it was not this elaborate. The only one that even came close was my mother-in-laws and that is only because she hand-made the gingerbread.

I love to go and walk around Whole Foods. There is so much going on and it is like a feast for the eyes to look at all the good food on display! I have gone there for breakfast several times and even eaten there for dinner on occasion. The food is always good!

I have to admit that I rarely grocery shop there, however. I'm not really that picky about everything being organic. I really just like being in the store! They usually have great samples out. Last night, they were sampling brie with some kind of fig jelly. I'm glad we happen to be there!

Blue Genie Bazaar

The 6th annual Blue Genie Bazaar is going on right now. This is a free event, however once you get inside that all changes. This is located on Springdale street behind the Goodwill. You actually have to go in through the Goodwill entrance to find it in the back. If you drive past the Goodwill, you have gone too far. We found that out the hard way!

Inside you will find very unique items of art. There are several different artists displaying their artwork in a variety of ways. There were a few interesting things that I thought I might be interested in, but it in no way is there bargain basement prices. They are definitely proud of their work. I found a couple of $20 - $30 onsies for my cousin's newborn, but had to pass because they are $20 - $30, and babies just don't get that kind of wear out of onsies!
It is definitely an interesting show worth going to, but don't expect the stuff to be cheap!

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Pizza Gallery

Since the Yuppie Puppy had closed down, I decided that it was time to eat. Right next door to where the YP used to be, in Davenport Village, I found the Pizza Gallery. I noticed art for sale around the walls, which made the name of the place make a whole lot of sense.

For the first time since I have been in Austin, the service was almost too much! I had two waiters. (One of them must've been in training). Probably because of where I was seated, the guy came by to see how I was doing (probably) close to ten times. However, they took my order quickly, took my plate as soon as I was finished and I got my check promptly, and that is what I want when I go out to eat.

I was seated right behind the wine rack and there was some guy, probably the owner, that fiddled with the wine the whole time I was there. He rearranged the wine on the top of the rack and then rearranged all the wine in the rack. It was a little annoying, but that wine is organized now!

There were a couple of pieces of art that I thought I might like, but upon inspection, I found them to be a bit out of my price range! Some of the art was not really my taste, but it was still more than I had to spend!

The pizza was delicious. For some reason, I felt the need to eat my pizza with a fork. I really don't know why, maybe it was the place? I also had a delicious caesar salad. It was a great lunch!

Collar search

My dog needs a new collar. The last one I bought was from the Pet Boutique on Garland Rd. in Dallas. It is black with small diamonds all around it. The collar has lost most of the diamonds and it is time to replace it.

Where do you go to find specialty items for dogs in Austin? I still haven't figured it out. I went online and found Bark 'n Purr on Burnet, so I drove over there to find the perfect collar for my little precious one. I looked at the store optimistically as I drove up since it had a Best of Austin sign in the window. I was sadly disappointed when I went inside and found your typical dog stuff inside. I asked the guy if he knew where I could find some specialty items for dogs. He was kind of rude and said that was it. I pushed a little and he directed me down the street.

I went up Burnet a little further to the Camp 4 Paws. I wasn't really sure if it was open, but I got out of my car to check anyway! Luckily, the store was open!! This is the cutest little place. They have really cool clothes and some really nice collars. Unfortunately, they didn't have exactly what I was looking for, but I will go back another time when I want to buy clothes. I talked to the nicest lady and she told me that she had seen a dog store in Davenport Village over on Capital of Texas Hwy. She wasn't sure if it was open or not, but that was her best guess.

I went to Davenport Village next. I saw a great sign announcing the Yuppie Puppie! Yea! I'm sure at this point that they will have exactly what I'm looking for. Sadly, as I got closer, I found that the store was closed. :( I didn't find my collar today.

I will be in Dallas this weekend, so I hope I will get the opportunity to go to the Pet Boutique and find a new collar. If anyone knows of any good pet boutiques in Austin, please let me know!!

Leave it to Austin

I was driving down the Capital of Texas Highway (360) and I looked over and there was a flock of trees on my left that someone or some group had taken the time to decorate for Christmas. It was very strange to see all of these trees with their 70's style garland and ornaments on the side of the road. Who does this?

If nothing else, it brought a smile to my face. Whoever took time out of their week to do this, I thank you! :)

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Free At Last

I'm finally on holiday for the Christmas break! Where does the time go?? I plan to use the free time to shop, try new things and visit family and friends. I will be going to Dallas for the part of the holiday, so I may have to do some Dallas blogs to keep things moving. (I'm sure there is somewhere I haven't been in Dallas). Then I plan to go to McAllen, Tx for New Years. There are definitely places there that I haven't been!

I'm thinking about using some of my free time to watch movies. If you haven't gotten Netflix yet, I highly recommend it. I am on the unlimited two movies at a time plan. I love it. The movies come directly to your house, you never have late fees, and I'm rarely without a movie. I work it out so that I watch one movie, mail it in and by the time I watch another one, I have a new movie in the mail. I have about 70 movies in my queue and I'm constantly adding more. Another bonus is that you can rent whole series. I've watched Veronica Mars Series one and two, Lost season one and two and Da Ali G show season one and two. It's a great way to get caught up on some of those shows that build on the one before so you can start watching the series in real time! If I was renting from the video store, I wouldn't watch them because I would feel guilty about spending the money. Since I'm unlimited on the number of dvd's, I don't feel guilty!! There is usually about a two day turn around on movies.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006


Front View
Master Bath
I never thought that I would be the type of person that would live in a planned community. I've always been the one looking down my nose at the people that live in those type neighborhoods. I always get confused because the houses all look alike. Plus, I never wanted to live in a suburb.
Well, here I am in Austin buying a home in one of the quirkiest towns in Texas in a planned community in a suburb.
Actually, we looked all around Austin for several months trying to find a house with good square footage with an affordable price tag. The best we could find was about 1700 sq. ft. in our price range. The houses were tiny and the neighborhoods looked like the ones your mother always warned you about. So, we decided to look in one of "those" neighborhoods.
Well, I was really suprised. I could build a pretty big house without going broke. Plus, I get the opportunity to pick the things that I want in a house. We got to pick a floor plan, the color brick, the tile, the countertops, the paint...just about EVERYTHING!! It has been really exciting.
One of the drawbacks to doing this is that you begin to question your taste. It's hard to tell what the whole house is going to look like by one brick, but so far, I've been really pleased with how it's all coming together. The only other thing that I've found to be a problem, is the amount of time that it takes. It's really not so bad, but I really am not into the apartment life.
If you ever have the opportunity to do this, I highly recommend it! It's the one opportunity I have to have a house just the way I want it!! I can't wait to move in!


Austin has helped me to develop an awareness of my allergies. I've always had mild allergies (to something that's in the air), but since I've been in Austin, they have become more pronounced! Everyone tells me it's cedar. Maybe they're right. I just want them to go away!

Monday, December 18, 2006

Juan in a Million

Since I moved to Austin, people have been telling me to try Juan in a Million on Cesar Chavez St. I finally made it there for breakfast over the weekend. It is very modest, no-nonsense looking place. In fact, if you didn't know better, you would probably keep driving by.

We found out as we went inside that there are actually two buildings and patio seating areas. Since the weather is so nice, we chose to eat on the patio. I ordered something a bit different, since they didn't have sausage, egg and cheese tacos. Instead I went all out and had bacon, egg and cheese tacos. I was expecting regular bacon, but instead it was a thicker bacon, almost ham-like. Mike ordered the special tacos. They asked if he wanted additional tortillas. He thought that was strange until they brought out his plate. There was SO much food that he didn't even finish. My friend had the migas. They looked good too.

The place was crowded and I would venture to guess that is the norm for this restaurant. The wait was really short and worth the time!

Jane's White Elephant Gift Exchange

Saturday night I was invited to a friend's mom's White Elephant Gift Exchange Party. I wasn't too sure what kind of deal this was going to be since I had only met her mom once several years ago. Additionally, the party was out in San Antonio, which is a really long drive. My husband and I were already off to a bad start since we were running late. I was really worried since I would know noone there and I'm suprisingly a little shy when it comes to meeting new people, especially if I'm late.

Right when I walked in, two ladies were at the front of the house and they welcomed me in with open arms. Neither of them were my friend's mom. They asked if this was the first one of Jane's parties I'd been too. They told me all about how much fun they were. We went a little further in to the party and I found that there were lots of people enjoying themselves throughout the house.

We sat down to eat dinner and we began talking to an interesting man I'll call Dean. He was very right-winged in his ideals. I found him to be very strange, but we continued talking to him. He became instant friends with my husband, who entertained his ideas and came up with a few of his own.

Then the white elephant gift exchange began. We were given the rules by a guy that you could tell has never broken a rule to a game in his life. I chose my number and waited for my turn. I was number 8, a terrible number in the WEGE. I decided that I would be the first to steal. I stole some golf balls for my husband. The game progressed and someone stole from me. So I went and got the gift that I had brought, a blanket with snowflakes on it. I made mention that I had brought the gift and the rules guy was visibly upset. When it came time for him to go, he came and stole my blanket. THEN, Mike trying to help me, stole the blanket back for me. At this point, somehow I had the golf balls and Mike had the blanket. The end of the game was near. The number one person got to choose another gift. Number One was the rules guy's wife. She went and stole the blanket and gave Mike a headband with lights. I didn't get my blanket. The game was over. HAHA! It was really a lot of fun!

I really had a great time at the party. I love doing the gift exchanges. We're going to do another one at my work party. I hope I end up with something good this time! :)

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Fiesta in the making

On the advice of Wooderson from Dazed and Confused, I finally got around to trying a Top Notch Burger! Top Notch has been serving Charbroiled burgers since 1971. From what I understand, it's family owned and operated.

It's easy to see why this burger joint was chosen to be a backdrop for the 70's inspired movie. It doesn't look like much has changed since that time. You can choose to eat inside the restaurant or get your food delivered to your car by a carhop. We made the choice to eat inside since my husband doesn't really like to eat in the car!

We got to Top Notch Burgers at 1:30 on a Saturday afternoon and the place was PACKED! I got a burger and fries on this time around. Unlike in the movie, the fries were not soggy. They were actually quite crispy, just the way I like them! My husband couldn't resist the fried chicken plate. He said that it was the best fried chicken he's had in a long time! (They even have a veggie burger for those of you that are vegeterians).

Overall, we had a great experience there and if we ever are on Burnet in North Austin again, we will probably return! If you go, make sure to bring cash. They don't take credit cards, but they do have an ATM on site if you're short on funds!

Saturday, December 16, 2006


We went to Garfield, Texas for a party last night. Where is Garfield, Tx you ask? Good question that I would probably not be able to answer. It was somewhere past the airport. We went to a friend's house for a Christmas party. They have a big house out in the middle of nowhere. It is decorated really cute if you like a country style home. Whoever cleans it does a really great job! :)

Friday, December 15, 2006


Please feel free at any time to give me suggestions or feedback of what you would like to see in my blog. I've been racking my brains of ideas of what to write about and I decided that I'd like to write about what you would like to read about!

I also LOVE to get comments. It totally makes my day when I log in and find comments on my blog. So please comment often! Also, this should be a part of your favorites so you will remember to return at least daily.

Those of you that know me really well, know that my favorite movie was filmed here in Austin. I plan to go to the Top Notch Burger place and eat this weekend. Does everyone know what movie I'm talking about???

Thursday, December 14, 2006


You would think that Austin, being the music capital of the world, would have some good radio stations. That is just not the case. I don't really like hip-hop or top 40, so what's left? I spent a long time listening to classic rock, but that got old fast. I really prefer to listen to alternative rock. Thank goodness I found Bob! At least there is good music about every 5th song. I miss the Edge in Dallas! I'm going to have to get my satellite radio installed soon!

Baby A's

I have now been to Baby A's on Parmer Lane three and a half times. The first time I went I had a great time. The food was good, the Mexican Martinis were great and we had a wonderful server. Since it was so fun the first time, I went back for my birthday. We sat out on the patio and watched a band. We had a grand old time. No food, but the drinks were good.

Then we decided to go back for another friend's birthday. We went during happy hour and there was a big group of us. This time we sat for at least 20 minutes and noone ever even brought us chips. One of the girls went to actually get the chips for us herself, but they wouldn't let her and said they'd bring it right over. They finally brought us chips but only brought hot sauce for one of the buckets. Then they didn't come back for at least another 20 minutes to get food orders and drink orders. Then we got a huge bill! Way overpriced for what we got. Plus since it was a big group, they added in the gratuity. It was very annoying.

We went back for another girl's birthday a couple of weeks ago and we sat in the lobby for 1 1/2 hours waiting for a table. Finally, I decided to go home. I haven't had that great of an experience here to wait that long for bad service! The food is good though if you ever get any!

Wednesday, December 13, 2006


Those of you that know me know that I am addicted to Marshalls. It's very rare that I buy something from another store. They have name brands at a lower price. The clothes are very stylish and they have additional things like housewares, shoes, furniture and much much more. It's a place where you can shop for the whole family.

Knowing this, imagine my disappointment when I got to Austin and found that there was only one Marshalls in the whole area. Let me tell you, the amount of money that I spent on shopping went way down! I basically quit shopping for a couple of months! (In Dallas I hit the Marshalls at LEAST once a week, sometimes more!)

Well, now in addition to the Marshalls in Round Rock, 2701 Parker Road, Bldg A, Suite 300, there is one on Mopac, 10515 N Mopac Expwy Bldg F and in Bee Caves, 12909 Shops Pkwy Suite 300 . I've been to both of them, but I doubt I'll be back to the Bee Caves one often because it is GU, (geographically undesireable). I also noticed that they are building one on the east side of 35. It's still a shell, but I spotted their sign a mile away!

The great thing about the one on Mopac is that right next door is a DSW!! SHOES!! Happy shopping!

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Speaking of Manor

What's Eating Gilbert Grape is a 1993 dramedy movie directed by Lasse Hallström and starring Johnny Depp, Juliette Lewis and Leonardo DiCaprio. It is based on a book of the same name by author Peter Hedges. It was filmed in Manor, Texas. (Comment stolen from Wikepedia)

"This Magic Moment"by Doc Pomus & Mort ShumanPerformed by The Manor High School Marching Band (Comment stolen from IMDB)

I loved that movie! I never would have guessed that it was filmed in the Austin area.


If you ever find yourself in Manor, there is a great little restaurant there called Ramos. It's right in the center of their booming little town. It's pretty much the only restaurant in Manor. There are a couple of others, but Ramos is by far the most popular. From what I understand, the owner used to be the head chef at Chuy's and decided to open his own restaurant. You can definitely taste a Chuy's influence even if this story isn't true. They start you out with chips and salsa, plus they add a jalapeno ranch type dressing that is just heavenly! We went for breakfast and I have to say that they had some of the best breakfast tacos I've had in a long time!

Monday, December 11, 2006

Austin Traffic

The worst part of living in Austin is the traffic! I hate Austin Traffic. I'm quite sure I'm not the first to notice how terrible it is! Anyway, today was worse than ever. I had figured out a quick route home from work by going down a side road and cutting through a shopping complex. It's been working for me for the last couple of months. Today, however, the Austin traffic gods put a curse on my route. They decided to do some construction on the road! Now my shortcut is taking just as long as the regular route. BOO!

37th Street of Lights

Austin people never do anything half-way. They always have to find a way to weird it up a little bit. I guess that's why they have the saying "Keep Austin Weird". Well, Christmas lights are no different. Every year the people that live on 37th Street put out their Christmas lights and people drive from miles around to see how they are displayed. They don't just light up their houses, they use the electrical lines, cars, and anything else they can think to put a light on.

The neighborhood has been doing this since the 80's and rumor has it that the people that started the tradition have already moved out and they come back every year to decorate since the new people are more yuppified and aren't as into it. I have no way of knowing if this is true, but it sure makes for a good story.

To get there, you go from Guadalupe and turn on 37th. The Groovy Lube sign will point the way! We drove through, but walking would be much better so you can see the intricacy of all the lights and other displays.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

South Congress Cafe

South Congress Cafe is my favorite restaurant in Austin so far. This is a great place to go on a date or for a special occasion. The food is outstanding! The service is really good, too especially when you compare it to the rest of Austin service.
Last night we went there with my in-laws. (I also went there with my parents for my birthday). I ordered the Cajun Shrimp Scampi. They serve this medley of seafood over pasta. I loved it. There was so much food, I couldn't finish my meal. Of course I gave it my best shot though! Everyone ordered something different and everyone went home satisfied!
If you have not eaten here, I highly recommend it!

Armadillo Bazaar

I love going to art shows. Since I've been in Austin, I've found that there are art shows almost every week. Most of the stuff in them are kind of bazaar, hippy type things that does not really reflect my tastes. This weekend I went to the Armadillo Christmas Bazaar. There was an entry fee and there were higher end artists showing their crafts. Most of the items were out of my price range, but there were some really nice things.

My husband found a little clay sculpture called the "Enchihuahua" and bought it for me. It is very whimsical and reminded him of our beloved chi-chi! It's really a fun accessory for our new house.

As a side note, I saw an acquaintance of mine that I met at a work conference a couple of weeks ago. He is evidentally an artist and has really nice work.

I would highly recommend this bazaar for viewing or for buying! The Bazaar is open from Dec. 9 - 24, from 11 - 11!

Saturday, December 9, 2006

Hula Hut

If you are ever in Austin or you live in Austin, you have to go to the Hula Hut. Located on Lake Austin, this place is always a fun destination. In the summer, people dock their boats and come in and hang out at the bar. Every time I've been there it has been packed with people!
My in-laws are in town, so obviously we had to take them here. It's one of those Keep Austin Weird kind of places that makes Austin such a great place. Even though it had to be 20 degrees outside, patio seating was still available. For the winter, they enclose the patio and have heaters over the seats. It was very comfortable and I'm ALWAYS cold.
I split the shrimp and spinach tubular taco with my mother in-law. If you've never had it, you should! It is absolutely huge and it's enough for two people. The waiter was very thoughtful and since he knew we were splitting, he brought it out already split for us on our own plates with our own rice and beans! We also tried the Mexican Martinis. My father in-law is hooked! I think everyone at our party enjoyed the experience!

LBJ Wildflower Center

Last night we went to the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center to see the luminaries. It was absolutely beautiful. My in-laws have been to the Center before, however I had not. It was interesting to hear their perspective of the changes that have occurred since the last time they were here over 22 years ago. They were telling me that most or all of the buildings were built since they last visited. Back then, when you went in it was just almost untamed wildflowers and it was amazing.

Now they have several buildings and the wildflowers are manicured into garden areas. They had it layed out almost maze like. In the front section they had different examples of how you could set up a garden. It is still amazing. Maybe I can attempt some of this type of gardening once my new house is built.

In the second section there was another building that you could go into. They had several different Christmas trees that were decorated by various organizations. Everyone had the opportunity to vote on their favorite. Surprisingly, my husband took his vote very seriously and tried to talk me into voting with him. However, having my own mind I picked the one I wanted to pick!

Since we were there to see the luminaries, it was obviously night time. The center probably had the untamed beauty that my in-laws talked about, however it was too dark to wander too far back into the center. I will definitely have to return!

Thursday, December 7, 2006

Spider House Coffee

I think that the Spider House is the weirdest coffee place we have been to yet. The Spider House is located very close to the UT campus off of Guadalupe. It is probably an old house with an AWESOME patio. Unfortunately, we were there in the morning and it was too cold for the patio. We decided to sit inside. This place is kind of grungy. I'd have to say it was my least place I've been so far. I was there with good company though, so overall it was a very enjoyable exerience!

I was kind of hungry so I asked if they had a breakfast menu. They said all they had was bagels. I'm not really a bagel fan, so I asked to get something on the lunch menu. No, it was too early for that. So anyway, I opted for the bagel. It really wasn't bad, just not what I wanted.

Their coffee cups are a little smaller than the rest of the places I've been. I may go back here for a beer, but probably won't waste my time there again for coffee.

More Austin Coffee

A couple of weeks ago we tried another new coffee house. We went to a place on Manor Rd. called Clementines. It is a quirky little place with random furniture and artwork. I think it must have been a house that they converted into a business. The coffee was ok, but the people watching made it all worthwhile.

When we got there we saw a guy with a blue shirt, blue jeans and baseball cap. I swear it was Lance Armstrong. Do you think he would come to a seedy neighborhood like this? It turns out that he was running the marathon that day, so it definitely wasn't him!

Then we saw a strange guy on a weird bike. I don't even know how to explain him so I won't even try.

Last and best of all, we watched an older gentleman pull himself onto a U.S. Mailbox. He didn't make it up on the first try. He makes it on the second try after making some interesting straining faces. I reached for my camera, but just as I get it out, he jumped down as his wife/friend walks up and they went into the coffee shop.

I think I will probably return to this amusing little place.

Wednesday, December 6, 2006

Austin Coffee

I moved to Austin a little under a year ago. So far, it has been an interesting journey. I plan to use this blog to talk about my likes and dislikes.

Being new to Austin, I want to find the best coffee house in the area. Everyone goes to Starbucks...Where is the sport in going there? Austin has lots of fun quirky places to go and have coffee. Even so, I still feel a need to go to Starbucks on occasion.

I started out going to Austin Java on Barton Springs. They have pretty good coffee, just not anything special. They got the Best Of from the Austin Chronicle. The last time I was there, I was on the porch and a mouse was coming out of the fireplace. When the waiter came by, I showed him the mouse and his response was, "Awesome!" I'll give him the fact that we were on a porch, but it was covered!

I made my way to Joe's on Congress. While there are other Joe's, the one on Congress is the most fun because of the interesting people. I had a Turbo coffee drink. It was very sweet, just the way I like my coffee. Joe's is different because it is more of a coffee stand than a coffee house. It is great to get a coffee and then hang out on the street. Plus, you can bring your dog. From what I've seen there is always a line and always busy!

I've also gone to Halcyon. I'm not sure I even spelled that right. It's a quirky place down in the warehouse district. It's pretty good and a fun place to hang out. Their couches are pretty ratty. There wasn't as many people there, but it was just as good as any of the other places.

I'll keep trying new coffee places and update the blog on other things I enjoy!