Round Rock Express Hit Off 15th Season of Baseball

Round Rock Express Field

America’s favorite pastime lends simple beauty to the Texas sky (Photo credit: Cris Mueller)

The flood of lights spotlight the pristine manicure of the outfield. The chatty man behind home plate calls out to each movement of the men standing before him, while they master their familiar navigation from one base to the next.

Among the stands, the night air is busy greeting the comforting conversations of fans as they’re welcomed back for another season. Although it looks and sounds very much the same each year, a true fan does not miss this, the opening day. Our very own Round Rock Express took the bases at the Dell Diamond, located at 3400 E Palm Valley Blvd. in Round Rock, for their 15th season opener on April 4, 2014.

2014 Round Rock Express Team

The 2014 Round Rock Express (Photo credit: Chuck Murphy – Chuck Murphy Photography)

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Walton’s Fancy and Staple Refreshes with Food and Flowers on West 6th

Many don’t know it, but Walton’s Fancy and Staple has been around the Austin area in some form or fashion for 45 years now. It began in 1969 with a focus purely on flowers and plants, as Walton’s Florist and Nursery in the neighboring city of West Lake Hills.

Walton's Fancy and Staple on West Sixth Street

Walton’s Fancy and Staple at 609 West Sixth Street

In 2009, the owners of Bess Bistro (hi, Sandy!) moved the business across the street from them on West Sixth Street, and renamed it Walton’s Fancy and Staple. They kept the floral aspect of the company intact, while adding an expert team of bakers and a top-notch delicatessen. [Read more...]

Lemonade Day Austin Mixes Business Skills and Fun

Mikaila Ulmer Lemonade Day Austin

Mikaila Ulmer turned her experiences at Lemonade Day into a distribution deal with Whole Foods Market (Photo credit: Austin.LemonadeDay.org)

Several months ago, I was journeying with my fiancé on my neighborhood’s hike and bike trails. The trails led us to our neighborhood duck pond, where we came across a young girl selling cups of lemonade with the help of her mom. The day was warm and it looked like business was good for her. I had my druthers about the quality of the product, but I bought three cups anyway. It was good lemonade.

Selling lemonade in America is the quintessential introduction into the world of entrepreneurship for young children. Our city, always willing to support and encourage creativity, is taking lemonade stands to a whole new level through Lemonade Day Austin.

Who Has the Best Lemonade?

Austin’s Best Tasting Lemonade Competition is a lemonade brewing competition showcasing 25 young lemonadistas (new word), ages 5-17. The young group of Michael Dells and Steve Jobses will compete in categories like Most Creative Recipe, Best

[Read more...]

Old, Quirky Treasures Fill the Shelves at Austin’s Uncommon Objects

Are you looking for some alabaster eagle bookends? How about a meat puzzle or some vintage typography? Whatever tickles your fancy, you’ll most likely be able to find something of interest at Uncommon Objects.

Meat Puzzle at Uncommon Objects Austin

Meat puzzle at Uncommon Objects in Austin

It’s best to go without a particular item in mind and see where you end up. The shop offers you a chance to step into the past and explore with as much depth as you please. With over twenty dedicated vendors working together to create a one-of-a-kind medley of items, there’s no telling what you’ll stumble upon. [Read more...]

Austin B-cycle Brings Bikesharing to Austin

B-Cycle by La Bqrbecue in Austin

Ideal location for B-cycle, across from la Barbecue. Bike in, BBQ out.

Ah, springtime in Austin. It’s a magical time of year. Lady Bird Lake is overflowing with all manner of water craft, bar and restaurant patios all around the city have a one-hour wait, and bikes reclaim their status as a viable form of transport around town.

About five weeks later, the brutal heat starts smoldering our fair city, but what a glorious five weeks! The Austinot has written several articles on how to beat the heat, and even a few others on how to get around town. But this spring and summer, Austinites will have another option to add to the list. In characteristic Austin fashion, it’s a thinking “outside the box” kind of approach.

Want to get around town quickly and cheaply, but don’t own a bike? No problem! Austin’s new B-cycle program, part of a nationwide network spread around over 20 cities, quietly launched late last year. They have just completed their initial 40 station roll-out and are more than ready for the inevitable onslaught of new riders. [Read more...]

SXSW Cares: Fighting Tragedy With Charity

James Moody Mohawk Club Owner in Austin

James Moody, Mohawk Club owner, helped set up SXSW Cares (Photo credit: AustinChronicle.com)

When I think of our city, I tend to look at it as a person transitioning from childhood to adulthood. It’s called puberty, folks. Austin is still transitioning from a small college city to a bustling metropolis. And as our city grows, we will experience hardships and trying times. How we react to these situations will define Austin’s character.

On Thursday March 14, 2014, a man was stopped downtown for an alleged DWI. The situation escalated rapidly as he chose to run from authorities. The chase ended at the Mohawk Club on 10th and Red River, as drove through a crowd of people waiting to get into a SXSW event. He was eventually apprehended by APD. The immediate result of the mayhem was two dead and 23 wounded. Since the occurrence, two more victims have passed away. Rashad Charjaun Owens is now facing capital murder and aggravated assault charges, and more may be added since not all of the victims are out of the hospital.

The incident sparked a debate about our city. It’s almost like hearing parents talk about their adolescent child. “The city is too drunk,” some say. “It’s not the people’s fault; it’s a lack of effective mass transit,” others reply. Still others place blame on SXSW, the police, and a plethora of other targets.

Regardless, of the reason(s) why things went down as they did, the fact remains that, as of this writing, four people are dead and others are still in the hospital. In sobering instances like this, Austin’s people show their true character. And in this case, our city shines. [Read more...]

Just Friends or Something More, Best Places to Relax in Gruene, TX

Gruene, TX

Gruene, TX is an excellent day trip from Austin and less than an hour away

Gruene, Texas… you can’t get lost, but you can vanish for a few hours. It makes for one of the best day dates and is located only about an hour from Austin.

Make a lasting impression with your weekend sweetheart by taking the short drive and checking in on a few of the following digs:

Fickle Pickles

Fickle Pickles in Gruene, TX

Fickle Pickles in Gruene, TX

Feel like kickin’ the day off with a sweet little spice? Try out Fickle Pickles. Tucked behind a vine-filled trellis, you will discover a family-owned jewel that offers a proper Texas welcome. After more than a quarter of a century of pickling, Fickle Pickles product is now produced in their kitchen located in Boerne, TX.

Well settled into written fame, the late Billie A. Shaw, who was fondly referred to as “The Pickle Lady,” began jarring these savory, crunchy gems and quickly made a big name for her family recipe. Still using one single and successful family recipe, Fickle Pickles has swooned the pages of Southern Living, Texas Monthly and has even graced the stage at a live episode of The Martha Stewart Show. [Read more...]

Austin Business Brings Extravagant Vegas-Style Entertainment to Austin

Texas Poker Supply Casino Tables in Austin

Texas Poker Supply offers casino tables and staff for Austin-area parties and events

Austin is no stranger to jaw-dropping events. From the ever-evolving South by Southwest parties – equipped with celebrity artists, out of this world design and unforgettable performances – to ACL’s two-weekend spread, to the never-ending list of Austin-based festivals. We all know Austin is home to great events, where, really, anything goes.

With the help of local business, Texas Poker Supply, Vegas too has found its way to Austin. Custom-built casino tables, casino-style games, trained dealers, showgirls, fire-eaters and a girl on stilts are only a slice of what Texas Poker Supply offers. Always Keepin’ Austin Weird, right? [Read more...]

Austin Helicopter Tours: Fresh Perspective Without the Traffic

Bell Long Ranger Helicopter in Austin

Austin Helicopter Tours pilot Justin Little stands in front of the Bell Long Ranger (Photo credit: David Thomas)

With over 138 people moving to our fair city every day, a guy has to wonder, what’s the best way to see our city and the surrounding area? Surely being jammed between a diesel 4×4 truck and a Prius isn’t the most desirable option. Have no fear, loyal reader, Austin has helicopter tours.

How It Began

In June 2012, Randy and Stacy Riggs expanded their San Antonio-based Alamo Helicopter Tours to Austin and opened Austin Helicopter Tours. Randy and Stacy are old hands in the helicopter business – Randy has 42 years of helicopter flying experience. Their current team consists of seven pilots who are FAA certified in a variety of helicopter designs.

I had the privilege to speak to Justin Little, one of the pilots for Austin Helicopter Tours. A little over five years ago, Justin wanted to learn how to fly a helicopter (it’s taking everything in my power to not call them choppers). Three months into the self-paced course, he earned his private pilot’s license. A year and a half later, he walked away an instrument-rated commercial pilot, and a certified flight instructor.

Helping People Experience Flight

Justin gave me a nice nickel tour of the Austin Helicopter Tours facilities. There are several helicopters for different purposes. Their largest is a Bell Long Ranger. This helicopter, built by the company who produced the famous UH-1 “Huey” helicopter, is capable of seating seven people and [Read more...]

SpiritCape Fans Unfurl Their Patriotism in Austin and Worldwide

SpiritCape Invented in Austin, TX

SpiritCape, an idea conceived in Austin, TX

This guest blog article is by Daja Gegen.

For Thomas Marriott and Will Kelleher, co-founders of SpiritCape, there are two rules: always be caping and always be hustling. For a couple guys who just smashed their Kickstarter goal by 55%, took a crew of ambassadors to the Winter X-Games where their capes were rocked around Aspen, and have a ton of product options in the pipeline (not to mention almost 300 new orders to fill), these two rules could be one in the same. But “caping,” a term trademarked by the guys, is more of a lifestyle than a verb. It’s about positive energy, living life fully and “just good vibes.”

“More often than not, it’s the simplest concepts that become the best ideas,” said Marriott, SpiritCape’s CEO. It happened by accident, but he’s now in the business of creating wearable flags that allow “capers” to showcase their allegiance to their school, state (the Texas flag cape is coming soon), or most popularly, The United States of America. “I think Jobs had it right. Creativity is just connecting things.” [Read more...]

Texas Olive Festival Beckons Visitors to Beautiful Day in Hill Country

Texas Hill Country Olive Company

Entrance to Texas Hill Country Olive Company

One of my favorite day trips I’ve taken from Austin was a short 45-minute drive to Texas Hill Country Olive Co. in Dripping Springs. On a gorgeous, sunny Saturday afternoon, I enjoyed wine tasting, delicious cuisine from the bistro, live acoustic music, a tour of the olive orchard and the laid back relaxation we all hope to experience during our days off.

If you’ve never paid a visit to Texas Hill Country Olive Co., you’re in for a treat on April 5, 2014, when the Texas Olive Festival returns. In its second year, the 12-7 PM festival is perfect for dates, girls’ day out, families, and lone explorers. [Read more...]

Vintage Ware: Austin Business Creating History on Your Wrist

Edgar Diaz Founder Vintage Ware

Edgar Diaz, Founder of Vintage Ware

This guest blog article is by Kendra Wright.

One of the magnetic things about Austin is the wealth of creatives who call our city home. Edgar Diaz, seasoned local artist in metal sculpture and found objects, has had an Austin address for nearly a decade. Like many of the other brilliant visionaries migrating here, he stuffed his suitcase with jaw-dropping talent and a desire to innovate.

Diaz’s newest adventure in art and business, Vintage Ware, was born from his interest in showcasing discoveries found while combing through antique markets. His line of cuffs incorporates breathing parts of history, with relics ranging from World War II trench art, to military badges, to Victorian Era shoe buckles.

Paired with every purchase is the story behind the cuff, a trail of its travels through history to your wrist. [Read more...]

Pure Austin Fitness Launches Rail Training Option at 410 Speed Shop

410 Speed Shop Rail Training

The new 410 Speed Shop at 410 Pressler Street

This guest blog article is by Michal Ann Morrison.

Pure Austin Fitness has been a leading figure in the Austin fitness industry since 1999. Their most recent contribution to keeping Austin athletes and fitness junkies at the top of their game is Rail Training, a fitness program that focuses on sports performance-inspired training.

You’ll find Rail Training at 410 Speed Shop, new home to Pure Austin and Rogue Running.

Rail Training is unique in that it combines the concepts of a personal trainer and a group fitness class. Walking into the refurbished auto shop, you get the attention of a personal trainer without the heavy financial cost, with the monthly membership costing less than two average personal training sessions. [Read more...]

Toy Joy for Sale: Open Letter from the Owners About the Past 7 Years

Lizzy Newsome and Trevor Yopp, Toy Joy Owners

Lizzy Newsome and Trevor Yopp, Toy Joy owners

We’ve been the owners of Toy Joy for the past 5 years, and the management team for the past 7. A lot has happened, and we’ve been asked to share our story. No names, just an account of our
experiences.

There is a TL;DR at the bottom for you lazy lurkers. I know this is a long read.

My husband and I started working at Toy Joy in 2006. My first holiday season, I worked 55 hours a week. We LOVED it. The colors, the excited customers, the smell of plastic. We started at $7.50 an hour, but we didn’t care. And we were good at it. Within 1 year, we had both been promoted up to store managers, and learned a lot of amazing things about my favorite store. I was selecting the toys to put in the store, and building displays, and making the signs. Some things were odd – the owners only showed up every month or so – but it was our first experience working at a small business right out of college. We were happy being a part of Toy Joy.

Becoming Owners

Toy Joy Austin Interior

Toy Joy on 29th Street – interior

In 2007, the owners approached us with the suggestion that we purchase the store. We were shocked, and concerned. We couldn’t imagine our beloved store going away. We wanted it to be there forever, an icon to wonderfully weird Austin. My husband talked me into considering it. That was all it took. Once you start putting work into getting an SBA loan, you don’t want to give up. Our families saw that we were good at our jobs and supported us. We had no idea what we were getting them into. [Read more...]

How to Do SXSW Like a Local

SXSW

Photo credit: nickmickolas via Flickr CC)

This guest blog article is by Jessica Pino.

If this is your first SX, don’t stress! This time of year, cases of FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) are on the rise.

Let’s start your education now. You must first get the lingo down…it’s just “South by” (SX).  If you hear someone uttering all four syllables, South by Southwest, you’ll know they are one of the 30,000+ out-of-town-ers.

Most locals don’t have the pleasure of directly participating in the conference, but we do like to take advantage of the byproducts this massive 27 year old conference produces. The music portion of SX is what typically gets the most attention, and for a good reason. With over 1,700+ performances over a 10-day span, there is something for everyone. [Read more...]