“What can we do to make you smile today?” Austin Bright Light Design founders, Gerry Gilligan and Jason Balcauski, asked themselves. The answer? Firefly Cloaks. These brightly lit garments bring smiles to faces, curiosity followed by intrigue, chased with a shot of glee. Austin loves its dance floors, festivals, and moments of abandonment. So what makes this local company so special?
Anyone who has a furbaby will agree our pets are among the most wonderful treasures in the world (even if they cause mischief every now and then). But getting them to the vet can be stressful for everyone involved–furry family member and owner. Luckily, there are multiple businesses in the Austin area that offer mobile veterinary services! If you’re looking for a less stressful way to fit in annual or routine appointments, read on to learn about five local mobile veterinarians who provide gentle house calls for you and your pets. [Read more…]
Guest article by Steven Souza
Alex Hopes is living the Austin-American dream. If you’re one of the 138,000 people who follow his Instagram account, ZilkerBark, then you know him as the guy who takes photos of dogs in Austin.
As popular as he’s become in the past few years, the life he has today has only been possible through a lot of hard work. I got to spend an afternoon with Hopes, two of his dogs, and his camera in–where else–Zilker Park.
Here’s a glimpse into how Austin’s most famous dog photographer got to where he is today. [Read more…]
The Hercules of Teas has arrived.
The newest member of CLEAN Cause’s arsenal of delicious drinks is a game-changing sparkling yerba mate with a life-changing mission, the brainchild of a man who triumphed over monstrous obstacles and survived a trip to the underworld. [Read more…]
For a child, music education can make all the difference in the world. Not only can the experience improve academic performance, but it’s also known to build self-esteem. Music therapy can even help children who have experienced trauma or abuse. For all of these reasons, Care2Rock, a social enterprise business born in Austin, is providing access to music lessons and mentorship for children in foster care.
Kids in foster care often don’t have access to music, but Care2Rock is working to change this. Care2Rock allows anyone, nationwide, to take online music lessons. When you purchase a music lesson, you are providing a child in foster care at least one year of mentorship and music education. With over 400,000 children in foster care across the United States, Care2Rock stands to make a huge impact.
Guest article by Janet Lee
Online shopping has become normal in this ever-growing digital age. It’s usually corporate businesses that drive products through digital marketplaces, attracting consumers through convenience. But where is our money going when we make purchases from large companies? This was the problematic question Thad Beversdorf dissected and acted upon. He’s the CEO of Spendindie, an online marketplace founded and based in Austin that exclusively supports independent businesses.
Launched during the 2018 SXSW Festival, where Spendindie was the presenting sponsor of SXSW Marketplace, the Austin business not only provides a convenient way to shop local, but opportunities to get paid to promote and discover local products.
With a mission to “create a convenient and engaging way for people to make more conscious spending choices,” Spendindie wants to change the way people spend, ultimately fueling a stronger community and economy. [Read more…]
When I first got into makeup, I experimented with some of the now cringe-worthy trends of the early 2000s. Fast forward to today, and I’ve managed to fill my bathroom cabinets with more makeup than any one person could actually need. And while my skills aren’t Instagram-worthy just yet, I can appreciate finding a new beauty line as much as the next beauty junkie. So when I stumbled upon an Austin makeup brand last year, it got me thinking. What other Austin makeup brands are out there?
Guest article by C. Cimmone
Here in Central Texas, we never really put away what little winter-wear we own. But we do burst out the door at spring’s first light and sigh, “Ahhhh…” Flowers are blooming in the Texas sun; mulch needs refreshing after winter freezes; and pesky weeds need pulling between sips of iced tea.
In between all of that hard work, I urge you to make a day trip out of visiting Austin’s best, local nurseries, which not only provide beautiful additions to your landscape, but may actually do the landscaping for you!
Here are my top three Austin nurseries, all locally-grown, just for you.
1/ The Great Outdoors
The Great Outdoors may be my favorite spot in Austin; and that opinion is widespread. I spoke to a family of four who admitted they’d visited the nursery the weekend prior to gather soil additives and rose bushes, sans kids. They were so impressed, they decided to bring their children the very next weekend. Yes, a kid-friendly nursery.
This local business has paths and curious walkways, shaded by the grand oaks of the property. It also has a talking parrot that asks, “What up?” when you enter the gift shop. Add kid-friendly restrooms conveniently located in the center of the nursery, and interesting, animal-shaped pottery, perfect for anyone ages one to one-hundred.
And don’t forget the larger-than-life wind chimes, burlap elephant, and ponytail palm. The list of mind-blowing horticultural anomalies goes on and on because these guys know how to grow just about anything.
If you’re going to this nursery strictly for business, the knowledgeable staff is friendly and willing to help you with any task or inquiry, as soon as you step foot onto the property. No need to search for assistance. These guys and gals are swarming the nursery, ready to give you an escort to the Talavera pottery, squirrel-proof bird feeders, water features, succulent room, organic soils, or compost bins.
As I turned every corner, I was simply amazed. This place has it all. It even has complimentary tape measures to ensure you are populating your garden with accuracy!
Tired from all of that decision-making and excitement? Head over to Sage Cafe and enjoy a locally-made Buddha’s Brew kombucha, specialty tea, or homemade blueberry muffin. I stopped in after my adventure and was greeted by a grinning duo–Gregg and Dillon–who stated the best part of The Great Outdoors is the people.
These guys truly enjoy what they do, and assured me the nursery’s staff and customers make coming to work feel like a dream. As Elton John’s “Your Song” softly echoed throughout the nursery, I gave a final wave to Gregg, Dillon, and the nursery herself. My soul was nurtured; the winter clouds were invisible; and I immediately called my father, “The next time you come to Austin, you have GOT to come here.”
2730 S. Congress Ave. – Website
2/ Frond Plant Shop
I stumbled upon Front Plant Shop accidentally. On my way to meet a friend at Bouldin Creek Cafe on South First, I googled “nurseries” and was surprised to find a cozy plant shop nestled between The Soup Peddler and Sugar Mama’s Bakeshop. All of the reviews online boasted about the plant shop’s “great vibe” and “good smells.”
The reviews hit this place right on the head. Owner Sara Cecili Garza-Barnes opened this boutique nursery after growing up in Texas Hill Country. Rooted in art and carrying a passion for fronds, she certainly has created great vibes, an eclectic selection of ferns, ivies, and palms, and, you guessed it–“good smells.”
Frond Plant Shop is more like a museum than a typical flower nursery. Handmade pottery, burning candles, and a perfect display of plants, woods and metals, twine and home décor–including paintings by the owner’s father–are stylish and elegant.
With so many items to choose from, I had extreme difficulty controlling my budget in this shop. And after the shopping was over, I hated to leave. This shop is not only a ‘shop,’ but an experience. So while you wait for Bouldin to open up a free table, pop into Frond Plant Shop for some aromatherapy, good vibes, and breathtaking arrangements of greenery.
P.S. Find something you like, but don’t want to tote it? Frond offers free shipping on all orders.
507-A W. Mary St. – Website
➡ Keep reading: Best Places in Austin to Outfit Your Fall Garden
3/ Countryside Landscape and Garden Center
Not big on downtown parking? Head over to northwest Austin to meet an A to Z nursery. Countryside Landscape and Garden Center not only offers plants and soil, but landscape design and installation, lawn maintenance, plus irrigation repair and installation. The business has also teamed up with Pond Springs Custom Pools to offer pool design and installation.
A large nursery barn is filled with beautiful pottery, houseplant soil sold by the “scoop,” shabby-chic displays, and licensed professionals to answer all of your tilling, planting, and fertilizing questions.
I asked nursery manager, Molly Pikarsky, TMCNP, what sets Countryside apart from other Austin nurseries. As she carried my stunning Scarlet Storm Quince to the barn, she explained the organic relevance their team places on product selection. Looking over her shoulder, she reminded me of the vast assortment of trees, available for both commercial and residential purchase, and qualified for home delivery and planting. I had to admit the tree selection was the largest I had seen, and I even considered pushing that budget a wee bit further to take advantage of what the nursery had to offer.
Pikarsky wasn’t the only Countryside partner full of great insight and customer service. Every employee I interacted with went above and beyond to offer assistance and information regarding my selections. I even had my dirty pots loaded into my car by a smiling man with a sparkling passion for trees, annuals, and everything in between.
13292 Pond Springs Road – Website
Whether you want to catch good vibes or really get your hands dirty, any one of these locally grown and owned Austin nurseries are an excellent choice. Rain or shine, you are guaranteed to have an experience worthy of a long call to a garden-loving friend or family member.
Snap some pics; buy some ladybugs; have a cup of tea; and breathe it all in. It’s springtime in Austin, Texas, and there’s no better way to ring in the new season than a trip to the nursery.
@theAustinot wants to know:
What is your favorite Austin nursery for spring gardening?
C. Cimmone is an author and editor of multiple publications. Please visit ccimmone.com to read more about her work.
We always have unique content on the Austinot, and we love to give things away. You know, like CDs, event tickets and other cool stuff. We only send out our Best of the Austinot newsletter two times/month. It’s where we give you a recap of our best articles and give stuff away. Interested? Subscribe to Best of the Austinot here!
I have a special appreciation for local businesses that go out of their way to erect sculptural somethings to entice me. This includes eight-foot-tall gorillas. And 10-foot-long, fully-loaded sandwiches. And hippie church gospel taco queens, like Maria.
Here are 11 local business sculptures keeping Austin weird. [Read more…]
For busy women, online shopping is a method of survival. Between work, side hustles, and maintaining some semblance of a social life, there’s no room for browsing racks and trying on clothes at a store. Parcel22 takes online shopping a step further, through its clothing subscription service that allow you to switch up your closet while reducing textile waste in landfills. [Read more…]