Travel

Hipster City Travel: Is Denver the Next Austin?

“Denver is Austin five years ago,” we heard from no less than five Denverites during our recent trip.

“There are so many jobs.”

“There is so much construction going on.”

“The traffic is insane!”

“Look at all these condos!”

Sound familiar?

We heard these statements over and over as we talked to friends, acquaintances and complete strangers on the sidewalks of Denver.

At first glance, Denver looks nothing like Austin. Though ATX is home to 200,000 additional citizens, the skyline and downtown streets of Denver feel like that of a bigger city. It isn’t until you dig into the individual neighborhoods that you discover the quirkiness that lies within. The DIY attitude and outdoor spirit are alive and well in the Mile High City. And as a recent NPR story pointed out, Denver is the no. 2 fastest-growing city behind Austin, and much like its counterpart, the foodie scene is booming.

It is in public transportation and walkability where the two cities begin to differ, Continue Reading

Blogging

The Trouble with Lifestyle Blogger Envy

KinfolkPhoto via Kinfolk

Yesterday I read an article that made me want to (awkwardly) fist pump the air.

It’s called The Minimalist Pixie Dream Girl: Who She Is and Why I Hate Her by Chelsea Fagan at The Financial Diet. (I recommend reading this funny and well-written post.)

Fagan writes of the dangers of following “general lifestyle porn” made by the “minimalist pixie dream girl,” a.k.a. that beautiful young woman you see on Instagram or Tumblr with flawless looks, style and decor. You know, the one that makes you feel like an oily-faced, dimply-assed fraction of a woman. In this post, let’s call her Kinfolker.

Fagan says, “She’s the kind of beauty we’d call “effortless,” which can be directly translated to “thin, with good skin, expensive (but minimalist) clothes, and hair that always looks done without ever looking touched.” It’s a lie, created with “no-makeup makeup,” and art direction, and vaseline on cheekbones to give you that dewy, beach-babe look when you are sitting Continue Reading

Austin, Pop Culture, Travel

Ten Free Venues to Check Out During SXSW Music

Big Bend National Park

Big Bend National Park, Texas; 6 1/2-hour drive from Austin (via National Geographic)

Bandelier National Monument

 Bandelier National Monument, New Mexico; 11 1/2-hour drive from Austin (via me)

Enchanted Rock

Enchanted Rock State Natural Area, Texas; 1 1/2-hour drive from Austin (via Texas Parks & Wildlife)

Breaux Bridge, Louisiana

Breaux Bridge, Louisiana; 6-hour drive from Austin via Most Beautiful Pages

Padre Island, Texas

Padre Island National Seashore, Texas; 4-hour drive from Austin (via me)

Chiricahua National Monument

Chiricahua National Monument, Arizona; 12 1/2-hour drive from Austin (via Geoff)

Saguaro National Monument

Saguaro Nation Park, Arizona; 13-hour drive from Austin (via Geoff)

Monahans sand dunes

Monahans Sandhills Sate Park, Texas; 6-hour drive from Austin (via Texas Parks & Wildlife)

Caddo Lake

Caddo Lake State Park, Texas; 5 1/2-hour drive from Austin (via Texas Parks & Wildlife)

Sabine Nation Wildlife Refuge

Sabine National Wildlife Refuge, Louisiana; 4-hour drive from Austin (via U.S. Fish & Wildlife) 

Film, Pop Culture

Why independent films are so important

Sara Colangelo, writer & director of Little Accidents. @sundanceinstitute @austinfilm #filmforward

Sara Colangelo, writer & director of Little Accidents.

Last week, I had the pleasure of briefly working with Sundance Film Forward as they screened two of their festival films, Little Accidents and Imperial Dreams, in Austin (with additional screenings in San Marcos and San Antonio).

Film Forward, in partnership with the President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities, the Institute of Museum and Library Sciences, the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities, brings socially relevant, independent films, along with their respective filmmakers, to communities across the globe. Screenings have taken place everywhere from Californian border towns to Kenyan refugee camps, and they are always free and open to the public.

Watching this year’s selected films- Imperial Dreams, Malik Vitthal’s depiction of an ex-con in South Central trying to make a better life Continue Reading

Travel

The Beauty & Destruction of the Texas Gulf

Life is interesting.

Sometimes it takes you to the Texas Gulf, on a shrimp boat captained by a man named Mauricio. On that boat is a beautiful woman doing aerial silks. While you watch her, your boyfriend is dressed as a sea captain and is aiming a fake firearm at a fictional person. Two friends are simultaneously filming these scenarios. You and Mauricio stand there staring at all of it; you try to speak with him in your newly learnt Spanish, but he laughs and corrects you. You discover through the beautiful girl, who is filming a crowdsourcing video for her festival to heal the bay you are sailing in, that the water around you is polluted by the plastic and aluminum factories she points to in the distance. All the sea life around you is toxic, and the beautiful woman plans on reducing the mercury levels in the bay by planting oyster mushrooms.

Sometimes life is interesting, and you’re in appreciation of it all.

Oyster men. #TexasGulf

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Yesterday I met Amanda, an environmental activist putting together an event to help clean Lavaca Bay in the #TexasGulf (it's polluted from the local factories). Here she is doing aerial silks on a shrimp boat as part of a a video for the event's crowd sourcing campaign. She's a beautiful soul doing beautiful things. http://www.rockethub.com/projects/52068-wiv-luv-water-fest-with-the-texas-oystermen #savethebay #savetheplanet

Yes, that is a beautiful woman doing aerial silks on a moving shrimp boat. #TexasGulf #yoga #lifeisinteresting

Today my boyfriend is pretending to catch shrimp on a shrimp boat. He knows how to keep the magic alive. #indiefilm

Bye bye, #TexasGulf. #sunset

The director through the director's viewfinder. #indiefilm

Cafe Du Monde
Austin, Hipstercrite Life

“Excuse me, are you Jewish?”

Sometimes I’m that person who loves going to Whole Foods on Sunday morning, New York Times in tow. I feel as though I should apologize for it, or at least make fun of myself for it, but in truth, I look forward to this time to people watch, eat well, read or strike up a conversation.

Today I sat next to man who was also reading the paper. We got chatting about newspapers- “Did you see that they revamped the New York Times Magazine?”- and about three exchanges in he asked, “Are you Jewish?”

I laughed and nodded my head yes.

“So am I. I can tell,” he said.

I quickly added that I’m non-practicing, but that I’ve been interested in exploring the culture. My culture.

“Don’t worry- most Jews are that way,” he pointed out.

“My family is from Eastern Europe. My Grandmother was raised in an Orthodox Jewish household, and I think it scared her,” I explained. “My grandma raised my mom without religion and so on. My mom and I would like to reconnect with our roots.” This is something I’ve been Continue Reading

Austin, Film, Pop Culture

Sundance is coming to Austin with free, public screenings

Sundance Film Forward Texas screening

 

Since its inception, Sundance has worked diligently to showcase thought-provoking films from up-and-coming talent. This mission was amplified in 2011 by the creation of Sundance Film Forward, a touring program of the Institute’s most culturally relevant films. Each year, Film Forward brings eight films and their respective filmmakers to communities across the globe, offering free screenings and workshops and fostering dialogue around the societal issues the selected films present.

This coming Monday and Tuesday, February 23rd and 24th, Film Forward will be in Austin screening two features: Imperial Dreams and Little Accidents. Imperial Dreams, the Sundance 2015 audience award winner written and directed by Malik Vitthal, demonstrates in gritty detail the daily challenges, big and small, that ex-convicts, particularly people of color, face after leaving prison. In Sara Colangelo’s Little Accidents, the first-time filmmaker tenderly imagines the gamut of emotions one small Appalachian Continue Reading

Austin

GIVEAWAY: VIP Tix to One by One Texas

One by One TX

This weekend, my friends over at Citygram are co-presenting One by One Texas, a three-day event showcasing the best in Instagram photography, food and drinks from Austin’s hottest upcoming restaurants and a delightful BBQ smorgasbord.

And Citygram, the very fine ladies and gentlemen that they are, would like you and a friend or lover to be their Very Important Persons.

What do you get with VIP status?

You and your bff/lover will get:
-Tix to the preview party this Friday 7-10PM where you can try food from Italic, Wu-Chow, Juniper and Bribery Bakery, and drinks from The Esquire Tavern, The Brooklynite, Italic and Juniper.
-Live screenprinting and free shirts from Kong Screenprinting.
-Early access to the photo gallery.
-BBQ lunch this Saturday 12-5 courtesy of Black’s BBQ, Micklethwait Craft Meats, Freedmen’s and Valentina’s Tex-Mex BBQ.
-There’s also an ass-load of cocktails, panel discussions, local vendors, music and all the wonderful stuff that makes Austin, Austin.

For Continue Reading

Film, Pop Culture

Help Bring What We Do in the Shadows to ‘Merica!

Last year, I saw one of the funniest movies ever.

I’m often full of hyperboles, but I’m not shitting you here.

It’s called What We Do in the Shadows and stars the film’s writers and directors, New Zealanders Taika Waititi and Jemaine Clement.

I watched the film at SXSW 2014 (it initially premiered at Sundance 2014), and I nearly crapped myself. From laughter. Not the free SXSW tacos.

Imagine This is Spinal Tap but with lovable vampires from New Zealand.

Are you imagining it?

Now imagine yourself riding a horse bareback with Fabio.

For the past 11 months, I’ve anxiously awaited the US release of What We Do in the Shadows. I even tweeted at the film’s official Twitter account, @deliciousnecks, hoping for some answers. I was told that a release would come very soon.

So, that brings me today.I was tooling around Kickstarter and was surprised to discover a campaign posted by Jemaine Clement asking for funds to do a US release for What We Do in the Shadows.

I Continue Reading

Blogging, Hipstercrite Life

Guys, I have a new site.

…And I bought a Jeff Goldblum mug this weekend, so I’m pretty happy right now.

So, what do you think of the new design?

Laurel over at Recspec is the magic woman behind it.

Just check out her other work and see the magic.

She was an absolute pleasure to work with, and she created exactly what I was looking for.

She does web design and graphic design for individuals and businesses; if you’re thinking of a sweet rebrand, definitely check her out.

Oh, and look at this picture of a bear falling (and being caught) out of a tree.

tranquilized-bear