I’ve lived in Austin for seven years, and within those seven years my feelings toward the city have oscillated. I’ve fallen head over heels in love, I’ve been heartbroken over change and I’ve been inspired by a new kind of affection. I fall into one or all of these categories at any single time.
In 2012, I wrote the pro-growth article “Austin is Ch-Ch-Changing: Give up the Hate and Embrace the Non-Natives Who Make Our City Great,” but one year later I questioned Austin’s rapid growth with the article “Austin Changing: Why My Love for Austin is Being Challenged.” Sometimes I felt like a teenager girl, yo-yoing between her emotions. Do I love Austin? Do I hate Austin? How do I feel about this complex and complicated city?
I look back on these articles with both empathy and embarrassment. Look how silly that girl was, thinking she understood Austin! And I know I’ll one day look back on this article with equal sentiment.
It wasn’t until recently, when I was faced with the prospect (more…)
Update 10:45AM 5/19: The GM has written a response to the petition. You can read it here.
This past weekend, I spotted a petition going around from the “Wheatsville Staff Solidarity Collective Austin” asking that the beloved Austin co-op grocery begin paying their employees a livable wage. Employees at Wheatsville currently start at $9/hour, and the petition asks that their pay increase to the City of Austin’s living wage recommendation of $11.38/hour. As a person who has worked in the customer service industries, including clothing retail, tech retail and restaurants, the pay disappointed me but did not surprise me. What did surprise me was this paragraph in the petition: “We, the Wheatsville Staff Solidarity Collective, speak on behalf of all the Wheatsville employees who are routinely overstretched and undersupported by shoddy managerial practices and a corporate mentality that prioritizes sales-to-labor ratios far above employee well-being. There is much work to be done in this (more…)
Are you a fan of storytelling? Do you love The Moth?
Tomorrow night I’m hosting a storytelling event at LIVESTRONG HQ, and I’m super stoked about it.
I had been wanting to put together a night where cancer survivors and non-cancer survivors alike felt empowered to share their stories in front of a receptive audience. With the help of two of my teammates, that wish is now a reality.
The theme is “new kid on the block,” and our guest speakers have ten minutes to share their stories. I can guarantee the night will be filled with a lot of laughs and some tears.
If you’re free tomorrow, stop by 2201 E. 6th St., enjoy food and drinks on us and listen to some kick-butt storytellers.
The event is free and starts at 6:30PM.
Details below and here.
“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!”
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, though (more…)
Big Bend National Park, Texas; 6 1/2-hour drive from Austin (via National Geographic)
Bandelier National Monument, New Mexico; 11 1/2-hour drive from Austin (via me)
Enchanted Rock State Natural Area, Texas; 1 1/2-hour drive from Austin (via Texas Parks & Wildlife)
Breaux Bridge, Louisiana; 6-hour drive from Austin via Most Beautiful Pages
Padre Island National Seashore, Texas; 4-hour drive from Austin (via me)
Chiricahua National Monument, Arizona; 12 1/2-hour drive from Austin (via Geoff)
Saguaro Nation Park, Arizona; 13-hour drive from Austin (via Geoff)
Monahans Sandhills Sate Park, Texas; 6-hour drive from Austin (via Texas Parks & Wildlife)
Caddo Lake State Park, Texas; 5 1/2-hour drive from Austin (via Texas Parks & Wildlife)
Sabine National Wildlife Refuge, Louisiana; 4-hour drive from Austin (via U.S. Fish & Wildlife)
As I reflect back on Austin’s 2014, a mix of happy and sad emotions bubble to the surface. Though it was a fun and exciting year in this snazzy city, Austin had its fair share of heartbreak as well. Austin is feeling the growing pains of being the #1 fastest growing city in America, and sometimes the aftereffect can be challenging for its citizens.
For me, two of the best things that happened in Austin in 2014 were 1.) The move from a citywide to districtwide City Council (though the election is this year, the switch won’t happen until next year) 2.) the Lady Bird Lake boardwalk expansion. Though I sometimes worry that Austin is growing too big, too quickly, these two events have really enhanced the city.
I asked some of my Austin buddies what was the best thing that happened in Austin in 2014, and their answers were pretty universal. Many were excited about the addition of Uber and Lyft, while others were excited by the boardwalk and Google Fiber.
Check out their thoughts below!
So, I didn’t win the Snap Kitchen #21DaysforGood Challenge, but I did learn a lot over the past 21 days. Because of this challenge, I completed volunteer opportunities and physical challenges that I had been too lazy/fearful/forgetful to do. I’m becoming a regular volunteer at the Austin Resource Center for the Homeless, I’m attempting to walk to work at least one day a week and I’ll being signing up for more aerial silk classes at Vamps Dance in the new year. I also learned that low dairy and low gluten makes my belly less poofy.
In the end, everyone won because Snap Kitchen donated $6,000 to charity!
One of the highlights of the challenge was doing an aerial silks class taught by Tolly (from Austin Eavesdropper). Kelly from SXSW was my partner in crime.
(Here is a picture of Tolly from her website, looking all gorgeous!)
Not only was this wildly fun, but it was also liberating! First, you use muscles you forgot you even had (my hands are so weak!!!). Second, it feels kind of sexy. (more…)
Last night, as I parallel parked my car on West 6th Street, between Hut’s Hamburgers and Whole Foods, a tall, older man dressed in black waved his arms at me, implying that I should back my car up.
“A $40 ticket they’ll give you for not being in the lines,” I could hear muffled through my window.
I made sure my car was in the lines and watched as the tall, older man dressed in black cheerfully spoke to the stream of people who walked by.
“Ain’t that a nice sweater you have!” he said to one man who eyed him suspiciously.
I exited my car and walked to the parking meter that stood between the man and I.
I too was suspicious of his jovial nature, and as we made small talk while I tried to purchase a parking sticker for my car with a credit card, I wondered when we’d get to the point he’d ask me for change.
Admitting this makes me cringe, but like most major cities, parking in downtown settings often comes with its share of panhandlers. When I was little, I couldn’t understand (more…)
Friends, I was asked to partake in a really exciting challenge.
Snap Kitchen, an Austin-based health food eatery, selected me as one of the 21 Texas challengers for their 21 Days for Good Challenge.
From November 1st-21st, Snap Kitchen will be providing us healthy breakfast, lunch and dinner as we work towards our personal goals for the month. In addition, the challenger who does the best job chronicling their 21-day journey will receive $3,000 for the charity of their choice. My charity is LIVESTRONG.
Instead of picking one goal, like losing weight or getting more fit, I decided to aim for 21 goals. On each of the 21 days, I will strive to do something good, either for myself or for someone else. I’ve been filling up my calendar with volunteer opportunities such as dinner service at the Austin Resource Center for the Homeless, dog walking at the Austin Animal Center, meal delivery through Meals on Wheels and trash pickup through Keep Austin Beautiful. As for personal goals, I’ll be (more…)
Still need a costume idea?
Well, I gotta list for you.
Check it: all Austin-themed costumes.
I’ve got costumes for people of all races, ages and genders. Some costumes poke fun, while others are meant to honor Austin’s greatest heroes.
Top: Just Keep Livin’ shirt featuring words of wisdom by McConaughey (these babies can be found at Dillards)
Shoes: Flip flops
Accessories: Bongos, sunglasses
Notes: Clothing optional
Top: A Renaissance or “Purple Rain” shirt from the Halloween store
Bottom: Printed pants- the more garish, the better
Shoes: Pointed cowboy boots
Accessories: Buck teeth, necklace of your initials, a rose, smarm
Jeremiah the Innocent (a.k.a. the Hi, How Are You? Frog)
Top: White t-shirt with “Hi, How Are You?” written in scraggily writing
Bottom: White pants
Shoes: Paper mache frog hands and feet
Accessories: Headband affixed with pipe cleaners (more…)