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Adventurous Workouts in Austin

Thursday April 26, 2012

With its prime location in the Texas Hill Country, the vibrant city of Austin is perfect if you're hoping to shake up your regular workout routine. For example, take a paddle boarding class on Lady Bird Lake, located right in the downtown area. Or take an incredible hike at Enchanted Rock State Natural Area. Or go mountain biking through the Barton Creek Greenbelt.

No matter what type of physical activity you enjoy, you'll love a trip to Austin. But if you need some workout related inspiration, here's a round-up of a great options. Grab your running shoes, swim suit or mountain bike and hit the trails. There truly is something for everyone.

Delightful Denver

Thursday April 26, 2012

I never knew much about Denver until my brother moved there a little over a year ago. Now, I've visited twice and fall more and more in love with the city each time I visit. From the incredible natural beauty to the outdoor attractions to the amazing shopping and wonderful restaurants, there really is something for everyone.

It's the perfect place for a weekend getaway. Fly in on a Friday evening and head out on Sunday afternoon. You won't see everything, but you'll be surprised by what you can pack into a weekend. Just make sure you take your walking shoes and some cash -- there's so much to see and do that you'll get blisters if you're not careful. I'm betting you'll fall in love with this town just like I have.

Time for Tea

Thursday April 26, 2012

As we were walking down to the lobby at the Brown Palace Hotel in Denver for high tea, I tried to prepare my 3-year-old daughter. "It might be kind of fancy, and there might be some ladies there in big hats. And there might be a piano player."

It was kind of fancy. And there were ladies in big hats. And there was a piano player. And it was wonderful. If you've never been to a high tea before (this was my first experience with one), it's a new experience, from the overwhelmingly long list of teas to the wonderful bites delivered right to your table. For those who haven't tried high tea, here's a primer I wrote.

The Brown Palace has one of the best high teas in the country, so if you get the chance to go, I highly recommend it. Put on your best hat and head on down. It's an experience to remember.

Laugh Attack

Wednesday April 11, 2012

Do you love good comedy? The kind that brings tears to your eyes and makes your belly hurt? Than you're in luck, because the Lone Star State is filled with places to get a laugh. From tried and true comedy clubs to up and coming open mic nights, the diversity of venues here is amazing.

Here's a round-up of some of the great places to go if you're into live drama. There are places that offer everything from commentaries on movies to improv sketches to musical theater. Just be sure you're ready to laugh because laughter is one thing that all of these places offer. Hey, who knows? Maybe you'll even find yourself joining the actors up on the stage. This could be the start of something amazing.

Can You Hear the Music?

Wednesday April 11, 2012

Some of my favorite memories have occurred at live music events. Seeing Bob Dylan on Easter Sunday at the Backyard in Austin. Watching Counting Crows perform to an intimate, sold-out crowd in Chicago. Taking in local band the Handsomes at the Continental Club in Houston. Want to know the only thing better than witnessing a great show? Seeing it for free.

That's why I wrote this round-up of where to go to see live music for free in Austin. After all, as the Live Music Capital of the World, it's only fitting that Austin offer plenty of opportunities to showcase its local talent. From special monthly events to clubs that never charge a cover, you're going to find something that satisfies you -- and you're wallet -- in this bustling city.

Get to Galveston

Monday March 26, 2012

Oh, I love Galveston, Texas. Located about an hour from Houston, Galveston has all of the quintessential things that a beach town must have. Expect lots of sunshine, wonderful attractions, beautiful hotels and long stretches of beach. Oh, another thing I love about Galveston? The shopping.

That's why I wrote this round-up about Galveston shopping. From beachwear to home decor to funky dresses, you can find it all here. Once you come in for the day, you likely won't want to leave. Stroll the popular Strand district, which is also home to great restaurants, hotels and museums, or pop in and out of boutiques and shops along the waterfront.

Just make sure you dedicate a full day or more. You'll want to make sure you can take your time.

Feelin' Hot, Hot, Hot

Monday March 26, 2012

Who doesn't love some good hot sauce and salsa? That burn in your throat, those tears in your eyes. A few years ago, I had the chance to attend the Austin Chronicle Hot Sauce Festival, where you'll encounter every type of salsa and hot sauce you could possibly imagine. From weird flavors to funny names, you'll find it all. The best part? Nearly every booth offers samples.

As I wandered the booths, I was impressed with the variety. It was unlike any other festival I'd ever attended. That's one thing Austin is really good at: offering things you may never find elsewhere.

If you're looking to make some plans this fall, Austin will have a bunch of wonderful festivals. Consider planning a trip to one of the festivals as you discover this fantastic city.

Spring is in the Air

Monday March 26, 2012

Ever wanted to visit Austin? If it's on your to-go list, you might like to know that there are wonderful annual events to attend throughout the year. If you're heading that way this spring, you can do some art appreciating, watch some of the best track and field athletes in the country or even attend a celebration in honor of Eeyore, A.A. Milne's depressed donkey.

Sounds like a good time, right? You can also satisfy your foodie inclinations at the Texas Hill Country Wine & Food Festival, buy some new goods for your home at the Old Pecan Street Spring Arts Festival celebrate the city's beloved bat at the Night of the Bat event.

Go ahead and book a ticket now. You won't regret it.

Food on the Go

Friday March 9, 2012


<p>I'll be the first to admit that I was once skeptical about the whole food truck craze. After all, did I really want to eat my dinner off a paper plate outside an old Airstream in a gravel parking lot?</p>
<p>Nowhere are food trucks more ubiquitous than <a href="http://austin.about.com" zT="1/1UH">Austin</a> (OK, maybe New York City), where you can find everything from crepes to deep-fried avocados served out the window of a small trailer.</p>
<p><img src="http://gi31admin.about.com/cgi/acme/image/image.cgi?ops=---y------------&file=http://0.tqn.com/h/gi31/1/9/2/-/-/-/flip.jpg&size=10" alt="flip happy crepes" /></p>
<p>But rather than shy away from its distinction as a <a href="http://gi31.about.com/od/foodanddrink/tp/The-Best-Food-Trucks-In-Austin.htm" zT="1/1UH">food truck Mecca</a>, Austin has decided to celebrate its counter culture (no pun intended) with an annual Gypsy Picnic, which will bring together more than 40 food trucks on the banks of Auditorium Shores.</p>
<p>Sponsors of the event, which is scheduled for March 24, are promising a huge number of vendors, free admission and live music throughout the day. It seems like a pretty cool deal that's definitely worth a visit.</p>
<em>Kristin Finan photo</em>.

I'll be the first to admit that I was once skeptical about the whole food truck craze. After all, did I really want to eat my dinner off a paper plate outside an old Airstream in a gravel parking lot?

Nowhere are food trucks more ubiquitous than Austin (OK, maybe New York City), where you can find everything from crepes to deep-fried avocados served out the window of a small trailer.

But rather than shy away from its distinction as a food truck Mecca, Austin has decided to celebrate its counter culture (no pun intended). There's even an annual Gypsy Picnic, which brings together more than 40 food trucks on the banks of Auditorium Shores near downtown. Sounds pretty cool, right? Next time you're in town, check it out.


Cool Finds in SoCo

Friday March 9, 2012

This month, thousands upon thousands of visitors will flock to Austin, Texas, thanks to the famous SXSW Festival, which offers bands, films and interactive media experts the perfect time to shine. If you're heading to Austin for the festival, you shouldn't miss out on the opportunity to explore this great city.

One of the coolest places to visit is the South Congress Avenue District, which is filled with wonderful stores, restaurants, bars and much, much more. In fact, there are also a variety of hotels, meaning you can book a room and spend an entire weekend exploring the area.

In the morning, grab a coffee at Jo's, a favorite spot for morning brews and wonderful place for people watching. Then, stroll the strip -- I dare you to make it to the end and back without pulling your wallet out. Wrap up with a wonderful late lunch at one of the many great restaurants. It's a day you're sure to remember.

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