Weekend Recharge

Real Estate and Lifestyle

Each Friday, about half way through the day I begin to feel this sense of excitement, a flutter of riveting anticipation: What will this glorious weekend in Austin behold?

With an Austin bucket list a mile long, the possibilities are always seemingly endless with new restaurants to try, different trails to hike, more natural beauty to be observed… the list goes on forever.

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East Side Show Room :: January 2016

Unlike most other weekends, I went into the last with no solid plans other than to show several homes in Central Austin on Sunday [which is ALWAYS fun! :)]. On the rare occasion that this happens, I am always extremely excited at the thought of exploring the city, discovering new gems and hot spots along the way.

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Zilker Brewing Company :: January 2016

Friday night, somewhat last minute, my friend Kate and I decided to go to dinner to catch up. We ended up at Juliet, a modern twist on classic Italian food, centrally located on Barton Springs Road. The atmosphere was charming and almost magnetic with the buzz of conversation and laughter over creative cocktails and scrumptious bites.

Kate and I visited Italy over the summer together, so our standards for Italian food are considerably high. After debating over what to order, we opted for an olive oil tasting and mixed olives to start followed by their carbonara dish and a pizze, which we shared.

Oh. My. Goodness. Deliciousness! [And plenty of food.] We had a wonderful experience.

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Juliet :: January 2016

Saturday was equally as fantastic. The weather was incredible- sunny and 70’s, and I was determined to spend as much time outside as possible! After playing tennis, a few friends and I decided to put together a small picnic and head to the greenbelt.

We opted for the Campbell’s Hole entrance point off of Spyglass, and ended up staying until after the sunset.

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Campbell’s Hole :: January 2016

There we were, sitting in the city’s center, soaking it all up. The jagged limestone cliffs and the bright blue sky set an ideal backdrop for watching the sun sparkle over the clear rushing waters, revealing ancient histories of time–the slabs of rock worn down and shaped over thousands of years. It was mesmerizing.

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Campbells Hole :: January 2016

I remember sitting there, watching the sunset and thinking, is this real life? Words cannot do it justice, but it really makes you reflect on life’s bigger picture– give more, do more, love more, be thankful.

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Sunset at Campbell’s Hole :: January 2016

Sunday was great too. Showing in Central Austin is always a blast, and the rest of the afternoon was spent preparing for this week.

In Real Estate you spend A LOT of your time on the go, and some weeks you feel like you don’t stop other than to sleep– and then you dream about real estate too! ūüėČ But this morning I woke up feeling completely recharged, feeling thankful for a job in which I get to help people and ever so thankful to be waking up in the amazing city of Austin, Texas.

Until next time,

Hope

 

 

Market Snapshot + Austin Summer Fun

Real Estate and Lifestyle

Despite the constant rain, it  has been an incredibly busy selling season here in Austin. Both April and May set new records for median and average home prices, and the average time on market per home is only two days!

Sculpture Falls via Barton Creek Greenbelt Trail System

Sculpture Falls via Barton Creek Greenbelt Trail System

According to the Austin Board of Realtors’ May housing report, the median price for Austin-area single-family homes increased nine percent year-over-year to $271,000 in May 2015, while average price increased seven percent to $348,201.

While it is an exciting time to be investing in Austin real estate, buyers are facing major frustrations. In many cases, when a house hits the market in your target area and price range, you need to be there that very same day or it is an opportunity lost. And if you like it, you need to be prepared to bid against the other 50 people who like it, too!

Blues on the Green with Jimmie Vaughn :: Summer 2015

Blues on the Green with Jimmie Vaughn :: Summer 2015

With only 25 percent of single family housing options in Central Texas below $200,000, affordability is still a growing problem in our market.

Difficult as it may be, there is a bright side for shoppers in that corner of the market. Local real estate and financial analyst, Mark Sprague, shared a glimmer of excitement for  buyers in that price range in an economic forecast he delivered in April. Sprague explained how buyers under $300k will see the greatest and fastest appreciation of any price point over the next several years, as it will serve as an entry point in our market for first time home buyers and the like.

Campbell's Hole :: June 2015

Campbell’s Hole :: June 2015

In the midst of my crazy real estate driven life, I try take advantage of every opportunity I have to explore and experience my beautiful city. After all, Austin is¬†SO¬†much fun in the summer! Of the minimal sunny days we’ve had, I managed to make it out to Sculpture Falls via the Hill of Life trail entrance one Saturday, and to Campbell’s Hole via Barton Skyway the next.

I love Austin swimming holes!! And with all of this rain, the water is amazing on a warm day. The energy is always vibrant with live music, laughter and a shared sense of appreciation for the natural beauty surrounding us all. I can’t get enough!

If you want to know how to access a particular spot, or if you just have general questions, give me a shout!

xo,

Hope

Spring on the Greenbelt

Lifestyle

Spring is arguably my favorite time of the year in Austin. The weather is phenomenal, the vegetation lush, and the city’s energy is vibrant and alive.

Barton Creek Greenbelt :: Spring 2015

Barton Creek Greenbelt :: Spring 2015

Last Saturday I made a solo trip to the Barton Creek Greenbelt via the Twin Falls trail head. Fully prepared for my adventure with plenty of water, my camera, a journal and some good tunes, my blissful day began.

Barton Creek Greenbelt :: Spring 2015

Barton Creek Greenbelt :: Spring 2015

I arrived at 10:30 AM with no real intention set for the day other than to soak up some sun and to reconnect with nature. The real estate market is in full swing right now, so I am constantly on the go. This was the first Saturday I’d had to myself in quite a while, and I couldn’t think of a better way to spend it– hiking, photographing, journaling, people-watching and soaking up every ounce of energy and light possible.

Barton Creek Greenbelt :: Spring 2015

Barton Creek Greenbelt :: Spring 2015

As the day went on and my phone eventually died, I completely lost track of time, and for once, I was completely ok with that. Eight miles, hundreds of photos, twenty pages in my journal and a slight sunburn later, I made it back to my car around 5:30 PM.

Barton Creek Greenbelt :: Spring 2015

Barton Creek Greenbelt :: Spring 2015

In hopes of best sharing the atmosphere and the energy of the day, here is an excerpt from my journal:

March 28, 2015

Words of influence for the day: happiness, positivity, optimism, hope, give, light & love.

Barton Creek Greenbelt :: Spring 2015

Barton Creek Greenbelt :: Spring 2015

I made a trip to the greenbelt alone today. Its absolutely incredible. the weather is ideal– 70’s, sunshine and not a cloud in this deep blue Texas sky. I’m sitting on the cusp of Sculpture Falls, soaking up the sun, the vibrant energy of other greenbelt patrons, and of course, the natural beauty of this stellar treasure.

Barton Creek Greenbelt :: Spring 2015

Barton Creek Greenbelt :: Spring 2015

Everyone you encounter shares a warm smile, a mutual understanding that out here, we are all disconnected from the daily bustle of the city. In that respect, and in many others, the greenbelt is such a friendly space. Its a natural haven of beauty. Its a place to slow down. To reset. To escape the stress, worries and constant go-factor of every other day.

Barton Creek Greenbelt :: Spring 2015

Barton Creek Greenbelt :: Spring 2015

As I sit listening to the crystal waters rushing over the falls, I too reset. I thank God for the sheer beauty of His creation and for the opportunity to live here, in such an amazing city where I can retreat into nature within a matter of minutes.

Barton Creek Greenbelt :: Spring 2015

Barton Creek Greenbelt :: Spring 2015

Today I ask myself: what can I do to become a better person? What can I do to enrich others’ lives? What can I do to make tomorrow better?

Give thanks. Give hope. Give positivity. Give love.

The feelings brought on by this natural oasis almost bring me to tears. Its an incredible, calming inner-peace.

Barton Creek Greenbelt :: Spring 2015

Barton Creek Greenbelt :: Spring 2015

I feel like I could spend days here– listening, observing, appreciating.

Life is good most days, but today its nothing short of wonderful.

{end excerpt}

Barton Creek Greenbelt :: Spring 2015

Barton Creek Greenbelt :: Spring 2015

If you haven’t hit the trails yet this year Austinites, get out there! And if you’re just visiting or new to the area, I would be happy to give you some direction on where to go. Just give me a shout!

Until next time,

Hope

ATX Love: Rain or Shine + Kindness

Lifestyle

I promise weather won’t be the only topic covered in 2015, but for today’s blog I do have a few comments. As¬†discussed previously, we Austinites love the sunshine and clear blue skies. After just a few rainy days, we can begin to get a bit cranky. I know you Seattleites (namely my sister, Kels) would tell us to quit being a bunch of¬†babies, but hey, who doesn’t love the warm feel of golden sunshine on a crisp chilly day?

The last several days have been rain, shine, rain, shine, rain shine. My friend Stephanie came in for the weekend, but we didn’t let the rain get us down! In fact, Steph, Kate and I went for a drizzly hike on the greenbelt early Saturday morning!

On the greenbelt last Saturday. No joke, this dude ate it right after kayaking over these falls. I did get to send him a few good photos though, and he loved them!

On the greenbelt last Saturday. No joke, this dude ate it right after kayaking over these falls. I did get to send him a few good photos though, and he loved them!

Despite the misty rain, it was a fantastic hike. The drizzle kept many of the regular patrons home, and there was soo much water–more than I’ve even seen on the Twin Falls trail! It was as beautiful and invigorating as ever.

Later that day Steph and I stopped at HEB to grab a few things. As I was coming around with the umbrella, I see that the Jeep Commander next to us has a window down. I say to Steph, “Oh no, look at the window down on that Jeep. That sucks!”

“Do you want to do something really nice for them?” Steph replies.

“Umm yep!! Sure do!”

So, we got some newspaper out of her trunk and put it over their window to keep the rain out. Fast forward. We get back to the car to find this note on the windshield. What a great feeling!

People are awesome!!

People are awesome!!

This morning I woke up thinking, “Great, yet another rainy day!” But if you know me whatsoever, you know I am all about keeping it positive no matter what. I also believe that it is important to begin your morning with positive, happy thoughts in order to set the tone for the day. It may sound cheesy, but believe me people, it works!

Rain-me_pp

Taking rainy day selfies this afternoon!

So how can I put a positive spin on this rain today? Almost immediately I became excited thinking about this adorable umbrella which was a gift from my gracious team leader, Camille. How cute is this?!

Yes, I am a dork who took a photo of their adorable umbrella.

Yes, I am a dork who took a photo of their cuteee umbrella.

As we don’t normally get too much rain down here in Austin, Texas, I don’t get to pull out an umbrella very often! I just love this one though!! And so today, I found another way to be excited about the rain. ūüôā

Nonetheless, here’s to hoping for sunshine tomorrow…

Taken last week from the Townlake trail.

Taken last week from the Townlake trail. 

Until next time,

Hope

Sunshiny Dreams of Austin Treasures in the Happy New Year

Lifestyle

The forecast has been teasing us here in Austin since the end of last week, promising sunny days and warmer temps, but not delivering. This glimmering hope of sunshine and 50 degree temperatures seemed to taunt me as I showed 30+ houses to clients over the course of three days. The good news? Yes, we found them a wonderful new home, and we are officially under contract! The bad news? Its cold and rainy, and we Austinites miss the sunshine! No complaints, but warmth and the typical bright blue skies are intertwined among the reasons we choose to live in Texas, right?

SUNSHINE! This is something Austinites love as our beautiful city has so much to offer in the way of outdoor activities. I could never tire of kayaking/paddle-boarding on Lady Bird Lake while enjoying the downtown skyline, hiking and exploring the many greenbelt trails, diving into our numerous (and spectacular) swimming holes or enjoying an evening on a patio with cold drinks and great friends.

I know, I know, just the thought of it all has me longing for summer already, so I’ll stop! There are still plenty of opportunities to enjoy the great outdoors during the winter months here in Austin, as long as its not raining!

One of this city’s greatest treasures is its expansive greenbelt trail system. Take it from me, your hiking/biking routines don’t have to come to a halt just because the weather is a bit cooler. It is still a fantastic way to get out of the house, get your blood flowing and reconnect with dear old Mother Nature.

Barton Creek Greenbelt, shot in January of 2014.

Barton Creek Greenbelt, taken on one of my winter hikes, shot in January of 2014.

Yes, winter visits offer a completely different experience than summer, but the sights are equally as beautiful. Not to mention, it is absolutely fascinating to be able to experience the exact same place in two very different visual existences.

Time lapse photo I shot on a hike last January at Twin Falls.

Time lapse photo I shot on a hike last January at Twin Falls.

Although protected greenbelts stretch throughout all of Austin and the surrounding Central Texas areas, the Barton Creek Greenbelt serves as a centrally located natural oasis, just minutes from the city’s urban core.

Taken on one of my winter hikes in January of this year from the Twin Falls access point of the Barton Creek Greenbelt.

Taken on one of my winter hikes in January of this year from the Twin Falls access point of the Barton Creek Greenbelt.

See? We really do have the best of both worlds here as Austin boasts a city lifestyle with abounding, convenient opportunities for enjoying the rugged outdoors. So bundle up this weekend and check out the Barton Creek Greenbelt access point map for the trail nearest you.

A few quick tips though… if you are unfamiliar with the trail, either map your hike with GPS or carry a map. Also, be careful during the winter months that the sun doesn’t set while you’re miles into the trail. My dear friend Stephanie and I learned these lessons the hard way!

On one occasion, Steph and I took a wrong turn on the way back and ended up quite a ways from our trail head. The sun started setting FAST, and our phone batteries were dwindling.  We laugh about it now, but at the time, we panicked!  We stopped, checked the GPS map of our hike and realized we were not even close to our trail. In fact, it was about a fifty foot vertical climb up, right above us.

So, panic mode fully engaged, we turn around and start sprinting in the other direction, terrified at the thought of being lost in the cold for the night. Don’t get me wrong, we love the outdoors, but we were by no means prepared to “rough it” all night.

After backtracking about a mile or so, we hear voices up above us.

“Hello?! Can you help us?” we call out from below. ¬†It was pretty much dark at this point, and we were certain they would be the last voices we heard on the trail that day.¬†They called back down to us so we scurried up the hillside, got back on track and to the car before long. Needless to say, we are now more careful, and you should be too! I doubt there are any big bad wolves out there waiting for ya, but do you really want to spend the night lost in the cold?

Anyway, I plan to hit some of my favorite trails as soon as we get some sunshine, and you should too!

And quickly, before I go, here’s a quick look at what you can expect in the blog in the coming weeks! More market updates, my 2015 Austin bucket list, SXSW announcements + tons more on Austin treasures!

Happy living and loving amigos,

H