Austin Faves: Top 25 Countdown

Real Estate and Lifestyle, Uncategorized

There are so many wonderful aspects of life here in Austin directly related to the city itself, its beauty and its culture. Many of us wake up each day feeling lucky just to have the opportunity to live in such a dynamic place, where it seems there is quite literally something for everyone.

And so, in an honest attempt to get back to regularly blogging, I’ve been inspired to share a countdown of my absolute favorite things about living in Austin.

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Live music at Tellers last Saturday :: April 2016

# 25 :: The Weird Factor

While the weird factor clearly goes hand in hand with the city’s  “Keep Austin Weird” slogan, the idea encompasses much more than non-Austinites realize. The weird factor epitomizes the thoughts that you literally never know what you may come across/see (even on the streets of downtown), what events/opportunities may present themselves and/or what you may find yourself doing on any given day (in the best way possible and with an open mind of course).

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Late night brats on Sixth Street anyone? :: April 2016

From dudes in thongs riding bicycles downtown, to mini-festivals year round celebrating everything from brass instruments to Old Pecan Street; from a perennially Christmas-themed bar to the Cathedral of Junk and the actual Museum of the Weird; the general laissez faire attitude of the residents constructs an open platform of creativity with endless possibilities.

Last weekend was one of those weekends for me. After strolling downtown on Saturday evening, admiring the Capitol views, running across animated characters such as the two in the bratwurst cart above, popping in one place for some live music, then into another for a fantastic light dinner, Sunday was wide open.

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Last Saturday’s dinner at Parkside :: April 2016

I’d seen mention of the Honk! Festival some place or other, looked it up and decided to check it out. It was even more amazingly weird than I could have ever imagined!

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Honk! Festival 2016 at Pan Am Park :: April 2016

According to its website: “HONK!TX is a nonprofit, community-driven festival that brings street and brass bands from around the country to perform for free in the public spaces of Austin, Texas. Mobile and unamplified, HONK! bands transform everyday locations into spontaneous stages, dissolving the line between crowd and performers and inviting everyone to celebrate the joys of music and community.”

While I’ve never considered myself an aficionado of the brass arts, the music was wonderful! And the costumes were out of this world as colorful tutus, striped overalls, wild hats and random leotards constituted the dress code for many of the bands’ participants. It was a great experience, and I look forward to attending this free event again next year! 🙂

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Honk! Fest at Pan Am Park :: April 2016

 Y’all, the entertainment possibilities here in Austin are truly endless, but here’s a nice guide from Do512 if you’re looking to get a little weird this weekend. 🙂
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

Pecan Street Festival Recap + A Fab Austin Boutique

Uncategorized

Festivals abound here in the great city of Austin, Texas! And I try to make it my business to soak up as much of this fun and culture as possible! Last weekend, our infamous Sixth Street (historically known as Old Pecan Street) hosted the annual Pecan Street Festival.

Pecan Street Festival :: 2015

Pecan Street Festival :: 2015

Known as one of the largest and longest-running arts, crafts and music festivals in the nation, the Pecan Street Festival is, essentially, a street fair of sorts with tons of vendors selling specialized products. You can walk the streets, drink in hand, shopping the entire time with live music as the day’s sound track! And guys, no worries. There are goods for you too, and you can grab a beer while you, too, shop the streets.

Pecan Street Festival :: 2015

Pecan Street Festival :: 2015

One of my favorite aspects of this festival is that so much of it is LOCAL— and I am all about supporting local commerce. Handmade jewelry, beautiful watercolors & other artwork, organic soaps, yummy treats and so much more really speak to our dynamic culture and to the collective talent of Austinites.

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Mana Culture’s Booth :: Pecan Street Festival :: 2015

This year, I attended the festival with my beautiful red-headed friend, and inherently the subject of many of my photos, Kaylee. It was a glorious, sunny afternoon in downtown Austin as we browsed the various booths and popped in and out of Easy Tiger for craft beer breaks.

Pecan Street Festival :: 2015

Pecan Street Festival :: 2015

I hate to be partial, because I loved so many of the vendors and their products, but I have to say that the Mana Culture booth won me completely over for the day. Not only was their selection fabulous, but their attentiveness to customer’s likes, wants and needs was refreshing.

Mana Culture :: Pecan Street Festival :: 2015

Mana Culture :: Pecan Street Festival :: 2015

I made a few purchases here– for myself and for others, and I am still ecstatic about my buys!  I purchased two necklaces for myself– and at great prices! Check them out:

My purchases from Mana Culture :: Pecan Street Festival :: 2015

My purchases from Mana Culture :: Pecan Street Festival :: 2015

Mana Culture has a full boutique in a fantastic central location, right off of South First Street, and a second location on East 11th. Ladies, I highly suggest checking them out soon– or check them out online here!

Pecan Street Festival :: 2015

Pecan Street Festival :: 2015

I also bought some amazing organic, locally made soaps and a few other goodies at this historic street festival. My friends, life is good here in Austin, Texas!

Before I let you go, I have a very exciting announcement to make to you all! I’ll give you the back story and details next week, but I have partnered with a local artist for an awesome giveaway for three lucky followers in the next few weeks!! More details to come!

xoxo,

Hope

The Live Music Capital of the World

Lifestyle

I grew up with a very strong appreciation for music, largely thanks to my rockstar Daddyo, a musician himself, who played all the classics for us growing up. From Led Zeppelin, to Bob Dylan, Stevie Ray Vaughn, Rush, Chicago and many more, music was always playing at our house.

My dad, John Teel, while playing at a gig with his band, The Fog.

My dad, John Teel, while playing at a gig with his band, The Fog.

Years before I ever moved to Austin, I knew of its reputation as the Live Music Capital of the World– and having lived here for many years now, I can relay with confidence that it definitely lives up to that reputation. From Austin City Limits to SXSW and everything in between, there are countless great shows here year round.

ACL :: 2013

ACL :: 2013

I’ve been fortunate enough to experience the live music scene in many capacities over the years. From countless shows at Stubbs, Elephant Room, Moody Theater (ACL Live) & other venues, to the festival scenes, to just taking a casual stroll down Sixth Street, you can literally see live music on any given day in Austin. How awesome is that?!

SXSW :: 2014

SXSW :: 2015

Of the countless shows I’ve seen, there is no way to choose a favorite, but the Austin City Limits Music Festival is a one-of-a-kind experience (as is SXSW). You will have to fight the crowds, but it is more worth it! The headliners are always great, but make sure to catch the smaller shows too. I’ve discovered so many great artists that I had no knowledge of prior to ACL, but that are now on my regular playlists. The same goes for SXSW.

Casey Henson & I with MR MS after getting their autographs at ACL :: 2013

Casey Henson & I with MR MS after getting their autographs at ACL :: 2013

The concept of music in and of itself is, simply stated, magical. It can evoke so many different feelings in people. It motivates. It emanates love and peace, among other feelings. It can bring back crystal clear memories of times and places that were seemingly foreign before hearing a certain song or album. It is timeless– in my opinion anyway.

Central Park :: 2013

Central Park :: 2013

While this photo was not taken in Austin, it encompasses so many of my thoughts and feelings today about music. Two summers ago, while strolling through Central Park in NYC, I came across this couple. He was playing guitar, and they were both singing. It way joyful, playful, and a blissful moment even for a bystander like me. It was all about the music.

Live music at Barton Creek Spa :: Spring 2014

Live music at Barton Creek Spa :: Spring 2014

I mentioned this before, but you can see live music in Austin literally any day of the week. If you haven’t planned to see a show in advance, no worries. Just take a quick jaunt down sixth, or check out this great link to find a live show based on district, venue or genre.  Or, feel free to ask me!

Love & Light,

Hope

SXSW Part One: Reflections

Lifestyle

SXSW is quickly approaching, and as I tediously plan for this year’s showcase, I can’t help but reflect over SXSW 2014. Believe it or not, after attending UT for 4-5 years beginning in 2006, last year was my very first SXSW experience! Luckily, my little teacha-friend, Stephanie, was on Spring Break so she was able to join me for the week’s adventures. It was literally a life-changing experience– like a little stay-cation jam packed full of fun, a completely new way of experiencing my beautiful city!

Stephanie and I at the 2014 Cusp by Neiman Marcus party.

Stephanie and I at the 2014 Cusp by Neiman Marcus party.

As I go back through all of the photos, the experience seems almost indescribable– so much music, so much fun and a people-watching paradise! Although there are many great events to attend for the film and interactive sectors too, we focused on music. The best part? We did it all for free

Amazing street performance by a group out of Seattle :: SXSW 2014

Amazing street performance by a group out of Seattle :: SXSW 2014

As the little SXSW virgins that we were, deciding when to go where was very overwhelming! Its not just about which musicians to see, its about where you want to go next, where your friends are, the venue/event lines and of course, the free drinks. And don’t forget about the hundreds of miles you’ll be walking. Even with the help of our good friend Elizabeth’s detailed Excel spreadsheet, organized by venue and broken down by artist, day and time (thanks Lizzy), we found ourselves running around like little chickens.

Steph, Elizabeth and I :: SXSW 2014

Steph, Elizabeth and I :: SXSW 2014

The first show I attended was by the Local Natives at ACL Live Theater, and it was AMAZING! Check out my Instagram video of their set here!

Steph got into town a few days later, and so our adventures truly began. On the first day, we started by just roaming the streets downtown, taking advantage of the free food, free drinks and street performances. One of the best performances we heard while cruising the street was probably American Authors perform Best Day of My Life. It was invigorating, and it really set the tone for the remainder of our SXSW’ing.

With Lil' Waynes Manager :: SXSW 2014

With Lil’ Waynes Manager :: SXSW 2014

Shortly after, we wandered over to Rainey  Street, and ended up at the Cusp Party by Neiman Marcus. We saw several great bands, had some delicious drinks and were pampered with free Bobbi Brown makeovers! Can’t beat that!

Cusp by Neiman Marcus :: SXSW 2014

Cusp by Neiman Marcus :: SXSW 2014

This story still makes me giggle, but later that day, a guy stopped us on Sixth Street.

“You guys want some VIP passes?”

Umm, hell yeah!

All we had to do was dance the robot and yell “we love Doritos” while he videoed us and posted it to our Instagrams. Of course, we did it, and we even got all of our friends into VIP later that weekend!

Our VIP group at the Doritos Stage for Ludacris!

Our VIP group at the Doritos Stage for Ludacris!

Oh, and we had free Doritos for days! Not something we normally eat, but after burning so much energy walking around all day, we were starving. While grubbing on Doritios in the VIP lounge, we actually had a Doritos rep come up to us asking if we would sign waivers for video of us to be used in commercials! No joke.

Doritos VIP Lounge :: SXSW 2014

Doritos VIP Lounge :: SXSW 2014

The next day I had to work– met with new clients, showed 12 homes and wrote an offer! Whew! Fast forward back to SXSW. I made it just in time for the Ludacris show, VIP style. It was a magical night, and we were on such an energy high that we decided to end it with a major dance party at The W.

VIP style for Ludacris :: SXSW 2014

VIP style for Ludacris :: SXSW 2014

Needless to say, I was 100% exhausted on Sunday and still had to hold an open house AND show buyers. Every single second was worth it though, and I can’t wait to do it again this year! A new year, a new plan–> and that my friends, will be SXSW Part Two, coming soon on Hope Lives Austin.

Love & Light,

Hope