In case you didn’t know….why book addicts love Austin

Half Price BooksHi, I’m Lindsay, and I’m a book addict. You laugh? I’m serious!  Just ask the people who had to move all the book boxes on our recent relocation. And that was after I gave away a lot of books (okay three boxes, but that’s a lot to part with!)

Being a book addict is not easy or cheap. Libraries charge fines (oh, the stories I could tell!) New books are expensive. And even when I have the money, book stores are harder and harder to find, especially in Austin. (All I’ve found are Book People and a few Barnes and Noble stores.)

So within days (hours, maybe?) of moving here I was in my bliss at Half Price Books. But I haven’t written about this discount book nirvana here on the blog because I thought everyone knew about it. I was wrong! In the past two weeks, I have met three people who have been here at least a couple of months but did not know about Half Price Books.

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First of all, they are all over the place in the Austin area. (And in other cities, too, so you can get your fix while traveling,) And they are for the most part exactly what the name implies. A place to buy books for half price or less. And it’s not thrift store stuff. They’re real bookstores, with real sections and real book lovers working inside.

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Want best sellers? Odds are they have them (worth a mention…sometimes they get in new copies of best sellers and offer them at a discount, but not half price.) Need a classic? This is where to head. Computer books, study guides, mysteries, romance? Yup. Want books for your kids? Not only do they have aisles of those, they have a clearance section where your kids can feast on books for a buck or two.

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If you’re a book lover (or are sharing a house with one) and you haven’t been into a Half Price Books, run, do not walk!  Most locations are open until 10 pm, so there’s probably time tonight!

Junking, Gypsies and a good cause

Junk Gypsy Yard Sale I usually try to write about places you can go again and again. But sometimes I have to make an exception.This is one of those one-off events that’s too good to pass up.

On November 15th, Texas’ own Junk Gypsies will be helping out the Round Top-Carmine school with a very special yard sale at Junk Gypsy World Headquarters in Round Top, Texas.

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Not only will Amie and Jolie be there (the Junk Gypsies themselves), fresh off their stardom as co-hosts for the CMA  Awards, the Great American Country network will be on hand to film the event!  If you’re near Round Top, or want to take a drive out there between now and sale day, they’re collecting goodies for the sale at the shop. Think vintage, collectible and of course, glitter and glam!

The Specs

1215 Texas 237
Round Top, TX 78954

(979) 249-5865

Sale starts at 10 am

Junk Gypsy Facebook

BlogathonATX 2014 brings together bloggers, writers, information and fun

Blogathon ATX 2014 swagOnce again, BlogathonATX has offered Texas bloggers an amazing full day conference covering the need-to-know and want-to-know details for blogging better, protecting intellectual property and monetizing our creative work.

Okay, all of that plus a whole lot of sugar, hugs, caffeine, breakfast, laughter,  catching up, lunch….and did I mention sugar and caffeine?

Blogathon ATX 2014

Who goes to Blogathon ATX?

The simple answer is, well, it’s not so simple. This is a conference for for beginners. And pros. It’s for people who are just getting the courage to start that blog they’ve been thinking about for the past two years, and people who are thinking about rebranding an existing site. It’s for people who love to write for the joy of it, and for people who are looking for ways to turn writing a blog into a source of income.

But isn’t Blogathon ATX 2014 over?

Yes, this year’s event has come and gone. But I wanted to mention it because it’s not too early to start thinking about Blogathon ATX 2015. After all, there will be treats!

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iACT is changing lives in Austin – Make A Difference Monday


iACT Hands on Homes project AustinYesterday, my family and I got to help change someone’s life. Now that might sound like an big, unlikely thing, but it’s true.

We spent the day working with other iACT (Interfaith Action of Central Texas) volunteers to paint someone’s home. The woman who graciously allowed us to work with her on her home is a senior and a recent widow. Her husband had been ill and disabled for some time before he passed, so between time and lack of income, things on the home they had owned for three decades had fallen behind.

Her home repairs and painting were part of iACTS’ Hands On Housing program which brings together willing volunteers and skilled home repair professionals to “repair the homes of senior citizens and disabled individuals who are living in deep poverty.”  Teams gather for work days at the clients’ homes, and fix them up so these struggling long-term residents can remain in their Central Texas homes, giving continuity to our neighborhoods.

So what was it like? It was wonderful! And hard. Our group of volunteers and professionals ranged in age from teens to 60+. There were lifetime locals, transplants and immigrants. There were Christians and Muslims and Jews. And everyone worked. We scraped and painted. We worked and we got to know each other. And we were blessed to get to know the homeowner, too. We all shared our stories from the tops of ladders, over pizza when we took a break to eat, and while we were stirring paint. We painted trim and shutters. We painted the sides and the back.

Painting shutters at iACT Austin

At the end of the day, the whole house was painted and beautiful. Earlier in the project, plumbing issues had been addressed. At the end of the project, a valuable member of Austin had a home she could once again safely live in with pride. And a group of strangers had gotten to know each other.

I am always amazed by the power of volunteer action to bring together people who might never otherwise meet. And to accomplish so much with so little time and limited resources. So yes, yesterday my family and I got to help change someone’s life. Thank you iACT! And thank you to the wonderful lady who invited us to her home to help.

iACT is a registered 501 (c)(3) non-profit. They work with faith communities and partner organizations throughout Central Texas. If you would like to get your faith community involved, volunteer for projects or donate your professional skills or building materials, new paint or make a monetary donation, please check out their website or contact them at iact@interfaithtexas.org. 

The Specs

2921 E 17th Street
Building D, Suite 3
Austin, TX 78702

(512) 386-9145

http://www.interfaithtexas.org/

Texas Conference for Women 2014 is almost here!

1-20131119_082619    It’s hard to believe it’s already been a year since the last Texas Conference for Women here in Austin. I loved hearing from Rachael Ray and Esmerelda Santiago. Jenny Lawson kept us laughing…oh how she understood our lives!  And Leymah Gbowee, the 2011 Nobel Peace Laureate brought tears to our eyes — it’s amazing what one powerful, committed and compassionate woman can do to change so many lives.

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As amazing as last year’s event was, I am counting the days until this year’s conference on November 13th. I want to hear Diana Nyad, who will remind us that dreams don’t come with an age limit. Dr. Cynthia Ackrill will be teaching us how to take stress and turn it into accomplishments, and Jenny Bowen who works tireless on behalf of the world’s orphans and other forgotten children will inspire us to make a difference. And then there’s Soledad O’Brien and Debbie Sterling and author John Gray (yes, a few men are on the agenda!)

I don’t know what your plans are for the 13th of November, but if you’re a woman in Texas and you want the tools to change your life or make it better or figure out how to get over that last sticky obstacle, let me suggest this conference. It might just have the answers you need.

I don’t advocate for many events. But this incredible gathering of wisdom and advice and experience is not to be missed. I think tickets might still be available. Do check it out.

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The Specs

November 13, 2014

Austin Convention Center
500 East Cesar Chavez
Austin, Texas 78701

http://www.txconferenceforwomen.org/

7:30 am – 5:00 pm

Round Top Antique Heaven on Wordfree Wednesday

I had heard about it for several years. I wanted to go last year and the year before, but something always got in the way. This year, finally, was my time to visit Warrenton, Round Top and the rest of antique heaven in Central Texas for Antiques Week(end) — hard to stick to the “weekend” label when it runs for almost three weeks now. And I loved every second of it!

Now it’s time for the pictures to tell the story…

weird looking machine

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An unfortunate pairing!
4-Steampunk Hat Old bird cage

Antique Crib

Old church windows

weird door

Metal people

Old stage light

Dead Peoples StuffBecause, yes, that pretty much is what it is!!  Antiques WeekJunk Gypsies Trailer(More about the Junk Gypsies in another post…too good for just one picture!)

Easy Tiger feels like Europe, right here in Austin

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Europeans know their bread. And pastries. And they know there’s no connection between the real thing and what passes for bread in grocery stores and big box discounters.

Thank goodness Austin isn’t condemed to live on mass produced bread. Nope. Because we have Easy Tiger.

But Easy Tiger isn’t easy to pin down.

Yes, it’s a bakery in the best tradition of bakeries in Germany, Italy, and France.

06-DSC04686Not only can you smell the wonderful breads, croissants and pastries baking as soon as you walk in, you can see it. A big glass window lets you peek at all the wonderful baking in process. And oh how wonderful it is.

Big, chewy loaves with real substance instead of air and chemicals.

10-DSC04693Flaky, sweet croissant and other treats baked with real butter.

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But turn around and head down the stairs, and Easy Tiger is something else entirely.

07-DSC04687Yes, you can order those luscious pastries downstairs with coffee and tea. But you can also order lunch or supper, or head to the beer garden just off the dining room/pub.

Like I said, Easy Tiger is hard to pin down. But as long as they keep making Pan au Chocolat, I’m a happy (and frequent) visitor.

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The Specs

709 East 6th Street
Austin, Texas 78701
(512) 332-1122

http://www.easytigeraustin.com/

Bakery
Sun-Sat 7 am – 2 am

Beer Garten
Sun-Sat 11am – 2 am

Easy Tiger on Urbanspoon