Exotic gifts & bellydancing from Arabic Bazaar on Wordfree Wednesday

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Last weekend, I visited the Arabic Bazaar in Austin for the first time, and I  immediately knew it had to be featured here on A is 4 Austin. I  had planned to put it on Find it in Austin Fridays. It is a great place to shop for unique imported gifts (everything here is handpicked by the owner, Zein, on her trips to Egypt, Syria, Morocco and Lebanon. No “Made in China” imitations here!) And it’s a place to find authentic belly dance classes for all levels. So it would fit.

But when I looked at my photos, I changed my mind. The photos tell the story of this beautiful place better than words possibly could. So here, without too many more words, is Arabic Bazaar.

Bellydance Costumes

Handblown glass perfume bottles

handwoven rugs

 

Amazing jewelry

 

Hookah pipes04-2014-12-07 14.19.40pillowRight now is a great time to visit Arabic Bazaar, too. Sunday December 14th and Sunday December 21st, they’re having a big sale (yes, I DID shop! Of course!), bellydance demonstrations, discounts on bellydancing classes and free henna from noon until 3 pm.

Arabic Bazaar sale Dec 2014The Specs

5013 Duval St
Austin, Texas 78751
(entrance in back of building in alley)
(512) 533-9227
Monday 11:00 am – 9:00 pm
Tuesday 11:00 am – 7:00 pm
Wednesday 11:00 am – 9:00 pm
Thursday 11:00 am – 7:00 pm
Friday 11:00 am – 7:00 pm
Saturday 10:00 am – 7:00 pm
Sunday Closed (Except for special holiday events in December) 
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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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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

South Congress Books on Find it in Austin Friday

South Congress BooksAnyone who knows me, knows that I LOVE books. And bookstores.

And while the big box chain stores are fine for picking up a magazine or the newest best seller, I have a special place in my heart for small, independent bookstores. Sadly, they seem to being a dying breed. So when I find one I love, I need to share it.

Today, that’s South Congress Books. This tiny treasure is tucked in among the quirky shops and restaurants on South Congress, near places like Big Top Candy and Guero’s Taco Bar. But it’s not a spot for the party crowd.

This is the place to go for that rare book you just have to have for yourself or a gift. Or an out-of-print or vintage treasure you just cannot find in a chain bookstore.

 It’s also a place to wander through, and find yourself inspired by a beautiful image on a book cover, or magnificent illustrations or a haunting opening sentence —  and discovering that THIS is a book you cannot live without.

If you’re searching for a certain title, you can check out their online inventory to see if they have it in stock. But I prefer to just stop in, and ask. That way, I get to browse the shelves — and maybe find that the book-I-did-not-know-I-needed (but now do!) is sitting right in front of me.

Book People is part bookstore, part destination

 Book People Austin Texas at A is 4 Austin

Bookstores used to have personality. There were some where I could browse for hours, others where I would pop in to grab that hard-to-find book no one else carried. Then came Borders and Barnes & Noble, and bookstores became vanilla. The same in Seattle as in Austin, indistinguishable in Maine and Miami.

Thank goodness there are a few holdouts. Powells in Portland, Tattered Cover, and Faulker House Books in New Orleans. And here in Austin, it’s Book People.

Part book store, part coffee house. Part new age store, part novelty shop. Part venue for meeting writers like Charlaine Harris and part the perfect place to get your kids excited about reading.

Book People has great hours, amazing bibliophiles on staff, and (gasp!) free parking!

MomCom Austin brings together creativity, inspiration and innovation

MomCom Austin June 2012 on Ais4Austin

Twice a year, moms in Austin are treated to a full day of inspiring speakers, networking, a good dose of laughter and even a few tears at MomCom Austin.

Founded by PR pro Trish Morrison (who I have been lucky enough to get to know since moving here!), MomCom Austin gives local moms a chance to hear from successful business women, writers, bloggers and leaders who are also moms.  “It’s a place where it’s okay to say you went to a meeting with baby puke on your sleeve,” said one attendee. “We all understand because we’ve been there, and that feels great.”

This was my first MomCom Austin, and after hearing the speakers and talking with the other mom’s I agree with the another comment I overheard.  “You mean, it’s not just me?   I feel so much better!”  Trish has created an event where we all feel better for not being the only one. Everyone there knew what it meant to be a mom and whatever else you’re trying to be, too.

This year’s summer event at The Oasis introduced attendees to new inspiration and new food for thought.  We got to hear from Palo Alto Software CEO Sabrina Parsons about doing interviews while nursing her newborn, and Tiffany Harelik, the author of Trailer Food Diaries, about incredible loss and unexpected (but well earned) success.

The speakers made us laugh (thinking about Wendy Aarons’ letter to the creators of the mind-boggling “Have a Happy Period” Campaign still makes me giggle out loud!).  And the speakers made us cry (how do you keep going when you lose everything? One speaker knew first hand.)

Best of all, they made us all feel that almost anything was possible.

Yes, there is a registration fee for MomCom Austin.  But the modest ticket price is nothing compared to the incredible feelings we all had when the day was done.  Thank you, Trish!  I can’t wait until January! 

The best of weird Austin is for sale at Uncommon Objects

Uncommon Objects Collectibles Austin TexasEvery city has its antique stores.  And most have vintage and collectible shops, too.  But there is only one shop in one town I know of where you can buy a dozen classic Shriner’s jackets, a set of French flashcards from the 1920’s, a wall-mounted statue of Ganesh, and a box of 6 dozen microscope slides of bug legs all in one shopping trip.  And you can throw in fine vintage china, a couple of Waterfall dressers and all the 1940’s sign art you can carry while you’re at it.

If you have not been to Austin’s “Uncommon Objects” on South Congress, you might think I’m exaggerating. After all the store looks kind of small on the outside.  But with Tardis-like magic, it seems to get bigger and bigger the further you walk into it.

You might be wondering why I’m including a store on the blog.  After all, this blog is about things to do and places to eat, right? It’s not about stores.

Well, from my first visit to Uncommon Objects a week after I arrived in Austin to my visit last week, this store has definitely been something to ‘DO.”

I go in.  I wander. I imagine.  I try to picture where I could put three 5 foot high letters from an old grocery store sign, just because I love the font.  I think about buying the Shriner’s jackets and using them for some kind of party theme.  I find inspiring words in a pile of 1950’s flashcards and I lay out the 6 I will buy to create a unique piece of art on my wall. I find a book from the late 1800’s with my daughter’s nickname in the title on the book’s artistic cover, and add it to my purchases, musing over how I will display it in her room. I get lost in looking at pieces of the past, and imagining how to use them now.

This isn’t shopping.  It’s doing.  It’s the place I take visitors and newcomers who are even more fresh to Austin than I am. This, I tell them, is not just a store.  It’s weird Austin, for sale.