LUSH choices for last minute holiday gift shopping: Find it in Austin Friday

Lush in Austin TexasFrom its humble origins in England (where products were being made upstairs and sold downstairs) to its arrival in Canada in 1990’s to its first shops in the U.S. in 2003, LUSH has been bringing people pure, safe bath and body products with minimal packaging.

LUSH Austin TexasI’d heard great things about them…especially about their “Bath Bombs” (I LOVE baths!) but I had no idea there was a LUSH right here in Austin. But joy of joys, there is! Tucked in between Waterloo Records and a Snap Kitchen, near Book People, we found Austin’s very own LUSH shop.

Lush shop Austin TexasIf you’re looking for Hanukkah gifts or Christmas stocking stuffers, there are so many choices here. If you want something luxurious for a special birthday or anniversary, I promise they will have it. Or (and this is my favorite), if you just need something to pamper yourself after a long day, I KNOW they have that. (Did I mention the Bath Bombs? Yeah. Those!)

Lush store in Austin TexasOh, and the people who work there are the best. They will help you find everything you’re looking for, and even show you a few things you really need but just didn’t know it. Listen to them. They know. (And don’t forget those Bath Bombs!)

The Specs

1012 W 6th Street
Austin, Texas78703
(512) 524-4459

https://www.facebook.com/LUSHAustin

Monday 10:00 am – 8:00 pm
Tuesday 10:00 am – 8:00 pm
Wednesday 10:00 am – 8:00 pm
Thursday 10:00 am – 8:00 pm
Friday 10:00 am – 8:00 pm
Saturday 10:00 am – 8:00 pm
Sunday 12:00 – 7:00 pm

See’s brings back memories, adds a sweet option to Austin

See's Boxed ChocolatesWhen I was in grad school in Salt Lake City, my budget was the classic starving-student tight. Most luxuries were out of reach…except one. Every week, there was a buy-one-get-one special at the See’s in the mall near my downtown work.

And every week, on that morning, I would be there for my double dose of their dark chocolate truffles. Two sweet treats in my tiny bag, I would head for my favorite bench and eat the first one. Slowly, savouring every bite. Then I would put the bag with the second one into my purse, and head for work. That sweet morsel was my lunch treat, the perfect end to what was usually an otherwise ordinary PB & J or cheese sandwich lunch.

See's Dark Chocolate Truffle

That small indulgence was my personal ritual, until graduation came and I moved away.

It’s been years since I’ve lived anywhere near a See’s candy shop. But this week, all of that changed. See’s Candies is having their grand opening right here in Austin!

Tonight was the bloggers event to let those of us who share Austin area food news get an inside look at the new store.

See's Chocolates Austin 2

And taste. We got to taste…a lot!  All kinds of deliciousness I remember from See’s in Salt Lake. Boxes of chocolate were passed around. Samples were offered from the chocolate counter. Stories were shared of See’s memories from California or Utah.

See's Chocolate Austin 3

We checked out the newest offerings, especially all the colorful Easter choices (what a perfect time to open a See’s, right?!)

 

Foil wrapped chocolate bunny from See's

 

Sour candies for Easter

And then the fun started. All the bloggers and guests were invited to try their hand at packing a box of chocolates. But just like Lucy in that old TV series, we had to do it as fast as possible!  We even got to wear hair nets!  It was classic See’s fun…they always did know how to make something as simple as buying a box of chocolates into something fun and special.

Traci Shannon

Lee Ann

My box of chocolates and my Lucy hairnet

My very own packed-by-me box of chocolate…and of course, my hair net!

I know there are other candy stores in Austin. But when it comes down to it, there’s only one See’s. And I’m so glad they’ve landed here.Time to make some new See’s memories!

See's Dark Chocolate Truffle

 

The Specs

10710 Research Blvd
North Hills Town Center (next to the H-E-B)
Austin, TX 78759
Ph: (512) 372-1048
Hours:
Mon-Fri 10am – 9pm
Sat 10am – 9pm
Sun 11am – 7pm

 

Wild Child Rocks it on Wordfree Wednesday

Wild Chld video set at The Boneyard in Austin

I think I heard Wild Child for the first time at a show in one of Austin’s clubs. I had no idea who they were when the show started…by the end, I had become a fan!

Since then, I have made it to several other shows, and they were all amazing.

But nothing was as incredible as being invited to participate in the filming of their new videos!  So off we headed to a place called The Boneyard (more about that place in another post!), and the fun began. Unfortunately, we left the good camera behind!  So please forgive us for these camera phone-quality shots. We promise to do better next time!

Wild Child video prep

Classic stage crew poseRehersalwarm up2014-02-01 17.11.042014-02-01 17.11.0020140201_17582320140201_18240420140201_182416-0012014-02-01 18.13.34We were so happy to be a part of Wild Child’s new video event!  Next time, though, we’ll remember the camera!

You can learn more about Wild Child and their upcoming performances on their Facebook page and website. Hope to see y’all at a show!

Sundays in my City: Castle Hill Graffiti Park

Castle Park graffiti park 1I reserved Sundays on this blog for whatever strikes my fancy. This morning, my inspiration came from Traci from A Star in my Own Universewhen her Sunday in my City post landed in my inbox.  The post was part of meme from Unknown Mamiwhere she invites people to share posts that show something unique in their city. I loved the idea!

So here I am…sharing something that makes Austin unique, that was fun to look at, that made me smile. Castle Hill Graffiti.

Castle Park Graffiti creature

In lots of cities, graffiti is an underground art. Buildings are tagged, arrests are made, but as an art form, it’s undervalued. Not so in Austin. We have an entire park dedicated to graffiti artists.

Castle Park Graffiti 2This is not an elite park, reserved for the few. There are no forms to fill out, or approvals to seek. Artists from around the city simply bring their paints and their vision — and art happens.

artist at work at Castle Hill Graffiti Park AustinAnd the result is amazing! Colors, shapes, messages, interwoven in a collage that took my breath away…or made me smile.

DSC03558Even the park’s trash cans, light posts and drainage lines had been turned into works of art.

Castile Hill Park Drainage lineIt’s tempting to try my own skills with a spray paint can, and add to the colors of Austin. On the other hand, I am so impressed with the work of these mostly-young creators of color and design that I think I just might leave it to them, and remain an appreciative audience.

Hope Market offers freshest produce on “Find it in Austin Friday”

close up of okra in basket

Fresh okra….

Every Sunday from 11 am to 3 pm, Austanites can by-pass the tasteless, mealy textured produced served up by  grocery stores and experience the real thing at the Hope Farmer’s Market located at East 5th and Comal.

The Market began in October 2009, a challenge in a city known for stores selling organic and local produce. But almost four years later, it’s still going and growing, bringing Austin residents a weekly destination where they can connect with the farmers who grow the food instead of just a clerk who’s stocking it.

baskets of persimmons

Ripe persimmons….

Shoppers can find all sorts of fresh vegetable, fruits, nuts and herbs in season. Vendors also sell fresh milk and dairy products (including my favorite goat dairy products from Swede Farm), honey, syrup, eggs, meats and baked goods.

Radishes

Just picked radishes….

And while you shop you can also listen to live music, and maybe snack on some of the treats you just bought. If you go, please bring plenty of reusable bags — remember, no more plastic bags in Austin. Personally, I like using one of those old-lady folding carts, too. Hey, veggies get heavy!

Most of the stands accept EBT/SNAP and WIC benefits, making it easier for people in need of a hand to get the healthy food they really deserve. You can find out more about that at the Hope Farm Stand at the market. Most vendors don’t accept credit or debit cards, so if you’re not using one of the food assistance programs, do bring cash.

Kale

Fresh kale…

The Farmer’s Market is also a great place to take your kids shopping. Once they see all those brightly colored, tempting veggies and fruits you might have an easier time getting them to try them.

pecans in basket

Well-behaved dogs on leashes are welcome, too.

Changes coming to A is for Austin

Rusty Texas star and metal Texas StarsHi all…

When we started this blog, we were hoping to keep up a steady stream of posts about area eateries, festivals, music and outdoor fun. But as it turns out, that’s harder than we thought. Neither our waistlines nor our wallets can handle eating out several times a week. And some of the exciting festivals and events haven’t quite worked with school schedules and homework.  The result has been too much time between too few posts.

But we still want to keep the concept alive. So I’m making some changes to the content by expanding the scope.  So here’s the scoop on the new face of A is for Austin.

Mondays will be “Make a Difference” Monday, an idea I started but hadn’t really gotten off the ground. That’s where you’ll find profiles of people and organizations making a difference for Austin area people and pets.

Tuesdays will be “Taste of Austin Tuesdays”, with recipes and cooking tips for a vegetarian take on Austin cooking, interviews with Austin area chefs, and information on upcoming Austin foodie events.

Wednesday will be “Wordfree Wednesday”, where I can post images of a wonderful place around Austin.

Thursdays will be the day for reviews of local restaurants, events and festivals.  Making that one day a week will make it much easier to keep content fresh (and our calorie intake under control!)

Fridays will be “Find it in Austin Friday”. That will give me the chance to share some of the amazing shops and vendors I’ve stumbled upon around the area.

Sundays will be open for whatever else I want to share. It might be another event, a date night idea, or a restaurant I just have to talk about.

One other element will be changing. While I love taking the photos for my collages, sometime the venue just isn’t right for snapping a dozen shots.  So future posts might have one picture, a collage, or a few photos. I will let the setting decide.

I look forward to writing this blog for a long time to come, and hope that these changes will make it more useful for you. See you on Sunday for the new beginning!

Laugh through your date night at Austin Java

Austin Java Coffee House

No, I am not suggesting that you laugh at your date. But laughing together during your date? Now that would be a good idea.

That’s what we decided when we headed to Austin Java on 12th and Lamar for a late supper and their free comedy show.  And it turned out to be a good choice on both accounts.

First, there was the menu. Not your ordinary selection of tired sandwiches and boring soups. Not with things like a spicy African peanut soup, Avocadeaux Salad featuring Crawfish tails & greens or a Chicken Satay sandwich (yes, you read that right! Sandwich!) on the menu.  And everything was delicious!  I ordered the veggie plate, and was thrilled with my huge servings of red pepper humus, peanut soup, steamed veggies, tangy black bean and corn pico, fresh smashed potatoes, salad and crunchy french bread.  The Avocadeaux salad was pronounced “perfect!”, and well dotted with flavorful pieces of crawfish.

The show (no cover charge, by the way, so do be kind and order at least something to drink) featured about a half-dozen comics, ranging from polished to working on their act, but all of them kept us laughing.  A word of caution, though. Before we went, we called and asked about the show’s content, and were told it was PG-13.  Most of it was, but some parts were downright raunchy and clearly well into the adults-only realm, so I wouldn’t suggest it for families with teens (and certainly not for younger kids!)

The area for the comedy show is small, so do get there early especially if you want to have a table so you can eat while you watch. There’s table service in that section, too, so no need to order at the counter before you find your spot.

After the show, we checked out the rest of the place. The cozy setting was full of people eating, talking, working on computers or just enjoying a coffee or beer for a low-key Austin Saturday night.  We will definitely return, and also plan to check out their location on Barton Springs Road.