4 Unique Spring Break Vacation Ideas

Thinking about getting away for Spring break this year? Are you tired of doing the same thing or do you want some new ideas? Here are some fun and unique ideas you may not have heard about before!

  1. SCAVENGER HUNT VACATION: Do you love scavenger hunts? Cluventure is a company that organizing custom scavenger hunt vacations. Trips last up to 10 days and vary based on the wants and needs of the travelers!
  2. RAIL VACATION TOUR: Another unique idea is taking a spring break adventure by rail! There are a variety of different itineraries to explore and you can experience some of the beautiful scenery the US has to offer! Vacations by Rail is a great company to explore if considering this type of trip.
  3. VISIT A GUEST/DUDE RANCH: This is a fun idea that has something for everyone! You can visit places such as Texas, Arizona and New Mexico, and spend a week or several days exploring the beautiful landscape, enjoying outdoor activities, star gazing at night and so much more. Two fun options are Tanque Verde Ranch in Arizona and Mayan Dude Ranch in Texas.Available for Vacation
  4. VISIT A TINY HOUSE VILLAGE: Have you been curious about what it’s like to live in a Tiny House? Why not escape and stay in one for a week! There are different places across the country that offers a variety of tiny house rental options. Some options include Community First! Village in Austin, Texas, Mt. Hood Tiny House Village near Portland, Oregon or Petite Retreats which has options all over the US.

 

Source:

https://www.travelchannel.com/interests/family/10-under-the-radar-family-spring-break-vacations-,” Travel Channel.

Top 10 New Year’s Resolutions

With the New Year, many people set goals or have resolutions about things they would like to do, change or accomplish. Of course this varies from person to person, but we wondered what the top 10 New Year’s Resolutions are overall. Do you find any of these 10 resolutions relatable? We’ve also included a few tips to help you achieve any resolution you may have!

TOP 10 NEW YEAR’S RESOLUTIONS

  1. Exercise More.
  2. Lose Weight.
  3. Get Organized.
  4. Learn a New Skill or Hobby.
  5. Live Life to the Fullest.
  6. Save Money/Spend Less Money.
  7. Quit Smoking.
  8. Spend More Time with Family and Friends.
  9. Travel More.
  10. Read More.

TIPS FOR ACHIEVING SUCCESS WITH YOUR RESOLUTIONS

  1. Be Prepared/Have a Plan. Making a change in your life takes thought, consideration and a plan for how you will achieve and execute your plan. It’s also important to start slow and to be realistic about what you want to accomplish.
  2. Set Goals. Accomplishing something is always easier when you set realistic, achievable goals. Setting goals is also a great way to mark milestones and accomplishments along your resolution journey.
  3. Don’t Over Commit. It can be easy to want to set a whole bunch of resolutions when you’re excited and motivated. However, you may quickly find yourself discouraged and overwhelmed. Be realistic with yourself about what is reasonable. You can always add additional resolutions later!
  4. Write Your Goals Down in a Visible Place. Writing your goals down is powerful in and of itself. Having your goals written down and somewhere you see at least once a day is even better!
  5. Be Accountable. Sharing your resolutions with is others and asking for accountability in sticking to your resolutions can be a great motivator. It also gives you a person or people who can encourage you if and when times get tough!
  6. Set Reminders. You can set automated reminders in your calendar, encouragement “reminders” to help keep you motivated, and more. It can also help you plan ahead and stay on track. For example, if your resolution is to exercise more, making a plan each week and scheduling workouts in advance in your calendar can help keep you on track.
  7. Cut Yourself Some Slack. It’s a good idea to evaluate your resolution and plan for achieving it regularly and make adjustments if necessary. It’s also important not to beat yourself up if you slip up. The best way to get back on track is to do so quickly.

 

Source:

https://www.goskills.com/Soft-Skills/Articles/Top-10-new-years-resolutions,” Go Skills.

6 Unique January Austin Activites

It’s hard to believe, but 2019 is here! Fortunately, there are lots of activities to jump start your new year. Check out some of our favorites.

  1. ICE SKATING ON THE PLAZAWhole Foods Market – January 1 – January 21, 2019
  • Located at 525 N. Lamar Blvd, Austin, TX 78703. Check the website for hours and availability. Cost is $10, including skates!

 

  1. AUSTIN FREE WEEK – January 1 – January 8, 2019
  • Happening at various locations, come enjoy free live music! Hundreds of bands are participating. You can check out the schedule at http://freeweek.do512.com/.

 

  1. THE SWOON EVENTSpringdale Station – January 19, 2019
  • Planning a wedding? This event is for you! This event brings local vendors and businesses all in one place for couples planning a wedding to gain ideas and inspiration. Visit http://www.theswoonevent.com/ for more information.

 

  1. MARTIN LUTHER KING MARCH, FESTIVAL AND FOOD DRIVEThe University of Texas – January 21, 2019
  • Come join the Annual Community March and celebrate the legacy of Martin Luther King. The event starts at the MLS statue at the University of Texas and ends at Huston-Tillotson University. The celebration continues with live music and vendors! You can also bring canned goods to donate to the Capitol Area Food Bank.

 

  1. PRINT AUSTIN – January 15, 2019 – February 15, 2019
  • Happening at various locations throughout Austin, the Austin visual arts community comes together in this annual event to showcase fine art prints. Visit https://printaustin.org/about-2/ for more information.

 

  1. 3M HALF MARATHON – January 20, 2019
  • This event is fun whether you participate as a runner or just come to cheer the runners on! This event showcases the amazing city of Austin. At the finish line, enjoy live music and fantastic foods trucks!

 

Source:

https://do512.com/iceskatingontheplaza2018,” Do512.

http://freeweek.do512.com/,” Do512.

http://www.theswoonevent.com/,” The Swoon Event.

http://www.mlkcelebration.com/celebration-events/march-and-festival/ ,” MLK Celebration.

https://printaustin.org/about-2/,” Print Austin.

http://3mhalfmarathon.com/,” 3M Half Marathon.

16 Places to Ring In 2019 In Austin

If you’re looking to celebrate in style for New Year’s Eve this year in Austin or do something different, we’ve got you covered. Below is a list of some of the top parties, celebrations and concerts happening on December 31, 2018 into January 1, 2019. Have fun, be safe, and welcome 2019!

  1. Experience Austin: NYE 2019

Monday, December 31, 2018, 7:00pm – Tuesday, January 1, 2019, 3:00am.

NYE Industry Mixer

801 N. Commons Ford Rd.

Austin, TX 78733

Tickets: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/experience-austin-nye-2019-tickets-50974235310?aff=ebdssbdestsearch

 

  1. 2nd Annual Fire & Ice New Year’s Eve Party

Monday, December 31, 2018, 8:30pm – Tuesday, January 1, 2019, 2:00am.

Moonfire Lounge

310 Colorado St. Unit B

Austin, TX 78701

Tickets: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/2nd-annual-fire-ice-new-years-eve-party-tickets-52342153791?aff=ebdssbdestsearch

 

  1. Willie Nelson & Family New Year

Monday, December 31, 2018, 8:30pm – Tuesday, January 1, 2019, 2:00am.

The Moody Theatre

310 W. Willie Nelson Blvd. #1B

Austin, TX 78701

Tickets: http://acl-live.com/calendar/willie-nelson-family-2

 

  1. Gatsby’s House – Austin New Year’s Eve 2019

Monday, December 31, 2019, 9:00pm – Tuesday, January 1, 2019, 2:00am.

Omni Austin Hotel Downtown

700 San Jacinto Blvd.

Austin, TX 78701

Tickets:  https://www.eventbrite.com/e/gatsbys-house-austin-new-years-eve-2019-tickets-48751161035?aff=erelexpmlt

 

  1. The Black Puma’s

Monday, December 31, 2018, 8:00pm – Tuesday, January 1, 2019, 2:00am.

Antone’s

305 E. 5th Street

Austin, TX 78701

Tickets: https://www.ticketfly.com/purchase/event/1787341?utm_medium=bks

 

  1. The Black Angels – New Year’s Eve at Mohawk

Monday, December 31, 2018. Doors open at 7:00pm.

Mohawk

912 Red River St.

Austin, TX 78701

Tickets: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/the-black-angels-new-years-eve-mohawk-tickets-51560569050

 

  1. Austin’s New Year Celebration 2019

Monday, December 31, 2018 from 3:00pm – 11:00pm.

Mohawk

912 Red River Street

Austin, TX 78701

More Information: https://www.facebook.com/events/885686331621836/

 

  1. Keep It Quiet Presents: The NYE Party

Monday, December 31, 2018, 9:00pm – Tuesday, January 1, 2019, 2:00pm.

Fair Market

1100 East 5th Street

Austin, TX 78702

Tickets: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/keep-it-quiet-presents-the-nye-party-2019-tickets-52905062466

 

  1. New Year’s Eve: A Labyrinth Themed Masquerade Ball

Monday, December 31, 2018, 9:00pm – Tuesday, January 1, 2019 1:55am.

Indian Roller

1322, 10026 Manchaca Rd.

Austin, TX 78748

More Information: https://m.facebook.com/events/420218478513918

 

  1. The Nightowls

Monday, December 31, 2018. Doors at 9:00pm.

Stubb’s Indoors

801 Red River

Austin, TX 78701

Tickets: https://stubbsindoor.frontgatetickets.com/event/csau2pyn8czbow8t?utm_campaign=artist&utm_source=the_nightowls&utm_medium=web&utm_content=20181231_the_nightowls

 

  1. Happy Noon Year Cruise

Monday, December 31, 2018, 11:00am – 1:00pm.

Lone Star Riverboat

208 Barton Springs Rd.

Austin, TX 78704

Tickets: https://austintourcompany.rezdy.com/279494/happy-noon-year-cruise

 

  1. A Very Austin NYE on the Downtown Library Rooftop

Monday, December 31, 2018, 9:00pm – Tuesday, January 1, 2019, 1:00am.

Austin Central Library, Austin Public Library

710 West Cesar Chavez St.

Austin, TX 78701

Tickets: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/a-very-austin-nye-on-the-downtown-library-rooftop-tickets-52878651470

 

  1. Fire & Ice – New Year’s Eve at Fairmont Austin

Monday, December 31, 2018, 9:30pm – Tuesday, January 1, 2019, 2:00pm.

Fairmont Austin

101 Red River St.

Austin, TX 78701

Tickets: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/fire-ice-new-years-at-fairmont-austin-tickets-52730130239?aff=efbeventtix&fbclid=IwAR3y73nz-k8md-TzUvb03TR_lXeMdNNy2I61XgOst1mKR4qAJhG1ywzy3So

 

  1. Bob Schneider’s New Year’s Eve Party

Monday, December 31, 2018. Doors open at 8:00pm.

The Paramount Theatre

713 Congress Ave.

Austin, TX 78701

Tickets: https://tickets.austintheatre.org/single/EventDetail.aspx?p=4391

 

  1. New Year’s Eve at Rose Room & 77 Degrees

Monday, December 31, 2018, 9:00pm – Tuesday, January 1, 2019, 2:00pm.

The Rose Room

11500 Rock Rose

Austin, TX 78758

Tickets: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/new-years-eve-at-rose-room-77-degrees-tickets-53031879780?aff=efbeventtix&fbclid=IwAR1Dty3reFX55MtJJnDJuVdNrgZ1HmLtKue5Vp382GWc-ax-GXimFeIlZmc

 

  1. The Capitol Countdown at the Belmont – New Year’s Eve

Monday, December 31, 2018, 8:00pm – Tuesday, January 1, 2019, 2:00pm.

The Belmont

305 W. 6th St.

Austin, TX 78701

Tickets: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/the-capitol-countdown-at-the-belmont-new-years-eve-party-2019-tickets-52720280779?aff=Amber50&fbclid=IwAR1_X_PIz6eLKpo1ycqgJSneWhdkUkdFuncpe5ibpKa0nOiObbG7lO3nbRE

 

Source:

http://365thingsaustin.com/best-new-years-eve-parties-austin-2018 ,” 365 Things Austin.

9 Holiday Travel Tips

With the Holiday’s in full swing, it’s no surprise many of us are busy with extra activities and festivities. Many of us are also gearing up for some Holiday travel. Whether traveling by car, plane or another method, traveling can be stressful, especially around the Holidays with the increase in people traveling. We’ve included some great tips to hopefully make your Holiday travels a little less stressful and more enjoyable! Bon voyage!

  1. PLAN AHEAD AND DO YOUR RESEARCH
  • This one may seem obvious, but planning ahead and researching ahead of time can save a lot of time, hassle and money. If driving, it can be helpful to map out several routes based on traffic, travel times and more in case you run into something unexpected. When flying, check into potential baggage fees, parking costs, and more to avoid unexpected costs and surprises.

 

  1. PUT YOUR SMARTPHONE TO GOOD USE
  • Traveling by plane? Consider downloading your airline’s app for paperless boarding, up to the minute gate and flight information, in-flight entertainment and more. You can also download the app GateGuru to see approximate security line time estimates. If traveling by car, GasBuddy is a great app to help you find the cheapest gas and SitorSquat is a great app for finding the cleanest bathrooms.

 

  1. PACK SMART
  • If you can avoid checking luggage, it can end up saving a lot of hassle. Luggage gets lost, especially this time of year. Many airlines also allow a free checked bag plus a personal item so avoiding checking your luggage can also save you a lot of money!

 

  1. BRING EARPLUGS OR HEADPHONES
  • Let’s face it. Traveling can be loud. Whether it’s in the airport, on the plane or in the car, sometimes you just need some peace and quiet. Headphones or earplugs can be a great way to zone out and listen to music. Have noise-cancelling headphones? Even better!

 

  1. PACK SNACKS
  • A big mistake when traveling is forgetting to eat and pack snacks. Traveling can be stressful enough, and you don’t want to add a group of hungry and tired travelers to that mix! Having a hearty meal before heading on your way and packing snacks can keep everyone from getting hangry, and that means a more pleasant trip!

 

  1. SHIP GIFTS AHEAD OF TIME
  • Bringing a bunch of gifts when flying can be such a hassle. You’ll likely have to pay to check the gifts anyway, and TSA can unwrap your gifts during the screening process. You can save yourself a lot of hassle by wrapping and shipping your gifts before you travel. Or if you really want to make gift giving hassle free, consider buying gift cards!

 

  1. AVOID TRAVELING ON THE BUSIEST DAYS
  • It may not be ideal, but traveling on the Holiday itself can save you money and is way less stressful because the airport is a lot less busy. Also choosing the earliest possible flight often means less security lines, greater on-time performance and a better chance of getting rebooked the same day in the event of a delay or cancellation. Same goes for car travel. Consider traveling on the holiday itself or choosing less popular times (like driving early in the morning or overnight).

 

  1. PLAN FOR THE UNEXPECTED
  • When flying, carefully look at the times in between flights if you have a connection. It can be very stressful to have a connecting flight in an unfamiliar airport, especially if you have a very small time window. When driving, take care to research the weather conditions and plan accordingly if traveling somewhere with or the potential for snow. It’s always smart to have proper gear in the car in the event of a flat tire or car trouble.

 

  1. KEEP YOUR EYES ON THE PRIZE
  • Remembering that you are on your way to be with friends or family can help keep perspective, even if things don’t go perfectly. And you never know – you might have some great stories to share too!

 

 

Source:

https://www.travelchannel.com/interests/holidays/articles/top-10-survival-tips-for-holiday-travel ,” Travel Channel.

3 Yummy Holiday Casseroles

With the Holidays here, it seems to be the time of year when we host family and friends more often. With the often cooler weather and the challenge of feeding a crowd, casseroles can be a festive and delicious option! We have included recipes for three yummy options to try.

BROCCOLI AND CHEDDAR CASSEROLE WITH LEEKS

Ingredients:

  • 3 pounds of broccoli, cut into small florets
  • 3 T olive oil
  • 2 leeks, halved and thinly sliced
  • Salt
  • ¼ cup all-purpose flour
  • 6 ounces (2 cups) shredded sharp cheddar cheese
  • 3 cups whole milk
  • ¼ t cayenne pepper
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • ½ cup crushed saltine crackers
  • ½ cup sliced almonds
  • 4 T melted butter

Instructions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Take a large, deep pot and place a steamer basket inside. Add 1-2 inches of water and place the broccoli inside. Cover the pot. Cook on high heat until the broccoli is crisp but slightly tender, about 4-5 minutes. Transfer the broccoli to paper towels to drain and rest.
  2. In a medium pan, heat the olive oil. Add the leeks and season generously with salt. Cook on medium-high until soft, about 10 minutes. Add the flour and whisk until mixture is bubbly and a paste forms, about 2 minutes. Add the milk and whish constantly, until thickened and bubbly, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and whisk in the cheddar cheese and cayenne pepper, and season with salt and fresh ground black pepper.
  3. Take a large, 2-inch deep baking dish and pour half of the cheese sauce into it and arrange evenly. Place the drained broccoli on top of the cheese sauce evenly across the dish and drizzle the remaining cheese sauce on top. In a small bowl, mix the almonds, crackers and butter and sprinkle mixture over the top of the casserole. Bake the casserole for 15 minutes, or until the sauce is bubbly and the top is golden brown.

 

SOUTHERN BAKED CHICKEN CASSEROLE

Ingredients:

  • 2 T butter
  • 1 T vegetable oil
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, finely chopped
  • 1 celery bib, finely chopped
  • ¼ cup flour
  • 1 ½ cups milk
  • Salt, freshly ground pepper and Tabasco
  • ½ cup mayonnaise
  • 4 cups shredded rotisserie chicken
  • ½ cup finely chopped pimentos
  • 1 sleeve of Ritz crackers, crushed

Instructions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. In a large pan, melt the butter and add the oil. Add the onion, bell pepper, and celery and cook until softened, about 5-6 minutes. Add the flour and cook, stirring constantly, for 2 minutes. Add the milk and whisk until mixture is well combined. Reduce the heat and simmer until thickened for about 2-3 minutes. Season with salt, pepper and Tabasco. Remove from heat and stir in the mayonnaise, chicken and pimentos.
  2. Transfer the mixture into a large baking dish. Spread the crushed Ritz crackers on top. Bake for about 45 minutes, until bubbling and the top is golden brown. Let the casserole rest for 15 minutes before serving.
  3. As a twist, you can add shredded cheddar cheese to the top of the casserole before adding the crackers!

 

CHRISTMAS MORNING CASSEROLE

Ingredients:

  • Butter, for greasing
  • 2 T olive oil
  • ½ cup finely diced pepperoni
  • ½ pound shiitake mushrooms, caps only, cut into ¾ inch pieces
  • 1 medium onion, minced
  • 1 red bell pepper, cut into ½ inch pieces
  • 2 t salt, and more for seasoning
  • 8 large eggs
  • 3 cups whole milk
  • 1 T Dijon mustard
  • 1 T soy sauce
  • ½ t pepper
  • ¾ pound day-old challah bread, sliced into 1 inch by 1 inch squares (10 cups)
  • 6 ounces black forest ham, finely diced
  • 1 cup shredded Monterrey Jack cheese
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • ½ cup finely chopped scallions (plus more for garnish)
  • Hot sauce, for serving

Instructions:

  1. Butter a 9×13 inch baking dish. Take a large skillet and heat the olive oil. Add the pepperoni and cook over medium heat until the fat is rendered, about 3 minutes. Add the mushrooms and cook until lightly brown and tender, about 5 minutes. Add the onion, bell pepper and large pinch of salt and cook, stirring occasionally. Cook until softened and browned, about 6-7 minutes. Let the mixture cool completely.
  2. Take a large bowl and beat the eggs with the milk, mustard, soy sauce pepper and 2 t of salt. Add the cooled vegetable mixture, challah bread, ham, both cheeses and the chopped scallions and mix well. Place the mixture into the buttered baking dish. Cover in plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.
  3. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Uncover the casserole and make for about 50 minutes, until the casserole is set and the top is browned. Let stand for 10 minutes, and then top with more scallions if desired. Serve with hot sauce.

 

Source:

https://www.foodandwine.com/slideshows/christmas-casseroles,” Food&Wine.

7 December Austin Activities

December is a wonderful time of year to experience some of Austin’s most memorable events and traditions. The Holiday Season offers lots of great shopping experiences, theater productions, light displays and more. Check out some of our favorites below!

  1. ZACH Theatre Presents: “A Christmas Carol”. Performances are at ZACH Theatre now through December 30, 2018. For tickets or more information, visit zachtheatre.org.
  2. Blue Genie Art Bazaar. Great for crossing off some of your holiday shopping list! Now through December 24, 2018. Visit bluegenieartbazaar.com for more information!
  3. Holiday Sing-Along and Downtown Stroll. This event is happening on December 1, 2018 at the Texas State Capitol. Watch the tree in front of the Capitol be lit while singing carols and then head down to Congress Avenue for shopping, food and more. Visit downtownaustin.com for all of the details.
  4. Ballet Austin’s “The Nutcracker”. Austin’s beloved Holiday tradition runs at the Long Center for the Performing Arts from December 7, 2018 – December 23, 2018. Tickets and more information can be found at balletaustin.org.
  5. 54th Annual Trail of Lights. Come enjoy this magical experience at Zilker Park December 10, 2018 – December 31, 2018. Visit austintrailoflights.org for tickets, parking info, and more.
  6. Armadillo Christmas Bazaar. This is an awesome shopping experience, complete with live music! Held at the Palmer Events Center, this event runs from December 13, 2018 – December 24, 2018. You can find all of the details at armadillobazaar.com.
  7. Winter Wonderland at The Circuit. Only in its second year, come for an amazing experience at Circuit of The Americas on November 23-25, 2018, November 29-December 2, 2018, December 6-9, 2018, and December 13-30, 2018. This event features a Tunnel of Lights, Petting Zoo, Chinese Lantern Festival and so much more. Visit thecircuit.com/winter-wonderland for tickets and more information!

 

Source:

https://www.austintexas.org/events/december-and-january/,” Visit Austin.

http://www.thecircuit.com/winter-wonderland,” Winter Wonderland at The Circuit.