THE DUCKS ARE COMING, THE DUCKS ARE COMING!

The Austin Boys and Girls Clubs Foundation is pleased to announce that it will be conducting its first Rubber Duck Derby on November 15, 2014 from 10:00 until Noon. Festivities will begin at the Austin American Statesman’s parking lot adjacent to Lady Bird Lake and the Ducks will be launched from the Ann Richards Bridge
All proceeds benefit the Boys and Girls Club Foundation whose purpose is to create an endowment that will ensure the long term sustainability of the Boys and Girls Clubs of the Austin Area. Proceeds from the endowment are used to award college scholarships to worthy Club members.
YOU CAN ADOPT A DUCK BY GOING TO www.austinduckderby.com. For five dollars you might win the Grand Prize of a car donated by Onion Creek Volkswagen or a one week vacation at the Fairmont Heritage Place Lodge in Telluride, Colorado. There will be lots of kids activities including photo ops with “Derby Duck”.
So please participate November 15th and support the Boys and Girls Clubs of Austin who touch the lives of 12,000 kids each year in Travis County via 24 clubs.

For more information, contact Susan R. Brown at 512.426.8866 or susan.brown@sothebysrealty.com.

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Kuper Sotheby’s International Realty Merges with Amelia Bullock Realtors

We are incredibly excited to announce the acquisition of Austin-based Amelia Bullock Realtors. Capital City Sotheby’s International Realty, owned by Kuper Sotheby’s International Realty for two years, has merged with Amelia Bullock Realtors and, along with the current Kuper Sotheby’s offices in San Antonio, will now collectively be known as Kuper Sotheby’s International Realty.

“We could not be more excited and proud to acquire and merge with one of Austin’s premiere real estate agencies,” J Kuper, broker of Kuper Sotheby’s International Realty, said. “We know that when combined, the power of our agents, internal teams and the Sotheby’s International Realty brand will cement our status as one of Central Texas’ top real estate companies by any measurement.”

The newly combined agency will have 139 sales associates in Austin, as well as 107 sales associates in San Antonio. With the acquisition, Kuper Sotheby’s International Realty will rank fourth in Austin for total sales volume, according to the Austin Board of Realtors (ABoR) multiple listing service (MLS) and BrokerMetrics

“Amelia Bullock Realtors and Kuper Sotheby’s International Realty share the same culture and values, and are both family-owned businesses,” Amelia Bullock, founder and co-owner of Amelia Bullock Realtors, said. “Both companies are known for fairness, integrity and dependability, which is why we know this is the best opportunity to provide an even brighter future for our associates.”

The combined companies have executed more than 1,000 transactions in the past 12 months with a total value of approximately $600 million and an average of $511,000 per transaction in Austin. The new agency will have an average transaction price that is approximately 80 percent higher than the MLS average. Sales associates with Kuper Sotheby’s International Realty are projected to have an average production that is 54 percent higher than the average sales associate in the MLS.

In 2012, J Kuper purchased Capital City Sotheby’s International Realty, an eight-year-old Sotheby’s International Realty affiliate with two offices—one in the Barton Creek area and one in the Bee Caves area. With the acquisition, Kuper Sotheby’s International Realty now has four offices in Austin in addition to four offices in San Antonio.

Amelia Bullock Realtors was founded in 1969 by Amelia Bullock in her home and grew from three friends working together to more than 80 agents 45 years later. The brand quickly became known in Austin as a preeminent residential real estate company.

“We chose Kuper Sotheby’s International Realty because they provide the right environment and opportunities for all of our associates in our real estate family,” Barbara Wallace, co-owner of Amelia Bullock Realtors, said. “I look at this as a continuance of our legacy, and I hope our agents are just as proud as I am to join the No. 1 name in international real estate.”

Austin is Texas’ fourth-largest city and has been named numerous times as the “Best City for Jobs” by Forbes Magazine, as well as “Best Big City to Live In” by CNN. More than 110 people move to the city every day according to the City of Austin, making it the fastest-growing large metro area in the country.

“The Austin and Central Texas market is one of the most active in the world, and we are seeing an increase in international interest in the area,” Philip White, president and chief executive officer of Sotheby’s International Realty Affiliates LLC, said. “The addition of such a distinguished agency to our already successful network of affiliates will generate additional referral opportunities for all.”

 

 

Dog Days of Summer: Fat Burning or Just Water Loss?

outdoor-exercise-sweat-heatIt doesn’t take much to break a sweat these days.  Heck, just step out of the car, stand there, and voila!  Add a workout, and the sweats gates flow.

So, here’s the question: Am I burning more fat by sweating so much? Do I lose more weight during these super sweaty workouts?  Or, do the LB’s drop just because of so much sweating? We should give ourselves credit where credit is due, right?

Coming from a fitness background, I suspected I already knew the answer.  What I blissfully forgot is how complicated it is to figure out a simple answer to the body’s complex energy systems. I did not see a super straight forward chart, formula or explanation (for the bullet point junkies like myself), but here are a few of the highlights.

Short workouts in higher temperatures have little effect on our metabolic rate.  Translation- exercising in the heat does not increase our metabolism.  Bummer.  (Trent Jones & The American Dietetic Association have way more scientific information on LiveStrong.com if you are interested.)hydration_fluid_recovery_training_exercise_sports_chiropractic_chiropractor_running_rehabilitation

2) Prolonged workouts in the heat will increase our core body temperature which will raise our metabolism.  The body is working twofold here.  It is trying to cool itself (expending energy) AND it is trying to complete the workout (expending more energy).  Translation- prolonged exercise in the heat does increase our metabolism.  Yeah!  BUT, increasing our core temperature is harmful to our organs, etc, Darn.Increasing the internal temperature by 3 degrees Fahrenheit increases our base metabolic rate by more than 20%…like having a fever. (Trent Jones Article on LiveStrong.com)

Exercising in the heat is more taxing to the body because of the added effort to cool itself.  Exercising in the heat increases the use of carbohydrates and stored muscle fuel and decreases the fat burning (because of the higher intensity).  (Sweat Science from Runnersworld.com/weight-loss) Double darn.

So, where does this leave us?  Slower, Fatter and Sweatier?  Maybe not. Here are some tips to deal with the heat.

5 FIXES TO AVOID FAKE FAT BURNING
Woman is engaged aqua aerobics in water

1. Drink water before, during & after you workout.  Mitigate dehydration so your weigh-ins are accurate.

2. Acclimate & take breaks.  Your body can get used to the heat but, give it time.  Start with short workouts. Take breaks.

3. Let Mother Nature help out.  Exercise in  the morning.  Find shade.

4. Take a page from the gardeners and campers handbooks.  Wear protective clothing. Use sunscreen.  Hats do help and, so do cooling bandannas.

5. Take a page from the triathletes handbook.  Try a water workout.

Beat the heat & Burn the fat! and, HAVE FUN.

Joan holds a Masters Degree in Biomechanics and Bachelors Degree in Exercise Science.  Prior to her career in Real Estate, Joan spent many years as a fitness professional.

 

Shop like a local

consuelaWonder where Austinites go to shop for unique one of a kind gifts?  Keep reading!

I recently discovered Consuela at 910 Congress for very unique purses, and bags of all sorts. All designed locally and made in Mexico.  When I am looking for something made by local artists and I don’t know what I want, it’s Parts and Labour on South Congress.  Their ever changing inventory is wonderful.  Need something for a quirky antique lover? Uncommon Objects on South Congress has repurposed antiques, jewelry, and art.  Then there is Toy Joy on Second Street with toys for both children and adults. Relive your childhood, buy a fun party favor, go to just laugh.

consuela2

 

When you want one of those Mexican Saint candles, City General Store, located on East 7th has the best selection I have seen.  You can also shop for piñatas on East Cesar Chavez at either Raquel’s Party Land or Pinata Party Palace.

Need tunes or books?  Waterloo Records at 6th and Lamar has music you won’t find at a big box store. The same can be said of Book People (same corner) with a wonderful selection of books by local authors as well as books not readily found at the national chain stores.

And finally, although not for gifts per se, when you need a costume there is no place like Lucy in Disguise with Diamonds on South Congress.  Really, take a field trip there, you won’t be disappointed.  The last time we went for fun my husband decided he had to have an American flag bandana with long locks hanging from it. Guess he misses the “old” days!

Have a ball shopping.

Lori

Confessions of a Consignment Store Junkie

Blain Slattery – Home Consignment Center’s “Sales Superstar”

Blain Slattery – Home Consignment Center’s “Sales Superstar”

Anyone who knows me knows that I am obsessed with consignment stores. I love the thrill of the hunt for the perfect accessories for my home. My heart skips a beat when I find an eclectic piece that with a story of far-away places and hidden secrets.  And, most of all, I love getting a great deal!

Clients always ask me, where they should go and what should they shop for at consignment stores. Today, I went to one of my favorite consignment shops, Home Consignment Centers in the Arbor Walk. Blain Slattery, “Sales Superstar,” is one of the great salespeople with an incredible eye for design who showed me some of the best pieces in the store that day.

My first tip is to go with an open mind. If you are looking for something in particular, like a hounds tooth ottoman, you probably won’t find it, but if you’re just looking for an ottoman, you have a pretty good chance. Another rule of thumb with consignment stores is you have to go back often. The store is constantly changing its inventory. Also, if you find something you like, put it on hold! If you don’t, it will probably be gone tomorrow. I always take photos of the spaces I want to decorate and let the sales people help me out. Just like Blain, they know where the best stuff is and most of them have great taste.

One final tip, always ask if they can come down on the price. Depending on how long the item has been there, the prices may be negotiable.

Here are some of the incredible pieces Blain helped me find today:

 

Lions, tigers and bears – oh my!

AustinZoo1 A little known attraction in Austin, but worthy of greater attention, is the Austin Zoo. Although not greatly advertised around town, the Austin Zoo is home to many of the same animals found in traditional zoos. What makes the Austin Zoo even more special is its intimate environment and the fact that all animals are rescues. The Austin Zoo houses big animals such as lions, tigers, bears, and wolves, while also housing smaller animals such as monkeys and a variety of birds. Peacocks and other fowl roam freely around the zoo to the delight of all. There is even a feeding corral to actively participate in caring for the animals by feeding them for a small additional fee. Children of all ages will love this quaint zoo which offers a train ride around the zoo and into the hill country, free strollers for use while exploring the grounds, and educational centers focusing on animal welfare and awareness.

AustinZoo2

Recently, I was able to visit the Austin Zoo on a beautiful Saturday morning with a special little man in my life. The animals were easily visible for all ages and sizes and the zoo is easy to navigate. The train ride was a big hit, as was the petting corral.  Also, you can take your own food. There are picnic tables under the trees. This is a wonderful way to keep your kids entertained, at least for 1 day this  summer.

We had a great time and will be back soon!

Austin Water Fun

All photos: Texas River School

Photo courtesy: Texas River School

Ok, it’s getting hot, but there are so many activities which include getting wet here you can still stay cool.

  • Rent a canoe, kayak, swan paddle boat, sail boat, or stand up paddle board on Lady Bird Lake. Make sure you check out their payment policies and hours of operations.

    • Zilker Park Boat Rentals for canoes or kayaks

    • Capital Cruises for swan boats, canoes, kayaks and paddle boards

    • Texas Rowing  for Kayaks, canoes and paddle boards

    • Austin Sailboat for sailboats

  • Go for a swim in one of our natural ponds and pools

    Barton Springs Pool

    Barton Springs Pool

    • Hamilton Pool is a natural blue hole

    • Barton Springs Pool at Zilker Park is spring fed and stays around 70 degrees

    • Near by Wimberly has a lovely park and spring fed swimming hole called Blue Hole

    • New Braunfels has wonderful Landa Park on the Comal River with a spring fed pool, a regular pool and lots of activities such as miniature golf.

  • Swim at one of Austin’s public pools.  Find one near you at www.austintexas.gov/pools

  • Go for a hike on the Barton Creek Greenbelt.  If you begin at the Loop 360 South & MoPac entrance you are close to both Twin Falls and Sculpture Falls, both with enough water to cool off after a short hike. Find a map of the greenbelt at www.texasoutside.com/bartoncreekgreenbelt

Stay cool!

Lori Galloway

Austin X Games Rocked It So Many Ways

Leave it to Austin to show the X Games a whole new level of rush! Not only were the crowds record-setting but the entertainment factor was beyond expectation! Austin blended the best of the X Games, Live Music, a Festival Vibe & an Amusement Park.  Seeing the athletes alone would have been awesome.  They are so fast, so strong & fly so high.  It’s insane how many tricks they throw out.  Add to that the live music that at the COTA amphitheater & the DJ’s workin’ their groove on stages set up around the venue and, you have Austin’s Live Music scene meets X Games.  Here’s the kicker, Austin didn’t stop there.  There was a festival of local food, venders, craft beer, big wheel races, social media extravaganza & an entire wing devoted to kids’ activities. I left wanting more!

Here are a few of the highlights…

BMX Street

BMX Street

BMX2

BMX Street

Big Air Skateboard

Big Air Skateboard

Aaron Homoki aired out into the crowd (translation- he jumped his skateboard over the fence & landed on the pavement in the middle of the crowd) Super sick! (translation - very cool)

Aaron Homoki aired out into the crowd (translation- he jumped his skateboard over the fence & landed on the pavement in the middle of the crowd) Super sick! (translation – very cool)

Future X gamers practice grounds

Future X gamers practice grounds

Future X gamers practice grounds

Future X gamers practice grounds

Super Car

Super Car

Ready, set, mechanical bull ride!

Ready, set, mechanical bull ride!

 

 

 

 

 

2014 Kitchen Trends

 

203 Brooks Hollow

203 Brooks Hollow

2014 has been a big year for kitchens! As the heart of the home, it is important to keep up with the trends especially if you are considering selling!

 

Replace your White with Grey:

White is still the top selling cabinetry color but is now closely followed by grey. Going with a lighter grey tone warms up the room just a bit and is still just as functional and transformative as white.

2610 Chalk Knoll Cove

2610 Chalk Knoll Cove

Clean lines:

Hardware is disappearing/becoming more streamlined and people are finding new ways to create functionality in the kitchen. Hydraulic and push open/close cabinets are becoming widely popular and are perfect for kitchens with a space issue.

7701 Sandia Loop

7701 Sandia Loop

Pops of Color in unexpected places:

Adding color to your kitchen makes it more unique and fun and gives it that “wow factor”. Sinks are now going from basic white or stainless steel to more colorful hues. A colorful sink, back splash, light fixture, etc. are all great ways to put a little bit of color pop in an otherwise neutral kitchen.

904 Josephine St.

904 Josephine St.

Bold Lighting Fixtures:

Large and unexpected lighting fixtures are on the rise. These create a sense of drama and bring a sense depth into the space. This is a very simple update to any kitchen!

8041 Carlton Ridge Cove

8041 Carlton Ridge Cove

Commercial Grade all the way:

Bigger is Better. Commercial Grade appliances are currently all the rage. They work more efficiently and can handle a lot more than regular residential appliances.

203 Canyon Rim

203 Canyon Rim

Mixing and Matching Counter Tops:

Different counter tops are becoming more and more prevalent. It makes the space more interesting and brings definition to the space. It can be as simple as making the center island a contrasting color from the perimeter counter spaces.

8400 Bellancia

8400 Bellancia

Flexible Palette:

When building your dream kitchen keep in mind that choosing neutrals allows you more room to change the look of your kitchen in the future. If you go too far in one direction you are pretty much stuck with that look forever.

6 Drifting Wind Run

6 Drifting Wind Run

Where gossip is concerned, Austin is still a small town

business conversationsI do not have enough fingers and toes to count the number of times I have been standing in line at the grocery checkout counter, movie theater, or at coffee somewhere when I have overheard a conversation about real estate.  It is exciting and in some cases, life changing to buy or sell a home.  You naturally want to tell your friends about the happy news.  Here’s my advice:  DO NOT tell anyone other than your attorney, CPA, or real estate agent about the details of your transaction until you have closed.

Here’s the problem. If the agent on the other side of the transaction happens to overhear your conversation that agent is obligated to tell his or her client any information that would benefit them.  Conversations such as “we’ve asked for $5,000 in repairs but I love the house so much we’ll buy it even if they say no.” or “We’re asking $300,000 but we’ll take $285,000” can harm you during negotiations.  What agent is going to recommend their client do repairs or offer more than they heard you would take? Not one. Remember, even another agent in their office might hear you and tell everyone what they heard. Big cities are small towns when it comes to gossip.

Sure, tell them about your new home’s features or the fact you are leaving the neighborhood, but leave all the details out of your conversation until you have closed the transaction, then you can tell the whole happy story, including your good experience with your great agent.

Buying and selling a home is stressful but fun.  Make sure to keep it that way.