A Designer’s Paradise

Among the many things Austin has to offer is a vast number of design firms and really talented independent designers.  It’s no secret that Austin is full of creatives, but let us delve into a little bit of what our great city has to offer.

Zocalo Design and Advertising – Zocalo is one of my favorite firms in Austin.  They create everything from web pages to packaging to identities for companies.  Zocalo’s clients have included The Austin Film Festival, KLRU and and Uchi.  My personal favorite is the environmental  graphics they do for stores.  Check them out at the the Zocalo website under environments.

Ranch RoadRanch Road is a creative solutions company based out of Austin.  They boast a lengthy client list that includes companies from 3M to Howdy Honda to Sweet Leaf Tea.  Ranch Road offers graphic design, digital printing, marketing solutions and personalized URL campaigns.  They are a one stop shop for getting your business or company’s name out there.  But mostly I enjoy the brilliant work their designers have done.  Check out the Ranch Road portfolio here.lodo

Envision Creative Group – Lastly I have to mention Envision Creative Group.  Handling everything from signage to logos to custom Powerpoint templates, Envision caters to clients like Amy’s Ice Cream and the Texas Culinary Academy.  Here is a sample of a logo they did for Let Them Eat Cupcakes. I think this logo is beautiful and memorable – everything a logo should be!

Basically Austin is a hotbed for super talented creatives.  Their amazing work can be seen all over town, at the businesses I mentioned earlier and more. Next time you see a logo or sign or brochure you like, find out who designed it. You may want to check out the designers other work, and you never know when YOU may want to hire a design firm for yourself.



Austin’s Park and Pizza

So this may be a random suggestion for fall, but today’s cold weather actually reminded me of another place in Austin that I LOVE – Austin’s Park and Pizza!  Last year my boyfriend and I went one night in November.  It was about 45 degrees outside, but we braved the cold and went putt-putt golfing on the course at Austin’s.  We would have done the batting cages, but they were closed for the night. Despite having to wear gloves to keep from getting frost bitten fingers, we had SO much fun.


Austin’s is a great place to go with friends to feel like you are a kid again.  They have free arcade games, games you play to win tickets (yay, prizes!), go kart racing, mini-golf, batting cages and more.  Show your college ID on Thursdays and get in for half price.

I would recommend eating before you go, though.  The pizza isn’t that great, and eating buffet at a place were kids are running around all over the place is not the most sanitary thing…


‘Tis the season

Ok, so the holiday season has officially arrived.  Today is Thanksgiving and for the next month or so people will spend a large amount of their time shopping for Christmas presents, planning holiday travel and family arrangements and decorating homes and apartments in festive holiday decor.

Yet as fun as all those things may be, one of the things I love the most about holidays is the charitable spirit that seems to fill the air.  I think around this time people really think about how thankful they are for what they have, so the desire to give to the less fortunate kicks in to high gear.  For the homeless in Austin today, among the many efforts to get a thanksgiving meal to them was Operation Turkey, a program based in Austin that has volunteers make and deliver food to the homeless.  It was started by a Richard Bagdonas following this experience in 2000

That year, I drove to downtown Austin on my way home and handed out the plate of food to a homeless person in a wheelchair on 6th street. He couldn’t say thank you because he was mentally challenged, but the guy next to him said thank you and helped feed it to him. Afterwards I sat and cried in my car. From then on I was hooked.

In 2000, he handed out 2 dinners.  The next year his group handed out 4 dinners, 2 coats and a blanket.  By 2006 they fed over 500 people.

This program is among the many you’ll find based out of Austin centered around giving to the less fortunate during the holiday season.  Orange Santa is a program that provides help for members of the UT Austin community who have special needs during the holiday season by sponsoring a campus-wide toy drive for University employees.  At University United Methodist Church, a program called LoveWorks provides a generous food basket and gifts from Christmas wish lists for families of children with an incarcerated parent.

So, if you are so inclined this holiday season, look up one of these programs and give a little to the less fortunate – whether it be a little of your time or money, extend a hand to those who need it.  Good karma goes a long way.



Ok, so reading Holly’s post made me remember something that I love about Austin – Halcyon!  Now, I am not one much to frequent the downtown area.  I live in Northwest Austin and am not a bar-hopper, so other than the occasional concert, I don’t make it downtown much.  However if there is one place that I am willing to fight traffic and pay a ridiculous parking fee for, it’s Halcyon.


After all, where else do you know that you can make s’mores (WITH a fire, nonetheless) at your table?  Halcyon comes with all the trimmings to make your very own s’mores to go with your coffee, including graham crackers, hershey’s chocolate, marshmallows and your own little fire pit complete with little roasting sticks!  Just thinking about it puts a smile on my face!  It’s a great place to frequent with friends, even if you don’t want to make s’mores.  Their coffee is delicious and there are comfy couches to lounge on.

With the weather getting colder (or at least attempting to on some days) Halcyon is a viable option on nights when you and your friends are trying to figure out something fun (and different) to do.


Peter Pan Mini Golf!

image_712784Ok, so everyone knows that mini-golf makes a great cheap date. It’s a lot of fun, doesn’t cost much and is a nice variation from the traditional dinner date. Peter Pan Mini Golf offers an Austin twist to mini golf with it’s tuxedoed pig and giant orange T-Rex. Hours vary, but Peter Pan is usually open till midnight. The price is $5 for 18 holes or $7 for 36 holes, and with a McDonalds right next store, you couldn’t ask for a cheaper date!


Mount Bonnell

One of the great things about Austin that has captured my heart is how beautiful the city is and the dynamic views it offers. From the skyline view from Barton Creek Mall to the view of the lake from Mount Bonnell, Austin offers a unique beauty not found in many cities. I first discovered Mount Bonnell when I decided to take my parents their for a mother’s day picnic. The family I babysit for told me told me about how beautiful it is, so my parents came down the weekend after mother’s day and we packed a small ice chest with sandwhiches, chips, and sodas and headed down 2222. I think my parents enjoyed their time, though my mom did complain (alot) about all the steps she had to walk up. All in all I would definitely recommend Mount Bonnell as a place to hang out with your favorite people.

— Brittany

Austin Monthly

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