Wheatesville... Under Construction ... But Still A Favorite

This is my favorite Austin grocery store, Wheatsville Co-Op on Guadaloupe, just north of the University. Yes, yes, in Austin we do have the famed Whole Foods Flagship downtown that is seriously...the most beautiful grocery store on earth...and I go there occasionally. BUT my favorite place to grocery shop is here at Wheatsville. It's a small store with that friendly, hometown feel, full of yummy, natural products to fuel yourself on. It's a true co-op, and by paying the annual "ownership" fee, you can be an owner too. Owners get lots of special coupons and savings, as well as a monthly newspaper that again...has that warm fuzzy feeling. Non-owners pay an additional % on their bill Produce at Wheatsville is super fresh and comes from local growers whenever possible. They carry farm fresh eggs. Their wine department is also on the upswing offering an eclectic collection of good wines at good prices. I love that it never takes me more than 3 minutes to walk from my car in the parking lot to the front door...unlike the mega grocery store's whose parking lots are bigger than the stores themselves. If you have kids, there is also the bonus of little mini shopping carts. My little girl loves getting her own shopping cart (located at front of the store, to the left when you walk in) and filling it with her favorite foods. Wheatesville is in the middle of a renovation, but don't let that deter you, this is a wonderful place to shop. Also to fall in love with are their smoothies and deli items at the back of the store. Located at 3101 Guadalupe, in Hyde Park, North of the University.


East Austin Continues to Foster Its Creative Community

This is a recent mural turning up in East Austin, completed by the artist collective Trust Your Hustle. The mural is located on the west wall of longtime blues music venue Victory Grill on E. 11th St. The mural pays homage to Austin’s own soul queen Lavelle White along with other Austin blues music pioneers Johnny Holmes, founder of Victory Grill, and Roosevelt “Grey Ghost” Williams, first musician Holmes booked for the venue. Trust Your Hustle is a touring collective of artists who join forces with local artists all over the country to create murals. …kinda cool that they chose Austin. !

East Austin has longtime been a community playing safe harbor to thriving artists and artist communities by providing low priced real estate, urban “inspiring” spaces, rich culture, and a super convenient distance to downtown and the rest of central Austin. Even with the rapid gentrification of East Austin (and rapidly sky-rocketing real estate prices), many artist communities remain there actively enriching the community with their work.

The East Austin Studio Tour (E.A.S.T.) is a 2 day event occurring each fall, this year scheduled for November 22nd and 23rd. This is a self-directed tour includes over 100 studios and 200 local artists holding open houses to present and sell their work. Free copies of the studio tour map are available at the studios. Bike transportation between the studios is highly encouraged…and by far the most convenient option anyway.

Another East Austin art program is the PUMP Project whose 30-something members work out of a single complex thus providing affordable work space and camaraderie to the artists. Gallery hours are Wednesday to Saturday 1-5.

Many other collective studio spaces are available for rent such as 501 Studios at I-35 and E. 5th Street. If you are looking to buy, there are new construction live/work spaces…but those go fast and there aren’t any currently on the market (although I have heard of a few underway). If you are patient and have cash, there are great resale properties that come (and go) on the market in East Austin that would serve as excellent artist studios.


Thursday is 99 cent day at SAVERS

If you are a little bit thrifty and you subscribe to the idea of reusing and conserving in this age of mass consumerism --- then you gotta go to Savers. Savers is the department store of thrift stores, two locations in Austin (Burnet & North Loop, South Lamar & Hwy 70). Thursdays is the best day to go when they designate one color of tag throughout the store as 99 cents. ...and you can walk out of there with some seriously great finds like brand new tennis shoes for the kids, a television, or some groovy boots for yourself. Plus, shopping at Savers teaches our kids to reuse and conserve...which is the best message of all.


DinoLand Adventures

Do not be afraid. This T-Rex is not real. It was opening weekend of "DinoLand" at Zilker Botanical Gardens this weekend...and we went with the kiddos and some friends (who also had kiddos). I have to say, I really wouldn't recommend going to this exhibit if you DIDN'T have kiddos. There were kiddos and babies everywhere.
The dinos are nestled among the gardens and peak out every now and then. No dramatic effects...just life size dinosaurs. There was a pretty cool "DinoMan" show in the rose garden that was entertaining, but a little too advanced for our tots who are still preschool age. If you have grade school age kids, I would definitely try and make that. Overall, a nice way to spend a few hours in the Botanical Gardens with your fam...especially since it's almost entirely shaded.
Note on the parking situation: We were quite fearful about parking and therefore we took the bus...but in the end...the parking wasn't bad at all...and the bus was pretty annoying...so I would recommend you drive and park. Two large parking lots are dedicated to the event.