Central Texas News

This month, the Texas Museum of Science and Technology is launching a new, fun program for children under 5 and their caregivers called “Wee-Searchers.” Every 2nd and 4th Wednesday of the month from 9 – 10am, kids will have the chance to learn and explore new topics—from dinosaurs, to mummies, to astronauts, and more! Through play, stories and songs, “Wee-Searchers” will inspire kids to learn about the world around them and kick start their understanding of STEM.


January 11 – Like a Dinosaur
January 25 – Mummies
February 8 – Astronauts
February 22 – Mary, Mary, and their Fabulous Fossil Finds

Future topics will be announced soon. Sessions are free for members and $3 for children who are non-members (caregiver included in price). Tickets may be reserved in advance at www.shop.txmost.org.

Visitor Information

TXMOST hours are Monday – Thursday 10 a.m. – 6 p.m., Friday & Saturday 10 a.m. – 9 p.m. and Sunday 11 a.m. – 6 p.m. Tickets may be purchased online at www.txmost.org or at the box office. Tickets are $18 for adults (18+), $16 for seniors (62+), students (18+ with student ID), and youth (12-17), and $12 for children aged 5-11. Admission price includes all the exhibits as well as the planetarium. Museum members receive unlimited museum visits and free access to special events all year long. To reserve a group visit please contact groups@txmost.org or school groups can contact fieldtrip@txmost.org; or call 512-961-5333. TXMOST is located at 1220 Toro Grande Dr., Cedar Park, TX 78613.

Start 2017 anew and find great solutions and inspiration to tackle those looming home and garden projects at the 19th Annual Austin Home & Garden Show. Turn your home and garden dreams into reality with new ideas, fresh tips, latest products and the hottest home trends January 13-15 at the Austin Convention Center, 500 East Cesar Chavez Street, Austin.

For almost two decades, the Austin Home & Garden Show continues to captivate visitors with expert builders and contractors, celebrity guests, exciting presentations and fun activities for the entire family.  The Austin Convention Center is transformed into a vibrant, colorful home and garden paradise, with thousands of square feet of dazzling displays, interactive demos, and experts in virtually every area of home building, remodeling, landscaping, gardening and wildlife. There are beautiful furnishings, state-of-the-art kitchen ideas, wall design and countertop displays, closet organization and storage, entertainment and technology, the latest in sinks, tubs, fixtures and even pools, spas and outdoor entertaining areas.

For the yard and garden, there are ‘outdoor living’ inspirations, with imaginative landscape displays, unique water features and a wide variety of plants and garden accessories to boost curb appeal.  There will also be outdoor furniture, grills, spas and more. The Garden & Wildlife Stage, will host everything for yards, gardens and hardscapes including the Bamboo Society of Austin, Diamondscape, Inc., Stone Deck and Goodness Grows in Austin.  Make it modular this year with the Modular Showcase where you can tour durable, sustainable container homes. Plus, don’t miss the entertaining and educational Birds of Prey shows.

Whether it’s a small home improvement project or a complete renovation, guests can visit a complete selection of home improvement and expect one-on-one time to consult with expert builders, contractors, remodelers, interior designers and landscapers among others. Some of the top professionals in the industry are available to offer invaluable advice and practical ‘how-tos’ on everything from common topics such as gutters, walls, and flooring to home security, green living, media technology, and the latest on solar energy.

On the Celebrity Stage, the Austin Home & Garden Show is thrilled to host special celebrity guest Alison Victoria of DIY Network’s “Kitchen Crashers”. Alison takes the stage with an entertaining and insightful presentation on kitchen space including planning, lighting, organization and how to give your kitchen a facelift with audience involvement.  The Celebrity Stage will also host Modular Living Experts Stevie Bear & Austin Hedges of Make It Modular with a glimpse at tiny living, improving the functionality of your living space with Dalton Point Construction Owner, Mike Moore, and Built Custom Green Homes’ Dennis Celsor with energy efficient secrets for new homes.

Families can take advantage of fun interactive activities including the Kids Project Zone, featuring COSTCO Kids Activities with movies, coloring, and crafts, Lowe’s Kids Make-N-Take Workshop to activity fun with the Bamboo Society of Austin. Saturday and Sunday the Austin Fire Department will be on hand with kids fire education, coloring books & fire hats. For animal lovers, visit the Pet Zone with pet adoptions by the Human Society of Austin. For the shoppers, there is a unique Art, Gift and Gourmet Center with artisan foods and handcrafted gifts, GO TEXAN products and gourmet treats such as jams, dips, pasta and sweet treats.

WHEN: Friday, January 13, 2-7p | Saturday, January 14, 10a-7p | Sunday, January 15, 11a-5p

WHERE: The Austin Convention Center | 500 East Cesar Chavez Street | Austin, TX 78701 www.austinconventioncenter.com

Metered street parking, and nearby City Garages, two garages within a block of entrance.

ADMISSION:      Adults 17+ – $9.50 per person | 16 & Under – Free | Seniors 65+ – $8.50*

Active Duty Military – Free (with ID)

The Austin Home and Garden show accepts credit card, cash or check at the door. Prices are $9.50 for adults (17+), $8.50 for seniors (65+)* all weekend, and free for 16 and under. Admission is also complimentary for all active duty military personnel (valid ID required). For best value, purchase adult tickets in advance, online at www.AustinHomeandGardenShow.com and receive $2 off (2 weeks out and earlier).  *No further discounts applied to senior admission. Receive $1 off discount coupon at www.ShowTechnology.com or www.AustinHomeandGardenShow.com.  At the door, receive $1 off adult admission with a donation of canned good(s) which will be donated to the Capital Area Food Bank of Texas. In addition, free totes and sunflower seeds are available for all attendees while supplies last.



The 19th Annual Austin Home & Garden Show is sponsored by Spectrum, KKMJ, KVUE and the Austin American-Statesman.

Austin Shakespeare hosts an afternoon of free Story Reading & Singing with Austin Shakespeare for adults and children ages 3 and up at the new Brentwood Social House with stories such as “The Emperor’s New Clothes” and the “Three Little Pigs” performed by professional actors. Brentwood Social House is a recently opened coffee/tea shop serving English and French baked goods with a welcoming backyard and family room. Austin Shakespeare actors include Jill Blackwood, Helen Merino, Janelle Buchanan and Linda Nenno.




Located at 1601 West Koenig Lane in the heart of Austin’s Brentwood neighborhood, Brentwood Social House is open daily serving quiches, savory pies, tarts, scones and more.  Co-owned by Suzanne Daniels (manager) and Sarah Olano (baker), Brentwood Social House is not only a coffee shop, but a community space with free WiFi and multiple well-placed nooks: a main room with tables that seat two to many, a family room and play area filled with toys and books, a quiet room and a large outdoor patio and garden.  Open 7 am to 6 pm, Monday through Sunday.

January 28 – February 5, 2017
Saturdays and Sundays at 2 p.m.

At the Rollins Studio Theatre at the Long Center for the Performing Arts   701 W. Riverside Drive, Austin, TX  78704

Tickets range from $10.50 – $13.50. Tickets may be purchased online by visiting http://www.pollyannatheatrecompany.org.

Discounts are available for groups of 10 people or more, and financial aid is available for families who need it. For more information, call (512) 743-7966 or email pollytheatre@gmail.com.

Central Texas’ most well-known children’s theatre company, Pollyanna Theatre, a resident company of the Long Center for the Performing Arts, presents The Thing in Grandma’s Closet by Jonathan Graham. This new play, best suited for children ages 7-11, opens January 28 – February 5 at the Rollins Studio Theatre at the Long Center for the Performing Arts, 701 West Riverside, Austin, TX  78704.

The Thing in Grandma’s Closet tells the story of Nick and Ally, whose grandma has recently passed away. As they clean her house, the downer of a day becomes much more interesting when they discover a mysterious contraption tucked away in a closet. Is it another one of the eccentric former science teacher’s failed inventions, or something she hoped they would find? The siblings put aside their petty squabbles and work together so that they and their mother can reconnect with their grandma and move forward from their loss. Through the action of the play, both Nick and Ally learn that there are many reasons to admire their grandmother that they never knew about. The siblings learn that their grandmother was a very successful scientist who overcame great obstacles to achieve her career in a day when women were not encouraged to love science and math.

“For me, the play is about the interplay between grief and memory,” says playwright Jonathan Graham. “Writing it was an act of resistance to that all-too-human tendency to not fully appreciate the complexity of those we love until they are gone. It was also inspired by my own mother and mother-in-law who are my kids’ quirky and wonderful grandmas.”

This play also speaks to the importance of empowering girls to pursue their dreams and interests no matter what they may be. Director Judy Matetzschk-Campbell says, “The Thing in Grandma’s Closet is a great way to look at how far we have come, but also, to take stock in how far we have to go. I hope it can spark conversations about the struggles that young girls are still facing in regards to societal expectations and gender roles.”

As with all Pollyanna Theatre productions, the cast is comprised of adult, professional actors, including:

Nick – Chase Brewer
Ally – Uyen-Anh Dang
Grandma – Bethany Harbaugh
Mom – Jess Hughes

Parents, teachers and caregivers can download a free study guide to accompany the production by visiting http://www.pollyannatheatrecompany.org/teachers/lesson-plans/. The guide contains an overview of the play, educational objectives and pre/post discussion questions and activities.

In addition to public performances, The Thing in Grandma’s Closet is also available for schools and camps throughout Central Texas.

Frost invites families to come to the Austin-area Frost financial centers for a little holiday cheer and photos with a special guest: Santa Claus. Guests can enjoy holiday cookies and drinks in a festive holiday setting while kids get a chance to visit with Santa. Kids will also get a candy cane and can pose for pictures with St. Nick. Families are encouraged to bring their cameras to capture this special holiday moment.

The visits from Santa are an annual holiday tradition at Frost, where dedication to the community has been part of the culture since the company began in 1868.

From 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 10th

Tarrytown Financial Center
2425 Exposition Boulevard
Austin, Texas 78703

Cedar Park Financial Center
1450 E. Whitestone Boulevard
Cedar Park, Texas 78613

East 7th Financial Center
2421 East 7th Street
Austin, Texas 78702

Lake Travis Financial Center
12532 FM 2244 Road
Bee Cave, Texas 78738

Tech Ridge Financial Center
605 Canyon Ridge Drive
Austin, Texas 78753

All events are free and open to the public.

Mondo Gallery’s final show of 2016 will be Devoted To Beloved Nickelodeon Classics!

Mondo will hold a special Family Day on Saturday, December 10, from 10am – NOON, featuring a Slime Building Workshop with Mad Science of Austin, face painting, photo booth, coffee and donuts, and more!

rockos-modern-life_dave-perilloMondo Gallery announced the new one-week poster show highlighting iconic Nickelodeon properties that will include gorgeous prints for The Ren & Stimpy Show, SpongeBob SquarePants, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Rocko’s Modern Life, Aaahh!!! Real Monsters and Avatar. Featured artists will include Florian Bertmer, Dave Perillo, Francesco Francavilla, Rosemary Valero-O’Connell, Sachin Teng, Ciro Nieli, Sara Kipin and Janice Chu.
The opening reception, free and open to the public, will be held on Friday, December 9, from 7:00 10:00pm at the Mondo Gallery in Austin, TX (4115 Guadalupe St). The show will run through Saturday, December 17.
Mondo Creative Director Mitch Putnam said “Nickelodeon was a huge part of my childhood. It represented everything cool and rebellious, and parents didn’t know anything about it. We worked with a number of great artists to pay homage to some of the channel’s most influential programming. We hope you have as much fun seeing it as we had making it.
Thrilled to be part of the Nickelodeon show with Mondo.  I grew up watching Nickelodeon when my family first got cable in the early ’80s, with shows like Pinwheel and You Can’t Do That on Television. Always wanted to get slimed for saying ‘I don’t know?’ or food poisoning from Barth’s Burgery,” said artist Dave Perillo.

Celebrate the holidays with the whole family and join Tapestry Dance Company with this Austin-tatious rhythm tap and jazz spin on the beloved yuletide story, The Nutcracker.

This Tapestry tradition which premiered to rave reviews and standing ovations last season, OF MICE AND MUSIC unites the company’s professional dancers with the rising stars of its pre-apprentice youth company Visions in Rhythm and the children, youth and adults who study with its dance academy to share a love for rhythm and movement that only Tapestry Dance Company can bring to the stage!

OF MICE AND MUSIC: A Jazz Tap Nutcracker is performed to a jazzed up version of the original Tchaikovsky score and beloved jazz classics. This delightfully entertaining musical score is played live with some of the Austin’s best jazz musicians including Masumi Jones on drums,  Austin Kimble on piano and Michael Stevens on bass.

Tapestry Artistic Director and National Tap Hall of Famer, Acia Gray takes the “Drosselmeyer” role from the original story as Ms. Bon Marche, a dance diva who introduces little Clara to a world of dance by giving her a pair of TAP SHOES and the journey begins with the Mouse King and his powerful style of contemporary rhythm tap leads an army of tapping mice in their battle against The Nutcracker.

Of course the traditional second act solos, including Spanish, Chinese and Russian, are brought into the world of contemporary movement and tap dance along with tap classics such as the infamous “Walk Around” by Tony Award winning choreographer Charles “Honi” Coles, reworked into a new take on “Snow.”

If you’re looking for something Chrstmas’y with a touch of modern this season, look no further than Tapestry’s production “Of Mice & Music”! – The Austin American Statesman

Best of all, it’s only an hour long that leaves you time to go shopping for those tap shoes!

OF MICE & MUSIC – A Jazz Tap Nutcracker! will be at The Long Center / Rollins Theatre December 8th – 18th 2016 (possible extension through the 22nd/ (Thurs/Fri/Sat @ 7:30pm, Sat/Sun @ 2:00pm). Get tickets at thelongcenter.org

Local business, Stretch, will open its doors on Friday, December 2 in East Austin to bring a unique, boutique-style yoga studio to the growing neighborhood. A grand opening party will follow at the start of the New Year.

To celebrate the opening and encourage neighbors to try out the studio, Stretch will offer every class, every day for free during the entire month of December.

Stretch has simplified the yoga studio experience by breaking down classes into three types: Stretch, Power Stretch, and Gentle Stretch. Taking place in an intimate setting, each class focuses on the studio’s motto: stretch your body – stretch your mind – stretch your life.

The owner and certified yoga teacher – Kaysha Patel – wanted to provide yoga that is accessible, uplifting, and transformational for all, regardless of experience.

“In my experience as a yoga teacher, I’ve found that people who have never or rarely practiced yoga but aspire to practice, are either intimidated by classes that are too traditional or not interested in classes that are just a workout,” says Patel, “I wanted to create a space that is a happy and fun medium for anyone, but especially for the “nonyogi”.”

Those wanting to take advantage of the free December classes are encouraged to book online in advance to ensure that they receive a spot since classes will be capped. Amenities include chilled, lavender-infused face towel after class, complimentary coffee and tea bar, and free yoga and towel rentals for members.

Located in the Arnold alongside Royal Blue Grocery and soon-to-be-open Blenders and Bowls, it’ll also be just around the corner from Austin favorites like White Horse, Cuvee Coffee and Zilker Brewing Company and Taproom.

For more information or to book your class, visit http://www.stretchyogatx.com.
Facebook: /stretchyogatx
Instagram: @stretchyogastudio

steamboatresorts_logoSteamboat Resorts by Wyndham Vacation Rentals is Steamboat’s largest vacation rental management company, offering the widest selection of lodging options available in the mountain village as well as expert vacation planning services. With the most highly requested vacation properties in Steamboat’s most popular mountainside locations, we have the ideal accommodation for every traveler. Our commitment to professional management, attention to detail and friendly local staff is what sets us apart from the competition and has made us a guest favorite for over 25 years. Our staff provides service second to none at our lodge locations with the hopes of providing each guest with a truly memorable “Steamboat experience”. Leave all the details to our team to ensure a relaxing Steamboat vacation… so you can simply enjoy the experience.

steamboatresorts_2Whether you are looking for a romantic getaway or a fun family vacation, Wyndham Vacation Rentals will meet your needs at one of our spectacular resort destinations. Visit steamboatresorts.com or call 888-795-6533 and let our trained reservationists help book your entire vacation. Let them assist you with lodging, airfare, car rentals, airport shuttles, discounted equipment rentals and more!

Disclosure: By making this post I have been entered into a contest for a trip.

The annual four-week holiday arts and shopping event, Blue Genie Art Bazaar, (BGAB) returns for its 16th year on November 25th, opening at 10 a.m. This year the Bazaar brings 11,000 square feet of one-of-a-kind handmade gifts to a new home at 6100 Airport Boulevard, across from the ACC Highland Campus. The Bazaar has moved to a former warehouse just blocks from its longtime location at the Marchesa Hall and Theatre, giving BGAB a space to call home for years to come and utilize for a range of creative programming throughout the year.

Known for its curated selection of unique, hand-crafted items from more than 200 of the region’s best artisans and craftspeople, the bazaar runs seven days a week from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. (with the exception of December 24th, when it closes at 6 p.m.).

And there’s more than shopping, on the evenings and weekends the Bazaar will host live music and special presentations. See website for a full event schedule.

All items featured at the Bazaar are handmade and designed by some of Austin’s favorite artisans. These include paintings, photography, prints, sculptures, jewelry, clothing, glassworks, and more. BGAB is an ideal place to find “Austin-tatious” gifts, from the stunning designs of Ornamental Things, to handmade stoneware by Little e Pottery, to pop culture poster art by Tim Doyle of Nakatomi, Inc.

On “Make-A-Wish Mondays,” BGAB donates 10 percent of that day’s profits to the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Central & South Texas. Last year, BGAB raised nearly $6,000 for the foundation.

“We’re excited about our new home which is even easier to get to — just steps from the Highland Metro Rail Station and free parking. It’s a new backdrop, yet the same holiday shopping and discovery experience we are known for,” said Dana Younger, BGAB co-founder.

BGAB offers free admission, free parking, and a hassle-free shopping environment.

Founded in 2001 by the principals at Blue Genie Art Industries, the Bazaar has grown from a small East Austin gathering to one of the city’s most beloved holiday traditions. “Whether your budget is large or small, you’ll find something – for yourself, for your best friend, or for that impossible-to-shop-for relative,” says Kevin Collins, BGAB co-founder.


Calling all Pokémon trainers! The Long Center invites you to reach a new level this winter—Pokémon: Symphonic Evolutions is headed to Austin. After sold-out performances around the globe, Texas fans will have the opportunity to experience the evolution of the Pokémon franchise on January 7 at 7:30 p.m.

Tickets to POKÉMON: SYMPHONIC EVOLUTIONS are $29, $39, $49, $59, $69, and $89. Tickets are available today and may be purchased through the Long Center’s 3M Box Office by calling (512) 474-5664, or online at TheLongCenter.org.

POKÉMON: SYMPHONIC EVOLUTIONS is the must-see video game concert of the year for longtime fans and newcomers of all ages! A variety of Pokémon moments unfold throughout the performance in an exciting cinematic presentation synced with the video game’s action-packed, fun-filled music played live by a symphony orchestra. In addition to the show, the concert offers a great opportunity to meet up with friends to catch, battle and trade Pokémon from numerous beloved games. Plus, $1 of each ticket goes to supporting arts education programs.

The concert’s all-new orchestral arrangements and carefully timed visuals draw from recent and classic Pokémon video games including:

  • Pokémon Red and Pokémon Blue
  • Pokémon Yellow
  • Pokémon Gold and Pokémon Silver
  • Pokémon Crystal
  • Pokémon Ruby and Pokémon Sapphire
  • Pokémon Emerald
  • Pokémon Diamond and Pokémon Pearl
  • Pokémon Platinum
  • Pokémon Black and Pokémon White
  • Pokémon X and Pokémon Y

POKÉMON: SYMPHONIC EVOLUTIONS is a spectacular showcase of the memorable music that has been a hallmark of the Pokémon franchise for nearly 20 years,” said J.C. Smith, director of Consumer Marketing at The Pokémon Company International. “The concert series serves as a thank you to fans and an invitation to share our passion for Pokémon by reliving some of our fondest memories with the brand. We look forward to seeing fans of all ages enjoying this very special Pokémon orchestral event together.”

Experience the epicenter of Pokémon activity January 7—it’s never too late to catch ‘em all!

Tickets are available at TheLongCenter.org or by calling (512) 474.LONG (5664). Also available at the Long Center’s 3M Box Office located at 701 West Riverside Drive at South First Street.  For groups of 10 or more, please call 512-457-5161 or groupsales@thelongcenter.org.

Halloween is the #1 holiday in this house. What better way to celebrate and share the love of Halloween with your neighbors than a Ghostbusters themed “Boo It Forward” kit!

We just started this new  family tradition this year with our friends and think it is a wonderful idea to share with others.

The tradition of “Booing your Neighbor” has been around for several years now and it has really grown in popularity as a fun, safe, family-oriented activity. It’s also known as “Ghosting” or “Boo-gramming.”  People would put together a home decorated bag of treats including a note with instructions on how to “boo” and a poem and deliver it anonymously to their neighbor, friend or relative. The recipient would then have 48 hours to do it to their next door neighbor or friend which creates a chain throughout the neighborhood.

As an added twist this year we included a blue ray of Ghostbusters! How cute is that?

booitforwardkit3It’s simple… you simply decorated bag of treats including a note with instructions on how to “boo” and a poem or use this printable kit here. Go to a neighbor, friend or relative’s house and deliver it anonymously. The recipient will now have 48 hours to do it to their next door neighbor or friend which creates a chain throughout the neighborhood.


mars_booit2016_desktopWe are going to enjoy watching Ghostbusters® Halloween night after tric-or-treating, which is available on Blu-ray and DVD in stores including Walmart!

Disclosure: I received the Boo It Forward kit as my compensation for this post.