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Contents nov em ber

74 On the Cover from the heart Lynn Meredith—At home wherever she finds herself. By Deborah Hamilton-Lynne / Photographed by Ryann Ford

82 Feature setting the stage How to get more bang for your buck in the current housing market. By Katy MacIntosh / Photographed by Rudy Arocha 9


48 Arts

nov em ber

Build your collection at the annual East Austin Studio Tour.

Mixed media piece by Court Laurie.

on the scene


opposite sex

22 5 things you must do this month

50 what’s in store Modern Danish style comes to Second Street.

online dating detective.

24 around town 28 spotlight event Chuy’s Christmas Parade.

30 philanthropy A Christmas Affair. 32 Horoscopes Happy birthday, Scorpio.

must list

52 guilty pleasure Sink into sumptuous sheets.

90 simply irresistible Meet Citizen Generation’s top bachelor, Zack Brockman.

54 collector spotlight Joyce Howell

92 memo from JB The truth hurts.

comes to the Workman Gallery.

gourmet 58 home cooking Create a bountiful

34 editor picks

holiday meal.

36 current chic Green with envy.

62 girl walks into a bar Sip Mezcal

38 accessories Strike gold for the holiday season.

40 beauty Pucker up for rich red hues. 42 getaway Shop in film-friendly Smithville.

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88 relationships Become your own

at Bar Ilegal.

to your health 70 fitness Workout from home with pro tips. 72 wellness Treat yourself to more this holiday season.

savvy women 96 you should know Architect Emily Little bridges preservation and innovation.

98 all the right questions What to ask before building a home.

100 best kept secret Back Door to the Trade caters to designers.

102 column Party etiquette: Be remembered for the right reasons.

104 last word Open your home for the holidays.






512.345.3223 | 3410 Far West Blvd. Ste. 110 | Austin TX 78731


Co-Founder and Publisher

Melinda Maine Garvey vice president and Co-Publisher

Christopher Garvey Co-Founder

Samantha Stevens Executive Editor

Deborah Hamilton-Lynne editor-at-large

Mary Anne Connolly associate editor

Joelle Pearson contributing editor

Julie Tereshchuk copy editor

Chantal Rice Fashion + Style editor

Erika Cerda Contributors

Rudy Arocha, Julliane Ballou, Rose Bartush, Megan Benski, Nicole Carbon, Elisa Ferrari, Ryann Ford, Adam Fortner, Jordan Golembeski, Jan Goss, JB Hager, Elizabeth James, Chrissie Jarrell, Eric Leech, Katy MacIntosh, Deborah Mastelotto, Molly McManus, Birdie Michaels, Joelle Pearson, Sarah Rigdon, William Russell, Tammy Shaklee, Julie Tereshchuk, Natalie Yerkovich

Model depicted

Art Director

Victoria Millner assistant art director

Adrienne Rosales Account Executives

Nicole Carbon, Katie Lesnick, Kimberly Sanderson, Rachel Willey, 512.328.2421 marketing and operations associate

Marjorie Lee Garretson



Facial Artistry™ Advanced Nurse Injector in Botox Cosmetic and Facial Fillers 15 years experience in cosmetic medicine


Audria Choudhury, Elisa Ferrari, Jordan Golembeski, Lara Grant, Tram-Anh Huynh, Birdie Michaels, Lucy Nicar, Michelle Nokeo, Sarah Pressley, Aundraya Ruse, William Russell, Frances Shaw, Caroline Strand, Kira Taniguchi Favorite spot out of copies?

512.328.2421 • 1213 W. 49th St., Austin, TX 78756

Austin Woman Magazine is a free monthly publication of AW Media Inc. and is available at more than 1,100 locations across Austin and in Lakeway, Cedar Park, Round Rock and Pflugerville. All rights reserved. For submission requirements, contact No part of the magazine may be reprinted or duplicated without permission. For copies of articles, call 512.328.2421.

Giving Thanks for you You have so many responsibilities to manage every day. The people who rely on you the most, love you but don’t always take the time to tell you. Your loved ones are busy too, and well…maybe don’t regularly show you how much you really matter. We want you to know that you matter and the world wouldn’t revolve quite the same way if it weren’t for you. Come in and meet Nurse Kelly or Dr. Maggi and have a consultation on us and treat yourself! Sometimes being a little bit selfish…is a very good thing. Call us today! We would love to meet you. 512-345-3223

Linda D. Georgetown, TX



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An Exclusive new car buying experience specially designed to meet the needs of women. FIAT is a registered trademark of the Fiat Group Marketing & Corporate Communication S.p.A., used under license by Chrysler Group LLC.

From the Editor


ometime around October, the word “home” begins to enter the conversation in most households. We begin making the “Are you coming home for Thanksgiving or Christmas?” phone calls to family members. We pull out boxes and begin to decorate our homes for the holidays. We remember the traditions, the food and the people that make us feel at home. We try to create a space where our friends and families can gather and feel comfortable, to give our houses a “homey feeling.” When we discussed publishing a home issue of AW, we brainstormed many subjects: building, architecture, decorating, staging and remodeling, all of which are included in this issue. The thing that stuck in my mind, though, was an old proverb—“It takes hands to build a house, but only hearts can build a home”—which led me to Lynn Meredith, a woman who understands this proverb as well as anyone I know. The Merediths’ new downtown residence is undoubtedly a luxurious abode, but I wanted to look beyond the obvious bricks and mortar to get to the heart of the home. Our conversation reinforced what I believe about making a house a home. Going from sleeping on a convertible couch in a small apartment to their spacious quarters with a 360-degree view of downtown, the idea of what made the Merediths’ houses home was the same: Create a warm, inviting space where people gather. Create a space where people share ideas, feel respected, appreciated and accepted. Create a space where open house means opening your doors, as well as your hearts. Austin is the city Lynn Meredith calls home, but it’s also the city of her heart. It was also around this time last year that I began a homeward-bound journey back to the Austin Woman family. Christian Morgenstern once said, “Home is not where you live but where they understand you.” With that in mind, I have celebrated coming home to AW and am happy to have the opportunity to share information and ideas each month that enrich not only my life, but also the lives of my extended family—the readers. So, welcome home. We appreciate you joining us month after month and hope that when you pick up your copy of AW, it feels warm, comfortable, open and accepting—like coming home. Please do not miss the Last Word column (p. 104) written by a reader. It gives meaning to the quote on the magazine’s spine that reflects on feeling at home wherever you are. This November, when I give thanks on that crisp fall Thursday, I will be grateful that I have come home in each and every way, and for the people and love that make my house a home. My wish for each of you is that your homecoming is rich and memorable. For next month’s issue, we would like to hear about the best gift you ever gave or received. Perhaps it will be the gift of coming home. We look forward to hearing from you.

deborah hamilton-lynne Executive Editor

Photo by Korey Howell.

“Why would you buy a Used Car from any other Used Car Dealer?”

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Contributors Southern California native Ryann Ford graduated from the Brooks Institute of Photography, then spent three years photographing hotels throughout the world for Resorts & Great Hotels magazine before moving to Austin four years ago. Her favorite part of her job is getting to see so many amazing homes. “I love architecture and interior design as much as I love photography,� she says. Her clients include Better Homes & Gardens, The New York Times and Texas Monthly. When Ryann’s not taking pictures, she can be found shopping at J.Crew or hanging out in the backyard with her chickens and chihuahuas, Mr. Big and Hank. Jan Goss is an agent of change, a positive charge in a negative world. Passionate about restoring respect in the marketplace in America, she founded the Austin School of Protocol in 2007 and launched Civility Consulting in January 2011. She is a certified corporate etiquette consultant, and an expert at taking professionalism to a heart level and finding value in people. She trains in a judgment-free zone to create space for true change. Whiners need not apply. World changers welcome. She is honored to be a part of the Austin Woman team. Adam Fortner is a photo stylist and the owner of Creative & Sons. After a career in the magazine industry, he returned to Austin when he realized he could combine his love of architecture, objects and photography in to a vocation. Several years, many clients and tons of beautiful photos later, he thinks he might be on to something.

On a whim, Molly McManus spread her wings and moved to Austin in 2010 upon graduating from the University of Washington in Seattle. She knew no one, had no job or place to live. Family and friends deeming her crazy, and she worked hard to balance unpaid internships by waiting tables. Beginning at Austin Woman as an editing intern, she is now a regularly featured writer for the magazine, continuing to pursue her dreams of writing and event planning. And yes, she now knows people, has a job and a wonderful apartment she loves to call home.

At Cedar Park Regional Medical Center, growing families can expect more. With amenities like Tempur-Pedic® beds, cozy rocker-recliners and bedside Internet access, you’ll enjoy more comfort and convenience. And with our skilled physicians and compassionate nurses, you’ll experience a higher level of attention and personalized care. To get a firsthand look at our family centered environment, you can tour the Birthing Center on Sundays at 2:30 p.m. on the third floor. For more information, or to find an OB physician, call 512-528-7312 or visit Level II Neonatal Intensive Care Unit opening in early 2012


On the Web



review South Pacific, the Rodgers and Hammerstein classic, makes its Austin debut at the Bass Concert Hall Nov. 8 – 13. Grab a ticket and read the review on

HOME Fall decorating trends straight from the runway. FOOD b ATX Man columnist Tiffany Harelik debuts her Trailer Food Diaries Cookbook in November and we have some of her favorite recipes, including the pork bahn mi from Me So Hungry and Torchy’s Guacamole from Torchy’s Tacos. Don’t miss the November launch party. Nov. 2, 6:30 p.m. at Torchy’s Tacos Trailer Park on South First Street. For more info, visit best of the BLOGS b From AW contributor Shelley Seale, 30 Days at a Time: For 2011, Shelley decided to conduct a series of 30-day lifestyle experiments. Editors’ pick: 30 days of living on a discount: outrageous offers—the craziest deals I have seen. b From AW contributor Andrea Claire, Beauty and the Blog: Nailing the nail trends at home.

JUST Pretend


OVER TOWN. From tantalizing gourmet fare like caviar and smoked fish to filling favorites like premium cheeses and savory deli meats, Spec’s has everything you need to go with our huge selection of wines, spirits, beers and mixers. CHEERS TO SAVINGS

BEST OF THE FESTS b Reviews, scoop and editor picks from the 2011 Austin Film Festival and the Texas Book Festival. THEATER review b A Tuna Christmas, Austin’s favorite holiday comedy returns to the Paramount Theatre Nov. 22 – 27. AW INSIDER SHOPPING TIPS b Get the scoop on what’s hot at The Junior League’s A Christmas Affair event Nov. 17 – 20. PLUS b Complete horoscopes and November calendar.


(512) 280-7400 •

DIGITAL MOUSTACHE Send your Facebook profile picture and get a digital moustache added to display for the month of MOvember.

Cris Mueller

General Manager Austin Cake Ball at the Domain

Attention Ladies: Our fathers, husbands, brothers and sons are under attack! Testicular cancer is the most

common cancer in American males between the ages of 15 and 34 and 1 in 6 men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer in their lifetime. Most cancers are highly curable if caught in the early stages - including prostate and testicular cancer. Join the MOvember Austin team or just get info P.S. Ladies, together we save lives.

Anna Cummins

Owner/Marketing Chick at The Evil Wiener

The MO Sistas pictured here are members of Fabulous Working Ladies of Austin

Miss Maya

Morgan Daily Jackson

Shari’s Fab Lady-in-Training Owner Fabulous Working Ladies The Inn at Wild Rose Hall Event Venue

Susan Tolles

Wife of Prostate Cancer Survivor Flourish Over 50

Tami Weber

Senior Fashion Consultant

Genae Girard

CEO, Corporate Culture Consulting

What can you do to show support? 1. Register your own MoSpace page at 2. Encourage your men to grow a moustache for a month 3. Get your friends to join in and donate 4. Have fun!

Cherie Mathews

Survivor, Creator Heal in Comfort ShirtÂŽ

Darlene Templeton

CEO, Templeton & Assoc. Executive Coach, Speaker & Corporate Escapee

Micki Gram




2011 APP





CALL TODAY! 512.328.2421




on the scene /

5 Things you must do this month The Wine & Food Foundation of Texas’ Ninth Annual Big Reds & Bubbles festival Nov. 17, 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. at the Driskill Hotel A world-class assortment of champagnes, sparkling wines and big reds paired with creations from Austin’s top chefs make the perfect affair to start the holiday season off right. More than a dozen of the city’s hottest restaurants (Barley Swine, Kenichi and Austin Cake Ball) will be serving up a host of appetizers, desserts and samplers. With live music, a silent auction and the prestigious Driskill as a backdrop, this holiday staple event is sure to sell out fast. To register, visit

My Daughter, Myself Adult Workshop with Barb Steinberg Nov. 17 from 7 to 9 p.m. at 2208 Forest Bend Dr. Maintaining a strong relationship with your daughter as she enters adolescence will help her find balance, strength and happiness throughout her life. Join Barb Steinberg, L.M.S.W., for a workshop that focuses on improving communication with preteens and teens. The workshop will cover the biological changes that occur in puberty, distance management in your relationship and new communication techniques that assuage friction. Austin-based Steinberg, a teen life coach and a speaker for GENaustin’s 2011 We Are Girls conference, has been featured on KVUE-TV, KUT News and Fox 7 News as an expert on teen girl issues. To register, visit the Workshops for Adults page at

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Austin Lyric Opera presents The Magic Flute Nov. 5, 11 and 19 at The Long Center for the Performing Arts Austin Lyric Opera will open its 25th anniversary season with the return of the first production the Lyric Opera staged during its inaugural season, Mozart’s The Magic Flute. Original cast members Sally Wolf as the First Lady and Kevin Langan as the Speaker of the Temple return to the stage to give performances as astounding as their debut. This beloved fairy tale features a cast of fantastical creatures, including the Queen of the Night, who delivers what is considered to be the most popular aria in opera history. For tickets, visit

ThunderCloud Subs Turkey Trot Thanksgiving Day, starting at 8:45 a.m. Work up your turkey day appetite with the largest five-mile run in Texas. This year’s 21st Annual ThunderCloud Turkey Trot begins at the South First Street bridge and traverses along a path near The Long Center and Lady Bird Lake. People of all ages and activity levels are encouraged to participate in this year’s event. Organizers offer a timed and untimed five-mile run, a one-mile walk and a kid’s 1K. Awards categories include top finishers, maternity, baby joggers, wheelchair, Longhorn and Aggie. The Stepping Stone School will provide plenty of activities for children. The event benefits Caritas Austin. Early registration is encouraged at

The Caswell House Various dates through November The superbly preserved turnof-the-century mansion hosts a number of family-oriented holiday events through November. All of the proceeds are distributed to organizations that assist women, children and the elderly through the Austin Junior Forum. Christmas at The Caswell House: Nov. 3 - 12 It’s Caswell’s most popular event. Enjoy light Christmas shopping and sample sweets in an elegant setting of holiday décor. Gospel Brunch: Nov. 12 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Austin’s Pink Avocado serves up a Southwesternstyle brunch that includes Hatch chile cheese grits, sourdough waffles and more. Live music provided by the St. James Baptist Church choir. Mother Daughter Brunch: Nov. 6 from 11 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. Girls age 13 and older can enjoy this alternative to the sure-to-be-sold-out Mother Daughter Tea. It’s Caswell’s newest tradition, catered by Austin Catering. Visit for other event listings or to make reservations, or call 512.472.0779.

on the scene /

around town

Austin Woman anniversary event

Heather Brunner, Tera Gilbert & Yankain Turay

Miranda Musseman & Lauri Turner

Marsha Kelliher, Sandra Uselman & Nancy Ebe

Carla McDonald, Kathy Valentine, Irene Williams & Michelle Valles

Anna Sanchez & Lisa Trickey

Christi Rivera & Lynn Nottoli

Seton Breast Cancer Center event

Sister Gertrude Levy with Zachary and Juliette Dell

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Jan Barfield, Lisa Russell, Marcia Levy & Candace Partridge

Susan Dell, Susan Lubin & Dr. Craig Lubin


“A mesmerizing performAnce...”

DEC 29, 7:30 PM DEC 30, 2:00 PM & 7:30 PM

— Donna Karan, Creator of the Donna Karan Collection and DKNY

LONG CENTER Tickets: 512.474.LONG (5664) | TheLongCenter.Org Presented by Southern USA Falun Dafa Association


REVIVING 5,000 YEARS OF CIVILIZATION. For 5,000 years in China, culture was heralded as a divine gift. Its glory was long the inspiration of countless artists and poets, until this heritage was nearly lost… Based in New York, Shen Yun Performing Arts seeks to revive this once-majestic tradition by creating a production worthy in its beauty of this noble history—some-

thing that enriches the lives of audiences in powerful, lasting ways.

The Name “Shen Yun” The word “Shen” (神) is a term for “divine” or “divine being,” while “Yun” (韻) refers to the overall manner of a dancer and the meaning behind his or her movements. The two words together tell of the grace, compassion, and sublime beauty of heavenly realms that can be glimpsed in even the subtlest expressions and gestures of our dancers. This is the essence of “Shen Yun.”

“An extrAordinAry experience...” — Cate Blanchett, Academy Award-winning actress

“so inspiring... i mAy hAve found some ideAs for the next AvAtAr movie.” — Robert Stromberg, Academy Award-winning

production designer for Avatar

“elegAnt And very Athletic, very skilled.” —John McColgan, Riverdance Producer All individuals’ quotes originally published by The Epoch Times and New Tang Dynasty Television. All photographs and designs by Shen Yun Performing Arts © 2011. All artwork and choreography depicted in the photographs copyrighted by Shen Yun

on the scene /

around town

Ballet FÊte

Norton Wisdom creates illuminated art while Fête guests dine

Ann richards school birthday bash

Dee Schultz, Eric Copper & Ava Late

Cookie Ruiz & Marla Bommarito-Crouch

Brides and Bubbles

Jailyn Bankston, Hanna Searcy, Hannah Huffman

AW Book chat with sarah bird

Lora Collins & Kate Kantzes

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Dillar Schwartz & Alison Garson

Melinda Garvey, Deborah HamiltonLynne & Sarah Bird

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on the scene /

spotlight event

chuy’s christmas parade Benefiting Blue Santa In 1989, Joe Sears, Marcia Ball and a handful of Chuy’s volunteers rode on bikes and flatbed trucks collecting toys for Blue Santa in a makeshift parade. More than 20 years later, the Chuy’s Children Giving to Children parade is one of the largest holiday events in Austin. Ornate holiday floats, balloons, marching bands and, of course, Santa, march down Congress Avenue. Viewers are asked to bring a toy donation for local children in need. To volunteer, visit Nov. 26 at 11 a.m., beginning at 11th Street and Congress Avenue to Cesar Chavez.

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B For more events, see the complete November calendar at

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on the scene /


The Magic of Christmas

The Junior League of Austin prepares for its 36th annual A Christmas Affair to raise funds for the community. The Junior League of Austin is an organization of women committed to promoting voluntarism, developing the potential of women and improving the community through the effective action and leadership of trained volunteers. Its purpose is exclusively educational and charitable. Money raised through its annual A Christmas Affair event has enabled The Junior League of Austin to invest millions of dollars back in to the local community. This year’s theme, The Magic of Christmas, conjures up feelings of holiday anticipation and surprise, curiosity and wonderment, hope and inspiration–all in the spirit of giving back to the community. From Nov. 17 through 20, the Palmer Events Center will be transformed in to a vision of merriment and festivities, bringing shopping joy to the young and the young at heart. For four days, 200 merchants from throughout the country and 30,000 visitors will be transported to Christmases past as they take in the sights and sounds of the season, and fondly conjure up childhood memories of the wonders of Christmas. Festivities open with a black-tie preview party on the evening of Wednesday, Nov. 16. Girls’ Night Out, sponsored by AW Media, takes over Thursday, Nov. 17 from 6:30 to 10 p.m. Guests can delight in shopping, a silent auction just for the girls, an appetizer buffet, a cash bar and music perfect for dancing the night away. Tickets are $50 per guest. For more information, visit

Austin Woman Sponsored Events New Milestones’ Bridging the Gap with Carrie Fisher Nov. 7 at 6:30 p.m. at The Bob Bullock Texas State History Museum American icon and feminine powerhouse Carrie Fisher will speak at the VIP gala benefiting New Milestones’ program for children with mental illnesses. The pre-party and event will also honor Genevieve Hearon, the recipient of the Mental Health Pioneer award. Details can be found at Citizen Generation’s Third Annual CharityBash Live Auction Benefiting CASA of Travis County and LifeWorks Nov. 10 from 7 to 10 p.m. at KLRU’s Austin City Limits Studio Twenty of Austin’s top bachelors and bachelorettes will help host this live auction, featuring some amazing date packages. Guests will be treated to an open bar and appetizers donated by J. Black’s, Fleming’s and Austin Catering, as well as music from DJ Johnny Bravvo. Tickets are moving quickly, so visit to claim your spot. Texas Wranglers’ 14th Annual City Wide Hold Up Nov. 12, starting at 9 a.m., throughout Austin This annual fundraiser draws hundreds of volunteers who take to the streets and “hold up” motorists for donations. The organization’s 2011 goal is $35,000 in donations, which will benefit Easter Seals Central Texas. To register as a volunteer, visit Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure Nov. 13, timed race begins at 7:30 a.m., downtown Austin Join one of the largest 5k fitness run/walks on the planet. The race benefits the Austin affiliate of the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure foundation. Seventy-five percent of net funds raised remain in the local community, assisting nonprofit healthcare organizations with breast health services for the underserved men and women in Austin and the surrounding areas. To register or donate, visit

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One Day Watering ONLY



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Visit for more information.






Violating water restrictions is a class C misdemeanor with a fine of $475.

Did you know that 75 percent of what the Komen Austin Affiliate raises stays local? The Komen Austin Affiliate provides funding to LOCAL non-profit healthcare organizations for breast cancer screening, treatment, and education programs for the uninsured and underinsured in Bastrop, Caldwell, Hays, Travis, and Williamson counties. The remaining 25 percent raised by advocates like YOU goes to fund global groundbreaking breast cancer research programs.

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on the scene /


Happy Birthday, Scorpio Oct. 23 - Nov. 21 characteristics Happy birthday to the most misunderstood sign in the Zodiac–Scorpio! Everyone has a story about some Scorpio that did him or her wrong, but also one who performed some super-human feat. Billy Graham and Mahatma Gandhi are Scorpios. So is Charles Manson. More U.S. presidents were born Scorpios than any other sign. It’s true. You Scorpios like to play games but you aren’t petty. You’re emotional, but not weepy. You aren’t good at daily friendship maintenance, but in a crisis, you’re a first responder. You can be an almost pathological heartbreaker or the most fiercely loyal lover and friend. Your soul feeds on radical transformation, yet you crave balance and dependability. Home and family mean everything to you, but you’ll give it all up for a cause. Does this sound a little schizophrenic? A battle rages within the soul of each Scorpio, whether it shows on the outside. Most of you take years

to get control of your emotions, and it’s a very tortured Scorpio who never masters it. But you are the only sign that possesses the power to completely change who you are during your lifetime. this month They say money doesn’t buy happiness and you can’t work all the time, but it sure doesn’t feel that way right now. You love, love, love your work, and it’s really good to you. You have that Midas touch–everything you work on turns to gold (and gold is up right now). You’re surrounded by adoring fans and you do seem to draw an audience, but you still hold a few hidden cards up your sleeve. Take care of your partnerships (especially around the 10th) and they will take care of you—in a big way. —Deborah Mastelotto, For all horoscopes, visit

Zodiac wheel order Eighth House rules Death, sex, shared resources, inheritances, taxes, corporations Element Water Colors Blood red, black, wine, deep jewel tones Quality Fixed (stubborn, pigheaded) Birthstones Topaz, cat’s eye, citrine, beryl, (hematite is a power stone) Key characteristic Intensity Strengths Focused, passionate, great secret-keepers Challenges Emotional, dark, possessive, great secret-keepers (Demoted) Planetary ruler Pluto (god of the underworld)

B Scorpio Austinites

Nov. 1

Nov. 7

Nov. 11

Nov. 15

Nov. 21

Ginger Leigh Singer-Songwriter

Clay Smith Literary Director, Texas Book Festival

Nak Armstrong Jewelry Designer

Christy Pipkin The Nobelity Project

Deborah Mastelotto Horoscope Writer

Your furnishings. Our ideas. Your beautiful home.

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must list /

editor picks Must Read

Must Hear

Stirrin’ It Up with Molly Ivins: A Memoir with Recipes, By Ellen Sweets (University of Texas Press, $29.95)

Miranda Lambert’s Four The Record RCA Nashville, released Nov. 1

No subject was taboo for the late Molly Ivins, whose rapier wit with good-ol’gal inflections took frequent, candid shots at the most prominent politicians. Like all women, Ivins had too many talents to capitalize on, including the culinary skills she crafted in France or her affinity for creating savory signatures from scratch. In Stirrin’ It Up With Molly Ivins, Ivins’ longtime companion, reporter and Austinite Ellen Sweets recalls her own and others’ memories of the beloved icon, paring them with recipes from Ivins’ kitchen. Plant your tongue in your cheek before undertaking a Beer-in-the-Butt Chicken or Texas Mud Pie with a “smidge” of this and that, and do it in remembrance of the woman who paved the way for so many others.

Miranda Lambert insists her songs are about as mushy as a Cormac McCarthy novel. The Nashville Star finalist turned triple platinum musician has now released her fourth studio album, rife with anthems for rowdy, wronged women—the type of songs that have shot her to the top of country Billboard charts since her first release in 2001. Four The Record is a love note for fans. It delivers songs that range from low-fi to sweet country blues, subdued minimalism to rock folk, and even includes a duet with her new husband (and fellow musician), Blake Shelton. Menfolk beware: Lambert is known to bring out the recklessness in ladies.

Must have

Must Experience

Kramer by Zwilling Knives

Scout-a-Route Austin’s Cultural Campus Bike Tour Nov. 12 beginning at 9 a.m. Meet at Mellow Johnny’s Bike Shop at 400 Nueces St.

Knifesmith Bob Kramer could once only produce of few hundred of these knives per year. They drove knife enthusiasts so wild, they paid thousands of dollars for them. Now Kramer is partnering with Zwilling J.A. Henckels, the only manufacturer that can produce a ware to his standard. The results are perfectly balanced, surprisingly lightweight and understatedly elegant knives at a sliver of their original costs. They’re the perfect gift for any epicurean on your holiday list. $140 to $350, and available at surlatablecom.

Explore art, history, the humanities and science while enjoying a casual bike ride. Co-hosted by Mellow Johnny’s Bike Shop and the Austin Cycling Association, this co-ed group ride is perfect for cyclists of all levels and riding abilities. Total distance is about six miles. On this route, you will visit museums that are part of Austin’s cultural campus: the Blanton Museum of Art, The Bob Bullock Texas State History Museum, the Harry Ransom Center, LBJ Library & Museum, and the University of Texas Visual Arts Center. Docents will briefly share museum highlights. Special information: Ride size is limited, so please RSVP to Helmets and signed waivers are required. Ride may be canceled in the event of inclement weather. Please check for updated information. The ride will be canceled if the temperature is below 50 degrees at ride time.

Must Taste Couples Cook Fall in Love Harvest Nov. 11 from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. at Silver Whisk Cooking School Musky mulling spices, savory smoked meats and pumpkin pureed to perfection. Who doesn’t have a love affair with holiday fare? At the newly opened Silver Whisk Cooking School, participants learn to capture a well-organized holiday meal using seasonal ingredients full of fall’s harvest flavors. The fivecourse menu includes spinach salad with caramelized pears, walnuts and goat cheese; roasted acorn squash with wild rice pilaf and a pumpkin mousse with chocolate drizzle. Make it a date with your favorite girl or guy; it’s one dinner party that’s sure to go as planned. Visit to register, or call 512.826.8841.

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current chic

Green with Envy Embellish your wardrobe with these green-eyed emerald accessories.

Photos by Elisa Ferrari, B Christian Louboutin Bambou platform peep toes, $795, available at Neiman Marcus, 3400 Palm Way, 512.719.1200. H Milly Amelia tote, $380, available at Saks Fifth Avenue, 9722 Great Hills Trail, 512.231.3700.

Nancy Gonzalez crocodile clutch, $925, available at Neiman Marcus.

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Kendra Scott Petra cuff, $135, available at Kendra Scott, 1400 S. Congress Ave., suite A170, 512.499.8400.

Roma suede gold clasp belt, $125, available at Saks Fifth Avenue.

must list /


All that Glitters

Strike gold for the holiday season. Photos by Elisa Ferrari,

B HervĂŠ Van der Straeten large gold cuff, $965, available at Neiman Marcus, 3400 Palm Way, 512.719.1200. H Elizabeth Cole jaguar ring with crystal and gold plating, $158, available at Eliza Page, 229 W. Second St., 512.474.6500.

Kendra Scott Lora ring, $63, available at Kendra Scott, 1400 S. Congress Ave., suite A170, 512.499.8400.

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Kenneth Jay Lane gold bracelet, $100, available at Saks Fifth Avenue, 9722 Great Hills Trail, 512.231.3700.

Jose and Maria Barrera gold hammered earrings, $240, available at Neiman Marcus, 3400 Palm Way, 512.719.1200.




SHOW YOUR TRUE COLORS Inspired by the color that defines the Austin college football season.


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Photo: Lucas Purvis

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Bordeaux Lips

1. Chanteille Violetta lip chic, $34, available at Neiman Marcus, 3400 Palm Way, 512.719.1200.

Pucker up for rich red hues.

2. Chanteille Calla Lily lip chic, $34, available at Neiman Marcus. 3. Yves Saint Laurent Rouge VoluptĂŠ Pearl Mysterious Red lipstick, $34, available at Nordstrom, 2901 S. Capital of Texas Hwy., 512.691.3500.


4. Lancome L’ Absolu Rouge Bordeaux, $29, available at Saks Fifth Avenue, 9722 Great Hills Trail, 512.231.3700.



5. Nars Mascate lipstick, $25, available at Nordstrom.

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must list /


Shop Like a Movie Star

Film-friendly Smithville is a little more than an hour away. By Elizabeth James Photos by Margaret Thomas-Barry It’s been more than 10 years since Birdee Pruitt left her cheating husband to return to Smithville, TX, home of the fighting tigers. Yet, people still flock to see her home, a place made famous in the film Hope Floats. More recently, reclusive director and Smithville resident Terrence Malick shot his award-winning drama, The Tree of Life, in Smithville. The town also saw actor Dennis Quaid not only star in the big-screen thriller Beneath the Darkness, which premiered at last month’s Austin Film Festival, but were also treated to a Quaid concert benefiting the

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local Blue Santa program at Smithville’s American Legion Hall. People in Smithville no longer turn their heads when the likes of Sandra Bullock; Harry Connick, Jr.; Brad Pitt; Angelina Jolie; Jessica Chastain or Dennis Quaid come to town. It’s old hat. However, the shopkeepers do like to point out the items sold from their shops that were featured in the movies and spin some tales about the treasures the stars purchased for their own homes. Settled in 1827, Smithville is a small, historic town filled with streets shaded by giant oak trees and period homes, many listed on the National Historic Register. Known for its Festival of Lights parade and friendly people, Smithville’s Main Street leads to a park that’s complete with a historic gazebo and a railway museum. For bargain hunters, nostalgia buffs, art connoisseurs and collectors alike, a stroll down Main Street can turn in to an all-day shopping bonanza. Be prepared to spend several 1.

hours because there is plenty of treasure to be found. Austin Woman spent the day uncovering great buys and unique items, especially for the home. Located just 70 miles from Austin off Highway 71, Smithville is well worth the drive, whether you are a day-tripper or are looking for a close-in getaway. AW Insider Finds At the corner of Loop 230 and Main Street on the west side of the street is Main Street Village (112 Main St.), home to a varied group of merchants. Here, you will find everything from fine art to vintage furnishings, accessories, recordings and linens. 1. Home Place by D. Childress, 30 inches by 40 inches, oil on canvas, $3,000.


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getaway 2. Mexican Montage: antique oil painting on board, $49. Vintage Charger, circa 1960s, $36. Vintage Tonala pottery, $50. Pitcher, $20. Covered bowl, $24.






Continue down the block to two antique malls filled to the brim with an eclectic collection of booths that include an unbelievable assortment such as glassware, books, jewelry, rocks, clothing, furniture and silver. You have reached Dream Train Antiques, located at 209 and 213 Main St. 3. Red beaded sheath and hornhandled knife. Highly collectible, finely beaded mid-19th-century sheath and horn-handled knife with Spanish notch on rear blade, $155. 4. Vintage silver classics. International silver-plated meat platter, $30. International silver-plated candelabrum, $62. 51-piece silver-plated nobility set, Caprice pattern Art Deco flatware, circa 1937, $189.

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8. Pillow made from vintage linen, $4.50.


6. The Mentor, collectible magazine, circa 1930, $10.



7. Texas antique classics: Domino table and four chairs. They must have been domino aficionados. Players’ names are painted on the backs of their chairs. Table $1,000. Chairs, $600 for the set. Navaho rug, $300. Handmade wooden bowls, $45 to $200, priced separately. Dominos, $25.

5. Benedict cream and sugar set, $18.

Cross Second Street to find Wild Goose Antiques (119 Main St.), home of fine American furnishings, rugs and collectibles from the late 16th century to the 19th century, as


well as the best bargain of the day: extremely affordable pillows handmade from pristine vintage linens collected by the shop owner. You can also find exquisite handmade art paper, as well as wonderful Texas antiques. We spotted a table and six Windsor chairs for $950, and a fireside settee for $795.

Cross the street and head back up Main toward Loop 230 to find Scattered Light Jewelry at 114 Main St. Home of master jewelry makers Russell Smith and Barbara Samuelson, Scattered Light, featuring a gallery and shop, is truly an artist’s vision. Sculpture and fine jewelry is artfully displayed throughout the historic setting. Inspired by nature, custom-made and unique to Smithville, the items in this shop are simply a must-see. Photos cannot do them justice. Info@ 9. Omphalos, fossilized limestone sculpture, $875. 10. Lady of the Lake, 14-karat gold ring by Russell Smith. Hand-carved lapis lazuli with pearl and amethyst. Must be custom ordered to size, $1,775.

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Next door is Wisteria Emporium, the first floor is a shop and the second is a beautifully restored townhouse. The historic building is for sale, enticing for anyone who dreamed of living above their shop. The owner, Sylvia Paisley-Gee, has exquisite taste and represents local artist Paul Uhl, whose whimsical teapots draw collectors from near and far. 11. 1930s rattan sofa and ottoman, $325. 12. Paul Uhl Studio pottery, $45 to $300 per piece.

Venture up Main to Feathering Your Nest at 214 Main St., full of reasonably priced vintage and new home furnishings and accessories. You will find plenty of seasonal accessories at great prices, as well as bedding, linens and trendy decorative pillows. We loved the soaps for hostess gifts, guest baths or just for pampering ourselves. 13. Shea butter soaps, various scents, $1 to $5.

Next door is Shangri La Emporium at 216 Main St., home to an eclectic collection of valuable Asian antiquities, modern masks from Thailand and Tibetan prayer banners. It also houses TomKat paper dolls made by world-renowned “King of Paper Dolls,” Tom Tierney. You can find almost any kind of paper-doll collection, including the presidential families, the Royals and, of course, Santa and Mrs. Claus. The books are all hand-signed by Tierney and can be dedicated as gifts. 14. Tom Tierney paper dolls, priced from $10 to $12.

End your shopping spree at Milk and Honey Antiques at 218 Main St., but do it in a hurry. The bad news: The owners are relocating to Brenham and have sold the building. The good news: Throughout November, prices are slashed and there are substantial discounts as they close up shop. Look for the beautiful stained-glass window 14. from France. Although it is not discounted from its $4,400 price, it is a treasure and a one-of-akind find.

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The Katy House Where to Stay The Katy House, 201 Ramona St. Located one block off Main Street, the location is ideal. The turn-of-the-century home has been restored and each of the five guest rooms has queen-sized beds and claw-foot tubs. Pet-friendly and reasonably priced from $95 to $170 per night for two, including breakfast served in the main dining room. Where to Eat Back Door Café, 117 Main St. Surprise! Smithville has a gourmet chef in Rob Remlinger. Although you never know when the restaurant will be open and it does not accept credit cards, it is worth the effort to call ahead and make a date. See if you recognize the dining room and artwork from The Tree of Life. The menu changes according to the chef’s pleasure, but some mainstays including chicken fried steak, horseradish-crusted salmon, grilled beef tenderloin and Jack Daniels chocolate cream pie keep regulars coming back for more. Entrées run $13 to $24. Desserts are $5. Wines are $18 to $32 per bottle. 512.237.3128 Must Experience The Arts Cottage at the Rock-C Ranch When Pebbles Wadsworth, the former director of the University of Texas Performing Arts Center, retired to her ranch located a short distance from Smithville, she had a vision of using the arts to bring together the people of rural communities. Saving the historic Carmichael House from demolition, she moved the house from Smithville to the ranch and lovingly restored it to create the Arts Cottage. With intimate seating for 50, the cottage hosts musicians, storytellers, dramatists and lecturers, as well as cooking classes and more. Nov. 5, 7 p.m. Chef Mike hosts Kitchen Basics Nov. 19, 7 p.m. The Twangtown Paramours Sophisticated Americana. A blend of Nashville and Austin vibes.

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home /


East Austin Studio Tour

Take advantage of a once-a-year opportunity to build your art collection while supporting local artists and businesses. Nov. 12 – 20 Austin’s East side is best known as a locus for budding art and culture. With more than 300 participating spaces and artists, the East Austin Studio Tour is the best chance to get an intimate look at the creation processes and expand your eclectic collection. It’s a once-ayear opportunity to discover new talent; see working studios; learn about artists’ tools, techniques and inspirations; and fuel Austin’s creative culture by supporting local businesses and artists. This self-guided tour weaves through the funky, ramshackle East Austin neighborhoods to the city’s most prominent studios, which feature everything from woodworking to stained glass, mixed media to leather-bound journals. Studios are open during the weekends with featured events on weekdays, including a series of workshops, artist competitions and more. Tour catalogs and maps are available at Austin Public Libraries. Details can be found at Featured Group Show at Delta Mills 4701 E. Fifth St., Nov. 12 and 13, 19 and 20 Featured artists: Robbie Davis, John Langmore, Shanny Lott, Jean Rather, Peggy Weiss, Bob Wynn

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Origin 30-by-30-inch mixed media piece, $1,800 “Each work unfolds in the moment. I am constantly negotiating a balance between trusting the intuitive, gestural impressions that come, or relying on my experience with intentional, calculated placement of color and form. This complex, ongoing conversation transforms in to unpredictable, raw meditations on letting go.” –Court Laurie

Monarch of the Plains 6-by-6-foot charcoal and pastel on laser-cut paper leaves, $6,000 “If you keep a green tree in your heart, perhaps a singing bird will come.” –Chinese proverb “I am using this ancient proverb to explore the relationship between artists and patrons. This symbiosis will be examined using paper collage, pastel, charcoal on paper and oil on canvas. The artists, represented by birds and the patrons, represented by the trees, show that the relationship between the two is an ongoing and timeless loop.” –Shanny Lott Butterfly Broken Upon a Wheel 16 by 20 inches on Arches paper, four pastels, $550 From the series Cave Paintings, circa 2010. “I have always been interested in art as a means of communication, and have been inspired by the importance of current historical events, as well as cultural and personal moments in our lives.” –Jean Rather

Pitching in the Rain 24-by-20-inch composite photograph, $750 “Pitching in the Rain is a composite of multiple photographs digitally combined to create a new image. This nostalgic piece is a metaphor for the loneliness and challenges faced by individual athletes.” –Peggy Weiss

Get the picture Trust your family’s health to the radiologists at ARA To protect your health, you often need to know more about what’s going on inside your body. That’s where Austin Radiological Association can help. No matter your age, we offer more than a dozen different types of diagnostic exams and screenings to give you the answers you need. From toddlers to grandparents, our experienced team of accredited technologists and board certified radiologists combines the latest technology with the highest quality care. With 15 locations from Georgetown to Cedar Park to San Marcos, it’s easy to get the medical imaging you need. For more information, visit us at

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what’s in store

BoConcept Modern Danish style comes to Second Street. By Sarah Rigdon Photo by William Russell Like what you see? Would you like to see it in another color, texture or configuration? BoConcept is set up to help customers realize their visions. At the Austin store on West Second Street, home décor shoppers can explore meticulously arranged living rooms, dining rooms and bedrooms, as well as a full customization studio. Inviting fabrics and leathers cover sofas and chairs of all sizes, and accent colors pop. Try not to touch each throw pillow as you walk through. Just try. Started by designers Jens Ærthøj Jensen and Tage Mølholm in a small Danish town in 1952, BoConcept has grown to include more than 230 franchise stores and 90 studios in more than 50 countries. The Austin store opened in October 2008. Its three-year anniversary party coincided with the new catalog’s launch party on Oct. 6. Store manager Dillar Schwartz has been there from the bare concrete beginning.

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“We sell all over, from the East side to Westlake and San Antonio,” she says, adding that BoConcept’s style fits Austin’s style because it’s all about affordable luxury and customizable pieces. See what is in store for yourself. BoConcept Austin, 430 W. Second St., 512.258.0835,

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2. Cato rug in light gray, $1,195.


3. Coffee table in black-stained oak veneer, $995. Available in three veneers.

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1. Veneto chair with swivel in dark brown Rio leather, $1,445. Available in fabrics and leathers, from $995.

4. Corner sofa with lounging unit in dark brown Nu fabric, $5,509. Available in fabrics and leathers, from $4,895.  5. Mobile side table in glass/chrome, $299.  6. Wall system in black-stained oak veneer/ dusty gray, $4,756.  7. House sculpture in white, $33.

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It’s the little

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Appointments available at two Austin locations: Westlake Location | 300 Beardsley Ln, Bldg B, Suite 200, Austin, TX 78746 | 512.579.2700 South Location | 4303 James Casey, Suites A & B, Austin, TX 78745 | 512.444.1414

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guilty pleasure

Bonne Nuit!

Sink into sumptuous sheets guaranteed to bring sweet dreams. Giza 45

“Best of the best,” so says the June 2008 edition of the Robb Report. The Giza material, which comes from a remote region along the Nile, accounts for only .4% of the cotton exported from Egypt—a yield so small that manufacturers of fine men’s shirts consume the entire world’s production every year—until now. Go beyond thread count and feel the difference.

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Available in white and ivory. Queen sets, $720. Available at Feather Your Nest, 3500 Jefferson St., Suite 120,

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collector spotlight

Joyce Howell at the Wally Workman Gallery

about joyce Joyce Howell’s abstracts command much attention with local and national collectors alike. Her use of color and movement evokes an emotional response that causes one to linger in front of her works. She is able to translate not a finite emotion, but one that gently undulates warmly throughout. Howell holds a bachelor’s degree in fine arts from the University of Texas at Permian Basin and a master’s degree in fine arts from Texas Tech University.

about the workman gallery Established in 1980 and located in a 100-year-old historic house in Austin’s art district, the Wally Workman Gallery specializes in emerging and collected talent. The gallery has two stories of exhibition space where visitors can view the 50 artists currently represented, including the contemporary talents of Will Klemm, Jan Heaton, Jill Carver and Ian Shults, as well as the figurative work of Jennifer Balkan and Fatima Ronquillo.

details Joyce Howell: Solo Show Nov. 5 – Nov. 26 Opening reception on Saturday, Nov. 5 from 6 to 8 p.m. Collectors’ preview first Thursday, Nov. 3 from 6 to 8 p.m. The Workman Gallery 1202 W. Sixth St. Austin 78703 More information:

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shop shop

the Hill Countr y Galleria

Q Apricot Lane Boutique

This fashion boutique appeals to both mothers and daughters and has the brands and accessories to express an individual’s style. Featuring the perfect gift for the season; Mittas fingerless gloves are made from recycled sweater components, each one resulting in a unique look ($38).



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Authenticity Gallery R

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Authenticity Gallery brings to the Hill Country Galleria an exceptional assortment of contemporary, American-made art and fine crafts. Visit us and see our many authentic, artist-made objects including jewelry, glass, ceramics, metal, wood, home furnishings, and much, much more.

Feel good to give. Feels even better to receive. milk + honey, Austin’s favorite (and locally owned) spa, offers luxury massage, body treatments, facials, and natural nail therapy in a modern, tranquil environment. A gift certificate from milk + honey is always a welcome treat!

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Hill Country Galleria R

Explore this city’s newest lifestyle center located in Bee Cave, with 17 new restaurants and over 60 shops with an array of locally owned stores and your favorite staples such as Dillard’s, Barnes & Noble, and the soon to open Whole Foods!

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Art Attack W

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512.535.0005 | 12800 Hill Country Suite U110, Bee Caves, TX 78738

512.402.0808 | 12901 Hill Country Blvd, #D1-103, Bee Caves, TX 78738

Art Attack Inc. is a fun contemporary paint your own pottery and more, where you can create one of a kind art from the heart. Want to see more? Follow us on Facebook. AW Special 10% off $20, 20% off of $50 or more. Valid until Dec 15, 2011

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From newborns to pre-teens, Learning Express Toys has your holiday shopping covered! Our toy experts will help you find the perfect toy as we carry great new products as well as the classics. Plus we offer free gift wrap and free personalization! Plasma Car Sale - $49.99 till 12/24.

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Honorary Co-Chairs: Texas First Lady Anita Perry & Jody Conradt

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GENaustin’s We Are Girls Conference Committee: Theresa Alvarez, Linda Benge, Melissa Bixby, Rani Clasquin, Perla Cavazos, Mary Margaret Farabee, Lulu Flores, Kaye Forgione, Lesley Gilbert Guthrie, Christie Horne,57 Rita Kreisle, Diane Land, Kristen Lark, Marcia Levy, Lynn Meredith, Chris Miller, Erin Nelson, MariBen Ramsey, Cathy Thompson, Ane Urquiola, Liz Watson

gourmet /

home cooking

For Love and Comfort Becky Nichols prepares a bountiful meal for the holiday. By Joelle Pearson Photos by Megan Beneski Becky Nichols raps her fist solidly on a powdery pink cabinet displaying snickerdoodles and almond cookies. A vintage display case like this must have taken some dedicated scouting to find. “No, no,” she laughs. “I built this. I’m not the type to wait for someone else to do it for me. I’d rather just make it myself.” She’s deft and determined, and the owner of Bountiful Bakery locations in Westlake and Bee Cave. The endeavor has been very successful while working hand in hand with Nichols’ nonprofit foundation, The Loving Libbie Memorial Foundation, which provides support for children living with cancer in the Austin and surrounding areas. You don’t have to attend culinary school to create blissful confections. Nichols is proof. Formerly, she worked as tile setter, then in office support, then in restaurants and, eventually, for her own catering business, which she suspended after her late daughter, Libbie, was born and diagnosed with a rare form of leukemia. After Libbie passed, she channeled her grief in to Bountiful, a place she feels embodies her daughter’s spirit. “Bountiful was created to be a comfort to me,” Nichols says. “I didn’t know it would become that for others, too. … I feel very fortunate.” about the holiday feast If you’re short on time, Bountiful offers full turkey dinners at Thanksgiving and Christmas for those who do not claim cooking as a forte. “We’re all pretty mean cooks here, and these recipes came from our homes,” Nichols explains. Her staff is almost exclusively women, some of whom have been with her since week one. The holidays mean family, and family is comfort. For her, holiday foods, relationships and memories are woven together tightly, and she uses her foods to parlay that warmth. The dishes are simple, more like staples and less like signatures. “We don’t have any truffle oil here,” Nichols

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laughs. However, the staples in Bountiful’s turkey dinners are perfected versions of what most people crave during the holidays: cornbread stuffing, golden gravy, mashed potatoes, casseroles and pies. Though pre-cooked holiday meals are neither novel nor scarce, Nichols finds that every year, the demand for hers keeps rising. “The intention in which the food is made is absolutely the most important ingredient in any recipe, bar none. I think in other places, there are people who love the food, but,” Nichols leans in to whisper, “I think we do it better.” After sampling a complex-looking “magic bar” from her cabinet, a smooth marriage of soft chocolate chips and buttery graham with finishing hints of coconut that left me awestruck, this writer attests, you will feel the love. Bountiful’s patrons help spread these comforts. From the beginning, the bakery has donated many turkey dinners to the patients and families of patients being treated at the Dell Children’s Blood and Cancer Center who might not otherwise get a holiday turkey dinner. The number grows each year. Nichols never turns a family away. “The answer is always yes,” she says. “As long as we’ve got the production going, it’s yes. We’re in there literally elbow to elbow making all of it possible.” Unlike many pre-cooked holiday meals, Bountiful’s aren’t a gamble. They’re a gift to yourself and your family, and an investment in the community.

bountiful holiday menu Available from Trip to Bountiful. Serves six to eight, with enough turkey for leftovers. Traditional Roasted Turkey Grandma Josie’s Cornbread Dressing Giblet Gravy Parker House Rolls Cranberry-Orange Sauce Pumpkin Pie Pick Two: Creamy Mashed Potatoes Longhorn Potatoes Scalloped Sweet and Red Potatoes Baked Macaroni and Cheese Green Bean Casserole Broccoli Rice Casserole All dishes can be purchased ala carte. There are 19 different kinds of pie available.

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gourmet /

home cooking

perfect holiday turkey 10 to 14-pound turkey, thawed 1/8 cup vegetable oil 1 teaspoon black pepper 5 stalks celery, cleaned and cut into 3 to 4-inch lengths 1 medium yellow onion, cut into large chunks 1 stick salted butter giblets and neck for giblet gravy later Brine 2 quarts warm water 4 quarts cold water 1 cup kosher salt 3 to 5 -gallon empty bucket sturdy new kitchen-size trash bag and twist tie Directions

First, line bucket with a sturdy new trash bag. This will allow you to cover turkey airtight later. Pour 2 quarts very warm water in bag. Pour kosher salt into warm water. Stir briskly until all salt has dissolved. Add the remaining 4 quarts of cold water and stir to mix. Insert thawed turkey into lined bucket filled with brine. Close top of trash bag with a twist tie and try to remove all air before fastening. Leave in brine 12 to 24 hours. If bucket doesn’t fit in your refrigerator, you can set bucket in an ice chest big enough to hold it with the lid closed. Once you put the bucket in the chest, simply place ice around it and close lid. If you buy your turkey frozen, thaw it in your refrigerator for two to three days. Make sure to remove neck and giblets from breast and backside cavities when it has thawed and before you brine. After your turkey has brined for the allotted time, remove from brine and rinse in cool water in sink. Place in your roasting pan and pat entire turkey dry with paper towels. Remove plastic or metal piece that binds the drumsticks together if there is one. Tuck wings under body so they don’t stick out. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Rub the vegetable oil over the whole dried turkey making sure to get every inch of him! This is what will help give him a nice golden color in the end. Sprinkle pepper evenly over whole bird. Then stuff the celery, onion giblets and butter into the breast cavity of the bird. Cook your turkey at 425 degrees for 30 minutes, then turn down to 325 degrees and cook an additional one and a half to two hours or until

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thermometer inserted into thigh reaches 180 degrees.

startcarving. This will help the juices stay in the turkey!

I like to baste the turkey with the juices after about an hour of cooking and continue periodically until the turkey is done. When the turkey is finished cooking, pull out of the oven and let it rest about 15 minutes before your

Remove the celery, onion and giblets from the bird and discard. I save the giblets for gravy later. Make sure to save the juices that are in the pan from the bird. Around my house we call that gold and it makes the best gravy ever! But that’s a whole ’nother recipe!

longhorn mashed potatoes

cover potatoes. Boil until potatoes are fork tender.

A little sweet, a little savory, a little Longhorn burnt orange! 8 medium red potatoes, cleaned, peeled and diced 2 medium sweet potatoes, cleaned, peeled and diced 1 teaspoon salt 1 cup whipping cream 1/2 stick salted butter Directions

In a 6-quart stock pot, put in prepared red potatoes, sweet potatoes and salt. Fill with enough water to

Place potatoes back in pot and add cream and butter. Whip with an electric hand mixer until creamy. Salt to taste. Drain water from potatoes in a colander.


Choreography by Stephen Mills Music by Peter Ilyitch Tchaikovsky Musical Accompaniment by Austin Symphony Orchestra

The Nutcracker Austin’s Holiday Tradition

Tickets starting at $15 Visit or call 512.476.2163

This project is funded and supported in part by the City of Austin through the Cultural Arts Division believing an investment in the Arts is an investment in Austin's Future and by a grant from the Texas Commission on the Arts and an award from the National Endowment for the Arts, which believes that a great nation deserves great art. Visit Austin at


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gourmet /

girl walks into a bar

Bar Ilegal

The country’s first Mezcal bar opens in the hip Rainey Street District. By Nicole Carbon Photo by Rudy Arocha

The Atmosphere

The Scene

g The creator

The Drinks

about mezcal

Traditional cantina style with intimate seating for only 20 or so people. There’s a main bar made from an old pecan tree that seats only five, as well as adjacent cocktail tables and another bar along the back wall. The floors are natural concrete and the walls are stone. The space is dimly lit by candlelight and a handmade candelabrum hangs from the ceiling. It has a very sexy feel. The old record player pumping out old- and new-style mariachi music adds to it.

Sultry, and the crowd is made up of those in the know. Expect to find couples and singles in the 30 to 40 age range who are in to something a little more sophisticated than chugging shots and throwing back vodka sodas. The bar is open only three days a week, which vary from week to week, giving it a speakeasy feel and adding to the mystery of the place, making a visit here special.

Scranton Twohey saw an opportunity to convert an old shed behind Clive Bar in the uber-hip Rainey Street District and got the go-ahead from owner and longtime friend Bridget Dunlap. He wanted to build something unique and exclusive to Austin. He was introduced to Ilegal Mezcal and fell in love with its distinctive, smoky qualities. Twohey recognized mezcal as the next up-and-coming spirit. Bar Ilegal is the first traditional mezcal bar in the United States.

They serve one brand of mezcal, Ilegal Mezcal, hence the name of the bar. It was named as such because the maker used to smuggle it into Guatemala from Mexico. Twohey’s bartenders will create a signature cocktail and have been experimenting with infusions such as cinnamon, hibiscus and raspberry, although the traditional way to enjoy mezcal is sipped straight. Here, they offer flights of the Joven, Reposado and Añejo Ilegal Mezcal served in halved jicama shells.

This is the oldest spirit in the Americas and is made in Oaxaca, Mexico. I like to describe it almost like a smoky tequila, and Twohey refers to it as “the cool, older uncle of tequilas.” Like tequila, it is made from the agave plant, and unlike tequila, it has no chemicals added. It’s all-natural, brewed underground in clay pots and is aged in oak barrels. It’s a spirit that gives you energy.

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Fits MY


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“It’s a hidden gem, small The relationships and quaint,” says Directorthat of were developed as a result of my participation made such an Operations impactScranton on me.Towhee. Even if I don’t speak with former classmates or professors on a regular

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Does your man need the right tools for his daily ritual? Finley's offers a classically shaped, polished chrome shave stand that showcases an Ebony handmade Super badger hair brush and Ebony Fusion Razor. by Truefitt & Hill - $229.00 Lakeway - 512.394.8684 Westlake - 512.520.8326

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Gift Guide


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to your health /


Fitness at Home

Equip your space with tips from the pros. By Chrissie Jarrell and Natalie Yerkovich One of the most common reasons people struggle to be consistent with a fitness routine is because they feel there just isn’t enough time in the day. A great way to make fitness easier and more convenient is to workout at home. A fitness space at home can make all the difference if you actually use it. Below are some helpful tips, equipment recommendations and things you need to know about creating your own fitness space. First, think to a time when you were in a good fitness groove. Try to identify why you were so successful. Were you excited about a new activity? Were you doing something intense that challenged your mind and body? By figuring this out, you can create a space that fosters those feelings at home. Just like any fitness activity, working out from home is not perfect for everyone. Here are a few pros and cons to keep in mind.

EQUIP YOUR SPACE Here are some basic pieces of fitness equipment that will help get you started on a home workout routine: B yoga mat B stability ball B medicine ball (6 to 8 pounds) B 7-inch core workout ball B kettlebell or a set of hand weights ranging from 2 to 15 pounds B foam roller B resistance bands B library of training aids such as FitDeck Exercise Playing Cards, The Yoga Deck, fitness magazines and videos B iPod dock to play music or audio trainer downloads B full-length mirror



B Convenience: If you’re short on time, working out at home eliminates wasted prep and travel.

Christine Tusa specializes in helping her clients find simple and fun fitness solutions to improve their image, functional strength and overall health. Find her online at Tusa suggests the following:

B Flexibility: Your home is open anytime! B Privacy: You don’t have to worry about what to wear and you won’t feel self-conscious trying a new move or dance class. B No Monthly Fees: You may need to invest in a few pieces of equipment up-front, but your costs will be low after that. cons B No Social Aspect: You may miss the social aspect of heading to the gym or a class. B No Coaching: If you’re new to working out, you may need coaching on proper form, intensity and types of exercises to do. B Motivation: Even though the “gym” is just steps away, it can be a challenge to get motivated to workout as long or as hard as if you were in a group setting. B Distractions: There are so many more distractions at home than at the gym that can keep you from working out (kids, work, laundry, etc.).

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B Find a way to make your workouts enjoyable and fun to make this part of your lifestyle. We do not stick with the things we do not find pleasure in. B Be honest with yourself and your goals. There is no quick fix or magic pill. Be aware there are a lot of false promises on the market today. Patience and consistency will help you reach your goals. B For flatter abs, workout in your sports bra without a shirt. You’ll have motivation for sucking in your abs during your entire workout. Liana Mauro is the founder of Mauro Pilates and works with her clients to help them recover from injuries, target and tone trouble areas, and improve athletic performance. Find her online at Mauro suggests the following: B Schedule your session. Just because you’re working out at home doesn’t mean you’ll make it a priority. Put

it on your calendar, don’t allow yourself to miss it and make sure you have your time planned. B Set goals. Make goals and track your progress. If you’re not achieving the results you want, make a change. Your workouts should be making a difference. B Remember this is for your health. And don’t forget how important that is. Sure, we all want that perfect body, but at the end of the day, incorporating exercise in to your life can make all the difference in the world as to your quality of life. If you have no idea where to start and you’re intimidated at the prospect, please hire outside help. You are worth it! B The best fitness routines are the ones that are convenient, challenging and fun. You’re more likely to make fitness a lifestyle if you enjoy it, so explore the options out there and find something that’s right for you. Consistency creates results and a convenient home workout space can make fitness that much easier. Visit us online at for more tips from the pros, equipment recommendations, workout resources and more.

Chrissie Jarrell and Natalie Yerkovich, the gals who created, do the grunt work for you. Well, the organizational grunt work, anyway. They work hard to connect people with the fitness groups, information and resources they need so they can grunt, sweat and tone to achieve their personal goals.


• Sleep Disturbances • Fatigue • Depression • Irritability • Anxiety • Mood Swings • Weight Gain • High Cholesterol • Hair Loss

• Dry Skin • No Sex Drive • Painful Intercourse • Erectile Dysfunction • Poor Focus • Memory Lapses • Decreased Exercise Tolerance • Loss of Muscle Tone • Night Sweats

The Best Therapy In Austin


Have You Always Wanted To Have the Last Word? Do you have a way with words? Do people say you are funny?

In 500 words share your thoughts on “The best gift you ever gave or received” It can be poignant, it can be funny, just as long as it is your original commentary.

• Winner will be published in the December issue. • Winner also receives a $100 gift certificate. • Other entries will be published on the AW website. All AW readers are eligible including published writers.



Each month we will include selections from interesting blogs relating to women in our Best of the Blogs section. Send info on your blog and a sample posting to with best of the blogs in the subject line of your email.

• Hot Flashes • Achy • Osteoporosis • Fibromyalgia • Chronic Fatigue Syndrome • Restless Leg Syndrome • Migraine Headaches • Palpitations | 512.458.2000 3305 Northland Drive Suite 301, Austin, TX 78731

to your health /

More is Best Yes, you should have your cake (and eat it, too).


Instead of avoiding certain foods, integrate them in moderation.

By Joelle Pearson Tiny plates. No desserts. Skipped parties. Butterfree. Sound like a fun holiday to you? We didn’t think so. We love food, and holidays have always involved it, if not entirely centered around it. So why does seasonal health advice seem to preach restricting it? Since a staggering 68% of Americans are now overweight (Johns Hopkins projects the number will reach 86% by 2030), this advice doesn’t seem to be helping. We should take a less dichotomous approach, urges registered dietitian Sally Bowman. Bowman has worked as a nutrition consultant for more than 25 years, including many years working with the University of Texas Athletics program, and focuses on foods that heal and promote maximum energy. For Bowman, it’s not about fighting a food battle, but finding a balance. There are practical ways to stay healthy this holiday season that don’t involve denial. 1. Eat More Frequently (and Include Protein) During the holidays, many women skip breakfast and snacks to compensate for overeating, two things that Bowman warns against. “Look at it logistically,” she explains. “If you don’t eat anything in the morning, you’re really just deferring it to later.” Breakfast skippers are prone to night binging, when the metabolic rate is lowest. Moreover, fasting increases your body’s fat-making ability. Food restriction doubles lipolytic (fat-storing) enzymes and cuts fat-releasing enzymes, an effect that lingers even after the “diet” is over. “It’s just not worth it,” Bowman says. “Bodies fed consistently run more like a Porsche and less like a Volkswagen.” She recommends eating within 90 minutes of waking, and to include protein so it’s more satisfying and digested less quickly. Incorporating proteins in every meal (even snacks) aids satiety. When you’re facing a smorgasbord of food, help yourself to meats, cheeses and legumes to balance out the starches.

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Eating a well-rounded selection of food at least every five hours will stabilize your blood sugar, brain and body, resulting in fewer daily calories consumed and ultimately, a happier you. 2. Allow Yourself More (in Moderation) Food shouldn’t be labeled as “good” or “bad.” This thinking is a byproduct of the scientific age, in which the media has fed us so many conflicting messages about food that we’re left feeling confused, or even scared. Remind yourself that high-carb, high-fat foods, sweets and alcohols are indulged by many cultures that aren’t overweight—ask any European. Or that centenarians like 109-year-old Helen Reichert don’t shy away from them either; she lists Budweiser and chocolate truffles among her favorite foods. Instead of avoiding certain foods, integrate them in moderation.

“Look at them as ‘fun’ food. … Eating desserts is normal,” Bowman says. “It’s about finding the right balance for your body.” Centenarians may have only one or two cookies, and the French rarely have second helpings. It’s better to make peace with holiday foods, Bowman believes, than to make them the enemy and, in the end, dive in to them. 3. Treat Yourself More (to Non-Food Rewards) Since the holiday season focuses so much on giving, remember to include yourself. Compounded stress and self-neglect and can lead to excessively high levels of the hormone cortisol, which, in excess, can actually inhibit the breakdown of fat. Bowman believes that food is a necessary and normal

comfort, but not the only one to reach for when feeling holiday woes. Schedule “me” time, and respect it. She suggests making a list of nurturing activities— a pedicure, a girly movie or even buying yourself presents—and reaching for those activities instead of food. Distinguishing emotional hunger from biological hunger is pivotal to “re-learning” how to eat, and will likely increase the pleasure we feel when we do indulge in food for comfort. 4. Move More (Now, or Later) In busy times, exercise gets cut first. Bowman jokingly asks people if they stop showering during the holidays. “Well, no!” they’ll reply. Then why stop moving? To her, food and diet is 50/50 when it comes to weight management, and should be as essential as hygiene. However, don’t kick yourself for dropping or not having your routine. Instead, think about what activities might be appealing when time comes available. Ask yourself how your inactive body feels. “The most common answers I hear are, ‘I feel sluggish. I can’t sleep. I feel overfull,’” Bowman says. “What are the benefits of being active? What are the barriers?” In the meantime, all activity, even yard work or gift shopping, counts.

Sally Bowman photographed by Rudy Arocha.

“Anything’s better than sitting on the couch,” Bowman says. Sally Bowman, M.Ed, RD, LD, is open for consultations. To schedule an appointment, call 512.469.7676, or visit Central Texas Nutrition Consultants at 2308 Lake Austin Blvd., or online at Austinnutritiontherapy. com.

Recommended reading: In Defense of Food by Michael Pollan Intuitive Eating by Evelyn Tribole Austin Woman’s Guide to Good Health (Fall 2011): “Portion Distortion,” page 30.

from the

Heart lynn meredith— At home wherever she finds herself.

By Deborah Hamilton-Lynne Photos by Ryann Ford Styling by Adam Fortner Flowers courtesy of Verbena Floral Design, Makeup by Stacey Hubrath and hair by Courtney Woodhead, of milk + honey,

“I long, as does every human being, to be at home wherever I find myself.”

–Maya Angelou Every master builder knows that a house begins with a solid foundation. Very few teenagers have the foresight or intuition to begin their relationships by building a solid foundation. When Lynn and Tom Meredith met as freshmen at Saint Francis University, they began a conversation that has lasted 43 years and became the foundation upon which they built their life together, their family and the many homes they have shared with friends and family. “When we first started dating, we talked a lot about how we were raised, what our parents were like,” Lynn says. “I am the youngest of three and Tommie comes from a family of four. We talked a lot about family and home. We talked about family traditions: what meals our families ate and what we did at Christmas.

We always knew that we wanted a family and a home, so we talked about these things ad nauseum while we were dating. We married right after our college graduation and by then we had made agreements and compromises about each experience and we knew what we wanted.” Married 39 years with four children, the Merediths have had the opportunity to build not only a life together, but also several homes along the way. From their first grad school apartment in Pittsburgh, where they slept on a Castro convertible sofa, to their current spacious condominium overlooking Austin, the city of their heart, the couple has stayed true to the agreements they reached in college. Each home, no matter how large or small, has been a place for entertaining. From early potluck dinners shared with friends to large family dinners to catered fundraisers, the kitchen has been a focal point in each Meredith home. Open space for family and friends to gather is a must, as is access to the great outdoors. Throughout the years, they have tended to gravitate toward decorating with the colors that make them feel

warm and comfortable: yellows, greens and blues. Books, photos of family and friends, and beloved heirlooms such as Lynn’s rocking chair from childhood are staples in every home. The road to Austin led through a small apartment in Pittsburgh, a townhouse in Virginia and two ranch-style houses in California. “Tommie is the driver in choosing our houses,” Lynn says. “Very interesting how we divide these things. When we found both of the houses in California, it was about the kitchen and the family room—how that operates and is there an outdoor space. Always important to us. We always looked for outdoor space. In all of our houses, we needed the ability to entertain because we always liked to have people over. We were in a dinner club and we had a playgroup. We had to accommodate all of that. Tom is the architect and I am much more involved with the ‘case goods.’ I look at the comfort and the feel of the fabric and the furniture. The idea of the spaces is much more Tommie. He has the vision when he sees houses.”

[From left] Lynn with Hillary Clinton; Liz Carpenter.

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One of the notable things Lynn was giving up by moving from Westlake to downtown was her wonderful landscaping. Consequently, we conceived of the new apartment as a ‘landscape in the sky’ and the entire layout was based on landscape elements such as hedgerows, an esplanade, a grove (the entry columned gallery), forest, follies and ponds. The round wine room is the symbolic pond around the round media room, which was to be emblematic of a folly. The library in particular was intended to represent a courtyard in the middle of a landscape, hence its balconies on the mezzanine above. -david webber, Webber Studio Because the building is one of very simple lines, it was decided to treat the space as though it had been an industrial building, revamped into a wonderful living space blending old and new. David Webber, the Merediths’ architect, and I spent months playing with various approaches. I feel he did an outstanding job with the movement he created. In what could have felt like one enormous rectangle, there are so many beautiful lines and soft details. It is truly full of surprises. One of my favorite elements is the 30-inch deep crown all done in the same integral plaster as the walls. Native materials, finishes and fabrics were chosen that would complement the outside, since it is glass, floor to ceiling. Lynn’s love of Italian was also a driving force in the design and furniture. -Phyllis Brooks, Phyllis Brooks Interiors Photos by William Russell

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In 1992, when a young man from Austin named Michael Dell, who had an interesting startup company, offered Tom the chance to join Dell Computer as chief financial officer, the couple packed up their four children, aged 20 months to 12 years, and moved to a sprawling two-story home in Rob Roy. “In Menlo Park, we came from a fully formed community where I had incredible support— emotionally, socially, physically and academically. And from schools we loved and a community we were very integrated in to, a community we loved,” Lynn says. “I feel strongly that when you commit to a place, you need to commit to that place. I don’t think about going back. I knew this was a great opportunity for Tommie. So what was wonderful when we got to Austin was how welcoming people were—the Dells, the Gottesmans, the Inmans, Liz Carpenter and Lady Bird Johnson. They welcomed us with open arms and people helped at every turn. Once I got involved with schools, I knew it was a great place for the kids. We started to see the benefits of raising the children in such a vibrant community and never looked back. We renovated our house in Rob Roy to open it up. We wanted to have a large room where the family could gather. We added a playground and pool for the kids and a guestroom to welcome our friends from California. The very first year we were in Austin, we had our pumpkin party, a longstanding tradition, which we continue to this day.” Two years ago, with the prospect of their youngest child, Abby, going to college, the Merediths began to contemplate a lifestyle change and a move downtown. Tom had taken a position at Motorola and was traveling for business to Chicago, Miami and San Diego. Lynn served on several boards for arts organizations and nonprofits, and found herself commuting to town almost every day. The choice of the Four Seasons Residences was the perfect fit. The proximity to the hike-and-bike trail allows easy access to the outdoor lifestyle that the Merediths love. They exercise their dogs, bike to Whole Foods and walk the trail. Proximity to downtown allows for Saturday shopping at the farmers market, impromptu dinners at downtown restaurants and access to cultural events at The Long Center and nearby theaters.

“We have returned to our roots,” Lynn says. “Tommie was raised in Philadelphia, and I was raised in New York. We love city life. It is like being first married again. It is a new place and it is just the two of us. The kids are in and out because three of them all live within the Austin city limits. They come by and go jogging. [Our son] Will works from here. I am still in the mix with the kids, but in a new way. It is fun to be here. There are lots of things to do or you can do nothing. You can hide out if you want to. This building is a community. People are friendly and surprisingly social; they hang out in the lobby. It is now over 50% occupied. The residents vary: a few have children, for some this is their full-time residence and for others it is a second home. [There are] people from all over the state and the country. There are a ton of writers. Some professors live here. It is a fascinating community. When Tommie is traveling for business, I can go and have a cocktail with friends, have dinner downtown, walk to meetings. We are very busy here.” When her third child, Sarah, left for college, Lynn realized that she had four years with daughter Abby before she would be an empty-nester. In typical Lynn Meredith style, she began exploring and preparing for the transition and a new phase of life. Beyond the changes in location and housing, the couple began discussing what this would mean for their relationship and lifestyle. “I have a tendency to think long term about things and look at the horizon to see what is coming,” Lynn says. “I started reading, talking and finding people who had already gone through the empty-nest transitions and spending time talking with them. ‘What is it like? What should I do?’ I got everything from ‘This is great’ to ‘I can’t get out of bed.’ I am not big with being surprised, so I try to be prepared. It was a hard transition and I was sad, but I stayed busy. Tom and I have been married 39 years and together 43, so it was really also talking together about what is this going to look like for the two of us? What we do now is we spend more time together. He works from home, which gives us opportunity during the day to do things together. We will say, ‘Where

on philanthropy

Lynn Meredith on her dedication to Austin nonprofits and organizations: The Women’s Fund of Central Texas “What I love about The Women’s Fund is that it was women in Austin coming together around philanthropy. It allowed women to join together to have an impact in a fun but serious way. They have done a lot of good. Their grants are focused and they have an enormous amount of impact.” Dell Children’s Women’s Trust Fund “This is a relatively new organization. This is the second fund and what is wonderful about it is that there have been so many people who have been involved at the Dell Children’s Center as philanthropists or as major supporters, and it allows those women to come together and learn what is actually happening and where the needs are. It is fun to vote with your dollars with other friends and have the opportunity to learn while making an impact.” The Blanton Museum of Art “I became involved with [the museum] as a way to bridge the Austin community and the UT community. It is a centerpiece for an amazing collection that is owned by UT, and I was drawn to it because of the leadership: Jessie Otto Hite, Jack Blanton. It was a great place

to connect the city of Austin and UT.” The Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center “I am committed to Mrs. Johnson’s vision of having a sense of place through the environment. I feel that native plants and wildflowers bring so much joy to all of us and it is critical to use them to enhance our environment.” The National Charity League “It is a mother-daughter organization. The girls are in the seventh to 12th grade. Along with two other women, I started the first chapter in Austin and both [my daughters], Sarah and Abby, went through. It focuses on the motherdaughter relationship and helps the girls learn leadership skills and good manners. The focus is on serving the community, and mothers and daughters serve together. It creates an avenue for the girls to bond, as well as the mothers and daughters.” Austin Children’s Museum “When I came to Austin, I was a member of The Junior League and was already a sustainer, so I looked for a way to get involved outside of the league using my experience. I had great men-

[From left] Mrs. Lady Bird Johnson, Lynn and Tom Meredith

tors in Nancy Inman and Ronya Kozmetsky, whose husbands were both on the board of Dell. They showed me the lay of the land, gave me a wide swath of organizations to look at and I talked to the executive directors. I loved Deborah Edward because she had a vision and she was on a mission, and there was a great need for a children’s museum. I became involved, chaired the board and chaired the campaign to move it to Second Street. Now we are a size 9 foot in a size 6 shoe. Our audience has grown and the expectation of our audience has evolved, so we are moving to the Mueller site and building 40,000 square feet. We will be open in the last quarter of 2013. It is going to be an ‘Austinized’ experience. This is the most democratic, open, family-friendly institution in Austin.”

The Long Center for the Performing Arts “Our largest civic gift was to The Long Center. We love Austin and we felt that there were some civic investments that needed to be made in Austin to attract and keep talent and improve the cultural life of the city. We felt that The Long Center was going to be the city’s living room. We had a lot of conversations amongst the group of major donors to decide what to do and how to make the project happen. We had a lot of leaders in the arts that picked up the gauntlet and made it happen, all done with public funding. It was a huge investment of time and money. If it wasn’t for the Longs giving their huge gift, it never would have happened. That was what we were all looking for.” 79

Lynn with her family [From left: Tom, Abby, Lynn, Kate, Pedro, Will and Sarah]

do you want to go to dinner tonight?’ or ‘Do you want to walk with me?’ We can be more spontaneous and spend more time together. We have more freedom and flexibility. When we had children, we were always working off the family calendar and juggling events. Now we fold things in and we travel together. Our time is not as regimented.” Lynn and Tom have become involved in L3 Leadership, Legacy and Life, an organization started three years ago when a group of people came together pondering the question of what to do in the second half of life. The group is composed of successful professionals with a philanthropic bent who want to explore ways to stay relevant, improve the quality of their lives and their communities, and leave a significant legacy to their families and the larger world as a whole. The group came together in Austin last spring to explore ways to “stay green” and healthy in mind, body and spirit, as well as the environment. Lynn will serve as chairman of the advisory board beginning in January 2013. Both Lynn and Tom remain active in the Austin nonprofit and arts communities. For their contributions of time, advice and funds, they have been honored with the Anti-Defamation League Torch of Liberty Award, as well as the 2010 Austin Community Foundation Barbara

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Jordan Award for outstanding volunteer contribution and philanthropy. Through their family foundation, MFI Foundation, founded in 1998, the Merediths have made significant contributions to The Long Center, the Blanton Museum, the Austin Children’s Museum, the Wildflower Center and Dell Children’s Medical Center, as well as many other organizations in Austin and Central Texas. Making it a family affair, son Will has joined the foundation, working on the Chestnut project on the East side, which will house nonprofits PeopleFund, the Sustainable Food Center and Theatre Action Project. The project crosses age groups, economic groups and specialty interest groups through education, economic empowerment and commitment to a healthy lifestyle. Asked about this phase of life and developing a balance, Lynn reflects on two books that have given her direction. “Women my age had a difficult time choosing between career and motherhood or trying to have both,” she says. “I read a book titled Sequencing, and I discovered that you don’t have to do everything all at the same time. You can sequence your life and fold things in and fold things out. Some things I have done all the time—being married, being a mother—but some

things professional and philanthropic can have a greater piece of your time and attention at different times in your life. Even professionally, there are times when you can be full bore. If you sequence, you can have a greater impact. Another book that plays on this is A Gift from the Sea. That had a big impact on me. What Anne Morrow Lindberg said was even though I love my life, my husband and my children, I need to be sure to keep my self intact so that I can draw strength from myself. She realized

From early potluck dinners shared with friends to large family dinners to catered fundraisers, the kitchen has been a focal point in each Meredith home.

that she needed to pay attention to her own needs so that she could remain resilient and dedicate her life to these other important matters.” As for building a lasting legacy, Lynn has an interesting take on obituaries and looks to important women in her life as role models. “My father read the obituaries to me, so from a young age, I looked at my life backwards: How did I want it to end? And what did I want to

leave? I think of great people and how they lived their lives: Mrs. Johnson lived through so many changes over nine decades; Liz Carpenter, always vibrant and relevant. The legacy that Tom and I want to provide for our children is to educate them with a set of values and a set of ethics that instill a moral compass and a spirituality they can build their lives on,” Lynn says. “For me, being reliable, being consistent and being present has always been key. As a legacy, being involved in civic life is very important to me and I am hopeful that all of our children will be involved both in

the political sense and the community sense.” Lynn Meredith is the first to acknowledge that she has been blessed. She will also say that she believes it is a privilege to live in a city where people respect and honor your beliefs and value systems, and everyone works together to make it a better place. This is what she has found in Austin, and it’s the foundation on which she and Tom have built all of their houses. It is a solid foundation that allows Lynn to be at home wherever she finds herself. 81

Setting the How to get more bang for your buck in the current housing market. By Katy MacIntosh / Photos by Rudy Arocha

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Selling your home can be a stressful experience. With so many questions and variables, the objective is usually to sell your house as quickly as possible and hopefully make a little money. According to real estate experts, both staging and targeted remodeling can achieve these objectives and give you the most bang for your buck. Austin Woman caught up with Betsy Richter, owner of Austin Home Staging, who’s also a vacant-property specialist and a broker, to see what staging and remodeling is all about, and how you can be strategic with your biggest investment— your home. When a potential buyer walks into a vacant property, they can be easily distracted. Questions and concerns arise that might not were the house furnished, such as: Where will my furniture go? Are those holes in the walls? I wonder why this house is vacant. This is where staging comes in to play. Home

staging is all about the marketing of the home. It is the ribbon on a present, or the chocolate drizzle on dessert. Home staging can occur both when the resident is occupying the home, and when it is vacant. Richter’s Austin Home Staging is a free service that brings resident stagers, or home managers, in to vacant listings to live there full time until the listing sells. “We can turn a vacant listing in to a competitive, staged listing that will stand out and sell faster in any marketplace,” Richter says. “We transform once-vacant homes in to homes that breathe, sparkle and shine.” Representatives from Richter’s company visit a home to assess the situation. She might recommend some remodeling or upgrades, but she will definitely deep clean and fix up the house. Then she finds a resident stager, a person who will move in to the house with their furniture to “stage” it for selling. They live in the home for a reduced

rent that they pay to Austin Home Staging. Resident stagers go through a rigorous interview and screening process, and Richter makes her expectations of them clear. “It’s all about responsibility,” she says. “They have to keep the house in show condition.” The staging process takes 14 days. The resident stagers have 10 days to move everything into the house and completely unpack. On day 11, the house is vacated so Richter can work. She hangs the artwork, moves things around as needed, and assesses what props need to be added from her inventory of décor. Michelle Solsbery, a real estate consultant from Capital City Sotheby’s International Realty, says if a house is going to be vacant, she recommends staging. “It helps the buyer focus on the bigger picture and not on small flaws in the house,” she says. Richter says in her experience as a broker and a stager, staging makes all the difference. “Our homes are full of furnishings,” she says. “The utilities are on. The homes are warm in the winter, cool in the summer. The staged homes are exciting, inviting and alive. People want to be a part of them!” According to a 2011 survey, 80% of Realtors recommend staging, with an average 299% return on investment. Kay Andrews, a Realtor with Amelia Bullock Realtors, says staging helps sell a home. “Staged properties sell faster and for more money,” she says. “Staging allows the property to show like a home instead of a house.” Want to stay in your home while it sells? There is a staging option for you as well. Kris Miller, franchise owner and interior designer with Decorating Den Interiors, receives calls from real estate agents to help stage the non-vacant homes they sell. She helps the current resident use their possessions for maximum sales potential. “I bring a fresh perspective,” Miller says. “People get so used to seeing their things every day. I come in and see new ways to arrange furniture and accessories.” When she visits a home, she recommends de-cluttering, maximizing the use of furniture


BEfore 83

Bathroom remodel by Kris Miller of Decorating Den.


and décor, having sufficient lighting and painting with a bright, neutral color. “I shuffle things around and make it look pretty,” Miller says. “Accessories and placement make an impression with a buyer.” Another question home sellers ask is whether to remodel, and how their money is best spent. “Remodeling is no longer used only to get more money; it is now necessary to sell the home,” Richter says. “In today’s market, people want low cost and no remodeling. They really want to just move in. They want a perfect house at the perfect price.” Solsbery says strategic remodeling can be effective: You can remodel a kitchen or a bathroom, but there is no guarantee the buyer will like it. “I always recommend updating light fixtures and hardware,” Solsbery says. “There are small things that don’t cost much, but make a difference.” Solsbery, Richter and Andrews recommend switching countertops for stone or granite and always getting rid of brass hardware. “People pick the one with the most updated touches,” Solsbery says. Andrews agrees that remodeling a home can bring a quicker sale. “Buyers are very discerning,” she says. “They are looking for reasons not to buy rather than reasons to buy.” For more information, visit For more information on Decorating Den Interiors call 512.467.9030, or visit

Top Remodeling Investments Curb Appeal “You have to get people out of their car and into the property,” Richter says. “Landscaping is important.” According to, 93% of real estate agents recommend a landscaping upgrade. Things like replacing a driveway, new grass, plants and mulch are Richter’s go-to fixes. Kitchens and Bathrooms Richter recommends updating countertops, appliances and hardware in the kitchen. She says buyers expect kitchens and bathrooms to be updated. Seventy-five percent of real estate agents recommend a kitchen and bathroom redux. Finishing Touches Replacing things like the hardware, light fixtures and paint adds an instant upgrade for little cost. Richter, Andrews and Solsbery all recommend these quick fixes. Cleaning Richter’s team cleans the home thoroughly before the stagers move in and after they move out. “You would be amazed the difference a thorough cleaning can make,” Richter says.

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benefits of staging vacant properties Help Maintain Homeowners Insurance Homeowners insurance can expire 60 days after a home becomes vacant. “A huge benefit of having a resident stager is maintaining insurance, and monitoring your property,” Richter says. Making a House Feel Like Home “Homes that are lived in feel more successful,” Richter says. “Things in a vacant home distract a buyer.” Solsbery agrees. “Open spaces are hard to visualize,” she says. “A house shows better with furniture. It softens and warms the room.” Property Looks and Operates its Best Before Inspection Richter’s team does an intense survey of the property and repairs any problems they find. “Why wait for an inspector to find a problem?” Richter says. “We fix it first.”

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Most people walk into a $1 million home and can’t picture where to put furniture or decoration in its cavernous spaces. Betsy Richter is an exception. She walks in and sees the space as it should look: full of life, its potential maximized. “Betsy is magic. M-A-G-I-C,” says Kay Andrews of Amelia Bullock Realtors. “She takes properties and presents them in their best light.” Andrews talks about her first encounter with Austin Home Staging. “The first time I ever used Betsy was in a home that had been on the market for three years with several different brokers,” Andrews says. “I took over the property and called Betsy. After she was finished, it sold in three months.” Richter has been staging and remodeling homes for almost 10 years, and she still talks about it with verve and animation. “My job is creative and I’m helping people,” she says. “I am solving three people’s needs at once: the homeowner, the buyer and the resident stager.” Since 2002, Richter has staged, managed or remodeled more than 350 vacant homes in Austin for a total of $220 million-plus in volume. She focuses on homes from $200,000 to $5 million in areas south of 35th Street and south of Lake Travis. In addition to staging and remodeling, she has recently added a third facet to her company: vacant-property management. For $500 a month, she will stop by the property once a week to make sure everything is in good condition. This came in handy for several homeowners last winter when she saved their homes’ pipes from bursting. Richter is one of those people who truly loves what she does. “Work is my work and also my hobby,” she says. “I love to remodel homes and invest in real estate.” In fact, she is currently remodeling her own home, purchased in August 2011, while living in her guesthouse. Richter, who describes herself as restless, seems to finally be settling down. She has lived in several cities throughout the U.S., but between every move kept coming back to Austin. “Austin has always had such a good vibe,” she says. “Every time I’d fly in, I just felt good.”

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Dating Detective Seven tips for becoming your own online detective. By Eric Leech Statistics estimate that one in six married couples met online. To break these numbers down a bit further, of the billions of singles (and a lot of married people) who joined a dating website for the first time, about 33% found some form of Prince or Princess Charming. With a success rate like this, the online dating market is at a boom right now (growing at a rate of 10% every year). Unfortunately, as more people are drawn to online dating, about 10% of new profiles created are at the hands of scam artists. Does this mean you should stay away from dating websites entirely? There is a risk of putting toxins in your body every time you grab a piece of fruit from the grocery store. There is a possibility of getting run over by a garbage truck if you walk down the street and text at the same time, but I bet you still do it. The point is, as long as you’re careful, your chance of encountering foul play should be greatly reduced. One of the hottest careers this year is an online dating detective. These professionals investigate members of these websites, reporting their financial, career and relationship status for a fee. However, who says you should have to pay for this peace of mind? Here are seven valuable tools to help you become your own online dating detective. Background Checks Employers, working parents and web-savvy daters all use background checks to fill in the missing info a person may not want them to know (criminal history, marriage records, etc.). Most background-check websites require the user to pay a fee, but you can check the National Sex Offender Registry for free. The problem with relying on background checks too much is they provide a false sense of security. Their databases are occasionally incomplete, considering that not all counties provide full digital records of their population. Google Paris Hilton, Lindsay Lohan and Britney Spears have seen their foibles twisted in to some sort of catchy Internet headline. However, you don’t have to be famous to become infamous in your own hometown. Google can tell you a lot about anyone. Everything from court cases to local news stories can be dug up

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just by searching for someone’s first and last name and location. In many cases, Google may be all you need to get an overview of the last couple years of someone’s life.

this many people, these scammers will not take the time to answer this question with any degree of sincerity, so you’ll be able to cross them off your list right away.

Social Networking Sites Facebook has more than 600 million members, Twitter more than 200 million and LinkedIn about 85 million. These websites allow friends, families and even strangers to witness a person’s life on a professional (and sometimes personal) level. You can connect (befriend) to discover more information about anyone. However, if you can’t find them (or they refuse to link with you), consider this a small red flag.

Instinct Always trust your gut instinct on a dating website. If something doesn’t feel right, you should probably move on. One way to recognize an iffy profile is to consider the profile photo. If the photo looks overly Photoshopped or commercial, these people are either not being honest about their appearance or are posing as someone else. Poor communication can also be a sign of a scam artist, an overly busy person or an online player looking to add notches to their keyboard.

Inconsistent Profiles An easy way to avoid trouble is to pay close attention to a member’s profile, taking note of any details, such as childhood, job, pets and hobbies. If at any time while you’re communicating you notice inconsistencies in what they say (and how they say it), perk up your eyes and ears, as you could be dealing with someone who is not who you think they are. Smart Questions You can tell a lot about someone by how they answer (or don’t answer) your online questions. The best question is: What was it about my profile that caught your attention? Dating websites are packed with jokers using form introductions to send out mass mailings to hundreds of singles. When dealing with

Flexibility Surveys suggest that as many as one-third of members on dating websites are cheating, married men. With this in mind, it becomes increasingly important to pay attention to members who have minimal flexibility in their daily schedule. Men looking for affairs will prefer to email and chat late at night while their partner is asleep. Keep track of their time stamps to know when they are available. Keeping odd hours may be legitimate, but it can also be a red flag in romance. Partial research sourced from the Chadwick Martin Bailey (CMB) Study.

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Meet the brain and brawn of Citizen Generation’s top bachelor. By Molly McManus Photo by Rudy Arocha Warning: While looking at this photograph, you may experience feelings of faintness, an increase in temperature and/or quivering of the knees. Don’t let the looks fool you, though; Zach Brockman has a downto-earth essence, a captivating presence and is as bright as the Friday night lights he coaches beneath. Playing football for the University of Texas Longhorns and having a close relationship with the coaching staff established Brockman’s own interest in coaching. During the past 12 years, he has fulfilled this passion, working at Westlake High School. Whether he’s coaching football, teaching English or coaching girls track, you will not find this man sitting still. His day typically begins at 5 a.m. with a morning workout, and ends at about 7 p.m. with the last football practice of the day. When he’s not consumed with this busy schedule, he’s planning ahead for activities with friends (as the organizer of the group), unable to rid himself of his never-ending energy. Endless energy is one of the many reasons that the nonprofit Citizen Generation contacted him about their CharityBash Live Auction in which 20 of Austin’s top bachelors and bachelorettes will be bid on to raise money for the organization. Brockman admits he’s nervous about the event but has assembled a date-night package worth $1,000 to further entice bidders. With a dedication to his coaching, teaching and life, this beautiful bachelor has a brilliant future ahead of him. So, how much will Mr. Simply Irresistible go for? More importantly, will he take off his shirt? You’ll have to be there to find out. Citizen Generation’s third annual CharityBash Live Auction benefiting CASA of Travis County and LifeWorks, Thursday, Nov. 10 at KLRU’s Austin City Limits Studio. Tickets and more information available at

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The Truth Hurts Absence does not make the heart grow fonder. By JB Hager / Photo by Rudy Arocha Do you want to hear why I was acting like a big pouty baby? I had a bit of a meltdown—an 8-year-old not being invited to a classmate’s birthday party kind of meltdown. The only things missing were my diaper and my binky. I completely ruined a dinner date, alone with my wife. I had just taken a weeklong trip with my father. I have never been away from my wife that long, nor do she and I have much opportunity to vacation together. I felt a bit guilty and was certain that I would be missed, just as I missed her. My certainty that I was missed faded quickly during a fancy dinner date, just the two of us. We were giving each other the download of our week apart. As usual, I had little to recount. She had this look, her eyes saying, “Wow, you took your first trip to Europe in 44 years of life on earth and all you remember is drinking beer in a big tent?” Yep, that’s pretty much it. Then the conversation turned to her week and things went south quickly. At some point while I was gone, there was a gathering of the wives, many of them married to busy business travelers. Their conversation revolved around how wonderful it is when husbands are gone. There were many reasons, but I’ll share with you some of the highlights. B Apparently, homework is a big deal and moms seem to be on the hook for that one. Dads find some things more important than homework, such as watching YouTube videos all night. What my wife doesn’t understand is that there are amazing things on YouTube, like wake surfing videos, Japanese insect wars and people wiping out. It’s like watching America’s Funniest Home Videos without the commercials or bad Bob Saget jokes. B The house is cleaner. She pointed out that all shoes are where they belong and there are no beer bottles to recycle in the a.m. I leave my shoes there because at some point I want to put them back on there. And, well, beer bottles are just beer bottles. No real excuse there. B There are no late-night explosions in the microwave. (???) If anyone in the house knew how to cook, we wouldn’t have a microwave. “Oooooh, burn!”

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Dads find some things more important than homework, such as watching YouTube videos all night. B No snoring, therefore she actually gets a good night’s sleep. Hey, it takes an abnormal amount of oxygen to fuel a body like this. That’s all I’m saying. B The bathroom floor is clean. I stand my ground on the sitting-down-to-pee issue. B No one is bugging her for sex. This one was a real hot button for the wives. I couldn’t help but take offense to the word “bugging.” She went on to explain about the inopportune times I would make a sexual request, like when she just put on a facial mask, while on the phone with her parents or upon returning from the gym. I’m not picky. Besides, if I hadn’t bugged her on that fateful day 10 ½ years ago, our lovely daughter would not exist. I have the mentality of a cold-call salesman: Every no just gets me one call closer to a yes.

We’re doomed, fellas. The truth is they don’t miss us and soon they won’t need us. Did you know scientists are now able to create sperm cells using embryonic stem cells and human bone cells to get the genetic code? Women, given the option to give their babies male or female traits, are going to opt for a female every single time. Gives new meaning to BFF, doesn’t it? My question is: Who is going to fix things when the Internet is down or check out that loud noise in the middle of the night? Your genetically fabricated superior son, you say? I storm off in a huff, acting like even more of a baby on our dinner date. JB Hager can be heard as part of the JB and Sandy Morning Show on Mix 94.7 Austin weekdays 6 a.m. to 10 a.m.

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I face myself. I thought I was fearless. Testing out of high school early and going away to college by choice is where the adventure began. After graduating college, I sold everything and moved to a foreign country without a job or any direction. Last year I left a well established business environment I created in Denver, to begin anew in Austin, without knowing a soul; traveling to the Middle East by myself; almost marrying a man with five young kids...and the list goes on. What I consider to be my true fearlessness is “checking in” rather than “checking out.” We all have a natural tendency to check out. Your conduit may be television, socializing, Internet, sex, drugs, food, or just sheer busyness. At 30 years old, I faced my demons that had caused me to develop a severe drinking problem. After years of struggling with failed relationships, jobs, depression, eating disorders, and the hatred of being in my own skin….I courageously faced the most difficult task to date. Myself. I began a journey of Personal Development. Now, almost four years later; with countless hours of God; Yoga; self inquiry; tears; a pruning of myself and my friends; and a ton of support from loved ones, my war with alcoholism has become more manageable. I was advised by some to keep this information private. I consider it brave to bring to light a problem that many hide. My journey with Personal Development has provided me the tools to manage my alcoholism and has rooted me into a career where I can share my growth to inspire others. I have been blessed to share my experience with you. If you want to be more fearless, you need only look in the mirror.

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you should know

Bridging Preservation and Innovation

Architect Emily Little sees her work as a civic duty. By Julliane Ballou Photo by Rudy Arocha The Waller Creek Bridge wears a costume of sorts: three naked frames of steel armature (the skeleton for sculptures) welded to fit gracefully within the arches of the old stone bridge. Each frame is held near the ceiling by four braided cables attached to the deck. During the day, the burnt copper of the steel, along with the tans and browns of the stone, harmonize so well with the colors of the surrounding water, foliage and turning trees that it’s easy to view the manmade structure as a part of, rather than separate from, its environment. The project, titled Seeing Times are Not Hidden, is architect Emily Little’s latest, designed in collaboration with fellow architect Norma Yancey and percussionist Matt Theodora for the University of Texas’ Music in Architecture Symposium. The project was one of eight finalists chosen from 70 international entries to the symposium, and on the evening of Oct. 19, each of the armature frames was hung with hundreds of glass, steel and wood chimes. The musicians from Line Upon Line Percussion Group walked through the vaults, playing the chimes and demonstrating Seeing Times’ second revelation of architecture’s value: It can enhance nature, and it can also transform sound. I meet Little for drinks on the back patio of East Side Show Room (her pick), and she is instantly engaging, sophisticated and attentive, with a kind of warm quirkiness. She has a Texas lilt and an unassuming confidence reflective of someone wholly curious about the world and the people around her. As we talk, I get the comforting sense that she can do—or will at least try—almost anything. Little, an Austin native, attended UT in the early ’70s and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in anthropology. She moved to New York City, hoping to work for a cultural institution, preferably a museum, but there weren’t many options available for someone with limited experience, so she ended

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up working as an office administrator for two years. “That’s when I knew, ‘Oh, Lord, I’ve got to get a career,’” Little laughs. “But I learned how to type and run an office.” Eventually her roots pulled her back to Austin, where some project sketches by a friend who had graduated from UT’s Master of Architecture program piqued Little’s interest. “In those days, there weren’t a lot of career opportunities,” she says. “It was like doctor, lawyer, Indian chief kind of thing, and I thought, ‘Well, I’ll just try architecture.’ My fantasy was that I would go to developing countries and work there and stay closer to the anthropology world.” She enrolled in the program, landed a moonlighting job working on a Victorian house for a longtime family friend who had experience renovating old houses, and found her stride as one of four practicing female architects in Austin. Reading about her awards, projects, and community and professional ties, it looks like she started off running and just kept going full speed. She has been a member of the American Institute of Architects and Austin Women in Architecture since 1983, a member of the National Trust for Historic Preservation since 1979, a chair for the Ann Richards School for Young Women Leaders, a member of the Heritage Society of Austin and on the Governor’s Selection Committee for the 9/11 State Memorial. Little won two Austin Chronicle Reader’s Choice Awards for best architect, and 10 Heritage Society Awards. She was inducted in to the Austin Arts Hall of Fame in 2007, and her projects have been featured on various citywide architecture tours. She published an essay entitled Dirt Path Epiphany about the creative process in Wimberley-based Blue Rock Review (where her bio describes her as “architect, traveler and nurturer of dreams”), and she gave the keynote speech at the UT School of Architecture commencement this May. She has traveled to Patagonia, Finland, China and Antarctica. Recently, Little has begun taking welding lessons. Little respects Texas. She’s involved in commercial and residential work, historic restoration and more avant-garde projects, such as Seeing Times and Studio 25 (a dual meditation space and guest quarters in Wimberley inspired by the region’s popular 19thcentury “dogtrot house”). But across the board, she works with the elements first. “I’m drawn to basics, and I always have been,” Little says. “Much of my thinking is based on early Texas design, which is just deep overhangings to

protect from the sun, catching breezes; natural limestone and regional materials; beautiful old pine floors. Just very natural and simple.” She’s equally engaged with history and the endlessly regenerative possibilities of design. An anthropologist and visionary, Little describes her approach to architecture as “in the middle of pure preservation and innovation. … I don’t like to rip off character-defining aspects of a building.” Her tact as a preservationist is reflected in the J.P. Schneider Store on West Second Street, which she, in partnership with the Texas Historical Commission, renovated in 2001. It was the equivalent of handling glass; the former commerce building, constructed in 1873, is the only remaining historic building in the immediate area and is part of the National Registry of Historic Places. Little “directed the removal of layers of paint from the Austin common brick, stabilized walls, identified original openings and fabricated new windows and doors to match the original design.” Today Schneider, a gem of old Americana, shares the street with Austin City Hall and a Computer Science Corporation building. Little’s career is impossible to pigeonhole, but her strongest asset is her sense of civic duty. “As design professionals, I believe we see the world in a unique way, where there are not lines or boundaries dividing issues and people, but connections to be made, physically or legislatively,” Little said in her recent speech at UT. “You have unique gifts and training, and these must be shared.”

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Doing Your Homework Architect Rose Bartush’s essential questions a woman should ask before building a home. By Molly McManus and Rose Bartush What are my financing options? Do your research on construction loans. Since they are very personal and hands-on, Rose Bartush of Bartush Design encourages the consumer to go to a local bank and deal with someone they can trust. If you choose to use a mortgage broker, be sure your loan officer has a Nationwide Mortgage Licensing System and Registry, or NMLSR, ID. Are there any restrictions on my lot? Choosing a lot may seem simple, but you need to find out what the restrictions are on a particular piece of property. The City of Austin Planning and Development Review Department is very helpful. Also check with the area’s governing homeowners association. Are there zoning or covenant ordinances that would restrict your plans for new construction? Is it a historic neighborhood? For example, your design might include a detached garage apartment intended for an in-law suite but zoning could prohibit secondary living quarters. How do I choose a builder? Reputation, reputation, reputation. A contractor’s work will speak for itself and former clients will speak volumes. A good contractor that has nothing to hide will be more than happy for you to speak to former clients. Make sure the general contractor (GC) has liability insurance and current workers’ compensation. If a subcontractor is injured on the job and the GC does not have workers’ compensation, the homeowner can be held responsible. You need to have a good rapport and feel comfortable with the GC because you will be spending a substantial amount of time with that person and their team. How do I choose a design team? The Texas Board of Architectural Examiners has a database of licensed architects, interior designers and landscape architects. The AIA (American Institute of Architects) website is also a good place to start your search. Again, check references of design professionals after you’ve narrowed your

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all the right questions search. Make sure the designer is a good stylistic match for you. If your desired final product is a modern glass box, you probably don’t want to hire a designer who specializes in traditional architecture. It’s imperative to have open lines of communication with the architect and/or interior designer. This is the person who is going to translate your wants and needs in to two-and threedimensional form. From the beginning, Bartush advises clients to have the entire team in place from the GC to the landscape designer for cohesiveness. How do I want the space to work for me? After all logistics are in place, it is important to consider how you want your new home to function. Examine how your family works, then make lists. Things to consider: Entry: Have an inviting area at the front of the home. If you enter chaos, you’ll feel chaos. 

Kitchen: You will always need a bigger kitchen. So think big and think open. People will congregate there, even if you aren’t serving dinner.

Mud Room: This space is a must for women with families, helping to keep clutter and mess to a minimum. It provides a great place for kids to dump and store shoes, coats, backpacks and dirty sports equipment.

Master Bathroom: Plan properly, save the marriage. If it’s within budget and the square footage is available, a separate bathroom, closet and vanity areas are a must.

Wall Space: Consider furniture and art you would like to have in your new home. Along with existing pieces, it is probable there will be new pieces to be accommodated.

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Back Door to the Trade

Austin Design Center accomodates the vision of interior designers. By Birdie Michaels and Joelle Pearson Photos by Jordan Golembeski Back Door to the Trade does business exclusively with designers. For 12 years, the business has served as Austin’s only wholesale design center, providing a shared space for four distinct showrooms that offer products for commercial and residential use.





Before opening BDT, Priscilla Laffey and her business partner, Donna Stockton-Hicks, worked for English’s Drapery & Interiors. They had larger goals that flourished, and the two consequently established relationships with a core group of designers. Laffey’s vision was to be the technical mastermind behind the creatives, who often dread the organizational side of business. Stockton-Hicks’ primary concentration is the Stockton Hicks Laffey showroom, while Laffey concentrates on, above all, designers receiving exactly what they want. Together, they embrace the role of a professional middleman. This concept has been long awaited, and sales are reflective of the need. BDT is currently comprised of four individual showrooms, and each showroom works as an agent for the companies they represent, allowing designers the freedom to create without the stressors of smallbusiness operations. Each showroom has a distinct look and group of design lines they represent, giving clients access to a wide variety of fabrics, furnishings and accessories. What Back Door to the Trade promises is a custom-built experience. “We do this because the designers are artists, and it’s their vision that we accommodate,” Laffey says. 1. Objets, LTD.

Objets, Ltd. is an aesthetic treasure trove of found objects and furniture, some of which have been made by the hands of emerging artists. With elements ranging from contemporary to antiques, fabrics to furniture, lighting and accessories, Objets offers a broad range of lines that will fit any decor. Owner Sandy Sieracki values craftsmanship and uniqueness, which is reflected in the eclectic, high-end objects found in her showroom. The merchandise at Objets,

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Ltd. has a refined, Old World, antique influence, complemented by modern European twists. With stores in Denver and Austin, Objets Ltd. emphasizes customer satisfaction. Visit or call 512.467.0301. 2. Sonno Domestic Living

Artisan Heather Toolin specializes in luxurious bedding. As with the other showrooms at BDT, Toolin’s refined creativity is not limited to one specialty. With Toolin as a conduit, designers are capable of creating custom-made patterned fabric, embroidered towels and almost anything they can dream up. Sonno also includes fabulous beds, furnishings and unique lighting. Visit or call 512.452.4005. 3. Black Sheep Unique

Damien Clark and his wife, Erica, operate this showroom, which features handmade antique,

contemporary and custom-made rugs. Sketch a picture of your fantasy rug and Black Sheep Unique can actualize it, drawing from an expansive color selection. However, once you have seen the antique and modern offerings from Afghanistan, Turkey, Nepal and beyond, you may decide to forego a custom creation. Visit or call 512.465.2273 to schedule a showroom tour. For outbound appointments, call 512.466.2109. 4. Stockton Hicks Laffey

The central hub of BDT provides more than 85 classic and contemporary lines of textiles, trims, furniture, wall coverings and accessories in a 15,000-square-foot showroom. This inspiring space also allows clients to order customized furnishings, as well as purchase any accessory directly from the floor. For more information on product lines, visit or call 512.302.1116.









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personal best

Party Etiquette

How to be remembered for the right reasons. By Jan Goss You know you deserve a fun night out during the holiday season, so why the dread? Let’s see, you take inventory of who will be there, how exciting or boring you anticipate the night will be and how you think you compare with others who are attending. We all want to be remembered. This holiday season, I am here to ensure that you are remembered for the right reasons. It is time to tackle holiday fears and put your best foot forward, hopefully in some really great shoes! Below are three simple steps to help build your confidence and guarantee that you are remembered with respect long after the holidays have passed. Up Your Knowledge

Learn the protocol for mixing and mingling. Here are three secrets of the pros to get you started: B Keep your right hand available if possible. Shift all your belongings to the left before you enter the door. Place your purse on your left shoulder or in your left hand. When offered a drink, hold it with your left hand. This leaves your right hand available for greeting people with a handshake. B It is better to be overdressed than underdressed. If you are unsure of what to wear, dress up, not down. It is better to stand out in the crowd because you look lovely than because you have poor taste. When in doubt, make a phone call to the host prior to the event. It is perfectly fine to call and ask what attire is appropriate. B It is your duty to introduce yourself. Don’t wait for other people to make the first move. Be willing to smile and extend your hand to connect with others. Who knows what relationships you may build as a result? Slow Down

Take a breath, for goodness’ sake. It is time for a tempo change and you have the power. Excuse yourself from gossip or negative people. Keep conversations upbeat. Avoid topics such as politics, religion and health or diet habits. Relax and remember you are there to have fun and enjoy yourself. You deserve it.

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Learn How to Break into a Group

Have you ever wondered how that person who mixes so easily does it? There really is a method the pros use to mix and mingle. You can learn it, too. Here are the rules. However, each situation will be a little different. Use good judgment. Up your awareness with these helpful steps: B Look for groups of three or more. A group of two may be involved in an intense or private conversation. B Be sure your hands are at your side. Don’t cross your hands in front or in back of your body. Have an open body position as you approach the group. B Smile. When we get nervous, our facial expressions can be less than welcoming. Remember to smile. B Stand about three feet from the group. The group

will sense your presence. When someone makes eye contact with you, acknowledge him or her. This will break the group, allowing you an entrance. B Say hello, introduce yourself and acknowledge every person in the group. Use eye contact, a smile and a nod of your head, at the very least. Please do not go down in corporate history as the one who drank too much or arrived underdressed to a holiday event. Set your intention for this to be your best holiday season yet and you are on your way to being remembered for all the right reasons. Jan Goss, founder Civility Consulting Developing confident, courteous professionals Professional etiquette consultant specializing in professional business etiquette and first-impression management,, 512.577.8479.

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aw view

Illustration by Sarah Quatrano.

Home for the Holidays Home for the Holidays is playing in the background, an original song freshly recorded by five talented guys who live across the street, The Wheeler Brothers. They are shooting the video for the song this week. While I can envision their storyboard for the shoot, it is my mental snapshots that could make an awardwinning video. Picture a 90-year-old grumpy Austin transplant; a 50-something laid-back, oldschool surfer; a frustrated, non-Jewish, pro-Israel enthusiast; a genteel but broke bonds broker; an eligible gay nonprofit executive; and a newly divorced high-end architect all around my table. What do we have in common? Really nothing much except that we were all in this Judge’s Hill historic home for the holidays last Thanksgiving. While we called ourselves friends on that day, we were really family. As a Texas transplant without children, I have been in and out of relationships since moving to this fine state. Holidays have always included a generous gesture of someone opening their doors to anyone that was orphaned on a day when no one should be alone. On Thanksgiving, we should be with others. No one—I mean no one—should be alone on a holiday. My first year as a young professional in Texas, a colleague and her husband invited me to their table. While at first hesitant, I was thrilled to find a home full of other young people, also single and alone, attempting to replicate traditional or family recipes, some of which were burned, deflated, scorched or were served still somewhat frozen in the middle.

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I had a mother-in-law that set a very formal extra place setting at the table for “the stranger in need.” The next year, when I brought an acquaintance from Houston to fill the seat, a young businesswoman who was legally blind, she did not seem as genuine in the gesture. Fortunately, the young woman could not see my mother-in-law’s glares, so it all worked out for the best. Following my divorce, I vowed to open my home every holiday to anyone and everyone needing a family, even if only for a day. The musicians across the street have spent Memorial Day on my porch. My single girlfriends have sipped champagne to the tunes of a live pianist on Valentine’s Day. My colleagues have shared barbecue on Labor Day. My Capitol buddies have spent Christmas in my carriage house. That group of men from last Thanksgiving? Well, each of them kindly sampled and complimented my most disastrous attempt at popovers. Whether you are moving, traveling or distanced by choice or obligation, “home” is a place where you choose to open your heart, your traditions, your stories, your faith and your friendships to share with others. I have no idea with whom this next holiday will have me sharing libations, sweets and memories. Most likely, it will be determined the day or two prior, when we start reaching out to each other. Filling my table guarantees I will never be orphaned again. Nor should you.

–Tammy Shaklee

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Austin Woman November 2011  

The Home Issue

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