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Austin Thyroid & Endocrinology Center Control your hormones. Control your life.


is the science of hormones, substances released by glands that regulate every cell in your body, for both men and women. Endocrine diseases, thyroid, osteoporosis, metabolic syndrome and obesity, hirsutism, menopause, pituitary and adrenal pathology, low testosterone in males, andropause and impotence, polycystic ovaries, recurrent kidney stones, irregular or lack of menstrual periods, high and low calcium, diabetes etc. We provide a comprehensive assessment of your hormone balance, and in-house hormone testing, thyroid ultrasound, and bone density.

THYROID Disease affects thirty

million Americans, half of which do not know they have the disease. Examples: hypo and hyperthyroidism, Graves and Hashimoto disease, goiter, thyroid nodules and thyroid cancer. Each person has a different genetic set point for TSH. Thyroid problems require lifelong attention. We are the premiere thyroid clinic in Austin, and offer the latest treatment for thyroid disease, aggressive management of thyroid cancer with radioactive iodine, and second opinion consults for thyroid surgery.




is a disease in which bones become fragile and more likely to break. Osteoporosis affects one in two women and one in four men over fifty and is generally missed. Bone fracture is the “heart attack� of the bone. New treatments reduce the risk of fracture and build new bone. A bone density test is the only way to test for osteoporosis. We have the latest bone density testing equipment in Texas, and provide instant bone metabolism, medical consultation, and treatment option. 2 DO YOU KNOW YOUR BONE DENSITY?

Dr. Simone Scumpia FACE FRCP Board Certified in Endocrinology and Metabolism Fellow American College of Endocrinology, Fellow Royal College of Physicians Associate Clinical Professor of Medicine In-house thyroid ultrasound, bone densitometry, total body fat analysis, hormone testing, and radioactive iodine treatment.


Bioidentical Hormone Replacment Therapy Myths and True Facts Medicine deals with disease and with prevention of disease. Optimal health and biological age are before prevention and before disease. Biological age: brain age, heart age, bone age, hormonal age, etc. It includes a scientific measurement of the tissue ages in your body with biomarkers, hormone testing, genetic tests and advanced cholesterol testing for risk of heart attacks, diabetes and strokes.


(512) 467-2727 PARMER LN CEDAR BEND DR




North Austin Medical Center PARK BEND DR


M-F 7am-4pm Post Oak Centre North 2200 Park Bend Dr Bldg. 3 Suite 300 Austin, TX 78758




It makes sense, really. When you’re committed to delivering the best healthcare experience in the world, you attract a lot of attention—from patients, top doctors and the industry. The compassionate, world-class care we offer at every facility in our network has resulted in us being the only healthcare system in Central Texas named among the nation’s 15 Top Health Systems by Truven Health Analytics. It’s care that patients just can’t get anywhere else. And, by anywhere else, we don’t just mean in Central Texas. We mean in the world.

©2014 St. David’s HealthCare. All rights reserved.

Christopher Brennig, MD

Austin Vein Institute State-of-the-art Varicose Vein Treatment

C h r i s t op h e r W. B r en n i g , M . D . CERTIFIED: The American Board of General Surgery SUB-SPECIALTY CERTIFIED: The American Board of Vascular Surgery

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Dr. Brennig is Board Certified in Vascular Surgery and in General Surgery. He is recognized for his expertise in the minimally invasive treatment of varicose veins, spider veins, recurrent varicose veins, and complex venous disorders including DVT. Please call the Austin Vein Institute to schedule a comprehensive consultation.

V e i n A u s t i n . c o m

CONFIDENCE IS BEAUTIFUL. Look your best. Feel your best. Live your best.

Meet our board certified plastic surgeons: Susan M. Pike, MD (left) and Staci J. Hix-Hernandez, MD


Let us empower you.


Where necessity meets luxury. You want your smile to be the best it can be, and we are here to help. If you are looking for superior dental care, with a focus on customer service, you'll find it all at The Hills Dental Spa. Choose from a variety of services and treatments, all in an ultra-comfortable spa environment‌a whole new experience in dentistry!

dental appointments are more pleasant

and less stressful. Enjoy the attention to details and steps taken to ensure your Whether you are looking for a basic dental checkup and cleaning or have interest in cosmetic dental treatments and full-mouth reconstruction; if you want to benefit from metal-free dentistry or have TMJ jaw pain; if you need to replace a missing tooth with a non-surgical implant or want to straighten crooked teeth, you’ll appreciate the time taken to learn about your wishes and truly listen to your needs. Most importantly, you play an active role in deciding on the care and treatment that is best for you. Consultations are no charge, so for you, call our office to schedule now. if you have questions about the best way to achieve a

healthier, more beautiful smile If you are looking for a dental experience with the ambience of a fine day spa instead of the typical feel and smell of most health

care offices, you'll feel right at home in our Guest Lounge with a soothing waterfall, beautiful music, complimentary refreshments and white wine, free wi-fi, or use of our in-office iPad. But all of this is just the beginning. Our friendly and knowledgeable staff truly cares about you, and makes your

dental appointment something you will no longer dread.


WestlakeEyeSpecialists The Art of Eye Surgery

Westlake Eye Specialists

Zarmeena Vendal, M.D. 5656 Bee Cave Rd Suite F200 Austin, TX 78746

Ximena de Sabra, M.D. 512.472.4011

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Contents April


On the Cover

NIYANTA SPELMAN Keeping the planet green through the Rainforest Partnership. By Shelley Seale



VICTORY GARDEN Join Austin’s sustainable urban-agriculture movement and get growing this spring.

Photo by Andrew Chan.

By Rachel Merriman

Rachel Roy sea print cap-sleeve sheath dress, $208, available at Neiman Marcus, 3400 Palm Way, 512.719.1200,; Noonday Collection Oasis earrings, $58, available at; double strand forest necklace (worn as bracelet), $40, made by Sani Isla artisans.

Contents APRIL

30 on the cover


22 5 things Top Five Events to Attend This Spring 56 DINING Farm-to-Table Cuisine 24 philanthropy The Girls School of Austin Gala 60 Festival Austin Food & Wine Festival 26 spotlight event Old Settler’s Music Festival to your health 28 horoscopes Happy Birthday, Aries! 64 NUTRITION Tea Time

must list 30 travel


home 34 GOING GREEN Bio-Agreeable Home Products 38 Gardening Inside Austin Gardens Tour 42 GREEN DESIGN The Best of Both Worlds

66 health

Women and Alcohol


Fifteen Minutes with Laura Cisneros

opposite sex 84 memo from JB

Saving Mother Earth

86 Relationships

When She Makes More


savvy women

48 eco-FRIENDLY Nature’s Treasures 50 RUNWAY REPORT New York Fashion Week 52 ASK ASHLEY Friendly Fashion 54 Beauty Signature Facials


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Sustainable Food Center

92 You should know 96 last word

Women of Distinction

It’s Not Easy Being Green

Photo by Andrew Chan. Styling by Ashley Hargrove, Hair by Jami Eastin, Avant Salon, 9901 N. Capital of Texas Hwy., 512.502.8268, Makeup by Lauren Lumsden, Rae Cosmetics, 512.320.8732, Shot on location at Casa de Luz, 1701 Toomey Road, 512.476.2535,

Brunello Cucinelli angled knit poncho, $1,290; Vince light blue cotton tank, $48; Vince Dylan ghost stripe light blue denim pant, $210; Alexis Bittar Jardin Mystere multi-stone station necklace, $495; Alexis Bittar large golden Swarovski crystal earrings, $225, available at Neiman Marcus, 3400 Palm Way, 512.719.1200,

Photo courtesy of Tropic Journeys in Nature.

on the scene

Volume 12, issue 8 Co-Founder and Publisher

Melinda Maine Garvey vice president and Co-Publisher

Christopher Garvey associate publisher

Cynthia Guajardo Co-Founder

Samantha Stevens Editor-in-chief

Deborah Hamilton-Lynne associate editor

Molly McManus


with Mann Eye Institute & Laser Center

copy editor

Chantal Rice CREATIVE Director

Niki Jones art director


Nora Iglesias operations manager

Katie Paschall Account Executive

Kelly Keelan 512.328.2421 contributors

Lavanya Selvam Alli, Liz Andrade, Rudy Arocha, Carla Avolio, Cheryl Bemis, Bianca Biduic, Daniel Brown, Dennis Burnett, Leo B. Carter, Jill Case, Andrew Chan, Laura Cisneros, Martha Lynn Coon, Misha Donohoe, Andy East, Jami Eastin, Lucia Eslava, Kaneisha Grayson, Scott David Gordon, JB Hager, Dana Hansen, Ashley Hargrove, Sam Jackson, Katrina Johnson, Kelly E. Lindner, Lauren Lumsden, Susan Maljen, Deborah Mastelotto, Dave Mead, Rachel Merriman, Dustin Meyer, Nick Paul, Monique Penner, Hope Petersen, Sarah Quatrano, Ricky Rodriguez, Megan Russell, Shelley Seale, Elizabeth Shear, Lucia E. Slava, Bailey Underill, Kristi Willis, Patrick Wong Interns

Leo B. Carter, Sam Jackson, Hope Petersen, Ricky Rodriguez, Megan Russell

Spring is right around the corner. If you’re ready to see Spring in a new light, the team at Mann Eye Institute is here to help however we can! In addition to our Blade-Free Lasik procedure, we offer: • Active Life Lens™ Procedures • Family Eye Exams • Dry Eye Treatment • Glaucoma Management • Laser Cataract Surgery

• Diabetic Eye Disease Treatment • Keratoconus Treatment • Contact Lens Fittings • Emergency Eye Care

Flex Plans, Health Savings Accounts and Most Medical and Vision Plans Gladly Accepted!

Call now to schedule your appointment!

512-774-5767 |

Austin Woman is a free monthly publication of AW Media Inc. and is available at more than 1,150 locations throughout Austin and in Lakeway, Cedar Park, Round Rock and Pflugerville. All rights reserved. For submission requirements, visit No part of the magazine may be reprinted or duplicated without permission. Visit us online at Email us at 512.328.2421 • 3921 Steck Ave., Suite A111, Austin, TX 78759

2600 Via Fortuna Suite #400 Austin, TX 78746

4314 W. Braker Lane Suite #215 Austin, TX 78759

From the Editor interesting people and it allows me to be in the thick of things that are happening in this everevolving and vibrant city. In my life, Austin is not just a geographical place to live; it is a character with a personality and a soul. I try to look at the magazine not only as an editor and communicator, but also as a reader. I like to see what I get out of each issue: what I learn, who I would like to meet, what I want to do, what I want to buy. In this town, the terms “environmentally conscious” and “sustainability” are not thrown around lightly. However, when I was considering Niyanta Spelman, founder of Rainforest Partnership, for the cover of the magazine, I did wonder if readers might question why such an organization was headquartered thousands of miles from tropical rainforests. But then I met Spelman and educated myself. This was one of those occasions when I was so thankful for my work. Spelman is a rare individual, full of joy and hope even as she discusses passionately the destruction of the rainforests and the implications of that destruction for everyone on the planet. I learned a lot: the alarming rate of the deforestation of the rainforests and why rainforests, as the “lungs” of the planet, are essential to all of life on Earth. Her passion and concern became my passion and concern, and I hope that after you read her story, you will also take time to educate yourself about this problem because here’s the thing: We can all make a difference by participating in small ways. To learn more, I encourage you to watch Spelman’s talk on why rainforests are important to each of us: rainforestpartnership. org/blog/228-niyanta-spelman-tropical-rainforests-and-why-they-matter. I am also so pleased to bring you information of the urban-garden movement that is thriving and

First Annual Woman’s Way Business Awards April 29, 6:30 p.m., Fiat of Austin

For information on participating, call 512.328.2421 or visit

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growing throughout the city. After reading Rachel Merriman’s story, I decided to try a small garden of my own and look in to joining a community garden in my neighborhood. Score! I learned even more about what Austin has to offer. As the articles for this issue came in, I met interesting and knowledgeable women and learned from their stories: Erica Beneke, the young chef at Max’s Wine Dive on how she uses locally sourced food and the farm-totable movement; Ronda Rutledge of the Sustainable Food Center and the importance of food self-sufficiency; the accomplished and active women being honored by the Girl Scouts of Central Texas at this year’s Women of Distinction event. Looking at the 5 Things section, the Spotlight Event and the Philanthropy listings, I also realized there probably aren’t enough hours in the day or days in the month to do everything I want to do. And we barely touch the tip of the iceberg of the hundreds of events and happenings available to us each month. I penciled in Earth Day, the UT Fashion Show, Art City and the Old Settler’s Music Festival, realizing that I am already committed to Petcasso (where Bandit and Satchmo will be celebrity dog painters). But what about the Preservation Austin “1964” Homes Tour and the Austin Gardens Tour? So many choices. And I haven’t even gotten to the Style section, the Home section, eco-touring, Fitness, Nutrition, Relationships or Health and, of course, my favorite laugh-out-loud column each month, Memo from JB. As I looked at this issue with the eyes of a reader, I also realized why I love my job. I start each month with a blank canvas and fill it with the best this magnificent city has to offer—and that is saying a lot because this city and its people are endlessly fascinating to me. I am curious and social by nature and this job gives me the

Pamper MY Mom Does your mother deserve to be queen for a day? Tell us why and she may win a day of pampering. Send your nominations to with “Pamper My Mom” in the subject line. Deadline for submissions is April 5.

opportunity to be both. I was a former teacher and love educating myself and our readers. This job allows me to be passionate about the people I meet and enthusiastic when I see the photos that capture our subjects’ personalities. The magazine is a team effort and filled with pages of the work of many people, and I am grateful for all of their efforts. It makes me happy to see their work each month and share their creativity and passions. I am deeply honored to be receiving the Outstanding Communicator of the Year Award from the Women Communicators of Austin this month. I am grateful to Melinda and Christopher Garvey for sharing my vision and for giving me the privilege of doing this job each month. I love my job, I love my city and I love our readers and I hope that it comes through in each and every issue. Thank you for sharing the journey with me through the pages of AW and ATX Man. Like all things in Austin, the best is yet to come.

deborah hamilton-lynne Editor-in-Chief

Summer Fun We want to know how you spend your happiest summer days. Please send your summer-fun photos along with a caption to with “Summer Fun” in the subject line.

Photo by Korey Howell.

I love my job! I am constantly learning, meeting

Contributors Dus tin Me yer

R achel Mer r iman

Andr e w Chan

Shelle y se ale

photographer, “Farm-to-table”




Page 72

Page 72

Andrew Chan is a freelance

Shelley Seale is an Austinbased writer and author who can be found vagabonding throughout the world when not in the ATX. She has written for The Guardian, Travel + Escape and National Geographic, among others. She has visited tropical rainforests in South America, Central America and throughout Asia and considers them incredibly alive places, peaceful and serene, yet humming with the energy of life.

Page 56

Page 78

Dustin Meyer is an internationally recognized wedding, portrait and commercial photographer based in Austin, with more than 10 years experience in the photography industry. His work has been displayed by Kodak in Times Square, featured in USA Today and on CBS. Published in numerous magazines, including Southern Weddings, Style Me Pretty, The Knot, Rangefinder Magazine and more, Dustin’s work has earned him acclaim from clients throughout the country.

Rachel Merriman is a breakfast-taco-eatin’, BartonSprings-lovin’ South Austinite who spends her days working as a freelance writer and vegetarian food blogger. When she’s not writing, you can probably find her destroying her tiny kitchen with her latest culinary experiment, or searching for the best migas in town. Check out more of her work at rachelmerriman. com and

Do you try to live a green lifestyle?

“From making my own compost to driving a Prius, living in Austin for over 30 years has definitely raised me in the green lifestyle.”

Have you ever had a garden ?

“I have two small container gardens of herbs and succulents, but I’ve never tried anything bigger! After researching this story and learning about all the resources Austin has to offer, I want to join a community garden so I can start growing my own organic produce, which I’ve always struggled to justify buying at the grocery store. I work from home most days, so it would help get me out of the house, too.”

editorial and fashion photographer based in Austin. He is a native Texan and graduated from the University of Texas at Austin. He works out of the Whitebox Studio located in East Austin. When not out grubbing the city’s finest barbecue offerings, he can be seen throughout town with Milton, his Boston terrier. Have you seen an effort by the photography industry to go green?

“Yes, I personally have tried to cut down on the amount of waste and solid goods I produce. This comes from outsourcing printing, USB online storage instead of DVDs and shooting digital. Also, most of my contracts nowadays are online to cut down on paper usage.”

Why is it crucial to save the rainforests?

“Saving the rainforests is crucial because they are literally the lungs of our planet. Besides also providing an ecosystem for thousands of species and the origins for much of our medicine, ultimately all living beings depend on the forests, including humans.”

have the last word? We love hearing your stories. Send in your submissions for our June Last Word column for a chance to be published. To be considered, email 500 words or less to by May 1. June’s topic: “Age is Just a Number.”

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Connect with us! find us online at 5 x 7 ARt show

Win this!

Pamper Your Mom Does your mother deserve to be pampered? Should she feel like queen for a day? Tell us why and she may win a day of beauty from J Coco Salon and fashion advice from AW stylist Ashley Hargrove. Send your nominations to with “Pamper My Mom” in the subject line. Deadline is April 5.

Featured event Austin Fashion Week Entering its sixth year, Austin Fashion Week, Austin’s premier fashion event, runs from April 24 through May 3. Cheryl Bemis of Fashionably Austin gives AW readers an exclusive sneak peek of what to expect and designers to watch.

Get the scoop on the 15th annual 5x7 Art Show and after-party, bringing Austin’s artists, collectors and art enthusiasts together for an exciting night benefiting The Contemporary’s exhibitions program, on April 2 at Brazos Hall.

Check out

This month, the AW team takes on two ambitious challenges. Read about them at and follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

With more than one billion actions to date, Earth Day Network’s A Billion Acts of Green is the largest environmental service campaign in the world. Register actions you’re taking to protect the environment, from washing laundry in cold water and riding a bike instead of driving, to planting a garden and volunteering with a community clean-up. In celebration of Earth Day, follow us as we “pledge an act of green,” and make a pledge of your own.

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April 22. Earth Day. We have local activities and global initiatives you can participate in.

The Texas Campaign for the Environment ➥ Recycle. Executive Director Robin Schneider on why recycling

Million Mile Month is a fun event challenging all of Texas to accomplish one million miles of walking, running, swimming and riding (and biking, skateboarding and skating) together as one large community in one month, April 2014. It’s all to help raise funds for a team of great nonprofits impacting childhood obesity.


On one weekend in April, Art Alliance Austin transforms the streets of downtown. The celebration of art, culture and creativity will take place April 12 and 13 along Austin’s Cesar Chavez Street and in the Second Street District, with art of all kinds. It is a family-friendly outdoor art fair with more than 150 works of art by Austin artists, as well as food trailers, live music and interactive projects for kids. We’ve got the details.

Can’t get enough of this issue?

April Challenges

Follow us

Art City Austin

like us

is important and how to do it effectively. Restaurants. AW takes a look at ATX restau➥ Green rants that have gone green with sustainable practices. Déjà Vu. The homes of the 22nd annual homes ➥ 1964. tour from Preservation Austin. ➥ Young Women and Men to Watch. We have the winners and re-cap from the 16th annual Austin Under 40 Awards.

Beauty. Staff picks for greening your skincare ➥ Green regimen with great organic and eco-friendly, non-toxic

makeup and skincare products.

find us

AW COVER WOMEN IN THE NEWS Lisa Copeland Northwood University recently named Lisa Copeland, general manager of Fiat of Austin, a 2014 Outstanding Business Leader. Copeland was one of eight nationally known businesspeople honored at the 34th annual awards gala held Feb. 1 at The Breakers in Palm Beach, Florida.


Valerie Davis On Feb. 20, Valerie Davis, founder of Enviromedia, celebrated the opening of the new sustainably built headquarters. Located on E. Fifth St., the 23,000-square-foot space adheres to the company’s mission to make the entire space environmentally friendly, featuring solar panels, charging stations for electric vehicles, watersaving features, building materials and furnishings made from recycled materials and a giant slide connecting the first and second floors just for fun.

Susan Dell and Cookie Ruiz On April 7, the Jewish Federation of Greater Austin’s Women’s Division will present Susan Dell with the Crystal Philanthropy Award at a luncheon at the Renaissance Austin Hotel. Dell is the co-founder of the Susan and Michael Dell Foundation and has been responsible for raising millions of dollars for numerous charities and organizations throughout Central Texas, the United States and internationally. Special guest Cookie Ruiz, executive director of Ballet Austin, will discuss choreographer Steven Mills’ acclaimed international production Light: The Holocaust and Humanity Project, which recently had a performance in Israel.

Visit Precision Camera & Video to try on our many in-stock styles.

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Laura Huffman and Lynn Meredith Nature Conservancy State Director Laura Huffman, along with honorary chairs Tom and Lynn Meredith, joined to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the founding of The Nature Conservancy. The event, hosted at the Hilton Hotel Austin Feb. 13, attracted more than 700 supporters for a luncheon and panel discussion featuring Huffman; Giulio Boccaletti, managing director of the Global Freshwater Program; and David Banks, managing director of the Africa program.



Of Pockets

● Wear

Any Bag Messenger Style

● Many

Styles And Colors



Judy Maggio Joining the ranks of former AW cover women Liz Carpenter, Anne Durrum Robinson, Betty Sue Flowers and Molly Ivins, Judy Maggio has been tapped by Women Communicators of Austin to receive The Liz Carpenter Lifetime Achievement Award at the annual Banner Brunch April 12 at the Radisson Hotel.

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5 things



5 3


Top Five Events to Attend This Spring 5

Compiled by Ricky Rodriguez

1 Spectrum, UT Fashion Show April 24, Frank Erwin Center, 1701 Red River St.

For a night of fashion, fun and beauty, attend the University of Texas at Austin Fashion Show and watch Austin’s best and brightest bring it down the catwalk in true elegance. Experience all the glamour and elegance of New York Fashion Week in this impeccably produced runway show, featuring 120 garments created by 26 UT design students. This year’s theme centers on clothing’s versatility and its potential to become utilitarian. Spectrum is sure to provide fashion enthusiasts a range of fabrics, silhouettes and color schemes that will be the envy of every fashion couturier. A panel of local industry professionals will award Most Innovative Fashion Collection, Most Marketable Fashion Collection, Best Technical Collection, Best Evening Gown, Best Bridal Gown and Best Overall Collection of 2014. The show begins at 7:15 p.m., with doors at 5:30 p.m. The event is free and open to the public. Tickets available at the box office. For more information, visit

2 Moontower Comedy and Oddity Festival April 23–26, The Paramount Theatre, 713 Congress Ave.

More than 100 comedians performing stand-up, sketch comedy and improv will showcase their sidesplitting comedic talents at the Moontower Comedy and Oddity Festival this April. Presented by the legendary Paramount Theatre, Moontower Comedy Festival gives audiences the chance to experience a threeday bender of non-stop laughter and fun. Headliners for this year’s festival include Demetri Martin, Fred Armisen and Maria Bamford. The festival will also include some of Austin’s funniest up-and-comers to the comedy scene. Mix and mingle with some of America’s most celebrated entertainers by choosing from three different badges that give you the opportunity to gain access to VIP lounges, headliner shows and exclusive meet-and-greets with your favorite comedians. The festival begins April 23, and runs through April 26. For more information, visit

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3 Art City Austin April 12–13, downtown Austin

Immerse yourself in a weekend-long festival that transforms all of downtown Austin in to one giant art gallery, exhibiting great works by some of Austin’s most popular artists and musicians. This two-day festival will host plenty of art, live music and interactive activities for the whole family to enjoy. Art City Austin provides spectators with a block party celebrating art, culture and the power of creativity. Originally founded as The Women’s Art Guild in 1956, this group recognized the importance of preserving Austin’s art community, establishing an annual outdoor art event and celebrating the vibrant artistic community of Austin that still continues to this day. Although the organization has changed its name and gone through several expansions, the mission is still the same. For a day of fabulous art, fine food and fantastic music, visit Art City Austin 2014. For more information, visit or call 512.609.8591.

4 Cine Las Americas International Film Festival April 22–27, various locations throughout Austin

The 17th annual Cine Las Americas International Film Festival takes place this month, screening hundreds of feature films from more than 30 Latin American countries. Cine Las Americas (CLA) is a multicultural nonprofit organization whose mission is to promote cross-cultural understanding through film and media arts. Early in its history, CLA intended to provide an avenue for a genre of film whose voice was underrepresented in the film scene. Now in its 17th year, Cine Las Americas has become a crucial forerunner in showcasing independent films made by and about Latinos. The screenings will take place in different venues throughout the city, many of which will be free and open to the public. This spectacular festival offers audiences a wide variety of entertainment for all the family to enjoy. For more information on attending the festival, visit cinelasamericas. org or call 512.535.0765.

5 Earth Day Bash 2014 April 20, Whole Foods Market downtown, 525 Lamar Blvd.

In celebration of Earth Day this month, Whole Foods Market downtown will throw an Earth Day Bash to support the preservation and protection of the environment. Every year, Whole Foods organizes this event in hopes of bringing the community together and teaching younger generations about the importance of conservation. The bash is free to all members of the community, with plenty of activities to keep the whole family entertained. For the kiddos, there will be arts-and-crafts activities. For adults, there will be a storewide sampling of food from local artisans along with live music and special activities sponsored by local nonprofits, all celebrating Earth Month in Austin. For more information, visit

1. Photo courtesy of University of Texas at Austin. 2. Photo by Susan Maljan. 3. Photo courtesy of Art Alliance Austin. 4. Photo by Daniel Brown. 5. Photo courtesy of Whole Foods.

on the scene /

on the scene /

phil a nth ropy

REEL Girls The Girls School of Austin Gala. By Hope Petersen The Girls School of Austin is hosting its annual gala, Firebird Festival REEL Girls. Serving more than 100 girls between kindergarten and 8th grade, the Girls School of Austin opened its doors in 2002 in an effort to provide a gender-free environment in which girls are empowered to develop intellectually in a small group setting. Gender stereotyping is not allowed at GSA, and girls are encouraged to take on all of the roles in the classroom, from scientists and athletes to writers and artists. Above all, GSA encourages learning, creativity and leadership. “This year, the theme is REEL girls,” says Amber Meinzer, co-chair of the GSA school board and parent. “The girls will present films they made by themselves to attendees. It shows how much GSA encourages creativity and independence. The girls have taken charge of every part of the process, from filming to editing.” Although GSA is praised for its strong liberal arts environment, GSA also works to help girls develop their strengths in other area. “At GSA, we pride ourselves on being able to offer girls an incredible one-on-one environment, something not readily available at a public school. We have several girls who are a couple of grades ahead in math who are regularly pulled out of the classroom for private instruction,” Meinzer states. This year, GSA will raise funds for a new technology building for its rapidly expanding campus, with construction in the process. GSA has grown from five students in 2002 to 125 during the past 10 years. “It’s been a wonderful experience having my daughter attend GSA. I’ve been amazed by the amount of support and dedication shown by the faculty and staff. GSA truly believes in their goal of providing a challenging, child-centric education to every girl on campus. I’m so proud to be a part of the GSA community,” Meinzer says. Firebird Film Festival REEL Girls will take place April 12 from 6 to 10 p.m. The night begins with a VIP reception and early bird silent auction, followed by a dinner, live auction and the premiere of the films. There will be a cash bar on-site. Tickets to the gala begin at $90, and table sponsorships are available. All proceeds go directly to supporting GSA and its continuing expansion. Girls School of Austin Firebird Film Festival REEL Girls, UT Alumni Center, April 12, 6 to 10 p.m. More information available at

Sponsored Events Petcasso

April 6, 6 p.m., AT&T Conference Center Mosaic Luncheon

April 7, 10:30 a.m. to 2 p.m., Renaissance Austin Hotel Banner Brunch 2014

April 12, Radisson Hotel & Suites TWIB

April 19, 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., Shoal Crossing Event Center Spectrum

April 24, 5:30 to 10 p.m., Frank Erwin Center Mack, Jack & McConaughey

April 24 and 25 QuE Maravilla

April 25, 7 p.m. to midnight, Brazos Hall Xuefei Yang

April 26, GT Austin Fight for Air Climb

April 26, Frost Bank Tower action.lung.or

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on the scene /

spo t ligh t ev ent

Old Settler’s Music Festival It’s festival season again, and if you can’t fight the traffic for South By Southwest or make the trek to Coachella or Bonnaroo, don’t worry, there’s a gem of an event nestled right here in the Hill Country. The Old Settler’s Music Festival has been showcasing the best of roots music since 1987, and this year features four days of incredible acts like Robert Randolph and the Family Band, Shovels and Rope, Sarah Jarosz and North Mississippi All Stars. Aspiring musicians also have a chance to learn performance and songwriting lessons from the participating artists. For the less musically inclined, there’s an arts-and-crafts exhibition, food, craft beer and exclusive Old Settler’s wines from Driftwood’s Duchman Family Winery, with opportunities for camping and RVs. Plus, children younger than 12 get in free, so it’s a great family moment waiting to happen. The full lineup, tickets and more information available at B See the complete April calendar of events at

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Photo by Scott Simontacchi. Text by Sam Jackson.

April 10 – 13, Salt Lick Pavilion and Camp Ben McCulloch

on the scene /


Happy Birthday, Aries! March 20–April 20 Your month: Happy birthday! You’re usually such a party person about your birthday, so this introspective, indecisive and hesitant you is surprising to your fan club. You’re usually the one leading the charge to the next party, but this month, you really don’t want to leave your house. What you want is to share your birthday with your nearest and dearest, only your family and the people in your life who are as close as family. This month will give you a lucky break, but only if you take advantage of it. Solitude is important because this year is about discovering what makes you truly happy. Next year, you have it!

Life is full of surprises this month. April brings the explosive and unpredictable, the innovative and original, the arrogant and willful. It also honors meditation, prayer, quiet reflection and anything that stills your mind because your sense of identity and your emotional control will probably be challenged. You can be a rebel or you can be a leader, but as long as you’re open to compromise and understand the difference between assertion and aggression, the choice is yours. Taurus (April 21–May 21): Taurus, look at this month as the compass to your future. Yes, you willingly placed yourself in an unbalanced situation like this, with people like these, but the money’s good, so you work overtime. You long to devote more time to your home or relationships but you can’t get away from the office without repercussions. You will notice that things this month can go terrifically great to horrifically bad, but the end result is in your hands. How do you want to live your life? Trust your intuition. Make the right choices for you. It’s still time to change the road you’re on.

Cancer (June 21–July 22): This month, it’s be careful what you wish for. Everything you have now, you wanted. What you’re doing now, you planned. And whatever problems you are dealing with now, you created by your choices and actions, and you know it. A Cancer dislikes change almost more than a Taurus does, but this year, you cannot afford to hang on to anything that isn’t working for you simply because you wanted it once. Your prime career directive for this month (and the next few years) is change, change, change and the changes must bring shock and awe. Your prime directive for relationships is transformation.

Gemini (May 22–June 20): You’re continuing the building and growing your material resources theme, but not without a few rocks strewn across the road to success. The key this month is to bide your time and do your paperwork. The boring details you handle this month will pay off huge toward the end of the year, so buckle down and become best friends with your accountant. Be creative but thorough. Be brave and invest in the things you believe in, like growing a business or the pleasures of a relationship. Try to remember: The greatest joys and challenges this year come through your creativity and uniqueness.

Leo (July 23–Aug. 23): I’m telling everyone I know who is associated with you Leos this: Relax and leave you alone. This year you must figure yourself out, release old habit patterns, decide who you are and what you believe, educate yourself spiritually and secularly, and read self-help books, nutrition books, cookbooks and books on finding your life’s purpose. You need to work on your house, your relationships and your family, and you need to get in your car and drive to anywhere. Notice I said nothing about your career? Don’t worry, your career explosion is next year.

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Virgo (Aug. 24–Sept. 22): Again, money seems to be at the root of your problems. You

do tend to obsess anyway under normal circumstances, but when you’re popular and in sync with your partner, you can usually be talked down off the ledge. But now difficulties connected with or brought on by your partner or spouse make the worries in your mind feel like you just kicked over a hornets’ nest and they’re chasing you down the street. The planets are not friendly, so I’d suggest that you lay low, especially with any resources you share. Just postpone major money decisions until after May 18. Libra (Sept. 23–Oct. 22): Although April is raining stressful situations on everyone else, you seem to be standing under a magic, stress-free umbrella. The limelight becomes you until July, and the first part of this year is great for expansion and recognition on a professional level. You should take advantage of it, but there’s no way to escape getting a few drops of stress on you too, so be sure to be picky about the projects you choose. Don’t take on more than you can honestly handle. Avoid gossipy co-workers, mishandling information or situations that could get blown out of proportion or misunderstood. Scorpio (Oct. 23–Nov. 21): Be careful. Be very careful. No matter how hard you’ve been working or how much planning you’ve been doing, April is a challenge. You could suddenly get resistance from other people, or gossip could take hold and spread like a brushfire during a burn ban. Somehow, managing your daily life during this period becomes an overwhelming task, and you may be lured along a path that distracts you and makes you neglectful. Try to offset the negatives by creating some positive learning experiences and just get through April. From July on, it’ll be your career that’s on fire. Sagittarius (Nov. 22–Dec. 21): You might just discover a miracle this month, not like pulling bunnies out of a hat, but the kind of miracle that comes from taking the perfect action at the perfect time. From the first day of this month, the impression you make on people is nothing short of magic. You’re a sensation. Everyone wants to do what

you’re doing, so you have lots of help for your projects. Just be aware: You’ll attract people who offer get-rich-quick schemes, and they’ll want you to get in on it. But things are not what they seem. Beware of pie in the sky. Capricorn (Dec. 22–Jan. 20): April’s energy is about identifying which income route to take next, so if you’re looking for a new role in your personal financial universe, use this energy wisely. Foreign, exotic ideas look really shiny to you, and international economical possibilities might drop in your lap right now, so be open to exploring new frontiers. Your business associates will keep bringing in the income and your economic world provides you with excellent, practical information. After the 20th, things get even better. Of course, this month, everyone gets a down side, and yours could be your health, so watch it carefully. Aquarius (Jan. 21–Feb. 19): This month, you can talk anyone in to or out of anything. This month, you have a sparkle in your eye and a spring in your step, so you may get a little, well, cocky. This month, you may take more chances, take on a few too many projects and after the 12th, things get even more fast-paced. But your ability to think outside the box comes in handy and you find creative ways to take care of ordinary tasks. Remove needless details from your life. It is said: Only do what only you can do. Pisces (Feb. 20–March 20): Delays, work mix-ups, false starts. Things may have been a bit unpredictable lately and they won’t really smooth out until July. But there happens to be opportunity right…there for a new career position. First, you will see some significant shake-ups, but don’t be scared. After the 20th, expect some very interesting job possibilities. A new, better place with better money, or a new, better position within your present company. Either way, you are going to like your new job a whole lot better. Fortune cookie: Look to the 18th for a really amazing day. By Deborah Mastelotto

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Travel /

E C O -T O U R I S M

Holidays That Help Want to take a holiday that benefits the world? Here’s how to do it right. By Carla Avolio

Andy Drumm, a sustainable tourism and eco-tourism expert who has been working with indigenous communities for more than two decades, says while many tour companies offer trips to natural areas, sadly, most are contributing to the pressures rather than helping. “Surprisingly, it’s usually the cheaper tours that actually pass on benefits to the community and environment, rather than just to the tourists,” he says. Drumm suggests asking the following questions to identify responsible operators: R How do they contribute to conservation?

For example, do they give money back to conservation projects and national parks in the areas they visit? Legitimate operators should provide clear evidence of this on their websites.

R Do they engage local communities?

Responsible operators will provide social benefits to the indigenous community

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since the early 1980s when the term “eco-tourism” was first coined. Defined by The International Ecotourism Society (TIES) as “responsible travel to natural areas that conserves the environment and improves the welfare of local people,” eco-tourism is one of the fastest-growing segments of the global travel industry, increasing 20 to 30 percent every year, according to TIES. While eco-tourism generally focuses on natural areas, another increasingly popular form of tourism seeks to help people in need. Volunteer vacations, also known as “voluntourism,” see philanthropic travelers combining short-term travel with contributing labor or skills. Unlike simply donating money, volunteering shows you exactly how your efforts are helping to build wheelchairs for landmine victims or more village schools. And it’s no longer just for skilled professionals like doctors and engineers. The volunteering industry now offers a wealth of opportunities for all kinds of passionate and adventurous people. With the huge growth in this sector, there are literally thousands of eco-lodges and charities offering holiday experiences for conscious travelers. So how do you know where to go? To find out, we asked the experts to list their top tips on doing conscious traveling the right way.

either by hiring local guides, contributing financially or providing skills training. They also should have safeguards in place to protect the cultural integrity of the community.

R Do: Huao-guided rainforest hikes,

R Where are you staying? Accommodation

built by the Huaorani from wood handpicked by a forest engineer.

must have sound waste-management strategies and employ sustainable energy sources such as solar, wind or hydro.

Eco-Operators Making a Difference

kayaking and experiencing the Huaorani way of life.

R Sleep: one of five palm-thatched cabins

R Operated by: Tropic Journeys in Nature, an

award-winning eco-tourism company specializing in Ecuador.

The Cultural Experience: Huaorani Ecolodge, Ecuador This multi-award-winning operation, conceptualized and developed by Drumm, is the gold standard in eco-tourism. Tucked in to a remote corner of the Amazon jungle, the lodge is owned and operated by the Huaorani, an indigenous tribe that has been in contact with the outside world for less than 60 years. This truly environmentally and socially sustainable operation provides visitors with a rare glimpse in to the culture of one of the most isolated tribes on earth.

Photos by Misha Donohoe.

Engineering Eco-Travel

It was during a trip to Croatia’s gorgeous, glittering coast that Misha Donohoe realized she wasn’t enjoying her holiday. “I just had this uneasy feeling that I wasn’t contributing,” says the science communicator and travel lover. “The culture there is so rich and yet, by doing the typical touristy thing, I was just an outsider. I really wanted a holiday where I could give to a society rather than take away from it.” For Donohoe, the solution was to combine travel with volunteering. She signed up with WWOOF (World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms) and went to work on a goat farm in the Yukon, on Canada’s Western frontier. “I forged deep connections with the land and people, which made my stay so much richer than your average holiday,” she says. Donohoe is one of millions of travelers who are seeking more from their vacations than the usual sightseeing and relaxation. This growing breed of conscious traveler wants to know that spending their tourist dollars somewhere might also mean that wildlife is better protected, more homes are built in disaster-ravaged communities or fewer trees are cut down. It’s a concept that has been gaining momentum




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community rather than a foreign charity. It’s far more likely that your work will have real benefits that way. R Safety first. Your selected organization

Globe Aware photo by Bailey Underill. River photo courtesy of Tropic Journeys in Nature. Elephant photo courtesy of On Track Safaris.

should come with medical insurance, liability insurance and a crisis plan in the event of a disaster. The Visionaries: Zábalo Cofán Community, Ecuador Eco-tourism is just one of many innovative programs coming from the Cofán indigenous community in Northeastern Ecuador. In addition to tours, the Cofán run programs for training local rangers to protect 1 million acres of land, turtle repopulation, carbon management and making sustainable eco-canoes using traditional methods. R Do: trekking, canoeing, fishing, rainforest

camping. R Sleep: swinging hammocks strung up in

thatched roof huts. R Operated by: Cofan Survival Fund.

Vacations with a purpose Kimberly Haley-Coleman, executive director of volunteering site Globe Aware, says there are countless benefits to voluntourism, from gaining deeper cultural understanding, to increased personal happiness. “It’s such a unique, fulfilling sense of empowerment that there’s simply nothing else like it!” she says. To gain the experience of a lifetime, Haley-Coleman suggests considering the following: The Animal Experience: Leopard Conservation, South Africa With 10 days of elephant spotting, bush walking and sipping gin and tonics at sunset, this trip has all the trappings of a luxe safari. But don’t be fooled; conservation is the main goal of this eco-tourism experience. Ingwe Leopard Research teamed up with a tour company to create an unbeatable trip that raises awareness and funds for threatened leopards. R Do: game drives, bush walks, behind-the-

scenes tour at a wildlife rehabilitation center, setting camera traps to help track leopard movements.

R Sleep: stylish, tented camps with plunge

pool overlooking a mountain gorge.

R Operated by: Tribes, a U.K.-based tour

operator offering tailor-made eco-holidays.

R What’s your story? Good organizations will assess your interests, language skills and how much travel you’ve done before suggesting a destination. For example, an English speaker who’s never left the U.S. might be better matched to Puerto Rico than Cambodia. Deciding on a culture is probably more important than the type of volunteer service, be it building homes in Nepal or stoves in Peru. R Show me the money. Volunteering

organizations charge a huge fee, so you should find out how much of this is actually going to the community versus administration costs of placing volunteers. All nonprofits are required to publish their financials, which you can read on the website Guide Star. R They know best. Make sure the volunteer

Top Tips for Getting Started The book: Recently updated in 2012, Volunteer Vacations: Short-Term Adventures That Will Benefit You and Others by Bill McMillon is packed with 150 in-depth profiles of select organizations. The website: Catering to families and the time-poor, Globe Aware offers weeklong programs in 15 countries. The international option: In Habitat for Humanity’s international program, Global Village, volunteers build and renovate homes to create sustainable communities throughout the world. The domestic option: The American Hiking Society offers 60 volunteer vacations each year, contributing to the beautification of trails in America’s most iconic natural landscapes. On the cheap: While volunteering usually comes with a hefty fee, Peace Corps ( pays you a stipend for 27 months service and WWOOF ( provides board and lodging in exchange for a day’s work on the farm.

project has been determined by the 33


G oi n g G ree n

Bio-Agreeable Home Products Check out these functional, stylish, eco-friendly products to green up your indoor spaces. By Megan Russell

Lumen TL800 The Lumen TL800 is the first Bluetooth smart light bulb. The bulbs are energy-efficient and generate about one-sixth the power consumption of your everyday 40W light bulb. Because it has Bluetooth, the bulb can be used anywhere. All you need are the bulb and Lumen’s app, currently available for Apple and some models on Android. Whenever it’s in Bluetooth range, the bulb will turn on. When it’s out of range, it turns off. One light bulb will last up to 30,000 hours.

Lumen is available on Amazon for $69.99. To find more retailers, visit

Palm Leaf Square Plates These stylish disposable plates and bowls are not only beautiful, but eco-friendly as well. Made from fallen palm leaves, they’re both biodegradable and compostable. Only water is used in shaping and sterilizing the plates, making them free of the harmful chemicals and toxins found in traditional plastic and Styrofoam disposable plates. These compostable plates contribute to producing nutrient-rich topsoil. The website recommends them for high-end catering and outdoor events, making them perfect for the spring and summer weddings just around the corner.

Boll and Branch Bedding

Palm Leaf plates and bowls are available at buygreen. com starting at $9.75.

Boll and Branch is a newly launched bedding company. It offers sheets and cozy cable-knit throws and pillowcases, all with elegant, simple designs. Boll and Branch deals directly with farmers and factory workers in India to ensure its bedding is 100 percent certified organic cotton. Because it works directly with the production team, Boll and Branch is able to ensure the products are certified fairtrade, with factory workers being paid a living wage for their efforts. A portion of Boll and Branch profits is given to Not For Sale, a nonprofit dedicated to fighting modern day slavery.

To find out more, visit

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OrganicPedic Terra Mattress Your cozy bed might not be as eco-friendly as you think, and most latex mattresses can even contain strange ingredients like casein, the protein found in milk. OrganicPedic, the country’s only large-scale 100 percent organic factory, however, is a company that takes your healthy sleep seriously. So seriously, in fact, that employees don’t smoke or wear perfumes to work to ensure a smoke-free, fragrance-free environment. Its most popular mattress, Terra, is a natural rubber latex pillow-top mattress and 100 percent certified natural organic.

The mattresses are available at and, and are priced at $5,795 for a queen size.

The C&C Bottle Cutter Launched on Kickstarter, C&C has designed a tool for creative, DIY up-cycling. The C&C Bottle Cutter is a versatile way to recycle used glass bottles. The screws and bottle prop can be adjusted in numerous positions, allowing for cutting virtually any size bottle, ranging from bottlenecks to 3-liter jars. If you’re interested in designing your own up-cycled fixtures, drinking glasses, vases, lamps or even aquariums, this is the tool for you. When not in use, the cutter becomes a home decoration in itself and can be used as a decorative bottle holder.

To find out more about the C&C Bottle Cutter, visit

The Poetry of Fragrance The Poetry of Fragrance is a luxury candle line created by Andrea Schroder, who recently received the Hallmark Gold Crown vendor award for excellence, quality and value. The candles are made from organic coconut oil wax, gift wrapped with an original poem and a box of custom matches. Schroder uses lead-free cotton wicks and ensures her candles are dye- and toxin-free. Each is hand-painted and hand-poured in the United States. What’s both unique and environmentally friendly about the coconut oil wax is that it burns 90 percent cleaner than soy candles. Proceeds from The Poetry of Fragrance candle line go to Wells of Hope, a nonprofit in Guatemala that delivers water to those in need. Schroder also supports military families, helps hire disabled citizens and has eliminated product packaging that produces non-recyclable waste.

Candles start at $35 and can be purchased at select Hallmark Gold Crown Stores and online at 37


G A R D E Ni n g

Inside Austin Gardens Tour Visit six eclectic spaces and learn about the delicate art of gardening in Central Texas. By Megan Russell

The Travis County Master Gardeners Association presents the Inside Austin Gardens Tour May 3. The tour will showcase eclectic gardens throughout Austin. Each garden is an expression of the gardener’s passion for plants, artistic point of view and personality. “I’m excited that we have six unique gardens to offer for public viewing, five of which are private backyard spaces that can be seen only on a tour such as ours,” says Wendy Buck, head of the organizing committee. “I believe our tour provides a variety of ideas and solutions to current gardening challenges that area residents will be eager to try at their own homes. “Those who participate in the tour this year will get to see how one owner turned a small suburban lot in to a lush, private, almost tropical haven. Another persistent owner has successfully tackled the hills of West Austin and grows vegetables on a slope next to native vegetation. There is a beautiful perennial garden that is quite large, but with the right selection of plants is not overwhelming to maintain. And our quirkiest garden is found on the Eastside behind a fence made of recycled materials, as are many other features of this garden.”

Lori Daul’s Garden Lori Daul is a garden designer from Wisconsin who loves being surrounded by nature. Even though she uses easy-care plants like cactus, agave and yucca, her garden still maintains creativity with a mixture of textures, colors and DIY hardscaping throughout.

Dugie and David Graham’s Garden A Wildlife Certified Habitat, Dugie and David Graham’s garden is home to a raisedbed vegetable garden and pond. The garden is fenced in to keep wildlife at bay.

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Ken and Robin Howard Moore’s Garden Robin Howard Moore grew up working in her family’s own nursery business. Being raised in the horticulture of Austin, she is always on the search for shade-tolerant perennials. Her charming and whimsical space has curved paths lined with garden art, a compost area and an experimental side garden. This space is also a Certified Wildlife Habitat.

Jerry Naiser’s Garden Jerry Naiser addresses the water-conservation concerns of Austin gardeners with this North Central Austin garden. He uses a drip irrigation system with separate computer-controlled zones that pull from current weather data to adjust watering accordingly. He also has a water-channeling system that uses captured rainfall and runoff as a primary water source. He “has mastered rainwater collection and drip irrigation, and married the two in an amazing display of technology,” Buck says.


Travis County AgrilLife Extension’s Demo Garden “Every 18 months, members of the Travis County Master Gardeners Association arrange the Inside Austin Gardens Tour. The group is a volunteer arm of the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service with an office here in Austin. The gardens on the tour are often owned by Master Gardeners but it is not a prerequisite to being considered for the tour. In past years, the tour would have one central theme, such as Edible Landscaping or Water-wise Gardening, and all the gardens were examples of that theme. This year, we decided to feature a different theme at each garden. Because of this, we were able to choose gardens that highlight various aspects of the challenges of gardening in Central Texas,” Buck says. The Travis County Master Gardeners Association isn’t your average garden club. It’s a group of home gardeners with special training in horticulture whose goal is to not only create beautiful gardens, but to be an education service for horticulture in the community. The Austin Garden Tour takes place May 3 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tickets are $15. Individual garden passes can also be purchased at $5 per garden. The demo garden is free, as is admission for children 16 and younger. More information is available at 41


G R E E N desig n

The Best of Both Worlds This newly constructed bungalow embraces the past with a design for the future. By Martha Lynn Coon, Photos by Patrick Wong With property values on the rise, the cost of maintaining a home becomes more relevant for Austinites every year. Attempting to keep future costs at a minimum

and capitalize on current green technology, a local retired couple engaged the design-build firm of CG&S to construct an energy-efficient home that would be low-maintenance, allowing them to age in place comfortably. The result is a beautiful and traditional-looking Craftsman bungalow. Traditional, that is, on the outside. The structure itself, as well as the interior, is full of forward-thinking ideas integrated under the direction of senior project architect Gregory Thomas. Driving by the property in Austin’s historic North University Neighborhood, only a few of the most prominent energy-saving features stand out. Two choices visible to the casual passerby are the 7.5-kilowatt micro-inverter solar panels, as well as the low-water native and adapted landscaping. The panels were installed by Circular Energy in

Austin, a Texas-wide firm that provides start-tofinish service for homeowners who choose to invest in solar energy. Before the move-in, the panels on the bungalow generated more energy than the home’s operation consumed. The low-water landscaping provides relief from the cost of watering a more traditional lawn, as well as the time and attention required for maintenance. Two key choices were the use of both buffalo grass and zoysia grass. Buffalo grass is a perennial grass native to Central Texas. Zoysia is a non-native grass but conservation-friendly and shade-tolerant, and was used in the sunny front yard. With less upkeep, the yard not only saves on water usage, but also allows the retirees more time to spend on the multiple screened porches designed to extend their living area outward. With low-water landscaping, they can enjoy the early summer evenings with a drink, rather than a hose, in hand.


Street view of the newly constructed home, complete with low-water landscaping and solar panels.

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Across the master bedroom, a private screened porch was designed to extend the living space outward.



A low-energy Arts and Crafts light fixture hangs over the dining room table, adding style and function.

Yet, much of what makes this house green-friendly are the thoughtful decisions made inside and, quite literally, under the roof. The roof itself is an example of green engineering. The metal roof provides a radiant barrier to the hot Texas sun, and in turn, the heat created by the solar panels. The radiant barrier works to deflect heat from reaching the inside of the house during warmer months, and also encourages heating efforts during the winter by providing a barrier between the internally heated house and the cold temperature of the roof. The construction of the roof includes heat-releasing air channels that enhance this effect. Inside the home, forward-thinking design solutions range from an electric-car-charging station in the garage, to energy-conserving light fixtures. Ninety-eight percent of installed lighting uses either CFL (compact fluorescent lights) or LED (light emitting diodes). When translated to the average consumer, this means major savings during the course of time. The average LED has a lifespan of 50,000 hours, compared with a typical incandescent bulb, which lasts 1,200 hours. A CFL light averages 8,000 hours. Not only does the installed lighting last longer, but it also consumes much less energy. An LED light requires 6 to 8 watts of energy to function, and a CFL requires 13 to 15 watts, while a typical incandescent bulb requires about 60 watts. These savings add up significantly when considering the use of these bulbs throughout an entire household. Saving on energy does not mean saving on style, and many of the incorporated design elements in the property reflect this. The Arts and Crafts period light fixtures were sourced through Lights Fantastic in Austin, which carries fixtures from vendors throughout the world. The fixture above the dining room table is a great study in both style and function, reflecting an Arts and Crafts sensibility but incorporating energy-saving bulbs. The lighting throughout the house is enhanced by the use of large windows, which bring in a significant amount of natural light. Stainless steel energy-saving appliances blend seamlessly in to the open design of the kitchen, and the resource-conserving fixtures in the bathroom add to the charm as well as the efficiency of the home. It’s true that some things are better left in the past, but with the energy outlook in this classic bungalow, the future never looked so good. 47


E C O - F R I E N D LY

Nature’s Treasures Sustainability never goes out of style. By Ricky Rodriguez, Photo by Dustin Meyer 48   Austin Woman A P R I L 2 0 1 4

Kick off this spring season by sporting accessories that do more than just make a bold statement. Express your own personal style while also supporting the growing movement for sustainability in the fashion industry, with eco-friendly and fair-trade jewelry. Although trends may come and go, sustainability never goes of out style. Clockwise from top: Woven Wonders cuff, $30, available at; Fringe Fade Collection cascade necklace, $242; triangle charm earrings, $38; large wood and leather bangle, $22 (set of two); multileaf leather necklace, $126; double tassel leaf leather earrings, $24, all available at Raven + Lily, 2406 Manor Road,; Lucky Stringlets lava string bracelet, $4.99, available at Sprouts, 6920 Manchaca Road, 512.687.2204,; Artemis leather and metal necklace, $78, available at

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Trends from New York Fashion Week Color, color, color and other trends to usher in fall fashion. Text and photos by Cheryl Bemis Fashion Week in New York City officially wrapped up in all of its fashion and weather glory. Never in the history of New York Fashion Week have attendees endured four snowstorms, which sometimes complicated travel plans, but the shows featuring the fall 2014 collections went on.

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Hervé Léger

As I looked through my camera lens throughout the nearly 30 shows I attended, one trend that is top of mind is color. The first color combo (and I may sound like a broken record since I have been writing about this for three seasons) is black and white. Some collections were nearly entirely black. Jill Stuart and Mara Hoffman sent black-and-white printed suits and soft, flowing, casual dresses in Mediterranean-inspired prints. In color news, one of fall’s hottest colors is cypress, a rich, beautiful and deeper green from its sister color of the year for 2013, emerald. I saw this green paired with other top fall colors in the red family, sangria and aurora red. Both colors were seen on the runway in coats, gowns, shoes and more. It’s also the season for winter white, shown in nearly every category by designers. The most colorful collections were from the Tadashi Shoji and Lela Rose collections. Lela Rose sent down two color-ofthe-year dresses in radiant orchid, which were my personal most wearable must-haves for fall 2014. Thankfully, there are plenty of skirt lengths at the knee or mid-calf, which is a pleasant and flattering length for a gal of any age. Vivienne Tam showed—hold on here—gauchos. Yes, gauchos. Beside the fact that I was a little surprised with

Vivienne Tam

this look, they were in leather, so it made them a little cooler. When the need for an after-five or evening gown is on your wardrobe list, get ready for dresses embellished with sequins, beads, fur, feathers or a combination of those. Several collections had a continuing trend: lace shown with long sleeves. Think the drama of the ’80s, sparkle and splash without the shoulder pads. Another trend for fall 2014 will be menswear. Structured and tailored jackets were paired with soft, ruffled skirts at Rebecca Minkoff. While the menswear trend has been around for a couple of seasons, this time, it is much more soft, with longer jackets paired with wider stripes. I have not seen this much texture in collections in several seasons. Sweaters were embellished with fuzzy accents, fur, fringe, feathers and fluff— a texture explosion! Now for the best trend: This is the season to buy a new coat, specifically, a cocoon coat. The silhouette is in between a traditional coat and a cape but is a bit more structured. It’s soft and elegant and “in” when you buy one in winter white. This is another huge trend to keep you in style for fall 2014. For more on the trends and runway videos, visit

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I can remember as a young girl getting in to my grandmother’s makeup and applying all the ’70s colors of eye shadows on my tiny lids. I mastered the art of applying false eyelashes by the age of 11. It was all in fun, but back then, the look was very dramatic. And then the ’80s were here and the dramatic look continued. Yes, looks come and go and it’s so much fun to look back in fashion history and see how the art of applying makeup has changed equally as much as hemlines and heel heights. In the end, it really all works together. The soft makeup looks I reported on for spring 2014 are flowing in to fall 2014. Designers have taken the minimalistic look to an extreme, so much so that it really appears the models don’t have any makeup on at all. The nice thing about fashion is this wasn’t the case in all the collections. At Venexiana, designer Katy Stern stands true to her motto of more is more and always shows the most dramatic of makeup trends in her collection. This season, I really wasn’t a fan of the nearly black lip color, but the updo hair, lashes and Carolina Herrera eyes made for a fantastic look for the more than 70 gowns that came down the runway. Over at the Tess Giberson show, makeup artists applied the ever so natural for a downtown chic look. A soft, smoky eye paired with a glowy cheek and nearly nude lip complemented the strong and edgy lines of her collection in black and white mixed with some of fall’s top color, sangria. Other collections that went au natural were Carolina Herrera and Vivienne Tam. Other looks from Hervé Léger and Emerson were all about the strong lined eye. This was certainly a look from the ’70s, with black liner extending well off the edge of the lid. Think Goldie Hawn from Laugh In (if you even remember that!). And at Rebecca Minkoff, nude eyelids were paired with a strong berry lip. Gorgeous! The Desigual collection was all about the ’70s gold glam on lids, complete with gold under the lid as well. A nude, glossy lip polished off this colorful, playful and Betsey Johnson-like show. Yes, there were more looks with balanced and colorful lips, eyes and cheeks seen at the Georgine and Tadashi Shoji collections. Beautiful models with flawless skin showed off their best features with contoured cheeks, and showed the audience Emerson that taking out your brushes and applying a little more color isn’t out of style for fall 2014. Thank you to Beauty on the Go for sponsoring the New York Fashion Week runway makeup trends for fall 2014. Makeup artist Lecia Harkins stocks her own line of cosmetics with the latest colors for the season. Desigual

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Friendly Fashion Which personality style are you? By Ashley Hargrove Photos by Dennis Burnett



a e B h T



Fashion maven Carrie Bradshaw once stated, “Nothing lasts forever. Dreams change, trends come and go, but friendship never goes out of style.” Some friendships we have are the most cherished relationships we will have in our lives, just as close as family members. They can shape, change and influence who we are as individuals. In other words, they never go out of fashion. Each of my closest friends live such different lives, yet motivate and inspire me on a daily basis, especially in the fashion world. These are my right-hand ladies I can call or text any time of the day or night and get an encouraging dose of advice since we can’t all bring our own Carrie or personal stylist everywhere we go! Check out the four types of fashion friends I can’t live without.

This fashion friend’s style is edgy yet confident with a touch of feminine. She means business, has spunk, follows her dreams and doesn’t care about who gets in her way. Having an edgier friend is helpful when you want to try something new and different. This girl is immune to fear and loves to push you out of that comfort zone you love so much. She will push you to expand your horizons by being a little daring and fearless. How do you achieve this look? First, make your own style; don’t copy blogs or trendy fashion magazines. You should start a collection of awesome jeans, leather, Converse or Vans and boots, but also throw in some bold colors to complete your outfit. Clothing from y&i Clothing Boutique. Rebecca Minkoff shoes from Neiman Marcus.

Boho The In C hic: dividu al

The Boho gal is a friend who is all about looking individual and natural at the same time. My Boho friend loves to dress down but will never be out of style. She will explain that dressing down doesn’t always mean dressing poorly, but rather comfy with your stylish everyday wear. How do you master the Boho look? Natural earth tones are definitely a must. The right skirts and shorts are a big part of the Boho look. High-waisted shorts, printed flowing tops and anything fringe are always go-tos for mastering the Boho style. Accent your look with jewelry made of nature-inspired materials or in shapes inspired by nature: feathers, wood bangles, arrowheads, etc. Clothing from y&i Clothing Boutique.

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The F lirt The art of flirting is something that has to be perfected, but you can definitely get the look with the help of your flirty friend. She is someone who really gets each and every one of us, even though we are totally different. The flirt doesn’t spend hours on end wondering what she should wear, but throws on any outfit and totally rocks it with her confidence. This is the friend you can go to for anything because chances are, she will feel or think the same way and assure you that you will do the right thing. How do you get this look? Choose flirty, colorful dresses, skirts or cute rompers, and you have perfected the flirt look. Don’t try too hard to dress this look up; it could actually be more of a turnoff. Make sure your outfit is simple and cute.

n es T he F it

s Diva

Clothing from y&i Clothing Boutique.

Hair and makeup by Lauren Lumsden and Lacey Fuentes of Rae Cosmetics. Wardrobe styling by Ashley Hargrove. Models: Anne Hudson (Flirt), Brooke Stacey (Fitness Diva), Ashley Hargrove (Edgy), Libby Swanner (Boho). Shot at y&i Clothing Boutique, 1113 S. Congress Ave., 512.462.0775.

Ambition is this friend’s middle name. Her mission is to better herself and accomplish her many goals and dreams. This is the friend who tells you Lululemon pants aren’t just for fitness anymore, but an everyday, comfortable fashion statement. This is the perfect friend to tell you if your workout clothes look old and outdated or that you need to start exercising, stat. Having a fitness friend who sets a high standard for herself and her friends will always rub off on you and encourage you to set a path to health and happiness. How do you achieve this look? Head on over to Luke’s Locker or Lululemon in Austin and let the fitness experts work their magic on you. Clothing from Lululemon. 53



Signature Facials For Every Need Customize your experience for the best results. By Deborah Hamilton-Lynne Sometimes you just need a day at the spa. It was one of those cloudy, cold February days and stepping into the tranquil confines of Milk + Honey at the Galleria was the perfect antidote to the winter doldrums. Having fought cedar season with various allergy medications, my skin was in need of hydration, so I opted for a signature facial. When they say this is a customized service, they mean it. The esthetician begins by discussing your concerns about

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your skin and your goals for your specific skin type. Following a skin analysis, she customizes your treatment. This is where Milk + Honey shines. There are several options designed to provide an experience customized to the individual. Each treatment consists of a multi-step process that includes cleansing, masques, toning and moisturizing. My facial left me relaxed and my skin glowing and refreshed. I had requested an anti-aging facial and my add-on was a five-minute face-lift. Employing a micro-current device called NuFace, the esthetician uses an express lift treatment that does indeed improve facial toning and contours and is also said to improve collagen production. This device can be purchased and used daily for a marked improvement in skin tone, lines and wrinkles and sagging skin. As someone who is adamantly opposed to going under the knife, I was interested in any noninvasive procedure and this was a pleasant and pain-free experience. Other optional add-ons to the signature facial service include super hydrating, eye and lip

treatments (featuring Milk + Honey’s new organic lip scrub), ultrasonic exfoliation, ultrasonic hand treatment, lash and brow tint, express lift and NuFace lip and eye treatment. The ultrasonic therapy uses high-frequency vibration to gently exfoliate dead skin cells without redness, swelling and irritation commonly associated with microdermabrasion. Treatments are usually purchased in a series and can address separate areas of particular concern: face and neck, décolleté and hands, upper arms, back and bum. Periodically, Milk + Honey hosts peel parties, which also allow you to add a customized peel to your facial experience. There are five peels to choose from, including the blueberry smoothie peel, which is recommended for acne-prone skin, and the pomegranate peel, recommended to brighten your skin tone as well as stimulate collagen production. Whatever combination the facial includes, rest assured that your Milk + Honey facial will be customized to meet your needs and address your skin concerns. Treat yourself to a relaxing day at the spa with glowing skin as a bonus outcome. For locations, information and prices, visit

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Editor’s picks Go Organic! In December 2013, Milk + Honey launched their signature line of bath and body products, which includes creams, washes, scrubs, bath soaks, bath and body oils, lip scrubs and even a home fragrance, all natural, organic and beautifully packaged in glass apothecary bottles. Each product has been handcrafted from the ground up in Austin, with the objective of using only the highest quality ingredients and keeping every aspect of the ingredient list as clean as possible. “For years, we searched in vain for a line that was organic with truly clean ingredients that was effective and beautiful to look at, so we decided to create our own. It has been a fantastic experience learning more about ingredients and essential oils,” says Alissa Bayer, founder of Milk + Honey. Products are available at all three Milk + Honey locations and online at

Body Cream No. 22 ($32) My skin was dry from allergy medications and the extremely modulating early spring temperatures. When I smoothed on this cream—a blend infused with lavender, rose geranium and ylang ylang—my skin was immediately hydrated and smooth. Full of antioxidants and good-for-you ingredients such as shea butter, coconut oil and aloe juice, this rich cream leaves you feeling like a million dollars.

Bath and Body Oil No. 22 ($22) If you want to further enhance your moisturizing treatment, look to this amazing oil. Use it in the tub for a moisturizing and relaxing aromatherapy treatment or post-shower as a stress reliever, thanks to the combination of calming lavender and soothing ylang ylang and pettigrain.

Lip Scrub No. 40 ($12) This lip scrub is a bargain. It smells of vanilla and cardamom and is sugary sweet and yummy, so slather it on, massage it in and lick your lips for a perfect pout and the most kissable lips ever.

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Fa r m -t o -T a b l e

Savor the Taste of Spring Chef Erica Beneke supports local agriculture to dish up seasonal epicurean cuisine. By Molly McManus, Photos By Dustin Meyer For Chef Erica Beneke, farm-to-table is a way of life. Although seemingly trendy, especially in Austin right now, Beneke affirms this fad isn’t going anywhere. “Hopefully, it’s a trend that will stick around and not die out. I think once you’re introduced to it, it’s hard to go back from there,” she says. Originally from a small town in upstate New York, Beneke grew up cooking and eating out of her family’s garden, her passion for food starting at a very young age. Now, the 26-year-old holds the executive chef position at Max’s Wine Dive, implementing important changes to the menu. After working her way from the bottom to the top, Beneke began to introduce the farm-to-table concept when she became executive chef. “It’s something that is really important to me. … Being able to support these small farms and family farms—people who are literally the ones planting and digging up their own crops to put food on the table—to be able to support people like that who are working so hard to grow something, that’s a huge part of it,” she says. In addition to supporting local farmers, which in turn helps to boost the local economy, consuming food that is fresh and organically grown has numerous health benefits. More importantly, it tastes better, plain and simple. If you’ve ever eaten a vegetable that has come straight out of the ground, you know what I’m talking about: A tomato picked from its vine can’t hold a candle to those “all-natural tomatoes” you’ll find at a major grocery store. Further, if you pick the vegetable yourself, you have a greater connection with your food. Beneke took her staff to Johnson’s Backyard Garden to create that interactive experience, picking carrots, a first for many of them. Sourcing locally also means eating within your region’s season, which can create challenges but also presents opportunities. Beneke has embraced the difficulty through crafting unique dishes, but also by canning tomatoes and freezing fruit to increase their shelf life. However, her most significant contribution in the farm-to-table movement is creating seasonal menus that rotate throughout the year. On April 1, Beneke launches Max’s seasonal spring menu, complete with cheese from Pure Luck Farm and Dairy in Dripping Springs, greens from Oak Hill Farm in Poteet and meat from Windy Hill Farm in Comanche. “The inspiration starts from the ingredients—what’s available, what’s exciting and new—then working that in to fit the Max’s concept,” she explains. With six locations throughout Texas and plans to expand outside the Lone Star State, Max’s is a gourmet comfort-food chain that encourages creative freedom with each location’s management team. Beneke, seizing this chance, has been able to carry on her way of life, introducing her seasonal concept to Max’s standard fare. Her favorite spring dish? The crispy goat ribs with blackberry barbecue sauce. “We’ve been getting these awesome goats from Windy Hill. I’m doing a play on barbecue with a classic Texas dish but using a more unique ingredient that’s in season right now,” Beneke says about the blackberries, which give the dish a pop of color and depth of flavor. In addition to the farm-to-table menus, this chef has a lot to celebrate.

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Beneke organized the inaugural 2013 Eat. Drink. Empower. event, which brought together female chefs in Austin to raise money for SafePlace. (Yes, she planned this while working 60-plus hours at Max’s.) She competed on the Food Network show Chopped and won, walking away with the $10,000 prize. She’s also been able to see colleagues she’s trained and managed flourish, her sous chef recently getting promoted to executive chef at the San Antonio Max’s. “That was a very proud moment for me,” Beneke says, adding, “It’s one of the most rewarding things, to watch the way people grow.” Beneke is still early in her career, and we can surely expect plenty of growth from the young chef. In the meantime, treat yourself to a taste of Chef Beneke’s seasonal spring menu at Max’s, and support our local farmers who work so hard to bring the flavors of their organic gardens to Austin’s restaurants, markets and homes.

A new year. A new you. At The Lash Lounge®, our upscale, trendy eyelash salon and boutique give you the low-maintenance beauty you’ve always wanted. Our highly trained staff uses top quality products and we have a fabulous boutique and amazing, filler-free, mineral cosmetic line. We specialize in semi-permanent eyelash extensions, permanent makeup, eyelash and eyebrow tinting, and threading services. Start the new year by shortening your morning routine and helping you get on with your day – and



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24 38 W. An de rso n Ln . (by Ter ra Toy s)

Selections from Chef Erica Beneke and team’s seasonal spring menu

Crispy Goat Ribs with Blackberry Barbecue Sauce

Spinach Salad with Orange-Molasses Vinaigrette



For the ribs: 2 racks goat ribs, about 12 ribs per rack, seasoned with salt and black pepper 1 medium onion, thinly sliced 1 large jalapeño, thinly sliced 6 cloves garlic, smashed 1 quart chicken stock 1 cup all-purpose flour 1 cup cornstarch Vegetable oil, as needed

For the blackberry barbecue sauce: 2 pints fresh blackberries Reserved braising liquid and vegetables from goat ribs 2 tablespoons ketchup 2 tablespoons brown sugar 2 tablespoons honey 1 tablespoon molasses 3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar Salt and black pepper to taste

Directions: For the goat ribs: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place the onion, garlic and jalapeño in the bottom of a baking dish large enough to hold both racks of ribs, and deep enough to hold the chicken stock. Place seasoned ribs on top of vegetables and add the chicken stock to baking dish. Cover baking dish tightly with aluminum foil. Transfer to the oven and bake for two hours or until the ribs are very tender. Carefully remove ribs from the dish and transfer them to a baking sheet. Reserve liquid and vegetables for the barbecue sauce. Refrigerate until cool and firm, about 30 minutes. (Prepare the barbecue sauce while the ribs are cooling.) Meanwhile, in a large, sturdy pot, heat 2 inches of vegetable oil to 350 degrees. Working in small batches, fry ribs for about three minutes, until ribs are crisp. Transfer ribs to a plate lined with paper towels to drain and then transfer them to a large mixing bowl. For the barbecue sauce: In a medium-sized saucepan, combine the reserved stock and vegetables along with remaining sauce ingredients. Cook over medium heat for 15 to 20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until blackberries are tender and sauce thickens. Allow sauce to cool slightly and transfer to the blender. Blend for several minutes until it is very smooth. Season to taste with salt and black pepper.

For the salad: 12 ounces baby spinach, rinsed and dried, stems removed 1 large fennel bulb, trimmed and thinly sliced 2 medium oranges, peel removed, sliced to divide sections from flesh 4 ounces chevre, crumbled 1/2 cup candied pecans (recipe follows) Orange-molasses vinaigrette (recipe follows)


For the candied pecans: 2 tablespoons butter 1/2 cup pecans 2 tablespoons brown sugar For the dressing: 2 medium oranges, 1 zested and 2 juiced 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar 2 teaspoons molasses 1 teaspoon honey 1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard 3/4 cup Salud de Paloma roasted garlic olive oil Salt and black pepper to taste

For the candied pecans: Melt the butter in a skillet over medium heat. Add pecans to the skillet and cook for three to five minutes, until slightly toasted. Add the sugar and cook for another minute. Transfer pecans to a baking sheet lined with waxed paper or parchment paper and allow to cool. For the dressing: In a blender, combine the orange juice, orange zest, apple cider vinegar, molasses, honey and Dijon. Blend until well combined. While the machine is running, slowly drizzle in the oil. Season to taste with salt and black pepper. To assemble the salad: In a large mixing bowl, toss the spinach and fennel with desired amount of dressing. Transfer spinach to a serving bowl or platter and scatter the pecans, goat cheese and oranges overtop.

From the Farm: Ingredient Resources

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Baby Spinach, Oak Hill Farm, Poteet, TX Oranges, G+S Groves, Mission, TX Blackberries, Oak Hill Farm, Poteet, TX Chevre, Pure Luck Farm and Dairy, Dripping Springs, TX Fennel, Oak Hill Farm, Poteet, TX Pecans, Rio Grande Organics, Quemado, TX Olive Oil, Salud de Paloma, Austin, TX Goat, Windy Hill Farm, Comanche, TX

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For more information, the full menu and hours, visit Max’s Wine Dive, 207 San Jacinto Blvd., 512.904.0111. 59

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F e s t i va l

Third Annual Austin Food & Wine Festival The must-attend event for Austin foodies expands offerings and options. By Kristi Willis

Part I: Overview Event organizers have expanded this year’s offerings to include Feast Under the Stars, a seated dinner on Thursday night featuring five Texas chefs that is such a draw it has already sold out, and a Chef Showcase during the Grand Tasting that will highlight the talent of 16 Austin chefs. Feast Under the Stars and daytime festival events will return to the muchpraised venue at Butler Park. The parties on Friday and Saturday nights will be held at Republic Square. Festivalgoers can purchase two types of passes: the Taste pass ($250) that includes general admission to more than 40 cooking demos and the Grand Tasting, and the Savor pass ($850), which adds early entry to the demos and Grand Tasting, as well as tickets to the Taste of Texas and Rock Your Taco events and sipand-stroll events with festive live music. Savor pass holders also have access to a special lounge area with private food and drink tastings and reserved parking. Either pass is money well spent for food enthusiasts who get to learn and taste from a veritable who’s who of the culinary world. Acclaimed chefs Richard Blais, Rick Bayless, Ming Tsai, John Currence, Graham Elliot, Georgia Pellegrini and Andrew Zimmern will share their wisdom in demos and panels, as will wine experts Ray Isle and Mark Oldman. Festival co-founder Tim Love will once again lead his wildly popular hands-on grilling demos, focusing this year on surf and turf. Other don’t-miss Texas sessions include Kent Rathbun’s demonstration of how to smoke salmon on a stovetop and David Bull’s flavor-profiling presentation that teaches how to build the perfect bite. The Be on Que panel—featuring Texas barbecue masters Aaron Franklin of Franklin Barbecue, Tim Byres of Smoke and Wayne Mueller of Louie Mueller Barbecue—is guaranteed to wow the audience with Texas pitmaster secrets. It’s also guaranteed to have a long line, so get their early if ’cue is your passion.

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If their panel doesn’t satisfy your craving for smoked meat, each of the barbecue legends will be cooking up bites at the firepits, along with Paul Qui, Jason Dady, Andrew Wiseheart, Bryce Gilmore, James Holmes and Ned Elliott. The interactive pits were a welcome addition at the 2013 festival and have been expanded to include four chefs each day. Drink up insights from Austin’s wine, cocktail and craft-brew pros at intriguing panels like California Enlightenment from Master Sommeliers Craig Collins and Devon Broglie, Tour de Femme from Sommelier Vilma Mazaite and Hops Aboard! with Brewmaster Josh Hare. If craft cocktails are more your speed, mixologist and author David Alan, also known as the Tipsy Texan, will share the best of the Lone Star State’s burgeoning spirits industry in his In True Texas Spirit panel. The festival lineup offers an inviting balance of superstar chefs and Texas favorites with a nice mix of tastings, panels and places to interact with the chefs. Once again, the Austin Food & Wine Festival promises to be a true foodie paradise.

Part II: Don’t-Miss Sessions Soak up the barbecue knowledge with the rare opportunity to hear from three of Texas’ finest pitmasters at the Be on Que panel with Aaron Franklin, Tim Byres and Wayne Mueller. Visit with the chefs while enjoying their dishes, cooked over open flame at the interactive firepits. The pits have been expanded to include four chefs each day and will star Tim Byres (Smoke, Dallas), Jason Dady (Jason Dady Restaurants, San Antonio), Ned Elliott (Foreign & Domestic), Aaron Franklin (Franklin Barbecue), Bryce Gilmore (Odd Duck, Barley Swine), John Russ (Lüke San Antonio), Paul Qui (Qui and East Side King) and Andrew Wiseheart (Contigo). Chef and author Georgia Pelligrini makes her debut at this year’s festival and will share her unique approach to hunting and foraging for your meal in her Get Your Hands Dirty demo. Mark Oldman’s accessible approach helps even the newest wine lover feel comfortable trying unusual varietals. His Outsmart the Wine List demo is a must for anyone who wants to learn the ins and

outs of ordering well. Austin is fortunate to have two master sommeliers and even luckier that they are so friendly and engaging. The California Enlightenment panel from Craig Collins and Devon Broglie promises to be informative and fun. The demos and panels are always entertaining, but don’t skip the Grand Tasting. H-E-B does an outstanding job curating some of Texas’ best food artisans, and each year has introduced new products at the festival. This year, the tasting tents also include a chef showcase with 16 Austin and San Antonio restaurants serving up samples. Taste pass holders should seriously consider adding the Taste of Texas party to their roster. The sip-and-stroll event offers tastes from 15 of Texas’ best restaurants and is a fantastic way to experience bites from talented chefs from Dallas, Fort Worth, Houston and San Antonio.

Part III: Cookbooks r Fiesta at Rick’s: Fabulous Food for Great Times with Friends by Rick Bayless includes some of the master chef’s most sought-after recipes and sample party menus for entertaining your friends. r Top Chef Richard Blais includes everything from the basics of stocking the spice shelf to the adventurous art of sous vide cooking in his first cookbook, Try This at Home: Recipes from My Head to Your Plate. r In Kevin Dundon’s Modern Irish Food, Chef Kevin Dundon presents an updated twist on traditional Irish cuisine with seasonal ingredients and simple techniques. rG  eorgia Pelligrini explores backyard gardening, foraging and seasonal cooking in her new book, Modern Pioneering: More Than 150 Recipes, Projects, and Skills for a Self-Sufficient Life.

Photo by Dave Mead.

The culinary stars will be shining bright the weekend of April 25 through 27, as the Austin Food & Wine Festival returns for its third food-filled year of fun. The two-day extravaganza draws celebrated chefs and wine experts from throughout the world to cook and present alongside Texas’ finest.

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to your health /

Tea Time The truth about the benefits of this ancient drink. By Andy East From boosting cardiovascular health and bone mineral density, to staving off cancers and dementia, tea has long been touted as a potent health elixir. In fact, the first-known medical text on tea consumption dates back to the third century A.D., ascribing improved cognitive function to imbibing the herbal infusion. With the U.S. tea market thriving in recent years, myriad herbal infusions, tea-based products and supplements have been sprouting up on supermarket shelves, but is America’s tea mania really the panacea it is hyped to be? Austin Woman unveils the truth about some of the most popular herbal infusions on the market so you can steep the most benefits. According to Chinese legend, approximately 4,700 years ago, emperor of China and herbalist Shennong made a discovery that would change the course of human history when some leaves of a hitherto unknown plant blew into his pot of boiling water. The leaves were reportedly from the camellia sinensis (tea) plant and, according to legend, the concoction the emperor stumbled upon was the world’s first cup of tea. While it may be impossible to corroborate the veracity of the legend, scientists have pinpointed the origin of the camellia sinensis plant to the shared border regions of India, China, Burma and Tibet. Even as far back as the third century A.D., tea was consumed for medicinal purposes. By the 17th century, tea had made its way to Europe and later the European colonies in the Americas. Fast forward 400 years, and Americans, like much of the world, are no strangers to tea. In fact, according to the Tea Association of the U.S.A., Americans washed down more than 3.6 billion gallons of tea in 2012, with black tea accounting for nearly 84 percent of national consumption. But as tea has grown in popularity, so has its purported health benefits. While many of the benefits are true, not all have the backing of the scientific community. Here are some of the most popular teas and infusions on the market and the truth behind their health benefits.

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Green Tea Green tea is made from the unfermented leaves of the camellia sinensis plant, allowing it to pack a more potent, nutrient-rich punch than its fermented counterparts like black and oolong teas. Green tea is also one of the best natural sources of specific antioxidants called polyphenols, which have been shown to fend off cell-damaging free radicals. Free radicals have been linked to heart attacks, strokes and certain types of cancer. According to Harvard Medical School, regularly consuming green tea can reduce the risk for heart disease, combats the oxidation of LDL (bad) cholesterol, lowers risk of hypertension and could be more potent at staving off diseases than vitamins C and E, due to its preponderance of compounds called cachetins. Other recent studies have shown that green-tea extract may help combat dementia and other neurodegenerative diseases, but more research is still needed. In spite of all the potential benefits of green tea, keep in mind that consuming green tea is not a golden ticket to lifelong health. If not combined with regular exercise and a healthy diet, you may be spinning your tires.

Acai Berry Tea The acai berry originated in the Amazonian rainforest and is a purple, grape-like fruit rich in antioxidants, omega fats, fiber and anthocyanins, a class of flavonoids that are also found in red wine. Infusing the acai berry juice or powder with tea has been shown to have potent health benefits, including improving circulation and cardiovascular health, and may help boost weight loss.

Kombucha Tea Advertised as a panacea of sorts, kombucha tea is prepared by using certain yeasts and bacteria cultures to ferment black tea. Many kombucha enthusiasts claim the tea can boost the immune system, help mitigate arthritis, insomnia, baldness, AIDS,

cancer and many other medical conditions. However, according to the American Cancer Society, as of yet, there is no scientific evidence to support any of the alleged health benefits of kombucha tea. In fact, there have been some reports that kombucha tea may do more harm than good. Kombucha tea is often produced in homes and, due to the way kombucha tea is fermented, many different types of harmful molds or fungi can propagate during the tea’s preparation. As a result, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has recommended exercising caution before consuming the tea. In addition, the American Cancer Society advises women who are pregnant or breastfeeding to refrain from drinking kombucha tea. Until more research is available on the benefits and risks of the tea, it may be best to avoid it. Before using this tea as a treatment for any medical condition, be sure to consult with your doctor. 12005 Bee Cave Rd #2A Austin, TX 78738 512-225-0766

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to your health /

Women and Alcohol The risks of drinking too much. By Jill Case T-shirts that say, “In case of emergency, fill with wine.” Mugs that say, “I like to cook with wine. Sometimes I put it in the food.” Wine and women are linked together throughout our culture (just like men and beer), and it’s all in fun. However, for some women, the drinking spirals out of control before they realize they have a problem. In addition, alcohol affects women differently than it does men. The National Institute of Health says research shows women will have alcohol-related problems while drinking less alcohol than men. Women weigh less, but more importantly, women, pound for pound, have less water in their bodies than men, and since alcohol disperses in the body’s water, a woman’s blood-alcohol concentration will be higher than a man’s drink for drink. Alcohol also leaves the body slower for women taking birth control pills. Researchers think that hormones may also play a role. Since April is designated as Alcohol Awareness Month, Austin Woman looked in to the risks facing women (and their children) when they consume too much alcohol. The Risks of Drinking Too Much There are many health risks associated with women who drink too much, including: • Liver damage. More likelihood of developing alcoholic hepatitis, which can lead to cirrhosis. • Heart disease. Women are more likely to develop alcohol-related heart disease than men (even though they drink less during a lifetime). • Higher risk of breast cancer. Women who drink more than one drink per day have a 10 percent higher risk of developing breast cancer, and the risk rises another 10 percent with each additional drink. According to The Centers for Disease Control (CDC), alcoholism in the United States: • Causes 79,000 deaths annually • Is the third-leading lifestyle-related cause of death in the nation The National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence Inc. (NCADD, points out,

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H e a lt h

“One in every 12 adults suffer from alcohol abuse or dependence, along with several million more who engage in risky, binge-drinking patterns that could lead to alcohol problems.”

How Much is Too Much? How do you know the difference between moderate drinking and heavy drinking? You can look to these USDA guidelines that define moderate drinking as: up to one drink per day for women (approximately 12 ounces of beer, 5 ounces of wine or 1.5 ounces of distilled spirits). The National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA, offers the following guidelines to help people determine if they are at risk for developing alcohol dependence. They define low-risk drinking limits for women as: no more than seven drinks per week and no more than three drinks during any single day. They also point out that “low risk does not mean no risk. Even within these limits, you can have problems if you drink too quickly or have other health issues. Drinking slowly and making sure you eat enough while drinking can help minimize alcohol’s effects.” If you think you may be drinking too much, ask yourself these questions: pD  o you lie to your friends and family about your drinking habits? pD  o you drink by yourself to hide your drinking from others? pD  o you feel ashamed of your drinking or your behavior while drinking? pD  o you need to drink to relax or feel better or avoid emotions? pD  o you forget what you did while drinking or have blackouts? pH  ave your family and friends expressed concerns about your drinking habits? For a more thorough interactive quiz to determine whether you are drinking too much, go to Binge Drinking According to the CDC, in 2009, more than one in 10 women reported binge drinking (defined as consuming four or more drinks per occasion for women) in the past 30 days. This contributes to more than 11,500 deaths among women per year, or approximately 32 deaths per day. Furthermore, binge drinking puts women at higher risk for: • HIV and other sexually transmitted infections (STIs). Binge drinkers are more likely to have unprotected sex and multiple sex partners. • Sexual assault. The risk increases when the perpetrator and the victim have consumed alcohol before an attack (especially in college settings).

The bottom line? Drink only in moderation and seek help if you feel that your drinking is out of control. Speak up if someone in your family or your group of friends seems to have a problem with alcohol. The life you save could be your own or the life of someone you love.

Pregnancy and Alcohol According to the March of Dimes, there is no amount of alcohol that is safe when you are pregnant. Their advice: Stop drinking all alcohol during your pregnancy. Drinking alcohol while pregnant can cause: •B  irth defects (heart, brain and other organs) • Vision or hearing problems • Babies born too soon • Low birth weight • Intellectual disabilities • Learning and behavior problems • Sleeping and sucking problems • Speech and language delays For more information, go to

Resources in Austin •M  ADD Austin Office, • • •

Talking to Your Teenager About Drinking The National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence Inc. (NCADD) holds Alcohol Awareness Month in April, in part, to educate teens about the dangers of drinking too much, especially during prom season and the upcoming period before and during graduation. There are many serious consequences when teenagers drink. For example, teens that drink are more likely to: r Be victims of violent crime, including assault r Have problems in school rB  e involved in car accidents, suffering injury or death in an alcohol-related crash r Be involved in accidental falls or drowning In addition, the NCADD says when children begin drinking before the age of 15, they are four times more likely to have problems with alcohol dependence than those who do not begin drinking until age 20. Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) recommends parents set a family rule of no alcohol use before the age of 21. Sometimes, parents say they know their teens will drink no matter what they say, so they host parties at their homes, taking the car keys so the kids won’t drink and drive, or they hire limousines to drive the kids to and from an event. This is not the way to solve the problem. For one thing, you still run the risk of teens being involved in binge drinking, getting alcohol poisoning and suffering from or committing crimes or being involved in non-vehicular accidents. In addition, since underage drinking is illegal, both teens and parents can suffer the legal consequences of breaking the law. You may not think that talking can make a difference, but research shows that it does. “We know that high levels of parental monitoring are associated with lower levels of both high school and eventually college drinking,” according to The NCADD. “Research has linked parents’ disapproval of underage drinking to a lower risk of alcohol use.” MADD’s Power of Parents handbook for talking to your kids about alcohol suggests you cover the following information when you talk to your teen. Have more than one conversation, and keep your tone conversational instead of lecturing, and: rD  iscuss the fact that underage drinking is illegal, and talk about the consequences of breaking the law. rT  ell your teenagers that not everyone is drinking even though it may seem that way to them. rT  alk about how drinking can impair their judgment. rT  ell them how you feel about teenage drinking, and talk about the rules your family has for underage drinking, as well as the consequences of breaking those rules. rB  rainstorm some ways to resist peer pressure, and help your teen find constructive alternatives to drinking. There is much more helpful information in MADD’s Power of Parents handbook. Download it at In addition to talking to your teens, the National Institutes of Health recommends the following prevention strategies: rM  onitor alcohol use in your home. rG  et to know your child’s friends’ parents. rK  eep tabs on your child’s activities. rD  evelop family rules about drinking. rS  et a good example by monitoring your own alcohol use. rD  on’t support teen drinking.

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to your health /


Fifteen Minutes with Laura Cisneros The workaholic workout. By Laura Cisneros, Photos by Dustin Meyer

I’m going to just say it straight. “I don’t have time” is not an excuse for not getting in some kind of daily movement. Workout benefits range from improved cognition and memory, to better sleep and anti-aging effects, so if you care about your quality of life, you cannot afford not to find the time. That said, some of us are crazy busy (emphasis on the crazy), and with deadlines, errands, demanding positions, children and households to run, sometimes its impossible to tear yourself away from your desk to get a 40-minute lunchtime workout in. So what can you do if you’ve got 15 minutes, can’t really break a sweat, but want to get something in? This is the Workaholic Workout. This focused, three-step plan releases tension, increases tone and circulates oxygen throughout the body to give you a boost and a bit of burn.

Step One: Open Up Opening up the shoulder and hip joints and mobilizing the spine not only reduces tension, it prepares the body for movement.

Doorway Chest Stretch r Placing your arms on either side of the doorway with elbows about 2 inches lower than shoulder height, step through the doorway and lean into the stretch. Hold for 10 seconds. Repeat five times. For variation, lower or raise your arms or turn your head right or left and hold. Scapular Retraction r Standing with your feet shoulder-width apart, abdominals pulling in and down, pull your shoulder blades together and down your back. (Be careful not to arch your lower back). Hold 10 seconds. Repeat five times.

Step Two: Tune In

Farmer Brown Abs r Body builders have been fans of abdominal hollowing for decades, but recent science has created a resurgence in the practice, albeit slightly more technical with the latest incarnation. Science jargon aside, it gets you in touch with your trunk, a good thing. Standing with feet hip-width apart, inhale super deeply through your nose if you can, slowly through the mouth if you can’t. This is Austin, after all. When you inhale, let your body fill from low belly to upper chest. So let your belly go! Then exhaling either through tight lips or a straw, exhale super, duper slow. I mean really slow, until you feel every little muscle in your belly tighten and the last bit of breath is almost tough to push out. This should take you about 10 seconds at the shortest. Repeat five to 10 times.

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BonneSoir eePar · 5 1 2 -5 1 4 -0 6 5 9 r e e Pa r tyPl a nni ng ee AT X

Step Three: Tone Up Toning Exercise 1: Dancer Arm Series This series is long. There are high reps, so use low weight (no more than 5 pounds). These can be done seated or standing. I prefer standing so I can continue to activate my core.

Arnold Press r Use the same standing posture with elbows at your sides, palms forward. Extend the elbows for a bicep curl. When the palms reach the shoulders, externally rotate your forearms and press up for a military press. Again, watch your back, your ribs and your breathing. Work full range of motion for 20 repetitions.

Presentation x Use the same posture as above, with elbows at your sides, palms forward. Extend the elbows while lifting the arms to shoulder height in front of you. Sweep extended arms, palms up, out to the sides still at shoulder height. Focus on keeping your posture neutral and your shoulder blades really stable. Repeat for 20.

Overhead Press r Stand with your feet hip-width apart, knees soft, with a weight in either hand and arms at approximately 90 degrees at the shoulder. Work the range of motion from your side body overhead. As you reach overhead, pull the ribs in the front and the lats in the back together and down. Think about leading with the elbows on the way down. Breathe and use a good, slightly brisk rhythm without sacrificing the range of motion. Repeat 20 times.

Tricep Extension r Use the same base stance, tucking the ribs down and watching your low back for arching. Sweep the arms overhead, being careful to keep your abs contracted and your lats pulled down. Bend your arms down your back and press up. Repeat for 20. First-timers, drop the reps by fives until you can complete three sets of each exercise. PliĂŠ Squat r Stand with feet wider than shoulderwidth apart, with toes turned out with your weight on the outside edge of your feet. Pull your ribs back and abs in, and with tall, erect posture, bend your knees 90 degrees, being careful to keep knees pointed between second and third toes. Pause for five then squeeze your butt and press up. Do two to three sets of 20 to 30.

When you’re too busy for a workout but not too busy to chat with your co-worker, remember, now you really have no excuses. In less than 15 minutes, you can release some stress, stimulate your nervous system and build some tone with this Workaholic Workout. 71



Global Conservationist

Keeping the planet green through the Rainforest Partnership by Shelley Seale photos by Andrew Chan Styling by Ashley Hargrove, Hair by Jami Eastin, Avant Salon, 9901 N. Capital of Texas Hwy., 512.502.8268, Makeup by Lauren Lumsden, Rae Cosmetics, 512.320.8732, Shot on location at Casa de Luz, 1701 Toomey Road, 512.476.2535,

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As a child growing up in Tanzania and India, Niyanta Spelman was afraid of the dark. Like many of us, she found the darkness an insecure and scary place, something where any form of monster may hide. But one night in the rainforest of Ecuador changed everything. Spelman was in the country to meet with members of a local community where her nonprofit, Rainforest Partnership, works and she wanted to sleep on a treetop canopy platform for the first time. A boatman was to take her to the place where she would sleep, but first they had to stop off to collect a tent and bedding. Halfway there, the boatman stepped on shore to gather the gear, leaving her completely alone in the canoe. In the pitch dark of night. “There were no lights. I don’t see anybody. I don’t hear anything,” Spelman recalls. “I’m sitting there, and then I begin hearing the symphony of the forest: the frogs and the birds and insects. I thought, ‘Anything can jump into this canoe.’ But I felt so incredibly calm. No fear whatsoever. It was an amazing moment. I could see the stars reflecting on this perfectly still water, and the fireflies reflecting too. I couldn’t tell where the water ended and the weeds started. I felt a connection to this Earth in a way that I just cannot explain, but it all felt so right.” Spelman clearly has a special connection with nature, one that is in large part responsible for the birth of her nonprofit venture, Rainforest Partnership. “It’s something I’ve wanted to do since my teen years,” she says. “I grew up being connected to nature. My parents always took me on walks, and I always came back with rocks or grass or sticks I had collected. And I still do!” In fact, her office is full of such mementos. Born in Tanzania, Spelman attended an English boarding school in India. After living in London for five years, she transplanted to Texas and has been here for 25 years. With an undergrad degree in biology from the University of Texas Dallas, she obtained a master’s degree in public affairs from the LBJ School in 1994. At the time, Spelman wanted to go on to get her Ph.D. “I thought, ‘OK, I’ll go protect the rainforests when I retire.’ ” But life does what it does, as Spelman says. After working for a lobbying firm and health insurance company and as a legislative aide at the Capitol, Spelman opened her own public-sector consulting firm. Still, she regularly felt these strong urges that she wasn’t doing what she was supposed to be doing. “I was involved in some great projects, and a lot of the things I did affected a great many people. But it wasn’t doing what I really wanted to do, and I could feel it. I realized there wasn’t time to wait. Normal, daily life can sometimes take over, but at some point you have to say it can’t.”

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Spelman knew that she had to do what had been inside her for her whole life, even though her consulting firm was very successful. In January 2007, she began the transition to form her new venture, making a business plan and reaching out to potential board members. “I actually thought it would take a couple of years,” she says. She took part in Leadership Texas, which she had been invited to apply to several previous years, but the timing was never right. “Transition years are a great time for doing something like that,” she says. Spelman started talking to people about her idea. When she met new people, she would say, “Don’t ask me about what I’m doing now. Ask me about what I’m going to do, which is preserving tropical rainforests.” Suddenly, it was as if by putting it in to words, the vision manifested itself, was made concrete. “What I thought would take two years, once I started talking to people about, suddenly began to move a lot faster. I

“You see a lot of deforestation

and destruction, and it is painful”

didn’t know what form it was going to take, whether it would be a nonprofit or affiliated with a university,” she says. Spelman also didn’t know whether she should tackle rainforest conservation from the industry side (the companies that were razing them) or from the consumer side of the problem. “It’s what we do; it’s our consumption patterns that affect what ends up happening to these forests. You see a lot of deforestation and destruction, and it is painful,” she notes. Spelman began turning down more and more consulting work, even though she was offered some fun projects in cool places—and good money. But she knew now, beyond a shadow of a doubt, what she needed to be doing with her life. In two months, not two years, Rainforest Partnership came in to being. “I had this whole idea, and it just combined in terms of what it needed to be, which was an international nonprofit,” she says. Rainforest Partnership partners with people who live in and near tropical rainforests to develop environmentally sustainable economies to protect and regenerate their forests. Of the hundreds of people Spelman

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Women in Chipaota, Peru making baskets.

talked to that year she started the organization, three really stood out. One was founding Board Chair Hazel Barbour, who is still on the board today. The two other founding board members were Jordan Erdos and Bob Warneke. “When they came on, it was no longer just my idea and my business plan. It became a collective vision,” Spelman says, adding that today, Rainforest Partnership has more than 300 volunteers. “People show up just when we need them. I think, we need such and such a person, and someone just appears. Once every new person comes along and touches it, it evolves even more.” Although climate change and environmental conservation are hot topics these days, Spelman says a lot of people still think we took care of the rainforests back in the 1980s, when the cause first attained global attention. “We didn’t ‘take care of it’ back then,” she is quick to correct. Every second, a slice of rainforest the size of a football field is mowed down, according to The Nature Conservancy. At that rate, we’ll lose as much as 10 percent of our tropical rainforest species each decade. The rainforests are critical to our supply of fresh drinking water; one-fifth of the world’s fresh water is found in the Amazon Basin. They also act as the world’s thermostat, regulating temperatures and weather patterns. In the 15 or 20 minutes you might spend reading this magazine, a piece of the rainforest the size of downtown Austin has just been lost, most of it forever. Besides recognizing what they do for the planet and wanting to protect them, Spelman clearly has a special, very personal affinity for the rainforests. “Besides being gorgeous and magical and beautiful, they just feel different.

Women of the Sani Isla community selling their artisan products.

Everything is just calm. There’s such a relaxed atmosphere surrounding you there. There’s something that’s just so connected and beautiful when you’re in the forest,” she says. Rainforest Partnership focuses exclusively on the tropical rainforests, found near the equator, as opposed to the temperate forests found in places like the Pacific Northwest. While Spelman says those forests are indeed magnificent and should be protected as well, they may have a few dozen species living in them, compared with thousands upon thousands in the tropical rainforests. And those are just the ones we know about. Even though the rainforests cover less than 2 percent of the Earth’s total surface area, they are “ home to fully half of the planet’s animals and plant life. “A hundred years ago, 14 percent of the Earth’s land mass was tropical rainforest, and we’re at less than 6 now,” Spelman says. “It’s our actions, as human beings, that are destroying them. People think of the forests as the lungs of the planet, and they are. They circulate a lot of our oxygen. They also regulate our water cycle and affect rainfall. A lot of these forests, when they go away, they don’t come back.” Rainforest Partnership decided to focus first on South America, specifically Ecuador and Peru. Part of this decision was the immensity of the rainforest there, and also its relative closeness to Austin. “The Amazon affects our weather greatly here in Texas,” Spelman says. “What happens in the Amazon has an effect on our rainfall patterns. It’s in our economic and health interests to protect

them. We’re so connected to everything. We aren’t just saving biodiversity for the sake of saving it.” The goal is to be around the globe by 2020, forming partnerships to protect the rainforests throughout the world. Rainforest Partnership does this by working with local communities. “We knew that we had to work with the people who live in and around the forest. If those people had a stake in protecting where they live and their way of life, and they had an alternative, a choice, they were going to be the best stewards of the rainforest. It can’t be imposed. If you impose it, it isn’t going to work. It has to be because they want an alternative, because they have control over it,” she says. It has to be sustainable as well, and replacing income is a big key to that. Of the 1.2 billion people living in extreme poverty worldwide, 90 percent of them depend on forest for their livelihood. It’s hard to be judgmental of someone who is trying to feed their family, when a company comes along and offers them money to deforest. “How can we work with them so they can have an income source that gives them long-term stability? It has to have a long-term sustainability of that income, and long-term sustainability of protecting the forest. It’s protecting the land and a way of life, and those two things go hand in hand. It has to have those dual goals,” Spelman says. The organization looks at the culture of the indigenous community and income possibilities to form a partnership that meets these goals. “They want somebody who respects their culture and way of life, their community-focused model and how they think,”

A lot of these forests, when they

go away, they don’t come back.” 75

Nicole Wagner

Director of Operations Nicole Wagner has a Ph.D. from the Department of Land Resources and Environmental Sciences at Montana State University, and master’s and bachelor’s degrees in biosystems and agricultural engineering from the University of Minnesota. Her career spans 16 years of academic, government and nonprofit research, and analysis in the fields of sustainable agriculture, statistics, economics, international trade and agricultural commodity forecasting. Wagner was a USDA Foreign Agricultural Service crop assessment analyst in Washington D.C., and an international economist at USDA-FAS headquarters. In this role, she developed briefing materials and organized Cabinet and senior executive-level meetings in Washington D.C., and abroad concerning agricultural trade issues, as well as collaborated with overseas diplomats and foreign staff to coordinate USDA and U.S. government programs. In 2008, she left Washington D.C. to become an organic vegetable farmer, artisan cheese maker and post-doctoral research associate in Montana, and to work on sustainable agriculture, climate protection and local community development. Wagner moved to Austin in 2011.

Hazel Barbour

Treasurer/Past Board Chair Hazel Barbour is an independent environmental consultant focused on air quality. During the last three years, she has worked on the development of strategies to reduce harmful emissions from gasoline- and diesel-powered engines. Before working as a consultant, she was employed by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality as mobile source programs manager. Prior to coming to Texas, she worked for Shell UK in London as community affairs advisor, a job in which she was responsible for developing and managing partnership programs between Shell, British government agencies and environmental and community action groups. Barbour is a graduate of the LBJ School of Public Affairs’ Master’s Degree Program at the University of Texas at Austin. Her undergraduate degree was conferred by the University of Edinburgh (Scotland), where she received a bachelor of science degree in social studies with a major in economics.

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Spelman says. “They understand the forest better than anybody else. We have to go in with humility and as equal partners.” And things aren’t necessarily going to happen by our standards or our timeframe. Spelman gives an example of a remote Kichwa community in Sani Isla, Ecuador that Rainforest Partnership partnered with. The goal was to create a self-sustaining business for the women, one in which they would make artisan handicrafts that would provide an income for their families. When Spelman and Barbour first went there and hashed out the partnership, Spelman thought things would start moving. They were dismayed when they returned some months later and found nothing had happened. Nothing had been done toward starting the craft-making business. After some inquiries, Spelman discovered that the women needed a community place in which to gather, not only to create their artisan crafts, but to talk and to plan. They had no place truly their own to undertake this venture. Then Spelman realized that the negotiations had all happened with the men. The women had hardly talked at all, and in fact would not even look Spelman and Barbour in the eyes. “A lot of us can get big results “They needed a place of their own. It was very important. It just shows the culture divide. I had thought that we shouldn’t be spending too much money until they showed that they were starting to work on this project. But they needed that place first,” Spelman says. So Rainforest Partnership agreed to provide the community center for the women, and conducted a workshop for the women. “Finally, they started talking to us,” Spelman recalls. “And then they wouldn’t stop. And I realized, nobody before had asked them what they thought. Ever. They almost seemed shocked in the workshop that we were asking what they wanted, what their vision was for themselves and their families.” This type of trust and partnership, not to mention income production, is vital for these types of indigenous communities to fight against deforestation. This was made completely evident a couple of years later in Sani Isla when one of the biggest oil companies in South America came to the community and offered money to begin extracting oil from the forest. The community came together and voted no again. They sent the oil company packing. “The women were the stronger voice in this. And these were my women,” Spelman says with obvious pride, “the same women who, two years before, wouldn’t even look me in the eye. These are powerful forces that are offering a lot of money. But the women want their health and the health of the forest. We are empowering them to make the choices they want to make. Even if they were to say yes to oil, it would be on their terms with all the safeguards in place.”

if we all do small things”

Photos by Lavanya Selvam Alli.

Women of the Rainforest Partnership

Spelman has big goals for Rainforest Partnership; she wants to make sure more such communities living in tropical rainforests throughout the world have this power. “The choices they have to make are affected by the choices all the rest of us are making,” she says. “Few of us can individually get big, big results. But a lot of us can get big results if we all do small things, if we think about the things we consume, where they come from.” To that end, the organization has a goal for the next year: to invite groups—companies, churches, neighborhoods, families—to become rainforest partners themselves. “We don’t have to get everybody, just a percentage of the people who care,” Spelman says. “Conservation is not a political or religious issue; it’s a human issue. Austin is an amazing place to do this work. We as a city are becoming more globally focused.” When asked about the most rewarding aspect of her work, Spelman gets emotional, almost a bit teary for the first time. “It’s when you realize that something that was started here in Austin with just a few people, and now it’s hundreds of people, and it’s changing the lives of hundreds of people on the other side,” she says. “It’s giving them the ability to make a choice and to change their lives, but on their own terms. Those women in Sani Isla, they made international news. I don’t think we’ll ever fully get the ripple effect that this has.” Spelman extends invitation to anybody who shares her vision of protecting our rainforests. “They belong to all of us,” she says, “and it’s a collective responsibility. It doesn’t matter where we live or who we are; we all depend on them, whether we realize it or not.” Eskandar printed dress, $1,595; Joie Porsha tweed jacket, $284; Manolo Blahnik beige leather heels, $825; Ashley Pitman gold chain necklace, $495; Ashley Pitman enhancer, $695, available at Neiman Marcus, 3400 Palm Way, 512.719.1200,; seed drop earrings, $15, made by Sani Isla artisans.

Rainforest Statistics Rainforests:

cC  irculate 40 percent of the world’s oxygen. cA  re the source of more than 25 percent of all Western medicine, including 70 percent of cancer-treatment drugs.

cA  re home to 80 percent of plant species on Earth, and 50 percent of terrestrial biodiversity.

cH  ave lost mass the size of Texas every 10 years.

What You Can Do to Help

c Make lifestyle choices that help protect rainforests. c Share why the rainforest matters to you. cD  onate on a monthly basis to help fund the work of helping rainforest communities create alternative income sources that help protect their forests.

b If all of the 27,000 people reading this publication donated $20, it would

have a profound effect on the work empowering communities to save our rainforests. Visit to learn more, call 512.420.0101 or email

b Change a habit, save a forest. Avoid palm oil, a leading cause of deforesta-

tion. Ensure beef, soybean, corn and wood products are not coming from recently deforested land. Reduce paper use. Use an app like the GoodGuide.

b Join Rainforest Partnership’s online global community. Become a Rainforest Partner today. 77


Garden Join Austin’s sustainable urban-agriculture movement and get growing this spring. By Rachel Merriman


Meredith Gray


Photos by Elizabeth Shear.

In the 1940s, Americans planted victory gardens in their backyards and on public land as a way to offset food shortages brought on by World War II. Decades later, the urban-agriculture movement here in Austin is going strong, as new community gardens and urban farms continue to sprout up throughout the city. There are more than 30 established community gardens in Austin, and Meredith Gray, the coordinator of the Austin Sustainable Urban Agriculture and Community Garden Program, receives applications for new gardens frequently. “I’m very excited to be at the forefront of the community garden movement in Austin,” Gray says. “The program’s main focus is putting community gardens on city property that is underutilized or underused, such as parkland or watershed land.” In general, growing your own food has many advantages, such as control over quality and spending time outdoors. Urban gardens in particular have been shown to help improve public health, cut food costs for low-income families and increase neighborhood safety. “Urban gardening is one of the best ways to combat food

deserts and lack of affordable nutrition options in an area,” Gray says. “An organic tomato costs $1.50, but you can buy a packet of tomato seeds for the same cost.” Since its creation in 2009, the SUACG program has identified about 70 pieces of land ideal for community gardens, so don’t be surprised if a new garden pops up in your neighborhood in the near future. Until that happens, there’s nothing stopping you from creating a backyard garden of your own, paying a visit to one of Austin’s many farmers markets or signing up for a community-supported agriculture share. Read on for more on how to support local urban agriculture.

Community Gardening 101 Community gardens can be on city or privately owned land, and are typically divided in to plots, for which members usually pay a yearly fee. They’re a great way to get in to gardening without having to shoulder the startup costs for building beds, soil and tools. If you’re new to gardening, you’ll enjoy the benefits of an established community, such as shared tools and tips from more experienced gardeners. 79

Community Gardens in Austin North

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1. Rollingwood Community Education Garden, Rollingwood Park.

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1. North Austin Community Garden, North Austin Community YMCA, 1000 West Rundberg Lane.



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3. Hyde Park Community Garden, 610 E. 45th St.

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2. Sunset Valley Community Garden, Sunset Valley City Hall, 3205 Jones Road.

2. Homewood Heights Community Garden, 2606 Sol Wilson Ave.


1. Alamo Community Garden, 2101 Alamo St.


1. Garden of Eatin’, South Austin Senior Activity Center, 3911 Manchaca Road.






2 E. 12th

3. Blackshear Neighborhood Garden, 2011 E. Ninth St. blackshearcommunitygarden

For a full list of community gardens in Austin, visit the Coalition of Austin Community Gardens website at

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4. Festival Beach Community Garden, 35 Waller St.

E. 7th St





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Starting a Community Garden If there isn’t a community garden in your neighborhood or the garden closest to you has a waitlist, why not start one of your own? To start a community garden on city-owned land, you’ll have to get permission from the City of Austin and the Austin Sustainable Urban Agriculture and Community Garden Program. Here’s a breakdown of the process: 1. L  ocate a suitable piece of public land. Start by checking with the SUACG program to see if they have already identified a piece of land in your neighborhood. 2. Form a garden leadership team. It’s best to have at least four committed gardeners, in addition to letters of support from others in the neighborhood. 3. Request the land for the garden. You’ll need to submit a written garden description, design sketch, membership contract and project timeline to the city. 4. Find a nonprofit organization to sponsor the garden. All gardens on city land must have a nonprofit sponsor to provide liability insurance. 5. S  ubmit the SUACG application. The application includes your site plan and Austin Water Utility meter application. 6. Apply for permits. After your application is approved by SUACG and the license agreement between the city and your sponsoring nonprofit has been signed, you can then apply for any necessary permits. 7. Begin gardening! For more information about this process, download the community garden information packet at

Photo courtesy of City of Austin Parks and Recreation Department.

Container Gardening Container gardening is another ideal solution for renters or homeowners with limited yard space. The beauty of a small container garden is that it can be anywhere the sun shines, such as your porch, rooftop or windowsill, and it can be easily transported if you move. Herbs, leafy greens and tomatoes tend to grow very well in containers, but as long as the plants have proper drainage and plenty of sun, you can grow just about anything. Here’s how to get started: 1. Decide what you want to grow and note the requirements of each type of plant. For example, tomatoes need full sun while leafy greens need

partial sun. It’s also important to consider the amount of watering different plants require. Some need more moisture while others prefer to be watered only when the soil is dry. If you are planning multiple containers, it’s best to group like plants in the same container. 2. Choose your container. It’s best to consider the type of plant you’re growing, especially when it comes to the depth of the container. Leafy greens and herbs prefer shallow containers (up to about 4 inches of soil) while tomatoes prefer deep pots or buckets. After you’ve determined the general shape you need, get creative. A

bucket from the hardware store will do just fine, but try thrifted dresser drawers, wood pallets, coffee cans, colanders, galvanized metal washtubs, wine boxes or old kitchen pots. Whatever container you choose, be sure to wash it thoroughly before planting.

What To Plant Now: Lima beans Beets Cantaloupe Cucumbers Chard Eggplant

3. Drill drainage holes in the bottom of your container. Proper drainage allows your plants’ roots to aerate, preventing them from rotting.


4. Fill the container with organic soil and plant your seeds or sprouts.

Herbs (can grow year-round)

Watermelon Tomatoes Peppers Summer squash

See the full planting schedule at agext/garden/ veggies/planting. 81

Resources Local Organizations Urban Patchwork. Austin’s first nonprofit neighborhood farm network, Urban Patchwork assists neighborhoods in creating their own hyper-local food networks by turning unused yard space in to urban farms or gardens. Green Corn Project. A nonprofit organization that installs organic gardens for elderly, low-income and disabled people, Urban Patchwork also provides gardens for elementary schools, community centers, Habitat for Humanity homes and shelters in underserved areas of Austin. Food is Free Project. Putting community building at the forefront, the Food is Free Project encourages neighborhoods to come together and line their streets with front-yard community gardens. Sustainable Food Center. The Sustainable Food Center’s many educational programs and community outreach projects help to strengthen our local food system and improve access to healthy, affordable food for everyone. Urban Roots. Urban Roots is a nonprofit organization that provides paid internships to Austin youth ages 14 to 17 to work on their East Austin urban farm. The 25-week program also provides workshops on sustainable agriculture and healthy lifestyles, and promotes service with hunger-relief organizations. 82   Austin Woman A P R I L 2 0 1 4

Classes Citizen Gardener. This 10-hour series of gardening classes coordinated by the Sustainable Food Center will teach you all the ins and outs of growing your own food in our unique Central Texas climate, and how to build raised beds, compost, collect rainwater and more. Course fee is $45. Register at SFC Community Garden Leadership Training. The Sustainable Food Center offers a community garden leadership training course for anyone who wants to start a community garden project. The course is offered three times a year. Check grow-local/community-gardens for upcoming course dates. Austin Resource Recovery Free Composting Classes. Want to start your own home composting system? You could get a 75 percent rebate off the total cost of your composting system if you take a free composting class through Austin Resource Recovery. More information at Rain Garden Workshop. A rain garden is a shallow area that collects rainwater runoff from roofs, sidewalks and driveways, and is a great way to bring color to your garden with native plants and grasses. April 5, 9 a.m. to noon, Sustainable Food Center, 2921 E. 17th St., Building C. Cost is $35. Register at Austin Organic Gardeners Meetup. Every second Monday, enjoy an educational presentation and conversation with fellow gardeners. Zilker Botanical Garden, 2220 Barton Springs Road.

Tools and Services Keep Austin Beautiful Toolshack. Community groups can check out equipment for projects from Keep Austin Beautiful’s tool lending library. East Side Compost Pedallers. Bicyclepowered compost collection service. You place compostable material such as food scraps and paper products in a bin then the pedallers pick it up and deliver it to community gardens and urban farms.

Nurseries and Garden Supply Stores Barton Springs Nursery. 3601 Bee Caves Road, 512.328.6655, Great Outdoors Nursery. 2730 South Congress Ave., 512.448.2992, It’s About Thyme. 11726 Manchaca Road, 512.280.1192, Jardineros Nursery. 2320 East Cesar Chavez St., 512.774.7443,

Edible Yards. Edible landscaping company offering design, installation and maintenance services for gardens, beehives and chicken coops.

Natural Gardener. 8648 Old Bee Caves Road, 512.288.6113,

The Kitchen Gardener. Garden installation company specializing in residential and restaurant gardens. Services include raised-bed installation, planting and weekly maintenance visits.

Shoal Creek Nursery. 2710 Hancock Dr., 512.458.5909,

Red Barn Garden Center. 12881 Pond Springs Road, 512.335.8093,

Treehouse. 4477 South Lamar Blvd., 512.861.0712,

Community-Supported Agriculture

Johnson’s backyard


To The Market

garden csa box

Just don’t have a green thumb? Not to worry; there’s plenty of opportunity to buy local and support Central Texas farmers. Barton Creek Farmers Markets 9 Barton Creek Mall, Saturdays, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., 2901 S. Capital of Texas Hwy.

9 Lamar and Bluebonnet, Sundays, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., 2323 S. Lamar Blvd.

HOPE Farmers Market Plaza Saltillo, East Fifth and Comal streets.

SFC Famers Markets 9 Downtown, Saturdays, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., Republic Square Park, 422 W. Guadalupe St.

9 Sunset Valley, Saturdays, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., Toney Burger Center, 3200 Jones Road. 9 East Austin, Tuesdays, 3 p.m. until dark, Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. and Miriam Ave.

9 The Triangle, Wednesdays, 3 to 7 p.m., Triangle Park, 46th Street and Lamar Blvd.

Saturdays, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., 11200 Lakeline Mall Dr. cedarpark

Participating in a CSA share is a great option for those who don’t want to grow their own gardens but still want to support the local food system and local farmers. CSA memberships are typically by season. Simply pay the membership fee at the start of a growing season, and receive a share of the farm’s produce delivered to your door each week all season long. Some CSA providers allow members to add on common grocery items from other local purveyors, such as coffee and eggs. Who says buying local isn’t easy?

Mueller Farmers Market

Central Texas CSA

Saturdays, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., 4550 Mueller Blvd. Mueller

Green Gate Farms. Year-round delivery.

Johnson’s Backyard Garden. Year-round delivery.

Funkytonk Farmers Market

Greenling. Year-round delivery.

Scott Arbor Organic Farm. Year-round delivery.

Photo by Scott David Gordon.

Cedar Park Farmers Market

Saturdays, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., 6701 Burnet Road.

Lone Star Farmers Market Sundays, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., Shops at the Galleria.

Hairston Creek Farm. 2014 season runs from April 16 through Nov. 19.

Steele Farms. Year-round delivery.

Tecolote Farm. Delivery runs from late March through early August. Urban Roots. Delivery runs from late March through July.

For more information on CSAs in your area, search by zip code at 83

opposite sex /

memo from jb

Saving Mother Earth Rethinking the environmental impact of good lovin'. By JB Hager Photo by Rudy Arocha I racked my brain trying to think of the absolute most fun you could have while still being green, meaning NOT being overly destructive and wasteful to the environment. What exactly is the most fun while leaving the smallest carbon footprint? After much contemplation, I’ve come up with a clear answer: nookie. Yes, the unbridled love between two people. Not only does it have zero impact on the environment, it’s free! Now, an argument could be made that if, in fact, you do procreate from that moment of fun, adding a human to the global composition is not green, but I’m not going to go there. No longer would we be heading to the Circuit of the Americas or racing our cigarette boats up and down Lake Travis for entertainment. The impact these activities has is excessive. I don’t know about you, but I would opt for some lovin’ over going 80 mph on a boat or 200 mph in a car, but that’s just me. Then I started digging much more in depth in to this whole nookie thing and how you get there. Perhaps it’s not as efficient and environmentally friendly as I thought. It’s been some time since I was dating, but reflecting on that time, I realize it wasn’t as environmentally friendly as I re-

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called. As I said, nookie is the best free and most environmentally friendly fun you can have, but you have to lay some groundwork to get there if there is a relationship. It’s that window of time that is a brutal environmental impact. Courtship, assuming she’s the marrying type, can be long, costly and impactful. I started recounting my courtship of my current bride and it actually wasn’t as green as I thought. I think we kicked it off with a sushi date. You take in to account the needs for a brick-andmortar restaurant, electricity, water, all of the employees commuting, then add the fish, flying it in, the cost of operating the boat to catch it. Wow. Second date: dinner and a movie. The dinner impact would be similar to above. Think of the cost of the steak we had and what it took for that cow, start to finish, the butchering process, transport,

etc. Then we head off to the movies, where no less than 200 people worked on the film throughout the course of a year, all commuting to the set, power, lighting, feeding everyone, the theater, employees, electricity. Jeez! Third date: an Alanis Morissette concert. Alanis jetting around the globe, burning fuel with an extensive support cast, the venue, everyone commuting to the venue, etc. I think somewhere between date three and us “hum, hum…ya know,” there was a beach trip, a diamond necklace (think of the impact to mine that diamond). Wow! The lesson folks: It’s actually the courtship process that is having a massively negative environmental impact on Mother Earth. It’s a little late for me as I approach my 16th year of marriage, but for the sake of the planet, you single folks should consider hooking up on the first date and preserving Mother Earth. Do it for our children.

“I would opt for some lovin’

over going 80 mph on a boat or 200 mph in a car”



opposite sex /

r e l at i o ns h i p s

When She Makes More Can being the breadwinner cause relationship woes down the road? By Kaneisha Grayson

Throw Old Expectations Out the Window and Forge a New Path As you gathered degrees and climbed the corporate ladder, it’s likely you eagerly anticipated a six-figure salary and high-flying career, but I bet you didn’t expect to end up out-earning your partner. Now that you find yourself in a promising relationship with a man who earns significantly less than you do, I encourage you to release your hold on what kind of job you imagined your future husband would have—and to even

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let go of ideas of what you (or well-meaning parents) believe you “deserve.” Focus on considering the specific person in front of you, the relationship you two have now, and the possible future you could have together. Don’t let your happiness get hemmed in by gender norms like “the man should earn more” or “men don’t want to be with women who earn more than them.”

Focus On Shared Visions and Values Rather Than Matching Incomes As one of my happily married breadwinning girlfriends told me recently, “It’s not easy finding someone you want to marry. If you make enough money to support the both of you, go for it!” While money is often cited as the top cause of marital conflict, a drastic income disparity doesn’t have to spell doom for you and your man. Work on fostering a sacred atmosphere of trust in which both of you can speak openly about your hopes and anxieties in regards to money and how it affects your relationship. Additionally, you need to be partners in figuring out how your breadwinning status affects your views and plans for your respective careers and the children you hope to have. For example, will he play the role of Mr. Mom or will he stay in his career and the kids go to daycare? Rather than viewing your high income as a burden to your relationship, think of all the possibilities and flexibilities this may open up for you and your guy and the life you could build together. Please remember that I’m not advocating that you date men who refuse to work or who wouldn’t be able to support themselves if you weren’t around, but as a high earner, the reality is that you don’t need a man to financially support you. On the other hand, a man who is willing to stand by your side and provide muchneeded emotional support, companionship and

a consistent presence for your future children is something to be cherished. Yes, you will have to make some challenging compromises along the way, but every healthy relationship requires give and take. Honey, go ahead and keep making that money, and consider the idea that getting hitched to a man who adores and supports you as the ambitious, high-achieving woman you are may be just what you need to move forward in the career and life of your dreams. Kaneisha Grayson is the author of the recently published book Be Your Own Boyfriend: Decide to Be Happy, Unleash Your Sexy, and Change Your Life. She runs MBA & MPP admissions consulting firm The Art of Applying and blogs about life, love and happiness at her blog She lives, plays and eats tacos in her hometown of Austin. To submit your own question to Grayson, email with “Ask Kaneisha” in the subject line.

Grayson photo by Nick Paul.

Question: I have a master's degree and have a sixfigure salary. The man I'm dating is a blue-collar guy who supports himself but doesn't make nearly as much money as I do. We’re very happy together, and he’s someone I could imagine marrying and having children with. However, this is not a situation I ever imagined being in and I don’t know anyone else in this situation. Can it ever work out? Answer: To be honest, when I first received this question, I found myself wondering the same thing! As the owner of a fast-growing business, it’s highly likely I could end up being the one to bring home the bacon—and I’d love to have someone there to eat it with me. I decided this case needed some outside expertise, so I got my hands on an advance copy of When She Makes More: 10 Rules for Breadwinning Women by financial expert and breadwinning wife Farnoosh Torabi (Hudson Street Press, May 2014). I devoured the book in a week, and found a lot of useful and encouraging tips and tools for moneymaking divas like you and me. As I raced through the chapters, I learned all kinds of ways to be a savvy woman who provides, from how to make sure I don’t treat my man like an employee, to some of the legal precautions I should consider if I end up as the primary earner in a marriage. Here are two of the many lessons I learned from Torabi’s guide for breadwinning women.


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Le a der ship

The Sustainable Food Center’s Quest for Independence Executive Director Ronda Rutledge tells AW about the importance of food sovereignty and how SFC is leading the cause. By Leo B. Carter

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vice chair of the Travis County Sustainable Food Policy Board, is a member of One Voice Central Texas, the Food Policy Roundtable and countless other organizations working for food justice. She has dedicated her career to spreading the ideas of food sovereignty, empowering communities to be self-reliant, and fighting for sustainable food policy statewide. Austin Woman: What is a community garden? Ronda Rutledge: As the American Community Gardening Association says, “A community garden is 90 percent community and 10 percent garden.” That’s exactly how we approach this work. Without the community leadership, the garden will fail. It’s about how people work side by side to feed their families and the rest of the community. We at SFC provide the support needed to make more land and water accessible with programs like Festival Harvest. We provide the infrastructure, leadership and the basic organic gardening skills through our classes and workshops for people to do this on their own. All we ask in return is that you share the abundance. It’s the continuum of grow, share and prepare that is important to us. AW: What is the importance of food selfsufficiency? RR: It’s about personal power and control. We’ve allowed the corporate and agro-business world to take over and dictate what goes in to our bodies. We’re seeing the effects of that on the environment, from a health and economic standpoint. If people try to buy what’s cheapest, they get what they pay for. It costs money to grow real food, to pay people a living wage, to take care of the environment in the right way. AW: What does SFC mean by the phrase “food justice”? RR: For us, it’s about physical, economic and cultural access. It’s ensuring that everyone has the right to delicious, nutritious and affordable food.

We can take that power back within our communities to feed ourselves. We don’t need to rely on somebody else to feed us. AW: What are some of the challenges you face fighting for legislation? What are some of the initiatives at the top of SFC’s agenda right now? RR: The vast majority of people have stopped thinking about where our food comes from. Just look at the current system of contained feeding operations and resulting maturing lagoons, the pollution and pesticides going in to our water and air and the resulting health effects. It’s been estimated that today, 70 percent of cancers are linked to the foods we eat. It’s an education challenge that we have at the policy level, to show that there’s a better way to do this that’s economical, environmentally responsible and will result in the improved health of our communities. For us, water is at the top of the list of priorities. Property taxes and agricultural land valuation are also on the agenda. Right now, we’re following up on the Cottage Food Bill that made it legal for people to prepare and sell food goods out of their homes. We are also working to make it less onerous for farmers to bring product to market through easing requirements on permits and regulations. AW: What are some of SFC’s victories? RR: At SFC and the Sustainable Food Policy board, of which I’m the current chair, our efforts have achieved the creation of a position of a food policy manager. We’ve pushed through an economicimpact study that showed that a strong local food system’s economic impact is just as strong or stronger than a cultural scene. We started a farm-to-work program that partners with local businesses that organizes deliveries

Photo by Bianca Biduic.

Nestled between a brand-new community of pastel-colored condos and the tracks of the Austin MetroRail, the Sustainable Food Center’s compound is a locus of urban agriculture and food education. Complete with an industrial kitchen and 2.3 acres of community garden, this is home base for some of Austin’s most committed food activists. SFC provides opportunities for citizens of all income levels to learn and contribute to their local food system, empowering them to be producers and smarter consumers. Its programs include Grow Local, which provides free gardening resources and training to adults and children who wish to start a community or school garden; Farm Direct, which connects local farmers with residents and businesses to provide fresh, locally grown produce; and The Happy Kitchen, a cooking and nutrition education program that provides citizens the know-how to become selfreliant. SFC combines these grass-roots efforts with policy action at the county and state levels to ensure a better future through greater control and knowledge of the food we eat. Ronda Rutledge, executive director of Austin’s Sustainable Food Center, has been involved with humanitarian efforts from her earliest childhood memories of trying to find homes for the lost pets in her neighborhood in Big Spring, Texas. With degrees in psychology and communications, Rutledge spent the early part of her career in Oakland, Calif., working as director of the American Indian Child Resource Center. While there, she completed the LeaderSpring fellowship, along with a training program at the Indiana University Center on Philanthropy Fundraising School. She serves as

of produce between local farmers and businesses. We know there’s a demand for these programs. Now the challenge is to build up the supply side. AW: What makes a leader? And as one, what standards do you hold yourself to?

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RR: One of the things that makes a leader is a listener, someone who can close their mouth, listen and really process the information and make solid decisions based on that. We’re very much a team here. It’s a collaborative effort. It’s also my job to develop the future leaders. It’s important also to understand that the buck stops here. When you make mistakes, own up to them, learn from them and move on. AW: Included in your core values is a healthy balance between work and personal life. Why is this so important, particularly for someone in a leadership position? RR: You’ve got to have the time to recharge. We are going non-stop here, and while fun is a core value, it might be frantic fun. I look at my calendar and say to myself that this is truly insane. If you don’t take the time to be the healthiest individual you can be, you won’t be your best self in the work place. AW: Who is an inspiring role model for you? RR: I’m Cherokee and one of my role models was the first female chief of the nation, Wilma Mankiller. The plight of Indian nations in this country who overcame so much is very present with me. To be completely stripped of their land and to have to learn how to live in a new environment, cultivate food and how to move their people forward not as victims but even stronger on the other side—that’s the kind of role model that stands out to me. AW: What about Austin makes it the ideal environment for SFC? RR: This community is health-minded and it’s had environmental groups dating back many years. This part of the country—especially East Austin—also has some of the richest topsoil. Even with climate change and the growing food challenges here, I think people in Austin truly care about what they’re putting in to their bodies and they want to know more about where their food comes from. These aspects together make Austin the ideal location for a truly burgeoning food system. We have the capability and the growing determination to ramp up production of local food. Now things are also happening at both the city and the state level where we have politicians and activists reaching across the aisle to talk about food, something that really is non-partisan. I’m just proud to be part of this organization that was founded 40 years ago as Austin Community Gardens and that it’s grown in to not just how you grow it, but how you share it and prepare it. For more information, visit

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In 1989, we set out to change the way child abuse cases were handled. Since then, we have provided 71,823 services to children, 41,700 services to adults, and 13,322 forensic interviews. Thank you Austin for your unwavering support of abused children in our community.

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You Shou l d K now

Women of Distinction The Girl Scouts of Central Texas celebrate six notable women in the Austin community. By Kelly E. Lindner Austin has no shortage of great women leaders, especially when you look at this year’s Girl Scouts of Central Texas Women of Distinction. The honorees, chosen by a volunteer committee, have distinguished themselves as outstanding members of their community and role models for girls and adults alike. To honor these women, Girl Scouts of Central Texas will host an event April 17 at the AT&T Conference Center. For event registration and information, visit

Tricia Berry Texas Girls Collaborative Project, Women in Engineering Program, 825 Basics Tricia Berry serves as director of the Texas Girls Collaborative Project, and she coordinates with national and local organizations to advance gender equity in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields. Berry also serves as director of the Women in Engineering Program at the University of Texas at Austin, leading the efforts on recruitment and graduation of women in the Cockrell School of Engineering. Furthermore, she is the executive vice president of 825 Basics LLC, helping people craft career strategies, find their passions and achieve career and life success. Previously, Berry worked as a process engineer and a product development engineer at Dow Chemical Company. In addition to Girl Scouts recognizing her, STEMconnector named Berry one of the 100 Women Leaders in STEM. “I had amazing teachers and parents who encouraged me continually and never made me doubt my abilities, question my choices or wonder if girls should not be heading in to STEM majors,” Berry says. “I want all students to have the encouragement and opportunity to pursue their STEM dreams and to understand the valuable critical-thinking skills, financial freedom and workplace flexibility a career in STEM can provide.”

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Beth Nauert, M.D.

Austin Diagnostic Clinic Dr. Beth Nauert is a board certified Texas licensed pediatrician with a certification in child abuse from the American Board of Pediatrics. She provides consultations, evaluations and education for many groups and individuals in the medical, legal and lawenforcement fields. She joined the Austin Diagnostic Clinic in 1989. She received her medical degree from Texas A&M University Medical School and then completed her internship and residency at Children's Medical Center in Dallas. Because of her contributions to her field, Nauert has been named a Texas Monthly Super Doctor from 2006 to 2013, she’s been recognized by Best Doctors Inc. from 2004 to 2013 and she’s received the Patients’ Choice Award each year from 2008 to 2013. “I love working with children and their families to help them have healthy, happy lives,” Nauert says. “I love the teaching and education that goes along with being a pediatrician, whether it is teaching the patients and their families or teaching medical students, residents and nursing students about how to be great at caring for kids.”

Heather McKissick

University Federal Credit Union Heather McKissick is vice president of human resources and organizational development at University Federal Credit Union, Austin’s largest locally owned financial institution, where she works to build a strong and effective workforce. She is also a member of the Community Advisory Board for the Young Women’s Alliance and chairs the Advisory Council for the Austin Young Chamber of Commerce. McKissick’s previous notable positions include CEO of the nonprofit Leadership Austin, director of organizational development and education for the Seton Healthcare Family, manager of technology services’ learning and performance for the Lower Colorado River Authority, global communication specialist for Motorola Semiconductor Product Sector and assistant dean of humanities at St. Edward’s University. McKissick is a past recipient of the Austin Business Journal’s Profiles in Power Award and the Austin Young Chamber of Commerce’s Inspiring Leader of the Year in 2013. “I have a deep love for helping people grow and discover the best in themselves,” McKissick says. “I’m grateful that through the years, I’ve connected with people who care equally as deeply about the welfare of our city and making it the strongest place it can be for all of us to live, work and thrive.”


Risky Business April 18, 2014 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Shoal Crossing Events Center 8611 N Mopac Expy, Austin, TX 78759

Join Anne Fish at the next Texas Women in Business luncheon. Anne is a motivational speaker, entrepreneur and lover of life who was raised in Austin, Texas but who has lived and worked overseas for 7 years, in 5 countries, speaks 3 languages and has traveled to 42 countries in as many years. Her first book on risk-taking is due to be released in early summer 2014.








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Gay Gaddis T3 Gay Gaddis is CEO and founder of T3, a company she started in 1989 with a $16,000 IRA and two employees. Today, T3 is the largest independent advertising agency owned by a woman in the country. As a collaborative think tank, T3 works with an array of clients, including Allstate, Coca-Cola and JPMorgan Chase. Gaddis serves on the governing board of directors and was elected chair of the board for the committee of 200 (C200), a member organization of successful women entrepreneurs and corporate innovators. Gaddis was also recently appointed to the board of directors for Monotype Image Holdings Inc., a global typographic leader since the 1800s, and appointed to the Lower Colorado River Authority by the governor of Texas. Gaddis has been named among Fast Company’s Top 25 Women Business Builders, and Inc. Magazine’s Top 10 Entrepreneurs of the Year. Gaddis also received the Austin Business Journal’s Best CEO Award for a medium-sized company. “For me, being an entrepreneur for 25 years has been an amazing journey,” Gaddis says. “It has allowed me to touch and impact so many lives, from my many talented and creative team members, to clients and the impressive companies they represent across so many industries. I am so grateful each day to be able to do what I do.”

Carla McDonald

Tricia Graham

Dynabrand, The Salonniere

Mobile Loaves & Fishes

Carla McDonald is the founder and CEO of Dynabrand, one of the highest revenue independent PR firms in the state. She’s also the founder and editorial director of the web content company The Salonniere and an on-air host of On the Town, a weekly television segment on Time Warner Cable News. McDonald’s notable past achievements include being the youngest senior managing director in the history of Hill & Knowlton, and serving as executive vice president and managing director of the North American Marketing Practice at GCI at age 30. McDonald has received a number of honors, including the YWCA Leadership Award, the Austin Business Journal’s Women of Influence Award, the American Youthworks Community Leadership Award and the Austin Creative Alliance Award. Active in her community, she’s helped raise more than $15 million for local nonprofits during the last decade. “As the mother of two daughters, I try to show by example that anything is possible if they follow their passions with integrity, set high goals for themselves and work hard,” McDonald says. “I guess you could say my parenting style is very much in sync with the Girl Scouts' mission: to build girls of courage, confidence and character who make the world a better place.”

Tricia Graham works as the Community First! program director at Mobile Loaves & Fishes. MLF began in 1998, delivering meals out of the back of minivans (and later trucks) to men and women living on the streets. They now have 11 trucks in Austin and five others throughout the United States. The Community First! Village, an MLF program, is a planned community that will provide affordable, sustainable housing to the disabled and chronically homeless in Central Texas. MLF anticipates breaking ground on this new community in 2014. After receiving a bachelor’s degree in business administration from the University of Texas and spending a few years as a legal administrator, Graham spent seven years volunteering full time with MLF, where she assisted with ordering food, training volunteers, accounting—basically whatever needed to be done. Now as director, she’s helping create a community that will give 225-plus individuals a home. “MLF has the most incredible volunteers and staff,” Graham says. “We could have never accomplished all that we have without their compassion, commitment and enthusiasm. At first, we thought our purpose was merely to feed and clothe the homeless, but we learned that our vision was bigger than that; we empower communities in to a lifestyle of service with the homeless. I am proud to be part of the MLF family!” 95

savvy womEn /

t h e l a st wor d

It’s All About Balance It’s not easy being green. I once had a talk with my mother about my teenage years. “I don’t really think I went through a rebellious age,” I said proudly. “No, but you did get a bit extreme on the environmentalism,” she replied. OK, I understand that driving to three grocery stores every week to save on organic food isn’t exactly normal. And declaring that I would only buy organic cotton shirts was a bit impractical. But it wasn’t like I was picketing fast-food joints or quitting school to join Greenpeace. I was finally old enough to start making my own decisions, and one of them was to become a vegetarian. I didn’t understand why my mother, of all people, would consider that extreme. She was the one who insisted we couldn’t enter a store without brightly colored, faded cloth bags—often to my embarrassment. I didn’t even consider giving up meat until she started making vegetarian chili, and she was always singing the praises of solar panels and air-drying laundry. Did I have any choice but to become my mother’s daughter? In the intervening years, “hippie” has become “eco chic.” Suddenly, organic foods, sustainable clothing and reusable shopping bags are more widely accepted. If I’d stayed my “extreme” teenage self, I probably would’ve been considered something resembling normal today. Instead, I’ve adapted with the times. My desire for making responsible, sustainable choices still weighs heavily upon my shoulders, but I try to temper it with balance. I might shop at three separate grocery stores, but I only visit one each week. I buy sustainable clothing when I can, but fashion is an important factor too. Even now, it’s hard to find professional clothes in sustainable fabrics. And if I forget my

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cloth bags in the car, I will get paper bags and reuse them for my recycling. Today, I still wince when I see someone toss a plastic bottle in the trash. I sigh when I see my boyfriend’s computer left idle for hours, and I lament about uneaten leftovers that grow moldy in the fridge. Yet I have to remind myself to let these go. Do I want to be the extreme environmentalist that others see as stingy and uptight? Or do I want to be the stylish woman who treads lightly on the earth while striving for overall balance? As much as I may try to be the latter, it’s still an ideal. For now, I’m content to be the girl who pulls up to Whole Foods in a luxury sedan, sashays across the parking lot in heels and then pulls rotten compost out of a secondhand designer tote. It’s all about balance, right? After all, no one ever said it would be easy being green.

—Katrina Johnson June's Last Word topic will be “Age is Just a Number.” To be considered, email a 500-word submission by May 1 to

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April 2014  

Austin Woman April 2014

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