Wednesday, July 20, 2011


I have been such a happy girl this week driving a rental car which = A/C!  Yep, because I'm "that girl" who moved to Texas with a faulty A/C in my car.  And it's not like it's getting fixed, nope, the husbands car is getting worked on & since he's stuck at work practically all week he's agreed to lend me the rental.  Love that man!

Today the nugget & I ventured out to the zoo.  Before I go any further let me please explain that we moved to Austin knowing the motto was "Keep Austin Weird".  We were not looking for a small town, cookie cutter, Leave it to Beaver neighborhood.  We like things funky, fun, a little off the beaten path, and definitely not uptight & stuffy.  Now back to my day...I decide to pack up the camera and head to The Capital of Texas Zoo.  It is actually located in Cedar Creek, and I think it's safe to say it is in the middle of nowhere.  (And I'm not just saying that cause I'm a lame-o when it comes to directions out here.)  Don't expect big flashing lights or signs pointing the right direction.  Considering my GPS pulled up 3 different locations while I checked the map I'd call it a great success that we made it.  Hi-five!!
This is the sign leading to the road you must take.
Keep in mind this shot is from the opposite direction I was driving, so I never saw a thing.
Once you tun on said road this is your view.
I get all giddy when I think there's actually a ZOO out here.
Love this kind of thing!!
No joke!
This is on the front door & no one will be out to help unless you honk.
They made the sign for a reason folks, Honk Your Horn!!

The zoo itself is far from fancy.  You obviously drive a dirt road to reach it, you have to honk so the owners can hear you from their trailer in the very back of the zoo, and the front entrance is nothing more than a run down little shack.  Being that we look for different adventures, we were thrilled & knew this was going to be good.

There were all sorts of animals at this zoo.  Some very traditional "zoo" animals such as a lion, and monkeys & various birds.  They also have non-traditional "zoo" animals such as a million Guinea pigs, alligators & groundhogs.  (So stinking cute!!)  The animals are not in cages, but more like fenced off areas.  Don't get me wrong, there were times when I thought to myself, "Seriously? This is all that is separating me from that wild lion?"  Slightly terrifying, but fascinating at the same time.  

You can get way closer to the animals that many zoos allow, and they sell cups of food at the entrance that you can feed to several animals.  The trails to each exhibit are simply a dirt trail in the middle of a woodsy area.  Probably not suitable for strollers or wheelchairs, but not a bad walk.  There were several peacocks roaming the grounds, and I couldn't get over their beautiful colors.
Now, perhaps the best (or worst, depending on who you ask) part is that every now and then you'd see an animal walking down the same trails as you.  Of course the birds had free roam, but then all of the sudden we spotted a goat crawling under his fence to get out.  No big deal, the nugget thought it was super cute & luckily she still had food left so she was happy to give her a little snack.  Then out of nowhere another goat starts trotting towards us.
Don't be fooled by his peaceful demeanor.  He pranced right past me (pretty darn fast) and jumped on my daughter.  I wasn't worried so much that he jumped on her, but all I could picture was him knocking her over and tackling her for her food cup.  She almost peed her pants & started to run, but I quickly yelled, "Run & he'll chase you!"  (Waaay funnier in my head than she thought it was.)  He just wanted food, so if we threw food away from ourselves he'd go scavenger and leave us alone.   Persistent & aggressive little sucker.  
The Guinea pigs were a crowd pleaser for the nugget.  Now she wants one of her very own.  Not happening!
This mama had a tiny little baby latched on to her chest.  Oh she was so cute & caring towards that little thing, but she was not a fan of the paparazzi.  Mama would come over to the fence, like 2 feet in front of me, and sit up and just hug & love on her baby.  She'd pat her back and cuddle her like the best of them! But the instant I raised my camera up she'd take off.  "NO PICTURES!!"  I don't blame her.  She was just trying to be a good mama & I totally respect that, but I couldn't help but want to get a shot of the little love bug.  Adorable!

Last but not least, there were a couple of zebra out in a field.  We had tried to see them up close while we were exploring the zoo, but they stayed towards the bottom of the field near the shade. Once we left the zoo we walked over to the outside fence and snuck up for some zebra viewing.  They were extremely cautious of us, and at first they ran circle, but they warmed up to us and walked over to the fence for a hello.   Hands down my FAVORITE part of the day. 

And if you're lucky you might get a cute little guy like this one trying to follow you to your car.  He's totally on the wrong side of the fence, but once we told him to get back in his home he trotted over & dug through a hole to get back with his pals.  It wasn't until I was over half way home that I realized I just missed my opportunity to make my husband a goat of his new goals in his new home of Texas!!

Monday, July 11, 2011

Not Your Average Movie Theater

I couldn't wait to get to Austin and get out & explore!   I wanted to see the lakes, walk on the trails, cross countless bridges throughout the city and soak in the outdoor life.  So, you could imagine my confusion when the husband says, "I thought we could go to a movie."  A movie?  Didn't we do that enough in California?  Now don't get me wrong, I love a good flick, but to be honest the older I get the harder it is for me to sit still for 2 hours.  I'm at the point where kids movies are starting to cut it close.   I just turn into a wiggle worm and I think of 80 million things I could be doing other than sitting still.  But what the heck!  It's been far too long without my husband in my life and if he thinks a movie is the perfect idea I simply go with the flow.

We show up for a family viewing of CARS 2 at Alamo Drafthouse.  Perhaps you've heard of it, but never ventured out for your own experience.  Well, let me just tell you, you're missing out...BIG TIME!  Maybe you've gone and hopefully you'll agree that it's quite possibly the best movie theater EVER!

Alamo Drafthouse is a movie theater that serves food and drinks to your seat while you enjoy your show.  The waiters are like stealth ninjas who never disrupt your movie, they just make sure you have what you need when you need it.  All seats have a long counter like table in front of them for you to comfortably eat without having to adjust too much in your seat.  They have an extensive menu of appetizers, salads, sandwiches, burgers, pizzas & even some large dinner meals such as fish or chicken.  Not to mention a HUGE list of beers, wine & mixed drinks.  You want just some good 'ol buttery popcorn?  Not a problem, they've got that too!  But don't think you can cruise in and play on your phone, text your friends about how great the place is, or pick up a call from your great Aunt Edna.  Phones, texting & talking is strictly prohibited at this joint!  Now this was a movie I could sit through, enjoy, and leave with a full belly.

Our nine-year old was thrilled to snack on pizza, fresh made lemonade, and her own stash of sour patch kids.  The husband and I ordered appetizers: chips & queso with green chilies (YUM) and potato skins (my pick of course).  We were going to order a meal to share until they delivered our daughters "kids" pizza which had 8 slices!  Score.  Enough for the entire family.  We had more than enough food, candy & 2 beers for the lovely paying adults & we ended up getting out of there for under $40.  That rarely even happens in a restaurant.  General admission is $9.50, and considering a boring regular movie theater charges that, if not more, I find it to be a decent price.  

As if that wasn't enough to convince you to try the Drafthouse they offer special screenings and themed events.  For example, if you want a girls night out and don't want to bother with the fuss of dressing up to hit the club, Drafthouse hosts a slumber party Girlie Night with special showing of Troop Beverly Hills.  You in the mood to sing, but your favorite karaoke bar is packed to the brim? Head over to Sing Along night at the Drafthouse where you can rock out at the Ultimate Rock Sing Along.  That's right!  Big hair, tight jeans & Drafthouse will supply the tunes and inflatable guitars of course.  Or are you like me, a complete sucker for the movie Grease.  Fluff up your poodle skirt and join Drafthouse for the Grease Sing Along complete with candy smokes & a plastic comb to make sure you're looking your best.  The fun never ends!  They offer so much more than your average movie theater.  One of the best perks for me, as a work from home mom, is the Drafthouse's Summer Kids Camp.  They offer a variety of kids movies at matinee times for F-R-E-E!!  It's great to know that I can get out for a few hours with the nugget to enjoy a movie and not worry about breaking the bank every time she gets bored in the house.  Thank you Alamo Drafthouse!!

So if you haven't tried, maybe now you will.  And if you've enjoyed Drafthouse like I have hopefully you'll be back for more!  (I know I will!)  They have several locations throughout Austin, and even a few in Houston and San Antonio.  Check out their website for all the gory details.  There's something for everyone, guaranteed!!

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Home Sweet Home

Yay! You found me! And now it's time for me to break it down. I am brand spanking new to the Austin area & I am so incredibly thrilled to be here. I relocated to Texas with the intention of making some major life changes. I was stuck in a daily routine that left me depressed, cranky and feeling like time was flying by before my eyes. I knew I wanted to get more involved in community and explore things outside of my offices 4 walls. I wanted to be able to enjoy all the things around family, my city & my life. So, when the decision came to move to a new state I knew it was my opportunity.

I am now in Austin & I'm ready to take this city by storm. I want to explore the city, experience everything it has to offer and make the most of this adventure!! And that's my plan! I'm going to get out there and visit attractions, dine at restaurants, go to events and get to know my community. I'm already THRILLED with what I've found. So stay tuned to see what I may come up with!!

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