3 Things you MUST do to become Totally Austin! #GoodToKnow sponsored by Monica Pizanie of Platinum Realty

Hi friends! This #GoodToKnow episode is brought to you by Monica Pizanie of Platinum Realty in Austin. She can help most anyone buy a home here in Austin but she specializes in finding exactly the right living space for people who are new to or moving to Austin. Monica actually helped me find a place when I moved back to Austin a few years ago so I tell you from experience; she transforms the home-search-scenario from stressful to exciting in the good way.

Here are three things you simply Must Do to become totally Austin, per Monica:

1. BREAKFAST TACOS! There are a dozen amazing places to score breakfast tacos in Austin but if you’re pressed for time, hit up Torchy’s and Tacodeli to decide which you prefer. It’s a Coke vs. Pepsi kind of thing; you pick a team and judge other people accordingly. Both Monica and I are die hard Torchy’s Taco fans/fanatics. Monica says: You’ve got to order the street corn. And queso. And tacos too. Best to arrive hungry. I say: check out their secret menu before you go and always check out their Taco of the Month. Their December taco involves Chorizo and Shrimp. #whatWHAAA

2. TOWN LAKE which is now being called LADY BIRD LAKE. With 10 miles of trails perfect for walking, jogging, hiking, biking or just people watching, it’s a Must See (and Do!) experience. Plus, there’s the actual lake which is perfect for canoeing, stand up paddle boarding and rowing. Monica brings her dog Chewie for long walks. I take myself for the occasional jog. Do what feels right.

3. SOUTH CONGRESS, aka SoCo. SO. MUCH. YES. to be found here folks! You can shop local boutiques (Monica and I both love Maya!), eat at Snack Bar (Monica can often be found brunching there) get some sugar at Amy’s Ice Creams and/or take the practically-mandatory-proof-of-Austin-visit-pic in front of Jo’s wall.

Monica and I in front of Jo's iconic wall. #ATX4Life
Monica Pizanie of Platinum Realty and I in front of Jo’s iconic wall. #ATX4Life

 

You can spend many merry weeks working your way through the breakfast taco menus, the Lady Bird Lake exercise options (and views!) and exploring SoCo… but I’ve found it’s best to take your time with it all. Living here is ideal (I know, I know, the secret is out) so for those who already do: Congrats. For those who are just visiting: Sure! Good luck with that. We’ll see you soon.

And if you’re looking to make Austin your home, give Monica a call.

— Serena
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SERENA HICKS keeps you up to speed on the hottest events, what’s trending and local luminaries in Austin. #StatesmanSocial is a product of Statesman Media’s content marketing group. Follow the fun, share your best Austin moments, and tag along with #StatesmanSocial:

#WTFwed 1.28.15; Bubbles and Bingo, Dawn and Hawkes, and where to watch that Katy Perry concert

Hey y’all hey! Ish gets real in a hurry this week: Thursday night, it’s Bubbles, Bitches and Bingo night at Gibson. But wait, there’s more: you even get a free cheese plate with every full bottle of bubbly purchased (while supplies last). Blue hair optional.

On FridayDawn and Hawks play the Deep Eddy Vodka distillery at 4pm out in Dripping Springs. (#FieldtripFriday) On Saturday, the Milk Drive Trio plays at 3pm.

Then on Sunday, the Super Bowl kicks off at 5:30pm CST. More importantly, Katy Perry plays halftime. If you’re not going the houseparty route there are the usual suspects like Pluckers (did y’all know they serve gluten friendly wings?), the Brew Exchange, Black Sheep Lodge, Haymaker ETC. But there’s also Gourdough’s Public House (um, can y’all please work on a gluten friendly menu already?!) and Max’s Wine Dive (best gluten friendly fried chicken EVER. Anywhere. Period.).

For my overachievers out there, I found a fab Win/Win situation for you: buy your tickets to watch it all go down at Fado’s which means you’ll also be simultaneously supporting the United Way for Greater Austin’s Young Leader’s Society… i.e. helping disadvantaged middle schoolers make their way to graduate. If THAT alone is not enough a) seriously? and b) your ticket buys you not only the Warm And Fuzzy Feels that come from contributing to the society in which you live but also a chance to win some sweet prizes donated by Kendra Scott, The Alamo Drafthouse and ACL. Work it out here.

You’re welcome people!

— Serena
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SERENA HICKS keeps you up to speed on the hottest events, what’s trending and local luminaries in Austin. #StatesmanSocial is a product of Statesman Media’s content marketing group. Follow the fun, share your best Austin moments, and tag along with #StatesmanSocial:

How to properly make an Old Fashioned and more… because cocktail recipes are always #GoodToKnow.

Sometimes, when entertaining adults of legal drinking age, it’s nice to offer something other than a beer, bottle of wine, or scotch on the rocks.

For such occasions, I went over to Speakeasy to learn how to make a proper Old Fashioned  cocktail. Here’s the quick breakdown of what Andrew Reed, bartender extraordinaire, taught us.

OLD FASHIONED BOURBON COCKTAIL:

  • place one orange slice and two maraschino cherries into mixing glass
  • add 3 dashes of Bitters (Andrew insists Angostura bitters are the best)
  • add a couple of sugar cubes or two dashes of simple syrup
  • muddle (read: mash) like you mean it
  • add ice but leave some room for…
  • 1.5 ounces of your favorite bourbon (fun fact: you can get crazy and switch the bourbon out for gin and serve up a Gin Old Fashioned)
  • a touch of sparkling soda for the Fun of Fizz
  • gently slosh (read: do not shake vigorously lest you bruise the bourbon)
  • Serve and smile as you see fit

But wait, there’s one more! Stacy London herself introduced me to the ever impressive yet super easy bubbly cocktail; St. Germain & Champagne! Sub sparkling white wine as you see fit. The fine folks at Speakeasy amp it up my adding an orange peel, though I suspect Andrew would prefer I call it by another name, it’s an orange peel and it absolutely takes the cocktail to the NEXT. LEVEL.

ST. GERMAIN AND BUBBLES recipe per Speakeasy:

1st things first: fill a champagne flute 2/3 full with your favorite bubbly
1st things first: fill a champagne flute 2/3 full with your favorite bubbly

 

next up, add in your St. Germain
next up, add in your St. Germain

 

now, time for the Next Level Ish; slice a bit of orange and...
now, time for the Next Level Ish; slice a bit of orange and…

 

toss it in to your cocktail!
toss it in to your cocktail!

 

Mama loves a good cocktail.
Mama loves a good cocktail.

 

Ok, you’re good to go with TWO super easy (but super lovely) cocktail recipes ready to go. Be sure and show off your handywork by tagging #StatesmanSocial. In the meantime, drink responsibly and you’re welcome y’all!

— Serena
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SERENA HICKS keeps you up to speed on the hottest events, what’s trending and local luminaries in Austin. #StatesmanSocial is a product of Statesman Media’s content marketing group. Follow the fun, share your best Austin moments, and tag along with #StatesmanSocial:

#WTFwed: game on at Four Seasons, Cautiontape’s record release party (whoop!) and Le Garage Sale.

http://link.brightcove.com/services/player/bcpid2305729465001?bckey=AQ~~,AAAAAFSNjfU~,4oPitrNpKqxve-TuA7jvGHefnd3bNl1A&bctid=4001485261001

Hey Socialites,

It’s another great week to live in Austin!  Thursday night particularly. 1st up, and just a teeeeny bit reminiscent of The Hunger Games… The Four Seasons’ Trio is offering up Fun (and Game) – ha! play on words – five course meal as the latest installment in their Out On The Lawn Dinner Series. Five courses with wine pairings for just $95. Hurry up and make your rezzie before they sell out! And may the odds be ever in your favor… 😉

After all of that nom nom nom, or if you’re a vegan, Thursday night rocks on at Cautiontape’s record release party! Their 1st album is out, getting rad reviews and they’re throwing a release party worthy of our time, attention AND attendance at the Spider House Ballroom. Holllaaaa! And then take pics you tag with #StatesmanSocial so I can see and share please.

On Friday – get some rest… because on Saturday morning Le Garage Sale – the twice annual boutique slash sale convention thingy that is at the Palmer Events Center is baaaack. Fun fact, it kicks off at 11am on Saturday. #getbreakkyfirst #mimosasafter CONFIRMED vendors include  Bird Boutique, Etcetera Etc., Solid Gold and everyone’s favorite… Leighlena. This joyful shopping scene carries over to Sunday too. Hooray!

— Serena
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SERENA HICKS keeps you up to speed on the hottest events, what’s trending and local luminaries in Austin. #StatesmanSocial is a product of Statesman Media’s content marketing group. Follow the fun, share your best Austin moments, and tag along with #StatesmanSocial:

This SWEET trick to frost your cupcakes (beautifully!) is #GoodToKnow

Hey Socialites!

If you know me you already know my cupcake philosophy: The cupcake exists to support and complement the frosting (because eating frosting by the spoonful doesn’t have the right mouthfeel). That said, I’m always so sad when otherwise overachieving and well-meaning friends serve cupcakes that have just the tiniest dusting of frosting.

Put ye butter knives away people!

Heather McClure, Owner and Head Baker of Sweet bakery in Lakeway, taught me a fun little trick to make bakery beautiful heavily frosted cupcakes with tools you already have in your kitchen. No need to buy piping bags and attachments.

So check this video out and share it with those you love. Friends don’t let friends under-frost cupcakes and all of that.

You’re welcome people!

— Serena

PS – I want to see how you do using this trick! Be sure to tag #StatesmanSocial and #SweetATX so I can see and share your posts with the #StatesmanSocial community!

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SERENA HICKS keeps you up to speed on the hottest events, what’s trending and local luminaries in Austin. #StatesmanSocial is a product of Statesman Media’s content marketing group. Follow the fun, share your best Austin moments, and tag along with #StatesmanSocial:

#WTFwed: Nerd Nite, ZZ Top, MLK and pie

Hey Socialites,

We have a great week coming up in Austin! It starts tonight, Wednesday night, as it is Nerd Night at the North Door. Think of it as our very own Austin take on TED talks. #PERFECTION

Friday afternoon, Saturday AND Sunday = Home and Garden Show; which is a den full of dangers for me. I love to decorate and yet I have neither a massive house nor a massive budget for all of these “Oh! I could just put a new sink and lighting fixture….” plans. God grant me the sense to cut up my credit cards before I enter the Austin Convention Center to see all of the goodies inside…

Saturday night you can catch the ZZ top make-good concert or snag a seat at the My Life Speaks FUNdraiser with Hillary Scott of Lady Antebellum, Colbie Cailet and more.

On Sunday I’m headed to the Alamo drafthouse to see Selma. I wish I didn’t feel like it would guide me/us in modern times – but I do – and I hope it does. Variety says the movie ends with, “the hope that the arc of the moral universe does indeed bend toward justice.” #countmein

On Monday, our offices are closed in observance of Martin Luther King day. Though some people will be volunteering to honor the legacy of MLK, you can bet your butt I’ll be eating pie and socializing. Gluten allergy be damned. Specifically, I’ll be at the Sweet Home Missionary Baptist Church’s pie social, which is a part of the growing Peace Through Pie movement, to mark the occasion. Join me there? Honoring his legacy in another way? Be sure to tag your social media posts with #StatesmanSocial so we can connect and share.

In the meantime, check back in this Friday 1/16/15 for another #GoodToKnow episode!

— Serena

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SERENA HICKS keeps you up to speed on the hottest events, what’s trending and local luminaries in Austin. #StatesmanSocial is a product of Statesman Media’s content marketing group. Follow the fun, share your best Austin moments, and tag along with #StatesmanSocial:

Keep your vocabulary on fleek with this… #GoodToKnow

This episode of #GoodToKnow is brought to you by my new favorite saying; On fleek.

 It started on Instagram when a friend from NYC commented that my brow game was “on fleek”. It matters that she works for Shobha which is where everyone (read: fashion editors, celebs, housewives, anyone with a job ok everyone) goes for meticulous brow grooming and such.  Soooooo. Seeing how I’m doing my own brows now, and not nearly as well as Shashi from Shobha used to do them, I worried. Did she just insult me and my DIY-brows? Were we gonna have to break up as friends? I asked… and she explained the good news. To be on fleek means to be on point, i.e. the game is strong. SWEET.

how it all started... on Instagram

Also, turns out that having my #browsonfleek is an especially good thing that isn’t entirely new. Gotta love learning from Instagram!

Next up, I was talking about boys (this happens a lot) and I heard the term Lumbersexual. Wait. WHAT?! Mmmmhmmm.

As you hear in the video, I’m ready to talk more about Retrosexuals please and thank you. Chat me up on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter with your thoughts on the matter. Be sure to tag #StatesmanSocial to be heard.

Finally, I’m asking you all to join me in supporting everyone who is #SelfieConscious and encouraging them to be both bold AND silly enough to snap-n-post a selfie in Public. Be sure to tag #StatesmanSocial so I can celebrate these successes with y’all! (Oh and, Evan-who-filmed-and-edited-this-very-video above; we’re all waaaaaiting…. Please share your beautiful face with the world.)

Bye Feliciaaaaaaaa!

— Serena

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SERENA HICKS keeps you up to speed on the hottest events, what’s trending and local luminaries in Austin. #StatesmanSocial is a product of Statesman Media’s content marketing group. Follow the fun, share your best Austin moments, and tag along with #StatesmanSocial:

#WTFwed; the say YES to life (improv, Tinder, Indie Chefs, 5k Color Run and more) edition

Wednesday 1.7.15 through Tuesday 1.13.15

Oh haaaai Statesman Socialites! Welcome to the first real work week of our new year!

I hope that you’re ready to say YES to life in 2015. To that end, tonight/Wednesday night, get it started and take one of the Institution Theater’s free Improvisational classes! Must sign up. Details here.

Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights are all about the glorious delicious madness that is Indie Chef’s Week at Foreign & Domestic. Details and tickets available (at time of publishing! hurry up already…) here.

Sunday, after all of that nom nom nomming you’d better #werk it off with a run. The 5k Color Run to the rescue! It’s a beautiful, vibrant 3-mile-ish mess and it’s not to be missed. Tinder’s gonna be especially colorful come Monday! As for you; don’t forget to tag your Instagram, Facebook and Twitter pics with #StatesmanSocial so I can see and share them please and thank you.

Monday night, option A: Hit up the Highball for Motown Monday. At 8pm they’re offering Free West Coast Swing Lessons. Then at 9m the Matchmaker Band steps in turns it up a notch or two with live Motown hits. Plus, you’ll newly know how to Swing Dance. So there’s that. Alternately, if you’re needing to slow it down a bit, Monday night, option B: School House Pub presents a new class in their Libations 101 series; Wine-Based Cocktails. Register here.

BONUS for you overachievers out there: Deus Ex Machina is still going (until Jan. 18th). This CHOOSE YOUR OWN ADVENTURE performance piece at the Long Center converts audience members into Greek gods who determine the fates of the actors’ characters. For every decision a consequence. Not to be missed! Information and tickets here.

In the meantime, check back in on Friday 1/9/15 for another #GoodToKnow video and have a great week!

— Serena

– – – – – – –
SERENA HICKS keeps you up to speed on the hottest events, what’s trending and local luminaries in Austin. #StatesmanSocial is a product of Statesman Media’s content marketing group. Follow the fun, share your best Austin moments, and tag along with #StatesmanSocial: