Austin Americana Studio’s latest wedding was captured in downtown Fredericksburg, at the Market Platz and at the Farm Bureau, just outside of town. Everything about this little Fredericksburg wedding had Central Texas makings; It featured Texas music, boots, hats, pickup trucks, fiddlers and the Hill Country, just to name a few things.
Last night I was digging through some old papers and discovered a great calendar I picked up back in 2006 at “1st Thursday” on South Congress. The item in question was a local Austin calendar created by “Keep Austin Beautiful”, a group who’s stated mission is to,
“empower the citizens of Austin to take personal responsibility for enhancing their local environment. KAB programs clean, beautify and protect the Austin environment through physical improvements and hands on education.”
Now, I’m all for helping the environment, but I must admit the reason I purchased the calendar was because I was foot loose and fancy free at the time and needed lots of things to do to keep me busy (something that no longer applies to my life!).
The calendar created by KAB was full of local Austin photos and events relavent to local artists, businesses and organizations, which I thought was pretty cool! Although I haven’t purchased another calendar like this one, it still inspired me to keep up with Austin events, which are spread all over the internet, not really found in any one location, like on the calendar. So, I’ve decided to try my hand at providing this service for you in 2011. Every month I plan to post a blog that includes as many interesting and intriguing local events as I can find. And you will have the benefit of being able to see them all in one place.
I kind of got a late start on the project this month, but here’s my effort. Note that I’ve included contact information, including emails and websites for most of the entries. The most helpful online calendar I found was the KUT calendar, which has an event for just about every day of the month.
Austin Boat, Sport & Outdoor Show
Jan 20, 2011 – Jan 23, 2011
The Austin Boat Show has combined with the Central Texas Hunting and Fishing Show! All the same great local boat dealers you are used to PLUS a whole new element of Outdoor. Definitely a must-see for 2011.
PLANET OF THE MERMAIDS The Electronic Planet Ensemble – David Jewell, Chad Salvata, Sergio Samayoa, and Rachel Fuhrer, who brought us Surfin’ UFO and Spaceman:Dada:Robot – returns with a music-driven, video-enhanced phantasmagoria featuring Jewell as Captain Rex Vydor, the brave space commander who encounters the Mer Queen and her beautiful minions in this convoluted spoof of silent films and sci-fi B-movies. Through Jan. 29. Thu.-Sun., 8pm. The Vortex, 2307 Manor Rd, 478-5282. $10-30.
“Senior Moments” – Jan 22, 2011 – Jan 30, 2011
“Senior Moments” is five funny, poignant, and slightly naughty short plays about seniors. In the 12 months since the play premiered in January, 2010, it has won 3 awards, played to full houses at 6 productions in the U.S. and Canada, and been accepted for publication.
Hyde Park Theatre – Frontera Fest – January 2011
Last Comic StandingOne World Theatre – Austin, TX Friday 1/28/2011 7:00 PM
Sip & Savor Austin – January 16-30, 2011
Brought to you by Launch787 (Austin Fashion Week, Modern Home Tour, Outdoor Living Tour), Sip & Savor Austin is a city-wide food and drink celebration taking place over the span of two weeks January 16-30, 2011.
The Harlem GlobetrottersFrank Erwin Center Austin, TX Friday 1/28/2011 7:00 PM
Austin’s 1st Annual Gorilla Run January 22, 2011, 9:00AM-2:00PM; (After-party at Fado has no end time)
Registrants will run/walk/bike three miles in a full gorilla suit to raise awareness of the endangered Mountain Gorilla! Registration includes the after party with free lunch and live music at Fado Irish Pub! All proceeds benefit the Mountain Gorilla Conservation Fund.
Identification Day (kids identify fossils they’ve discovered)
January 23, 1:00PM-5:00PM;
Texas Memorial Museum 2400 Trinity, Austin, TX
Free Admission at the Wildflower Center
Jan 1, 2011 – Jan 31, 2011
Enjoy free admission for the entire month of January.
See more daily events at the KUT Events Page: http://events.publicbroadcasting.net/kut/events.eventsmain
In Central America where the tenuous little strip of land separating North and South America becomes especially thin (just 10 degrees north of the equator) lies a tiny little country called Costa Rica. Considered the Switzerland of Latin America, it is known for eco-tourism and a higher quality of life than many other Central American countries. In fact, “Ticos” (as the local inhabitants refer to themselves) place lots of importance on family, friends and “pura vida” – a saying shared by locals which, strictly translated, means “pure life”.
On the northwestern coast of Costa Rica in the Guanacaste Province is a small beach called Playa Flamingo. There isn’t really a town located here – just a few quiet resorts and some high-end homes overlooking the coast. My family recently spent some quiet time here, at a place called Flamingo Beach Resort & Spa.
The hotel is located directly on Playa Flamingo (Flamingo Beach). The beach itself is beautiful, featuring light gray sand and beautiful blue water. Northwestern Costa Rica is known for it’s excellent surfing conditions and while we were there we experienced strong waves and light undercurrents while swimming in the ocean.
As a wedding photojournalist, I can tell you that Flamingo Beach Resort is a great location for weddings. It has all of the luxuries and conveniences that you would find in most luxury hotels anywhere combined with the privacy and anonymity you can only find in a place that is off the grid. Consider this: Flamingo Beach Resort isn’t associated with a town, per se; it is remotely located at where a road dead ends at a beach, where almost no one else has access to – a big selling point for someone who wants privacy.
One of the things that my family and I will probably always remember about our stay at Playa Flamingo is how genuinely friendly the staff were. We had initially read conflicting online reviews for Flamingo Beach Resort regarding how friendly staff were. But any reservations that we had regarding the issue were quickly allayed by the outgoing and personable staff treatment we received during our stay. Front desk staff including Pedro, Jose and others were always helpful and inquisitive as to whether we needed assistance. They were always saying hello and asking how our day was going.
Other staff at the hotel also exceeded our expectations. My son, who’s 18 months old, made friends with the cleaning staff and looked forward to seeing his friend Dora every day when she would visit our room in the mornings to turn down our beds, sweep, mop and drop off clean towels. Staff during our regular morning breakfast also made life lots of fun for my son. They were always warm and playful with him and encouraged him to engage them in conversation and fun.
Another favorite experience of mine was getting to know hotel staff at the upstairs patio bar, which had a fantastic view of the beach and coastline. Several of our nights were spent chatting with Oscar, the talented and friendly bartender, who makes fantastic mixed drinks, including the best Mojito that I’ve ever had (seriously!). Oscar was always glad to discuss recipes for his delicious drinks, Costa Rican lifestyle or a quick Spanish lesson (he, like most staff in the hotel, is bilingual).
As you can tell, we spent time getting to know the staff which is a testament to how important service is in the hotel. Flamingo Beach Resort is a full service hotel, offering services above and beyond the norm including, child care, quick laundry service, full sized rooms with kitchenette, daily turn down service, pool bar, world-class foods served fresh 3 times per day (room service available), transportation service, workout room, tennis courts, and a casino!
Our trip was during the end of September and the beginning of October, which is smack-dab in the middle of the off season for this region. This means that there were days where we rarely saw any tourists or anyone for that matter in the hotel or on the beach, which was great, given that our vacation objective was to enjoy a quiet week away from the hectic life that we live in Austin, Texas.
Visit Flamingo Beach Resort on Facebook!
This is a shot that I took while sitting in my car in the shade waiting for a wedding to start in Central Austin. It’s not unusual to see the high temperature in Central Texas during August to be recorded as high as 105 F. Working in Texas in the summertime is no joke…notice the temperature gauge at the bottom left – a scorching 103F!