Archive for September, 2013

With more than 100 bands playing eight stages over two weekends, the biggest ACL to date is happening in October.

In addition to being two weekends in length for the first time, the Austin City Limits Festival has several other new features this year, including the new http://www.aclfestival.com that allows attendees to create custom band schedules, choose which restaurants to check out and which nonprofit organizations at ACL they want to support. Once there is an update to something a person has added to his or her profile on http://www.aclfestival.com, the user will be notified when logging into the website again.

ACL will also have a new craft beer bar that will feature breweries such as Real Ale Brewing Co. and Sierra Nevada.

With headliners that range from Depeche Mode to Kings of Leon, ACL once again features a diverse lineup. Lisa Hickey, spokeswoman for ACL Festival promoter C3 Presents, said the process of booking the festival starts before the previous year’s festival even takes place.

“Staying true to the Austin City Limits name, we book the same type of eclectic music that you will find on the iconic television show,” she said. “Our goal is to book a diverse range of musical genres featuring international and local artists. It’s a mix between what’s on our wish list and who is out there working … and a little bit of magic.”

Economic impact

Expanding the Austin City Limits Festival to two weekends brings multiple benefits to Austin residents, said Lisa Hickey, spokeswoman for ACL Festival organizer C3 Presents.

In 2012, ACL generated approximately $102 million in revenue for the city, Hickey said. She said in January that the two-weekend festival could potentially double that economic impact.

“In addition to the boon to the local economy with attendees visiting bars, restaurants, retail shops, music venues and more, the ACL Festival is arguably the largest fundraiser for the Austin Parks Foundation,” she said. “With over $7.4 million contributed to APF since 2006, that number will continue to grow, which directly impacts park beautification projects all over Austin.”

ACL is also a boon for local bands, with multiple Austin-based bands slated to play the festival, Hickey said. C3 Presents books local music year-round, which allows talent buyers to select local bands for the festival, Hickey said. Playing ACL provides the local bands the chance to reach a new audience and get great publicity, Hickey said.

“Booking the local sounds of Austin is a big differentiator from other festivals,” she said. “People want to come to ACL Festival to experience Austin.”

Orginal Article by: Gene Davis

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Compliments of: Martha Small | Austin Portfolio Real Estate | 512.587.0308


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Use the scanner on your phone to download the QR code for my mobile friendly user App.

or text to 87778

Mobile Text Code KWCO3V0

Once the App is downloaded  Use
My Agent Code KWCO3V0

Features of my new app:
The ability to search for homes based on criteria or by custom drawing on an interactive map;
GPS localized data displays homes in a given area that match the consumer’s price range;
The ability to easily swipe through galleries of photos to decide whether a home fits one’s needs and then add it to saved searches for convenient reference on the app or via the agent’s website, where the saved searches are synced;
The ability to save notes on properties for future reference; and
Faster communication via call, text or email.

Compliments of: Martha Small | Austin Portfolio Real Estate | 512.587.0308

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Though the weather hasn’t caught up…it is fall y’all. Stumbled across this list of fun things to do in central Texas this fall – check a few off the list.

We may not have hit the cooler temperatures that traditionally come with fall, but that shouldn’t stop you from all of the fun things there are to do here in Austin!!

Here are 25 Things to Do in Central Texas this Fall (2013)

Austin Museum Day – September 22 – The Austin Museum Partnership hosts a day of free admission to over 40 participating institutions. Check out the details here.

Barton Hills Farm – Saturdays & Sundays September 28 – November 10 We went last year to this amazing farm and enjoyed racing through the HUGE corn maze, playing lawn games, and listening to live music.

Take a Train Ride – Weekends – From the miniature ones on the Cedar Rock Railroad, Zilker Zephyr, Austin Zoo, or ride the real thing with the Austin Steam Train Association.

Les Miserables at ZACH Theatre – September 25 – November 3 – Yes, the movie was good, but not as good as seeing & hearing Do You Hear the People Sing? live. Click here for tickets.

Breakfast at the Movies – Saturdays & Sundays – Flix Brewhouse up in Round Rock offers a breakfast menu for the first few movies of the day – what a fun way to start – PJs, Pancakes, and a fun flick!

Old Pecan Street Festival – September 28 & 29 – Head on out to the largest arts & crafts festival in Central Texas. Free admission, festival includes vendors, music, food, & fun.

Spend an evening out in Walburg – Weekends – Have some schnitzel with your Spaten by celebrating Oktoberfest at Walburg’s gorgeous Biergarten. They have some pretty great music too.

Sound & Cinema at the Long Center – October 2 – The last Sound & Cinema of the season is going to be totally tubular with an 80’s party featuring Top Gun Sing & Quote-along.

Round Rock Chalk Walk – October 4 & 5 – The streets of downtown Round Rock are turned into an Italian street painting festival where everyone is encouraged to create a chalk drawing for free. Other activities, live music and food are offered at this annual event as well.

Sweetberry Farm – Daily except Wednesdays – One of our favorite Central Texas Farms, Sweetberry features pumpkins, corn mazes, farm animals, rides, flower-picking, and more.

Oktoberfest in Fredricksburg – October 4 – 6 – Chicken Dance down Main Street at Oktoberfest – Tons of family activities and lots of great food.

Boo at the Zoo – October 11, 12, 18, 19, 25, & 26 – The Austin Zoo’s annual fundraiser features a unique way to see the animals – at night. They also have a haunted train ride that is way fun!

“Superheroes” with the Austin Symphony – October 18 – What could be better than iconic pop music from your favorite superhero film & tv shows?? Hearing it live!

Lake Travis Zipline Adventures – Daily – Fall is the perfect time to enjoy Texas’ longest zip lines over the beautiful Lake Travis. The hike is scenic (and at times hard), but the hosts are funny and the views are amazing. Click here to learn more.

Texas Book Festival – October 26 & 27 A FREE family fun event featuring literary sessions, book signings, music, crafts, and more on the grounds of the Texas State Capitol.

New Braunfels’ WurstFest – November 1 – 10 – Enjoy the best sausage in Texas at this year’s WurstFest in New Braunfels, TX Fun for all ages!

Race at K1 Speed – Daily – Getting ready for Formula One in November? Test your ability to race at K1 Speed, Austin’s premier indoor karting experience.

Touch-A-Truck – November 2 – Bring the kids to see and “touch” over 30 different vehicles including fire trucks, police cars, and ambulances. This annual event is held at Gorgeous Mille and benefits the Austin Children’s Shelter.

Austin Celtic Festival – November 2 & 3- Join this 18th annual festival for food, dance, sports, music and more!

Austin Insect Rodeo – November 9 – The Bob Bullock Texas State History Museum hosts an insect rodeo – yep, just like it sounds. And don’t forget, on the first Saturday of each month, they have FREE admission between 2-6 p.m.

iFly Austin – Daily – There is no better time to learn how to fly….feel the sensation of jumping out of an airplane, without the fear of jumping out of an airplane. Serious fun – here’s my experience.

Austin Chocolate Festival – November 16 & 17 – A festival completely dedicated to chocolate? Say no more! This event helps raise awareness & money for Multiple Sclerosis and Breast Cancer and features competitions and vendors.

Homeslices’s Carnival O’ Pizza – November 16 – In honor of Homeslice’s birthday, this carnival is full of games, pizza-dough slinging contests, pizza eating contests, and lots of fun – all benefitting the Austin Bat Cave (a free writing program for kids).

Thundercloud Sub’s Turkey Trot – November 28 – Benefitting the Caritas of Austin, what better way to burn off that turkey and spend time with family than a fun run?? Click here to register.

Enjoy Austin in the Fall! – Daily – Now that the weather has cooled down a bit, take advantage of all the great outdoor fun we have – Here’s a few ideas to get you started:
•Climb to the top of Mt. Bonnell
•Enjoy a day at Zilker Park- Austin Nature & Science Center, ride the Zilker Zephyer, canoe around Town Lake
•Take a leisurely walk around the grounds of Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center
•Learn how to Geocache
•Do a Hill Country day trip out to Inks Lake State Park or Enchanted Rock
•Go back in time with an afternoon spent at Pioneer Farms
•Or go wayyyy back to the Prehistoric times at Dinosaur Park

Happy Fall Y’all!

Original article by Rebecca Darling
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Compliments of: Martha Small | Austin Portfolio Real Estate | 512.587.0308


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A friend sent this to me and I am LOVING this list….even if I am not a man or a New Yorker, it is a great list to work off of…



We’ve all seen and perhaps grown tired of guides and lists that are rife with tedious clichés and full of humdrum regurgitated meme wisdom.

For that very reason, @GSElevator — in collaboration with John Carney (@Carney) of CNBC.com — presents a fresh, and hopefully thoughtful, look at what it means to be a man today.

Stop talking about where you went to college.

Always carry cash. Keep some in your front pocket.

Rebel from business casual. Burn your khakis and wear a suit or jeans.

It’s okay to trade the possibility of your 80s and 90s for more guaranteed fun in your 20s and 30s.

The best public restrooms are in hotels: The St. Regis in New York, Claridge’s in London, The Fullerton in Singapore, to name a few.

Never stay out after midnight three nights in a row … unless something really good comes up on the third night.

You will regret your tattoos.

Never date an ex of your friend.

Join Twitter; become your own curator of information.

If riding the bus doesn’t incentivize you to improve your station in life, nothing will.

Time is too short to do your own laundry.

When the bartender asks, you should already know what you want to drink.

If you perspire, wear a damn undershirt.

You don’t have to like baseball, but you should understand the concept of what a pitcher’s ERA means. Approach life similarly.

When people don’t invite you to a party, you really shouldn’t go.
 And sometimes even when you are invited, you shouldn’t go.

People are tired of you being the funny, drunk guy.

When in doubt, always kiss the girl.

Tip more than you should.

You probably use your cell phone too often and at the wrong moments.

Buy expensive sunglasses. Superficial? Yes, but so are the women judging you. And it tells these women you appreciate nice things and are responsible enough not to lose them.

If you want a nice umbrella, bring a sh*tty one to church.

Do 50 push-ups, sit-ups, and dips before you shower each morning.

Eat brunch with friends at least every other weekend. Leave Rusty and Junior at home.

Be a regular at more than one bar.

Act like you’ve been there before. It doesn’t matter if it’s in the end zone at the Super Bowl or on a private plane.

A glass of wine or two with lunch will not ruin your day.

It’s better if old men cut your hair. Ask for Sammy at the Mandarin Oriental Barbershop in Hong Kong. He can share his experiences of the Japanese occupation, or just give you a copy of Playboy.

Learn how to fly-fish.

No selfies. Aspire to experience photo-worthy moments in the company of a beautiful woman.

Own a handcrafted shotgun. It’s a beautiful thing.

There’s always another level. Just be content knowing that you are still better off than most who have ever lived.

You can get away with a lot more if you’re the one buying the drinks.

Ask for a salad instead of fries.

Don’t split a check.

Pretty women who are unaccompanied want you to talk to them.

Cobblers will save your shoes. So will shoe trees.

When a bartender buys you a round, tip double.

The cliché is that having money is about not wasting time. But in reality, money is about facilitating spontaneity.

Be spontaneous.

Find a Times New Roman in the streets and a Wingdings in the sheets. She exists.

Piercings are liabilities in fights.

Do not use an electric razor.

Desserts are for women. Order one and pretend you don’t mind that she’s eating yours.

Buy a tuxedo before you are thirty. Stay that size.

One girlfriend at a time is probably enough.


Your ties should be rolled and placed in a sectioned tie drawer.

Throw parties. 
But have someone else clean up the next day.

You may only request one song from the DJ.

Measure yourself only against your previous self.

Take more pictures. With a camera.

Place-dropping is worse than name-dropping.

When you admire the work of artists or writers, tell them. 
And spend money to acquire their work.

Your clothes do not match. They go together.

Yes, of course you have to buy her dinner.

Staying angry is a waste of energy.

Revenge can be a good way of getting over anger.

If she expects the person you are 20% of the time, 100% of the time, then she doesn’t want you.

Always bring a bottle of something to the party.

Avoid that “last” whiskey. You’ve probably had enough.

Don’t use the word “closure” or ever expect it in real life. There may still be a mortally wounded Russian mobster roaming the woods of south Jersey, but we’ll never know.

If you are wittier than you are handsome, avoid loud clubs.

Drink outdoors.
 And during the day.
 And sometimes by yourself.

Date women outside your social set. You’ll be surprised.

If it’s got velvet ropes and lines, walk away unless you know someone.

You cannot have a love affair with whiskey because whiskey will never love you back.

Feigning unpretentiousness is worse than being pretentious. Cut it out with the vintage Polo and that ’83 Wagoneer in Nantucket.

The New Yorker is not high-brow. Neither is The Economist.

If you believe in evolution, you should know something about how it works.

No-one cares if you are offended, so stop it.

Never take an ex back. She tried to do better and is settling with you.

Eating out alone can be magnificent. Find a place where you can sit at the bar.

Read more. It allows you to borrow someone else’s brain, and will make you more interesting at a dinner party – provided that you don’t initiate conversation with, “So, who are you reading …”

Ignore the boos. They usually come from the cheap seats.

Hookers aren’t cool, and remember, the free ones are a lot more expensive.

Don’t ever say, “it is what it is.”

Start a wine collection for your kids when they are born. Add a few cases every year without telling them. It’ll make a phenomenal gift in twenty years.

Don’t gamble if losing $100 is going to piss you off.

Remember, “rules are for the obedience of fools and the guidance of wise men.”

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Original article by: Eselelevator

Compliments of: Martha Small | Austin Portfolio Real Estate | 512.587.0308



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Interest rates on mortgages for pricey homes have dropped below those on smaller mortgages, an event that lending executives say has never happened before.

Borrowing rates for so-called jumbo mortgages, which are too big for government backing, historically have been set higher than rates on what are known as conforming loans, which are backed by Fannie Mae, FNMA -3.70%Freddie MacFMCC -2.70% or government agencies.

But in the past two weeks, the relationship has flipped, a combination of interest-rate volatility, government policy and banks flush with cash that are enjoying lower funding costs, making jumbo mortgages an attractive investment for them.

The average 30-year fixed-rate conforming mortgage was at 4.73% last week, according the Mortgage Bankers Association, compared with 4.71% for the average jumbo 30-year fixed-rate mortgage.

Executives say the inversion in the so-called spread, or difference, between jumbo and conforming loans is unprecedented. “In my 30-year career, I’ve never seen nonconforming loans priced below conforming loans,” said Brad Blackwell, executive vice president of Wells FargoWFC -0.18% Home Mortgage, the nation’s largest mortgage company.

Jumbo mortgages are those that exceed the $417,000 limit for loans eligible for backing by mortgage companies Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, though the limits rise to as high as $625,500 in more-expensive markets such as Los Angeles, New York and Washington.

Before the housing bubble burst six years ago, jumbo mortgages over the past two decades typically had rates at least 0.25 percentage point above conforming loans, but that widened sharply after 2007, reaching a peak of 1.8 percentage points in 2008, according to HSH.com, a financial publisher. The rate difference between the two stood at 0.5 percentage point as recently as last November.

For adjustable-rate mortgages, the disparity between jumbo and conforming loans is even starker. Rates on certain “hybrid” adjustable-rate jumbo mortgages that have a fixed rate for five or seven years are as low as 0.75 percentage point below conforming loans.

“I’ve had situations where I’ve told clients, ‘You don’t need to borrow within the [conforming] limit. I can get you a lower rate if you borrow a little more,’ ” said Rolan Shnayder, director of new-development lending at H.O.M.E. Mortgage Bankers in New York.

Conforming loans have become more expensive because federal officials, in a bid to reduce the outsize footprint of Fannie and Freddie, have raised the fees those companies charge to lenders, which translates into higher mortgage rates.

Meanwhile, interest-rate volatility has driven up yields on mortgage bonds issued by Fannie and Freddie as investors brace for a slowdown in the Federal Reserve’s bond-buying program, which has included those mortgage bonds. That has boosted rates on conforming loans.

Jumbo mortgages, meanwhile, are increasingly kept on banks’ balance sheets, which means prices aren’t usually set by bond markets. “Banks have more deposits than loans today, so the desire to put that money to work, as well as the fact that it’s at a very low cost, allows us to make [jumbo] loans at a very good interest rate,” said Mr. Blackwell.

Mark Cunningham, 39 years old, who works as a program manager for an aerospace company, received a fixed rate of around 4.6% for a 30-year jumbo mortgage in late July through Navy Federal Credit Union for a newly built four-bedroom home in Ashburn, Va. The loan required just a 10% down payment.

“We were very happy. We still haven’t seen anything that competes with what we’ve got,” said Mr. Cunningham.

Navy Federal, which said it is currently offering jumbo loans at the same rate as conforming loans, said jumbos account for around 3% of its mortgages.

Banks have long courted jumbo borrowers because they tend to have deeper pockets. Banks use their relationship with better-off clients to sell them other products, such as brokerage accounts and credit cards.

“These are superpremium borrowers. They represent great cross-sell opportunities,” said Keith Gumbinger, vice president of HSH.com.

But recent interest-rate turmoil is making it easier for large banks such as Wells Fargo & Co. and J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. to woo those borrowers. “We’re in a world where their cost of funds is still very, very low,” said Bob Walters, chief economist at Quicken Loans.

Lou Barnes, a mortgage banker in Boulder, Colo., was competing Tuesday to keep a client from going to Wells Fargo, which was offering a fixed rate of 4.625% on a 30-year mortgage with a $750,000 balance.

“Commercial banks are just desperate to book an asset that will pay something,” said Mr. Barnes. He had offered a rate of 4.75%, which was roughly the same as the conforming rate Tuesday.

When rates stood below 4.5%, banks weren’t as likely to bid aggressively for jumbo mortgages because they weren’t eager to hold those loans on their books, said Paul Miller, banking analyst with FBR Capital Markets.

But he says the current trend could hold as long as rates stay at current levels or rise even higher.

Mr. Blackwell, the Wells Fargo executive, said the current inversion between jumbo and conforming rates could last “for the foreseeable future” so long as banks’ cost of funds stays at its current level and loan demand doesn’t rise sharply.

Jumbo loans with the lowest rates are available only to a relatively exclusive slice of borrowers who have pristine credit, large down payments, lots of assets and low debt loads relative to their incomes.

Banks also are getting more comfortable because housing prices have been rising. “On a risk-adjusted basis, this is a decent return. The quality of loans being originated today is very high,” said Stew Larsen, who runs the mortgage banking division of Bank of the West.

Some $8.3 billion in jumbo mortgages were packaged into securities during the first half of 2013, more than in the previous three years combined but just a sliver of the $281 billion in jumbo securitizations in 2005, according to Inside Mortgage Finance.

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145 acres of untouched land in West Austin has hit the market


One of the last large undeveloped tracts on Shepherd Mountain overlooking Lake Austin is being marketed nationwide — the first time the property has been for sale in 26 years.

The exclusive listing for the 145 acres, which are being billed as an unprecedented offering of pristine land in West Austin. Perched on a bluff near the Pennybacker Bridge on Loop 360 and Courtyard Drive, the prime property with breathtaking views has been coveted for years by many a developer. But the answer from the owner has been the same time after time for the last two decades: the land isn’t for sale.

Until now.

A preliminary plat is in place for 70 residential lots, The site is near “high-end residential neighborhoods and and home to executive decision makers, upper level managers, and allows easy access to major Austin thoroughfares,” it states.

“There are significant barriers to entry for development in West Austin, with land use restrictions in place along Capital of Texas Highway (Loop 360) and RR 2222 to preserve the environment and Hill Country terrain. Much of the land is permanently preserved, including the Balcones Canyonlands Preserve, Wild Basin Preserve and the Bull Creek Watershed.”

Most of the land is in the Lake Austin watershed, with a small portion in the Coldwater Creek watershed, according to the offering.

Orginal article by: By Shonda Novak

American-Statesman Staff

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Compliments of: Martha Small | Austin Portfolio Real Estate | 512.587.0308

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pecan street picture



Originally crafted by the Old Pecan Street Association to help revitalize the downtown city streets and businesses, the Pecan Street Festival has been a contributing factor in the transformation and positive progression of 6th Street and its surroundings for over 30 years. As the largest arts and crafts festival in central Texas, the Festival generates an estimated 43 million dollars in economic impact annually and attracts over 200,000 attendees per show. As a non-profit charity organization, O.P.S.A. donates a large portion of Festival proceeds to the city of Austin and local non-profit organizations alike and is constantly striving to improve upon Austin’s fantastic image and way of life. It has been a long and fun road and we cannot be happier to be a part of this amazing community and city. – See more here


Compliments of: Martha Small | Austin Portfolio Real Estate | 512.587.0308

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