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Today between 5-7pm the Great food truck race Show is stopping by Star Bar<
, Rattle Inn and Ranch 616 to tape for the Food Network. As if it isn't crowded enough down there – but great press and exposure for Austin. Valentina's – better stock extra brisket tacos today!

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710 Meriden A Front House, Martha Small Homes, Real Estate Austin Martha Small710 A Meriden- Martha Small Non MLS Listing

710 A Meriden – $549,000

  • Exceptional location in Deep Eddy only minutes to Downtown Austin and Zilker Park
  • 2BR, 2.5BA, 2LIV + 1DIN with covered porches
  • Open floor plan built by Eix & Blackwell in 2006
  • Tall ceilings, abundant windows and modern finishes
  • Many rooms pre wired for stereo and tv
  • Seasonal downtown views  from master and master deck
  • Entrance to one car garage off Hearn
  • HOA with next door unit only – very low costs
  • Casis, O Henry and S.F. Austin High Schools

Please contact me for showings and more information

Martha Small – 512-587-0308 – Martha@MarthaSmallHomes.com – MarthaSmallHomes.com

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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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Where smoke and swagger meet urban ethnic style with a twang.

Star Tastemaker
Tyson Cole of Uchi and Uchiko, who shook the scene with his landlocked sushi mecca andhas launched talent such as Top Chef contestant Paul Qui, whose first                                    solo venture, qui, opens in Austin this month.

Best Bites
Brisket ($10/plate) with espresso BBQ sauce at Franklin Barbecue; Hill Country Board (pain au levain, sausage, venison pâté infused with Real Ale Brewing Company’s Sisyphus barley-wine ale, pickled vegetables, and house mustard; $15) from Easy Tiger Bake Shop & Beer Garden; Laura Sawicki’s Miso-White Chocolate Semifreddo ($9) with crispy rice, coconut sticky rice, and mango sorbet at Sway.

Nightcap
A Joe Buck (corn whiskey, Dijon syrup, lemon juice, and ginger beer; $12) at Midnight Cowboy.

 

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

Original Article by: Story by Paula Disbrowe

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As the stumbling retailer tries to rebuild ties to shoppers, it has a massive employee morale problem to deal with as well.

Under ousted chief executive Ron Johnson, J.C. Penney (JCP -1.47%) had a massive housecleaning, sweeping away thousands of  jobs as it eliminated popular clothing lines like St. John’s Bay.

 

Now, returning CEO Myron Ullman has a knotty problem on his hands: how to revive those brands with a company suffering from deep morale problems and an employee base that has shrunk by 23%, reports The Wall Street Journal.

 

When Johnson completed his first full fiscal year on the job, Penney employed only 116,000 people, down from its recent historic level of 150,000, according to the report.

 

While the ex-CEO argued that the job cuts were needed to boost Penney’s financial performance, the opposite resulted: Loyal customers fled, with many angered at his decision to dump St. John’s Bay. Sales plunged 25% last year.

 

St. John’s Bay may have been a linchpin leading to Johnson’s failure. MSN moneyNOW readers often cited the disappearance of the casual-wear clothing line as the reason they abandoned Penney stores.

 

“If JC Penney brings back the brands that they ditched, St. John’s Bay women’s jeans for instance, I will think about shopping there again……but not until then,” one reader wrote on Thursday.

 

And it turns out that Penney is planning on bringing back the clothing line, which had brought in annual sales of a billion dollars, The Journal notes.

 

Why would Johnson single-handedly get rid of a brand that racked up such huge sales? The former Apple executive wanted to “de-frump” the stores and instead brought in edgier designers such as Cynthia Rowley. The problem, though, was that Penney customers had been happy with those comfortable clothing lines. Feeling alienated, many of them swore off shopping at the retailer.

 

Johnson misunderstood the store’s customer base, which tends to be older than 55. One-third of its customers earn less than $35,000 a year, according to BloombergBusinesswee​k. Getting rid of coupons also alienated his price-conscious customers.

 

Penney plans to return coupon advertising to newspapers, activist investor William Ackman said on Thursday, according to Bloomberg. The company needs to “calm the vendors,” he added.

 

But what to do about those morale problems? According to The Journal, the layoffs weren’t pretty. Because Penney didn’t have enough staff to cut people in face-to-face meetings, groups of employees were ushered into Penney’s auditorium to hear the news. Sometimes more than 100 people were fired at once, the story notes.

 

With Ullman’s plan to bring back St. John’s Bay, he might be taking one step toward dealing with his alienated customer base. And getting rid of Johnson was likely a big boost to internal morale. According to the New York Post, clapping and laughing erupted last Monday at an employee meeting when word of his ouster was announced.

 

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

Original Article by: Aimee Picchi

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Shopping for that special lady in your life? While no two people are alike, there are some gifts worth skipping.

 

It should go without saying that not everyone has the same idea of the perfect gift. There are men hoping for cologne and women longing for power tools.

But that won’t stop us from having some fun with potentially horrible gifts for the woman in your life. Here’s our tongue-in-cheek list of the 15 worst gifts:

1. Any appliance she didn’t ask for

Unless she specifically asked for a waffle maker or blender, don’t buy her one. Even women who enjoy cooking don’t want to feel it’s expected.

2. Clothes

Clothes are a no-no for several reasons. There’s the size issue: If you get her something too big, she’ll probably be offended; if you get her something too small, she might feel bad about herself.

There’s also the issue of style. If a wardrobe makeover is what she wants, make a nice card promising to take her on a shopping spree with your cash.

3.  A framed picture of yourself

This “gift” is strangely common, based on personal experience and its presence on almost every “worst gifts” list out there. Nothing says you’re self-absorbed like a framed photo of yourself posing like a model. And the picture of you when you were 6 years old? That’s not cute either. A picture of the two of you doing something memorable is a much better gift idea.

4. Anything that can’t be easily exchanged

If your significant other absolutely hates the expensive gift you bought her, be sure you can exchange it, for her sake and yours.

5. Diet or fitness products

Unless you’re looking for trouble, don’t buy her anything related to losing weight. The implication is that you’re not satisfied with her the way she is.

6. Gifts for yourself

Buying her the new flat-screen TV you want and calling it a gift because she’ll use it too doesn’t work. Give her something she can appreciate and enjoy.

7.  Tickets to sporting events

Your significant other might tolerate, or even like, baseball or football. But unless she’s a die-hard fan, skip the tickets to sports events. Tickets to the ballet or a Broadway musical (unless, of course, she hates those things) are a better option, and you’ll get bonus points if you go with her. Choose something you might not normally attend, and she’ll appreciate it even more.

8. Tacky novelties

She’s not going to be as amused by that singing coffee cup as you were when you spotted it at the store. Unless there’s an inside joke behind the novelty gift, and it’s in addition to a larger gift, this is a bad idea.

9. Perfume

If she asked for Elizabeth Arden’s newest fragrance, by all means, buy it. Otherwise, stay away from the perfume counter. She might hate the fragrance you choose, or worse, she might be allergic to it.

10. Cash

Remember the “Seinfeld” episode in which Jerry gave Elaine cash for Christmas? Elaine got mad, as will the lady in your life if you give her this thoughtless gift.

11.  Cosmetics (including wrinkle cream)

It’s almost unbelievable that men buy women wrinkle cream as a gift. I once heard about a woman who received wrinkle cream from her boyfriend when she was 22. It’s also weird to buy a woman makeup. Just stay away from the cosmetics department.

12. Alcohol

A bottle of wine is nice for a housewarming party, but it’s not quite as classy when you give it to a woman as a holiday, birthday or anniversary gift.

13. Flowers

Flowers are appropriate at certain times, but the holidays call for something more thoughtful and longer-lasting.

14.  Last year’s gift

She loved the one-hour massage you bought her last year, but she’s expecting something different this year. Even if you have a hard time remembering the details of last year’s gift, chances are she hasn’t forgotten.

15. Candy

Many women love chocolate,  but it’s just not a sufficient gift at the holidays. Use it as a stocking stuffer, and put some more thought into a larger gift she’ll appreciate.

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

Original Article by: Stacy Johnson

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Avoid foolish impulse buys by asking yourself these 4 pre-purchase questions.

 

If you’re feeling blue, hide your green. According to new research published in the journal Psychological Science, sadness can lead to impulsive (and irresponsible) financial choices.

Study participants watched either a sad or neutral video. Then researchers asked them to choose how they’d like to receive a cash reward. They could either receive one sum of money at the end of the session, or receive a bigger reward mailed to them in the future. Participants who watched the neutral video chose the delayed reward 13 to 34 percent more often than people who watched the sad video, according to Jennifer Lerner, Ph.D., director of the Harvard Laboratory for Decision Science and one of the study’s authors. These differences emerged even though real money was at stake.

“Sadness makes people devalue future gains relative to present gains,” Lerner says. In other words, when you’re sad, you’re more focused on the now, rather than the future. You just want to be happy. You don’t care about what happens down the line.”

“This process occurs unconsciously,” Lerner adds. “Decision makers themselves do not recognize that sadness has such effects.” Meaning: If you shop while sad, you could set yourself up for some potential wallet pain and not even know it. (Is the cold weather making you feel more sad than normal? Try these 6 Ways Beat the Winter Blues.)

Before you sprint to the mall, ask yourself these four questions to make sure you’re not being financially shortsighted.

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

Original Article by: Vera Sizensky, Women’s Health

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