Archives for March 2015

Bluebonnet Season in Texas

Taking pictures in among the bluebonnets has become a fun Texas tradition. Here are some ways to get the most out of your photo sessions:

The bluebonnet is to Texas what the shamrock is to Ireland, the cherry blossom is to Japan, the lily to France, the rose to England and the tulip to Holland.   -Jack Maguire

  1. Be safe! So many people pull over on the sides of busy highways to photograph their children and pets. Instead, scout out a location that is in a safer location. Also keep in mind that ants love bluebonnet fields and you never know when a snake might decide to show up so definitely check out the area where you plan to have your children pose.
  2. Keep the bluebonnets safe. You may have heard that it is illegal to pick our state flower but that is only a myth. However, we need bluebonnets to make seeds for next year so it is a good idea not to pick them. Also look for areas that are already crushed and use that spot to take your pictures. There’s no reason to smash more flowers.
  3. Know the law. People get so excited when they spot a beautiful field of bluebonnets that they sometimes completely ignore the law. Make sure you’re not trespassing onto someone’s property to get to the flowers. Also it’s illegal to damage anyone’s property – that includes making ruts in the grass or causing any type of damage to the landscape. And be sure you’re not blocking traffic with your vehicle when you stop to photograph the flowers.
  4. Take your pictures now. April is the prime month for bluebonnets!
  5. The best time of day to take outdoor pictures is before 10 am or after 4 pm. Avoid the middle part of the day to decrease squinting and shadows.
  6. Use your flash. This will also help eliminate shadows. You don’t need to worry about red-eye because you’ll be outside and your subject’s pupils are already dilated.
  7. Bring the camera down to your subject’s eye level and zoom in. Sure, the bluebonnets are beautiful but your kids’ smiling faces are the best part.
  8. Wear long pants or bring a blanket. The grass can be itchy so it’s best to cover up bare legs. Also solid colors tend to look best in bluebonnet pictures. The bluebonnets create a lot of pattern so solid colored clothing creates a more balanced picture.
  9. Pay attention to the background. Signs, cars, other people, and telephone poles – they can all ruin an otherwise great bluebonnet picture.
  10. Bring a tripod. You need to be in the pictures too!

If you come across a beautiful bluebonnet field please comment below! Texas-bluebonnets-field

bombay2austin on flickr

The 2015 Top Reasons Why Austin is a Great Place to Live

Everyone seems to be talking about Austin!  With our thriving economy, vibrant music scene, and eclectic culture, it is no surprise that we are America’s fastest growing city.  Below is a listing of recent acknowledgements and accolades that Austin has received from the online news sites, print media, recent studies, and public opinion polls at a national level.

ECONOMY

  • Number one of the 6 most affordable, Fast-growing US Cities – Urban living without breaking the bank (Cheapism.com, February 2014)
  • Number one of America’s 20 Fastest-Growing Cities (Forbes.com, February 2014)
  • Number two of 16 U.S. Cities Where Women Actually Earn More Than Men (Nerdwallet, July 2014)
  • Austin ranks fourth on Forbes’ List of America’s Most Creative Cities in 2014 (Forbes, July 2014)
  • Austin ranks 45th among 2014’s Most & Least Recession-Recovered Cities (Wallet Hub, July 2014)
  • According to a Nerdwallet study, Austin ranks number seven among the 10 best cities to launch a start-up (CNN Money, July 2014)
  • Austin, Round Rock, and San Marcos are grouped at number six among Best Places for STEM Graduates (Nerdwallet, July 2014)
  • CareerBuilder and Economic Modeling Specialists rank Austin as number five among the Top Ten Metros with the Highest Gains in Share of U.S. Jobs for our data processing and hosting, computer system design, management, scientific and technical consulting services, and semiconductor manufacturing. (CareerBuilder.com, July 2014)
  • Austin ranks number three among Cities Stealing Jobs from Wallstreet (NewGeography.com, June 2014)
  • According to the U.S. Conference of Mayors, Austin will be the fastest growing U.S. metro economy through 2020 (U.S. Conference of Mayors Online, June 2014)
  • Austin is one of the top five most small business-friendly cities in the nation (Thumbtack, June 2014)
  • Austin ranks number two in the Best Cities for Women in the workforce (Nerdwallet, June 2014)
  • Austin is the third best city for starting an online business (HighSpeedInternet.com, May 2014)
  • Austin ranked number three on Forbes’ Top Large Cities for Jobs list (Forbes, April 2014)
  • Austin is the third Best City for College Grads (Livability.com, April 2014)
  • Austin’s economic performance from the recession through the recovery ranks number one in the nation (Brookings’ Metro Monitor, April 2014)
  • Austin is the third Best City for Job Seekers (Nerdwallet, January 2014)
  • Austin is number two in the Top 5 Fastest Growing Cities for Renters in the U.S. (Rent.com, May 2014)
  • Austin ranks number one for 2012-2013 population growth among the 100 largest U.S. metros (U.S. Census Bureau, March 2014)
  • For the fourth year in a row, Austin ranks number one on Forbes’ annual list of America’s Fastest-Growing Cities (February 2014)

EDUCATION

  • Austin makes the list of Best Cities for Service-Oriented Students (BestColleges.com, July 2014)
  • University of Texas at Austin named the 28th best university in the world (Times Higher Education, October 2014)
  • Austin tops ranking of U.S. metros for net migration of adults with college degrees (NewGeography.com, August 2014)
  • The University of Texas ranks 5th worldwide for U.S. patents granted to universities in 2013 (National Academy of Inventors, June 2014)
  • According to data culled by ZipRealty Inc., the Eanes school district of the Austin area is one of the country’s top 10 Best Places for Families to Live (Ziprealty, July 2014

FOOD/ENTERTAINMENT

  • Texas ranks number two on the list of U.S. states by food/drink (Thrillist, July 2014)
  • Austin is one of the 10 Best Cities to Dine with Your Valentine (Trulia, February 2014)
  • Austin’s District Kitchen and Cocktails is included in the Top 100 Neighborhood Gem Restauraunts in America (OpenTable Inc., June 2014
  • USA Swimming’s top 50 swimming cities in the country ranks Austin as number eight (USA Swimming, July 2014)
  • The Guardian’s top 40 international holiday hotspots lists Austin as number three for 2014 (The Guardian, January 2014)
  • Hamilton Pool of Dripping Springs, Texas was ranked #18 among “America’s Best Swimming Holes” (Weather.com, August 2014)
  • Jacob’s Well: Wimberley Valley, Texas was ranked #3 among “America’s Best Swimming Holes” (Weather.com, August 2014)

LIFESTYLE/ENVIRONMENT

  • Two Austin neighborhoods (Mueller and Gallindo) made the list of Top 10 Neighborhoods for Green Homes (Redfin, April 2014)
  • Austin is in the top 10 affordable purchase markets for aspiring millennial homebuyers (RISMedia, July 2014)
  • Austin ranks 16th in the nation for solar power by Total Installed Solar PV Capacity (EnvironmentTexas.com, April 2014)
  • Named among the top 10 budget-friendly retirement spots for having a lot of retirement-friendly attributes, including low taxes (CNBC Online, June 2014)
  • Austin was ranked among the “Top 20 Coolest Cities in America” (Forbes Magazine, August 2014)
  • Austin is the No. 3 City in the U.S. to Educate, Entertain, and Exhaust Your Kids (Macaroni Kid, September 2014)
  • Austin is one of the Ten Best Cities for Coffee Snobs (Redfin, September 2014)
  • Austin ranked 40 of 100 among the most recreation-friendly cities for park quality, weather conditions, entertainment and rec. facilities (WalletHub.com, July 2014)
  • Austin is number one on the list of top ten cities in the U.S. for group fitness (MyFitnessPal, July 2014)
  • Austin made the list of the Five Best Cities for Pet-Friendly Vacations (SheKnows.com, July 2014)
  • Austin is rated the number three most patriotic city in the U.S. (MyLife.com, July 2014)
  • Austin is rated the second best city for millennials (Niche.com, April 2014)
  • U-Haul names Austin the sixth U.S. Destination City in 2013 (April 2014)
  • Austin and San Antonio are the two Best Places for Veterans overall. Austin ranks in the top five for veterans starting out, mid-career, and military retirement (United Services Automobile Association, October, 2014)
  • Austin ranks number seven on the list of the world’s most dynamic cities (Jones Lang LaSalle, January, 2014)

If you or someone you know is interested in taking advantage of the hot Austin real estate market, give me a call. 

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