Charles Maund Toyota – Used Car Sales Review

Austin Toyota Car Dealership Review – Charles Maund Toyota

Look what we have sitting in our garage:

That is our 2010 Toyota Prius.  Used, but new to us.

We just picked it up yesterday and are pretty happy with the car….the dealership? Well, that remains to be seen. You see, when my wife got home she realized they only gave us ONE KEY! I was pretty shocked, since I just dropped $19k on a car and would expect to have at least a key for myself.  Well, needless to say I called the dealership today and our sales guy, Chad, mentioned he would “talk to his manager” and try to work it out for me.

My other beef is their $150 detail job:

SERIOUSLY?!

The first picture is our missing cupholder from the center armrest.  It would have been nice for them to have placed one in there for us.

The second picture are crumbs from my kids when they were eating in the back seat during the test drive.  Or in other words, a strategic test to see if it would be cleaned up in the so-called “detail job” that would follow.  I can always count on my kids for crumbs.

The third picture is some nasty brown spots in the passenger side.  Wouldn’t a $150 detail job include shampooing the upholstery?

 

A bit disappointed, but I’m hoping they can fix this.  My follow up call is tomorrow, let’s see if they do the right thing….

…..(to be continued)
BTW, Here’s the car we replaced after getting “sandwiched” between two cars after being rear-ended. (bimmer, you will be missed):

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jan 29th Update:

Well, after talking with Chris, he was able to get me the extra key and floormats that were promised.  However, this came at the expense of getting a real detailing job that involves *gasp* carpet cleaning!  So, I took the key and decided to have my friend help with the carpets.  Anyway, my experience is still such that I wouldn’t recommend them to anybody who is looking for excellent service.  Good price, yes, but just be careful and deal with Chris and not Chad.

 

A Lesson on Community: Homestead Heritage in Elm Mott, Texas

While many people stood in line with a Black Friday-induced determination to pick up a few deals, the Lui family threw our tent, sleeping bags and cots into the minivan and headed 1 hour north to Elm Mott, Texas. We had a different determination: Eat lots of good food and enjoy the the Homestead Fair while camping with a few friends.

The weather was awesome when we left and I threw up the tent while wearing shorts and a t-shirt.  However, by the time we left, the weather was in the 30’s and I had as many smokey campfire-smelling layers of clothes as I could put on.  Good thing we also packed our friend, Mr. Buddy, to keep us warm at night.

The Homestead Fair showcases a community who want to preserve the timeless values and sustainability principles that used to be soprevalent in our society.  It’s like going back to the “Little House on the Prairie” Days.  I’ve never seen so many people take pride in the things they make:  Fresh cheeses, handcrafted wrought iron and wooden furniture, pottery, quilts and anything else you can think of…all homemade and done in a way that is sustainable.  The thing I like the most is their rain water collection system and gristmill that is powered by a waterfall.

I like the idea of sustainability because it plays an important role in disaster preparation.  The one lesson that is easily missed when visiting the Homestead Heritage is that the community of people is what makes sustainability work.  All of the delicious organically grown food and items made from Master craftsman are only possible because families come together to serve one another.

We came to camp here with some friends in our small group at church.  It’s great that we have a community in our small group and to a larger extent, our church, that will rally around us when a crisis hits.  And if a local emergency affects us all, we won’t be surviving alone.  What’s more important than being able to live “off the grid” and have storehouses of food and water is a community of people that love and care for you.

 

Would you be prepared in an emergency?  Do you have this type of community in your life?

All the believers were together and had everything in common.  Selling their possessions and goods, they gave to anyone as he had need. Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts,praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved. Acts 2:44-47

My Community in Georgetown, Texas:  Hill Country Bible Church Small Group


Got more ideas?  Start a discussion on our facebook page:  www.YourFavoriteHOMEboy.com and share them!

Your Favorite HOMEboy, Edward

 

Read more articles on the topic “It’s the End of the World as We Know It”

The one commodity you can’t live without:  Water

A Lesson on Community:  Homestead Heritage in Elm Mott, Texas

 


Campout Comparison: Jim Hogg Park VS Berry Springs Park

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Camping in Georgetown, Texas

Every year the Lui Family has a family reunion that we usually fly to.  This year we decided that we would take the money we usually spend on 5 airline tickets and a rental car and invest it in camping gear.  Our plan was to finally use our minivan for a long distance trip and camp along the way now that the kids are a bit older.  It is also a chance for us to create some memories and adventure with our children.

So to prepare for the camping trip, over the past 2 months we’ve camped locally to “test drive” our camping equipment (and the kids) and find out where we come up short.

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Jim Hogg Park in Georgetown, Texas

lake-georgetown-synder-familylake-georgetown-sabrinaWe went to Jim Hogg Park two months ago and it was sweltering hot.  The scenery was nice, lots of trees, but also lots of cedar, and I found myself sneezing my nose

off.  Our friends rented a kayak and we spent some time in the water with the kayak to cool off a bit.  We also made it a point to camp next to the bathrooms since the kiddos would be making trips quite frequently.

Surprisingly the bathrooms were decently clean and every campsite had overhead cover over a picnic table.  The convenient thing about Jim Hogg Park is that you can have a water pump and an electrical outlet at your campsite.  Having electricity is nice for small luxuries like having a fan inside your tent.  Or if you’re like 90% of the campers out there, for plugging in your yuppie RV and pretend to camp.

Bathroom Cleanliness:  7 – clean, but lots of bugs hanging out just waiting to be squashed

Kid Friendly:  8 – Quite a bit of traffic since the campsite was so large; but having electricity and water close-by was a huge plus; Lake Georgetown also provides a great venue for many different activities

Overall:  7 – Although a convenient campsite (close to HEB in case you forget anything), it seemed more geared towards RVs, 5th wheels and pop up campers and not for tent camping.  I felt like I was in an RV park more then a campsite.

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Berry Springs Park in Georgetown, Texas

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A month after that trip, we went out again with our camping buddies, Brett and Lorree, but this time to the eastside of Georgetown at Berry Springs Park.  Although it was later in the summer, the weather was benefitting from a cool front and amazingly we were the only campers that day! Autumn and I liked this location better, it didn’t have the ruggedness that Jim Hogg had, nor did it have the cedars.  More of a park-like setting, but still with plenty of large Pecan trees to provide some nice shade.  The bathrooms were hotel-caliber clean (not motel 6 hotel).  The only downside to these sites, was that there was not a water and electricity source at each campsite.  Not a big deal, and just another excuse to buy cool camping gadgets and tools to compensate.

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Bathroom Cleanliness:  9 – Almost Ritz-Carlton hotel caliber; I can’t give it a 10 though because I’ve never been to the Ritz.

Kid Friendly:  8 – Not as much traffic, since there aren’t as many campsites as Jim Hogg…maybe it was also because we were the only campers there.  However, there is a playground close by and a donkeys that you can feed your leftovers to.  Lack of electricity and water….big deal, the bathroom is so close by and that’s what lanterns are for.

Overall:  8 – We really liked the picturesque setting, and it just felt really peaceful and relaxing out here.  Lots of shade trees and seemed more “tent-friendly” due to the lack of electricity at each campsite.

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Coopers Old Time Pit BBQ in Llano, TX

We made a family trip out to Coopers Old Time Pit BBQ in Llano, TX a few weeks ago and our friends Brett and Lisa came with us.  We decided to go easy and not over-order like we normally do.  We picked a variety of their meats for comparison purposes and overall the meal was pretty good, sausage was better then Snow’s BBQ, but nothing was really “out of the ballpark” for me.  No disappointments, but no “wow” factor either…just good ‘ole dependable BBQ.  Afterwards, we hung out at the Llano River Bridge for some rock-throwing and picture-taking.

Coopers is just about 1 hour and a few minutes away from Georgetown and is an easy drive down Hwy 29.  Check it out and feel free to share your comments on how you feel this place compares with others!  The readers of this blog would love to hear your opinion!  Check out the pictures below:

Looking for information on Georgetown Texas Homes For Sale? Visit my website or call me anytime!! Want the latest updates on Georgetown Texas Real Estate, news and latest developments? Sign up for the blog by clicking the link below:

Snow’s Barbeque – We love it for the BBQ Pork and Ribs

dsc_8489At 9:30am I called Snow’s Barbeque to find out their hours and the guy on the phone says, “They’re going fast!”  The restaurant closes whenever they run out of BBQ, which is usually noon at the latest.  I tell him that I’m coming with 3 kids and ask him to save me some BBQ and so he takes  a quick order and tells me to see Sarah when I get there.   We pile in the minivan and head off to our weekend day trip:  Snow’s BBQ in Lexington, Texas for what Texas Monthly in 2008 calls the “Best BBQ in Texas.”

At 10:15am we got to Taylor and took a rinky dink “shortcut” called FM 112 towards Lexington.  The whole trip is about an hour from Georgetown, Texas so it makes for an easy day trip.

When we got there, the line was already formed but the wait really wasn’t too bad.  We stocked up on our order to make sure we could try everything they had on the menu.  We sat down outdoors and stuffed ourselves with pure, smokey goodness.  Fatty brisket, pork ribs, sausage….and some side dishes to reduce the “meat-guilt” of eating too much barbeque.  Autumn and I loved the way they cooked their pork.  As a 10 year resident of Germany, I’m very picky about the way pork is cooked and how it tastes.  This may not be your typical compliment, but the guys at Snow’s cook pork like Germans!  Das is Gut!

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We had plenty of leftovers to take home, wrapped up beautifully in some large pieces of foil.  I also got to take a picture with Pitmaster Tootsie:)

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Afterwards, we were told about a cattle auction right around the corner, so we had some fun listening to the auctioneer talk a mile a minute and then went out on the catwalk to see more cows then I’ve ever seen in my life.

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We had a great time and the food was excellent.  If you want to know what makes Texas famous for BBQ, make sure you stop by Snow’s ya hear!?

Check out this Smoker!

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Georgetown Village Flier – Door-to-Door in Georgetown, Texas

The weather is nice.

Walking is good.

Kids need to learn the value of work and earning money.

I need to do real estate marketing.

All of that adds up to our newest monthly LUI FAMILY TRADITION – Deliver real estate fliers door-to-door!

The Task: There are about 400 homes in my neighborhood in Georgetown Village and it takes my family of 5 about 1 hour/100 fliers.

The Method: I am on foot and I carry the fliers in my shoulder bag. Joshua is on the scooter, Chloe is on the bike and Autumn pushes Sabrina in anything that has wheels.  In the newer development, where houses are spread apart, we load up in the minivan.

The Loot: I pay the kids 5 cents per flier.  That’s a ton less then postage!

The Side Benefits: 1 hour of family time, walking in great Texas weather.  Teaching kids about work ethic and simple math.

Check out this month’s and last month’s flier below:

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Looking for information on Georgetown Texas Homes For Sale? Visit my website or call me anytime!! Want the latest updates on Georgetown Texas Real Estate, news and latest developments? Sign up for the blog by clicking the link below:

Wink Restaurant in Austin, Texas

100_8158Last week I took my wife to Austin for a date…complete with babysitting and everything:)  We were going to go to one of our favorite restaurants in Austin, Texas:  Wink

The last time we were here, we saw the sampler menu and thought, “Gee, this looks yummy!  And it’s only $65 for all this food!”  For some retarded reason, we thought it would feed the both of us.  Over an hour later, to our surprise, we got the bill and it was $65 per person!  So needless to say that meal was memorable in many ways.

There were two items that left an impression on us so we decided to order them again:  The Scallops and the Foie Gras.  Disclaimer:  These pictures were taken with my dinky point and shoot in a very dimly lit restaurant.  So they are bad pictures.


Seared Dayboat Scallops with mixed bell peppers, Italian roma beans and shellfish veloute:

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These scallops are unlike anything you’ve ever tasted.  They’re velvety smooth in the inside and have so much more flavor then those dinky scallops you normally see in restaurants.  The difficult thing to do is to cook these right.  You undercook them and they’re too fishy, you overcook them and they’re too tough.  These were done perfectly.  You can order this as an appetizer or a meal.  Since Autumn and I were splitting everything, we got the meal size for $29.  Too much of this can be a little overwhelming, so make sure you share and don’t be greedy.  Or just ask the waiter for more bread.

Seared Foie Gras on brioche with pickled rhubarb, black pepper strawberries, and almonds:

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Now this was an appetizer…but for $22, it sure wasn’t priced like one.  If you’ve never had foie gras, you’ve got to taste it at this restaurant.  It’s full of flavor and just melts in your mouth.  Why do they give you so little of it?  It must be bad for you that’s why.  I’m not even sure I know what it is.  Something about fat and liver is what Autumn told me.  Hey, it’s French, what can I say?  Just eat it and quit worrying.

Word of advice: Get reservations.  I thought I could just mozy on in the restaurant, but good thing I called.  The guy on the phone told me I had a choice of 6:30 PM or 9:30 PM.  Gee, thanks for the choices.  We went for 6:30 PM and decided to catch a Realtor event afterwards.  We didn’t eat too much here because there was supposed to be food at the following event (turned out that there wasn’t much there either).  When you get to Wink, they also usually give you a little pre-meal tasting of something they made to whet your appetite.  This time Autumn and I got to try some Ginger tea with a Ginger snap cookie.  Impressive, I know.  What’s impressive about these restaurants is how they can serve you so little and give you the silliest things and yet they taste so good and seem to cost so much.  In the end, is it worth it?  Well remember, we came back for a second time…and considering that we only had a choice of two reservation times that night… other people come back as well.
At the Realtor event, the food was pretty lame, but check out the fire dancer!

No more Lui bachelors

It’s good to be back in Texas!  After spending about 2 1/2 weeks in California on a family vacation, It’s good to be back where it’s 30 degrees hotter, I sneeze because of the allergies and I’m now back burning the midnight oil in my business.  Yet it’s still home, and I missed it.

My youngest brother, Edwin, finally got married in California and so now there are no more bachelors in my immediate family. Everybody in my wife’s family is hitched too. I’ll be posting pictures soon, but all of that vacationing has made me pretty quiet on the blog-front. For more regular updates, check out my Facebook page: www.YourFavoriteHomeboy.com and become a Fan!

~Edward

Mel’s Lone Star Lanes: Comfy chairs, sports bar and shuffle board…at a bowling alley?

Mel’s Lone Star Lanes in Georgetown Texas

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Yeah, not your typical bowling alley, Mel’s Lone Star Lanes in Georgetown, Texas is probably the nicest bowling alley I’ve ever been too.  And I’ve been to a lot!

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I went here last week to spend some family time and we had a blast.  We took along our friend Claire and we paid for an hours worth of bowling.  If I had to do it over again, I might have chosen to just pay per game since we took so long to bowl with 4 kids!  Anyway, keep that in mind when you come here:  Paying hourly is great if you’re going to be bowling some quick games, but if you have the kiddos, you might want to opt for the pay-per-game option. They have a large selection of balls so your 5 year old won’t be stuck with a 12 pounder, and the shoes here are all pretty new since this place just opened.  I brought my own shoes though, since I’m cool.

Unlike many old-school bowling alleys, you don’t have to stick some cumbersome object into the lanes, but rather the rampbumpers come out automatically depending on how you set up the system.  This is nice, because you can have an adult bowl, without the bumpers, and then right before a small child bowls, the bumpers can automatically extend outward. They also give you this ramp that the kids can just stick the ball on and push it down into the alley. This helps the kids get better results and is much more productive then watching a 6 lb. bowling ball slowly (and painfully) creep down the alley until it stops in the middle and you have to call a service guy to fetch it.  Go for the ramp, that way your 18 month old can bowl, like my daughter Sabrina in the picture:)

Another nice feature here is the service.  You can order your food/drinks without having to stand in line.  Just push the service button and a waiter comes out and takes your order.  Every time we come here, we usually get the sweet potato fries.  They come out hot and tasty!  They have the usual bowling alley fare:  pizza, sandwiches and salads and some other stuff.

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After our game, we walked through the sports bar, CJ’sgirls, and played a game of shuffleboard.  They have two shuffleboard tables and some pool tables too.  They also have an arcade on the other side of the bowling alley for the kiddos.  I like bowling at CJ’s because they’ve replaced the hard bowling alley seats, that we’re all used to, and instead there are some nice couches!  If you’ve ever wanted to know what it would be like to have a bowling alley in your home, this is it!  There are also more big screen flat panel TV’s in this bowling alley then Circuit City!  How relaxing is it to watch TV, check on your bowling score and munch on your sweet potato fries all from the same spot?

If you’re looking for something to do in the city of Georgetown, Texas, check out Mel’s Lone Star Lanes and put down those nunchuck controllers from your Nintendo Wii bowling game.  The crashing sound of the bowling ball with the pins just doesn’t sound the same from your television!  Speaking of video games, sometimes we take the kids here just for the arcade to kill some time:)  This place is clean and it’s never really been too crowded when we come here.  tvsCheck it out for yourself and let me know what your experience is!  I love reader interaction on this blog so please comment below!

Looking for information on Georgetown Texas Homes For Sale? Visit my website or call me anytime!! Want the latest updates on Georgetown Texas Real Estate, news and latest developments? Sign up for the blog by clicking the link below:

Louies 106 – My Autumn’s Day Experience

This post is a little late, but it’s a restaurant review nonetheless.

Autumn and I don’t celebrate Valentine’s Day anymore, we celebrate Autumn’s Day which is the day before.  Awww, how romantic I know.  However, as we were driving into Austin to celebrate a day early there was a TON of traffic heading into the city at the same time!  Hmm, looks like the rest of the world has their own “Autumn’s Day.”

This year we decided to double date with our good friends David and Melissa and we headed down to Louie’s 106.

Here are the two happy couples:

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David and Melissa have two children, Claire and Jonah, and they play well with our three kids:  Joshua, Chloe and Sabrina.  We’re just happy to be friends with ANYONE who has kids that will play with ours:)  But Claire is the best when it comes to watching Chloe and Joshua so that Autumn can have a sane moment during the day.    What would we do without her?!dsc_4917

Back to the food: We tried the crispy calamari with red pepper rouille and roasted garlic aioli (not pictured), Prince Edward Island Mussels and House made mesquite smoked salmon for appetizers.

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For our main course, we ordered The original Baby Louie’s Hot and Crunchy Trout, some meat dish (my memory is fading fast), and creme brulee for dessert:

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Notice that somebody (ahem, Autumn), couldn’t wait for me to take a picture before diving into the dessert!  This was a fun place to go and the presentation, as you can tell from the pictures, was very nice.  The Prince Edward Island Mussels were my favorite as they reminded me of our honeymoon when we went to Prince Edward Island and had these for the very first time.

This is another great Austin restaurant located in the heart of downtown.  They have valet parking and accept resrvations!  My only gripe?  Well, I made reservations and indicated that it was also for the celebration of David and Melissa’s anniversary (which it was) and I was hoping they would have given us a free dessert or at least mentioned it to them.  Nothing happened…maybe it was because we had already ordered dessert or maybe because it was super busy that night.  Nonetheless, great food at decent prices.  Check it out and let me know what you think!  Have you been here before?  I love reader interaction, please comment!

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