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Romance in Austin – 5 Local Activities for Couples

Just because Austin doesn’t hold the title as the “City of Love” doesn’t mean that it’s not a wonderful setting for romance. In fact, there are plenty of fun and unique activities and adventures for couples! Now that our kids are grown, my husband and I enjoy taking in all this vibrant city has to offer. With so many hidden gems, not to mention popular and trendy places that make for great date nights, I’ve put together this list of my favorites. So here’s to having a romantic Austin experience!

Savor the Best of Breakfast and Lunch

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Don’t wait for dinner to enjoy a special meal with your sweetheart. Brunch at Josephine House, an adorable cottage that offers intimate tables, shady nooks on the patio and a grassy front lawn for lounging. Featuring local products, they serve an eclectic daily menu.

Experience the City’s Natural Beauty

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Famous for its lakes and rivers, it only makes sense to explore Lady Bird Lake. Enjoy a leisurely hand-in-hand stroll or take to the water on kayak or paddle board where teamwork is everything. Don’t forget that if you wait until dusk, you and your love can witness over one million Mexican free-tailed bats emerging from beneath the South Congress Bridge.

Pamper Yourself at a Luxurious Spa

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Escape the hustle and bustle of the city to enjoy the tranquil atmosphere of The Woodhouse Day Spa. We suggest a couple’s massage where two therapists will perform side-by-side to help you both relax while you enjoy each other’s company.

Enjoy a Taste of the Old World

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Sip a classic and distinct concoction at Peche, Austin’s first absinthe bar. Showcasing a selection of pre-Prohibition style cocktails and a curated wine list, this New Orleans-esque space is the perfect place to cozy up with your flame.

Tantalize Your Taste Buds

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The way to someone’s heart is through their stomach after all so delight your beloved with dinner at Red Ash. Savor the amazing craft Italian cuisine such as handmade pasta, locally sourced prime meats roasted on the wood-burning grill or opt for pristine seafood. You won’t be disappointed.

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Coveted Living at 98 San Jacinto #2604

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Welcome to 98 San Jacinto #2604, a spectacular unit on the 26th floor of the coveted southeast corner of the Four Seasons Residences! It features gorgeous lake and city views along with over $500,000 in luxury renovations.

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Buyers familiar with understated, high-quality finishes will appreciate the white oak flooring in both straight and chevron patterns, the ceiling detail, paint and wall finishes throughout. In addition to the Wolf range and under-counter wine refrigerator, enhancements to the gourmet kitchen include stunning Blanco Rhino leathered marble countertops and Ann Sacks Azure tiles.

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The sprawling floor plan allows for nice separation between the three bedrooms and office. Since each room features oversized windows, homeowners will appreciate relaxing each night to the twinkling city lights and moonlight gleaming across Lady Bird Lake. Or they can choose to escape to one of the ensuite bathrooms with walk-in showers and large soaking tub.

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When desiring fresh air and a cool breeze, you don’t need to head down to the ground floor or rooftop deck. Just step onto one of the balconies that effortlessly capture the amazing views. They are ideal when hosting elegant soirees or merely sipping coffee in the morning.

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You’ll also have the added benefits of three parking spaces, a storage unit, and the impeccable concierge services, renowned quality and lavish amenities that go hand-in-hand with the Four Seasons Residences.

5 Ways to Decorate with Blue

The new year is like a blank slate. It’s an opportunity to press the refresh button, whether that be on your social life, personal health journey, career path or something else entirely. So what better time than now to update your home with a fresh, new look?

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photo: 98 San Jacinto #1107

Since you can never go wrong with a touch of blue in your house, plus, we’re partial to it ourselves, we’ve compiled this guide to offer inspiration on how to incorporate this classic hue into your home without breaking the bank.

1. Paint It

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photo: Lynn Chalk, 210 Lee Barton and Saw Nail and Paint

A fresh coat of paint instantly adds flair and life to your space. From statement-making blue kitchen cabinetry to a soothing soft blue wall or vibrantly painted furniture, the options are endless.

2. Furnish It

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photo: Studio McGee, My Domaine and Style by Emily Henderson

From a sofa or dining room chairs to headboards, nightstands and vanities, you can choose to blanket the entire room in this captivating palette or simply decorate with a few select accents. Think easy and affordable by reupholstering chairs and pieces you already own.

3. Accent It

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photo: Bright Bazaar

Artful accents are a budget-friendly way of giving your home a new look. From bedding and drapery to pillows and art, you can mix and match prints, patterns and hues to achieve the desired look.

4. Get Floored

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photo: Lynn Chalk and Urbanism Designs

The flooring throughout your home doesn’t necessarily have to be a natural wood color or crisp while tile. Maybe you decide to retile your bathroom floor with a fun, vibrant pattern, or simply choose to add area rugs.

5. Walls

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photo: Etsy and Zsa Zsa Bellagio

From minimal accents such paintings and murals to extravagant splashes of wallpaper or paint, the walls are a wonderful way to bring in color and personality.

Avant Residential has preferred vendors that can help you in each of these suggested categories. Give us a call so we can help you with your 2019 home décor resolutions!

Experience Downtown Living at 210 Lee Barton #610

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Located just south of the river, 210 Lee Barton at Bridges on the Park gives you the experience of living downtown without the traffic and congestion. Even better, the price per foot is less than just across the river!

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This two bedroom, two bathroom condo sits on the 6th floor of Bridges on the Park. An entry way gives you the option to head straight to the kitchen or find your way to the living room and first bedroom. If you take the kitchen route, you’ll be greeted by a large granite kitchen island. Bosch stainless appliances sit among original cabinets that provide plenty of storage and include sleek modern cabinet pulls.

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From the kitchen, you can see the dining room and living room thanks to the open layout. The floor-to-ceiling windows allow an abundance of light while framing the view of the Hill County, Capitol and Lake Austin. If you want an even better view, step onto the spacious balcony with your favorite book, drink or company.

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Dark wood floors carry throughout the 1,600 square foot home and flow into the two bedrooms that are roomy and full of light. The master suite includes a soaking tub, large tile flooring, and a floor-to-ceiling glass shower. Floating cabinets accompany double sinks and add to the overall modern fill throughout the space.

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210 Lee Barton comes with exceptional amenities such as a private gym, pool and 24/7 concierge service. If you enjoy an outdoor lifestyle, you’re within walking distance of the hike and bike trail as well as many shops and restaurants on South Lamar and Cesar Chavez.

Learning with the Best – Luxury Real Estate Convention

The challenge of the continually evolving real estate business is only one of the aspects that drives Susan Avant, an Austin Portfolio Real Estate agent. With a focus on remaining a million dollar producer and being able to provide the very best service for her clients, Susan regularly attends real estate retreats and seminars throughout the year. Having recently returned from Leaders in Luxury, an event hosted by The Institute for Luxury Home Marketing, we sat down with her to get the latest scoop.

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Where did the luxury retreat take place?

This year, it was in Palos Verdes, California at the Terranea Resort. With breathtaking views of the Pacific Ocean and its relaxed atmosphere, it was the perfect spot to host a luxury event.

What did you enjoy the most about the retreat?

Definitely, the people. It’s always a good way to reconnect with other luxury agents, collaborate with industry leaders and meet new agents from around world.

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What was the main focus of this year’s event?

While there was not a specific theme, the focus was primarily on the shifting economy. We discussed what we can do for our buyers and sellers in order to continue giving them the service they expect while keeping them educated on the market changes that are being seen throughout the country. There were a variety of speakers though that covered topics ranging from marketing ideas to economics and out-of-the-box thinking.

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How will what you learned impact the way you do business now?

It is always beneficial to learn how other agents approach their business. The sharing of ideas, reports and stories to finding out what they have done that works well and what they have tried that was not as successful as they had anticipated is always a valuable tool. I want to keep my business fresh and on the cutting edge, and discover each year that there is always something new to incorporate into my business that will help me better serve my sellers and buyers.

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Why is it important to network with other luxury agents across the country? How valuable are those relationships?

With today’s transitional lifestyle, I frequently have clients needing real estate contacts in other cities here in Texas and even across the globe. Networking with these agents year after year makes it easier to refer my clients because I know they will be well cared for by a knowledgeable, professional agent whom I know personally. It also positions me to receive referrals from agents who know me well.

Were agents from other cities and states curious about the Austin market?

Most were curious about our growth and wondered if our market was slowing like most of the other markets. It was interesting to see the Institute for Luxury Marketing’s reports on the 50 luxury markets. Nearly all have become buyers markets! Austin was one of the few balanced markets, and there were very few markets still in the seller’s favor.

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Networking with other agents across the country and hearing about the market they’re in, what makes Austin stand out so much?

Austin (and Texas) has become a destination for many of the sellers in the other luxury markets due to the job growth here. Other agents are well aware their clients are moving here in record numbers. Many have been to Austin, or want to visit because of the weather, music scene, restaurants and wonderful PR surrounding our city.

Did you stick around to enjoy the sights or was your trip strictly business?

Once the retreat ended, I stayed to enjoy the sights and visit my family. I actually grew up in Palos Verdes so it was fun to be home and catch up with friends and family. It didn’t hurt that the weather was picture perfect either!

Avant in Austin – A Holiday Guide to the City

The holidays are notorious for travel. Whether visiting friends and family on the other side of town or across the globe, being with loved ones is what this time is all about. So if you’re an Austinite who will be playing host or hostess this season, or you’re flying in to the Texas capital to see relatives, we’ve put together a guide to the city that includes more than hot spots in the live music scene. Here’s to a holiday spent enjoying all this vibrant city has to offer!

WHAT TO SEE

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Zilker Holiday Tree

As long as you can navigate the traffic, its always fun to experience the 155 foot tall tree decorated with over 3,000 lights. The annual event kicks off the season of festivities and is open for all ages to enjoy!

The Nutcracker at The Long Center

In its 56th year, the annual production of The Nutcracker never disappoints with the hundreds of talented dancers, beautiful sets and costumes, and score performed live by the Austin Symphony Orchestra.

A Christmas Carol at ZACH Theater

Known as Austin’s most rockin’ holiday tradition, the ZACH adaptation of the Dickens classic fuses the traditional Victorian story with a musical score spanning all genres and eras.

WHAT TO DO

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Walk Lady Bird Lake

Weather permitting, take a stroll along the 10 miles of trails surrounding the lake. Or experience it on bike, kayak (though it might be a little chilly), river cruise and more.

Tour the Capitol

Congress Avenue is so pretty in the evenings so a tour of the Capitol would be perfect! What better way to welcome visitors to Austin than letting them orient themselves through exhibits, film and more.

Explore SoCo or S. Lamar

Shopping and walking is a-must! From the trendy and funky shops and food trailers of South Congress to the low-key lifestyle exemplified on South Lamar, you’ll love exploring the eateries, thrift shops, food trailers, dive bars and more.

WHERE TO DINE

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From Italian and Mexican to seafood and steak, Austin has something for everyone and every craving when it comes to cuisine.

Red Ash

Influenced by the culinary traditions of Northern and Southern Italy, this place is my absolute favorite! Reservations are a-must during the holidays.

Vespaio

Driven wholly by handmade and locally-sourced ingredients, Vespaio creates charcuterie, fresh pasta, breads, desserts and cheese in house, along with offering French and Italian wines from boutique, family owned and small production producers.

Siena

Nestled in the beautiful Hill Country northwest of downtown, this is a romantic destination for wine and upscale, seasonal Tuscan plates.

ATX Cocina

Experimenting with the boundaries of Mexican cuisine, ATX Cocina takes traditional dishes and elevates them with modern techniques and approaches.

The Driskill

A historic landmark of Texas hospitality, The Driskill houses a Grill, Bar, Cafe and Bakery. They all offer rich, flavorful culinary delights but the tea is especially good during the holidays!

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Caroline Restaurant

This all-day local spot serves homemade breakfast, lunch, dinner and to-go along with hand-selected coffee blends and housemate baked goodies and juice.

Guero’s Taco Bar

This taco bar is a vibrant part of South Austin with their hand-shaken margaritas, salsa bar, Mexican beer and interior Mexican food with a hint of Tex-Mex.

Blue Dahlia Bistro

This European-style restaurant strives to serve fresh food using local and organic ingredients whenever possible.

Eddie V’s

Enjoy a vast array of fresh seafood, like raw oysters and Pacific Ahi Tuna, made from the freshest ingredients.

Maudie’s Cafe

For 25 years, they’ve been serving up quintessential Tex-Mex with hand-prepared dishes and fresh-squeezed juices daily.

Magnolia Cafe

Though the menu offers many gems of the past, their recipes continue evolving to try new things such as herbed feta spread and more.

WHERE TO DRINK

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What’s better than a relaxing cocktail to celebrate the holidays? My go-to cocktail is a dry Sapphire martini, although an espresso martini is also high on the list. I usually opt for a good, full bodied cabernet though. Here are a few of my personal favorite spots to sip a spirited drink.

Peche

Austin’s first absinthe bar, this New Orleans-esque space offers French comfort food and craft cocktails, many of which have absinthe.

Live Oak Bar

Located at the Four Seasons, their inventive cocktails and Guadalajara-inspired menu combines with the best views in the city for a genuinely Austin experience.

WHERE TO SHOP

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Whether you’re shopping for a friend or loved one, the following stores should be able to help you cross most off your list. If it’s a hostess gift you’re searching for, a nice bottle of red or white wine is generally a good choice. When I don’t know their inclination, I will bring sparkling rose or champagne. For a non-alcoholic gift, you could get anything from candles and coasters to towels or an ornament since it’s the holidays.

The Domain

Situated in a beautiful park-like setting and town square atmosphere, this retail development offers 700,000 square feet of restaurants and upscale shops including Neiman-Marcus, Tiffany and Co., Louis Vuitton and more.

The Garden Room

You never know what exactly you’ll find but you know it will be chic. Each season, The Garden Room brings in new designers and trends that compliment the mainstays.

Breed & Company

From hardware and garden supplies to some of the finest tableware, kitchenware and seasonal decor, this small, locally-owned and operated hardware store is a member of the largest independently owned hardware cooperative in the industry, Ace Hardware.

Personally Yours

This boutique offers everything from wedding invitations, monogramming, stationery, wedding gifts, clothing, jewelry and more!s

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If you’re looking for something you won’t find anywhere else, look no further. From whimsical and fun to distinguished and fine, they offer a kaleidoscope of gift ideas that make for a unique and pleasurable shopping experience.

A Gift of Thanks

It’s so easy to get caught up in our busy schedules that we miss out on the things that really matter in life – our family and friends. That’s why it’s so important to take moments to pause and appreciate all the blessings we have in our lives.

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As John F. Kennedy said, “We must find time to stop and thank the people who make a difference in our lives.” So that’s exactly what we at Avant Residential Group did last year and plan to continue doing for the years ahead.

It was around this time last year that Whittney and I started looking for a way to thank our clients for their wonderful support and business, as well as all the referrals they have sent us throughout the years. We agreed that hosting an event that would allow everyone to take something away that they could share with others around Thanksgiving would be the perfect fit!

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Having discovered Tootie’s pies years before, and knowing I wasn’t their only fan (they’ve won a host of awards and accolades), we decided that was our answer. Since the pies are frozen, we knew our clients would be able to transport them out of town for the holidays or save them for a special occasion if they wanted.

With our real estate office undergoing renovations, we contacted Heritage Title Company and ended up holding our event at their location.

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The pies were delicious (we’ve even had a couple of clients call in the past year asking for their contact information), but being able to see our clients and catch up with them in a casual setting was fantastic. What made it even better was when they brought their children! It was so fun to see how much they had grown and to hear what they were doing now. In all, everyone seemed to enjoy themselves, and hearing from them after they had shared their pies was an added bonus.

We are definitely looking forward to this year’s event at our Austin Portfolio office and hope to have even more people come by! Keep your eyes and ears open for more details to come.