We Signed a 5 Month Lease: Enter Happy Dance and Anxiety

We just signed a 5-month lease in Austin. This would normally be considered a short lease for most, but we haven’t signed a lease more than 1 month long in over a year and ½. This is a BIG F-IN deal!

As my shocked friends said, “You’re putting down some serious roots!”

  
I could say that we got bored of the adventure or tired of not having a home to call a home. But I’d be lying.

In fact, we had been planning leaving Austin for about 2 months during the summer. You know, when it gets to be 100 degrees every day, and it’s unbearable. There’s honestly no reason we wanted to be in Austin during the summer.

But, I can’t always have my cake and eat it too. Or in this case, have an entrepreneur man and travel like we hoped this summer. Trust me, I’m not actually complaining on this one!!

For work reasons, Man simply couldn’t leave like we had thought. If we wanted to be planning for our future, we had to hang back for a while.

So, we’re pressing PAUSE. To be continued soon… 

I have mixed emotions. They range from complete excitement to complete anxiety: What if I get comfortable again? What if I like having a home, home again? What if we don’t go back to the adventure? It’s terrifying to me because I had been in a big rut before we started and I want nothing to do with that rut again.

To keep the momentum going of not getting myself in old patterns, I’ve started a 30 day challenge: do 1 things I’ve never done before each day. This is way harder than I expected.

So the good news! Yes, there is good news!

I love my house. I mean, I really, really love my house.

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  • It’s in the BEST location – My favorite ‘hood in Austin: Clarksville. We actually stayed in the garage apartment behind this house before, so we are already very familiar with how much we both love the area.
  • It feels like a home: I have a dining room table! A real one. AND a kitchen nook. AND French doors. AND a living room with a couch and 2 chairs. Woah, woah, I know. I don’t want to get ahead of myself, it’s still a small home, but it feels huge in comparison to many homes the past year and 1/2 .

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  • I’m digging the décor. It came furnished and it’s cozy and well done. This makes me a very happy camper because all of my furnishings are either in a storage unit or tossed from the flood in our storage unit. That was fun.
  • Kitty! I GET TO HAVE FLUFFBALL! She’s the sweetest cat ever and I miss her SO much when she’s at my mom’s (when we can’t keep her). She’s so happy at her new house and likes to chase her toys and then slide across the hard wood floor. Hilarious. I just want to snuggle her all day everyday. She does not feel the same.

  

  • I don’t have to move for 5 months. That’s pretty exciting in itself. We don’t want to quit the LifeVenture outside of Austin, but we’re exhausting a lot of our options for Austin. And moving just to move is NOT fun.
  • I can play catch up. I spent the past 7 months starting a new company (Reset Retreat), maintained my current company (Pigtail Media), traveled like crazy and became a bit of a crazy person because of it. I’m able to actually spring clean, go to doctors, get my car fixed, organize the office, etc. It’s bringing some calm to my life I didn’t realize I needed.

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If you are in the Clarksville area, let’s grab a drink at Clark’s Oyster Bar or Winflow – my neighbors – or come visit! I actually have a place for you to sit now.

This property is managed by Diane Dopson, who we really have enjoyed working with! They have great rental properties – both short and longterm.  

Where the Skies Really Are Bigger: West Texas

West Texas actually surprised me. Other than Marfa, Big Bend National Park and the Observatory, I had no desire to visit the nothingness of West Texas, which for you non Texans is about the size Colorado. I’m all about exploring, but it’s almost faster to get on a plane and visit Rio than it is to get to Big Bend. However, a unique opportunity to work remotely and spend time with The Man came into the picture. My company Pigtail Media specializes in experiential, social media marketing for the travel and hotel industry, so traveling can actually be very productive. People see photos and must think I never work, and as lovely as that sounds, it’s not even close to the truth. In fact, I could use some help with my addiction to work.

No filter.

No filter.

But, plugged in as I am, weeks like this remind me I’m tremendously grateful to be able to take my work anywhere.

Friends married with an incredible backdrop.

Friends married with an incredible backdrop.

The Man was launching The Beer in West Texas and had a beer conference in Colorado. He spent a week traveling From Texas to Colorado while I stayed in Austin for a required meeting. I then flew to meet him in Tuscon for a wedding at a Dude Ranch.

The past month ½ had been filled with intense work. Like the kind that you just have to remember to put one foot in front of the other and have faith you are actually moving. So taking 2 days to chill on a Dude Ranch was much needed to have a quick reset. Cool factor: It was actually the ranch where Nickelodeon’s Dude Ranch was filmed. I LOVED that show: probably because it was basically a show where they managed a hotel. Funny how things align years later. Double cool factor: We spotted a super rare Gila Monster. SO COOL!

Alpine, Texas. 3 days

Sunday we made the long drive to Alpine from Tuscon. I had no knowledge of the town prior. As in I didn’t even Google where it was. On the way, we had to drive through El Paso (which I have been to), but the highway required us to follow along the Rio Grande for about :45 min due to construction. Stop and go traffic on an 8 hr drive is … awesome. Annoying, but it gave us a unique opportunity to really take in Mexico on the other side of the massive fence. We were complaining about traffic, while shanty homes littered the hillside a mere 300 yards away. Slap of a reality? Yeah, I think so.

Alpine, Texas

Alpine, Texas

Once we finally arrived in the dot-of-a-town, Alpine, we were greeted with a blast from history: It felt like we were in an old western movie. The historic hotel is known to be haunted. Here’s a little fun fact about me: I’ve always been completely interested in ghosts and mysteries, but I’m terrified I will someday see one and I will never be able to sleep again. The Man didn’t know the second piece. And so, as I try to go to sleep, he starts in with, “What’s that shadow? Did you hear that noise? It must be the ghosts! Ooooo. Boooo. Spooky!” Let’s just say that between the train outside our window going by 4 times a night and the fear I would crack open one eye to find wrinkled-up-cowboy-ghost beside my bed, I didn’t sleep much that week.

Besides the “hauntings,” the place was actually quite great. I set up “Pigtail Media headquarters” for the week in the room. The Internet was pretty spotty at times -meaning one wireless supplier manages most of the town, and well, they went down. So essentially the majority of the town had no internet for a day.). I held one conference call in the freezing cold one morning because that was the one place I could get a signal. Ish. Ok, it was like 45 degrees, but I only had one light sweater – It’s Texas! I had no idea it would be cold.) Another video conference call had me worried a ghost was going to walk in the frame. I’m sure those on the other end loved my frequent checks behind me.

The stories from the locals were somethin’ else. Truly amazing in all honesty. Tales of real struggle. But also of finding peace, finding themselves, and just being. Staying a few days let me settle into the feel. I took the time to chat with everyone I could to learn about them.

But this was definitely a small town, and I was happy as a pea to move along to the next town and adventure after a few days. One local put it well, “Marfa is way smaller. See, they only have 1 grocery store and 1 dollar store. Alpine has two of EACH. Much bigger!

Before heading out, we visited the University of Texas McDonald Observatory. I saw one of the most amazing shooting stars of my life. The skies in Texas really are bigger, and I think they might be bigger in West Texas. So here we were, 5 hours or so from a city life in one of the least populated places in the US, and I run into a person I previously worked with on a week-long project in Toronto 6 years ago. The world is a crazy-small place.

Marfa, Texas – 1 day

Marfa is a town of 2,000 and it’s in the middle of nowhere. I mean nowhere. Yet, like a local told me, you could be in the middle of New York and ask anyone in the art scene if they new Marfa and chances would be high they’d know. This place is now a haven for art. Probably the most famous “landmark” is the Prada stand-alone “store,” which is an art exhibit, though it’s technically not even in Marfa.

I’m not sure I “got” Marfa – In the way most people “get it.” It was amazing to me, but it was more about the locals and the awe-inspiring landscape, which is not the story I had heard. However, I think when events come through, maybe it’s a different story.

El Cosmico

El Cosmico

I finally got to see what El Cosmico was all about! The “glamping” – Glamour Camping – hotel, from the extremely creative Liz Lambert. She is also owner of San Jose in Austin among along other boutiques. I desperately wanted to stay in the one of their teepees – my mother spent some time in a teepee before I was born, and I felt like I should experience something like that … but in the comfort of a hotel-like situation. Unfortunately all teepees, tents, trailers and yurt were booked. This was the middle of the week. Crazy. I was able to get a personalized tour, which was really special to me.

We stayed at Thunderbird Hotel, which also has Liz Lambert’s design spin on it. While she no longer owns it, it still has her unique touch. Adored it! I met with the GM who happened to be born and raised in Marfa. The stories she shared of the changing town, and her intense love for the tiny community warmed my heart. She knew how to enjoy the little moments and good people life gives us. I wanted to take her back to Austin.

You wouldn’t expect a dot on the map to hold a high dollar restaurant, but never fear, you can easily spend $100 + on dinner here. I must say, it was delicious and the surrounding was perfect.

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If you’re never heard of the Marfa lights (unexplained lights 1st spotted in the late 1800’s that are still deemed a mystery by researchers), it’s worth a read. Long story short, we didn’t see them, but enough cowboys and Rough Rider-likes shared very difference stories with us. Enough to convince me something is not normal out there.

Lajitas – 2 days

Lajitas Resort is, once again, in the middle of nowhere. See this pattern? Texas is big, ya’ll. We passed zero towns for an hour getting here from Presidio, Tx. Zero homes. Zero cows. Not a bar of service. Zilch. Nada. The road followed the Rio Grande for magnificent views in every direction.

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Mexico border in the distance.

 

The resort is on the banks of the Rio Grande and has all the modern conveniences. No potential ghosts or unexplained Marfa lights here, but wow does it have views.

The best office view I've ever had.

The best office view I’ve ever had.

Officially, this was one of the best views I’ve had from “my office.” I sat on the verandah with Mexico in the background and video conferenced with my Reset Retreat partners, one in Portland and one in Croatia. Technology blows my mind sometimes.

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Rio Grande

There were not a lot of options for food, but luckily one included eating in a ghost town up the road about :15 min in a new direction. Terlingua was a Ghost Town, but now holds the Star light Theatre (also a restaurant), a coffee shop and a few scattered residences and businesses. Ruins surround the rest of the area. It’s a special little place. And if you’re out there someday, order yourself a Guns and Oil beer under the stars. I hear they have ‘em out there.

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Terlingua cemetery

 

Big Bend – 1 long day

Highlights:

We hiked about 9 miles and drove about 175 miles … in a day. My kind of Saturday adventure. There is so much to share, so I’ll leave it to a few pictures.

Incredible Mother Nature.

Incredible Mother Nature.

We hiked inside a Rio Grande canyon.

Rio Grande Canyon

Handstand in the canyon of the Rio Grande.

We took a long hike up to one of the most beautiful 360 degree views I’ve ever seen. And I’m from Washington State: I’ve seen my fair share of them. This was breathtaking and we only passed a few people the entire time.

Magnificent views.

Magnificent views.

We ended up at the Hot Springs hanging half way into the Rio Grande just as the sun was setting. It could not have been more perfect timing. 7 other people from Austin were also there – one a survivalist, which made for unique conversations. The Beer made a celebratory cameo as we cheered the West Texas launch. Everything was quiet. Unbelievingly quiet. Except for the storm water rolling by in the Rio Grande a foot away. And then a million stars came out.

Hot springs along the Rio Grande River

Hot springs along the Rio Grande River

A two-hour drive back that night, ended us in Marathon at the historic Gage Hotel where I could have spent another few days. To be back by Monday morning workweek, it was on the road again to Austin for a month in the South Congress area!

If you ever get a chance to visit Big Bend and West Texas, be prepared for skies bigger than you can imagine and a chance to enjoy nature and really appreciate the individual sitting right next to you.

-Cierra

South 1st Street: Home # 17

16 Austin homes later, we still hadn’t stayed in the Boudlin Creek area (South Congress/South First, etc.), minus our very first home experience when we started our LifeVenture. We were only there 5 days, so while it was certainly an experience – boy was it an experience – we didn’t get settled into the neighborhood at all.

After so many homes, you’d think we’d been to every ‘hood in the city, but nope. One of the best areas had only been an appetizer.

Duration: 1 month
Location: South 1st Street (across from Sway and the food trailers – about 4 blocks from the heart of South Congress district)

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We decided to continue another month living with our friends who had just moved to Austin. Because of this, we got a larger home than normal, which was a nice change. Bigger being relative, but still. It had multiple rooms. I know, living the spacious life.

This month was the most fast paced month in my entire year. (I would use the word busy, but I treat busy as a dirty word because I used to say it in place of thoughtful comments. “How are you doing? Ohhh I’m sooo busy.” Blah blah big deal. We’ll all busy.) But, in all honesty. I was busy as hell.

My company, Pigtail Media, was involved in a boutique hotel conference in Vegas one week and then I went to Belize for a mega intense work research trip the following week for Reset Retreat. There was little breathing room for relaxation or anything other than putting my head down and focusing on making the most of incredible opportunities before, during and after. It was also the most inspiring and productive week of my year if not the past 4 years. It did make it more difficult to enjoy the home, though. But that’s ok.

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Here are some highlights:

Patios, patios and more patios. 3 separate areas in all. The weather was starting to change, so we were able to make use of awesome patio space. Lots of great dinners outside with great people! Thanks “Jaden” for your amazing cooking and keeping us healthy. I also really enjoyed sitting on the patio in the morning and getting started with work early – then seeing the world wake up and get started around me. I don’t know why, but I absolutely loved this.

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One massive bathtub. This wasn’t in our room – why you put a gigantuous claw foot tub in the guest bedroom confuses this bath-loving girl. I do mean gigantuous. The top of the tub line went up to my neck. Now, I’m small, but that’s a big tub.

I had a few days with the house to myself after the crazy travel schedule to light some candles, grab a good book, and eh, almost flood the bathroom. Twice. It turns out this massive tub was also the fastest filling tub in history. Crisis averted in the nick of time. Bath fully enjoyed.

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Really cool doors, when they were there: So, this house had some strange quirks…like a strange roundabout hallway instead of a door to the master suite. The doors that were there were ridiculously cool. (Another worthy quirky mention: the two half sized fridges instead of one big one, even though it was a full sized kitchen. Didn’t get that one.)

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Food trailers and restaurants across the street: And lots of them. Sway (my favorite Austin restaurant), Elizabeth Street Café, a new coffee shot called 7th Flag, and food trailers galore were all just across the street from us. We were dangerously close to Gordoughs, which I managed to actually not visit. My stomach is still thanking me – the menu item I love is fried chicken on a donut with honey butter glaze. I don’t even like donuts.

Elizabeth

All in all, this was a really great home experience and I was a little sad to leave the home. It was onward to another pretty interesting transition with many moving parts: I stayed at my mom’s again for a week while she was out of town to take care of kitty and to not deal with ACL price spikes in vacation rentals. Crazy insane. Cary was traveling for work, which normally I can work remotely doing alongside him, but I had to be in town for a monthly meeting. I met up with Cary in Tucson for a wedding and an amazing trek across the Southwest.

That’s a blog I’m very much looking forward to sharing!

Cierra

Temporary Stint: Home # 16

I made a big oops. I thought we had to be out of our Barton Springs house on Thursday to move into our 3-day temporary home back downtown on 6th street – we couldn’t get into our new rental quite yet. We all packed up everything (remember we had roomies at this point, so it was quite a lot of stuff in 2 cars), and in the process of driving to the new rental, I realized I was off by one day. We weren’t moving out until Friday. Pretty much everything had to be unpacked and repacked in 24 hours again. Yeah, big oops. That sucked.

Location: East 6th street. The same condo building, but not the same unit as this.

Duration: 3 days

A short walk from the home.

A short walk from the home.

Top Trip Rental was nice enough to let us stay in one of their new rentals downtown during this 3-day window, so back to East 6th and Brazos we went. The property hadn’t been stayed in yet, so it was fun to be the first to test it out.

Chereen, the founder of Top Trip Rental left such a thoughtful welcome gift for me. It was a pic of me and my good friend when we attended an event they put on at the mansion property we stayed in. Personal touches go a long way for me.

Near the house.

Near the house.

There’s not a lot to say here, simply because we were only there for 3 days and we had just lived in this area. I really loved the interior upgrades, though! One really fun night was taking our New Zealand friends to the Capital at night. Did you know it’s open at night to walk INTO? I like exploring places we’d been to a million times at an unconventional times of the day.

We didn’t even really unpack at this casa, so the next move 3 days later was no biggie at all. We were headed to an area of town we hadn’t yet stayed in: South 1st street.

More on house # 17 soon!

1 Year Anniversary: Barton Springs – Our Home # 15

Over a year ago, Cary and I decided to live on vacation rentals for 3 months (see why). A fun and adventurous idea turned into a way of living that was monumentally changing the way I saw life and how we lived each day: What was important to us. What was not important to us. When 3 months came and went, it became harder and harder to imagine going back to that life before because of the endless opportunities we were creating.

Austin Barton Springs House

Here’s our experience at home # 15.

Location:
Barton Hills (2 blocks from Barton Springs)
Duration:
1 month

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It started off terribly. After a very long travel day from our Croatia/Germany trip, we ended up at our new house as it neared midnight, only to find the lock box not working to let us in. I hadn’t been that tired in a really long time. Exhausted to the bone, and it was going to be an early morning back at work. We ended up booking a hotel room that night. It was either that or sleeping in our car. It was August. That was certainty not going to happen. Actually, let’s be honest, it wasn’t going to happen anyways. The management company reimbursed us for the trouble and all was well  by about 10 in the morning. There could be worse things than waking up in a hotel room.

Top Trip Rental

HIGHLIGHTS

Roomies! We had roommates for the first time in 4 years. They were friends from New Zealand who had just moved to Austin. They were also on the boat with us in Croatia, so we already knew we could get along well. It was actually really fun having people around. It didn’t hurt they were amazing cooks. ☺ We were also getting to see Austin through the eyes of newbies, and it reminded me of how special our “little” town is.

Barton Springs Austin

Barton Springs – night swims: If you’ve never done a night swim at Barton Springs before, you’re missing a truly Austin-like experience. Let’s just put this out here: I am a HUGE weeny when it comes to cold water. Actually water in general. I much prefer sitting above the water and not being in it. But, getting in that 68’ degree water after the August heat was nothing short of awakening. It became our every-other-night routine. Cary and I have never really had a routine together, and that time was so special to me. Minus when I learned there actually are snakes in Barton Spring.

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Unexpected routines I liked: Normally routines are not something that I love (in case you didn’t get that from my previous posts – ha), but I found another routine I really loved: being kind to my body in the morning. Typically, my mornings consist of rush, rush rush. Partially because I can’t make myself get up earlier enough to not be rushed. Because we were going to bed so early during this time, I was not very tired when I woke up super early. I did yoga on the patio, ate a healthy breakfast and watched people going to work in traffic from afar, and then brought out my computer and was still ahead by 9 am. As I write this, I realize it’s a routine I should try again. 

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Another treehouse: We tend to keep finding houses that feel like treehouses. I absolutely love it. This one was nestled by a big fat tree that provided glorious shade on the porch.

The house, overall, was not my most favorite, but perfect for the time: It was a bit older than than most others and a few things went wrong while we were there, but the location and the “treehouse balcony” totally made it a great place for a month! The rental company really stepped up to make it a great experience as well. It was not by accident that we ended up so close to the coolest spring in Austin during the hottest time of the year. It made August bearable!

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When people ask why we are doing this, one word now comes to mind: Opportunity. For this summer, it was the opportunity to get the hell out of Austin’s 100 degree weather as much as possible. I made it 21 days being gone. I’ll take it! I always hear people say, “I would be totally fine skipping Austin in the summer.” Having the opportunity to actually do that – or some of that – is really special to me.

To find more information about this home, visit this link with Top Trip Rental.  You couldn’t get much closer to Austin City Limits Festival. 

-Cierra

Home Sweet Whole Foods: Home # 14

I’ve found our favorite location: As you may have read before, Clarksville is my absolute favorite part of Austin. This condo was on the edge of Clarksville (2 blocks away from home # 9), but closer to more restaurants, bars, the park and Whole Foods. I didn’t even have to ask neighbors when I needed butter, I just walked 2 blocks. Okay, I’ve never actually asked neighbors for butter, but…being that close to Whole Foods’ Flagship (and Snap Kitchen) during this timeframe when I didn’t have a lot of extra time, was fantastic!

What I think all neighborhoods should look like.

Outside our home. What I think all neighborhoods should look like.

Location: West 6th street (on the edge of Clarksville and between Z Tejas and Whole Foods.)
Duration: 3 weeks

Last night was our last night – and for the first time, I’m kind of wishing I was coming back. Gasp! I’ve had similar feelings weasel their way into my consciousness at other homes, but probably not as strongly. Three weeks simply wasn’t enough.

It’s no secret that I love tree houses. I mean I really like them. It’s not like this feeling when a kid is deprived of some childhood experience and she always wants it even as an adult. My dad built me awesome tree houses… and I’m still trying to find ways to live in places that feel like tree houses. Actually, I’m determined to stay in a tree house at least one night during this LifeVenture. This home had that feeling: lots of different levels of the apartment. Our upstairs felt like we were in the trees.

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There were many levels to the condo complex, making it feel like a treehouse to me.

We absolutely loved the light in the upstairs bedroom, and the 2 balconies. It was a little too hot to really enjoy them much, but one rainy morning, I had a work date with my girlfriend Katherine of Austin-Tatious – it was nice to get some outside time during work.  The kitchen was great and had everything I could need. This is only the 2nd time that we’ve had a kitchen so completely decked out since we moved. I SO NEEDED THAT REAL kitchen! Surprisingly, this house was extremely quiet for where it was located. I give it 5 stars.

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Everything was brand- spankin’ new.

There was a one day gap between us leaving this home and us boarding a plane for a vacation, so we are staying in a hotel for one night.  This is the part I hate about our lifestyle right now: having to think super hard about what you need, where you need it, how long you need it for, and where the other stuff is that you don’t need right then. There’s a lot of “WHERE IS THAT SHIRT THAT I NEED WITH THIS OUTFIT!” Thanks for your patience, Cary.

Trips are especially confusing because we plan to end our leases on the day we travel: we pack up, stop by the office and leave our extra stuff there (sorry office!) and hit the airport. It’s a lot of moving parts. Not that I’m actually complaining, because this 1-2 days of peaked frustration will totally be wiped away when I land in Croatia for a vacation!

To be true to living life differently and continuing on my research and diligence of boutique hotels, we are checking out the new LoneStar Court hotel in the Domain in Austin.

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LoneStar Court Hotel – incredibly well done.

I’m sitting at the pool, typing away. I may have pushed myself to “bad Cierra stress” mode the past couple of days, and especially today, but this is a pretty darn cool way to remember to enjoy the moment.

Bon voyage!

~Cierra

Heart of the Life Music Capital of the World: Home # 13

When I first moved to Austin after living in Washington state, I was 13 years old and would ask my mom every once in a while to drive down historic 6th street at night just so that I could feel the pulse of the city. Coming from a small farming community, it was somehow comforting to know that there was always excitement happening nearby. To this day, I still drive down East 6th street to get the dose of comfort: Knowing that as life’s routine happens, I’m still only a quick drive away from people living life in the moment. It’s a good reminder for me to appreciate where I am.

Naturally, when a vacation rental became available on East 6th street, one of the few residential buildings on this strip, we had to take advantage of the unique opportunity. Let’s be honest, East 6th street wasn’t a place we were ever going to want to permanently live. Why not make a fun experience out of the place that gives this city its pulse?

So, welcome to LiveVenture home # 13:

Location: Littlefield Building on Brazos and East 6th street – across from the historic Driskel Hotel.
Length: 3 weeks

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The upstairs 2nd bedroom looking out of historic 6th street.

I knew we were living in the heart of downtown when… I was at a new friend’s house and wasn’t sure how to get back to the freeway, so instead of driving around aimlessly, I put ‘Austin’ into the GPS so it would take me towards downtown. Once I found the freeway, I would just turn the GPS off. By the time I hit the downtown area, I had my music turned up and my convertible top down; I didn’t actually hear the GPS until I was 1/2 block away from our house. The GPS lady says, “you have arrived in Austin.” My home was literally where the GPS considered Austin. 

It’s been interesting to see the pattern of the city: what the daytime workforce looks like, what the afternoon happy hour group looks like, what the young party crowd looks like, and the after 2 am group who just wants to party a little more…(those complimentary ear plugs from the management company were a blessing. ) I realize 4 things while living here:

  1. Our city really does party seven days a week, and live music is really played almost all day on each of those days.
  2. There is quite the homeless community. And I do mean community… There are clear “cool places to be” and “popular” people.
  3. Between 2 & 3 AM really truly are dangerous times to be on the road. It was terrifying watching how many drunk people walked out of the bars at 2 AM and most likely hopped in a car.
  4. Austin really is still way cool. In a 21 day span, with no planning of calendar of events, we ended up downtown in the heart of two massive events: the X games and the Rot Rally.

HIGHLIGHTS: 

X Games invading downtown.

X Games invading downtown: Check out the guy in the air.

X Games invades…unexpectedly: We took a night stroll to the Capital to find the X Games set up with only the event organizers and the skate pros practicing for the kick-off of the festival the next day. We had no idea there was this even happening downtown less than 24 hrs away. It was the calm before the storm and we got to see their intimate practice. It was pretty awesome to actually see the event packed with people the next day.

Top Trip Rental, who manages the condo we were staying in, extended an offer for us to stay in another property for one night for a fun experience. This was just a wee bit different: 4,000 sq feet, 2 car parking garage, and an indoor pool for starters – literally on East 6th street and hidden among the bars. One would never expect it there. We were able to bring a few friends and toast to unique experiences, complimentary of my new favorite rental company (hats off to them!). I also went back for a party and met mermaid friends in the pool a week later. Check out the blog about that here. 

A night out on the town: college-style. Who says 30 is a drag? Ok, a lot of people, but I’m determined to still have fun. While I like to have fun, I would not put me in the “partier” category. But you put me living on 6th street and with a friend (new to Austin) who hasn’t experienced it much, it’s a recipe that had to be mixed up. We started with the Rot Rally and closed down Maggie Mae’s with a dance party on the roof. I haven’t done that since college, and most certainty wouldn’t be able to do it often, but it was one night to remember. And one that I wouldn’t have done if I didn’t live a couple blocks away.

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View from the patio of the storm.

Sometimes all you need is a bottle of wine.
People watching is amusing. People watching on your balcony with a bottle of wine on 6th street with your favorite person in the world? Well, that’s down right delightful.

An incredible thunderstorm rolled in one night. Sure, Austin has big storms all the time. I am known to become wide eyed and stick my head to the window, being mesmerized by the lightening. With historic 6th street in the forefront of one of the larger storms I’ve seen in months, my storm watching was taken to the next level. Amazeballs!

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Right: Stephen F. Austin Hotel with the best view in town.

Being a tourist in our own city. There were too many great bars to name all, but a stand-out night was enjoying one of the best views in Austin: The Stephen F Austin Intercontinental outside patio. It also just happens to be where I had my first internship in high school. Easily walking to the Capital and the Congress Bridge to watch the bats was also great fun. I had so many places I had planned to visit, but time simply ran out. Another LifeVenture stay down there might be in our future. Perhaps not during the Rot Rally, though. 🙂

Going from our Creek Cottage (home # 12)a complete serene home, to East 6th Street was a big change. But as dramatic as the change was, we eased into it quickly and started enjoying the new home right away.

This location and home truly exemplified the reason we are living this LiveVenture: to live life differently and to notice and appreciate our surroundings.

Until the next adventure,
Cierra

Mansion on 6th Street – A Unique 1 Night Stay

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You would never guess a mansion hides behind these doors, stuck between bar after bar on 6th street.

Put yourself in those “college day shoes” and on East 6th street (if you’re from Austin, you’ll get it). Now imagine a mansion hidden among the bars: two stories high, an indoor pool and a two story atrium. Doesn’t compute? Yeah, that was my thought when the rental company from our last house invited us for a complimentary stay at their “mansion on East 6th street.” Who could say no to that?

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Atrium and pool – against the original historic building.

Full disclosure: Top Trip Rental offered a complimentary night at their property so we could share a unique story with others. Owning a niche marketing firm, I totally respect unique and authentic ways to spread the word about something cool. I was in: Let’s be honest, they had me at “mansion on 6th”.

We invited a few people to enjoy a night of fun with us, and toasted to an adventure with good friends. It was an adventure within an adventure! Upon opening the beautiful gate at the entrance to let friends in, I noticed the many intrigued glances – like how could this be a house? I just smiled like it was no big deal. No biggie, I’m just hopping into my casa. Don’t mind me.

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Sitting in the foyer, my favorite room in the house, was so strange: there is a huge window, the light was on, it was dark outside, yet no one turned their head to notice this strange living room in the middle of bars. It made me wonder what I walk by and don’t take notice of! See more photos. 

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Finding nooks, crannies, and the pool with friends.

I returned the next week after an invitation to a “party with mermaids” that Top Trip Rental was hosting. It was an event to help bring awareness to Colin’s Hope, the organization that shares information about water safety for babies. It was impressive how they transformed a home into this colorful, underwater scene with diving mermaids. Here are some cool photos from the event. Watch the mermaids swim in the pool – cool!

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Olga and me with our new mermaid friend at the party.

After a ridiculously good night of sleep – you wouldn’t guess with 6th street right outside the window that a good night sleep would be possible – we packed up our overnight bag, hopped in the garage – yes, there was even a 2 car garage in the alley – and headed a few blocks away to our condo.

Not bad for a night out on the town!

If you’re interested in learning more about this property – it’s a great space to ‘wow’ people for private events – reach out to Chereen Fisher at Top Trip Rental. Super nice people who we highly recommend!

Creek Cottage: Home # 12

This is the first house that we’ve returned back to during this LifeVenture, and with good reason: it’s our creek cottage getaway. And while it had no washer and dryer and no full kitchen (gasp!), it is completely serene.

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One morning when the light was hitting just right: looking outside my window. This photo didn’t even need a filter.

At night, all you hear is the buzz of crickets and croaking of frogs. We timed it just right: this was during the month of crazy-storms, which filled up the almost-dry creek bed to a lovely constant trickle. One entire wall had windows, so the weather was just right and we could open the windows and hear nature all night. It felt pretty darn good on my soul.

Location: Cuernavaca – about 20 minutes from downtown
Length: 1 month 

 

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On the left side, the creek down below. On the right side, the kitchen area, bathroom, office, closet, and extra bedroom.

Highlights:

I’m a big animal fan. BIG animal fan. I see an animal and I revert back to a 6 year old kid. “A BUNNY!!!!” So, this place is a match made in heaven for me. There was not a single day that I didn’t see deer either on the way home, on a walk or outside our front door. On a typical day, we would see about 15-20. Usually a new born baby was in that bunch. Nursing baby deer are way cute. We had a turtle friend in the creek, lots of bunnies, and even saw a three rare owl sightings.

 

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Checking out a different ‘hood: It was nice to visit restaurants that we wouldn’t normally drive to because they were far from downtown, like Lola Savannah and The Grove (on 620) with an expansive view and  Baguette et Chocolat with the best crepes in town.

Kitty loved making animal friends! She’s adorable. Enough said.

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Owl and kitty cuteness.

Like a bucket-list: thousands upon thousands of lightening bugs.  I recently visited Puerto Rico and experienced the bioluminescent bay, where the water reacts to movement by glowing. (If you ever get a chance, it’s absolutely incredible). This experience was like that: completely magical – like there was no way what I was seeing was actually nature-made. For about 1 week, perhaps when the weather was the right temperature and there was just the right amount of moisture in the air, lightening bugs came out of the forest bed and lit it up. They would start at dusk and the magic would get stronger for about 15 min. and then die down. The less you moved, the more bright they became and their lights would start pulsating together (apparently a mating ritual). Who knew bugs could be so mesmerizing.  It was so amazing to have an experience like that at home! Side note, I’m a very good lightening bug catcher now.

My favorite near-town park: I’ve mentioned it in the last post, but it’s worth another mention: Commons Ford Park. I spent a lot of time hiking, walking, and even doing a little bit of yoga on the riverside. It has one of the most beautiful wildflower fields… (and it scoots up against Michael Dell’s massive Ranch 6D, which has more land than all of Zilker Park and is right on the water. No joke. Insane, but gorgeous and protected from the massive developments near it.)

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After a month of living :20 minutes from downtown, I started to feel like we were living a bit in the boondocks, so we went and shook things up. Yeah, that’s right. “Dirty 6th” street was about to welcome it’s next tenants.

It was party time! But more on that soon…