Release Your Inner Artist and Uncork Your Creativity at Art by the Glass Studio in Round Rock

Art by the Glass LogoIs there an artist lurking inside you looking for a chance to come out into the open? I mean, we all have those shelved creative ambitions, don’t we? If you’ve got an old itch to paint, and you never gave yourself the chance to scratch it, well, here’s your chance. Natalie Knobloch is the owner of Art by the Glass Studio right here in Round Rock, and she has the perfect setting you need to bring your hidden artist out of the shadows, and have a really great time doing it.

When I heard about Art by the Glass Studio, I knew it would be perfect for Your Local Color.Com.  From the beginning to the end of the evening, it was relaxed and party-like. Natalie encourages those who attend to bring their favorite adult beverage – wine was the drink of choice for most of those who attended – and this certainly added to the easygoing atmosphere. However, this is not just about socializing over a glass of wine, and there was a lot of that going on, it is about getting something done and enjoying the process. [Read more…]

Round Rock’s Main Street Market Days Brings Great New Businesses To You In Time For The Holidays

round_rock1It is always a treat to drop by Round Rock Market Days on the first Saturday of each month. There are always very interesting people to meet and great merchandise to check out. This past Saturday was no exception.

I missed several Market Days in the past few months because there are so many conflicting events that happen on the weekend. Although I try, I just can’t attend them all. This Saturday I had a short break in the day so I had to drive on over to Main Street in Round Rock to check out the vendors. I’m glad I did.

Anybody who reads my posts regularly knows that Your Local is all about staying in touch with local people – artists, businesses, service organizations and interesting humans – and helping them “stand out and get noticed.” It’s always an interesting experience for me, and it is a great way for local people who drop by my blog to find out about that one-of-a-kind item or service provided by one of your neighbors. [Read more…]

Round Rock Drums Hosts “Shake Rattle And Drum Roll” Drum Clinic At Play For All Abilities Park

RoundRockDrumsLogo-Web3My friends, Ed and Kim Francis of Round Rock Drums, are getting ready to host an amazing drum clinic at the Play For All Abilities Park here in Round Rock called the Shake, Rattle and Drum Roll. The setting is no accident. The Play For All Abilities Park is a huge gift to our community from the City of Round Rock, Seton Health Care Williamson, HEB, Wag-A-Bag, the Maxwell Family of Dealerships, Chasco and several other local business and group sponsors.

The park’s purpose is to provide a play space for children regardless of their ability level. Because of this park, all parents and children can go there and know that there will be plenty of fun stuff for everyone to join in on.

Ed and Kim believe that there is no more fun thing to do than teaching kids to drum and that the Play For All Abilities Park is a perfect place to do it. I’ve watched Ed teach his students, and I know everybody in that studio was having a blast. I’m not absolutely sure, but I think the person having the most fun was Ed. [Read more…]

Round Rock’s Austin Chronicle Hot Sauce Festival Winner And Local Treasure, Michael Valencia, Shares His Story Of Success

Michael ValenciaWe all love stories like Michael Valencia’s and it is truly inspiring. You’ve heard them before, but they never get old. Steve Jobs starts Apple in his parent’s garage, Bill Gates starts Microsoft out of his hotel room in Albuquerque, New Mexico, Harland Sanders at the tender age of 65 uses his Social Security check to finance the startup of Kentucky Fried Chicken, and the list goes on and on. The United States is a place where you can do those kinds of things.

I have a feeling that in a few years we’re all going to be talking about Michael Valencia a lot like we do about another famous Michael who brought his business to Round Rock. Michael Valencia is the owner of Mikey V’s Foods. He started it out of his own kitchen fifteen years ago making his salsa for friends and family, and he has now grown Mikey V’s into a commercial bottling business with customers all over Texas.

Goethe said, “Whatever you do, or dream you can do, begin it. Boldness has genius and power and magic in it. Begin it now.” I know Michael is a bold man just because he told me about his service as a US Marine, so that was a given. But it takes an extra special measure of courage to take a risk like starting a business, especially now.  Michael is taking it on, and like Goethe advises, Michael began “it” and the magic is happening.  Take a few minutes to watch the video. In it you will hear Michael doing a better job of telling his story than I do. [Read more…]

Home Staging: Aimey Hanners of Austin Premier Home Staging Shares Ideas You Can Use To Sell Your Home

Aimey Hanner Home Staging Round Rock Texas Austin MetroI am no expert on selling a home, but I am pretty good at marketing, and I know why marketing is important. It’s not, as some have called it, putting lipstick on a pig. That idea is easy, desperate and cynical. It might get you a sale but, in the long run, it’s not going get you what you are really looking for, and what you are looking for is the very best price. If you’re selling pigs you don’t need lipstick, you need someone who is looking to buy a pig. I am going to guess that selling your home is pretty much the same idea. One of the most important jobs of marketing, whether you’re selling a pig or your home, is getting the right product in front of the right customer for the right price. Sounds simple, right? Yes. It pretty much is.

Selling your home? If you haven’t already, you need to check into the idea of home staging. What I have come to learn is Home Stagingthat home staging is a smart and simple way to sell your home faster and for a better price. I’ll get into a couple of quick and easy specifics further down, but for now keep reading.  If you want to jump right into a more expert explanation, take a few minutes to watch the attached video. Aimey Hanners of Austin Premier Home Staging gives a much better explanation of staging than I do, and she shares some great ideas about how to get started. Aimey’s practical and easy to understand explanation is a must-watch

If you want to get the very best price for your home, and you are going to stage your home, you are going to have to put in a little effort. Come on, man, why? The homes around here are flying off the shelves! I could understand going to all of the trouble of home staging if times were tough. Right now, I hear all you have to do is stick a sign out front, and the phone starts ringing. I’m too busy. It’ll be too expensive. I just want to sell it and get on with my life. Well, okay for you, money-bags, but most people are not comfortable walking away from tens of thousands of dollars. Most folks would be pretty happy to get the most money possible from selling anything, and home staging is not as expensive as the cash you’ll be walking away from. [Read more…]

Another Round Rock Hidden Treasure – Lorilee’s Gourmet – The Best Brittle EVER!!

Lorilee's Gourmet Brittle

Lorilee’s Gourmet Brittle

I can’t hear about peanut brittle without thinking about my father. He loved it and wouldn’t pass by an opportunity to try some out. In his opinion, his mother made the best peanut brittle and nobody could quite match up. My mom tried for years to measure up to grandma Bess’s peanut brittle but, in dad’s opinion, mom’s peanut brittle was close but no cigar. He tried it all and he had strong opinions about what was the best. It couldn’t be too hard or soft. He would know if the sugar had been cooked too long or not enough.

When he came to Texas in the early 60’s he got his first taste of peanut brittle with pecans. Well, of course he turned his nose up at pecan brittle because the only real brittle was made with peanuts. Still, he would eat all he was given and then some. I really think his peanut brittle chauvinism had more to do with his hard head and not as much to do with how good it really was. Like I said, he would try it all, and usually licked his fingers when he was done.

Lorilee's Gourmet BrittleI think he would have gone “nuts” over Lorilee’s Gourmet brittle. LoriLee’s Gourmet is a fantastic place to explore if you are looking for a local Round Rock business to try out and support. They have eight types of brittle to nosh on, and dad’s opinion not withstanding, they are all amazing. I am totally serious. My favorite was the Nuttin’ But Coconut brittle. It was coconut heaven. Coconut fans won’t be able to stop with just one bite. My second favorite was the Original Peanut – a tip of the hat to dear old dad. I think grandma Bess’s brittle would have to be pretty darned good to beat this brittle. Both of these two brittles were “melt in your mouth” amazing. Not too hard and just soft enough for a good crunch. My next favorite was the Texas Snake Bite. Snake Bite is out of this world good.  It is a brittle made with pecans and jalapeños, and I loved it. It had just the right combination of sweet and heat to make it perfect. I tried all of Lorilee’s brittle and loved them all, but you really have to drop by and taste for yourself. [Read more…]

Round Rock’s Nisha Agrawal of Henna Arts

Nisha Agrawal Henna ArtsMy mother was born and raised in London, England. She used to talk of her life there like she had been raised in some far away magic world. Mom was an only child, but she had a huge extended family with tons of cousins, aunts and uncles. Her mom, my grandmother, had eleven brothers and sisters and her dad, my grandfather, had five, so you can just imagine the fun she had at family get-togethers. She would also talk about how exciting it was to be raised in such a great and historic city with its theaters, museums, parks and pubs. She loved her family and she loved living in London.

Even during World War II with all of its restrictions on civilians, mom would find the most amazing things to do, and her stories used to keep us entertained for hours. Of course, many of her wartime experiences were very sad and you could tell that, even many years later she could feel the pain of those memories. Nevertheless, in her typically British manner she would throw off the sadness with some equally entertaining story about a good thing that happened during those years. She was a real light to all those who knew her.

During those wartime years she met and married an American soldier, my dad, and she then followed him all over the world as he moved from assignment to assignment as a career military professional in the United States Air Force. She did this without a question, and along the way found the time to raise five kids. Mom never for a second talked about what she gave up but always talked about what she gained – us. You could tell she loved her old life in England but would not have traded a second of her new life for her old. Mom always had her face to the wind and her eye on the horizon. [Read more…]

Round Rock Soap Nuts: Clean Up Naturally

Round Rock Soap NutsWhen I go to Round Rock Market Days I love looking for that extra special product or service. I also look for businesses that call Round Rock, or anywhere in Williamson County, home. It is our goal to help these businesses stand out and get noticed. My first Round Rock Market Days story in May featured a brief mention of Round Rock Soap Nuts. I mention Round Rock Soap Nuts again in the June story.

I thought it was really interesting but my wife, Heidi, was really excited about the fact that someone in Round Rock is selling soap nuts. She encouraged me to get more information on Round Rock Soap Nuts. Heidi is a real “back to basics” kind of person and is an advocate of all things natural and organic. She has done extensive research on the subject and is a true believer in soap nuts.

What are soap nuts? Well, I’m glad you asked, so let’s start with where they are found first. Soap nuts have been around for a long time. They are mainly associated with the Asian subcontinent but their use as a soap is documented in several parts of the world. There is even a type of soap nut berry that Native Americans are known to have used. Soap nuts or soap berries are found on a variety of shrubs and trees from the lychee family and this family of plants can be found in warm tropical areas in Asia, the Pacific Islands, Mexico, North America, Central and South America. [Read more…]

Round Rock Market Days on Main Street – June

Round Rock Market DaysWell it’s starting to get a little warm, and as usual here in Central Texas, people are looking for something cold to drink and a shady spot to sit in. Summers can be hard to deal with here, but under the right set of circumstances you can get a Texan outside on the weekend. I have another reason for you to venture out of doors  this summer.  Why don’t you come by Round Rock Market Days on Main Street in downtown Round Rock. The temperatures are warm but the merchandise is just so cool. (See what I did there?)

I think I have mentioned this before, but I love street fairs. It is the essence of community. One of your neighbors works really hard all week creating and building, and they pack it all up and haul it down to Main Street for us to have a chance to check it all out. Most of the booths there offer one of a kind services and merchandise. It is so much better than Wal-Mart or Target.

Sherri Arrington and Annie Urban, of Mainstreet Productions, are at it again as they will be every first Saturday until the end of the year except for October when Round Rock Market Days ends up on the second Saturday of that month. Sherri and Annie have done such a great job of filling up Main Street with some truly unique and colorful vendors. Please don’t forget to drop by and say hello to Sherri and Annie when you go there to shop. It is thanks to these two ladies that we have this great street fair to look forward to each month. To learn more about Round Rock Market Days and Mainstreet Productions, please click here. [Read more…]

Lone Star Jedi is Round Rock’s Own Jedi Academy

Lone Star JediI have written about the good people at Lone Star Jedi before. I first met Marc Tucker, President and founder, and Paul Trupia at the Round Rock Centennial Celebration. I later had the chance to spend a little more time with them when they were made an appearance at Round Rock’s Kaleidoscope Toys helping with owner Terry Myer’s May the 4th Be With You event. They are really great guys and they are nothing like the stereotypical Star Wars enthusiasts you might be expecting.

First, these guys are not computer nerds and they don’t live in their parent’s basement. Marc and Paul are both married family men and Paul has three grown children. Marc’s daytime job is with the UTA office here in Austin but his profession is photography and film production. Paul is a Human Resource professional here in Austin.

So there….These guys are real people with jobs, wives and families so take a little time to get to know them. Not because they dress like Jedi Knights but because their hearts are in this for the right reasons. Their main purpose is to help out and to give back to their community. Half of the proceeds from any fees they may charge for any private event go to charities they support and, they don’t charge charities for their services at all. [Read more…]