Author: opbook

The Emerald Restaurant in Austin Texas

On my last trip to Austin, Texas I stopped in on my favorite restaurant – The Emerald Restaurant. Imagine a cottage that could have been picked from the emerald fields of Ireland. Now transport an entire Irish family with it and you have this warm quaint little restaurant set in the Texas hill country.

Start with some warm homemade bread and rich hand-churned butter, in a variety of flavors. Choose from an extensive wine list, loaded with your favorite vintages. Then sample their onion soup which has been poured into a whole onion and gently laid over a sumptuous stuffing. Gently pierce the bottom of the onion so that it gradually moistens the stuffing as you sip your soup. Then dive on in.

For your main course, the monkfish in a gentle mustard sauce accompanied by a mound of fresh vegetables and laid over even more of their homemade stuffing is one of my favorites. Or a stuffing and bing cherry-stuffed duck drizzled with a rich cherry sauce will have you moaning with delight.

Then finish off with their freshly baked whisky cake or mouth-watering zabaglione. And cap off your evening with an Irish coffee that is out of this world.

The Emerald Restaurant
13614 W. Hwy. 71
Austin, TX 78738
(512) 263-2147

Get Free Fast-Food Using An Austin Business Consultant

I want to share an interesting ad I saw in the paper the other day: Wealthy fast-food addict in search of an Austin business consultant to guide him in the purchase of a fast-food franchise so he can save money on burgers and fries.

Okay!

I didn’t really see that ad, but I know Texas business strategists and business coaches all around your area that could help that person, or you, find and purchase a franchise by guiding you through the process if that’s what you want to do.

It just so happens that, even though I’m awful with an opening joke, I know a few things about buying a franchise myself that I learned from Austin business consultants. This time I’ll be serious, so please keep reading.

As with anything, common questions arise that you want to be answered before you begin to even consider buying a franchise. Before you consult with a Texas business consultant or business strategist, you must read the answers to those questions and save yourself some time and maybe money.

How does a franchisor make his money?

They consult a Texas business coach as you will! Then, they charge a hefty fee for a franchise. After that, they collect a percentage of the sales and also sell supplies and services to the franchise.

Consult an Austin business consultant to find out the standard fees and percentages for the industry in which you want to buy a franchise.

What’s more important? The initial fee or the charges down the road from sales, etc? Assuming you’re buying into a successful franchise, definitely concern yourself more with the charges you’ll incur down the road.

Those charges come directly from a percentage of your sales, not profits. Too high of a percentage can deflate your profits.

Beware of any hefty fees required upfront. Make sure the franchise is successful. Most importantly, consult with a Texas business consultant or seek the help of a Texas business coach before signing any contracts.

Well, is it worth it to pay a percentage of my sales?

I can’t decide that for you. Austin business consultants say that if you possess industry experience then, yes, it could be worth it for you. However, if you’re new to the industry you want to buy into and just want to try your hand, it might be best to work for someone else first.

Texas business strategists point out that you pay a percentage of sales. That means what you pay doesn’t take into account operating expenses and the like. If you don’t know the industry, you can’t plan ahead so that you can pay those fees and still make the profit you need.

What other costs can exist?

You might have to pay a percentage of advertising costs and not just for your area. This might include local, regional, or even national costs. Again, consult with an Austin business consultant.

Take advantage of the help that Texas business coaches can give to you to help you make the smart choice.

What else should I watch out for?

Talk to other franchise owners and a Texas business consultant before proceeding with buying any franchise. I can’t say that enough! However, you should know if you could sell the franchise easily, if the franchise fees can be increased for any reason, and how your industry skills stack up against others who bought into that franchise.

Again, talk to a Texas business strategist and other franchise owners. The time you take to do your research will pay off in gains instead of losses.

Austin Film Festival

Dedicated to the expansion of art, business and craft of screenwriters and movie directors, the Austin Film Festival also recognizes their contribution in any form of media. It champions the creations of those who are still aspiring and even those that are already established by granting special services, cultural events, enhancing awareness and encouraging partnerships.

The Austin Film Festival was founded in 1994 which is the pioneering organization of its kind that closely looks into the unique style of writing in connection with the motion picture industry. It was already attended by the likes of Was Anderson, Robert Altman, Joel Coen, James Brooks, Barry Levinson, Russel Croew, Robert Duvall, Darren Star, Dennis Hopper, Buck Henry, John Landis, Lawrence Kasdan, Bryan Singer, Garry Shandling, Sandra Bullock, Oliver Stone, Owen Wilson and Harold Ramis.

With the mission to establish movie makers such as editors, producers, artists, cinematographers and anybody that uses the language of flicks to translate a story with dynamism, the Austin Film Festival comes up with various programs for career development. In its 1993 launch, it was the first to also have a conference celebrating the significance of telling a narrative. They believe that even after thirteen years later, even if you have been equipped with the technicalities but you are not able to speak of an account and interpret into audio-video, it is as nothing.

Registrants to the activities in the Austin Film Festival will be able to have personal access to the professionals themselves as well as the high-level executives. In the past years they were able to welcome Hollywood celebrities such as Claire Danes, Matthew McConaughey, Mary Masterson, Donal Logue, Eric Stoltz, Sam Elliot, and Gina Gershon, to mention a few. They generate over 80 interactive panel discussions over a four-day course. It includes what they call Meet & Greet where they are in a casual and intimate setting; Roundtables where they will gather with at least eight big wigs in the industry and Panels where it is only limited to a sitting of 30 people.

After the finale of each day, all of them are already more than just acquaintances where in the evening they conclude the night by hanging out to parties. In fact, it is not unusual if there will be conversation with Wedding Crashers’ Bob Fisher and Steve Faber while standing in the line for any premiere screenings. Even brushing elbows with Shane Black or John Hancock, you can then eventually talk to them about writing and directing. If you are in for the obstacles in the business, take note of Barry Josephson or Harold Ramis at the Texas Film Commission Barbecue. There is simply no velvet ropes or VIP access around, everybody are just but ordinary in this one of a kind affair.

South By Southwest Festival In Austin

Recently, the South by Southwest music, film, and interactive festival wrapped up after another successful year in Austin. Because it falls during spring break week, it has become my tradition to take a break from my teaching job to work for the festival at one of the music venues. It is always an interesting and enjoyable change of pace for me, and my students get a real kick out of imagining their teacher working at a club and reveling along with the music lovers and club hoppers. This year was no different.

The SXSW music festival draws over 1400 bands and more than 5000 music industry professionals to Austin, and that number doesn’t even take into account those thousands attending the film and interactive festivals which run concurrently under the SXSW banner, and Austin welcomes them all with open arms. After all, the festival pumps a hefty $30 million into the local economy, and every year, the crowds grow. At least at this time of year, Austin rightfully deserves, and proves its status as “The Live Music Capital of the World.”

Austin boasts more live music venues per capita than any other city in the U.S., and clubs of all sizes, including a church, play host to bands from all over the world during the four-night music festival. The party officially kicks off on Wednesday night with Austin’s own version of the Grammys, The Austin Music Awards. Ray Benson of Asleep at the Wheel, was a big winner, and Pete Townshend formerly of The Who, took the stage with fellow Brit, Ian McLagan, now a beloved Austin performer.

At my club on 6th Street, we showcased bands from New York, Chicago, San Francisco, and Amsterdam, and celebrated St. Patrick’s Day with “Irish Music Night” on Saturday. Without exception, the members of the bands and their entourages were excited about playing Austin and having the opportunity to be “discovered” by a producer or promoter, or picked up by a record label. One band member excitedly informed me that after their show, they were approached to collaborate on a major motion picture soundtrack! At least during SXSW, Austin is the city where dreams really can come true.

Up and down the 6th Street entertainment district and beyond, record executives checked their schedules and hurried from club to club, munching chopped barbeque sandwiches and checking out the artists, who ranged from acoustic singer/songwriters to outrageously dressed and spikey-coiffed punks and heavy metal screamers clad in their inevitable black garb.

Early one night, a nicely dressed middle-aged couple approached me to ask if they could buy a ticket for the show. “You must have a son or daughter performing,” I smiled, because they were definitely not your typical club hopper. Naturally, their son was playing, and the proud parents had followed him to Austin for the show and a mini-vacation all the way from Milwaukee, Wisconsin. That day had been beautiful, with the temperature hovering near 80, and we chatted for a while about their visit, and what they had seen and done while in Austin. The couple was exuberant in their praise and promised that next year they would be back for a longer vacation and would definitely be bringing friends.

Later that evening, a woman from the UK dropped in to thank me for recommending Maria’s Taco Express, one of my favorite haunts, and invited me to an after-hours private party in a hotel penthouse nearby. I thanked her, but had to decline, because this golden carriage that is SXSW has to turn back into a pumpkin by Monday morning, and I had some lesson plans to write.

Austin Area Graphic Design Freelancer Resources

Working as a freelancer in graphic design can be very challenging. Not only do you have to find your own graphic design clients, do all of your own graphic design work, and handle all of your own graphic design office tasks, you are also on your own with keeping up with graphic design information, technology, and resources. The best way to keep up with these types of information about graphic design is through networking. There are many networking and client-finding resources for graphic design freelancers in the Austin area.

Freelance Austin is possibly the best available resource for graphic design freelancers. This organization offers a graphic design freelancer directory for Austin business owners to search and locate a graphic design freelancer. There are also many graphic design networking events, and various freelancer meetings and events. While Freelance Austin is not specifically for graphic design freelancers, it does put the graphic design freelancer in contact with other industry professionals as well as potential clients. This Austin freelance organization is, if nothing else, a great way to generate referrals for clients for graphic design freelancers.

Publishers Resource Group is a great resource for any freelancing graphic designer to be aware of. Rather than a networking organization or graphic design professional association, Publishers Resource Group is simply an organization that routinely, and preferably, uses freelance graphic designers for all of their publishing needs. Based in Austin, this curriculum designing company hires freelancers for type design, cover graphic design, and all other graphic design projects.

Creative Freelancers online is another great graphic design freelancer resource. Carefully screened graphic design freelancers are listed in a graphic design freelance directory. Clients then look through the available graphic design freelancers, go through online graphic design portfolios and resumes, and then contact the graphic design freelancer through the Creative Freelancers website. This is a great way to get qualified clients and leads for your graphic design freelancing business. Best of all, there are not many listings in the Austin area, so anyone looking to get in on the ground floor of this web site in the Austin area should get themselves listed as soon as possible to take advantage of the many Austin graphic design freelancing opportunities that may become available.

The Oasys Network is another great online graphic design freelancer resource. This website allows all graphic design freelancers to post their talents and graphic design portfolios. The website has numerous options and opportunities for gaining exposure as a freelance graphic designer as well as generating leads for potential clients for a freelance graphic design business. Open to all graphic design freelancers, this website is much like Creative Freelancers, but much less restrictive on what Austin graphic design freelancers can take advantage of the website.

As you will undoubtedly find, there are many resources, both free and inexpensive, for graphic design freelancers. The best way to find these resources and take advantage of them is to simply research on the internet by searching for Austin graphic design freelance resources. You can also check with your local Chamber of Commerce for information about Austin area graphic design professional associations.

Austin Renters Insurance

AUSTIN RENTERS INSURANCE IS AN IMPORTANT INVESTMENT YOU NEED TO MAKE.

Austin is a highly eclectic city where over 50% of the population prefers to rent due to a high level of prosperity that tends toward upward mobility. Unfortunately, in the “California of Texas” as many people call it, over 30,000 thefts, burglaries, and larcenies occur every year. A surge in personal prosperity can suffer a devastating setback if one neglects to indemnify the contents of one’s home and access to one’s personal information. Very few people in Austin live below the state poverty level, so in spite of Austin’s higher cost of living in places, renters insurance in Austin offers only a marginal expense with exceptional return on investment.

Texas renters insurance not only indemnifies Austin tenants, but also protects owners, property managers, and landlords who also require protection from potential third-party lawsuits filed by uninsured residents.

POSSIBLE DISCOUNTS

Persons of any age or background often qualify for discounts on their Austin rental insurance policies. College students in particular will be happy to learn that in most instances they can qualify for policy discounts if they live with an adult roommate who is home during daylight hours. Young professionals in Westlake and North Austin who live in newly constructed gated communities may also receive discounts for living in newer dwellings with a higher security rating.

For older neighborhoods near the Greenbelt and South Lamar, something so simple as installing a burglar alarm can generate discounted rates on renters insurance in Austin. Retired Dell employees with a spouse still working part-time also may qualify for similar discounts such as the ones available to college students because, again, someone is home during the day.

Such discounts, however, are difficult to negotiate with carriers directly. That’s why we recommend that you request a quote through an agency that can systematically assess the many benefits our team can possible obtain from an insurance company by working as an advocate on your behalf.

AFFORDABILITY AND SCOPE

Even without a discount, Austin, TX renters insurance is now more affordable and more comprehensive than ever before. The annual cost of apartment, condo and home rental insurance in Austin is almost ALWAYS less than 10% of the total value of the contents covered. The very nature of coverage can also be “customized” in a sense to fit the lifestyle of the person. An empty-nester couple, for example, will have very different items and equity to insure than a college student or twenty-something that probably has a great deal of high-performance entertainment equipment and computer technology in their living room.

POLICY TYPES

This brings us to the topic of the types of Austin rental insurance available to people.

Generally speaking, there only two major types of coverage: Named Peril and All Risk. Named peril only covers specific types of distresses and certain types of losses. An All-Risk policy covers the majority of a person’s belongings and is what we recommend to Austin rental insurance customers with very few exceptions.

We can also make certain by interfacing on your behalf with our carriers that no exclusions are made in the policy at the time of issuance.

Exceptionally valuable items such as furs, jewels, family heirlooms, and high-ticket electronics can be insured under a secondary policy through a process known as “scheduling.” This allows us to itemize and assess the value of each individual item so sentimental and rare belongings are covered at their full financial value.

ADDITIONAL BENEFITS

In some instances, Austin, TX renters insurance can also cover damages to the insured tenant’s property if damage results from actions or occurrences originating in a neighboring residence. For example, one water leak in a single apartment can damage flooring, furniture, and belongings in several surrounding units. A fire in a neighbor’s kitchen or bedroom can flood the entire complex with smoke and damage hundreds or possibly thousands of dollars in furniture, appliances, and artwork. Renter’s insurance in Austin can now help process claims against such incidents.

Please be aware that when today’s thieves break into apartments and houses one of the first things they take is a credit card bill or social security statement that contains all of your personal information. To pro-actively counter this threat, many providers now write Austin renter’s insurance policies that cover losses suffered from identity theft.

Finally, for those looking to buy a home in the future, investing in an Austin renters insurance policy now will help develop an insurance history that can qualify them for home insurance discounts when they buy their first house.

In a very real sense, Austin renter’s insurance offers the added value of protecting one’s person and future as well as one’s property!

Consumer Credit Counseling In Austin, Texas

Consumer credit counseling in Austin, Texas is fundamentally little different from financial assistance services in any other city or state, except that these credit counseling companies are designed to meet the needs of people living specifically in Austin and its surrounding cities. Austin is the fourth largest city in Texas and is the capital of this great southern state.

As with many credit counseling companies, consumer credit counseling in Austin offers some free or low-cost assistance for your credit issues. Credit problems can be caused by debt, late payments, no payments, or several other core reasons. Consumer credit counseling in Austin is available to help you take that first step to financial freedom.

What is Consumer Credit and Debt?

To understand what consumer credit counseling in Austin is all about, you must first understand what consumer credit is and the debt that can come with it. Consumer debt is incurred when you have spent more money than you can afford on products that will not grow in value. Generally, consumer debt includes things like credit card debt, monthly bills that have not been paid, and personal loans.

This definition can be expanded to include additional products such as home loans, mortgages, and car financing that you are not able to pay and have built up into debt. All these things negatively affect your credit score, which means that any debt you have will cause your credit score to drop. This is when consumer credit counseling Austin becomes a great option.

What is Consumer Credit Counseling?

Now that you have some understanding of consumer credit and debt that accompanies it, the services offered by consumer credit counseling in Austin will be more apparent. If you are in serious debt, which automatically means that your credit has been affected, it is best to seek financial assistance. This assistance could come in many different forms. Some consumer credit counseling services in Austin come through phone sessions, help through the Internet, or face-to-face meetings. No matter how you receive financial counseling, generally, you will be taught the same things.

The first thing that these counseling services in Austin will teach you is how to assess all your finances. This includes calculating how much money you are making monthly and comparing that to how much you are spending. If you are spending more than you earn, you are probably already in debt. If so, that leads to the next process you will learn, which is the discipline of budgeting.

Budgeting is a crucial part of debt management, and any consumer credit counseling company in Austin will teach you how to budget properly. These financial counselors will also offer you the best options for reducing your debt and repairing your consumer credit. That is the benefit of seeking financial assistance, so you can rise above your credit and debt problems.

So, if you live in Austin, Texas and you are experiencing financial problems, you can seek the help of consumer credit counseling in Austin and receive the tools and professional knowledge to help you manage your debt effectively.

Austin Culinary Arts School

Austin is one of the centers for culinary arts in Texas. Almost a hundred restaurants, hotels, and resorts are already operating throughout Austin, each serving specialties prepared by professional cooks or chefs. The culinary style found in the area is said to be diverse and a number of culinary arts training opportunities are now available for aspirants to consider. Several reports also revealed that in Austin, Texas the hospitality industry has nearly doubled in the past decade, supporting more than 130 hotels and resorts. Well, it is this condition actually that makes Austin an ideal place to study culinary arts.

The Austin culinary arts schools now come in great numbers. They can be found all throughout the area and each offers degrees and programs in culinary arts that are designed to help prepare people in finding job possibilities in the culinary field. What is nice to know about the Austin culinary arts schools is that all of their programs are handled and conducted by professional culinary artists. They are even offered a good balance of hands-on training and theoretical instructions.

If you are wondering what particular Austin culinary arts schools are popular in Texas and in the United States, read on. Below are two of the most well-known culinary arts schools that have been serving the Austin area with a high-quality culinary education. Here are the best picks:

Texas Culinary Academy

Considered throughout Texas as an upshot of a Chef Apprenticeship program that was approved by the American Culinary Federation in 1981, the Texas Culinary Academy has partnered with one of the most prestigious institutions in the culinary arts industry, the Le Cordon Bleu. It is this partnership that sets the Texas Culinary Academy one of the best Austin culinary arts schools available. They are noted specifically for the high-quality education that they provide which features a unique combination of classical French culinary techniques with innovative American technology. Today, this Austin culinary arts school has made their pursuit of excellence their primary foundation for success in today’s rapidly growing culinary field.

Culinary Academy of Austin

Here is but another notable culinary arts school serving the Austin area with a high-quality education, the Culinary Academy of Austin. This institution is particularly committed to helping its students reach their professional goals by way of using the individualized training methodology that they have been offering for years now. What is great about this Austin culinary arts school is that all of its programs are handled by highly experienced and trained culinary instructors. They even work hard just to place their students in the career path that best matches their goals and needs. It is for this effort that the Culinary Academy of Austin is now preferred by many aspirants of culinary arts.

Relocation To Austin

If you have found yourself considering a move to Texas, you might be remiss if you overlook the amazingly attractive options offered by Austin and the surrounding areas. Why is Austin so attractive? Well, that’s an answer that will take a bit of time. For starters, Austin is located along the beautiful Colorado River in the Texas Hills Country. The beauty of this area is hard to beat anywhere in the world. These beautiful hills are home to some of Austin’s most luxurious homes which feature amazing views of the city and the surrounding countryside.

Many aspects have contributed to Austin’s rise to popularity, but none more so than the excellent business environment that is based in the fields of technology. The Austin area has followed in the footsteps of Silicon Valley and has become known as the Silicon Hills. This nexus of the technology industry has provided Austin with a great atmosphere for growth and expansion while ensuring the stability of Austin’s economy and real estate sector.

Another great reason to consider relocation to Austin is the phenomenal real estate value that is possessed by homes and properties in the Austin area. In fact, homes in Austin are priced approximately $50,000 less than the national median. This translates into great opportunities for prospective home buyers. Also, the homes that make up the real estate picture in Austin are of excellent quality and it is possible to find some amazing heritage homes in the beautiful Victorian style that was popularized in the early 1900’s. There is also a great selection of new and modern homes and amazing condos and lofts available in many price ranges.

With such a stable real estate market, the services that are offered by Austin have grown with the increased need. Austin is home to great educational services and public utilities. All of these elements have combined to give Austin the stable base required to show consist ant growth and stability in the real estate market.

Keeping Austin Weird Since 1839: Austin Travel Information

Austin may not have much in common with the rest of its Texan neighbors, but it certainly is right up to speed, if not in high speed, with the rest of the international community. Find yourself some cheap airfare to Austin and discover why most cars and t-shirts of Austinites proudly proclaim, “Keep Austin Weird.” Travel to Austin to experience a vibrant city deeply entrenched in the tenets of self-expression, ever-evolving music of all genres, and the pride of a unique southern history.

Austin was the original capital of the Republic of Texas, and remained the capital of the state of Texas once incorporated into the United States in 1845 as the 28th state. The Texas State Capitol Complex is certainly worth a visit while taking in the sights of Austin. The gardens are peaceful and the 1856 Governor’s Mansion is an architectural testament to the Greek revival style. The LBJ Presidential Library is also located in Austin and offers rotating exhibits focused on domestic and national history and art.

Travel to the Tune of Austin

Anyone who pays much attention to contemporary music would know that Austin is known as “the Live Music Capital of the World.” There are more live music venues per capita in Austin than in any other city. Wander down 6th Street on any given night and you will find yourself overtaken by jazz beats, rock progressions, twanging country, or experimental electro. Each year Atlanta hosts the famous South by Southwest music and film festival, which is a major gathering and showcase for the entire live music industry. The Austin Reggae Festival is hosted in April and this eccentric Texan city even celebrates its own version of Carnaval in February.

It is mandatory that you travel with an open mind if you are visiting Austin during any of their zillions of festivals spread throughout the year. Eeyore’s Birthday Party is an annual celebration of self-expression where face painted families enjoy live music and drum circles alongside rockers, teens, drag queens and just about everyone else in Austin, while a statue of Eeyore dressed like the Statue of Liberty is prominently displayed. To keep in theme with Austin’s quirkiness, the city hosts SPAMORAMA, an annual homage to SPAM in all forms including a cook-off, recipe contest, kid’s SPAM sculpture, and craft booths, and even the SPAMALYPICS.

Austin also boasts a prosperous and eclectic film and theater industry. Over a dozen independent theaters line the streets of Austin, offering enough space for the many theater groups ranging from improv and offbeat to classical and cutting-edge. Check out The Off Center for a real taste of Austin’s finest original music, comedy and theater acts. Hollywood seems to have developed a satellite industry in Austin over the years, with the help of the University of Texas at Austin’s acclaimed Department of Radio-Television-Film. Recent productions include Office Space, A Scanner Darkly, Miss Congeniality, and Sin City.

It’s All About Austin

A trip to Texas is simply incomplete without traveling to Austin. The city single-handedly places Texas on the cultural and artistic global map and smoothes out the edges of the Texan stereotype. Get in on the nutty free spirit of Austin and don’t miss another beat of a breakthrough artist.

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