The 2005 Totally Austin Gift Guide
By Sean Claes
So, it's mid-December and you've still not figured out what gifts to get everyone on your list for the holiday. Maybe you need a quick gift for a company party, or that perfect something for that special woman or man in your life. If you're like me, you may have had over a dozen friends who have recently had children, so you're scrambling to pick something out to give them. Also, you probably don't have the money to drop big bucks on any of this.
INsite took the liberty to collect some things that are true Austin originals. All of the following items are made in Austin by Austinites and sold in local shops and online. Most of these items cost less than $50, so you can pick up something for everyone and still be able to afford the gas to deliver them.
As an added bonus to our faithful readers (we love you), if you join INsite's MySpace Account ( http://www.myspace.com/insiteaustin) and send us a "this is why I read INsite" message via our MySpace account, you will be put in a drawing (to be held December 14, one entry per person, you must make arrangements to pick up the gift from our office by the December 16) for one of five packages we're putting together of some of the items you see in the following pages. Good luck and Happy Holidays!
- As you may have read in the feature in this issue, one of the world's finest Vodkas is made right here in the capital city, Tito's Handmade Vodka ( http://www.titosvodka.com ) is the perfect gift for the person on your list who indulges in a little cocktail now and again.
Paula's Texas Orange ( http://www.paulastexasorange.com www.paulastexasorange.com) is a premium liqueur that gives a boost to many a mixer. In fact, if you combine the aforementioned Tito's Vodka with this, you've made what is known as "Austin's Own Martini." You can pick this up in places around Austin such as Austin Wine Merchant (512 West Sixth), Chris' Liquors, Twin Liquors, Wiggy's, Grapevine Market, Reuben's Wine & Spirits, and many other local places.
Sweet Leaf Tea ( http://www.sweetleaftea.com ) was one of the star beverages of this year's Austin City Limits Music Festival, so shouldn't it have a starring role in your holiday gifts? Be sure to pick up their new Holiday Spiced Tea for that holiday party you're hosting or headed to this year. It can be found all over Austin at places like HEB, Whole Foods, Central Market, 7-11, Sam's Club, and Albertson's.
Just over a year ago a new brew made it's way to some of Austin's beverage cases, Independence Beer ( http://www.independencebrewing.com ). I highly recommend the Freestyle Wheat Beer. Some of the locations you can pick up Independence Beer include: Bongo BBQ & Beer Barn (1004 West 24th), Farm to Market Grocery (1718 South Congress) Five Twin Liquors locations, Wheatsville Co-Op (3101 Guadalupe), and Whip In (1948 South I-35). For a full list, visit their Web site.
Words and Pictures of Austin:
- Austinite Richard Reynolds (http://www.richardreynoldsphotography.com) recently released two wonderful books of photography. In Texas Then and Now he expertly and amazingly "reshoots" historic Texas photos from around the state from the same location and angle they were originally shot. In Wild Texas Reynolds captures the natural beauty of our State.
- Texas Red Dirt Photos - (http://www.texasreddirtphotos.com ) In this photography collection, Todd Purifoy documents a year in the "red dirt" music scene of Texas musicians the likes of Cross Canadian Ragweed, Randy Rogers, Reckless Kelly, and Cory Morrow. Beautiful live shots are married with some of the interesting things the camera lens catches while shooting. Order via the Web site.
- Austin photographers donated their talent and local musicians donated their time and shed their clothing for Naked, a 2006 Calendar put together by Spike Gillespie (http://www.spikeg.com/) to benefit the Willie Graham/Legg Perthes Fund. The fund is named for Jon Dee Graham's son, and benefits the family to help pay for medical bills. The musicians include the likes of Guy Forsyth, Tosca, Eliza Gilkyson, Matt The Electrician, and Patricia Vaughan.
- Michael Ward may not be an Austinite, but the forward of Mike and the Bike (http://www.mikeandthebike.com), his bike-riding children's book, was written by Austin's favorite two-wheeler - Lance Armstrong. You may recall INsite's interview with Ward in the November 2005 issue.
- Photographer Jack M. Puryear (http://www.jackpuryear.com) employs a method known as Photo-Assemblage (taking numerous photos and assembling them as a panoramic photo) to provide beautiful images of our city including the lakes, nightlife, Capitol, and bridges for his amazing Austin, Texas 2006 Calendar. Pick up your copy at The University Coop (2246 Guadalupe). Poster prints also available.
- Coloring Outside the Lines - In this interesting memoir, author Aimee Cooper (http://www.punkrockmemoir.com/) shares some of the experiences she had as an active member of the Los Angeles punk rock scene in 1980s. Find this at Book People, Border's (10225 Research Blvd), and Waterloo Records (600 N Lamar Blvd).
- Shopping for someone who likes a challenge in the kitchen? Pick up The Soup Peddler's Slow and Difficult Soups ( http://www.souppeddler.com) where David Ansel shares stories about life in Austin in between some 35 soup recipies (like Hungarian Goulash and Posole Sonora). You can pick up your copy at Book People (corner of Sixth and Lamar).
Austin Band Swag:
- Be it t-shirts, hats, CDs, stickers, posters or panties, you can shop at just about any bar in town that features live music to find these treasures. If you've spent any time in Austin, you should be aware of the eclectic music scene, and the availability for good music to suit just about anyone. As a bonus, we'll go ahead and share the Web site and a December date for some of the gracious bands that donated time and items to the Gift Guide. 3 Kisses ( http://www.3kisses.com ) 12/17 Jo on the Go in San Marcos, 12/30 Dirty Dog (505 East Sixth), Cheryl Bliss ( http://www.cherylbliss.com ) 12/16 Ruta Maya (3601 South Congress), Freebleeder ( http://www.freebleeder.com ), Broken Teeth ( http://www.brokenteeth.com ) 12/10 Red Eyed Fly (715 Red River), Shrapnel ( http://www.shrapnel-online.com ) 12/17 The Backroom (2015 East Riverside), Powderburn ( http://www.powderburn.net/) 12/10 The Backroom, Meyvn ( http://www.meyvn.net ) 12/2 The Backroom, Friends of Lizzy ( http://www.friendsoflizzy.com ), Eric Johnson ( http://www.ericjohnson.com ), Cory Morrow ( http://www.corymorrow.com ), Pail ( http://www.wearethebucket.com ), Susan Gibson ( http://www.susangibson.com ), Nooner ( http://www.noonerrock.com ), The Addictions ( http://www.theaddictions.com ),and Quartershakle ( http://www.quartershackle.com ),
The Craftier Side of Austin:
- For some awesome and unique embroidery patterns, try Sublime Stitching ( http://www.sublimestitching.com ). You can find these great items at Austin stores like Parts and Labour (1604 South Congress), Ginger's Needlearts (5322 Cameron), and Yard Dog (1510 S. Congress)
These cool hand-printed holiday cards from Blue Snail Papers are available at Sparks (1014 W. Sixth), Wildflower Organics (908 N. Lamar and 3801Capital of TX), Therapy (1113 S. Congress)
Unique gifts for kids AND pets can be found in the Snuggle Boot-shaped, Square Comfy, and Pet Comfy by Tots & Tails Designs, LLC ( http://www.totsandtailsdesigns.com ). Visit their Web site to find out how to order.
For those who wear their fashion on their sleeve, consider buying a bag, purse or wallet by Lawless Revolution Wear ( http://www.lawlessrevowear.com ). They can be found at Austin shops like Parts and Labour (1604 South Congress), Moxie and the Compound (909 West Mary), Austin Museum of Art giftshop (823 Congress) and Storyville Boutique (51st and Duval).
Everyone needs a fresh scent in their lives, so a great gift idea is a soy wax candles by Simple Southern Scents ( http://www.simplesouthernscents.com ). Available at Parts and Labour (1604 South Congress), Hoffman Chiropractic (3500 Oakmont Blvd), First Thursdays on South Congress
- Tiff's Treats ( http://www.cookiedelivery.com ) As you can see by the sweet tray of cookies, Tiff's Treats is highly popular with locals... because they are delivered still warm from the oven. Limited local delivery only - Order online or by calling 512-473-2600.
The Chippery ( http://www.thechippery.com ) Gourmet cookie dough. Sold by fundraisers or via their store at 6315 E. Stassney the cookie dough is able to be used a little at a time and refrozen. Also, individually wrapped versions are also available at places like Rudy's Barbeque and at Austin-Bergstrom International Airport (ABIA).
An assortment of hot sauces from the Austin Spice Company ( http://www.austinspice.com ) is a good way to share the heat of central Texas. You can find them at both Central Market locations, Tears of Joy (618 East Sixth), all three Whole Foods Market locations, and Wheatsville Co-op (3101 Guadalupe).
It's been often said that Austin is Weird, but you can be sure and let people know we're also pretty nutty with an assortment from Austin Nuts ( http://www.austinuts.com ). In addition to the online store, you can visit their store at 2900 W. Anderson Lane as wells as find Austin Nuts at places such as Central Market, Randall's, some HEBs, the ABIA, and many gift shops.
- The baby on your list, or at least the parent of said baby, will get a kick out of the fantastic and funny onesies of Austin designer Will Heron ( http://www.willheron.com ). They can be found in town at Creatures Boutique (1206 S. Congress), Wildflower Organics (908 N. Lamar), Austin's Farmer's Market - open Saturdays from 9a.m. - 1p.m.until 12/17 (422 Guadalupe), and First Thursdays on South Congress
Music Makers - Why buy Barney when Austin has its own pool of children's singers the likes of Joe McDermott ( http://www.joemcdermottmusic.com ), Joe Scruggs ( http://www.hellojoe.com ), The Biscuit Brothers ( http://www.biscuitbrothers.com ), Laura Freeman ( http://www.greenkid.com ), and Lucas Miller ( http://www.lucasmiller.net )? You can find most of these via Austin's online one-stop kid's entertainment site Big Kid's Productions ( http://www.bigkids.com ) or Waterloo Records (600 N Lamar Blvd).
Wearing Austin Originals:
- Create your own fashionable red scare with a t-shirt from the Red Army Clothing Company ( http://www.redarmyco.com ) Find these at Skatepark of Austin (1615 Rutherford Lane).
Feeling Corny? Say it with a shirt from Will Heron ( http://www.willheron.com ). His line of adult shirts are available at Populuxe (4410 Medical Parkway). Look at "Kid Stuff" for his kid stuff.
Want to covey a message without saying a word? Check out Booyo ( http://www.sewbooyo.com ) to find interesting opinions like "Your Face Gives Me The Diarrhea" and "Sorry... I'm not Gay." They've also got a line of skirts. Find these at Parts and Labour (1604 South Congress).
The fashionable stitched-stripe shirt and funky record-barrettes come from All Dressed Up and Shy ( http://www.alldressedupandshy.com ). Items from this designer can be found at Parts and Labour as well.
Take vintage to the next level with one of these beautiful earring sets or necklesses from Naughty Secretary Club ( http://www.naughtysecretaryclub.com ). You can find items like the ones in this photo at Parts and Labour (1604 South Congress), and Flipnotics (1603 Barton Springs)
Everyone needs a flower now and then, so why not select one of Stephanie Nance's Fresh Cut Brooches ( http://www.stephanienance.com ) available at Bella Blue Boutique and Gallery (2213 South First)
If you're looking for an amazing and unique jacket, check out Lawless Revolution Wear. You can find their contact information (and rockin' purses) within the "The Craftier Side of Austin" photo in this guide.
Austin Odds and Ends:
- Spitfire Pepper Spray ( http://www.spitfire.us ) provides self-defense on a key chain. This brand is manufactured in Austin and sold in retail stores all over the United States.
OHSO Toothbrush ( http://www.goohso.com ) is a practical gift (created in Austin) for the traveler, a toothbrush that contains the toothpaste within so you don't have to mess with the tube. At press time, they were in talks to bring this to local stores, check Web site for updates.
Texas Daytripper ( http://www.texasdaytripper.com ) provides a guided tour via CD. A good gift for the weekend traveler, family excursion, or as a great thing to have on hand when relatives or friends need to be entertained. Available online or in Austin at Book People (603 North Lamar) and Zinger Hardware (2438 W. Anderson)
Sean Claes (http://www.seanclaes.com) is a freelance entertainment writer in Central Texas. He is also the Editor of INsite Magazine, where this story appears in the December 2005 issue.
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