2015 Austin Weird Homes Tour

Austin Weird HomesI may not be from Austin, but I don’t think I’m the only one who drives around pointing at houses saying “Oh, look at that one!’ and “I wonder who designed that one over there?” and “Wouldn’t it be great to tour that house?” It doesn’t matter what neighborhood I’m in, there’s always a home that catches my attention.

That’s why the Austin Weird Home Tour is so genius. The brainchild of Chelle and David Neff, the tour gives gawkers like me an opportunity to tour some of the most interesting, unique, and amazing homes in Austin and meet their equally impressive owners.

Check out this video of last year’s tour and hear more from Chelle below!

Why did you start the Austin Weird Homes Tour?

I came up with the idea of the Weird Homes Tour while walking through my neighborhood one night. I always try to envision psychologically why people pick certain homes (especially cool different ones), and what they look like on the inside. My curiosity and nosiness is what drove me to start this tour.

What do you consider success in the second year of the tour?

The fact that more homeowners found us and wanted to be a part of the tour, I consider a success. The first year we had to search and search for homes and we were almost scared we wouldn’t have enough. This year, since having built our brand and public trust a little more, we had more people approach us about being on the tour instead of the other way around.

The Queen of the WeirdThe Queen of the Weird

What is they one thing you want Austinites to take away from this tour?

I want people to leave inspired. I want them to know that Austin is still Austin and we can appreciate every side of it, whether it is a downtown condo or an east side “weird home”. This tour should help people embrace every type of person and home in Austin.

What can someone expect if they go on the Weird Homes Tour?

That each house will be COMPLETELY different! You will not walk away and quickly forget or confuse any of our houses. Each home will be a totally different experience.

What’s YOUR favorite home on the tour?

Casa Neverlandia is definitely my favorite. The home is like something out of a Dr. Suess book. You could visit it one hundred times and see something new every single time. The owner, James Talbot is also an amazing artist and the house is really an extension of that.

NeverlandiaNeverlandia

Is there a dream home you’d like to see added to the tour?

Of course! Graceland! It’s my favorite “weird” home of all time. I know it’s not in Austin, however it’s so amazing I have to mention it. I went last year and immediately wanted to tour it again. If you’re ever in Memphis, you have to go there.

How can someone get involved right now (or take part in the tour)?

You can purchase tickets on the website. You can be a Weird Homes Wrangler and get free admission (hit us up on our Facebook Fan page for details)! Or you can become a sponsor if you own a business.

What is special about this tour?

What makes our tour special is that you get to be interactive with the homeowners. They will be in each home talking to everyone and answering any questions you may have about their home. What makes you remember a home most often is the story behind it.

Austin is changing a lot right now.  What does the Weird Homes Tour mean for our city?

It means a preservation of the sentiment “Keep Austin Weird.” I think a lot of people get caught up on all the growth around Austin and forget to look at all the beauty and artistry that is still here. This city has an underlying heart that makes it special and I truly believe no matter how many people move here, that specialness will always exist. I also believe that’s what attracts so many people to Austin.

The Earthbag HouseThe Earthbag House

The Austin Weird Homes Tour mentions giving back, how do you give back to our community?

Each year we pick a cause to donate to. The first year we picked Caritas, which provides affordable housing for those experiencing poverty and links them to resources to achieve self-sufficiency. And after it went so well last year, we picked them as our cause again for the second tour. We will be donating 10% off all ticket sales to Caritas.

There is always something going on in Austin, what makes the Weird Homes tour unique/special/important?

I think what makes Weird Homes Tour special is that it’s a local event that celebrates everything Austin strives to be. We give the public an experience that is self-guided and family friendly! I know I like to do things on the weekend that are fun and relaxing and this would definitely fall into that category.

Be sure to get your ticket to the Austin Weird Homes Tour happening on May 23rd. See you there!

Worthy of the Week

Worthy of the WeekWorthy of the Week

Book of the Week

I’m feeling a little antsy because I didn’t have time to read anything this week.

Like, at all.

Did you read anything good?

Snack Time Cinnamon Sugar Pretzels

It is a well documented fact that I am a savory snacker, so when I posted this seasoned pretzels recipe and several people requested a sweet version, I was intrigued but I wasn’t rushing to the kitchen to whip up a batch. Now that I have, I’m a little bit mad at myself for not going to the sweet side sooner. After baking, they’re sweet and a little smokey and the salt from the pretzels keeps things in check. You’re going to love them.

Cinnamon Sugar Pretzels Cinnamon Sugar Pretzels

Makes a big party bowl.

Ingredients

  • 1 bag pretzels — sticks, nuggets, or twists
  • 1/2 cup butter, melted
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon Nielsen-Massey Pure Vanilla Powder
  • additional sugar for sprinkling

Directions

Dump pretzel into a large Tupperware container. Combine melted butter, cinnamon, and sugar in a measuring cup and whisk. You don’t need the sugar to dissolve, just combine with the other ingredients. Pour sugar mixture over pretzels, close lid, and gently shake to coat. Shake every few minutes until pretzels are coated and no butter and sugar settles to the bottom of container. Spread coated pretzels on a baking sheet and sprinkle with sugar. Make sure the pretzels aren’t lumped on top of each other so that they don’t fuze together while baking — you may need to use two baking sheets. Bake at 250 degrees for 30 minutes, shaking pan every 10 minutes, to seal in flavors.

I think they’re best warm, but you can cool and store in an air-tight container for up to a week. If you want to be really bad, dip finish pretzels in cream cheese fluff. I like to add a splash of vanilla extract to the dip recipe, but I like to add a splash of vanilla to just about everything.

Worthy of the Week

Worthy of the Week Linen and BoxwoodsLifestyle blogger game on point thanks to Linen and Boxwoods.

(sponsored giveaway) I’m always up for a little design inspiration, especially when it includes must-have items like gold rimmed agate coasters from Linen and Boxwoods, a new online store featuring home decor, entertaining essentials, and fashion accessories. I love their fresh, seasonal take on decorating and entertaining, and that you can pick up a little something sparkly for yourself in the process.

Do you want to win a $50 Linen and Boxwoods gift certificate? Of course you do! Visit Linen and Boxwoods, grab the URL of your favorite item, and leave a comment below!

Winner will be chosen at random on April 20th and will receive a gift certificate code to be redeemed online.

Worthy of the Week

Book of the Week

I’m not even a little bit ashamed to tell you how much I’ve learned from Come as You Are: The Surprising New Science that Will Transform Your Sex Life by Emily Nagoski because the book is just that amazing. It’s not just about sex. It’s about life and acceptance and overall well-being.

I also picked up Unabrow: Misadventures of a Late Bloomer by Una LaMarche which circulated around work because that cover is everything. Unfortunately, the cover really is everything and the storytelling doesn’t measure up.

ON TREND Plus-Size Swimwear

GOD BLESS GabiFresh and the fatkini revolution because there are so many great plus-size swimwear options out there this year. Many more than since the last time I blogged about plus-size swimsuits, just two summers ago. And so many more than any other time in my life when I absolutely dreaded shopping for bathing suits because I knew the fit options would be scarce and the color and print options would be limited to black or paisley. Just having curves or a sizable bust used to relegate so many women to the back corner of a department store to choose from a half dozen or fewer terrible swimsuit options, but no more!

Now, I’m almost addicted to swimsuit shopping because I know that I have choices! Choices that look like what every other hot tamale on the beach is wearing! Here are some of my favorites this season that are sexy, colorful, on trend, and just waiting for sunshine.

on trend plus size swimwear plus size swimsuits1. *Swim Sexy Junglebook Underwire One Piece on sale $54.60
2. GabiFresh Paradise Underwire Bikini on sale $68.60
3. *Torrid Peakaboo Striped Bikini Top $44.50 and bottom $38.50
4. *Torrid Geometric One-Piece $78.50
5. Old Navy Halter Bikini Top $29.94 and bottom $29.94
6. *Forever 21 Tropical Print Bandeau $15.90 and bottom $14.90
7. Forever21 Tropical Print Cutout One Piece $29.90
8. Lilly Pulitzer for Target Upstream One Piece $40
9. Lilly Pulitzer for Target Fan Dance Bikini Top $24 and bottom $24

* I’ve personally purchased or tried on the ones noted with an asterisk and can attest to their quality and ability to keep things high and tight.