Valentine’s Day is upon us, and to some it’s the most romantic day of the year. Others think it’s a sham created by the floral, candy and greeting card industries. Either way, there’s never a bad time to give your special someone a sweet gift. Here are some of the things the folks at House of Current would like to give and receive.
Traveling, to me, is the most exciting form of inspiration. Learning about new cultures, trying new foods, meeting new people – they’re life’s little refresh button.
This past weekend I had the amazing opportunity to visit Austin, TX. I had heard nothing but good things of the city – though all compliments of the city usually ended with “But it’s a little weird.” To which I thought “Hm. I like weird. Sign me up.”
Here are 8 things I learned about the Best Little Hippie Town in Texas.
1. It is, in fact, a little weird. But in the best possible way.
The slogan of the city isn’t “Keep Austin Weird” for nothing. Sure, they make a spectacle out of watching bats fly and have a larger-than-life size statue of Stevie Ray Vaughn to take your picture with – but their restaurants, hotels and music scene make them one of the most progressive and cultured cities in the U.S. And if loving that weirdness is wrong, then I don’t want to be right.
2. Boots are totally a thing.
On my trip, I brought with me an old pair of Ariat cowboy boots that has sat in my closet since the dark days of my “country” phase in high school (long story for another day). In Texas, cowboy boots are not a fad. They are a way of life. But be warned, if the only pair you own are the ones you got at Target for your Cowboy’s and Indian’s frat party – do yourself a favor and leave those at home. They will know.
3. Non-meat eaters beware: there is meat EVERYWHERE. And it’s magical.
Order of queso and chips? Barbecue on top. Eggs Benedict? Pulled pork on top. Bloody Mary? Bacon topped. I think you get the picture. We saw plenty of places offering great vegetarian options, but the real star of Austin is definitely their meat. Pulled pork, chili, barbacoa, beef jerky, sausage – you like meat, they have a way to serve it. And it’s all delicious.
4. They, like the rest of Texas, love their “Lone Star.” Like, REALLY love.
On bridges, light fixtures, elevators, boots – pretty sure if you stood still long enough, they’d put a star on your forehead. Texas is like another country, and they let you know it.
5. Their graffiti artists are on a whole other level.
Maybe graffiti artist isn’t the right term. Free artists? Whatever they are, they subscribe to a level of art in Austin that is beyond any outdoor art I have ever seen. The Hope Outdoor Gallery is an ever changing structure with a focus on free art and expression. We weren’t brave enough to climb it this time, but I’ll be back with spray paint soon.
6. If you’ve lived there for any more than 3 years, you can pretty much consider yourself a native.
According to recent numbers, 110 people move to Austin every. single. day. Numbers and math hurt my brain, but even I know that’s an insane number, so even with just a few years under your belt, you’re practically a native compared to the daily newcomers.
7. The city is extremely bike friendly – and also the regular kind of friendly.
We had an amazing opportunity to take a leisurely bike tour through the city, and coming from Atlanta (let’s be real here, bikers are NOT loved in this city) it was amazing to see how comfortable everyone was with people on bikes. Even though their parks and trails were PACKED, there was just a natural flow of people adjusting for the crowds and people on bikes. Bike lanes, frequent four way stops, and general acceptance put Austin at #11 on USA Today’s list of Bike Friendly Cities. Atlanta didn’t even make the top 50 if that puts it into perspective for you…
8. This city is, by far, one of the coolest I have ever visited.
In the wise words of Arnold Schwarzenegger, for all of the reasons listed above and many more –Austin, I’ll be back.
The world isn’t all smiles and trophies. We celebrated the winners yesterday, now it’s time to call out the ones who missed the mark. Here are our critiques of three spots that simply should have been better.
Nationwide: Make Safe Happen
The biggest problem with this spot is that its tone is so grossly out of synch with a celebratory event like the Super Bowl. People are pumped, cheering on their team and eating all their guilty pleasures – then Nationwide drops a major downer on everyone. The second biggest issue is that it does a very inadequate job of providing a solution to the horrible problem it presents. That’s advertising 101 – make your product the hero. A stronger call to action and maybe showing a few examples of safety measures people can take might have been enough to keep this spot safe from nation wide ridicule.
Another spot that just seemed to bring the room down. And even after a full 90 seconds, we’re still not sure what they were trying to sell. They show various levels of Nissan’s racing program and a pretty good looking Maxima at the end. But we really never see dad “come through” for his family or the car deliver any kind of benefit.
This spot has so much going for it – impressive special effects and a really big idea. The ending is simply a let down. The spot builds and builds to a dramatic…sigh. And while we’re being honest, it would have been much better if they had gotten Morgan Freeman to play God. The ending does present the solution this product provides, but only in a soft spoken voice over. Again, the type of thing that can get easily drowned out in a room full of partying fans. A simple on-screen super that read “100% more power” would have helped.