So… About Austin…

I know, I know, it has been one month exactly since we packed up and headed to Austin from Phoenix, and I haven’t said much about it.  I’m surprised too!

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Many have asked – how do we like Austin?  It’s been a whirlwind getting here.  It all happened very fast and between selling, packing, moving, the holidays, unpacking, client work/ jobs, having colds and looking at houses in Austin.  We’ve been quite busy!   And, I haven’t had a chance to say much.

That’s why I had so many blogger friends guest posting for me during that time.  I hope you didn’t mind.  I love sharing other people’s work with you all!

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(Down the street is a family who participated in the cow parade and they now display the cow in their front yard.  It’s actually pretty, I think.)

Well, I’m breaking my silence and telling you all what we think of Austin so far…  the pros and the cons.  And, as we look for homes to buy, I’ll share some of that with you as well.

I’ll start with the CONS of Austin that we have discovered so far, so that I can end on a positive note.

1.  Roaches.  I have not actually seen any roaches yet, though we did see a giant tree roach in a vacation rental we stayed in back in October.  I hate roaches.  Texas has them.  We didn’t have roaches in Phoenix.  We did have scorpions, but guess what, they have scorpions in Austin as well!

2.  Drivers/ Narrow Roads.  Okay, so inside the Austin city limits, all of the roads are narrow.  Most lanes are only about 10 ft wide.  It feels like you are so close to other cars.  And, on top of that, the drivers here are very aggressive.  They will cut you off with no problem.  Expect to be cut off.  Lots of times.  Not so in Phoenix.  The roads are normal and the drivers are good – especially when those traffic cameras are up!

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3.  Weather/ Humidity.  It was rainy for the entire first week we were here.  Rain like that is very rare in Phoenix.  In fact, in Phoenix, I could see how a child could grow up and barely know what a cloud is…  Here, not so much.  But, I must say, in the past week or two, the weather has been very nice!   About 70-75 degrees on average, partly sunny.  The humidity is higher here – about 75% on average compared to maybe 15% on average in Phoenix.  But, I’m actually fairly used to it.  It’s not bothering me too much…

4.  Allergies.  In Austin, cedar is prevalent.  And, it’s cedar season – pollen counts are very high.  Most everyone has allergy symptoms like runny nose and a sore throat.  After my husband and I got over a cold that we caught, I had just one good day and I was sick again with continuous headaches and generally feeling ill.  Everyone assured me it was the cedar.  I was freaked out because if it made me this sick (more than allergy sick), I would need to head back to Phoenix asap.  But, come to find out (and this is still in the process of being confirmed), it seems to be the amount of boxes and packing material getting into the air while unpacking that is making me sick!  Whew!

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5.  Home Prices/ Cost of Living.  Our home in Phoenix – 3000 sq ft, pool, large lot can easily cost twice as much here (in the S/SW Austin area).  Ouch.  It hurts.  We’re trying to adjust budget and expectations, but it is a challenge.  The big difference?  Well, Phoenix prices dropped by about half from 2006 to 2009.  Yet, Austin home prices have stayed steady so no true drop.  Good for those moving to Phoenix or buying after 2009.  Bad for those of us moving from Phoenix to a healthier market.  However, it’s good to be in a healthier market in other regards.  Property taxes are also quite a bit higher here, but there are no state taxes.

6.  Traffic.  Just like most cities, Austin has its share of traffic.  It may be smaller than Phoenix, but traffic wise, it’s just as bad or maybe worse due to road construction.

Now for the PROS of Austin!

1.  Unique shops.  On the south side of Austin, there are lots of small unique shops.  All sorts of small mom and pop shops are keeping Austin weird.  I can’t wait to explore them!  Phoenix had a real shortage of these!

Some are not even small… This large grocery store had been converted to handmade products and a farmer’s market.

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And, well, there were other surprises inside.

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Keeping Austin weird!

2.  Blogger Meet-up.  We already had a blogger meetup with four bloggers in the Austin area – Dana from Make Them Wonder, Allison from House of Hepworths, Jessica from Hill Country Homebody, and me!  Fun, fun.  We met up at the cutest little restaurant downtown called The Waltons!  Loved all of those girls.  I wish we had taken photos of us together, but we didn’t!  Can’t wait to meet more bloggers in Austin.

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3.  Sprouts Farmer’s Market.  It’s a grocery store that is a lot like Whole Foods, but cheaper.  We had them in Phoenix and thank goodness, we have two in Austin!  It’s not many, but it’s more than zero!  I do half or more of my shopping here.  Most produce is local and the meat is all antibiotic and hormone free.   But, most importantly, I find my special allergy friendly foods here!

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4.  Trees.  Yep.  We didn’t have real trees in Phoenix.  They were all tiny and fairly short, except for some of the palm trees.  It’s nice to have some oaks again!  We’re set on having a lot with some trees on it!

5.  Scenic / Springs.  Phoenix is scenic in its own way.  It has the most park land within city limits of any city in the US.  But, Austin is also scenic.  It has rolling hills and natural springs.  And, trees. Did I mention trees?

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6.  The University of Texas.  It’s in Austin.  In Phoenix we had ASU, but it’s nice to be near our alma mater again!

7.  Y’all.  It’s nice to hear that term being thrown around here again.  We haven’t heard it much in over a decade.

I could probably think of a few more like being closer to family, it being more cultural here and so on.  But, that is good for now!

If you want to see more photos from Austin, see a previous post here.

This weekend, we’re taking a Segway tour of downtown!  Looking forward to exploring Austin more.  Having only lived here for college, it’s a whole new experience this time around.

But, yep, folks, that’s what we think so far!  We’re only one month in, so a lot can change still!  I’ll tell you more about our home search soon.

kristysig

20 Comments :

  1. So fun that you already had a blogger meet up! Yes, I would say Austin is totally weird, but they do have some unique shops:) Oh plus you are pretty close to the AMAZING OUTLETS in San Marcos!!!! That a big plus in my book!!

  2. Lunch was fun! We’ll have to do it again. Glad you’re settling in.

  3. Austin is on my list of cities I want to visit. I’ve always heard great things and hopefully will make it there soon!

  4. You forgot to mention the San Marcos outlets!! Best outlets ev-ah! :-)
    So sorry to hear you have been sick-that makes moving in even more stressful- get better soon!

  5. My sister got her doctorate at UT, hook ‘em horns! I visited her a few times, I understand the traffic….and I felt everything was frontage roads. Drivers are aggressive but also watch out for them running red lights, really, really red lights. I’m glad your getting settled and can’t wait to see what projects you have in store!

  6. We stopped at the park and springs one time while traveling through. It was fantastic! What a fun place to be able to hang out for a while. Austin is definitely a quirky place!

  7. I’ve heard Austin is great, and from the PROs you’ve listed, sounds like a great place to me.
    My friend, Lauren, is from there ( http://www.perpetuallychic.com) and absolutely loves it!

  8. i lived in austin for less than a year and felt exactly the same about all your pros and cons! i miss the awesome food, great shops and music, but not the humidity for anything! and we have the same thing with prices when we left louisiana for md. though we paid double in md for about 1/2 the space we had in louisiana! but it’s worth it to live where we do i think! austin really is fabulous for the arts scene!

  9. Glad you’re finding a long list of pros in your new town. I need to do a post like this, comparing our old life in LA with our new life in the mountains. Thanks for the idea!

  10. Welcome to Austin. I went to college at UT and never left. Hopefully the pros will outweigh the cons for you!

    Samara

  11. I haven’t commented on your blog in forever. Sorry! Anyhow, glad to hear things are going well (all things considered, right! Y’all have had a crazy couple of months!). I love the word y’all (best word ever) and love going back home to SC and hearing everyone say it. I mean, everyone in my house says it (I have rubbed off on my husband, mwahaha), but no one else. So I’m sure you’re glad to be around awesome people who say it. :)

  12. It was fun! Great to meet you! Hope you are having some luck with the home search!

  13. Welcome back to Texas! It is a great state for sure! Can’t wait to see your new design ideas in your new local!

  14. So glad Y’ALL are here :)

    If it makes you feel any better, I haven’t spotted a roach or scorpion since I moved hear a year and a half ago. And as for the cedar, I usually don’t have allergies and this year I’m feeling it. Think it’s just a record year for the pollen count.

    As for the traffic…. it’s the bane of my existence.

    Hope you guys have fun exploring while you’re downtown this weekend. You should definitely hit up some of the food trailers. Kebablicious is a good one if you like kebabs!

  15. My husband loves going back and visiting Texas (he lived there for a few years). I have never been, but I’d love to go!

  16. I absolutely LOVE Sprout!! We have them here on So Cal , and they are just fantastic. My husband even loves it and we shop there every week =) I hope you continue to find some great Pros about Austin =)

  17. I just had to comment… Welcome to Austin!! I have lived here for about 18 years, I live in Round Rock now which is considered north austin these days. I have to agree with you, the traffic absolutely sucks!!!! The traffic has outgrown the city and the city hasn’t been able to keep up with the roadways. Warning… Friday rush hour starts about noon! Avoid IH35 if you can. The housing market is atrocious. Many housed are way more expensive versus what the normal person is paid. It is a buyers market here, so you may be able to find something for a lot less than it is worth. Austin is being called “mini hollywood” because so many stars are moving here and they have been filming a lot of movies here. It is the Live Music Capital of the world and come March, the city will be swarming with people from all over the world for SXSW (South by Southwest), the Rodeo and the Tx High School basketball finals.

    Be thankful for the rain. We didn’t get any all summer long and were (still are) in a severe drought. We will have about 2 more months of cold weather and then the horrid heat will start. We have had little to no winter this year, so that means a really hot summer! Expect to see at least one day (maybe two) of snow between now and early April. It will completely shut the city down. Don’t drive, the other idiot who don’t know how to drive on it will and it causes all kinds of scary instances!

    The Round Rock/Austin area has been rated #11 in the world as one of the safest places to live and most up and coming cities. So, there are a ton of people moving here which in turns makes a mess of the traffic!

    You probably already know a lot of this stuff, but I just had to share. I love living in this area and don’t ever want to leave! Sorry for the long comment.

  18. Even though I grew up in Denver, my daughters were raised in Houston for about 10 years so it is really in their blood. They both love Texas and the oldest even went to Trinity Univ. in San Antonio! We loved the Live Oak trees and the warm-hearted generosity of most Texans. I really enjoyed their Texas pride and was happy to share it while we lived there. So sorry to hear that you haven’t been feeling well. I hope your allergies get better soon. Pappasitos is my favorite restaurant in the entire world! Get the beef fajitas and ask for the garlic butter that you pour on each fajita. Yes, it’s fattening but once in a while. I still dream/salivate about them.

  19. Well, it sounds like you are probably going to survive and love Austin…great on the surviving, dang it on loving TX (c; I’m with you, though, Austin and it’s trees are absolutely gorgeous! They have some amazing and gorgeous parks there! Can’t wait to hear more about the new move!

  20. There are so many adjustments to make when you move! The parks/trees sound great (except for the pollen!) And the ‘weird’ stuff (especially the dancers) was hilarious!!!

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