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A recent survey in Men’s Health ranks Plano as the third best city for men based on “health,” “life” and “fitness.” Here’s the deal: it’s really hard to decipher how it is that the periodical came to this conclusion, other than they claim to have measured 37 categories.  And, I can’t tell you what those 37 categories are, because after perusing the article for a good 15-20 minutes, I gave up trying to figure out the math that went into this oh, so scientific survey. What I can tell you is that Plano finished first in weight training, based on a study in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, according to the Men’s Health article. So, there’s that cause for celebration, too!

However, according to The Business Journals, Plano does top all other Texas cities in ‘brainpower.’ This ranking came from educational statistics compiled from U.S. Census data. This stat might also come from the Men’s Health determination that Plano is considered the “most tech-friendly” city in America. Interestingly enough, this was determined by counting the number of Apple and Best Buy stores per capita, as well as the percentage of households that own tablets, notebooks, or laptops. Way to go, Amex warriors of Plano! I won’t mention that there is also an article stating that viewing nude women can boost your brainpower too (oops, I just mentioned it). Now we have a guess as to what’s being bookmarked on those laptops and tablets, I suppose? 

Plano sure seems to be the “tops” of its fair share of categories. They did miss out one one crown, however. Turns out, Plano did not top the list of “Cavity Capitals”. Alas, Dallas took home that most anti-dentite of titles.

Greenberg Smoked Turkeys, a long-running East Texas family tradition, aren’t just for Thanksgiving anymore. The tradition began in the 1940’s when a Tyler man who regularly smoked meats for local families and friends shipped several dozen turkeys by train to a Dallas oilman who fell in love with the hickory fire slow-cooked bird. The Tyler-based culinary institution now ships to around 200,000 customers each holiday season.  Families not only devour Greenberg’s birds at holiday gatherings these days, though. It’s now become commonplace to have the turkeys shipped as gifts to coworkers and friends. The six to fifteen pound turkeys, ranging in price from $28-$68, can be sent anywhere. The turkeys arrive at your door, fully smoked and ready to eat. And because the company suggests that the turkeys can be eaten chilled or at room temperature, there’s almost no reason for you to step foot in the kitchen when prepping your next holiday soiree. So, I guess a Greenberg Smoked Turkey is truly the gift that keeps on gobblin’. 

To order go to www.gobblegobble.com or call (903) 595-0725.

A few weeks ago, our resident funny man, Dave Little, mentioned that when he hits Austin, he really digs making trips to both Waterloo Records and to Book People. Both independently owned store-fronts are more or less treasured Austin landmarks. With that said, however, you don’t really hear them mentioned in the same breath as the South Congress Bats, Barton Springs, The State Capital Building, or even the glorious den of iniquity that is Sixth Street when it comes to the standard, and perhaps tired, must-see Austin attractions.

The sad fact of the matter is that it had been way too long since I, myself, had darkened the doors of either establishment. My recent trips to Austin typically centered around festivals or quick day trips, and there was rarely time for the leisurely browsing time that visiting these two places would surely require of me. That all changed a couple of weeks ago, though. As my wife, son and I made our way into town from Dallas for the FFF Fest, I decided that we wouldn’t be hitting I-35 North on Sunday until I had traversed every shelf and display of both Book People and Waterloo Records, both located on Lamar Street near the flagship Whole Foods.

After strong and spicy Bloody Mary’s at the original Kerbey Lane restaurant (I know, I know, it’s touristy, but it’s really great, regardless), the family and I pointed the car towards Book People. Open since 1970, it’s tough to imagine more than a handful of similar book havens of this caliber in the entire country. Celebrity book signings and a mammoth inventory are only two of the many great qualities of this three-level shop. I pursued the gigantic music section (“Ooh, Jay-Z’s Decodedis in paperback, now??”) while the Mrs. and our four year old son got all up in the crowded and kid-eriffic storytime, set in what can only be described as an indoor amphitheatre for little ones. As I resisted the urge to pick up an autographed Jonathan Franzen novel on the way out, I knew that I wouldn’t be so prudent when we left and then hit Waterloo Records

Whether its the dozen or so iPod-powered listening stations that seem to be more curated by knowledgeable, discerning lovers of music than simply cobbled together by label publicists and trend-watchers, or the large room of all things vinyl, this store will never go unvisited by me again when I visit Austin.

After choosingSlint’s Spiderland vinyl, as well as the 33 1/3 series book that discusses the same album, I gave the first few tracks of themuch-maligned Metallica/Lou Reed release, Lulu a listen. After thinking the first track, “Brandenburg Gate” wasn’t so bad after all, I asked one of the store’s employees what he thought of the bashing the album’s been taking. He was quick to say that he really liked the first track, but wasn’t too keen on the rest. So, great minds and all, right?

So, if reading Little’s column didn’t compel you to visit these jewels of independent commerce as it did me, I can only hope that you feel as such now. If not, well, that’s one less person standing in my way at the vinyl bins next time.

 

The Outlets at Hillsboro along with Boy Scout Troop 494 and the Hillsboro Lions Club will present the fourth annual Shopping Extravaganza on Saturday, October 22 for an action-packed day of charity shopping.

Attendees are treated to a full day of pampering including a fashion show, massages, makeovers and other health and beauty tips. The daily shopping package includes special gourmet hors d’oeuvres and a wine tasting from Red Caboose and Lone Oak Wineries with opportunities to win over $5,000 in prizes. Shop ‘til you drop, participate in raffles, enjoy gift giveaways, prizes and more. This event is sure to outshine every year before!

Rebecca Galuppo, Marketing and Special Events Manager for the center has managed this event over the years and seen it continuously grow.

“The best part of the event is the fact that each $10 ticket has 100% of the proceeds going to the participating charities,” said Galuppo.

The Outlets at Hillsboro Shopping Extravaganza is an annual signature event hosted in part by Craig Realty Group. Brand name tenants at the Outlets will be participating in the charity effort.  The event is open to all ages. Tickets are $10 with all proceeds to benefit the above charities. 

Friends, family, groups and children are all invited to this incredible charity event. Tickets to the event are available online at www.OutletsatHillsboro.com with all pre-purchased ticket holders receiving a golden goody bag.

About Outlets at Hillsboro

Outlets at Hillsboro is located just off I-35, 60 minutes from the Metroplex at Exit 368. Big brand names include Polo Ralph Lauren Factory Store, GAP Outlet, Gymboree Outlet, Bath and Body Works, Hagger, The Children’s Place, Nike factory Store, Reebok Outlet, and many more.

A while back, we pointed you into the direction of an Etsy Bazaar that went down in Denton. Soon, it’s Ft. Worth that will be getting in on the Etsy action with the second annual Cowtown Indie Bazaar.

We here celebrate the independent spirit of Etsy participants and the indepenent dealers that take part in the sales and craftsy networking. As we walk the aisles of various art exhibits and other bazaar’s we know what we like when we see it. Wish that meant we knew what we were talking about when it comes to such things, but sadly, it often doesn’t. With that in mind, I’m going to let the note that the folks from the Cowtown Indie Bazaar sent us do much of the heavy lifting here…

The free event is produced by volunteer local artisans and will feature handmade goods from the best local artists and crafters in the metroplex, a charitable raffle benefiting Hope Center for Autism, live music, and family-friendly ‘make-and-take’ craft activities.

The vendor list will be announced in late August and will include jewelry, home goods, baby and kids items, unique clothing and accessories, bath and body products, original artwork, eco-friendly items and much more.  The indoor event is free to attend, climate controlled, family friendly, and the first 50 attendees will receive a complimentary goody bag filled with handmade items made by the vendors.

This is the third show produced by Etsy Fort Worth, following two successful shows in March of this year and September 2010.  The Cowtown Indie Bazaar is produced exclusively by volunteer local artisans as a way to promote the handmade movement within the Fort Worth area.

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When:  Saturday, October 15, 2011, 9am – 5pm
Where:  Roundup Inn, Will Rogers Memorial Center, 3401 West Lancaster, Fort Worth, Texas 76107
Website:  http://www.cowtownindiebazaar.com/

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I’ll admit it: I’ve never played Disc Golf (or, as some call it, Frisbee Golf). Here’s another admission: I’ve always wanted to. I’m not sure why I haven’t gotten around to making the leap yet. It only takes a few bucks to buy the right “clubs”, and especially here in North Texas, there is an insane amount of courses to sling the wobbly discs around.

Perhaps you’re like me and you’ve wanted to get rolling on this seemingly cool and laid-back way to spend some time? Perhaps you’re unlike me and have been on the Disc Golf wagon for years, but aren’t sure where the courses for you to play are? For those who live in North Texas, it might be shocking to see how many courses there are, actually. From Rowlette to Grapevine, from Garland to Carrollton, from McKinney to Irving there are dozens within the D/FW Metroplex and surrounding areas alone.

Hey, there’s even a pretty major tourney going on in Dallas this coming weekend. The Cedar Hill Open takes place on June 18th and 19th at Lester Lorch Park, just south of Dallas. 

As it turns out, there are tons of helpful websites that can assist an aspiring Disc Golfer, or an experienced one, in any number of ways. Check it out…

 Ah, summer in Texas. Rangers’ baseball, 100+ heat, (and this year), Dallas Mavericks playoff basketball, and tubing the rivers of the Hill Country.

I can only hope that this post doesn’t find you residing in a scenario where you have yet to take part in one of the most holy, quintessentially Texan of all traditions. Tubing the Guadalupe, or Comal for that matter, is an experience that few other states can offer.

Simply put: If you haven’t yet. It’s about time to get to it. Below are some resources available to help you in your quest for the spirit of Texas summers…

Gruene Texas - It’s kind of crazy how one small town can have just about everything you need for a fun day of tubing. River outfitters, great restaurants and, in case you haven’t made the connection yet: The legendary Gruene Hall. Texas’ grandest and oldest dance hall. If tunes are blaring from the open widows that line the walls of this hollowed palace, than it’s time to get on in and grab a cold one.

Also, check out the Comal River for tubing good-times…

OK, that’s enough to at least get you started. Believe us, it’s almost a deal where you will have a hard time convincing other Texan’s that you’re a real Texan if you can’t say you’ve tubed the river. It’s kind of like saying you haven’t seen Willie Nelson live in-concert, or paid your respects at the Alamo…wait, you have done those things, right??

    

OK, this is a post with two messages for you (especially if you’re reading this and are the owner of a business). We here at Best of Texas and BestBuzz pride ourselves of creating innovative ways for not only business owners to market their enterprise, but for consumers of all types to enjoy the wares that we are helping them get such great deals on.

I know it’s easy for us to get on this blog and tell you we’re offering such great channels for both businesses and shoppers, so we want to give you some real-live, out-on-the-street proof about how this is such a wonderful tool. Oh, and for any of you parents out there, looking to get the perfect hair cut for your kiddo, you’ll want to catch this too!

One of the many businesses taking advantage of the marketing power that BestBuzz (our mobile marketing app that connects businesses and consumers) offers is The Kid Salon in Allen, TX. Again, we don’t want you to take our word for it. Just let Jim Berrios, of The Kid Salon tell you through this letter we recently recieved from him, thanking BestBuzz for the positive effect his business has seen from the program…

“Even though we have only been with the Best Buzz family for a short while. We are seeing and hearing a tremendous amount of excitment from our customers. They think it’s fun, cool, and easy. They really love that they can share their discounts with their Facebook friends so effortlessly. Personally, as a small business owner, I love the control this amazing tool gives me to better market my business. Best Buzz gives me very easy-to-use, yet very detailed reporting and editing options. I can check our marketing buzz or change our discount as much as I want, even while I wait in the car pickup line for my kids after school. No more coupons for my customers to worry about, and no more frequent runs to the printer for me, which saves me time and money!”

See? If this sounds good to you and you want to learn more about how we can help your business reach more people in a way that you haven’t imagined, then please let us know.

Also, while you’re at it, giveThe Kid Salon BestBuzz page a look to see what kind of deals you can take advantage of today!

Etsy.Com, an on-line outlet for crafts-people and artists looking for a new-media way of getting in-touch with their customers also likes to help get those same creators in touch with the art-loving public in the old-fashioned way, as well.

On June 4, in Denton at the Denton Arts Council Center for the Performing Arts, the Etsy Denton group will be hosting its first full-on arts & crafts show. Just by taking one look at the main Etsy website, it’s clear to see that we’re not merely talking crocheted doilies that grandmas everywhere seem to adore. We’re talking real art with real vision and true, hand-made distinction. So, get on up there and help support the hand-made, local arts!

From the press release:

This spectacular event in Denton will bring together the best of 100% handmade goods and indie crafters. The Etsy Denton Summer Bazaar will take place on June 4, 2011 at the Greater Denton Arts Council Center for Visual Arts. This is the first Summer bazaar for Etsy Denton, following a quaint, yet well received ‘Barn Sale’ in Fall 2010.

The vendor list for the Etsy Denton Summer Bazaar includes over 30 of the most creative people in the Denton Area, selling everything from furniture, home goods, jewelry, accessories, ceramics, bags, purses, woodworking, kid and baby items, art and paper goods, yarn, and more, all with a unique twist. The event is indoor, climate controlled, and family friendly.  There will be snacks and drinks. Admission is free.

Etsy Denton is a collection of independent artists, crafters, and designers in the Denton  area who sell their goods on Etsy.com. It was founded in 2010 to collectively promote members’ businesses, spread the word about the benefits of buying local handmade products, and to provide camaraderie amongst the Denton craft community. Their mission is to spread knowledge and increase marketplace participation of handmade goods.

Etsy Denton strives to make this happen by creating an environment where artists and crafters can connect, network, and form friendships around their common handmade interests, as well as hosting community craft fairs to promote artists, crafters, and other creative types.

 When:  Saturday June 4, 2011 – 10AM to 4 PM

Where: Greater Denton Arts Council Center for Visual Arts

400 E. Hickory Street, Denton, Texas 76201

Admission: Free


The Shops at Willow Bend in Plano has been a great deal sweeter in recent months. The mall’s most delectable tenant, Sugar Queen Cupcakes has been slinging icing-topped guilt-givers and has been picking up all sorts of praise along the way.
Perhaps most notably, Sugar Queen’s Berry Pecan Cupcake was named as The Official Cupcake for the State of Texas. Beating out many other bakers, our state government was able to get something right. Of course, that’s but one of many addictive flavors feature at the shop, located not too far from the shopping center’s food court area. Cream Cheese Lime, Mint Chocolate Truffle, Italian Cream and yes, even good ol’ chocolate and vanilla are featured daily. If you think you can, you are able to leave with only one treat, but good luck with that. one glimpse into the bright room of sweets and it’s more likely you’ll walk out with a box or two.
It stands to reason that the Official Cupcake of Texas would be an ideal match for giving readers of Best of Texas a sweet deal or two. Head on over to Sugar Queen’s Best Buzz page and see how you can take advantage of a special that’s available to BestBuzz users only. Hint: It involves buying some cupcakes and getting even more for free (wink wink, nudge nudge).

Of course, to take advantage of this offer, or any of the other great deals that BestBuzz App users are regularly offered, you need to download the App onto your iPhone or onto you nifty Adnroid.