Summer 2011

Ladybird Lake Lake Austin Lake Travis Lake Marble Falls Lake LBJ Lake Buchanan
Austin
City of
Lakeway
Lakeway
Commons
Lake Travis
Tropic Tan
Rocco’s Grill
Wells Fargo Bank
Spa at the Lake
John Ryan’s Clothing
Edward Jones Lakeway Pediatric Associates
Lakeway Eye Center
Java Dive Cafe
Artisan Bistro
O Realty Group
Domino’s Pizza
Mission Family Chiropractics
Suzie D’s
Dr. Winston Eaddy, DDS
Cristiani’s Jewelers
Finley's Barber Shop
Reid’s Cleaners
Cafe CastroNova
Fore
Lake Travis Podiatry
PakMail
Heart HR
A beautiful Hill Country setting for your shopping and dining.
Lakeway Blvd & RR 620 S • www.lakewaycommons.com • 512.266.3163
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512.415.9023
Amber Hart realtor,
®
ba
Remember these listings from the last issue?
14 Stillmeadow Drive - $529,000 MLS# 4015006
Absolutely stunning custom built home in Te Hills of Lakeway. Tis home features an incredible
kitchen with stainless steel appliances, granite counters,and custom birch cabinets with pull-outs.
Other features include stained concrete foors, rounded corners, art niches, travertine in bath-
rooms, built-ins, knotty-alder doors and designer lighting throughout, 4 storage closets, isokern
freplace, cantera front door, covered outdoor living and so much more!
127 Crest View Drive -
$309,000 MLS# 2919660
Absolutely gorgeous custom
home in Lakeway! Tis home
as been beautifully updated
and in immaculate condition.
Upgrades include stainless
steel appliances, granite
countertops, travertine foors
and more! Enjoy the private
backyard with large patio and
arbor.
I don’t just list properties, I sell them.
S
O
L
D
S
O
L
D
10
ABOUT THE COVER
12
SPLENDOR ON THE WATERFRONT
16
LTEF GALA
24
ROLLS ROYCE AUSTIN GRAND OPENING
28
FASHION FOR COMPASSION
32
MAYBERRY MEMORIAL
34
EASTER BUNNY AT BELVEDERE
36
DISCOUNT NATION
40
MARDI GRAS
42
THE TODDLER CHRONICLES
44
WOMEN ON THEIR TOES
48
BUSINESS PROFILES
51
NEWS FROM TEXARTS
52
SING ALONGS’ ROARING TWENTIES
54
BOOK REVIEWS
56
DANCE INSTITUTE PRODUCES GRAND CHAMPIONS
Waterways Magazine
604 Peterson Lane; Lakeway, TX 78734
waterwaysmag@gmail.com
www.waterwaysmagazine.com
EDITOR/PUBLISHER: Cathie Parssinen 512.785.6313
DESIGNER: Sheila Parr waterwaysdesign@gmail.com
CONTRIBUTORS
EDITORIAL: Linda Holland, Keija Parssinen,
Selena Rosanbalm
PHOTOGRAPHY: Brandi Nellis, Andy Sams, Darci Siiteri,
Paolo Valente
BLOG: www.theflyingchalupa.com
16
40
Summer
2011
28
34
ABOUT THE COVER
Cover Model Holly Mills Gardner photographed by Brandi Nellis at The Reserve at Lake
Travis. Read more about the cover on page 10.
56
52
Tommy Cain Peggy Duran Tom Childers Stephanie Forkel
1921 Lohmans Crossing Ste. 100, Austin, TX 78734
266-7557 - Info@LaHaPro.com - LaHaPro.com
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and Farm & Ranch
Real Estate Services
To View All Listings Visit:
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minutes from Lakeway/Rough Hollow. Platted, ready to build, with paved county road frontage.
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10 Waterways | Summer 2011
A
S A “MAGAZINE JUNKIE” who reads a shameful number of mag-
azines, I was inspired to create a dramatic, fashion cover set on Lake
Travis for this issue. We certainly have all the ingredients to make it hap-
pen. Beautiful women? Check. Landscapes of natural beauty? Check. A great pho-
tographer? Check. My goal was to find the people and the resources to help bring
the enduring image on this cover to life. I didn’t have to look too far. Here is the
story of the people whose energies were harnessed to produce this special cover.
THE BEAUTIFUL WOMAN
Cover model Holly Mills Gardner is a 7th generation Texan, a graduate of Texas
State University and a Lake Travis resident. She is a former Miss Texas USA, and
she is a sought-after TV personality, film star, model and an active participant in
charity events. She appeared in “Miss Congeniality” and CBS’s “Nash Bridges,” and
was host and associate producer for two years on ABC’s regional home and design
show, “Designing Texas.” Multiple appearances on the “E!”Channel, ESPN, Versus
and TNN and in commercials, music videos and TV hosting roles supplement her
work for nonprofits. In 2009 alone, Holly helped to raise more than $2 million for
Texas charities. She is married to Mike Gardner, and their two little boys, six-year
old Hudson and four-year old Cullen, keep her “off-camera” life busy and happy.
Gown by St. Thomas at The Domain www.stthomasdomain.com
Hair (color and style) by Lush Salon www.lushsalonaustin.com
Makeup by Laura Vojtko, Freelance Makeup Artist lauravojtko@yahoo.com
Jewelry by Kendra Scott
THE STUNNING SETTING
Selecting the perfect spot for this shoot, from among the hundreds of enchanting,
waterfront views of Lake Travis, was simplified by the dramatic, uncluttered vista
offered by the magnificent lazy river pool at The Reserve at Lake Travis, where the
waters of pool and lake merge through an almost seamless boundary. It provided
the perfect backdrop to allow cover model Holly Mills Gardner to assume center
stage. The entire pool, complete with giant waterslide, swim up bar and private
cabanas, is pictured here in greater detail. Memberships in the Cypress Club at The
Reserve at Lake Travis offer access not only to this luxurious pool but also to the
equestrian center and the Lodge.
THE GREAT PHOTOGRAPHER
I spent a full day browsing websites of Austin
photographers until I found Brandi Nellis of
Brandi Nellis Photography LLC. I poured through
her galleries of photos. I looked at her blog. I
read her personal “bio.” And I was struck by that
ineffable something that exposed an irrepress-
ible spirit of creativity and love of life, something
that propels someone beyond the technical skills
of craft into a curious exploration of the hidden
meanings of human transactions. And great pho-
tography is nothing more than the art of captur-
ing those meanings and those transactions. Brandi came to Austin from
Missouri. She grew up in a small town there and attended the University of
Missouri in Columbia. She is a wife, a football mom, a Karaoke superstar, a
cat person and is a passionate beach lover, and she is especially crazy about
the beaches of the Caribbean. She gets charged up by bold, bright colors. “I
believe life is too short to live in a world of neutrals.” Brandi will be bring-
ing her bold, bright visions to life on future Waterways covers. This cover
is her Waterways debut!
About the Cover
STORY BY CATHIE PARSSINEN
Apparel : Jewelry : Shoes
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12 Waterways | Summer 2011
T
HE LAKEWAY Associates of the Seton Development Board held its 2011 Seton
Gala at the home of Nick and Judy Renneker, who graciously opened their doors
to support this annual fundraiser that benefits Seton Shoal Creek Hospital.
Serving the Austin area for more than 30 years, Seton Shoal Creek offers a wide spectrum
of mental health and substance abuse services to children, adolescents and adults on both
an inpatient and outpatient basis. Funds raised at this event are dedicated to special proj-
ects and equipment purchases.
Gala Co-Chairs Sharon January and Kim Nearburg selected Mandola’s Italian Market
to provide catering for the event. With Lake Travis as a backdrop, couples danced under
a mile high roof of stars to the music of Bahama Billy. Attendance was up from last year’s
event, and Treasurer Sharon Rogers expects the Board will be able to present Seton Shoal
Creek with a check for $30,000+.
Splendor on the
Waterfront
STORY AND PHOTOS BY CATHIE PARSSINEN
Gala Co-Chairs Sharon January, Kim Nearburg
Charlie and Cherie Harris
Doug and Beverly Reid
Annette Brown, Janet Eaddy,
Charles Edwards, Winston Eaddy, Tom Broyles
Catering by Mandola’s Italian Market
Jaynee Lancaster, Will and Pat Smith Nick, Kim, Judy and Bob Renneker
New clients enjoy $75 off Pravana Smoothing
System • 30% off all Hair Services • $20 off facial
By appointment only • Discounts Valid with Dolores and Trish Only
Dolores Wheele
Master Color & Hair Artist
512-627-2785
Trish Crandall
Professional Skin & Nail care
512-627-5972
Call us for your
hair, skin & nail
services!
Pravana Smoothing (Formaldehyde Free) • Custom Hair Color & Cuts
Microdermabrasion • Facials • Waxing • Peels • Manicures • Pedicures
Allure Salon 1310 RR 620 S Ste.A-9, Lakeway
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Resort living is closer than you think,
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Please call me for more information on these beautiful properties.
®
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14 Waterways | Summer 2011
Dee Ann Farrell, Thurman Lauret, Donna Kumar, Dotty Stevenson,
Jon Parssinen, Nancy Clayton
Margaret Kilgo, Glenda Foreman, Linda DeOme,
Nick Renneker, Dave DeOme
Gretchen Nearburg, Gil Boyd
John Blackburn, Judy Renneker,
Virgil and Beverly Gould
Patsy Brister, Annette Brown
Jack Barnes, Ron Cowles, Jimmy Nees
Brad and Elizabeth Futch, Kim and Mark Nearburg
Board President, Cindy Kotrady, Don Kotrady
Karen Knaus, Ann Neighbors
FOR MORE INFORMATION
VISIT:
www.LukesWings.org
www.ClassicConcertProductions.com/bab
www.huey091foundation.org
OR CALL:
Diane Jackson (512) 266-6290
LaNell Edwards (512) 261-3338
Dottie Stevenson (512) 266-6460
Starring
Steve Amerson and Laurie Gayle Stephenson
Wednesday, June 8
Emmaus Catholic Church
6:00 – 7:30 p.m.
THE PATRIOT FUND & FRIENDS PRESENT
“BROADWAY AND BEYOND”
A Free Concert
Luke’s Wings is a 501 (C) 3 non-profit organization that provides travel planning
and complimentary airline tickets to wounded warriors and the families of wounded
warriors currently recovering at military hospitals all over the country.
DONATION LEVELS
Over the Radar $1500
Flying High $1000
In the Clouds $500
Takes Flight $250
VIP RECEPTION
Wine, beer and dinner will follow immediately
after the concert at the parish life center
Cost is $75 per person. Tickets for the VIP
Reception must be purchased in advance.
Tere will be no ticket sales at the door. Please
send your payment to:
PATRIOT FUND
107 Lakeway Hills Cove
Lakeway, Texas 78734
Donations Accepted to Benefit
16 Waterways | Summer 2011
T
HE MOOD at this year’s major LTEF fundraiser was electric, with a crowd that seemed
to be on fire, eager to bid - and bid high - on the many live auction items offered by gen-
erous donors. That fact was immediately apparent when the first auction item (dinners
for 10 kids with the high school varsity football team before home
games) sold for well over the breathtaking amount of $9,000. (The
lucky winners of the furious bidding war were Margaret and Ray
Kilgo.) Similarly, the focus of a “Raise the Paddle” bidding event,
following the Live Auction, raised over $25,000 to support the
SMART Board Technology Fund. SMART Board Technology allows
teachers to bring more collaboration and interactivity into the
classroom and, because the products are easy to use, teachers can
quickly incorporate them into their teaching to transform learning
and increase student engagement.
The Lake Travis
Education Foundation’s
2011 Mardi Gras Gala
STORY BY CATHIE PARSSINEN
PHOTOS BY CATHIE PARSSINEN & ANDY SAMS
Joy and Dickie Tillman
Heidi Minyen, Lindsay and Chase Kelly,
Angela and Jason Buddin
Katherine and Rocky Kirk,
LTISD Superintendent of Schools
Drs. Steve and Angie Hernandez,
Leilani and Joe Connors
Carolyn Murphy, Haythem Dawlett,
Kelly Christianson
LTEF President Tracy Henry, Margaret Kilgo
Melissa Nagel, Stephen and Paige Ryan
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18 Waterways | Summer 2011
All this presented a very welcome development for the Foundation, representing a dra-
matic turn around to the anemic revenues generated by last year’s event. According Paula
Baczewski, LTEF’s Executive Director, “Total Gala proceeds were over $200,000. This
represents almost a 60% increase over last year, and we hope it indicates an upward trend
that will continue into the future. With the current state of school financing, our schools
need our support now more than ever.”
Public education is Texas, as in many other states, is certainly under the gun. All
eyes are fixed on the current Texas legislative session, as
Texans anxiously await the outcome of debate over a pretty
disastrous House bill and one from the Senate that is not
much better. For all the outstanding work the Lake Travis
Education Foundation does to raise money to support
District schools and students, their efforts cannot make up
shortfalls in public funding. Stay tuned.
Next year’s LTEF Gala will take place on Saturday,
February 25, 2012 at the Renaissance Austin. This year’s
Gala sold out four months in advance, so be prepared to
order your tickets early!
Shelly Capps, Lisa Medina, Chandra Aoueillé Mike and Diane Jackson, Nancy Clayton, Margaret Kilgo, Dee Ann Farrell, Linda and Dave DeOme
Mike and Holly Gardner, Sandra Fulks, Page Ballard, Krista Hester, Jim Ballard, Megan Smith, Scott Hester
Dr. Danielle Grant, Creed Ford IV, Stephanie Evans
Amy and Tim Hendon
Lauren and Jonathan Creath
Johnnie Sklar, Kat Fernandez
Dr. Ryan Smith
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20 Waterways | Summer 2011
Ryan Mattingly, Amber Hart, Jana and Brian Birdwell
Kristin and Tony Holt
Jason and Linnann Guest
Sabine and CT Hauptmeier, Cody Stringer, Davina Anglie
Maria and Jack Harrigton
Peter and Tammy Caciola, Jana and Kimmo Babinski
Shiloh Newman, Lindsay Hayes, Monique Threadgill, Jenny Newman Regina and Vince Cotroneo
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receive a Free Outdoor Kitchen complete with a 4 burner gas grill & refrigerator
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Contact Patt Daugherty for a quote today: 512-627-4942
patt@liquiddreamspools.com www.LiquidDreamsPools.com
512-266-5666 Open 7 Days a Week
1501 Ranch Road 620 North, Lakeway, TX 78734
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Selling Lake Travis Area Residential
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Accepting most insurance
24 Waterways | Summer 2011
J
OHN EAGLE European recently added Rolls Royce to its luxury line of the legendary
nameplates sequestered at their dealership on Research Boulevard. The grand open-
ing of Rolls Royce Austin coincided with the Rolls Royce Owners’ Club Spring National
Board meeting at the end of March. Owners from all over the country “rolled” into Austin where
they assembled a collection that ranged from vintage (a 1919 and a 1924 Silver Ghost made their
appearance) to contemporary. Owners held a food drive at Camp Mabry that benefitted the Austin
Food Bank, and they were also on hand to celebrate the grand opening of Roll Royce Austin. Rolls
Royce now joins Bentley, Aston Martin and Lotus among the rare offerings car buffs can find at
John Eagle European.
Ann Butler and her two sons Ron and Ed had a spe-
cial interest in the opening. Ann’s husband, Roy Butler,
owned a Rolls Royce dealership in Austin between 1970
and 1976. It was located at 6th and Lamar, where the old
Rolls Royce
Austin
STORY AND PHOTOS BY CATHIE PARSSINEN
Nick and Lani Arguello, Matt Porter, Erin Kahn,
Jeffrey and Janet Kahn, Neil Kahn
Lynne Cheng
Kevin Brown
Mary and Steve Sawin
Sharon and Michael Craig
Ali and Adriana Bonakchi
Ann Butler
John Eagle, Sonny Morgan
1924 Silver Ghost
Lindsay Morrison, Gabi Godino, Christine Amaral,
Dani Godino (Victoria Beer)
• High gloss epoxy floors
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• Durable for 15+ years
• Warranty included
For the man who has everything.
(512) 636-3766 • thompson@texastoughtops.com • www.TexasToughTops.com
26 Waterways | Summer 2011
Whole Foods Market used to be. Roy ultimately
sold the dealership to purchase the Coors dis-
tributorship in the Austin area. Ann has owned
a number of Rolls’ over the years and has a fine
appreciation for the brand.
Rolls Royce Austin’s first customer was
none other than George Strait. Dealer Principal
T.L. “Sonny” Morgan and John Eagle are con-
fident other buyers with a discriminating taste
for fine metals and the ultimate luxurious expe-
rience behind the wheel
will follow. According to
Mark Sprague, Director
of Business Development
for Mission Mortgage,
seven billionaires and
over 1,100 families with
incomes worth 100 mil-
lion or more own homes
in a five county area
around Austin. This is a
promising demographic
fact for the future of Rolls
Royce Austin.
Trey Aiken, Tracy Zbranek, Robert Collins, Tiffany Zbranek
Don and Damaris Knobler
Jamie Canes, Auston Curry
Larry and Conchita Stringfield
Bill and Bonnie Thompson Amor Forwood, Julie Siegele, Suzie Forwood, Stephen Siegele
Mackenzy Mouton, Peyton Lumpkin
Richard Wood
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F
ACING DEEP cuts to government assistance for programs and services to the needy across the board,
many non-profits turn, now more than ever, to the private sector to try to make up the shortfall. In
an attempt to diversify fundraising efforts, organizations like The Austin Children’s Shelter supple-
ment the annual gala with a growing schedule of smaller events that take place continuously
throughout the year. The ACS’s annual “Fashion for Compassion” has been held for several
years at Neiman Marcus at the Domain. This year, Saks Fifth Avenue hosted the event,
generously donating 10% from all sales during the evening to the Austin Children’s Shelter.
Guests enjoyed cocktails and hors d’oeuvres as they strolled through the store, visiting
and shopping prior to the program. Community volunteers, fundraisers and benefactors
took to the runway to wow assembled friends and supporters. Many generous individuals
and organizations donated a series of items for the live auction, including a one week get-
away for eight people to an estate home in Blue Waters, Antigua, offered by owners Amy and
Fashion for
Compassion at Saks
STORY BY CATHIE PARSSINEN
PHOTOS BY CATHIE PARSSINEN AND DARCI SIITERI
Mike Gardner, Holly Mills Gardner
John Patterson, Andrea Valko
Amber Marie Collins,
Miss New York 2011
Joe Ross Gigi Bryant
Sara Hickman, encouraged by Austin
Police Chief and auctioneer Art
Acevado, put the pressure on John
Patterson to bid on her private party!
Rebecca Hardeman,
Bridget Ramey
Beth Stabile Jason and Chelsea Gray
Blake, Blair (Miss Teen Austin)
and Charlie Printy
Creating lasting impressions
one event at a time
Amazing Events
including Breathtaking Weddings!
512.478.7975
www.victoriahentrich.com
Serving Lake Travis
Photo by Jennifer Lindberg
hair
skin
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In the Liberty Center at 107 RR 620 South, Suite 101
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Flintrock Falls - from the mid $300s
Guard Gated, Jack Nicklaus Golf Course
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Flintrock Falls & Vistas at Lakeway
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Keller Williams Lake Travis
(512) 423-5626 call/text
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Prominence Homes
30 Waterways | Summer 2011
Stephen Sidaras. After bidding was concluded for the
stay, owners Amy and Stephen spontaneously offered
two more chances to bid on their villa. Each offer was
sold, significantly increasing revenues for the Shelter.
Auctioneer, Chief Art Acevado, kept the commentary
lively…at one point gamely offering himself up to be
tazed for $2000. “On second thought,” he suggested,
“for $2,500, I’ll let you taze Sheriff Greg Hamilton!”
No comment from the illustrious Sheriff!
According to Julia Burch, Director of Marketing
and Public Relations for the Shelter, the event netted
$115,000, a most welcome contribution to the Austin
Children’s Shelter’s ongoing healing work with chil-
dren and young adults who have experienced abuse
and neglect.
Mort Topfer, John Byram
Bill McClellan, ACS CEO Kelly White
Stephen and Amy Sidaras
Elizabeth and Sean Busch, Ryan Hagenbuch
Adam, Ronda and Kelly Gray
Teresa Cain, Jannis Baldwin, Elaine Coffman
Dick and Sara Rathgeber
Police Chief Art Acevado,
Travis County Sheriff Greg Hamilton Emily Moreland, Matt and April Womack, Mary Waleutt
Jason and Lisa Parrish
Dr. John Hogg
Bobbi Topfer
T
HE MAYBERRY Memorial held its 5th Annual fundraiser at the Lakeway
Resort and Spa with a tribute to the “Fabulous 50’s.” Diane Judah Mayberry
continues her relentless vendetta against the disease that robbed her of her
soul mate, Bob Mayberry, a non-smoker. While lung cancer is the second largest cause of
death in the U.S. (second only to heart disease), lung cancer research is woefully under-
funded. For Diane, the Mayberry Memorial offers a vehicle to help change that. All funds
raised benefit lung cancer research at the MD Anderson Cancer Center and the pioneer-
ing work of Dr. Edward Kim and his team on tumor biomarker analysis. These analyses,
based on the specific characteristics of the tissue biomarker profiles for each patient,
determine which clinical trials will offer the best benefit.
The Mayberry Memorial unveiled the establish-
ment of an annual college scholarship to a deserv-
ing high school senior. Applicants are judged on
an essay they submit about the experience of living
with a family member who has lung cancer or who
has died from lung cancer. Pam Mayberry Solly
awarded the first scholarship to Teresa Anderson,
whose father John is battling lung cancer. Teresa
will attend A&M University in the fall.
Mayberry Memorial
STORY AND PHOTOS BY CATHIE PARSSINEN
Steve and Lee Nagel, Avery and Hank O’Neill
Larry and Mary K Oglesby
Kate and Paul Steece, Rod Harrell, Debra Cleburne Hal and Kathy Lanham
Ray Kilgo, Diane Judah Mayberry,
Margaret Kilgo
Cindy and Mike Maroney
Diane Judah Mayberry, Pam Mayberry Solly,
Teresa, Molly and John Anderson
Vanessa Baker
Auctioneer Gayle Stallings
Sharon and Mike Hatch, Sue Collyer Potter
Charles Webb, Catherine Berry
14360 Falconhead Blvd. #110 Austin, TX 78738
512.263.4606
Check us out at www.lushsalonaustin.com
COLOR AND
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COVER MODEL
HOLLY MILLS
GARDNER BY
LUSH SALON
Named among the
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34 Waterways | Summer 2011
T
HE BELVEDERE Homeowners’ Association hatched an Easter Egg Hunt for neighborhood
children in the meadow near the Amenity Center. The attending cast of characters included an
appearance by the Easter Bunny and Miss Jelly Bean, who created colorful balloon animals for
the little ones.
Children were thrilled by the chance to get up close
and personal with an adorable collection of small ani-
mals, including hedgehogs, guinea pigs, calico fuzzy lops,
baby Dutch rabbits, chinchillas, Himalayan lops and baby
Serama chicks in a special petting zoo. Dozens of children
gathered hundreds of eggs, hoping to find the “lucky egg.”
Cotton candy and a selection of fruits, cookies and cakes
were served. Saula Valente organized the happy event for
the neighborhood.
Easter Bunny at Belvedere
STORY BY CATHIE PARSSINEN
PHOTOS BY CATHIE PARSSINEN AND PAOLO VALENTE
Prize winner Sophia De Santis
Miss Jelly Bean, Will Toschik
Lindsay McGarrahan with Lucy, Campbell Guess
and the Easter Bunny!, Elizabeth Guess
The Valente family: Camilla, Paolo,
Saula, Giacomo and Leonardo
Hank Birdwell with the Easter Bunny
Olivia Toschik
Roshan Gupta
Snowbell and Veronica Palmer
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36 Waterways | Summer 2011
Discount Nation
STORY BY CATHIE PARSSINEN
S
O WHAT’S UP with recent mention of Jeffrey’s Bar and
Restaurant and Hudson’s on the Bend in The New York Times? It
wasn’t a question of celebrity chefs or exotic menu offerings that
propelled these two high-end, iconic Austin restaurants into the focus of
national news. What sparked notice was their remarkable entry into the
social coupon marketplace with summer buys of Groupon promotions.
Think back for a moment to the scene in the film Gigi when Aunt Alicia asks
Gigi to identify the gems in her priceless jewelry collection. Alicia holds up
a ring with a yellow stone, and Gigi ventures a guess…topaz? To which Aunt
Alicia draws herself up in self-righteous indignation and says, “A TOPAZ??!!
Not among my jewels!” (It was a yellow diamond.) The response to the
Groupon buys by Jeffrey’s and Hudson’s on the Bend prompted the same
kind of shocked reaction among customers and many business analysts
about the unprecedented fact that two restaurants, with significant brands
to protect, would resort to the steep discounts of Groupon. Those reactions
joined the frenzied debate over the merits of Groupon and other social cou-
pons that are playing out in an intense conversation primarily among small
business owners and, to a lesser extent, among consumers across all media
forums, including The New
York Times.
MP Mueller is President
of Door Number Three, a
boutique marketing firm
in Austin that assists small
businesses. In her Times
article about Groupon and
small businesses, she inter-
viewed Jeffrey’s owner, Ron Weiss about his experience with his Groupon
buy. Weiss and his wife Peggy have owned Jeffrey’s for 35 years and, with
the exception of happy hour specials for food at the bar, have never dis-
counted. Weiss told Mueller that Jeffrey’s sales had declined over
the past two years and that he decided to run the Groupon promo-
tion as a means of counteracting a slow August, when many of his
regular customers leave town on vacation. The discount offered a
$75 tab for $35. 3,000 Groupon customers bought the deal, good
for three months. Assuming that each purchaser would bring a com-
panion, Jeffrey’s (which seats 130) faced the daunting prospect of
servicing 6,000 Groupon customers, in addition to its regular cus-
tomers, within 90 days. The fact that many Groupon purchasers
wait until the last minute to redeem their coupons simply added to
the challenge. In an email response to the Times story, K. McClung,
Jeffrey’s General Manager, noted that, with less than three weeks
remaining before the expiration date, over half the 3,000 coupons
had not yet been redeemed. McClung acknowledged that the over-
whelming crush at the end made it impossible to deliver the full
“authentic Jeffrey’s experience.” In fact, Jeffrey’s had to extend the
redemption date in order to honor their commitment to Groupon
customers. However McClung was happy with the guests Groupon
brought, noting that most spent more than the coupon and tipped
appropriately. Owner Ron Weiss summed up the financial impact as
a break even venture, perhaps with Jeffrey’s coming out with a little
extra. He added that he hopes that, with the emerging economic
rebound, he won’t have to try discounting again.
Two-year old Groupon, the current darling of recent internet
startups, boasts 60 million subscribers (and, according to Slate,
aims for 150 million by the end of 2011), annual revenues of $760
million, making it the fastest growing web company ever, and $1
billion in venture capital. In December 2010, Groupon declined a
$6 billion takeover offer from Google. TechCrunch, a group-edited
blog about technology startups in the web sector, reported expecta-
tions for Groupon to raise annual revenues to a figure between $3
and $4 billion through worldwide operations in 2011 and projected
gross revenues for the group buying industry in the U.S. to grow its
gross revenues by 138% from $1.1 billion in 2010 to $2.7 billion this
year. The Groupon business concept is simple. Participating busi-
nesses offer severe discounts (50-85%) on their products or services
38 Waterways | Summer 2011
which Groupon blasts via social media to its enormous customer base. A
certain number of buyers are needed to trigger each deal. For its trouble,
Groupon takes 50% of the discounted price for each sale. After the first
trial, businesses may negotiate with Groupon on the percentage split for
subsequent Groupon buys. Groupon also charges its merchants the full cost
of credit card expenses for all sales. Groupon’s success has spawned doz-
ens of imitators at both the national and local level, each of them eager to
replicate Groupon’s profit formula. In addition, heavyweights like Groupon
and Living Social, the daily deal aggregator Local Offer Network tracked
90,000 deals across 322 buying sites since January 2010 and found an
additional 117 new sites in the first quarter of 2011.
LAKE TRAVIS DISCOUNT DEAL SITES
Two of these new companies, FreeBeeDeals and HomeBoyDeals, are based
in Lakeway. Both groups hope to reach out to local nonprofits with offers
to contribute to fundraising efforts, in return for assistance building sub-
scribers for the sites. In her article, “The Groupon Paradox: How its cou-
pon business could eventually cripple the merchants that rely on it” (Slate,
March 23, 2011), Esther Dyson noted that the same privacy issues that have
dominated online business have been absent in the “Groupon world” that
“appeals to the consumers’ lust for deals and discounts.” Most consumers
“opt-in” to Groupon, so the issue of privacy has essentially become a non-
factor. It is uncertain whether the goal of generating new revenue streams
to support their good works will inspire local nonprofits to provide lists of
email addresses of their members and donors to these local deal sites. The
Lake Travis Education Foundation follows a strict privacy policy and does
not share any information obtained from members or donors, but perhaps
other groups will be more receptive to sharing information or, alternatively,
to promoting the sites to its members who can then contact the sites on
their own, if interested.
FreeBeeDeals, owned by Steve Sawin, will offer consumers a wide
range of discounts from local businesses in many categories. CEO of
HomeBoyDeals, Scott Robinson notes that HomeBoyDeals will have a
“hyper-local” perspective and a more exclusive focus that will concentrate
its daily deal discounts on home products and services for homeowners, a
category that is underserved by other group buying sites.
There is no question that Groupon, combining a muscular subscriber
base and steep discounts, delivers customers. However, differing perspec-
tives and a number of variable calculations come into play for each busi-
ness that determines both the short and long terms impacts and benefits for
small business. Mueller and many other analysts believe businesses need to
look at social coupons as a marketing effort designed to expose the business
to new customers and not as a profit center. The 50% taken by Groupon
off the already steeply discounted price needs to be viewed as an adver-
tising cost. Her caution to businesses is to “run your numbers internally”
to be sure your business can afford this advertising expense. According to
Mueller (and many other analysts), “Social coupons work best for busi-
nesses with empty seats or inventory that would otherwise go unfilled.” The
Austin Lyric Opera and the Round Rock Express have both used social cou-
pons to fill empty seats. These are organizations that benefit from econo-
mies of scale. Personal services, however, do not benefit from economies of
scale. You can only do one facial or one hair cut at a time.
Businesses hope the advertising they run through these social coupon
promotions will give them the opportunity to convert new customers into
repeat customers who return, in theory, at full price. The repeated com-
plaint about the majority of social coupon customers is that they come for
the deal and then leave for deals offered by others. Jay Goltz, another busi-
ness editor from The New York Times Business Section, estimates that as
many as 90% of Groupon customers will not return, no matter how good
the service or experience. Nevertheless, the remaining 10% of customers,
receptive to the efforts of a staff well-trained in conversion strategies, is
a valuable asset, if the business can afford the experiment. Both Esther
Dyson of Slate and Randy Mark, CEO of Mind Body Partnerships (a lead
generation and conversion program for San Diego’s health, beauty and
wellness practitioners) came to similar conclusions. Dyson compares what
is happening with social coupons to what happened years ago to the airline
business in the U.S. Online aggregators Expedia and Travelocity opened
the market. The leading airlines, in an effort to maintain control over the
distribution of their services to customers, responded with the establish-
ment of Orbitz. Orbitz became a monster in its own right, too powerful for
the airlines to control, and now American Airlines is battling it out with
Orbitz over control of its own customers. As Dyson notes, “Airline tickets
are hard to sell on any basis other than price. Thanks to Groupon, mer-
chants may face a similar, but perhaps even more damaging, fate. Prices are
likely to erode as consumers come to expect deals. They will wait for sales
to buy, and merchants will find themselves competing ever more fiercely.
Meanwhile, merchants’ brand power will be eroded, as consumers look to
Groupon (as they do to Orbitz) rather than to the merchants themselves, for
the best deals.” Randy Mark, in a Spring 2011 White Paper, points out that
social coupon sites conduct a sale of merchant services at liquidation prices.
Customers are delighted and simply move on the next merchant willing to
make the same “Faustian” bargain. “The insidious problem is that as they
(social coupon deals) engage more and more health, beauty and wellness
practitioners in a ‘race to the bottom,’ the 50-85% discount is debasing
pricing norms in the mind of the consumer.”
Dyson, however, believes that the impact of the Groupon sales force is
educating thousands of merchants about how to incorporate the effective
use of e-mail marketing and coupons and that, in the long run, these busi-
nesses will figure out how to do this for themselves. “Merchants may well
use intermediaries to reach consumers, but they are unlikely to hand over
such a huge share of the revenues.” By simply offering their new Groupon
customers an independent deal providing the exact same discount they
received from their Groupon buy, every merchant could immediately elimi-
nate the 50% fee charged by Groupon (or other social coupon sites). In fact,
Groupon does not disclose its rate of repeat sellers. Groupon president, Ron
Soloman claims 95% of merchants work with the company again. However,
Utpal Dholakia, Associate Professor of Marketing at the Jones Graduate
School of Business at Rice University, published a research report based on
interviews with 150 businesses in 19 cities and 13 product categories that
ran Groupon promotions between June 2009 and August 2010. Of those
interviewed, 42% said they would not run another Groupon. Remember
that Ron Weiss of Jeffrey’s said that, with the improving economy, he hopes
he won’t have to try discounting again. Many of the local merchants I have
interviewed have said that they might consider a Groupon for slow periods
like August when so many of their regular customers abandon Austin on
vacations to cooler climates. Merchants are becoming savvier in controlling
Groupon purchases: requiring reservations, capping numbers of purchas-
ers to limit the effects of an uncontrollable surge, limiting purchases to new
customers or, in the beauty industry, limiting the offer to new staff trying to
build a client list. And, in slow periods, the revenue bump can be a welcome
respite. An online ad for Groupon says, “Groupon! It’s like doing Austin
at 90% off!”…a prospect that may delight any consumer but that causes a
shudder of dread in the heart of any merchant who hopes to receive fair
value for services provided in the long term.
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40 Waterways | Summer 2011
G
LENDA FOREMAN AND Pat Doucet graduated in 1951 from Thomas Jefferson
High School in Port Arthur, Texas, and the rituals of Mardi Gras have always assumed
an important role in their histories. This special Mardi Gras celebration, now an annual
Lakeway event, took root when Glenda and Pat decided to recreate the traditions of their past by
throwing a Mardi Gras party for their many friends. They chose the Alligator Grill in South Austin
(then owned by Glenda’s son Doug) to host the first party in 2003. In subsequent years they asked
other friends to join them as hostesses, and the party invitation list has grown as well.
Guests were spoiled with étoufée and
pecan pies and with the infectious music
of the Charles Thibodeaux Zydeco Band
whose hi-tempo tunes inspired hours
dancing by the packed house of revel-
ers who truly “Let the Good Times Roll”.
Joann Anderson, Nancy Bain, Ernie Clay,
Pat Doucet, Glenda Foreman, Barbara
Helmueller, Karen Knaus, Martha Kubala,
Ann Neighbors and Pat Smith hosted this
year’s party at the Lakeway Activity Center.
Mardi Gras
STORY AND PHOTOS BY CATHIE PARSSINEN
Martha Kubala, Anita Fisher, Carol Roettinger, Melanie Morrison,
Gigi McKeever, Ernie Clay, Joann Anderson, Pat Smith
Martha Kubala, Marie Drury
Jackie Lloyd, Carol Mitchum, Jan Collier
Gretchen Nearburg, Dottie Stevenson
Zoe Burns, San Dufaud
Dala Campbell, Adriana Tiller
Betsy Smith, Pat Smith, Nancy Bain, Ernie Clay
Charles Thibodeaux Zydeco Band
Glenda Foreman, Peggy Boyd
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42 Waterways | Summer 2011
I
KNOW WHAT I want this year.
And I’m appealing directly to the First Star on the Right and the
laws of Scratch ‘N Play Lotto.
With a strong appeal to Hillary Clinton.
For my village.
Because I’m village-less.
My son is being raised WITHOUT A GODDAMN VILLAGE and it is
criminal.
There are no federally funded programs to support the village-less.
There are no caffeine stamps to get us through the day. There is no St.
Vincent de Village-less, bringing a free hour of childcare for the needy.
No.
We are alone.
Without family, either immediate,
extended, or even post-holiday belly dis-
tended.
We are small-business owners operat-
ing exhausting, but fulfilling enterprises
that break a few child-labor laws, force
us to pony up health and dental for every
employee, and pay us in direct deposits of
dirty diapers.
And love.
We’re also paid in love, but that cur-
rency is so 1964.
The point is, however, that we create
a faux-village using an elaborate system
of friends and playgroups and babysitters
and school. Mine, for example, includes a
jerry-rigged series of pulleys and levers—specifically, a tower of Lever 2000
soap boxes, a mouse-trap, and a toaster oven.
And it’s all fun and games—Look at you! You’re amazing! Who needs a
village!—until someone gets sick. Or you just can’t get dinner on the table.
Or you’re overwhelmed. Or lonely.
And then it collapses in a heap of mucus and fast food containers.
Because the fake village doesn’t want to deal with that shit. In fact, the
bylaws in the preschool handbook specifically state: “We do not deal with
that shit. Especially pink eye. Or Hand, Foot & Mouth. That shit is nasty.”
But I recently had a taste of the village—the TRUE village—and was
reminded of how intoxicating life could be:
“Honey, why don’t you go to the gym while we take Chalupa to the
park?”
“Shall I make my turkey and stuffing and sweet potatoes for Christmas
dinner?”
“Don’t you do a thing! I’ve got the dishes and the laundry!”
Then BAM! The village disappeared in a cloud of Jet Blue fumes,
and I was dumped like Augustus Gloop in Willy Wonka’s chocolate river
going THIS IS DELICIOUS! I’M SWIMMING IN CHOCOLATE! MORE!
I WANT MORE! WAIT WHY AM I BEING SUCKED UP IN A CHUTE
AND EJECTED FROM THIS MAGICAL CANDY HEAVEN WHY WHY OH
WHY?
But I heard from a guy who knows a girl
who did Peace Corps in Thailand whose
cousin is a U.S. Customs official that says
there’s a black market mail-order-village
service.
You heard me.
Mail-order village. Like a mail-order
bride but forget the bride and order the
family.
Word on the street is that the woman
playing the part of your mother cooks you
dinner at least once a week. Like lasagna
and beef stew and food that’s warm and
took at least an hour to prepare using an
oven.
She’ll frequently come over for coffee.
To make sure you’re okay. BECAUSE SHE’S
YOUR MOTHER.
And then? She’ll watch the kids while you run errands or do nothing.
Alone.
Your father-figure will be adept at playing trucks and monsters and tak-
ing care of all home-maintenance issues. He’ll go grocery shopping because
he knows you hate it.
And because he’s addicted to Costco.
Don’t forget to order several sisters. Set up a rotating childcare system.
Gossip and clothes-swapping included.
Throw in a brother for wrestling with the nieces and nephews. He’ll take
the kids camping. Introduce them to meditational yoga.
Might I recommend a gaggle of aunts and uncles? Specifically a crazy
Dear Hillary: I Need a Mail-Order Village
THE TODDLER CHRONICLES
Our author, the creator of The Flying Chalupa blog, is just an ordinary gal who navigates motherhood and struggles to maintain her sanity. Look
for more of The Flying Chalupa’s Toddler Chronicles in the next issue of Waterways Magazine. Can’t wait for the next issue? The chaos awaits you
anytime at www.theflyingchalupa.com.
263-3600
2422 RR 620 SOUTH
SUITE A140
LAKEWAY, TEXAS
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Design
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Diana Thomas
512-970-4489
dianathomasrealtor.com
I am your LAKE TRAVIS real estate specialist!
I work, live and
play here . . .
I Sell AWESOME Texas!
Aunt Bertha and an Uncle Louis with former addic-
tion issues? They spice up the holidays and add
character to gatherings.
These are the people who will encourage you to
go to a movie with your husband!
Who will provide companionship during the
monotonous moments of baby-rearing!
Who will pick up the prescription when you’re
lying dead by the side of the playground!
They will be your In Case of Emergency number!
Village-less of America, let us stand together
and bring the mail-order village out from under the
cloak of secrecy!
You shouldn’t have to buy a family the way you
buy an illegal, knock-off Louis Vuitton purse from a
sketchy, dank basement in Chinatown!
No!
You should be able to order it from the back of a
Marie Claire magazine!
You should be able to order it from 3:00 am
infomercials!
You should be able to win it on a game show!
So Oprah? If you’re reading? Instead of giving
away Chrysler LeBarons and iPads, how about a village?
Do it for the tired (mothers)!
The poor (fathers tired of listening to mothers bitch)!
The huddled masses (of children yearning to play with their cousins)!
To the Nanny, Babysitter & Playgroup Unions: Don’t mess with me on this.
I’m pretty sure someone in my village will know kung-fu.
44 Waterways | Summer 2011
Women on
Their Toes
STORY AND PHOTOS BY CATHIE PARSSINEN
A
T THE 17TH ANNUAL Women On Their Toes Spring Luncheon,
Ballet Austin Guild honored 11 outstanding volunteers from Austin’s
vibrant non-profit community. Once a year, Ballet Austin Guild
reviews dozens of nominations and honors a select few from among the thou-
sands of volunteers who play such a critical role in our community. Their résu-
més are diverse, and their histories are always impressive. And the level of
their contributions, measured through the sheer numbers of hours donated to
the causes to which they are devoted,
inspire a level not only of awe but also
of gratitude for their service.
The Hyatt Regency Austin hosted
this year’s celebration of honorees.
Tyler Sieswerda, KVUE anchor, served
as Emcee. Guest Speaker Janet Sue
Rush, a pre-eminent public speaker,
business consultant, author and
Fortune 1000 seminar teacher, spoke
to the audience following the presenta-
tion of honorees.
Former Ballet Austin Guild Presidents: Becky Herrington, Margaret Herman,
Glenda Patterson, Jennene Mashburn, Louise Crowley, Robin Smith, Chris Hester
Carol Sawin, Tammy Harding, Sheri Watts, Emily Moreland
Sharon Wilson, Jane Parker, Sonia Wilson
Peggy Gunn, Mollie Davis, Teresa Long
Ballet Austin
Executive Director,
Cookie Ruiz
Chris Hester, Center for Child Protection
Honoree Mary Herr Tally
Eric Groten, Center for Child Protection
Honoree Maria Groten
Ballet Austin Guild President, Janet Harris,
Guest Speaker Janet Sue Rush
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46 Waterways | Summer 2011
Here is the list of the 2011 honorees:
Sandra Batlouni Autism Society of Greater
Austin
Carolyn E. Dyer, Marathon Kids
Maria Groten and Mary Herr Tally, Center
for Child Protection
JoAnn H. Jentz, Assistance League of Austin
Diane Kearns-Osterweil, Sammy’s House
Dee Kurtzer, Heart House Austin
Judith Lindfors, Meals on Wheels and More
Lauren Paver, Impact Austin
Eileen Van Den Berg, Helping Hand Home
for Children
Nancy S. Young, Women’s Symphony
League of Austin
Renee Namvar, Nancy Ramirez, Margie Burciaga, Ginny Burciaga, Susie Kowalski, Angela Attal Mohan, Katherine Johnson
Impact Austin Honoree Lauren Paver, Jenny and Gus Paver
Robin Smith, Paulette and CB Hagar
Lance Avery, Rose Betty Epps
Christi Cuellar, Brooke Holmes
Becky Herrington,
Heart House Austin
Honoree Dee Kurtzer
Iris and Barney Groten Cindy Fegley, Sherri Davis
Charlene Strawbridge, Pat Harris, Nancy McCoy
Veronica Meewes, Helping Hand Home for Children
Honoree Eileen Van Den Berg, Lorelei McDevitt
Pam Nelson, Nancy Hopper
Elsa Decker, Debbie Novelli
VI SI T US
ONLI NE!
WATERWAYSMAG. COM
READ PAST ISSUES!
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ARE THEY NOW’ PROFILE
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48 Waterways | Summer 2011
Entrepreneurial Spirit
Thrives in Lake Travis
BUSINESS PROFILES BY CATHIE PARSSINEN
AQUA PACIFIC
The “aha!” moment occurred when Jeff Cullen and his wife, Natalia Koneva-
Cullen, were flying over the Siberian region of Russia on their way to visit
Natalia’s family in Novosibirsk. They looked down on a vast landscape dot-
ted with thousands of lakes, a natural treasure in a world with diminishing
supplies of fresh water. After a professional career in corporate aviation,
Jeff Cullen was ready for a change and eager to investigate other business
opportunities with a mass appeal. The Cullens were aware of the growing
consensus that water will supplant oil as the world’s most valuable resource,
as the global demand for water increases. Their own preferences as consum-
ers led them to an exploration of the bottled water industry. “We shop water.
Like many other Americans, we would
never think of drinking municipal
water, the water that comes out of the
faucet. For us, it’s a question of taste.”
According to Jeff, over 55% of all
bottled waters on the market are just
bottled municipal water.
The Cullens research revealed
very few sources of natural water
worldwide. One of these is in Fiji,
an archipelago where, for millennia,
continuous tropical rain fall is filtered
through layers of mineral-rich volcanic rock and sand to a vast underground
aquifer. During this process, the water is infused with health-stabilizing
mineral properties that give it a smooth, refreshing taste. The Cullens were
approached by one of Fiji’s promising bottlers and are now the sole distribu-
tors of AQUA Pacific (one of the finest natural mineral waters in the world)
for the 49 continental states and Mexico. AQUA Pacific also offers Tropical
XTC, a tropical, liquid energy drink made from the Fijian plant noni, as well
as various flavors of sodas called POPS, sweetened with Fijian cane sugar.
A sparkling mineral water is under development. The Cullens are working
on green initiatives through partnerships with environmental programs that
will create financial incentives for consumers to recycle AQUA Pacific bottles.
AQUA Pacific is available at several Lakeway area stores, and home
deliveries can be ordered through the website www.aquapacificusa.net.
CREATIVE CONSULTANTS
Victoria Hentrich has a
30-year résumé in event
planning and produc-
tion that has garnered
accolades in Austin and
beyond for the spectacu-
lar events she has been
hired to orchestrate for
an illustrious clientele
that includes, among oth-
ers, James Michener, the
Queen of England, Willie
Jeff and Natalia Cullen
Photo by Jerry Hayes
Nelson and Ladybird Johnson. She was responsible for planning the grand
opening of the Long Center and has played a prominent role in planning
any number of dazzling charity events that distinguish the social giving
scene in the Austin community. She was featured in 2006 in an article titled
“Behind the Parties: Meet the planners who create unforgettable evenings
in Austin,” Glossy Magazine, Austin American Statesman. A Boston native
from a large Italian family, Victoria moved to Austin and worked for a time
as a teacher. In the 1980’s she created an award-winning catering business.
Realizing that she had a knack for conceptualization and design, she began
a transition into event planning and production and has never looked back.
She has forged critical alliances with exceptional providers of key services
during her long history in event planning in Austin. Her daughter, Jennifer
Hentrich, is an important part of this mother- daughter team that brings
bigger than life events to Austin.
Creative Consultants specializes in weddings, special parties, grand
openings, galas and corporate events. Victoria knows instinctively how to
“wow” an audience. She has specialized in out-of-the-box events for 30
years, and whether she serves 5 or 5,000 guests, with a big budget or a
small one, she is confident she can transform any event from the ordinary
to the magical. Creative Consultants have planned many Lake Travis events
and parties and, as Victoria notes, they look forward to providing expanded
services to our growing area.
PARMIDA HOME
With its opening just before the holidays last year, Parmida Home joins a grow-
ing list of retailers who have decided the Hill Country Galleria offers an envi-
able demographic in a community with strong potential for growth. Parmida
presents 10,000 sq. ft. of eclectic collections for distinctive home living.
Settings of luxury seating for relaxing or entertaining fill the store, along
with dining room tables laden with dinnerware, stemware and flatware that
appeal to tastes from casual to elegant. Designs by Padma Plantation, in bam-
boo, rattan and abaca, recreate the ambience of the island lifestyle. The own-
ers of Parmida Home have combined fine home furnishings with a premium
gift store, offering not only home accents but also bath and body essentials,
candles and fire pots, imported oils, coffees, teas and chocolates, gourmet
rubs and sauces, picnic baskets, barbeque tools, and wine and cheese acces-
sories. The scope of merchandise
presented is extensive.
Parmida Home has stores
in Denver, Dallas, Kansas City
(Missouri), Dayton and Chicago.
Store Manager Leslie Archer,
who has years of experience
in the home furnishing indus-
try, feels the unique concept of
Parmida Home and the diversity
of its offerings set it apart from
the crowd and make it a go-to
place to satisfy a variety of cus-
tomer needs.
Leslie Archer
SignatureBridalSalon.com
512-892-5000
12717 Shops Parkway Ste #200
Austin, TX 78738
Signature Bridal Salon is central Texas’ premiere full
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formal social wear and bridal accessories. Serving Lakeway,
Bee Cave, Westlake, Spicewood and Marble Falls.
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SIGNATURE BRIDAL SALON
Ashley Schwaegel opened Signature Bridal Salon at the Bee Cave Shops at the Galleria in June
2008 when she was just 24. She attended Lake Travis schools from kindergarten through 8th
grade but, when her dad received a job transfer, the family moved to Lubbock, where Ashley
attended high school and later graduated from Texas Tech University. Ashley entered the
wedding scene when she began working in various Lubbock-area bridal stores at the age of 17.
She laughs as she recalls that during university lectures, her notebooks were full of sketches
about the bridal store she intended to own one day. She returned to Lake Travis after gradu-
ation and decided to open a 5,000 sq. ft. bridal store of her own. It was a gutsy move for a
24-year old.
Signature Bridal Salon is the only bridal store conveniently located to serve the huge
area of southwestern and western Travis County and also other communities in neighboring
Burnet County. Location has been a vital part of the Salon’s success. Ashley selects designer
lines that are moderately priced and couture line such as Maggie Sottero, Simone Carvalli,
Jasmine Couture and Essence of Australia. These strategic decisions have made Signature
Bridal a valuable resource for the great majority of brides who want to crown the experience
of a lifetime with a beautiful gown at an affordable price, purchased with the assistance of a
caring salon staff.
In addition to offering over 300 bridal gowns to choose from, Signature Bridal Salon also
carries selections for the mother-of-bride, the bridesmaid and flower girl, prom dresses and
pageant gowns, tuxedo rentals, jewelry and hair pieces, veils and garters, shoes and evening
bags, gloves, invitations and bride and bridesmaid gifts. With 1,000 sq. ft. of storage space,
Signature Bridal offers gown storage before the event and on-site alterations. Since the Salon’s
grand opening, over 800 brides have become Signature Brides. Ashley also has experience
as a wedding coordinator, and her store offers coordination of wedding events, in addition
to personalized day-of services. Ashley was married in 2009 (gown by Signature Bridal, of
course), and she and her husband Bobby welcomed their newborn son Grant in February of
this year. Ashley has bold dreams for the future. She hopes someday to establish her salon in a building that will offer her brides a panoramic view of the
hill country, or perhaps to host a reality TV program devoted to brides. “Why not?” she asks. Why not, indeed.
Ashley and Bobby Schwaegel
50 Waterways | Summer 2011
W
ITH THE IMPENDING arrival of summer,
Lakeway may be heating up and slowing down.
TexARTS, however, still has plenty of spring in
its step, thanks to a tremendously successful season-ending
show, a few organizational changes and some exciting youth
summer programs!
TexARTS’ April production of Ain’t Misbehavin’, the
Fats Waller Musical, was an instant and critical success.
Performances were sold out from opening night through
closing weekend. The Austin Chronicle declared cast mem-
bers Judy R. Arnold, Dorothy Mays Clark, Rodnesha Green,
Quincy Kuykendall and Devere Rodgers “polished profes-
sionals.” Their performances garnered acclaim from critics
and patrons alike. This final show of TexARTS 2010-2011 Off-Broadway Series had audiences
spellbound from the first chord and left the community anticipating more professional shows in
the future.
The middle of May will bring a number of significant changes for TexARTS, one of which is
the official renaming of the studios. TexARTS’ collection of classrooms, offices and studio the-
atre space will no longer be called the Keller Williams Studios. The name will change to TexARTS
Doherty Family Studios, in honor of Mike Doherty whose dedication to the organization has been
and continues to be an integral part of keeping the TexARTS mission alive.
Another unveiling set for mid-May will be a complete company rebrand. For the past several
months, TexARTS has been working with local ad firm MOSAK on a new and improved look for
the TexARTS brand. Both parties are optimistic about its reception in the community and eager to
implement the forthcoming changes.
TexARTS has a wide array of delightful summer camp options for all student levels! Students aged 2-6
can enjoy themed mini camps, ages 3-12 can attend half-day or full-day camps, and ages 7 and up can par-
ticipate in The King and I musical theatre intensive or the Coppelia ballet intensive! Some of Austin’s most
impressive and experienced instructors will teach these classes. There is something to spark the creative
imagination of every child this summer at TexARTS.
Keep your eyes peeled - TexARTS will be announcing the 2011-2012 Off-Broadway Series soon!
For more information or to register for summer programs, visit www.tex-arts.org or call 512-852-9079 x104.
TexARTS
STORY BY SELENA ROSANBALM
PHOTOS COURTESY OF TEXARTS
T
HE OASIS on Lake Travis has long been an icon for both local and
world-wide visitors enjoying this ‘sunset capital of Texas’. Now, a
select few will also be able to call The Oasis home. Mirasol at The
Oasis, an exclusive 30-home luxury community, is now underway. Home
sites offer stunning lake and canyon views, and each home is bordered by
the heavily wooded natural preserve area that entirely surrounds it. A gated
hilltop enclave, Mirasol at The Oasis features homes from the $800’s to over
$1 million, with a number of residences nearing completion and available to
tour. Buyers can also have one designed especially for them by Waterford
Custom Homes, the premiere builder at Mirasol. Bringing over 20 years of
residential building expertise to Mirasol at The Oasis, Waterford Custom
Homes is currently building a 3,781 square foot showhome for the commu-
nity - priced at $1,161,000 - that will grand open in June. The home features
a number of luxury appointments throughout, including an elaborate swim-
ming pool and outdoor living areas overlooking the vast natural preserve
area. Special financing has been arranged that will allow approved buyers to
purchase a home at Mirasol with as little as 5% down.
As part of the overall Oasis master plan, those living at Mirasol can enjoy
the numerous restaurants and new shops there, and then literally walk home
to luxury, privacy and exclusivity. The community has the feeling of a true
‘lakeside getaway’, yet it is only 16 miles from downtown Austin, offering easy
and convenient access to a number of business and shopping areas. In addi-
tion, Lakeway and the new Hill Country Galleria are both a short drive from
the community.
To reach Mirasol at The Oasis, take 620 to Comanche Trail, just north of
the Mansfield Dam. As you enter The Oasis area, turn right on Monte Castillo
Parkway and enter the stone archway. For more information or a personal
appointment, call Pamela Longton, Broker at 512.294.2580 or visit www.
MirasolOasis.com.
STORY BY CATHIE PARSSINEN
Mirasol at
The OASIS
NEWEST GEM ON LAKE TRAVIS
NOW UNDERWAY
MIRASOL
AT THE
OASIS
52 Waterways | Summer 2011
T
HE SING ALONG Group of the Women’s Club
of Greater Lakeway has established a creative bar
that it seems to raise a few notches with each suc-
cessive production. The group’s originality, from concept to
implementation, and the high-spirited musical interpreta-
tions of talented members continue to delight the apprecia-
tive audience they find in our community. The Spring Show,
held at the City of Lakeway Activity Center, transported the
crowd to the musical legacy brewed up during the period of the
“Roaring Twenties.” Pat Smith conducted extensive research
on the epoch, and narrator Wilson Smith did a masterful
job as he painted a portrait of the exuberant post-WWI era,
“Roaring Twenties”
Inspire Sing Alongs
STORY AND PHOTOS BY CATHIE PARSSINEN
Sweet Georgia Brown: Susan Sullivan, Donna Ferrie, Janice Armstrong
Whiffenpoof Song: Tom Sullivan, Mike Hahn, John Hughes
Bye Bye Blackbird: Lana Brown, Zoe Burns, Barbara Helmueller
Sheik of Araby: Jerry Hietpas, Judy Walker
Varsity Drag: Maryleeann Bryan, Pat Smith
Take Me to the Land of Jazz: Carol Crowe, Pat Hydanus,
Kathy Wilson
Ain’t We Got Fun: Gigi McKeever,
Rick Wilsey
How ‘Ya Gonna Keep ‘Em Down on the Farm:
Bob Dolezal, Joann Anderson
53 Summer 2011 | Waterways
distinguished by phenomenal industrial growth fueled by fur-
ther development of the automobile and “talkies.” Both had
far-reaching economic impacts. Urbanization, prohibition,
bootlegging, the rise of a gangster culture, the development
of jazz and changing roles for women all played a part in the
sweeping alterations to American life
and culture. And that culture came
alive through a presentation of the
great popular songs of the time.
Greeters in the Lobby got the
show started early, and Shirley Cox,
Pat Smith and Delores Dolezal need
to take a bow for the fabulous cos-
tumes. The backstage crew did its
magic as well. The big question is…
what will they dream up for next
year’s Spring Show?
Sister Suffragettes: Glenda Foreman, Diana Hall Frankie and Johnny: Joyce Dickinson
I’m Just Wild About Harry: Karen Knaus, Jim Sommer
I Wanna Be Loved By You: Jody Berry
Tea for Two: Carol Roettinger, Mick Carrier
The Cell Block Tango: Linda Bradshaw,
Julianne DeBower
Anything Goes: Karen Decker
Five Foot Two: Linda Swan, Jim Sommer, Mary Ann Cohen
Show Me the Way to Go Home: Art Brecher,
Bill Dowd, Jim Fleming, Lloyd Troeltzch
My Man: Melanie Morrison
54 Waterways | Summer 2011
T
WO DAYS AGO, I met a woman who had recently evacuated
from Libya, where she had lived with her family for the last sev-
eral years. She was visiting the school where I work as Director
of Admissions, to see if it might be a good place for her daughter to start
school in the fall. The family had just arrived in the States after a month
living in Malta, where they had hoped to ride out the violence before return-
ing home to Tripoli. Unfortunately, the situation worsened, and what had
started as a few sniper rounds fired in
the street erupted into a full-fledged
civil war. In Tripoli, she was a school
teacher, working in an international
school where the children of oil workers
from all over the world attended. She
said that before they evacuated by ferry,
the school’s faculty and their families
camped out inside the school building
for three days, terrified for their lives.
I’ve been following events in Libya
closely, reading articles and looking at
hundreds of photos. As with the events
in Egypt and Tunisia and Bahrain and
Yemen, I am riveted by what is hap-
pening there--people rising up against
oppression and corruption after decades spent under the thumb of a brutal,
delusional, and self-serving dictator.
Even though I have friends in the Gulf that I’ve been in communication
with about what’s unfolding, I found it utterly remarkable that there, in my
office, in the middle of a Midwestern state, was a woman who had seen the
events firsthand, whose young child points at Qaddafi on the television and
says, “There’s the angry man again.” The world is a frightfully small place.
Her husband is Libyan and her family has much at stake in the uprising.
They left the house they were building, which was just months from being
completed. They left everything they owned in their apartment. Now, the
landlords of Tripoli are threatening to dump their possessions out in the
street, and the thousands of people who fled will lose their photographs
and their clothing, their furniture, their pots and pans. What a violation.
What loss.
Still, they are alive.
“I hope they are flying the old tricolor flag when we return,” was how
she gracefully conveyed her political leanings. Qaddafi’s flag is solid green.
Today, I finished Hisham Matar’s debut novel, In the Country of Men.
Now living in London, Matar grew up in Libya. For all of the citizens who
desire change, I am glad that there is art to expose, so starkly, so power-
fully, just why that change is necessary. Matar’s book does it beautifully.
Here’s the review that I posted on Goodreads:
In this deceptively simple debut novel, Hisham Matar explores the
effects on one family of life under the tyrannical “Guide,” Qaddafi.
Suleiman, the book’s nine year-old narrator, shares both the
mundane and devastating realities of a Libyan childhood, from
cruel games with the neighbor boys to field trips to Roman ruins
to the gradual disappearance of all of the men who are impor-
tant to him--his father, his best friend’s father, and various other
“uncles” who are arrested for their involvement in the resistance.
Suleiman’s relationship with his mother, Najwa, is particularly
poignant, as they grow close in his father’s prolonged absences,
developing an intense dependence on one another as Suleiman
struggles with nightmares and Najwa must grapple with the
uncertainty of her husband’s fate. Najwa is a beautifully compli-
cated character who protests her husband’s dangerous idealism
out of common sense--it disrupts their life together. The common
sense with which she views their situation is at times frustrating-
-she’s a female character who puts family before freedom--but it
is at all times compassionately rendered. After all, she’s a rebel in
her own right--someone who resisted her arranged marriage as
a teenager and suffered brutal beatings for it. Now, she can’t live
without her husband, drinking her way through their days apart
with the help of the baker, who provides the illegal alcohol.
BOOK REVIEW
Keija Parssinen is a graduate of Princeton University and the Iowa Writers’
Workshop, where she received Truman Capote and Michener-Copernicus
fellowships. Her first novel, Against The Kings of Salt, will be published by Harper
Perennial in January, 2012.
When the world arrives at
your doorstep
Babies Children Families Seniors Prom Weddings
www.brandinellis.com
512.394.1255
Taking signature portraits in Austin for over 11 years
The book’s climax comes with a grisly description of a televised public
execution that is so detailed and so believable, I had to put the book down
for a few minutes to regain my composure.
While the child’s voice was often a powerful device, at times it felt
clunky, as the reader is meant to understand what is happening but the
narrator does not. I was most often moved by the prose towards the book’s
end, when Suleiman is older and living in Egypt. There, as a young man, he
distills his feelings about his family and the events happening in Libya with
greater clarity and meaning.
Matar’s father was disappeared by the Qaddafi political apparatus years
ago, and the pain and uncertainty of that experience resonates on every
page of the book. Anyone seeking a better understanding of the violence in
today’s Libya would benefit by reading “In the Country of Men.”
JUNO’S DAUGHTERS
Lise Saffran’s debut novel, Juno’s Daughters, made me want to buy some
Birkenstocks, let my hair mat into dreadlocks, and pack my suitcase for
the islands of the Pacific Northwest. The narrative, which is a delight
from start to finish, follows the story of Jenny Alexander and her two
teen-aged daughters, beautiful, bold Lilly and shy, reflective Frankie.
After leaving behind a tumultuous life on the mainland, Jenny settles on
remote San Juan Island, where she incorporates herself with the small,
motley community of neo-hippies who inhabit the island year-round.
There, she raises her girls in relative
peace until a beautiful stranger comes
on the scene and disrupts her equilib-
rium. He’s set to play Trinculo in the
island’s summer production of The
Tempest, but it’s his role as the object
of both Lilly and Jenny’s affections
that moves the story forward. Saffran’s
prose is precise and lovely, and she
renders the physical setting of the
island deftly and vividly; if you read
to be transported, Juno’s Daughters
will take you away. Impressive, too,
is Saffran’s ability to create complex,
emotionally rich characters whose
struggles are constructed compas-
sionately yet critically. We identify and sympathize with the characters,
but we also see their flaws. That kind of authorial honesty is what makes
reading novels such a gratifying enterprise—we get to experience the
characters’ mistakes, to dip our toe in the fast-moving river that carries
them along down their ill- and well-chosen routes. We are not asked to
judge or to pity. We are merely asked to care, and with Saffran’s engross-
ing story, care we certainly do.
56 Waterways | Summer 2011
Dance Institute
Produces
Grand Champions
STORY BY LINDA HOLLAND
57 Summer 2011 | Waterways
58 Waterways | Summer 2011
T
HE WOMEN’S CLUB of Greater Lakeway marshaled all
able-bodied troops at the Vista Ballroom at the Lakeway
Resort and Spa for a touch of southern hospitality at The
Magnolia Ball. Co-Chairs Mary Reese and Leanne Dupay and doz-
ens of volunteers orchestrated a festive evening that included cock-
tails, dinner and dancing to “Oldies But Goodies” by The Fabs. An
outstanding dinner of filet mignon was, by all accounts, one of the
best meals members have enjoyed in recent history, and Chef Jeff
Axline, Sous-Chef Mike Massaro and Head Waiter Chuy received
a round of applause as they walked among the tables visiting with
guests. As President Jody Berry
commented, “Chef Jeff is fabu-
lous. He has been providing won-
derful meals each month at our
Women’s Club luncheons. It
has been years since we’ve had
a good Chef at the Inn, so we’re
all thrilled.”
Magnolia Ball
STORY AND PHOTOS BY CATHIE PARSSINEN
Paul Cornett, Sue Heilig
Don and Cindy Kotrady
Ben and Dee Ann Farrell
Ball Co-Chair,
Mary Lee Reese
Ball Co-Chair,
Leanne Dupay
Margaret and Ray Kilgo
Sue and Rick Wilsey
Tom and Gigi McKeever, Karen and Bob Knaus
LaNell Edwards, Dennis Wallace,
Donna Kumar
Bob and Blanche McHugh, Tim and Pat Doucet Nick and Judy Renneker
Sharon and Tom Rogers
Lila and Jim Woods
Linda and Dave DeOme
Annette Brown, Mary Lee Reese
Maryleeann and
Richard Bryan
Ward and Barbara Beebe
Marie and Richard Drury, Fred Newton,
Bobbie Caldarelli, Pat and Tim Doucet
President, Women’s Club of
Greater Lakeway, Jody Berry
and Bob Berry
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