• Austin vs. Texas

    by Patrick Redmond | Jan 29, 2015

    TexasIt might seem like a strange challenge to lay down: Austin versus Texas. After all, Austin isn’t just located in Texas, it’s the capital city. As the governmental representative for the state, you’d think it would be the most Texan of all the Texas towns to choose from.

    In reality, Austin is a unique and vibrant place that defies categorization. Although there are definitely the flavors of Texas located here, it appeals to all kinds of people. If you’ve ever wondered if this part of Texas is for you, here’s a quick rundown on what you can expect.

    Economy: If you’re part of the up-and-coming field of technology, then Austin is the place you want to be. Although the rest of Texas’s economy tends to revolve around energy, aerospace, and agriculture, Austin is the home of companies like Apple, eBay, Google, IBM, and Intel.

    Politics: In terms of politics, Texas is primarily conservative and republican. The state has provided countless presidents over the years, including Dwight Eisenhower, Lyndon Johnson, and both father and son Bush. Austin, however, is a true blue location. Because of the younger demographic and the tech-heavy industries, it tends to skew in a more liberal direction.

    Food: In Texas, food is always a top priority. Tex-Mex and barbeque tend to be the most popular types of restaurants, but you’ll find plenty to eat no matter what city you’re in. In Austin, there’s a little more variation in terms of international and ethnic cuisine (not to mention food trucks willing to serve it up), but there’s still a heavy focus on slow-cooked meats and spicy flavors.

    Football: If football is your sport, pretty much anywhere in Texas is going to be a good fit. Austin is particularly known for its college team, the University of Texas. For professional sports, Houston or Dallas might be a better fit, but if you enjoy the burnt orange of the Longhorns, Austin is your place.

    Activity: Texas is a huge state (over 250,000 square miles), which means no two regions are exactly the same in terms of what they have to offer. From wide open plains and coastal areas to the rugged peaks of the Guadalupe Mountains, you’ll find every kind of topography here. You’ll also find the kinds of activities that take advantage of each one. As a bustling urban center, Austin is more about city parks and well-tended trails than the great outdoors, so you may need to look elsewhere for high-adrenaline adventure.

    Family: No matter where you live in Texas, family matters. The culture here is one that places families at the forefront. Good schools, an active and healthy lifestyle, homes with enough space to grow and play…all these things can be found in Austin, Dallas, Houston, San Antonio, El Paso, or any of the other Texas towns worth calling home.

     

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  • Moving Etiquette: Is Tipping Part of the Process?

    by Ryan Cox | Jan 28, 2015
    Moving is a complicated process, full of many different aspects requiring coordination, planning and confusion. During the rush of moving, it can be easy to forget to cover all of the bases, whether they have to do with reservations, meals, or even forms of payment.

    Because of this, considering the personal satisfaction of your movers will most likely be the last thing on your mind, and understandably so! With the multitude of worries you find yourself plagued with on moving day, most of your thoughts regarding your movers will be anxieties of their performance and reliability.

    However, the sheer effort of moving can be very easy to underestimate. Unlike other professions or trades, where a margin of error can be both expected and planned for, movers are held responsible for the perfect, damage free transit of an entire household of belongings each time they complete a job.

    This high level of expectation requires both a substantial amount of precision, and a consistently exceptional work ethic—professional movers don’t get to have “off” days where they can get away with coasting, or putting in half of an effort.

    Additionally, it is worth noting that in many cases, those loading up your house and physically moving most of your possessions don’t see an exceptionally large cut of the total paid in overall moving fees—the reasoning behind tipping your waitress or barber more than likely applies equally, if not more, when it comes to your movers.

    It’s also important to note that tipping should be reserved as an expression of sincere gratitude based on the performance and level of quality provided by your movers. Opt for an amount you feel completely comfortable tipping (if you choose to do so at all.) Tipping will certainly be much appreciated by your moving professionals, but is by no means a requirement, or major expectation.

    So how much is appropriate to tip? Opinions vary across the board, but the general amount tends to range anywhere from 5% to 20%-- a $500 move, for example, may be complimented nicely by a tip ranging from $25, to as much as $100. However, tipping high can prove to be quite costly for those more expensive moves, and your mover certainly won’t expect you to tip $1,000 for a $5,000 cross-country move! A modest tip will serve its purpose as a nice gesture, and will go a long way in making the days of your movers.

    Remember that tipping is ultimately up to you, and should serve as a reflection of your overall satisfaction with your overall moving experience.

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  • Preparing for a Roommate

    by Ryan Cox | Jan 27, 2015

    One thing that any experienced mover will tell you is that every move is unique in its own way—the standard living arrangement portrayed in classic television and beyond is mostly imaginary, as every family (or group of roomies) has their own story to tell. Whether it be due to economic shrewdness, career requirements, or location, odds are you’re going to find yourself making moves that come down to necessity and circumstance throughout your adult life.

    The old adage says that the family of the 21st century is made up of friends, but does the motto hold up under the weight of prolonged time, limited space, and beyond? Follow our tips below to ensure your roommate to roommate relations are built to last.

    Picking the Right Person

    Having the right roommate is generally step one toward a successful joint living effort, as convenient (or inconvenient) as that may be. Before fully committing to the idea of moving in with someone, you’ll want to make sure they’re the right person for the job, so to speak. Are they someone that you know exceptionally well?

    It may surprise you to know that many find that a closer, more long-term friend can actually make a less ideal roommate than someone who leans more toward being an acquaintance. A seldom acknowledged fact of significant friendships is that, like it or not, they have the propensity to carry significant baggage. That friend that was around for all the good times in college may suddenly become a challenge to spend time with, once you no longer have private abodes to take breaks from one another in.

    Learning to Compromise

    Moving from a solo pad to a joint living arrangement will bring a unique set of challenges that are best tackled when expected, and prepared for. Comprising in fundamental aspects, like furniture arrangement and rent-splitting, will eventually give way to more specific scenarios, such as music volume, off-limits foods and more.

    While these situations will each have to be tackled independently, going in with the expectation of inevitable compromise can prove to be a much more successful attitude than taking up the joint lease with the expectation that nothing will change—plan on butting heads from the get-go, and the eventual arguments won’t come as such a dramatic shock (and asking before drinking your roommate’s orange juice can also go a long way.)

    Let it Go

    It’s more than just a Disney song. It’s very important to remember that living with ANYONE is a challenge, whether they be your best friend, or your least favorite coworker. At the end of the day, the people you live with are something of a family, so you’ll find a lot of continued success from being willing to let minor transgressions go, and not seethe over every minor kerfuffle.

    The next time you find yourself inclined to leave a passive aggressive note on top of that empty toilet paper roll, take a step back and look at the bigger picture. Odds are, grabbing a fresh roll out of the cabinet and moving on will prove to be the win-win choice for your peace of mind, and your drama-free home.

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  • Moving During Spring: The Pros

    by Ryan Cox | Jan 26, 2015
    Choosing the right time to move can be a major factor in determining your overall quality and experience when setting out on your moving journey. If you’re lucky enough to have the luxury of choosing, then you may find it advantageous in many ways to opt for the spring season for your move. However, if you’re like the many who are unable to choose exactly when you and your family move, you may be pleased to find that moving during the spring comes with a multitude of lesser known perks and benefits.

    Mild Weather

    The simplest reason for moving during spring may arguably be the most common positive quality of spring there is: the average temperature tends to be a pleasant middle ground between extreme hot and cold, meaning easier outdoor planning all-around.

    In terms of your move, this can mean a win-win situation for everyone involved—moves during conditions of extreme cold bring with them the risk of icy roads and freezing temperatures, both which put your items (and your movers!) at risk. Similarly, moving during summer months can involve extreme heat that makes the packing/loading process miserably arduous, in addition to running the extra risk of potential heat damage to more fragile or sensitive goods and more.

    If you can move during the spring, you’ll most likely avoid most of the difficulties that extreme climates or conditions can bring, in addition to enjoying the outdoor weather during much of your moving process. Think of it as a minor perk to offset the intense, bustling vibe that moving brings.

    Off-Season vs. On-Season

    A large aspect of the overall cost of (and need to reserve) your move will come down to the season that you opt to move during. The peak time for moves, known as the “on-season,” takes place during summer, roughly between the months of June and August. This means tougher scheduling, less options, and in some cases even higher prices for the same moving services.

    Getting a jump on the summer rush by taking advantage of the “off season” months of spring can be the perfect way to save yourself a great deal of hassle when moving. Be sure to keep an eye out for any moving specials, coupons or discounts that often spring up during the off-season months as well.

    Real Estate

    An interesting aspect of the spring season in regards to industries is the contrast between moving and housing—while moving rates tend to be lowest in the spring, home sales actually tend to be the most active during these months. For the aspiring mover, this can mean more competitive deals on homes, more options for settling in a new city, and more.

    Taking advantage of this convenient window of migration is one of the stronger reasons that many people opt to get the jump on summer for their move. When it comes to moving smart, being an early bird can be your best bet.

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  • Supplies Needed When Moving with Pets

    by Ryan Cox | Jan 21, 2015
    Among all the things that are the most difficult to move, living things can be the very hardest. It’s important to keep in mind during your move that the process can be just as, if not more stressful for your pet. The hectic activity, combined with the lack of attention a pet receives, can make for a very confusing and negative time.

    Luckily, this can also be a good time to bond with your pet, benefiting mutually from a sense of companionship and comradery during one of the most stressful processes of your life. With the right preparation, you and your pet can come out of the move with a sense of exploration and renewed optimism.

    This guide of pet essentials will aim to provide a summary of important supplies and preparations needed to make the moving process as seamless as possible for both you and your pet.

    Talk to your Vet

    This simple reminder can often get swept under the rug during the bustle of handling one hundred different moving responsibilities. Before your moving day approaches, it is a very good idea to consult with your pet’s doctor and review any and all facets that come with transitioning your pet into a new town (and with all likelihood, a new care center.) This will be especially important for any pets that may have preexisting conditions, need for vaccinations, or similar special concerns.

    Additionally, it can be a good idea to ask your vet about the possibility of a pet sedative for an exceptionally long trip, a new form of travel, etc. Pets that don’t travel well can find moving cross-country extremely difficult, for obvious reasons. Be sure to pick up any needed records of vaccinations and procedures as well.

    Accommodations

    One way or another, your pet will be doing a lot of moving! One of your top priorities should be to make sure that your pet has the proper accommodations needed for travel. For dogs and cats, you’ll want to ensure you’ve invested in a quality metal crate or pet carrier, respectively.

    In addition, your pet will benefit greatly from a comfort set within their crate/carrier—this generally includes a mattress, bumper pads, and a form of cover. Basic creature comforts will go a very long way in keeping your pet feeling secure while out of their element.

    Goods

    Be sure to create a “doggy bag” of all the pet essentials on the day of your move. Your pet needs to stay hydrated on their trip, so a crate waterer or similar water dispenser will be needed for the interior of their transport container. Set aside measured portions of food for your pet’s meals, along with treats to keep their spirits up throughout the move.

    Cleanup supplies, such as disinfectant wipes or pee pads are also a good idea in the event of accidents. Also, be sure to keep your leash and harness/collar on-hand both before and after your move!

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