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Photo courtesy of Kuper Sotheby's International Realty

There are so many great places to live in Austin that it helps to have an expert on your side. The Neighborhood Guide presented by Kuper Sotheby's International Realty gives you insider access from the agents who live and work there, providing in-the-know info about your possible new community.

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Sixth-generation native Texan Debbie Lowe has lived in Austin for more than 20 years with her husband Chris, who is a native Austinite. Chris and Debbie, with some other partners, began building spec homes in the Barton Creek neighborhoods in 2013.

But it was when her close friends asked for help in finding their dream home that Lowe realized her true passion lay in real estate — and what better area to concentrate on than her own?

"Living in Barton Creek has made me very knowledgeable of it," the Kuper Sotheby's International Realty agent says. "I love the golf, food, neighbors, and schools nearby. No matter if you are active or want to simply relax, Barton Creek has something for all."

Since becoming a real estate agent, Lowe has continuously been among the top producers within her brokerage and is a former member of the Elite 25 Austin and Luxury League.

She draws from her personal experience with home building and staging to advise her clients on how best to approach their home purchase or sale, while her effective negotiation skills help them get the best possible price.

Lowe, her husband, and their four boys are very active in their Barton Creek neighborhood — "you're sure to run into us here," she says. Besides being involved with Austin Ridge Bible Church and Young Life, they support such Austin charities as Habitat for Humanity, Austin Area Food Bank, and Boys and Girls Clubs.

Lowe offered up a few of her personal favorites about life in Barton Creek. Here's her guide to the area:

Where to eat & drink
From an elegant meal at Bob's Steak & Chop House or sipping a drink poolside while enjoying the amazing Hill Country views at Omni Barton Creek Resort & Spa, Barton Creek has something for every day and every vibe.

Where to play
If you'd rather be active than eat, check out the four golf courses at the Omni Barton Creek Resort & Spa along with the tennis facilities and pools. Make time for a massage or facial at the Mokara Spa after.

Of course, you can't overlook the proximity to Lake Travis and Lake Austin and multiple hiking trails that criss-cross the area, providing several breathtaking ways to become one with nature.

"I am a current trustee/board member of Zach Theatre, and enjoy watching the amazing talent on display there," Lowe says.

Where to live
"Barton Creek offers all tastes and styles, from traditional to Spanish to modern," says Lowe. Homes can range from small, one-story dwellings to mansions of 10,000-square-feet or more, with both older, more established buildings and newer construction.

A significant sale of Lowe's — 7609 Escala — is one such jaw-dropping estate, with a backyard that featured incredible Hill Country views.

"We have worked with Debbie for years and have been involved in a number of real estate deals with her," says one client. "She is incredibly insightful about the Austin housing market and knows everything that is happening in Barton Creek, Westlake (Eanes), Regents, and Travis Country. She has found us amazing properties both on and off the market and has worked miracles for us! She’s a smart negotiator and always mindful of helping us make a solid investment decision."

"Debbie is the most wonderful, knowledgeable, and honest real estate professional that you could have in your corner," agrees another client.

"While the housing search can be quite challenging at times due to the competitive market, we have relied on Debbie to be our rock," says a third. "What we love most about her — even more than the fact that she is extensively dialed into the west Austin housing market — is that she is honest and fair in everything that she does. She gives a direct and honest opinion, negotiates deals fairly, is incredibly patient, never uses pressure tactics, and truly has the clients' best interest at heart. I couldn’t recommend Debbie more highly."

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Debbie Lowe lives, works, and plays in Barton Creek. For more information on buying and selling a home in the area, click here, email debbie.lowe@kupersir.com, or call 512-289-4167.

Photo courtesy of Kuper Sotheby's International Realty

The Uplands: A Bee Cave enclave that exudes quiet luxury

Your Expert Guide

There are so many great places to live in Austin that it helps to have an expert on your side. The Neighborhood Guide presented by Kuper Sotheby's International Realty gives you insider access from the agents who live and work there, providing in-the-know info about your possible new community.

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Drawn to its location, abundance of shopping and restaurants, and the beautiful homes on large-acre lots, real estate agent Beata Burgeson and her family have called The Uplands home for the past four years.

"It's a hidden gem," the Kuper Sotheby's International Realty agent says, "providing a peaceful and quiet lifestyle tucked behind the 4,000-acre Barton Creek Habitat Preserve. It's a quiet little spot that not everyone knows about."

Even though she's a fairly new Uplands resident, Burgeson has been working the area much longer: 15 years.

"My business is mostly referral-based and I work wherever my clientele is," she explains.

Burgeson, who spent the first 20 years of her life in Poland, describes The Uplands as having a luxurious yet neighborly vibe. The Hill Country Galleria is within biking distance, she points out, and there are 20-plus restaurants within walking distance.

Burgeson offered up a few of her personal favorites about life in The Uplands. Here's her guide to the area:

Where to eat & drink
Whether you're looking to walk or bike to a neighborhood favorite or hop in the car for a nearby meal, the options are nearly endless.

Some of Burgeson's favorites are Plate By Dzintra, Baguette et Chocolat, Toss Pizzeria & Pub, Chisos Grill, Ellera, Schmidt Family Barbecue, Mandola's Italian Kitchen, Maudie's Hill Country, Tony C's, Cafe Blue, Buenos Aires Cafe, Tadashi, The League Kitchen & Tavern, Madam Mam's Thai Cuisine, Woody's Tavern & Grill, Amy's Ice Creams, Runaway Luna Coffeehouse, and FoliePop's.

Where to play
The Hill Country Galleria is very close by and includes a Cinemark movie theater.

Or you can head outdoors to Bee Cave Park, Commons Ford Park, or the Lone Star Farmers Market.

To get your adrenaline pumping, visit Urban Air and then relax and recharge at milk + honey spa.

What to see
Indulge your artistic side at Bee Cave Sculpture Park, El Dorado Gallery, and Flip'N Art.

Where to live
"The Uplands neighborhood is an amalgam of custom-built and traditional homes with generously sized backyards, established trees, and quiet but welcoming streets," says Burgeson. "There is definitely an elevated quality of homes in this gated and private community, and the majority of homeowners seem to consistently work at enhancing design, landscaping, and other elements as the years pass. This is a neighborhood that has only improved with time."

One of Burgeson's most recent significant sales in The Uplands is 11802 Colleyville Dr., which broke the record for the highest sold property in the neighborhood at the time. The custom build featured an incredible backyard with its own private trail toward the back of the property.

"After working with Beata during fall of 2021, she is now the standard by which we measure all real estate professionals," says one client. "Beata made the process of selling our home as easy as possible for our family — she concisely delineated her marketing strategy and then executed each detail according to the agreed-upon timeframe. Her kind, warm mannerisms complement her business savvy in such an elegant way that it is evident Beata is well respected among her Sotheby’s team, as well as Realtors from competing offices."

"Additionally, Beata has taken the time to cultivate a strong team of support professionals to assist her clients in their real estate transactions," says another. "It is abundantly clear that Beata is successful not only due to her business acumen, but because she strives to surround herself with others who are the best at what they do."

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Beata Burgeson lives, works, and plays in The Uplands. For more information on buying and selling a home in the area, click here, email beata@beataburgeson.com, or call 512-795-9900.

Agent Beata Burgeson

Photo courtesy of Kuper Sotheby's International Realty
Agent Beata Burgeson
Photo courtesy of Kuper Sotheby's International Realty

Downtown Austin: Where the city's movers and shakers put down roots

Your Expert Guide

There are so many great places to live in Austin that it helps to have an expert on your side. The Neighborhood Guide presented by Kuper Sotheby's International Realty gives you insider access from the agents who live and work there, providing in-the-know info about your possible new community.

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If you're considering a move to Austin, real estate agent Carl Shurr says choosing downtown is a sure bet.

"The energy of living downtown is hard to beat," he says. "It is exciting to see the growth that has occurred since 2006, when I moved here from Chicago. I was told then that no one lives downtown — now it's the place to be if you want to be connected to what's happening in Austin."

Shurr himself — along with his two dogs, Dude and Rocky — has called both downtown and Travis Heights home since arriving in Austin. Currently, he's renovating his condo at The Austonian, a true skyline staple as the second-tallest building in Austin.

The renovation process is one he's enjoyed and loves to share his expertise on. He also loves showing condos, and lists the energy, convenience, and people as the main draws to the area, saying it's where the movers and shakers live.

Shurr offered up a few more of his personal favorites about life in downtown Austin. Here's his guide to the area:

Where to eat & drink
"While there are many new and exciting restaurants in downtown Austin, a couple of my classic, go-to favorites include Eddie V's and Truluck's," Shurr says. "They both consistently deliver excellent food and service."

"I'm a big fan of Royal Blue Grocery," he continues. "I was a regular customer when they opened their first store downtown at the 360 Condominiums in 2008 — now they're all over the downtown area."

For the best rooftop patio in town, he heads to Bob's Steak & Chop House, while Comedor is "arguably my favorite restaurant in all of Austin."

Where to play
"Lady Bird Lake and the hike and bike trail around it is my favorite place to be outside in downtown Austin," says Shurr. "It is truly the heartbeat of the city and a beautiful place to exercise."

Another must-see is the Texas Capitol, a massive, three-story granite structure that is the largest capitol building in the United States. As Shurr points out, it is over 100 years old and stands 14 feet higher than the United States Capitol.

Where to live
Homes in downtown Austin are mostly modern in their architecture, with the majority of the condominium developments in the area being less than 10 years old.

Shurr's favorite sale in downtown was at the iconic Austonian, at 200 Congress Ave. Another recent sale at Spring was exciting, he says, as it sold off-market with multiple offers well over the asking price: "We set a new price-per-square-foot record for the development."

A current, three-bedroom condo listing at 300 Bowie St. showcases floor-to-ceiling views and an enviable location that's only a short walk to Whole Foods, Lifetime Fitness, Seaholm Plaza, the lakefront, hike and bike trail, and many of the best restaurants in downtown Austin.

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Carl Shurr lives, works, and plays in downtown Austin. For more information on buying and selling a home in the area, click here, email carl@carlshurr.com, or call 512-944-5977.

Photo courtesy of Kuper Sotheby's International Realty

Avery Ranch: A true community just northwest of downtown Austin

Your Expert Guide

There are so many great places to live in Austin that it helps to have an expert on your side. The Neighborhood Guide presented by Kuper Sotheby's International Realty gives you insider access from the agents who live and work there, providing in-the-know info about your possible new community.

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Real estate agent Heidi Kadison has lived in the northwest Austin neighborhood of Avery Ranch for the past 12 years, raising here children there while forming close relationships with neighbors who almost feel like family.

"Avery Ranch is the perfect neighborhood for people wanting a community to join," she says. "You'll find parents enjoying adult beverages in the driveways while the kids ride bikes, or Redfish parents getting up at 6 am on Saturdays to cheer their kids to victory in the pool while enjoying breakfast tacos and doughnuts during breaks."

There's also a fireworks display on July 3 each year over the golf course, and neighborhood parties throughout the year.

What else is there to love? According the Kadison, who has been selling homes in the area since she moved here from California more than a decade ago, the schools are fabulous and the convenient location can't be beat.

"We are 15 minutes to The Domian, 10 minutes to Cedar Park shopping and restaurants, and 30 minutes to downtown," she says. "I'm close to everything I need to have a happy life."

Kadison offered up a few more of her personal favorites about life in Avery Ranch. Here's her guide to the area:

Where to eat & drink
There's no shortage of great restaurants here, from Moonshine, Sushi Fever, and Paul Martin's to Uchi, Eddie Vs, Blue Corn Harvest, Tomo, and Santa Caterina.

Get your caffeine fix at Cuppa Austin and Summer Moon, and keep an eye out for the food trucks that occasionally visit the neighborhood.

For happy hour with an elegant twist, check out Uchiko's social hour menu for innovative cocktails, safe, and nigiri sushi.

Where to play
Parks, pools, and trails abound in Avery Ranch, but if shopping is your cardio then The Domain is incredibly close by.

Where to live
Avery Ranch is full of mostly traditional architecture, Kadison says, with spacious lots and upscale finishes.

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Heidi Kadison lives, works, and plays in Avery Ranch. For more information on buying and selling a home in the area, click here, email heidi.kadison@kupersir.com, or call 512-638-9847.

Photo by Bryce France

University of Texas alum shines in new season of Stranger Things

Stranger Things

A new addition to the highly anticipated fourth season of the Netflix hit series Stranger Things has close ties to both Texas and Austin. Born in Honolulu, Hawaii, actress Regina Ting Chen grew up in San Antonio and studied at the University of Texas at Austin.

Now residing in Atlanta, Georgia, Chen was a 2016 finalist for CBS's Diversity Drama Initiative Program. She has been featured in the popular USA crime drama Queen of the South, Marvel's The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, and HBO's Emmy-winning limited series Watchmen. In the new season of Stranger Things, debuting Friday, May 27, Chen plays a guidance counselor at Hawkins High.

CultureMap connected with Chen for a few questions about her career so far, and about what fans can expect from the next season of Stranger Things.

CultureMap: So you were born in Honolulu, Hawaii. What brought you to Texas originally?
Regina Ting Chen: My dad’s business was not doing well and we had to close shop. We all relocated to San Antonio where my aunt was working and said that it’s a much more affordable place with great education opportunities.

CM: What inspired you to study at the University of Texas at Austin?
RTC: My aunt is a pharmacy professor at UT! She gave me the idea from the get-go, and I wanted to stay close to home as I am extremely close to family.

CM: What are some of your favorite memories of Austin or UT from that time?
RTC: College was difficult for me, I’m not great at test-taking haha! But it taught me so much about discipline, how to stay organized, and work my butt off. I also worked full-time as a hostess and makeup artist in order to pay my way through college as I had no help. Austin always had the best food options! But more importantly, Austin is such a great place to find all kinds of creative outlets. That’s the only way I got to explore doing different things like makeup and acting to find out what I would like to do, how to network, and just grow as a human! Austin is beautiful and will always be dear to me. It was hard leaving the city.

CM: You earned your degree in Spanish and business. How did you first get into acting?
RTC: When I was a kid, I wasn’t allowed to take drama classes so I would just put on “shows” for my family during the holidays. I would come up with different acts, have my family members partake, build a set, all of it! So I always had the spirit in me. My grandma, being an immigrant, was afraid to venture out much. So I always enjoyed helping her live vicariously through my eyes by reenacting my days, sometimes embellishing basic things as long as it made her smile and laugh. She was my rock. She’s gone now, sadly, but I have all those memories I re-enacted for her and created with her to last me my whole lifetime.

As an adult, I was actually scouted by a local photographer who suggested that I try modeling. It almost sounds like a story that would end with me in trouble. I then did some local photo shoots, and, eventually, it led me to sign with Kim Dawson Agency in Dallas. They suggested acting classes for me and thus began my Meisner journey with Austin Meisner coach Laurel Vouvray.

CM: When did you decide to take the plunge and make it your full-time career?
RTC: In 2016, I had decided I was going to just go full-time corporate and take a break from acting for a few years, as I was burned out and not getting opportunities. Three months later, I realized I was miserable without the life of storytelling in any capacity. That’s when I realized acting is for the rest of my life. And everything else I did from that point forward was done to support that realization.

CM: Can you tell us more about the CBS Diversity Drama Initiative Program?
RTC: Yes! So CBS had a nationwide initiative for diverse talent to submit tapes as an audition for the program. They received over 10,000 tapes! The next step was callbacks, which I did in Austin, and finally, they selected 12 finalists to be flown out to LA for a week-long, paid-for intensive. I learned so much on that trip. I have never been on a real big-budget set before in my life, nor met other actors in different markets across the nation. It truly opened my eyes to see how big that world can really be.

CM: What have been some of your favorite roles until now?
RTC: I loved playing a money laundering banker on Queen of the South. I am such a person of honor that it was fun to play someone who was so deceiving. Plus, working with Alice Braga was amazing! I also enjoyed playing the female lead in a local indie feature (Lion Killer) shot in Houston back in 2018, because the creators gave me a chance to show my talent and believed that I could carry the film before I even knew I could. And ultimately, my role in Stranger Things is by far my favorite, because my character Ms. Kelly is truly me — caring, kind, and quirky. I cannot wait for the world to meet her! I’m also just so proud to represent the Asian community every chance I get.

CM: How did the role in Stranger Things come about?
RTC: Just like any other show, I received an audition from my agent for the role. The script (sides) were different names so that we wouldn’t know who was involved in it. It was great, actually, because that allowed me to just bring myself authentically to the character of how I would be in that world.

CM: Were you already a fan of the show before you signed on for Season 4?
RTC: Yes!!! I’m a big sci-fi nerd and I loved the show prior to even getting the audition. So you KNOW how stoked I was to have gotten a chance to read for the show. It’s so rare!

CM: Can you tell us anything particularly exciting to look forward to in this next season?
RTC: The world is darker and scarier than it ever has been before. It’s impossible. Hang on tight! I’m right there with you because I’m scared of the dark and everything spooky!

Photo courtesy of Kuper Sotheby's International Realty

Westlake's Lost Creek: Where nature meets laid-back family memories

Your Expert Guide

There are so many great places to live in Austin that it helps to have an expert on your side. The Neighborhood Guide presented by Kuper Sotheby's International Realty gives you insider access from the agents who live and work there, providing in-the-know info about your possible new community.

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"My husband and I grew up in Westlake, and we love raising our two children here," says real estate agent Connelly Breeland. "I was vice president of the Hyline drill team and active in choir during my high school years. I realize how special and unique it is that our daughter and son get to grow up attending the same schools, parks, and even restaurants that we loved as kids."

These fond memories prompted Breeland to settle in her childhood neighborhood, and she now loves introducing people to its charming areas like Lost Creek.

"I love the family friendly atmosphere that is so apparent the moment you enter Lost Creek," she says. "Located in the award-winning Eanes School District and with direct access to numerous hiking trails and the Barton Creek Greenbelt, it's an idyllic place to raise a family and build a lifetime of memories."

Breeland remembers spending her elementary years walking to the creek with friends and spending time outside until the street lights came on, the universal signal for dinnertime.

Today, she enjoys finding even more hidden hiking trails with flowing water, picnic tables, and meandering paths throughout the neighborhood. Her favorite entrance point? Whitemarsh Valley Walk near the intersection with Lost Creek Boulevard.

Breeland offered up a few more of her personal favorites about life in Lost Creek. Here's her guide to the area:

Where to eat & drink
"For a quick treat on hot summer days, my family loves Woody's Shave Ice," she says. "The food truck park at the front of Lost Creek Boulevard is a fun and convenient amenity for the neighborhood."

Breeland also loves nearby Vaquero's for Tex-Mex and margaritas, noting that their new playscape is a great attraction for young families.

"On weekends, Taco Deli is our go-to for delicious tacos under the oaks," says Breeland. "I always get the Cowboy Taco and Chicken Frontero Fundido — they can't be beat!"

Where to play
The Lost Creek hiking trails and greenbelt are the ideal way to play and relax: "On a recent hike I enjoyed the naturally flowing springs and the wildflowers. My daughter loved the cardinals and hummingbirds,” she says.

Breeland and her family also enjoy being members of the Lost Creek Country Club, which she says is the perfect place to enjoy a meal, relax by the pool, or play a round of golf.

"On Friday nights in the fall, I can be found at a Westlake Football game," Breeland says. "Go Chaps!"

Lost Creek residents also love the neighborhood parks as a place for kids to play and parents to mingle. An insider tip from Breeland is that the playground park located on Lost Creek Boulevard and Quaker Ridge Road becomes a voting location during elections, making it a quick and easy place to vote and avoid crowds.

Where to live
From traditional to modern, the homes throughout Lost Creek are unique and embrace the outdoors. Think huge picture windows, wraparound balconies, and massive patios that encourage large gatherings while celebrating the native trees and wildlife.

Most homes offer a traditional style common to homes built in the 1970s and '80s, with lots of limestone and wood accents.

"It has been fascinating to watch full renovations and new construction in recent years, bringing a new, modern vibe to several neighborhood streets," Breeland says. "I've shown and sold homes that are complete fixer-uppers and others that are move-in ready, but all my clients love the stunning views they possess."

Her most recent sale in Lost Creek was 6305 Whitemarsh Valley Walk, where she represented the buyer.

"My buyers had been on the hunt for their forever home in Westlake for a long time, and despite multiple offers, they were thrilled to finally be able to call this Lost Creek home their own."

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Connelly Breeland lives, works, and plays in Westlake. For more information on buying and selling a home in the area, click here, email connelly@kupersir.com, or call 512-633-3066.

Agent Connelly Breeland

Photo courtesy of Kuper Sotheby's International Realty
Agent Connelly Breeland
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CultureMap Emails are Awesome

Mobile vet company brings its no-rush, stress-free services to Austin homes

Home Is Where the Vet Is

Austin, one of the largest no-kill shelter cities in the United States, already knows a lot about adopting instead of shopping. A puppy is a wonderful addition to the family, but senior dogs need love (and are loved), too. As many have learned firsthand, taking care of a senior pet can be challenging — with higher medical bills, potentially heavy lifting as joints stiffen, and tough decisions to make about what kind of care is necessary — but also incredibly rewarding.

November is National Senior Pet Health Month, calling for awareness about an older pet’s needs, and providing opportunities to celebrate wins all over local news. In Austin, one of those wins came in scrubs. The Vets, a mobile veterinary service that makes house calls, expanded into Austin in 2022 (after launching the year prior), eventually bringing the national count to 16 locations including Houston and Dallas. Texas and California are tied for the most locations, at three each.

“Among the top reasons that pet owners avoid or postpone their visit to the vet clinic include the stress of transporting their pet, restrictive pet carriers, and crowded waiting rooms,” explained a statement from the company. “Our no-rush visits give your pet the time to bond with our vet and you the opportunity to ask questions. And you always have the option to rebook the same vet to help grow that special relationship over time.”

This team provides care for every stage in a pet’s life, and most of their needs, too; that’s everything from routine wellness exams, microchipping, nutrition consulting, and even emergency services including those with specialized equipment like ultrasound machines. When the time comes to ease a pet’s end-of-life transition, the team also offers at-home euthanasia, dramatically reducing stress for both pets and people who don’t want a sterile environment or a tearful drive home.

The American Veterinary Medical Association lists many needs for senior pets, including increased medical care, vaccinations, and pet parents that are observant about environmental concerns like house structure and stimulation. With a home vet, pet owners might consider asking for opinions on how to streamline some of these interactions, without having to worry about having to write notes, try to remember potential issues in the space, or miss any important details a professional would see right away.

A good vet can make animals comfortable no matter what, but The Vets emphasizes the stronger relationships that its team can build in a comfortable, stress-free environment. In addition to a more convenient and comfortable experience, this can also mean better care for a pet that doesn’t have an entire puppyhood to adjust.

More information about The Vets, including scheduling, is available at thevets.com.

Austin-area pig rescue wins Airbnb contest to build one-of-a-kind pig-themed guest house

This Place is a Pigsty

KVUE — From tens of thousands of entries from around the world, 100 aspiring designers, architects, DIYers, and makers from more than 20 countries and regions have been chosen to bring their unique space ideas to life as part of the $10,000,000 Airbnb OMG! Fund.

One of those winners is Tracey Stabile, director of the Central Texas Pig Rescue (CTPR) in Austin. Tracey and Dan Illescas, founders of Central Texas Pig Rescue, will receive up to $100,000 to create a one-of-a-kind pig-shaped guest space. Over the course of the next 10 months, they will design, construct, and outfit the space to be guest-ready by summer 2023.

"Basically the OMG! Fund contest was a way for people to be really playful and kind of invent a really cool dwelling that would be something that's totally notable to people and be a destination," said Stabile.

Stabile said Airbnb left all of the freedom of creativity up to them. They went through several rounds of design and planning and review.

"Each step of the way, we were like, 'We're one step closer.' It was very exciting. Just getting those emails at each milestone and seeing that we were actually contenders in this contest. Then the fact that we, of course, won and now we're going to be able to build this amazing thing that we absolutely never would have been able to build under other circumstances. It's just an amazing opportunity," stated Stabile.

Stabile said she wanted to build something that was a little bit unpredictable and wanted to avoid some of the shapes that people might expect. The current pig sanctuary in Smithville, about 45 minutes outside of Austin, is home to over 200 pigs that were saved from abandonment. The sanctuary houses a mix of all different types of pigs, mostly potbellied pigs, and is 100 percent volunteer run and 100 percent donation based.

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Read the full story and watch the video at KVUE.com.

Texas state parks beckon this holiday season with festive events and peaceful escapes

Silent nights

If roasting s'mores and hiking in the great outdoors sounds fun, pack up your family and visit one of Texas’ state parks this holiday season.

Texas state parks and historic sites are ringing in the holidays with a number of festive events. There are drive-thru light tours, special holiday hikes, arts and crafts for the kiddos, and more.

Reservations fill up quickly, so be sure to visit an individual park's website before you head out. And check the Holidays in the Parks page for many more fun options, pricing information, and more information.

Austin/San Antonio-area parks

Bastrop State Park
Follow ornaments with clues through the park every day in December during the annual Fa La La Through The Forest Scavenger Hunt. Enjoy the Lost Pines Christmas Parade, a collaborative event with Bastrop and Buescher Parks, at 6 pm December 10. Tour the inside of the historic Refectory and see how the Civilian Conservation Corps celebrated Christmas away from home during A Lost Pines CCC Christmas 9 am-12 pm December 17.

Lyndon B. Johnson State Park & Historic Site
Visit the popular attraction during December to learn how the farm staff get ready for das Weihnachten (Christmas). Return to the park at 5:30 pm December 18 for the 53rd Annual Tree Lighting, a holiday tradition started by President and Mrs. Johnson.

Garner State Park
Join the Buffalo Soldiers program and friends as they stop into Garner State Park before leaving for Christmas break during the Marching Towards Christmas event 10 am-2 pm December 10. Christmas activities will include hand-dipped candles, frontier Christmas painting, Christmas-themed hard tack in Dutch ovens, and stories of the Buffalo Soldiers.

Buescher State Park
On the Fa La La in the Forest Scavenger Hunt, you can follow ornaments with clues through the park to secure a prize at the end, December 1 to January 1. Enjoy the Smithville Festival of Lights and Lighted Parade, a collaborative effort between Buescher and Bastrop parks, on December 3.

Hill Country State Natural Area
See how art, history and state parks are connected; learn some basic watercolor techniques and paint a card or two to take home during the Watercolor Christmas Cards event 2:30-4 pm December 3. Come back for Horses in History & Ornament Craft from 2:30-4 pm December 22 and learn how horses played important roles in the lives of vaqueros, native people, ranchers and more. Then, play a round of horseshoes and paint a horse ornament to take with you.

South Llano River State Park
At Christmas at the Ranch, 2-5 pm December 3, guests can warm up with hot chocolate and cider, listen to live entertainment, enjoy crafts and cookie decorating, and anticipate Santa's visit while taking in the twinkling lights and Christmas decorations at the historic Ranch House that now serves as Park Headquarters.

Dallas-Fort Worth-area parks

Tyler State Park
Enjoy Reading Ranger Campfire Stories around a cozy campfire at 3 pm December 3. Head back December 9-10 for A Pineywoods Christmas, when you can stroll or drive through the Lakeview and Big Pine campgrounds to take in campers' elaborately decorated sites and take a Winter Wonderland Hike.

Lake Tawakoni State Park
Drive through or stay at the park and decorate your campsite with your favorite Christmas decorations to receive your second night of camping free during your stay. There will be a decorating contest, complete with awards, as well as a reading of The Night before Christmas — all part of Twinkle Tour 2022, 5-8 pm December 3.

Daingerfield State Park
Drive through the park lit up like Santa Land during the 10th annual Christmas in the Park drive thru lights tour December 14-17 (times vary). Marvel at the decorated campsites and lights, and enjoy hot chocolate and cookies while waiting for a chance to visit with Santa.

Eisenhower State Park
Help those in need and spread holiday cheer — and as a bonus, get free entry to the park — by bringing one unwrapped donation item to the park’s Holiday Donation Drive through December 19. Visit December 9-10 to visit the Light Up the Park drive-thru lights event, featuring milk and cookies with Santa. This year, the park is taking unwrapped toys to donate instead of collecting entrance fees for the event.

Cleburne State Park
Enjoy Pancakes With Santa and make pinecone bird feeders 9-11 am December 10.

Cedar Hill State Park
Search for birds taking their winter break at the park during their Winter Birding Walk, which takes place 7:30-8:30 am December 13. Explore Christmas on Penn Farm on December 17: Learn about the history and pioneers of the Penn Family and the farm they built 150 years ago.

Lake Mineral Wells State Park
Experience Christmas, cowboy style, at Cross Timbers Cowboy Christmas, December 3. Park ranger and cowboy poet David Owens will gather guests around a campfire at the Lone Star Amphitheater for an evening of cowboy culture through songs, stories and poems.

Dinosaur Valley State Park
In partnership with Toys for Tots, the park is hosting Christmas in the Valley, a full day of ranger-led events, programs, family friendly activities, arts and crafts, food and more. Bring a new and unwrapped toy for free admission for the whole family. The event takes place 1-4 pm December 17.

Houston and Gulf Coast-area parks

Brazos Bend State Park
Holiday in the Park is an all-day affair on December 10. Events include a self-guided "Elf Hike," Christmas crafts, "Pup Parade," s'mores, and more.

Goose Island State Park
See the park in lights, enjoy holiday activities, and camp for free when you decorate your campsite during Christmas in the Park on December 17. Guests are invited to "Santa's Village" at the CCC Recreation Hall for holiday crafts, games, hot chocolate around the campfire, and to drop off letters to Santa in the North Pole Mailbox.

Lake Corpus Christi State Park
Get in the holiday spirit with the second annual Holiday Light Drive Thru, 6-9 pm December 10. Visitors can enter the park for a drive through the lighted areas of Javelina and Opossum Bend camping loops, plus the Old Pavilion.

West Texas and the Panhandle-area parks

Franklin Mountains State Park
On December 3, make ornaments and holiday cards with recycled materials as part of the Art in the Parks series. During Cookies and Cocoa, you can decorate and take home your own Christmas treat while sipping on a cup of hot chocolate 2-4 pm December 23. Come back on Christmas Eve for a guided, two-mile Santa Hike at 11 am.

Hueco Tanks State Park & Historic Site
Bring your family out for Home for the Holidays guided family hike on December 10 and moderate hike on December 17.

San Angelo State Park
Enjoy a drive-thru tour of lights and optional pictures with Santa and Smokey Bear during Holly-Days in the Park, 6-8 pm December 10.