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The world will bid a final "goodbye and thank you, Ma'am" to Britain's Queen Elizabeth II at her state funeral on Monday, September 19 at London's Westminster Abbey.

While the service for Her Majesty, who passed away September 8, will be attended by 2,000 family, friends, dignitaries, and heads of state, the event is expected to draw a record 4.1 billion viewers from around the world.

In the United States, every major network, broadcast outlet, and streaming service will provide coverage. And in Austin, viewers will need to get up before the sun to tune in live. The funeral starts at 5 am local time, with many noteworthy events happening before and after it (see schedule, below).

Here is a complete guide to the network, cable, and streaming service coverage, per the L.A. Times and Hollywood Reporter. (All times are local to Austin.)

Networks (television and streaming):

  • PBS: PBS will carry the BBC’s live coverage from London, starting at 3 am. A primetime special, The State Funeral of HM Queen Elizabeth II: Events of the Day, will then be broadcast at 7 pm.
  • ABC: David Muir and Robin Roberts will anchor coverage, starting at 4:30 am.
  • NBC: Savannah Guthrie, Hoda Kotb, and Lester Holt will anchor coverage, starting at 4:30 am.
  • CBS: Gayle King and Norah O’Donnell will anchor coverage (time TBA).

Cable networks (television and streaming):

  • BBC America: Coverage from London will start at 3 am.
  • CNN: Anderson Cooper and Erin Burnett will anchor coverage starting at 4 am, with additional anchors and reporters joining throughout the morning.
  • MSNBC: Chris Jansing will anchor coverage, beginning at 2 am, following with a special edition of Morning Joe from London and continuing through services.
  • C-SPAN: Live coverage will begin at 4:30 am.
  • Bloomberg TV: Live coverage will run from 4-6:30 am.
  • Fox News Channel: Martha MacCallum, Ainsley Earhardt, and Piers Morgan will anchor coverage, starting at 2 am.

Other streaming options:

  • BritBox will stream BBC live coverage, starting at 3:30 am.
  • BBC is live-streaming from London, 24 hours a day, on their news app and at www.bbc.com/news. (Click on the Queen Elizabeth II tab.)
  • ITV News offers live-streaming at www.itv.com/news and through YouTube.
  • Sky News offers live-streaming at news.sky.com, as well as through Peacock and YouTube.
  • Subscription-based streaming platforms (with free trials available) will be streaming the funeral, including: FuboTV, Sling, YouTube TV, Peacock Premium, Hulu + Live TV, and Paramount+. The service will be available to stream on regular Hulu as soon as it concludes.

Schedule of events

The funeral service itself will begin at 11 am in London (BST), which is 5 am in Austin (CDT). The service is expected to last about an hour, but it's preceded and followed by other events that also will be broadcast. Here is a schedule of events for the day, according to this handy guide from BBC. All times below are CDT.

12:30 am: The Queen's lying-in-state at Westminster Hall will end. Hundreds of thousands (including soccer legend David Beckham) have been "queueing up" and waiting in line up to 14 hours to walk by her coffin and pay their respects. The BBC is live-streaming the lying-in-state here.

2 am: The doors of Westminster Abbey will open for guests to begin arriving for the state funeral. Heads of state — including U.S. President Joe Biden and first lady Jill Biden — will attend, as will royal family members from across Europe (many of whom were blood relatives of the Queen). Find the guest list here.

4:44 am: About 15 minutes before the funeral, the Queen's coffin will be carried, via gun carriage, from Westminster Hall to Westminster Abbey. Senior members of the royal family (including King Charles and princes William and Harry) will follow the coffin in the procession.

5 am: The funeral at Westminster Abbey begins. It will be presided over by the Dean of Westminster David Hoyle and the Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby.

5:55 am: Near the end of the funeral, a bugle call called "Last Post" will be played, and two minutes of silence will be observed nationally across the UK. Then the "new" national anthem "God Save the King" will be sung and a lament will be played by the Queen's piper.

6:15 am: A walking procession — including military bands and members of the armed services — will draw the coffin from the Abbey to Wellington Arch.

7 am: The coffin will be transferred to a state hearse for its final journey to Windsor.

9 am: The state hearse will arrive in Windsor for a walking procession up Windsor Castle's Long Walk. Members of the armed forces will line the three-mile route, and members of the royal family will meet the cortege outside the castle.

10 am: The coffin will enter St. George's Chapel for a committal service attended by a congregation of 800. At the conclusion of the 45-minute service, the Queen's coffin will be lowered into the royal vault, and the royal family will leave the chapel. The service will include many traditions symbolizing the end of the Queen's reign, including the removal of the Imperial State Crown and the Sovereign's orb and scepter from the top of the coffin. (Read more about what to expect here.)

1:30 pm: The Queen will be buried together with her late husband, the Duke of Edinburgh, at the King George VI memorial chapel inside St. George's Chapel. The private ceremony is just for family, and it is unclear whether any part of it will be made public.

Photo courtesy of Magnolia

7 spectacular surprises inside Chip and Joanna Gaines' new Fixer Upper castle in Waco

Royal revelation

“Are you ready to see your fixer upper?” the enthusiastic tour guide asked, channeling Chip and Joanna Gaines and their famous “big reveal” line from TV’s Fixer Upper. This time, it wasn't the home owners waiting outside a first glimpse at their home makeover; it was a small group of tourists gathered on the porch, ready to step inside the Gaineses’ most ambitious renovation project yet — a century-old castle in Waco.

For the first time ever, Texas’ king and queen of renovation have unlocked the doors and let the public into one of their famed fixer-uppers before it’s featured on their Magnolia Network show.

Known as the historic Cottonland Castle, this three-story, 6,700-square-foot residence was started in 1890 and finished in 1913. The Gaineses purchased the dilapidated structure in 2019 and designed and executed a regal flip that will be featured on an eight-episode special called Fixer Upper: Welcome Home – The Castle, beginning October 14.

They plan to sell it in the fall. But before a home sale comes an open house, and for three months only — through October 29 — the castle is open six days a week for guided tours.

Hour-long castle expeditions take visitors through every room, nook, and cranny — from turret to toilettes. Knowledgeable guides dispense history, impart design information, and reveal behind-the-scenes stories from Chip and Jo that may or may not make it on TV.

For Fixer Upper fans, Magnolia maniacs, and Gaines gangs, it's worth a drive up I-35 to Waco to experience the castle transformation in real life before it hits the small screen. A tour offers the very rare chance to walk through the door (in this case, a 10-foot-tall, 400-pound, solid-oak door) into the world of a Chip-and-Jo reno.

Without revealing too much, here are seven fun surprises you’ll find behind the castle walls.

1. History meets homey. A castle museum, this is not.

“Chip and Joanna’s vision was that they really wanted to honor it with historical pieces but also make it more practical for the modern family that’s going to live here in the future,” guide Megan Shuler said at the beginning of the tour.

While many original features — including seven fireplaces — were restored, the castle has been fixed up as a home for the future, not a shrine to the past. One-of-a-kind and collected antiques (such as the kingly dining room table from Round Top, Texas) blend with pieces from the Gaineses’ own Magnolia Home collection. A 17-page “Castle Sourcebook” lists design elements and products and where to buy them. And in the ultimate modern touch — a branding tie-in — a forthcoming “Colors of the Castle” paint collection will be available through Magnolia this fall.

2. Sweet nods to the castle’s past. Posted on the wall in the foyer is a poem written by Alfred Abeel, the owner who completed construction in 1913. It talks of making the castle “‘home sweet home’ all seasons of the year.”

On the center of the dining room fireplace mantel is Abeel’s family crest, along with the phrase (in Latin), “God’s providence saves me.” Next to it, children’s heights are recorded from the 1930s to the early 2000s, the last time a family lived here.

3. A cozy nook in the turret. The original design was modeled after a small castle on the Rhine River in Germany, and there is one tower turret. A space historically used (in “real” castles) for military defense has, here, been turned into one of the coziest corners of the house. Tucked into a corner next to the winding staircase, two comfy chairs sit under an antique-y light fixture from Austria. It's the perfect place to curl up with a book from the library upstairs.

4. Rooms with storylines. “One of the challenges Chip and Joanna had when they bought the castle was, there was no one, really, they were designing it for,” Shuler explained. “So they would create storylines for each room to help tell their story.”

Two of the four bedrooms, for example, are the “boy’s bedroom,” and “girl’s bedroom.” The storylines are that the future homeowner’s son would come back from college and stay in his childhood bedroom, and that the future homeowner’s granddaughters would stay in the room while hanging out at the grandparents’ house.

The boy’s room contains more masculine furnishings and decor, including a watercolor portrait of Roy Lane, the famous architect who helped complete the castle. The girl’s room is painted in “Rose Pink,” a color named after Joanna’s grandmother.

5. Bodacious bathrooms. There are three-and-a-half “throne rooms” in the castle, and they’re some of the prettiest spaces, mixing metals, woods, and tiles; even original radiators look like works of art. One of the most spectacular rooms in the house, in fact, is a grand, gleaming bathroom — which (tease!) will be fully revealed on the show.

6. Party in the basement. “Gathering spaces” are a hallmark of Chip and Jo’s homes, and in the castle, they take place in the dungeon — er, basement. A “card room” for poker games or family game nights sits next to the family room, which houses the only TV in the castle. The guest bedroom’s also in the basement, along with a laundry room and a former wine cellar now left “blank” for the new owners to reimagine.

7. Behind-the-scenes tales and tidbits. Fixer Upper devotees will devour the charming and quirky tidbits about the Gaineses shared throughout the tour. There are a few design elements and furnishings originally meant for their own home, including an item banished to the castle by their daughters. There’s a fun story about what Chip did when they found bones — yes, bones — in the basement. And, the prime selfie spot for Fixer Upper fans is a large mirror that, the tour guides say, Joanna used to touch up her makeup during the filming of the show.

Castle tour tickets, $50, are available through the website, with 20 percent of proceeds benefiting The Cove nonprofit organization. (Note that the home does not have an elevator and requires guests’ ability to access three staircases.)

Tips for a Magnolia pilgrimage in Waco:
Shop: No castle jaunt would be complete without a stop at the Magnolia Silos complex. A new 8:15 am tour, offered Monday through Saturday, takes visitors behind the scenes and on the roof before the crowds (and the heat) arrive. Hint: August is a “slower” month at the Silos, and Tuesday through Thursday are less crowded. Tour tickets are $25 and come with a free coffee from Magnolia Press.

Eat: Chip and Joanna’s Magnolia Table cafe stays busy all day, every day. If you don’t have time to wait for a table, visit the takeaway market next door. Grab to-go items like pimiento cheese and crackers, a butter flight, banana pudding, and chicken salad sandwiches, and enjoy them on a table outside (if it's not too hot).

Stay: Availability at Magnolia’s four vacation rentals can be hard to come by, but watch the website for nights to pop open. Make it a girls’ getaway with a stay at the grand Hillcrest Estate (which sleeps 12), or go solo and book the darling Hillcrest Cottage, the Gaineses’ newest and smallest lodging, which opened in fall 2021. A forthcoming Magnolia boutique hotel, in the historic Grand Karem Shrine building downtown, is slated to open in 2024.

The castle will be on tour only through the end of October, before it's featured on a special season of Fixer Upper - Wecome Home.

Photo courtesy of Magnolia
The castle will be on tour only through the end of October, before it's featured on a special season of Fixer Upper - Wecome Home.
Facebook/Magnolia Network

Chip and Joanna Gaines' new Fixer Upper castle is opening for tours in Waco

Hear ye, year ye

Sound the trumpets! Texas' king and queen of home renovations, Chip and Joanna Gaines, are opening the doors to their castle and letting peasants traipse in.

Okay, so it's not a real royal castle — it's a historic castle-style home in Waco that they've just renovated — but the invitation still stands.

For the first time ever, the public will get to step inside a Fixer Upper property before it's featured on the Gaineses' home-reno show. According to Magnolia Network, the castle's painstaking and Herculean renovation will be the subject of the eight-episode special Fixer Upper: Welcome Home – The Castle, airing in September.

But before the show airs, the couple is offering intimate guided tours of the century-old structure in Waco's posh Castle Heights neighborhood, July 21 through October 26, 2022.

The Gaineses told The Insider that the tours will give Fixer Upper fans a look at every room in the castle and will focus on Joanna's approach to designing the house. The project, they said, has reminded them of the power of "beauty in unexpected places."

"For nearly 20 years, we dreamed and imagined what it would be like to breathe new life into this abandoned, century-old castle," they told the magazine. "Finally having the opportunity, we're again reminded that there's great reward in unearthing beauty in unexpected places. The doors are open once again, and we can't wait to host you here at the castle so you can experience this stunning historical home in all its glory,"

A Magnolia representative calls the castle "the most historic restoration project that Chip and Jo have ever done."

The three-story, 6,700-square-foot castle — located at 3300 Austin Ave. — became known around Waco as the Cottonland Castle. According to the Waco Tribune-Herald, construction started in 1890 and was completed in 1913. "[The] finished residence, modeled after a German castle on the Rhine River," the Trib says, "included a tower, servants’ quarters, eight fireplaces and interior touches such as Italian Carrara marble, Honduran mahogany paneling and Caen stone from France, according to the wacohistory.org account."

Joanna wrote in a blog post that she and Chip had been eyeing the property for a long time. "We’d drive by often, and Chip never ceased dreaming aloud about how fun it would be to restore the house to its former glory," she wrote. "Sure, he had heard rumors of the water damage inside and the serious plumbing problems and the tangles of knob- and-tube wiring. But those things couldn’t keep this dreamer from dreaming and imagining what it would be like to breathe new life into the old place."

The Gaineses bought the property in 2019. According to the Trib, the price they paid was not disclosed, "but the property was listed at $425,000 and had a tax appraisal of $350,700 at the time. It is now appraised at $1,127,470 for tax purposes."

The public tours are also an open house of sorts. Eventually, a Magnolia representative says, the castle will be made available for purchase. Tour attendees will get to see the home staged exactly how it will be shown on the show this fall, the website says.

Tour tickets are $50 per person (kids age 7 and younger are free), with 20 percent of proceeds benefiting The Cove nonprofit organization; they're on sale now. (Note that home does not have an elevator and requires guests’ ability to access three staircases, they say.)

For more information and tickets, visit the website.

Jo and Chip in front of a Caen stone fireplace in the Cottonland Castle.

Facebook/Magnolia Network
Jo and Chip in front of a Caen stone fireplace in the Cottonland Castle.
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!

Project Pollo

Texas' buzzy vegan fast-food chain gets a shot on Shark Tank

Vegan News

A Texan restaurant concept is lining up for a crack at the startup lottery: Project Pollo, the buzzy fast-casual vegan chick'n chain from San Antonio, will be featured on Shark Tank, the ABC reality show where entrepreneurs pitch their business idea to the deep-pocketed "sharks" in the hopes of luring investment startup funds.

According to a release, Project Pollo CEO & founder Lucas Bradbury will appear solo on the episode on May 20 at 7 pm. It's also the series' season finale.

"We were beyond excited when we received the opportunity to film for the show and to receive valuable feedback from such a talented group of sharks!" Bradbury says in a statement. "Project Pollo is here to show the world that the future of mass consumption is plant-based."

Bradbury founded Project Pollo in 2020 as a concept that's just like a fast-food chicken restaurant in every way except the menu is entirely vegan.

The menu features vegan chicken sandwiches, wraps, and strips, plus sides including crispy papas, aka french fries, smothered in cashew queso, and mac & cheese, which you can get plain or topped with chicken nuggets.

They also have indulgent burgers and decadent milkshakes.

Project Pollo is out to change the face of the fast-food industry by offering affordable, delicious, convenient access to high-quality plant-based options for everyone from vegans to curious carnivores.

They currently have 11 locations across San Antonio, Austin, Houston, and Dallas, some with drive-thrus. And 2022 is shaping up to be a busy year: They opened a location in Dallas on Greenville Avenue in February, and another in Round Rock in April, with more locations coming this summer including San Marcos, Corpus Christi, and two more locations in Austin.

At this rate, their goal of having 100 stores open by 2024 seems more than viable.

In addition to its plant-based mission, Project Pollo also emphasizes fair wages, people over profit, and sustainability, which is something a lot of restaurants talk about but that Project Pollo actually does, using paper-based packaging and compostable utensils.

While the release does not reveal the outcome of the show, the odds seem high that the concept might attract interest from Shark Tank star Mark Cuban, who himself follows a vegetarian diet and has made numerous investments in vegan brands such as Everything Legendary vegan burgers; Numilk, a machine that creates plant-based milks; and Mrs. Goldfarb's Unreal Deli vegan deli meats.

Facebook/Stranger Things Official Store

Step inside the Upside Down at Texas mall's new Stranger Things experience

El, yeah

Stranger Things fans, prepare to enter the Upside Down: a new immersive experience based on the Netflix hit is premiering at Grapevine Mills mall in North Texas.

According to a release, the Stranger Things Store will debut Saturday, May 21, and will include some of the show's most recognizable locations, "gnarly merch, and rad activities."

A description on the website reads, "Take a peek at the lockers of Hawkins High, answer the yellow phone at Joyce’s house, play games at the Palace Arcade, and pick up some bodacious threads. Just know that you might come face to face with a Demogorgon — don’t say we didn’t warn you!"

Avid watchers know a shopping mall is the perfect place for a Stranger Things shop, as the fictional "Starcourt Mall" is a favorite hang for the teenage stars and their supernatural monster-nemeses in the '80s-set show.

Stranger Things shops have been known to pop up in other places — like New York City — but Grapevine will get the first one in Texas. It's considered a pop-up shop, which means temporary residence, although an end date has not been announced.

For the uninitiated, Stranger Things debuted as a Netflix original sci-fi series in 2016 and quickly became a cult sensation for its supernatural elements, teenage drama, and quirky '80s nostalgia. The network describes it thusly: "Strange things are afoot in Hawkins, Indiana, where a young boy's sudden disappearance unearths a young girl with otherworldly powers."

It launched a cast of teenage actors to superstardom, including Millie Bobby Brown, Finn Wolfhard, Noah Schnapp, Gaten Matarazzo, and Caleb McLaughlin.

The timing of the Grapevine store couldn't be more appropriate: The upcoming fourth season, Stranger Things 4, will be released in two volumes, Netflix says, with the first dropping on May 27 and the second on July 1.

"Grapevine Mills strives to create a family-friendly destination and continues to bring unique shopping experiences by welcoming entertainment and experiential elements to the property," says a news release. "The Stranger Things Store will not only create buzz in the community being the first-ever experience in Texas, but it will also transform the way consumers look at mall centers based on its immersive theme."

Reserve free tickets to the store and secure a spot in line here.

The first-ever Stranger Things Store will open at Grapevine Mills on May 25.

Facebook/Stranger Things Official Store
The first-ever Stranger Things Store will open at Grapevine Mills on May 25.
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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.