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On the way to SuperTarget, I saw a sign for Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, which piqued my interest, so I made plans to go the next day. The center is huge and displays hundreds of varieties of native wildflowers. It has a few short trails to walk on and view the various gardens and natural areas, which is great because it makes you feel fit and outdoorsy, but you only have to walk about a mile if you just do one trail.
The only downside to my visit was that I decided to go around 1 p.m., so it was blazing hot. I got a Gatorade at the café and clung to it desperately as I walked on all of the trails. I would recommend going earlier in the day so that it’s not 95 degrees by the time you get there.
One of my favorite parts of the center was the observation tower, which offers a great view of the grounds. The center provides a lot of opportunities to appreciate the more natural side of Austin, and from the top of the tower, you can’t even see the city. You’re surrounded by trees and flowers, and it’s really refreshing. (But very hot, in case I haven’t mentioned that already.)
The flowers on display are beautiful. On the more natural, unplanned trails, oak trees and wildflowers were on display. In the areas with planned out gardens, there were a lot of cacti and other strange looking desert plants.
It’s probably better to go in the spring when there are more wildflowers instead of the middle of the summer heat, but it was still fantastic. The desert plants clearly thrive in the summer, and the butterfly gardens were really active. Plus, there are plenty of opportunities to get indoors at the center, with both art and educational exhibits inside the galleries.
If you go, be sure to check out the Statesman’s interactive map of the Luci and Ian Family Garden inside of the wildflower center, which has a lot of activities for families.
I usually don’t watch fireworks shows on Fourth of July, but being in Austin for the holiday, I decided to go check out the big show at Circuit of the Americas.
It was PACKED.
We decided to stay in the parking lot and watch from the hood of the car. The weather was perfect, and we could see far away fireworks wherever we looked. The Austin Symphony Orchestra played for about an hour before the show started. The show was pretty short, but the fireworks were great.
What wasn’t so great was the traffic getting out. It took us three hours to get back to my apartment — for two and a half of those hours we were at a standstill trying to get out of the parking lot. People were doing yoga outside of their cars to kill time.
All in all, it was a happy Fourth of July. I hope everyone had a safe holiday!
Your weekly roundup is here a little early because of the holiday this weekend. Happy Fourth of July!
- Rescued bear cubs Korben, Tilly and Ruby will make their public debut Friday at Austin Zoo.
- Fireworks are legal in unincorporated areas of Travis County: What you need to know for July 4
Look at those baby bear cubs!! Squeee!
Don’t know what to do this weekend? Let the #Austin360App help with planning. Get it today! app.austin360.com
The Austin Zoo has three new irresistibly cute bear cubs! Check out these photos: http://atxne.ws/1kfBvq2
As an intern at the Statesman, I’ve been given a great opportunity to work with professional journalists. I decided to take advantage of this by sitting down with some of the journalists at the Statesman and talking about their experiences working here.
Nell Carroll, Statesman Director of Photography
Chloe Gonzales: What is something you wish you knew when you started working at the Statesman?
Nell Carroll: [Laughs] I wish I had more knowledge of what all the gazillion acronyms in this damn town are. My first meeting I was hearing about MUDs and – I just can’t remember all the acronyms – but I sat in the meetings for three weeks just befuddled, going “What’s a MUD?” I finally started asking. As far as on a broader scale, I can’t really think of anything. I came into this job pretty well-prepared.
CG: How long have you worked for the Statesman?
NC: It’ll be 18 years in November. It’s crazy.
CG: What has been your favorite assignment to work on while working here?
NC: I don’t really take too many pictures, and most of the ones I get to do, I pick and choose. I guess when I was working when we had Real Magazine, that was kind of fun because I could do all the studio things. I really love shooting studio work, and none of our staff really does.
Then also, we had these little small-town vignettes, so it was my birthday and we realized we didn’t have good pictures of Smithville. So I was like, “Okay, I’m gonna go take pictures of Smithville!” And like, “It’s your birthday!” “I don’t care. I’m gonna go get my kid!” And I picked him up from school and we went and had a little photo safari in Smithville, so that was kinda fun. But my shooting has been pretty limited here because I came in as a photo editor and we have such a talented staff anyway, you know. Why should I shoot?
Nell Carroll, Exploring the wonders of Smithville
CG: What do you think is one of the most important things you’ve learned while working here as a photo editor?
NC: Always listen. Listen, listen, listen. To everybody! Listen to reporters, listen to your staff, listen to the bosses. Listen, listen, listen! It’s so hard in this day and age to sit and listen to what people have to say. Don’t just listen – hear it, absorb it. Repeat what you’re hearing back to them, so the person that’s talking to you knows you’ve been listening and not zoning out.
It took me a long time to learn that. I get very excited when I’m in a conversation with people because things pop into my head that I’m afraid I’m gonna – like, “I have to get this out before I forget it!” So I have a tendency to interrupt. But it’s been a growing experience. I think that’s been the most important thing.
CG: How do you think that’s helped you in regard to managing your staff and working with other people here? Has it affected your work a lot?
NC: I think so. It’s made me have to slow down, for one thing. I am a break-neck speed kinda person. Doesn’t mean I’m not accurate, I just work quickly. I like to work solo. But it’s made me be more collaborative. It’s made me, I think, understand the needs of the people around me that I’m working with. And try to help them better, you know, get what they need and want solved or understood. I can’t solve every problem, but at least I can hear it and explain why something is how it is. It might not be the best answer [laughs], but I do definitely think it’s helped me slow down and be more collaborative.
After the interview, I asked Nell what one of her favorite videos from the internet is. She sent me an adorable video that she took of her son tap dancing on bubble wrap.
Need a red, white and blue recipe for the fourth? Try our recipe of the week: Strawberry-Blueberry Cheesecake http://atxne.ws/1qfnoag
Hand-picked blueberries sweeten easy-to-make oatmeal muffins http://atxne.ws/1sIMHVy