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Lounge at Littlefield Welcomes Guests

Loft 705 at Littlefield Lofts in Austin is now the Lounge at Littlefield

Think Luke’s Diner (without the food). Or Central Perk (but definitely no Smelly Cat kitty litter). Maybe you flashed back—way back—to “Cheers.”

That friendly neighborhood place is probably the best comparison to Top Trip Rentals’ newest guest amenity, the Lounge at Littlefield.

From Loft to Lounge at Littlefield

Upstairs meeting space at Top Trip Rentals' Lounge at Littlefield.

Loft #705 has morphed into the Lounge. Top Trip Rentals owner Chereen Fisher described the welcoming space on the 7th floor of downtown Austin’s Littlefield Building as a “landing spot to interact with staff” and, laughingly, a place for the “temporarily homeless.” By that, she means Top Trip Rentals guests who are early for check-in or need a spot to hang before going out or heading out of town.

Painting by Cornelius Carter at Austin's downtown Littlefield Lofts, in the Lounge

The Lounge features the same sleek decor of guests’ lofts, minus bedrooms. Sleeping areas have been converted to upstairs meeting space, which can be reserved for use. Those striking paintings with their distinctive style and iconic subject matter are originals by Cornelius Carter, an Austin artist whose work has been showcased at City Hall.

Stop by the Lounge on Friday through Sunday (11 a.m.–4 p.m.) and you’re likely to encounter reservations specialist Cara Thibodeaux. “I love being able to meet our guests,” said Thibodeaux. In her spare time, Thibodeaux writes a blog (The Great Full Girl, which includes pieces on food and travel) so it’s no surprise that she enjoys “offering some great local recommendations of where to go and what to eat.”

Thibodeaux is at the Lounge at Littlefield to put a smile on guests’ Top Trip Rentals stay. In addition to relaxing on the sofa or stashing luggage, try out an Urb-E (and helmet), host a meeting in the upstairs space seating four to six people, and pick up featured products from Top Trip Rentals’ local partners. A jar of queso (Austin Slow Burn), scented candles (Benjamin Soap Co.), hot sauce (Yellowbird), and caffeine fix from Third Coast Coffee are a few of the items currently available at the Lounge.

Selection of Austin Slow Burn products for sale at Top Trip Rentals' Lounge at Littlefield

Did You Say “Happy Hour”?

Top Trip Rentals’ staff is truly interested in providing unique experiences, so Littlefield Loft registered guests should watch for texts and check out hallway signs announcing upcoming Lounge special events. A recent happy hour included impromptu live music, complimentary libations and snacks, plus a lot of friendly mingling. (Why does everybody always wind up in the kitchen?)

Littlefield Lofts guests mingle at the new Lounge at Littlefield for happy hour

Among our guests that night: a bike messenger/clothing designer from Brooklyn, happy group of girlfriends from New Orleans celebrating one’s 30th birthday, and really big dog (plus his very nice owner).

Who knows what extra goodies Top Trip Rentals might choose to feature in the Lounge? During ACL Festival, for example, guests can stop by for some High Brew coffee and Voodoo Donuts as they make their way to Zilker Park on Saturday morning. At a recent staff meeting, there was talk of margaritas….

Whether it’s Cara’s friendly smile, a place to relax, or some tasty goodie, Littlefield Lounge is part and parcel of the Top Trip Rentals experience. We’re definitely doing everything we can so you’re always glad you came. Stop by and say “hi”!

Loft 705 at Littlefield Lofts in Austin is now the Lounge at Littlefield

Littlefield Loft Amenities (Book Your Stay Now)

Parking Garage

Access to Gold’s Gym

Coded Entrance on 6th Street

Modern, Spacious Lofts with Full Kitchens

Laundry Facilities

Urb-E Electric Vehicles and Helmets

Balconies Overlooking Downtown Austin

Man having a beer on the balcony at Top Trip Rentals' Lounge at Littlefield.
Guest enjoying the second floor balcony at Top Trip Rentals’ Lounge at Littlefield. Photo Credit: Leah Nyfeler

Are you a local business interested in meeting Top Trip Rentals’ guests?

Email Cara Thibodeaux about featuring your product or service in

the Lounge at Littlefield.

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October 4, 2017

Austin Runners Provide Life Line for Harvey’s Smallest Victims

Steve Bush with his helicopter and delivery of breast milk from Mother's Milk Bank of Austin

Question: What do helicopters, flood victims, and medically-necessary breast milk have in common?

Answer: Austin runners.

Harvey Hits Houston Hospitals

Hurricane Harvey made landfall on Friday, Aug. 25, bringing a wide swath of destruction to Texas’ coastal cities. Just four days later, the Mother’s Milk Bank at Austin was faced with a crucial problem: four Houston-area hospitals desperately needed donated human breast milk.

Opening of the new Mother's Milk Bank at Austin location.
The new Mother’s Milk Bank at Austin opened in July 2016. Photo courtesy of Mother’s Milk Bank at Austin.

At Tuesday’s Board of Directors meeting, Executive Director Kim Updegrove explained the increased demand. While Mother’s Milk Bank of North Texas in Ft. Worth had picked up evacuees’ needs, the Austin facility would cover Houston-area hospitals. Due to flooding, mothers couldn’t reach babies in NICU (neonatal intensive care units) and power outages had reduced stock. Donated human breast milk is usually delivered by Federal Express or other courier service, but roads were awash and routes impassable.

Mother's Milk Bank of Austin volunteer works with donated human breast milk during Amplify Austin fundraiser.
Volunteering during Amplify Austin fundraiser. Photo courtesy of Mother’s Milk Bank at Austin.

Board member Julia Weatherby listened, and she, Updegrove, and fellow BOD members weighed delivery solutions. Boats? Too problematic. Helicopters? Hospitals have helipads, so flying would be best…but Updegrove hadn’t found an Austin-based pilot with access to a helicopter. There was another problem: how the nonprofit would fund the emergency mission.

“The situation was becoming critical,” Weatherby explained. “The process of acquiring donor milk is very similar to donor blood. For inpatient recipients, the hospital manages their supply (they order in a big batch, usually not specific for a patient)…A small percentage [of donated milk] goes to outpatients, babies who are healthy enough to be at home but still need donated breast milk because they’re not healthy enough.”

Why not substitute formula? Those vulnerable babies have no choice. That donated human breast milk is medically prescribed.

Without appropriate nutrition–babies at different stages require breast milk with different components–these tiny patients couldn’t thrive. Without breast milk, they’re at risk of developing serious disease, like NEC (necrotizing enterocolitis, which damages the intestinal tract).

For these Houston-area babies, this milk delivery was a matter of life and death.

The clock was ticking.

Austin Runners to Babies’ Rescue

Weatherby pondered the Mother’s Milk Bank’s need. How could she help?

Julia Weatherby and Michelle Garel at Mother's Milk Bank at Austin function
Julia Weatherby (right) with Michelle Garel, her friend and fellow runner and Mother’s Milk Bank at Austin volunteer and committee member. Photo courtesy of Julia Weatherby

Now, members of Austin’s running community know Weatherby well. She’s a popular figure who’s combined her love of travel, running, triathlon, and technology in a variety of community services. Naturally, Weatherby thought to tap her local resources–perhaps a pilot friends was available? Some six of her buddies fly small or commercial planes.

Being social media-inclined, Weatherby turned to Facebook.

“I thought about tagging [my pilot friends],” said Weatherby. “But then I decided, tonight, I’ll just send a generic message and talk to people tomorrow.” She posted a simple status update at 8:18 p.m.

At 10:05 p.m., Jill Beardsley was checking Facebook from her bed and breakfast on Lake Bemidji in Minnesota. Beardsley and her husband Dick (that’s right; Dick Beardsley, the famous American marathoner) moved to Minnesota a few years back, but they’re near and dear to the Austin running community and maintain those friendships. She saw Weatherby’s post and immediately thought of more Austin running royalty: John Conley.

“I know John is taking flying lessons. I figured he would know someone or, at the very least, someone who could take it one step further to finding [a pilot],” Beardsley modestly commented. She tagged her good buddy (and John’s wife) Stacey Conley.

The Conleys have been pillars of the Austin-area running scene. Through their company Conley Sports, they managed many classic road races and events before retiring in 2016. Stacey and Jill are fast friends and past running partners. At 11:19 p.m., Stacey responded to Jill’s tag.

Screenshot of Facebook request for helicopter pilot for Mother's Milk Bank delivery

Stacey connected Weatherby with Austin-Travis County Emergency Medical Services Special Operations Captain Steve Bush. Bush, the owner of Lone Star Helicopters LLC.,had helped the Conleys for years with the Austin Marathon support.

Steve Bush with his helicopter and delivery of breast milk from Mother's Milk Bank of Austin
Captain Steve Bush of Lone Star Helicopters with his precious cargo. Photo courtesy of Mother’s Milk Bank at Austin.

“I gave Julia Steve’s number and thought, if it’s meant to happen, it will. I was thrilled when I heard Steve would help out. I assumed he’d be swamped with other rescue efforts and wouldn’t have any free time at all (which, for all I know, is probably true),” Stacey explained.

“Out of all the volunteering and donating I’ve done, this is by far the most satisfying.”

Less than 24 hours after Weatherby’s post, Bush and his team had delivered those crucial life-saving and health-enhancing milk deliveries.

[Want photos, video, and accounts of the actual flight? See these Mother’s Milk Bank at Austin and Austin-Travis County Emergency Medical Services Facebook write-ups.]

It wasn’t until another running friend posted–“Love you and our friends!”–that Weatherby made the connection. Her Austin running community had come through for those babies and their families.

“I never even got to my pilot friends,” Weatherby mused with a smile. “It’s funny because everybody’s so humble (‘All I did was post a message’) but having that link is so crucial to getting what you need.”

Volunteers and Lone Star Helicopter delivering donated human breast milk to Houston hospitals flooded by Harvey.
Evening milk delivery, thanks to volunteers and Lone Star Helicopter. Photo courtesy of Mother’s Milk Bank at Austin.

How Can You Help?

Donate breast milk or money to Mother’s Milk Bank at Austin

Volunteer in the Mother’s Milk Bank at Austin office, lab, and outreach events

Share your donor and recipient stories on the Mother’s Milk Bank at Austin blog

 

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September 2, 2017

Locals We Love: Paramount Theatre’s Jim Ritts

Jim Ritts, CEO and executive director of Austin's Paramount Theatre, inside the historic building

Since 1915, Austin’s Paramount Theatre has been a shining beacon to central Texans seeking exciting and eclectic performances. Its gloriously restored blade and distinctive marquis blaze forth, announcing that magic is about to be made.

Paramount Connections Across Generations

Facade and sign of Austin's historic Paramount Theatre
The Paramount blade was recreated in 2015 for the 100th birthday of Austin’s historic theatre.

From comedy to music, theatrics to political commentary, classic films to cutting-edge cultural events, the Paramount and neighboring sister, the State Theater (or “Stateside”), transcend the past.

“No strictures to what we can or can’t do,” said Jim Ritts, CEO and executive director of the Paramount and Stateside, as he sat in the original 1935 film projection and vault room and chatted with Top Trip Rentals. “[The Paramount’s] a connector.”

Ritts recounted a special time when he experienced the power of the Paramount.

The scene: the Paramount’s performance of Mark Twain Tonight, Hal Holbrook’s one-man show since 1954.

That night, Ritts met a father/son duo attending the show. That night was the boy’s 13th birthday. The father’s father, Ritts learned, had taken him to the Paramount for the same show on his 13th birthday.

That generational continuity carried an emotional wallop.

“I choked up. This place is truly the fourth character in every performance; it’s what is central—the Paramount, Holbrook’s Mark Twain—and the river flowing through connecting a grandfather, father, and son.”~Jim Ritts

Jim Ritts, CEO and executive director of Austin's Paramount Theatre, inside the historic building
Jim Ritts, CEO and executive director of Austin’s Paramount Theatre. Photo Credit: Paramount Theatre

Artists who perform here also attest to the theatre’s impact. Ritts pointed out that many—he mentioned Lyle Lovett, specifically—were inspired here, and subsequently chose the venue to kick off tours and new releases. Lovett’s not alone. The theatre estimates that some 10,000 performers have graced the stage throughout the Paramount’s storied life. And every year, more than 200,000 audience members experience the Paramount’s magic.

Sidewalk star at Austin's Paramount Theatre honoring singer Lyle Lovett
In addition to honorary sidewalk stars, performers are encouraged to sign the backstage “Artist Wall.” Photo Credit: Paramount Theatre

Engaging Austin’s Theatre Community Beyond the Show

Classic seats in Austin's historic Paramount Theatre
35mm and 70mm film exhibition make the Paramount a must for classic screen lovers. Photo Credit: Paramount Theatre

The Paramount opens minds, hearts, and doors through a variety of outreach programs.

“Literacy to Life”  introduces third graders to stagecraft. Professional “Story Wranglers” help students learn techniques to improve skills and build confidence while they write an original theatrical production (you can see finished works online at the Paramount’s website).

The Summer Classic Film Series Family Film Festival introduces young and old alike to the wonder and joy of iconic movies. With discounted prices and matinee times, the weekly series is a wonderful way for adults and kids to pass the dog days of Austin’s summer months.

And did you know that the Paramount Theatre plays a role in SXSW Edu? That’s right; the Paramount staff has promoted the importance of arts education at this annual Austin conference (here’s the 2018 SXSW Edu schedule).

 

Top Trips’ Paramount Picks

The Paramount Theatre’s “Moontower Comedy and Oddity Festival” is as unique as those iconic Austin light towers. During the festival, a wealth of comedic genius graces stages around ATX with more than 100 live performances.

Be sure to take a look at the Paramount Theatre’s current list of events (films, shows, performances) when you plan your next night out. When you book a stay at Littlefield Lofts on Austin’s signature 6th St., you’re just a short walk from the Paramount and State Theatre (between 7th and 8th St.), Congress Avenue, and the stately Texas Capitol grounds.

Interior view of Austin's historic Paramount Theatre
Classic architecture and details, such as the original 1920s fire curtain, add period glamor to the Paramount. Photo Credit: Paramount Theatre

 

#goplaystay

Logo for the Paramount TheatreWhether you went Paramount or Stateside, we want to know about your ATX cultural night out.

What’d you see? What did you wear? Was your night special? Did you make a Paramount connection?

Tag us at @TopTripRentals so we can feel the magic.

 

 

August 22, 2017

Top Trip Rentals Shout-Out: KEY Concierge

Top Trip Rentals cards with profile of KEY Concierge founder and CEO Kim Shrum

 

You’re on a dream get-away to Austin. Quick: What’s your plan for an epic night out?

Can you figure out the hottest new restaurants in town? Need fresh flowers? Want a side trip somewhere fun?

Sure, it’s possible to wade through Google search results, Yelp reviews, and random “best of” articles. But don’t you have better things to do?

At the touch of a button, KEY Concierge’s team of local hospitality experts takes the nightmare planning out of your ATX destination agenda.

Why Top Trip Rentals Works with KEY Concierge

Top Trip Rentals bedroom view at 119 E. 6th Street Austin, TX
Would you really rather get up and go out than eat in at your Top Trip Rentals home-away-from-home? And with this view? #breakfastinbed Photo Credit: Twist Tours

Top Trip Rentals has your vacation rental home just like you’d like it, and KEY Concierge further enhances that stay. Technology helps their tea of hospitality experts develop and deliver customized itineraries in advance for out-of-towners.

Founder and CEO Kim Shrum created the app-based service to provide “next level” services for discerning travelers and staycationers.

“We’re in a rewarding business,” explains Shrum. “We’re creating memories for our clients through unique experiences you can’t buy out of a box.”

These special itineraries involve tapping into the local community to identify unique adventures (arranging day trips to Marfa or catering intimate dinner parties) as well as satisfying everyday needs.

Our Top Trip guests find that KEY Concierge is a big help with services such as pre-arrival grocery delivery, bar stocking, and airport transportation. No matter what’s on the agenda, KEY Concierge infuses its services with personable and thoughtful attention to detail.

Check This Out

Enhance your Top Trip Rental stay by booking one of KEY Concierge’s popular tours in Austin. Try the Brewery + BBQ Excursion. Outdoor lovers won’t want to miss KEY’s private Hill Country Ride or A Day on the Lake (so many ATX adventures to arrange!).

Tell Us About Your Experience

How has KEY Concierge enhanced your Austin stay with Top Trip Rentals? Add your comment here or show us on Instagram (@toptriprentals, #toptripping). Did you get the complimentary breakfast?

Top Trip Rentals special offer through KEY Concierge for complimentary breakfast

 

 

June 13, 2017