Ticket to a Fantastic Outdoor Movie Night

Whether you love to sit down and watch a movie with your family, throw a big party and air the current (or past) great flick, or entertain the kids while you enjoy some adult conversation with your friends, outdoor movie nights are a great way to put a new twist on a classic evening activity.  Since loanables.com is currently giving away an “Outdoor Movie Night” package, I thought this was the perfect opportunity to pull together some ideas for a fantastic evening.
Here are some of my favorite ideas for your next outdoor movie night:

Invitations

If you are throwing an outdoor movie night because it’s a special occasion or if you just love to make everything into a “party”, why not send out some cute invites ahead of the event.  While Pinterest has a million ideas, here are some of my favorites:
If you’re feeling crafty, I think this Popcorn Invite is adorable.  Or, for something a little easier, try this Movie Night Printable and print your own tickets.  Or, you can always outsource and order some really cute Movie Ticket Invitations here.

Food

You can’t have movies without food right?  In my house you can’t do anything without food.  Here are some easy cute food ideas:

FOOD BARS!  Try any one of these 20 Fun Food Bars To Recreate at Home! Grilled Cheese Bars, Burger Bars, and S’mores Bars all lend themselves to an Outdoor Movie Night as do several of the others listed.  And, if you find that you are in need of a Crock Pot, S’mores Maker, Panini Maker, or Serving Pieces, check out loanables.com and rent some for the evening!

Even if you decide to just order pizza, I still think candy and popcorn are a must during the show.  So, why not set up your own concession stand and if you are feeling crafty, you can even make personalized concession boxes for your guests.  Or what about a Popcorn Bar like this one from Hostess With The Mostess.

Drinks

Soda is a movie classic and check out these cute personalized coke bottles.  My kids also love lemonade so I always have a drink dispenser full of fresh lemonade and one of ice tea (for me).  If you don’t have a drink dispenser, you can always rent one from loanables here.
 
For adult beverages, a tin bin (also rentable) full of beer, a couple bottles of wine, and mixed drinks.  Check out the pre-made mixed drinks in Mason Jars on celebrations.com here.  If all of the drinks are out and ready, you don’t have to spend your evening being a bar tender!

Seating

If you are looking for an easy option, blankets on the ground are always great but sometimes this may not be the most comfortable.  You can always set out camp chairs or other folding chairs (rentable on loanables.com here.  Another cute, cheap and practical option is hay bales covered with blankets.
 
If you are looking for something different and want to get crafty, what about a pillow bed?  Tutorial is here.  Or, how about these floor cushions?  I made these for my kids a couple of years ago and they make great seating for any occasion (as well as a great pillow fight prop).  Or, check out these great seats – I may have to make some!

Activities

When you combine a movie with some activities you end up with a perfect party.
Try movie night bingo or even a corn hole or outdoor chess set (rentable from loanables for the evening).
As you can see, the potential for great outdoor movie night is HUGE.  Enter to win the loanables giveaway and start planning.  Just get creative and remember to check out loanables for all your rental needs.

Top 10 New Items Posted

We’ve had some awesome items posted lately so I bring you the top 10:

  1. Pongo Bongo Beer Pong Float – $10 Floatable Beer Pong Austin
  2. Stand Up Paddleboard & Gear – $20Rent SUP Austin
  3. Poker Table – $40Rent Poker Table Austin
  4. Trailer – $40 Rent Trailer Austin
  5. Walk Behind Brush Cutter – $92Rent Brush Cutter Austin
  6. Litter Vacuum – $435 Rent Litter Vaccum Austin
  7. Chipper – $96Rent Chipper Austin
  8. Chocolate Fountain – $65Rent Chocolate Fountain Austin
  9. Hot Dog Cart – $110Rent Hot Dog Cart Austin
  10. Water Slide – $269Rent Water Slide Austin

Why We Do What We Do

The U.S.A. makes up 5% of the world’s population but uses 25% of the natural resources and creates 50% of the solid waste. (Worldwatch Institute).

At Loanables, we believe that people over-consume because there is not a good alternative to buying. Our mission is to make it as easy to rent as it is to buy. We are focused on giving consumers access to the things they want without ownership.

Perfect Weekend in Austin

Planning a visit to Austin or are you a local looking for a fun staycation downtown? Either way, we have the perfect weekend all ready for you-compiled from the Loanables.com team’s favorite places to stay, foods to eat, and things to do in town.

Where to stay

There are a plethora of high end hotels from which to choose, but that wouldn’t be as “Austin” as it gets! Experience the tiny house trend without crossing that point of no return by checking into this amazing Tiny Home located just 2 miles from downtown. It’s the perfect launch pad for all of your adventures while in Austin. It accommodates up to 4 people and starts at only $125/night! Your hosts, Christi & Wes, are not only some of the coolest locals in town, they’ve been known to go above and beyond by accommodating special requests like a beer-stocked fridge prior to guests’ arrivals.


 

 

 

 

Or check out Austin’s new Native Experiential Hostel. From the website: “Native is for the seekers. The curious ones, filled with youful wanderlust. Explorers who know that possessions are fleeting, but experiences last a lifetime. Native is a kinetic collision of music, arts, warm beds, sleepless nights, food, and spirits. Our kindred are this generation of artists, creatives, thinkers and folks who simply embody good times; those who thrive on connection, unbridled fun and meaningful experiences.” If that doesn’t sum up the local feel of Austin, we don’t know what does!

How to Get Around

Use a local ride-share company like Ride Austin on the fly, or even pre-arrange a ride with Wingz and you’ll be able to get to anywhere in town in a jiffy! (Use our favorite Wingz driver’s code colettedg for $5 off your ride!)

Want to be a little more green? Rent a scooter or a bicycle and save money over paying for each ride or dealing with the stress of finding parking for your own vehicle! You’ll also feel great knowing you are supporting the locals in the economy, not just the local economy.

What to Eat

Day 1: Your first night in Austin, you should start by checking out some hot spots along South Congress, like Hotel San Jose for their signature summer beverage, Frose.

Then, head to a new local favorite, El Chiporon, for amazing, authentic Spanish tapas. The cold soups are so refreshing in the Texas heat!

For that extra-special meal, Eddie V’s stands the test of time. It’s a favorite for birthdays, anniversaries and other celebrations. Similarly, the local and seasonal menu at Wink will not disappoint!

Day 2: Of course, you can’t leave Austin without some good ‘ole Texas barbecue, so perhaps waiting for a few hours with a few hundred of your new best friends at Franklin’s will be part of your Saturday activity?


If standing in line isn’t your thing, hop over to Forthright Café in the heart of downtown and enjoy a lovely selection of brunch items including Avocado Toast, Pork Belly Hash or Forthright’s signature Waffle Sandwich.

Day 3: No time in Austin is complete without eating your fill of TexMex! Establishments like Chuy’s and Guero’s Taco Bar will surely be the perfect conclusion to your weekend of Austin’s finest cuisine.

What to do Outside

At the top of any Austinite’s list is spending some time enjoying the gorgeous outdoor scenery. Take a walk around Ladybird Lake or feel the peaceful bliss of Austin’s iconic stand up paddleboard experience. You can rent this inflatable paddleboard for a fraction of the price of renting from the lake-side companies, if you plan to be out on the water more than an hour. The owner will meet you at the perfect location to hop in the water and pump it up so you’re all set to enjoy both the tranquility of the water and one heck of a workout!

If you dream of going FAST out on the water, hook up with Captain Colton for an afternoon of wakeboarding, tubing and waterskiing on Lake Austin or Lake Travis. His 24′ Supra Wakeboard Boat has all the gear & toys for you and a bunch of friends to enjoy the best Austin’s lakes have to offer! And he will be your personal driver so you can enjoy the fun too!

What to do Inside

Take an extended break from the heat and still enjoy the local scene by catching a movie at Alamo Drafthouse, Austin’s original dine-in movie theater. You can also play The Escape Game Austin with your group or for those who enjoy a little history, take a tour of the Texas State Capitol.

Need a little retail therapy? Shop the Austin way by perusing local vintage stores like Moss and the fabulous, new Ford on Fifth for designer finds at a fraction of the original retail price. And men, not leaving you out, the YETI Flagship is not to miss!

How’s that for the perfect weekend in Austin? Let us know YOUR favorites so we can add them to our list!

 

 

 

 

 

 

3 Ways to Celebrate 4th of July


How do celebrate the 4th of July: play baseball, eat a hot dog and pop some fireworks. You’re done.

But what if you live somewhere like Austin where it is too hot to be outside playing baseball in the middle of the day? Or what if you are a vegan? Or what if you live in the city that doesn’t allow fireworks of if there is a burn ban because it’s so dry. Well, here are some ideas for you..you high-maintenance American 😉

1. DIY Slip N Slide

I’m NOT crafty by any stretch of the imagination, but I’m pretty sure I could pull this off. Big tarp or thick trash bags, dish soap, a water hose and voila – you have a fun-filled afternoon.

Ice Cream Party

2. Vegan Ice Cream Party

Check out these Vegan Ice Cream recipes (it says they are better than the real thing!) Want to make a big batch for a party, rent an ice cream maker.  And if you aren’t vegan, here are 13 delicious recipes (including s’mores)!

Photo by Jim Harmer

3. Get Creative with Sparklers

So, you can’t pop fireworks, but sparklers usually steal the show anyway.  Here are some creative sparker photography tips.

However you choose to celebrate, I hope you have fun.

Making the Most of Your Backyard

When reading through my Facebook feed the other day, I came across the following request for recommendations: “So in love with our little back yard and dying to get some use out of it. Any suggestions for fun backyard games for a smaller yard? (other than beer pong, that is :-)”  
 
As a brainstorm loving, creative, idea person, I could barely control myself.  The options were endless.  My first thought was “Armadillo washers – I LOVE a good game of washers.  It’s social and competitive and VERY Texas.”  But the more I thought about it, the ideas kept flowing: “What about Giant Jenga?  I have been wanting to play a game of Jenga with my kids and Giant Jenga looks like twice the fun!  And, there’s always horseshoes and croquet – oldies but goodies in my mind.  And, I saw this really cool Giant Connect Four game on Amazon the other day – that looks fun.”  And the brainstorm in my head went on
 
This morning I woke up with a new view on this whole backyard dilemma.  Why pick one thing (or even two)?  Why not have a rotating backyard “play station”?  Rather than buying one game that you can get tired of after a while, you could rent one for a day or a week and then trade it in and rent another?  Or, have a standing backyard game night with friends or neighbors and rent a new game each time.  From experience I know that games get played with a lot at first but then the excitement wanes and they fall by the wayside.  This way you wouldn’t have a bunch of unused stuff laying around.  Plus, I would personally enjoy my backyard MORE if there was something new to play on a regular basis.  
 giant jengaI looked on loanables.com for some ideas that I could share with my Facebook friend and the options were endless.  I saw the Giant Jenga and Giant Connect Four I had been thinking of but there was also Giant Chess, Ladder Golf, and a ton of really great inflatable games (how cool does Inflatable Simon Says sound?) that I would love to try out.  They even have bundles which included more than one game which would be so great for a party.  There are enough choices to have a new one every week all summer or every month all year and I am sure they would add more if people requested them (giant scrabble perhaps?).  I got so excited about what I found that I started to think about my own backyard and how I could try out some of these games by renting them.  
Bean Bag Toss GameSo, if you are looking for a way to make the best of your backyard or looking for some new games to play with your family or friends, maybe renting is the way to go,  I am on to my next brainstorm – Saturday afternoon backyard party themes – food, drinks, and games.  I can’t wait – I am thinking “Old Fashioned Family BBQ” or “Board Games are Bigger in Texas” or “Family Olympics” and if my kids are away at a friend’s one Saturday I am not counting out “Just Like in our College Days” complete with Beer Pong!

To Buy or Rent: Boat Edition

It’s summer in Austin, and that means only one thing: it’s hot, hotter & hottest. On more than one occasion I have thought about how nice it would be to own a boat. To get out on the water anytime I want. No need to plan, just be spontaneous. Enjoy the picturesque lake life featured by so many friends’ Insta pics. But not until this summer did I take the time to learn what it would really look like to own a boat, and now I’m thinking twice.

While researching for our current giveaway (this 3-hour rental on Lake Austin is still up for grabs this week!), we asked Captain Colton about the expenses associated with purchasing and maintaining his awesome Supra Wakeboarding Boat. Here is what we found:

  • A used wakeboard boat can cost anywhere from about $50k to $150k. A conservative average would be about $80k for a used Supra that still has some get up and go.
  • Hopefully you already have a truck or the math will never make sense on this but you’ll definitely need to buy a trailer ($800-$2k) to haul the boat from place to place and get it in and out of the water.
  • Toys: What fun is a boat if you don’t have water equipment like a wakeboard, skis, tubes and the required life jackets? We’ll let you look up costs on the ones you would really use, but trust us, they can get pricey.
  • After a few years of pristine maintenance, you could hopefully sell the boat for a good price, maybe that low end of $50k.
  • A year’s worth of storage, maintenance, equipment insurance, dock fees and fuel runs about $14k.

For our purposes, let’s ignore the purchase and sale, you’re a better negotiator than me, right? So you’ll get a good deal on the buy and sell it for a pretty penny. Let’s just talk annual expenses. $14,000. Assume you LOVE boating and get out on the water every Saturday of the summer, like Colton does, as well as on Memorial Day, 4th of July and Labor Day. You’ll have 17 glorious days on the Lake. Divide that $14k in typical annual expenses by those 17 days and it will cost you $824 each time you use the boat. And remember, we didn’t include actually purchasing the boat, trailer, truck or toys. Yikes!

Make sure you leave 2-3 hours each day of use to prep and clean up after your fun. All equipment like wakeboards, skis, tubes and lifejackets need to be cleaned, maintained and repaired as they are used. Also, plan in a few hours per week throughout the summer to do your repair work like stitching seats and rebuilding the trailer, like Colton did last year.

Y’all, this is no longer sounding like much fun. I just want to cool off and have a good time on the water! I don’t want all this work, all these expenses! I just want to be flung off a tube at high speeds, practice my barefoot techniques and throw back a cold one with my friends. I think I’ll stop right here, log on to Loanables.com and request to rent my fun with Captain Colton for just $375. Sounds like an awesome time and a steal of a deal to let him do all the work and provide all the equipment. See you on the water!

Meet Captain Colton

Captain Colton is a UNICORN – he’s a native Austinite.  Well, actually he was born in Nashville, but we will give it to him because he moved here when he was 5 months old.  He’s also the Captain that will be driving around the lucky winner of our giveaway of a 3 hour boat rental on Lake Austin.

I met him and immediately liked him.  My dad always says “you live the life you choose”, and I think Colton has chosen wisely. In the summer he rents out his boat for enough to not only pay all the expenses, but to also pay himself a salary.  In the off months he is a guest bartender around town and for private parties.  He and his girlfriend, Lacie, also travel quite a bit.  She is a travel blogger.  This couple is just quintessentially cool – makes me think they should have their own reality tv show or something.

He has his boat listed on Loanables.  Next year, he is planning to add 2 more boats to his fleet.  When you think about going out on the lake this summer, support a local entrepreneur and book Colton.  My family is hooking up with 2 other families and we are going out with him in August. All we have to do is show up.  He will do all the prep before and clean up after (2-3 hours of work)! My husband can just enjoy himself and even have a beer since he doesn’t have to worry about driving. We can all just focus on the fun part; I know my kids will love it!

 

 

Can you buy Happiness?

father's day

Are the best things in life free? It’s hard to believe they are when we are constantly inundated with marketing taunting all the latest and greatest things available to buy. I know from personal experience, I may not think I “need” anything, but the moment I step foot into a mall, I start wanting a lot. And, I have to admit there is a bit of high that comes right when you make a purchase. This got me thinking…what does the science say?

Two professors from Cornell University and The University of Colorado at Boulder published this study: To Do or To Have?  That is the Question.  It’s a fascinating study (if you are a nerd like me and like to read that sort of thing).  The gist: investing in life experiences makes people happier; material purchases do not.

Since Father’s Day is next weekend, it got me thinking about doing stuff with my father instead of buying him something.  I only remember one gift I’ve given my dad on Father’s day (and I’m 40).  When I first moved to Austin 17 years ago, I got us rowing lessons at the Texas Rowing Center.  We both loved it and still talk about going back.

This year, my father and my husband will get experiences.  Here’s what’s on my list:

  1. Go play golf.  Even for someone that has never played, it’s fun to try something new.  You can rent golf clubs for only $25!
  2. Go Camping.camping
  3. Have a Game Night.  My husband loves poker so that will be our theme.

Happy Father’s Day to all the Dad’s out there.  I hope you have an awesome experience this year!

 

 

To Buy or Rent: Summer Clothing Edition

Rent or Buy

As I’m shopping for summer wardrobe additions, I can’t help but wonder if I could save money by renting some of the items that I am considering. The more the rental movement grows, the more I am challenging the belief I’ve always had that owning is better. One thing I was surprised to see normalized in the last few years is clothing rentals. I grew up with the mindset that you make an investment in high quality items and you use them forever. This makes a lot of sense for items you will use over and over, for the next few years at least. However, as I really consider this further, I find it actually makes sense to spend less, and perhaps forego ownership all together, on certain items in my wardrobe. Items I only need for one special occasion or that will be such a standout they will be too noticeable to don a second time in the same crowd often do not have a lifetime value equal to the upfront cost. So as I’m considering updates to my wardrobe I’d like to share the items I chose to purchase and those I’ll rent for their specific use. Hopefully my thoughts will help you find ways to save money this summer too!

TO BUY

Printed Shorts

Shorts with a great print are a fabulous update to this summer’s wardrobe. They can be fun and flirty and if you choose one like the floral number below they can be worn a myriad of ways, all summer long. Pair with a contrasting pattern as shown with this floral short, or simplify with denim, black, white, pink, green or yellow shirt. The possibilities are endless!

A different take would be to go for a print on a classic denim short and wear with just about any solid color top you own. These could be a go-to for every day of the summer!

Espadrille

A must-have shoe update for summer is the espadrille. Choose a wedge, a flat with a simple pattern, or a flat with a cute image depending on your preference and keep the colors more neutral or coordinating with the majority of your summer clothes to make these a staple year after year.

 

 

TO RENT

Evening Clutch

How many times have you been in the handbag department stressing about the perfect clutch to go to that wedding or special event? I find myself needing a different one for every outfit because accessories can really make or break the look. But they can also cost a pretty penny! Consider renting this botanical clutch or this neutral metallic snakeskin option to save money since it will likely only get used once or twice.

 

 

Gala or Special Event Dress

Similar to the evening clutch, most gala or special event dresses are expensive and have really limited use. Remember how she promised you would be able to wear that bridesmaid’s dress again? Yeah right! Rent it for a fraction of the cost and avoid that pit in your stomach every time you see the $300 gown you’ve only managed to wear once. Some options include this perfectly pink cocktail dress, this black lace evening gown, and this lace maxi.

 

What else would you consider renting instead of purchasing this summer? I’m thinking a statement necklace for a girl’s night out…cowboy boots for that Texas hill country wedding…maybe even a few sarongs for the beach! If you’ve got something you’d be willing to rent, please list them on www.loanables.com.

TGIF: Planning a trip?

I love summer vacations!   I don’t love buying a bunch of stuff just to take a vacation!  You can rent what you need so you don’t have to store it the rest of the year:

Thule Large Car Top Box Carrier

large car top carrier

Car Seat Travel Bag

Car seat travel bag

Lockable Luggage Box

Cargo box

Beach Tent

Beach tent

Camper

Camper

Do you have any of these things other people can use?  Here are more travel items that people want to rent:

  1. GoPro
  2. Canoe
  3. Scout for carrying a Bob Stroller
  4. Dog Crate
  5. Generator

Why we do what we do:

The U.S.A. makes up 5% of the world’s population but uses 25% of the natural resources and creates 50% of the solid waste. (Worldwatch Institute)

At Loanables, we believe that people over-consume because there is not a good alternative to buying.  Our mission is to make it as easy to rent as it is to buy.  We are focused on giving consumers access to the things they want without ownership.