Bike to Work Day Announces Full Program Details – Friday, May 19

– Bicycling Advocacy Organization Releases Full List of Fueling Stations, Return of Passport Program and After-Party Details for National Bike to Work Day event – 

Austin’s largest bicycling advocacy and education organization, is gearing up to host its annual Bike to Work Day (B2WD) on Friday, May 19. Austin is just one of the many cities that will be participating in this nationwide event. The event is meant to encourage residents to bike to work throughout the year, as well as celebrate bicycle safety and advocacy in the Austin community. Interested riders are strongly encouraged to pledge their support and participation before the event at biketoworkaustin.org.

In celebration of the 2017 event, Bike Austin has partnered with over 45 local businesses to participate as official “fueling stations” for participants to visit during their morning commute to work. These partners will offer various gifts to participating riders, including free coffee, small snacks, merch and swag, from 7:00 to 9:30 a.m during the day of the event. Fueling stations will be located throughout the city of Austin, allowing locals to participate no matter their location.

Notable fueling stations include Flyrite Chicken, who will offer a free tall-boy Lonestar Beer to cyclists (21+) that bike through its drive-thru at either the East 7th or the new Burnet locations; Bikealot, who in partnership with Austin Massage Company will be offering quick “body tune-ups” throughout the morning; Bouldin Creek Cafe, will be serving up tasty breakfast tacos, muffins, house-made granola and fresh fruit; and Houndstooth Coffee, who are offering free 12oz iced coffees on the patio at their Downtown location. Other key stations include JuicelandWhole Foods MarketBicycle Sport ShopLivestrong Foundation; and as well as Jugo, who are set to offer riders complimentary fresh-pressed juice; and City Hall, the largest fueling station each year hosting over 10 booths onsite including TacoDeli, who will also be offering some of their beloved tacos to participating riders.

The full list of participating 2017 “fueling stations” is included below:

●      Alliance Transportation

●      Austin Cake Ball

●      B Cycle

●      Baby Greens

●      Bennu Coffee

●      Bicycle Sport Shop

●      Bikealot/Austin Massage Company

●      Birds Barbershop/Torchy’s Tacos

●      Bouldin Creek Cafe/Please Be Kind to Cyclists

●      City Hall

●      Cuvee Coffee

●      Cycleast

●      Dia’s Market

●      Easy Rider Pedicab

●      Easy Street & Monkey Wrench Bikes

●      Flyrite Chicken

●      Foreflight

●      Ghisallo Cycling Initiative

●      Hops and Grain Brewing

●      Houndstooth

●      Jugo

●      Juiceland

●      Kramer Station/Alliance Transportation Group

●      Livestrong Foundation

●      Mellow Johnny’s

●      Michael F. Adams Station @ Mueller

●      Quack’s Bakery

●      Rhythm Superfoods

●      South Austin Medical Center

●      Thunderbird Coffee

●      TownLake YMCA

●      Upper Crust Bakery

●      Volunteer (Randy Greenberg)

●      Wheatsville Coop

●      Whole Foods Market

Bike Austin will also proudly reintroduce its newly implemented B2WD Passport Program, which was a great success with its launch at last year’s event. To participate, 2017 riders will receive a specially created passport to collect unique stamps from each fueling station. Each stamp will enter cyclists into a raffle for numerous door prize drawings at the after-party, such as goodie bags and gift cards from Birds BarbershopRhythm SuperfoodsBennu Coffee, and more.

Bike Austin has also finalized additional details for the 2017 B2WD After-Party, which will be held at the Google Fiber Space that Friday evening starting at 5:00 p.m. At the after-party, participants will be offered complimentary beverages including beer from Hops & Grain Brewing, along with bites from Verts. All Austin cyclists are encouraged to stop by and partake in the community-wide event – RSVP is not required.

“Not only are we excited to give Austinites an opportunity to ride their bikes to work through hosting Bike to Work Day, but this is also a chance for the community to come together and unite in our movement to encourage bicycling as a source of transportation,” said Bike Austin’s Executive Director, Mercedes Feris. “We appreciate all of the participating businesses and riders that help make this event possible every year and we can’t wait to see how this year turns out. Hope to see all of Austin biking to work come May 19!”

The mission of Bike To Work Day is to attract new cyclists to commute while rewarding those who already do so. Not only do commuters improve the community by decreasing traffic congestion and reducing air pollution, but cycling commuters are proven to arrive at work more alert and in better health. 2017 marks the sixth annual year that B2WD will be held with more than 2,500 riders having participated in last year’s event.

For all 2017 event details and more information on B2WD, please visit biketoworkaustin.

Featuring Ms. Sandra Rascon, Contributing Writer and Co-Founder of InFluential Magazine

Sandra Rascon, Co-Founder of InFluential Magazine

Sandra Rascon, Contributing Writer and Co-Founder of InFluential Magazine

We’re always pleased to feature as a Contributing Writer, Sandra Rascon, Co-Founder of InFluential Magazine.

Sandra is a long standing member of the Screen Actors Guild and a veteran of the entertainment industry both in front and behind the camera. She was a specialist in intellectual property and licensing rights for Universal Studios Television and Networks Group, Universal Music Group, Dreamworks and went on to work with MTV and American’s Next Top Model. She has served as a copyright specialist for Pearson North America in educational publishing. She holds a Master’s in Education and served as an educational consultant in Central Texas. She currently uses her specialization to coach and creates dynamic Professional Development trainings for bilingual, ESL, Dual Language and Sheltered educators K-12.

Ms. Rascon contributed Where the Arts and Glamous Glittered in our March / April 2017 Issue.

Happy Reading!

5 Steps to Creating Happiness in Your Workplace

Each workday, the average American spends 8.8 hours at work or on work-related activities, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. That’s even more time than people spend sleeping. And because we spend so much time at work, it’s in your and your employer’s best interest to make workplaces the happiest environment it can be. Workplace comfort and happiness is highly impactful in retention and recruitment, as well as an individual’s productivity, satisfaction and ultimately, a company’s or business’s ROI. It’s not just free snacks, pizza or bagel Fridays, big windows or colorful conference rooms and ping pong tables. In fact, there’s a science behind what drives happiness in the workplace and what can be done to achieve it, through light, furniture, ergonomics and movement.

To ensure both employers and employees can create and maintain an ideal workplace environment, Dr. Mike O’Neill, lead global researcher of workplace strategy and market analytics at Haworth, a leading furniture company based in Holland, MI, shares five tips to improve the happiness of your work environment:

* Bring order to the chaos. If you have an important meeting coming up or you’re under a lot of stress, cleaning your workspace can help. A clean workspace allows you to arrive and immediately get to your most important task without wasting time. Plugging devices in to charge, color coding your files, even filling or cleaning your water bottle the night before can help. The more organized your workstation, the more organized you’ll be to start your day. For employers, ensure your employees have streamlined and legible space. Workstations tailored to individual and group tasks help to promote legibility in the workplace, with clear indications of space designed to promote certain activities.

* Adjust your workspace to fit you. Whether it’s a height-adjustable work surface, an ergonomic chair or even a wrist base for your keyboard, simple comforts can have a monumental impact on your productivity. Take the time to adjust your workspace and posture to fit your needs instead of “making do” month after month. And don’t be afraid to ask your employer for solutions to help. The tools you need may already exist, you simply need to raise the question. For employers, be cognizant of employee needs in seating and the functionality of their space. Not all employees or tasks require the same template. Consider seating options that promote ergonomic health, desks and stands that compliment required privacy or sharing, and structure that encourages movement and healthy habits.

* Let in the light. Everyone values the corner office or space closest to the window — and that’s not coincidence, as natural light is proven to provide renewed energy and vitamin intake. If your workstation leaves you lacking some sunlight, take a little time each day to find some natural light. A quick 15-minute trip to the office atrium or even a simple walk outside can leave you feeling rejuvenated. Make a quick coffee run or take your computer outside to catch up on emails — you won’t regret it. As an employer, it can be challenging to ensure daylight options depending on real estate availability. If there is minimal natural light in the office, consider expanding to incorporate outdoor workstations, or simply encourage remote work or brief breaks to increase sunlight exposure.

* Master your technology. We all recognize and understand the frustrations faulty technology can bring. And while you may have little input regarding the types of printers or computers your office uses or in who the conference call provider is, improving your technical knowledge will lower your frustration and your anxiety. Take any training sessions offered by your IT department and/or watch available videos to learn how to use any given technology more efficiently. Run that system upgrade you’ve been putting off — provided you have IT approval. Your machine will run more smoothly and so will you. For employers, it’s critical to understand the day-to-day technologies that impact employee productivity and happiness, for both individual and group tasks. Ensure costs have been allocated to optimize technology and training in areas that are most impactful, and cut costs in areas of least impact (or perhaps frivolous add-ons that can be eliminated). Ensure employees understand training and troubleshooting that is available to them.

* Stand up for storage. Adding storage solutions to your workspace is about more than simply clearing the clutter; it’s about taking ownership of the area where you spend so much time. A natural place to put your personal belongings or hang your coat makes your workspace feel more like home. As an employer, it’s important to empower employees with the control over their workspaces. Oftentimes, organizational tools and tactics can provide this — from designated compartments, shelving, cabinets and drawers. Customizable organization and storage can be critical to feeling control over the workspace and happiness in the workplace.

Until the day you retire, your workplace will be an integral part of your life, so as a reminder, make it the happiest it can be. For more whitepapers, case studies, infographics and shareable ideas on improving workplace happiness for yourself and your co-workers, visit www.atworkhappiness.com. (BPT)

National Delivery Day 4/26 – Tip Big & Get Big Favor Credit

In honor of National Delivery Day, tomorrow, Wed, April 26, Favor is showing their appreciation for Runners by encouraging customers to tip big.

For every dollar tipped tomorrow, Favor will give the same amount back to the customer in delivery credit to use towards future Favors to use for the remainder of April – tip $10 and get $10 in delivery credit.

In a letter to the Runner community, CEO Jag Bath spoke on the new holiday and why it was created:

Texas Runners,

I wanted to take a moment to thank you for consistently going above and beyond the call-of-delivery as a Runner. To show our appreciation, we have created a way to show Runners some extra love called National Delivery Day. Take note, this is not a made-up holiday. Favor actually led the creation of this day, and put in a formal application to make it official! Tomorrow, April 26th will be the first of many annual celebrations that will honor you, our entire Runner community.

On National Delivery Day, we’re encouraging customers to show their appreciation for Runners by tipping big! To give customers an added bonus for showing thanks, for every dollar they tip tomorrow, Favor will give the same amount back to the customer in delivery credit to use for the remainder of April. We hope this will make tomorrow a great day to run.

On a personal note, I want to thank you for bringing good vibes to the Favor community every time you run. From the many customer requests you handle with ease, to the memes and fun you bring to every text, I’m proud of the personal touch people have come to associate with Favor. You’re always going the extra mile, and we would be nowhere fast without you.

Cheers,

Jag Bath
Runner, CEO & President
FAVOR

Esteban Casas Joins Spanish InFluential as Jr. Beauty Editor

Esteban Casas

Esteban Casas

InFluential Magazine is pleased to welcome Esteban Casas to our family as part of our international team.

Esteban will contribute as Jr. Beauty Editor for Spanish InFluential, the Latinoamérica division of InFluential Magazine. 

There are many top makeup artists of the moment, but only one Esteban Casas.  While residing in Mexico, Esteban was both the L’Oreal and Chanel Ambassador where he amassed many noteworthy achievements.  Now, in the United States, he is working with celebrity clients and on international advertising campaigns.

Please join us in welcoming Esteban to the InFluential Magazine family and you may reach out to him at esteban@influential-magazine.com.

Featuring Internationally Acclaimed Psychotherapist and Motivational Speaker Mr. Derek O’Neill

We’re honored to present Mr. Derek O’Neill in the InNetwork Feature of our March / April 2017 Issue.

Motivated by his love for humanity, Derek shares with audiences around the world that suffering is unnecessary. Distilled from his life work, marital arts career, and study with wise yogis and Indian as well as Tibetan masters, Derek turns ancient wisdom into modern day teachings, to help others bring harmony, happiness, and success into their lives.

Read the InNetwork Feature in the March/ April 2017 Issue to learn why InFluential Magazine has appointed Derek O’Neill as Someone We All Should Know.  

New Look. New Stores. Introducing the New Hill Country Galleria!

After major renovations, Hill Country Galleria unveils its amazing transformation at a “free to the public” Grand ReOpening Event.

We had to know all the juicy details about the transformation so we’re pleased to have had the opportunity to converse with Ms. Courtney Bunte, Property Marketing Manager at Hill Country Galleria, who was thrilled to share insight into the transformation and Grand ReOpening Event details.    

Read our Exclusive Interview with Courtney and we look forward to socializing with you Saturday, April 8 at Hill Country Galleria.

InFluential Magazine:  How important was it to involve the community when developing the plans for the property transformation?

Courtney Bunte:  In preparation for this multi-million dollar property transformation, it was important for us to meet the wishes of our trade area. We conducted extensive consumer research to find out what our customers wanted to see at the property and are thrilled to bring that to life through our remodel. We started off this process by enhancing the tenant mix of the Galleria by bringing in the highly requested retailer, H&M. As an outdoor lifestyle center, we knew other amenities like more shade and seating, were important to our customers so we made sure these enhancements were a huge part of our property transformation.

InFluential Magazine:  What are the key elements of the property transformation?

Bunte:  Key features of the transformation of our 1.3 million-square-foot property include landscaping upgrades, more shaded areas, new walkways and a new entertainment district, Central Plaza, featuring a grassy lawn, a new splash pad and additional outdoor seating.

InFluential Magazine:  Preview for us, the enhancements which ensure the comfort of shoppers, particularly in consideration of the weather factors in Central Texas?

Bunte:  The landscaping upgrades and shaded walkways make for a much more comfortable shopping experience during the summer months, along with a 40-jet splash pad for families to enjoy.

InFluential Magazine:  We’ve heard quite a bit about the brand new Central Plaza.  Share with us what is most exciting about the Plaza?

Bunte:  The new Central Plaza, located at the heart of the Galleria, allows us to expand on the 80+ free annual events by enhancing the guest experience at these events. We designed the Central Plaza with guest comfort and enjoyment in mind, adding a grassy lawn, additional outdoor seating, an elevated pavilion and a convertible splash pad. Our goal was to restructure the heart of the entertainment district to upgrade and improve the guest viewing experience for local live performances and events like the Saturday Night Concert Series, every Saturday from 7 to 9 p.m.

InFluential Magazine:  The culinary scene in Central Texas has become quite popular on a national scale.  What exciting restaurants will have a home at Hill Country Galleria?

Bunte:  Hill Country Galleria is home to a great mix of exciting restaurants, whether they be national establishments or local favorites. Local restaurant and food tenants include Café Blue, Chisos Grill, Buenos Aires Café, Frost Gelato, All Star Burger, Bee Cave Coffee and more.

InFluential Magazine:  What will prove most inviting for families with children and those looking for a pet friendly environment?

Bunte:  Shaded areas and new walkways create a comfortable and easy shopping experience for family members of all ages and pet friendly shoppers, regardless of weather conditions. Hill Country Galleria is home to a number of family friendly tenants like The Candy Jar, which offers private kids’ birthday parties available for booking, PAIYH Dance Studios, Learning Express Toys and also offers patio seating at some restaurant tenants, like Chisos Grill, perfect for pet friendly dining.

InFluential Magazine:  How do you plan to keep up with the ever changing habits of shoppers in Central Texas?

Bunte:  With over 100 stores and restaurants, the Hill Country Galleria’s property spans nearly a mile long with an eclectic mix of retailers.  In order to make the shopping experience even more user friendly, we are in the process of remerchandising the property by thoughtfully relocating stores to better effect the flow of cross-shopping, dining and entertainment. The outcome will increase retail stores on the west end near Dillard’s, concentrate on dining and entertainment around the Central Plaza, and the east end nearest Whole Foods Market will house service retailers.

InFluential Magazine:  How do we come prepared to best experience the Grand ReOpening Event?

Bunte:  Come with plenty of energy and bring your friends and family for a full day of fun! Festivities will include live music at the Central Plaza, fashion show hosted by KXAN Studio512 host, Amanda Tatom, Taste of the Galleria, fireworks show, shopping discounts and more. Bring a blanket and be sure to grab a spot early on the lawn for live music with Bob Schneider!

Full Grand ReOpening Event Details!

The Hill Country Galleria has transformed!  You’re invited to join for the reveal of the completion of the sixteen million dollar property transformation with a grand re-opening celebration on Saturday, April 8th.  Help cut the ribbon on the brand new Central Plaza featuring beautiful landscaping, more shade and seating and a new splash pad.  Spend the afternoon listening to live music by Bob Schneider followed by a fashion show featuring the Hill Country Galleria retailers with live music by The Mrs.  All day enjoy the Taste of the Galleria with food sampling and treats by Hill Country Galleria restaurants, face painting for the kids and special offers on shopping!  End the evening with the Galleria’s signature event, the Saturday Night Concert Series, followed by a spectacular firework show.  All of this and more will take place from 2pm-9pm in the Central Plaza…come help celebrate! 

Schedule of Events:

2:00 p.m. – Ribbon Cutting by Bee Cave Chamber of Commerce (arrive early & get in the official photo!)

3:00 p.m. – Live music by Bob Schneider

5:00 p.m. – Fashion Show with live music by The Mrs.

7:00 p.m. – Saturday Night Concert Series with music by The Derailers

9:00 p.m. – Fireworks

4 Tips to Help Protect Your Identity This Tax Season

Tax season is a busy time for everyone. From accountants and small business owners to families and individuals, especially as more people choose to file their taxes themselves. Unfortunately, it’s also a busy time of year for cybercriminals who use the flurry of activity to swindle sensitive personal information from unsuspecting victims.

In fact, the Norton Cyber Security Insights Reports revealed that online crime has become so prolific, 36 percent of U.S. consumers believe it’s only a matter of time before a criminal steals their identity.

Take for example, Melissa, a marketing manager from Chandler, Arizona, who last year received an alert from her online tax filing service that her account password had been changed. But she dismissed the notification as a mistake.

“Two days later I got an alert from LifeLock about a credit card that I hadn’t opened.”

Thinking this was strange, Melissa followed up with her tax filing service and found that a criminal had accessed her account, stolen enough personal information to open a credit account in her name and redirected her tax return to another account.

Fortunately, Melissa was able to resolve her case but she is just one of a staggering number of individuals who’ve fallen victim to criminals lurking the web. According to research from Symantec, cybercriminals launched more than 1 million web attacks against internet users every day in 2015. While this statistic may seem shocking, there are things you can do to help protect yourself and your identity from cybercriminals.

Start by applying these four simple tips to keep your personal information away from cybercriminals this tax season:

1. File your taxes as early as possible. The sooner you file your taxes, the harder it will be for criminals to file taxes on your behalf for a refund, which a thief can do with only your date of birth and Social Security Number. (And don’t think this information is difficult to find, it could already be for sale on the Dark Web if you were impacted by a data breach.) If you want some extra protection this tax season, consider contacting the IRS to see if you’re eligible for an Identity Protection PIN. It’s a six-digit code that is assigned to you by the IRS to help prevent misuse of your SSN on fraudulent federal income tax returns.

2. If you’re filing your taxes online, use a secure Wi-Fi connection or a Virtual Private Network (VPN). One of the best ways you can help protect yourself when e-filing is to use a secure internet connection and not a public Wi-Fi network. If you are not sure about the security of your internet connection, use a VPN – an easy-to-use technology that ensures a secure connection.

3. Remember the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) only communicates through the United States Postal Service. They will never request personal and/or financial information through email, text messages or social media sites. If you receive a letter in the mail and you’re not sure if it’s legitimate, use the IRS lookup tool to find your letter: www.irs.gov/individuals/irs-notice-or-letter-for-individual-filers

4. If you receive a phone call from someone claiming to be from the IRS, ask for their name, badge number and call back number. Report the call to the U.S. Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) at 1-800-366-4484 and provide this information to confirm the authenticity of the caller’s request. If the caller isn’t willing to provide this information, hang up and report the incident to the IRS.

If you believe you’ve been the victim of an IRS scam, you may also report this to the TIGTA at their website: www.treasury.gov/tigta/contact_report_scam.shtml. Don’t delay in doing so. After all, it’s your identity and it is up to you to protect it every single day. (BPT)

Secrets Smart Investors Use Year-Round to Save on Their Taxes

Come tax time, many people work to locate tax breaks. While this is always a smart financial move, a little-known way to help build your net worth is to keep taxes top of mind throughout the entire year.

Reducing taxes means you keep more of what you earn, according to Nick Holeman, a financial planning expert at Betterment.com.

“You can’t control the stock market, but you can control some of your taxes,” Holeman said. “Knowing how your investments affect your tax bill can help you save money not just on April 15th, but for years to come.”

Check to see whether your long-term investment strategy is running efficiently with these tips from Holeman.

Invest your tax refund: One smart place to invest your tax refund is in an IRA. Normally, investors might divert a portion of the refund into this account as part of a well-rounded investment strategy and claim the deductions for next year’s tax time. Invest your refund, and you may get a portion of that back in tax savings. Stay in the habit of investing that refund if you can and watch those small returns add up over time.

Think several moves ahead: Investing is complex and from time to time you will have to sell some of your investments; everybody does. It might be to rebalance your portfolio or maybe your goals have changed and your investments no longer match their intended purpose.

Still, smart investors need to think ahead before blindly selling parts of their portfolio. This is because selling could potentially lead to taxes. By carefully choosing which investments to sell, you can help minimize that hefty tax consequence.

One way to do this is to partner with an investment company that has the tools to make this information easy to access and understand. Betterment.com, for example, offers Tax Impact Preview, which lets investors see estimated potential tax on a sale before making the trade. If you don’t think the pros outweigh the cons, don’t do it.

Reorganize your investments: Another way to potentially leverage even small tax advantages into long-term growth is to build your portfolio like an energy-efficient engine, built to run for more miles with less need to refuel. You can help accomplish this by reorganizing your portfolio. Move inefficient investments like international stocks and other assets that are taxed more often into a tax-deferred account, such as an IRA or a Roth IRA. That way, you can enjoy the high growth for less tax. Then, move less-taxed assets, such as municipal bonds, into taxable accounts.

Benefit from losses: Help keep your portfolio in balance by selling off the laggards and replacing them with a similar investment. You can receive a tax deduction from your losses that can help cancel out the taxes you owe on assets that have gains. This is done automatically for investors at many automated services through a strategy called tax loss harvesting. Smart investors should always remember that investments involve risk and may result in loss.

Give to a worthy cause: While it’s important to secure your future, many investors see community support as an important goal. Consider donating a to a nonprofit organization in your community. Not only are you helping to improve the quality of life in your locale, you can potentially claim a deduction from your income tax. It can pay to do the right thing. (BPT)

Featuring Simona Fusco in InFluential Magazine

Photography courtesy of Rochelle Brodin.

Simona Fusco

Simona Fusco

We’re thrilled to present Ms. Simona Fusco in our InNetwork Feature. Additionally, for our March / April Issue Simona authored an exclusive article titled Personal Spring Cleaning, which is all about relationships.

Simona Fusco

Simona Fusco

Who is Simona?

Simona is the founder of ‘Perfect 12’, a high-end executive match-matching firm headquartered in Beverly Hills, California. Prior to her success with Perfect 12, Simona was a successful model and actress with 30 film and television credits to her name which include “The Pool Boys,” “Beerfest,” and TV shows such as “Crazy Girls,” “Entourage,” and “Shark.” Simona is currently producing the sequel to the movie “Beverly Hills Christmas,” which airs during the 2017 holiday season. She is the owner of online fashion boutique ‘Style by Simona Fusco.’ In commemoration of her mother, she founded “The Maria Grubber Foundation,” aimed to help parents, children, and loved ones affected by terminal cancer.

Join us in welcoming Simona to the InFluential Magazine family.  Happy Reading.