6 ways to celebrate National Junk Food Day in Austin

Brian K. Diggs/AMERICAN-STATESMAN
Brian K. Diggs/AMERICAN-STATESMAN

Put down your salads, because you’re getting an honorary Cheat Day. July 21 has been proclaimed National Junk Food Day, and there are plenty of ways to celebrate here in Austin. We’ve got six to get you started:

Pick up a Doughnut

From the bacon and maple syrup-covered Flying Pig to the caramel, pecan and banana-laden Granny’s Pie, Gordough’s Food truck will satiate your sweet tooth.

Fry yourself an Oreo

The county fair classic is the epitome of junk food – whether you try to cut a few calories with Oreo’s new thinner version of the classic cookie, or go all in with a regular double stuff, pop an Oreo or two in a deep fryer and you’re in business.

 A small coffee ice cream with Heath Bar crush-ins from the Amy's Ice Creams on South Congress Avenue. Mike Sutter/American-Statesman.
A small coffee ice cream with Heath Bar crush-ins from the Amy’s Ice Creams on South Congress Avenue. Mike Sutter/American-Statesman.

Flip for hamburgers

Austin original P. Terry’s can serve your burger needs, as does Texas classic Whataburger. You could also kick it up a notch and try a deep fried Big Mac, as one food blogger did earlier this summer.

Eat a scoop (or two)

Blue Bell isn’t an option this year, but Austin still has a whole host of ice creameries to choose from, including Amy’s Ice CreamLick Ice Cream and the newly-opened Moojo. Or drop by the grocery store and enjoy a pint of NadaMoo! or Teo Gelato in the comfort and privacy of your own home.

Down some chicken wings

Go for some gangnam style K-Pops at Chi’Lantro, or spice things up with an order of “explosive” wings at Casino El Camino. Or combine your wings with the ultimate junk food-eating pastime and watch a game on TV while you eat any variety of sauce-covered wings over at Plucker’s.

Home Slice Pizza is an independent neighborhood pizza joint serving authentic New York-style pizza. RALPH BARRERA / AMERICAN-STATESMAN
Home Slice Pizza is an independent neighborhood pizza joint serving authentic New York-style pizza.
RALPH BARRERA / AMERICAN-STATESMAN

Grab a slice

Perhaps the ultimate junk food item, this list would not be complete without a few pizza recommendations. Drive by the SoCo staple Homeslice Pizza for a slice the size of your face, or grab a New Jersey-style pie from Little Deli and Pizzaria. If you’d rather not leave the house, opt for the infamous Hot Dog Bites Pizza from Pizza Hut, which the 360 staff has taste-tested (it was interesting).

Still not enough sugar, sodium and carbs for you? Celebrating a day devoted to junk food might be easier than you think – there are all kinds of “healthy foods” that are actually not that great for you.

How will you be celebrating National Junk Food Day? Let us know in the comments.

Miley Cyrus to host MTV Video Music Awards, full list of nominees released

MTV announced the nominees for the 2015 Video Music Awards on Tuesday morning. Ed Sheeran, Taylor Swift and Texas native Beyoncé are all leading the pack in nominations.

Many of the VMA winners are determined by the fans, and voting for who will take home the most Moonmen this year is open now on MTV’s website. The awards show will broadcast live on MTV on Sunday, Aug. 30.

Miley Cyrus, who won the Moonman for Video of the Year at the 2014 awards, will be hosting the show this year. She announced the news through her social media accounts with a space-age photo message.

Miley Cyrus announced that she would be hosting the MTV Video Music Awards by posting this photo on social media.
Miley Cyrus announced that she would be hosting the MTV Video Music Awards by posting this photo on social media.

It’s been a long year, so if you need a refresher on 2015’s best music videos, we’ve got the top five for you right here:

VIDEO OF THE YEAR

Beyoncé – “7/11”

Ed Sheeran – “Thinking Out Loud”

Taylor Swift ft. Kendrick Lamar – “Bad Blood”

Mark Ronson ft. Bruno Mars – “Uptown Funk”

Kendrick Lamar – “Alright”

The complete list of the rest of the 2015 nominees is below:

BEST MALE VIDEO

Ed Sheeran – “Thinking Out Loud”

Mark Ronson ft. Bruno Mars – “Uptown Funk”

Kendrick Lamar – “Alright”

The Weeknd – “Earned It”

Nick Jonas – “Chains”

 

BEST FEMALE VIDEO

Beyoncé – “7/11”

Taylor Swift – “Blank Space”

Nicki Minaj – “Anaconda”

Sia – “Elastic Heart”

Ellie Goulding – “Love Me Like You Do”

 

BEST HIP HOP VIDEO

Fetty Wap – “Trap Queen”

Nicki Minaj – “Anaconda”

Kendrick Lamar – “Alright”

Wiz Khalifa ft. Charlie Puth – “See You Again”

Big Sean ft. E-40 – “IDFWU”

 

BEST POP VIDEO

Beyoncé – “7/11”

Ed Sheeran – “Thinking Out Loud”

Taylor Swift – “Blank Space”

Mark Ronson ft. Bruno Mars – “Uptown Funk”

Maroon 5 – “Sugar”

 

BEST ROCK VIDEO

Hozier – “Take Me To Church”

Fall Out Boy – “Uma Thurman”

Florence + the Machine – “Ship To Wreck”

Walk the Moon – “Shut Up and Dance”

Arctic Monkeys – “Why’d You Only Call Me When You’re High?”

 

ARTIST TO WATCH presented by Taco Bell®

Fetty Wap – “Trap Queen”

Vance Joy – “Riptide”

George Ezra – “Budapest”

James Bay – “Hold Back The River”

FKA Twigs – “Pendulum”

 

BEST COLLABORATION

Taylor Swift ft. Kendrick Lamar – “Bad Blood”

Mark Ronson ft. Bruno Mars – “Uptown Funk”

Wiz Khalifa ft. Charlie Puth – “See You Again”

Ariana Grande & The Weeknd – “Love Me Harder”

Jessie J, Ariana Grande, Nicki Minaj – “Bang Bang”

 

VIDEO WITH A SOCIAL MESSAGE

Jennifer Hudson – “I Still Love You”

Colbie Caillat – “Try”

Big Sean ft. Kanye West and John Legend – “One Man Can Change the World”

Rihanna – “American Oxygen”

Wale – “The White Shoes”

PROFESSIONAL CATEGORIES

 

BEST ART DIRECTION

Taylor Swift ft. Kendrick Lamar – “Bad Blood” (Charles Infante)

Snoop Dogg – “So Many Pros” (Jason Fijal)

Jack White – “Would You Fight For My Love” (Jeff Peterson)

The Chemical Brothers – “Go” (Michel Gondry)

Skrillex & Diplo – “Where Are U Now” with Justin Bieber (Brewer)

 

BEST CHOREOGRAPHY

Beyoncé – “7/11” (Beyoncé, Chris Grant, Additional choreography: Gabriel Valenciano)

OK Go – “I Won’t Let You Down” (OK Go, air:man and Mori Harano)

Chet Faker – “Gold” (Ryan Heffington)

Ed Sheeran – “Don’t” (Nappy Tabs)

Flying Lotus ft. Kendrick Lamar – “Never Catch Me” (Keone and Mari Madrid)

 

BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY

Flying Lotus ft. Kendrick Lamar – “Never Catch Me” (Larkin Sieple)

Ed Sheeran – “Thinking Out Loud” (Daniel Pearl)

Taylor Swift ft. Kendrick Lamar – “Bad Blood” (Christopher Probst)

FKA Twigs – “Two Weeks” (Justin Brown)

Alt-J – “Left Hand Free” (Mike Simpson)

BEST DIRECTION

Taylor Swift ft. Kendrick Lamar – “Bad Blood” (Joseph Kahn)

Mark Ronson ft. Bruno Mars – “Uptown Funk” (Bruno Mars & Cameron Duddy)

Kendrick Lamar – “Alright” (Colin Tilley & The Little Homies)

Hozier – “Take Me To Church” (Brendan Canty and Conal Thomson of Feel Good Lost)

Childish Gambino – “Sober” (Hiro Murai)

 

BEST EDITING

Beyoncé – “7/11” (Beyoncé, Ed Burke, Jonathan Wing)

Ed Sheeran – “Don’t” (Jacquelyn London)

Taylor Swift ft. Kendrick Lamar – “Bad Blood” (Chancler Haynes at Cosmo Street)

A$AP Rocky – “L$D” (Dexter Navy)

Skrillex & Diplo – “Where Are U Now” with Justin Bieber (Brewer)

 

BEST VISUAL EFFECTS

Taylor Swift ft. Kendrick Lamar – “Bad Blood” (Ingenuity Studios)

FKA Twigs – “Two Weeks” (Gloria FX, Tomash Kuzmytskyi, and Max Chyzhevskyy)

Childish Gambino – “Telegraph Ave.” (Gloria FX)

Skrillex & Diplo – “Where Are U Now” with Justin Bieber (Brewer)

Tyler, The Creator – “F****** Young/Death Camp” (Gloria FX)

Show us your Very Austin Weddings!

Food trucks are popular for wedding receptions. Andrew Chan for REAL Magazine
Food trucks are popular for wedding receptions. Andrew Chan for REAL Magazine

Weddings have been high in the headlines this wedding season, especially since the U.S. Supreme Court legalized same-sex marriage – touching off a flurry of weddings between Texans who had been waiting for the opportunity and a flurry of businesses and organizations offering to perform weddings for free in the wake of the landmark ruling.

As Austin and Texas see a mini-wedding boom (313 marriage licenses were issued by Travis County in just the day of the Supreme Court ruling, compared with 17 the day before), we want to see your photos of Very Austin Weddings!

Did your bridal party tromp down the aisle in boots from Allens Boots on South Congress? Did you have a food truck cater, and a pedicab as a getaway car? Did some of Austin’s favorite buildings or attractions serve as your venue?

Bridal trends. Capital Pedicab driver Brendan Smith holds the umbrella over our bride and groom, Meredith and Shane. Andrew Chan for REAL Magazine
Bridal trends. Capital Pedicab driver Brendan Smith holds the umbrella over our bride and groom, Meredith and Shane. Andrew Chan for REAL Magazine

We want to hear your stories and see your photos of Very Austin Weddings!

We’ll be pulling all our favorite photos into a photo gallery, and may run some in print in Austin360! You can share by emailing readerphotos@statesman.com with the subject “Very Austin Weddings,” or by tweeting or instagramming @Austin360 with the hashtag #VeryAustinWeddings.

 

2016 presidential campaign swag-off swings into gear

Gone are the mundane days of campaign buttons, lawn signs and bumper stickers; enter an anything-is-sellable campaign merchandising world boosted by DIY Etsy mavens and huge campaign budgets.

In wake of the results from July’s campaign finance reports, we’re taking a look at the best swag the 2016 presidential campaign field has to offer so far.

From shop.hillaryclinton.com

All the world really needs from Hillary Clinton’s campaign store is the “Everyday Panstsuit Tee,” but the overeager merchandisers behind Shop.HillaryClinton.com went above and beyond with an H-engraved spatula and a “Chillary Clinton Koozie.”

Screenshot taken from shop.hillaryclinton.com
Screenshot taken from shop.hillaryclinton.com

From store.TedCruz.org

Ted Cruz’s campaign store stays strictly within the realm of baseball caps, polos and coffee mugs, minus one near-psychedelic poster of the candidate pinching his fingers in front of a raised fist.

Screenshot taken from store.tedcruz.org
Screenshot taken from store.tedcruz.org

From Store.RandPaul.com

You can show your Rand Paul support with a “Hindsight Eyechart” in which “Liberty not Hillary in the 2016 elections hindsight is 20/20” is written like the letters you would see on an eye chart exam. Or if you think the eye chart might be trying too hard, you can buy either an autographed Constitution priced at $1,000 or just a plain old Rand on a stick.

Screenshot grabbed from Store.RandPaul.com

From Store.MarcoRubio.com

One might think Marco Rubio’s campaign store thoroughly uninspired if you didn’t catch his “Marco Polo” special.

From Store.BernieSanders.com

Unlike other candidates’ stores, Bernie Sanders’ store lacks anything priced above $50 and anything beyond a small selection of mugs, t-shirts, signs and stickers. We’re holding out hope that Sanders’ call for people to submit their own “Bernie” designs will bring out something more creative like what there is on Etsy (“Weekend at Bernie” bracelets, “Bern Baby, Bern” prints and a Lego-fied Sanders campaign magnet).

Screenshot taken from Etsy
Screenshot taken from Etsy

From an Etsy search of “Carly Fiorina”

We were unable to find Carly Fiorina’s official campaign store, but if you type in “Carly Fiorina” into Etsy, a Fiorina-emblazoned iPhone case, T-shirt and button come up along with a “Hillary Schmillary” bumper sticker.

Screenshot taken from Etsy
Screenshot taken from Etsy

From an Etsy search of “Ben Carson”

Ben Carson’s merchandising campaign is seemingly nonexistent at this point. An Etsy search returns a few just a few items including a questionably designed print of an inspirational Carson quote.

Screenshot taken from Etsy
Screenshot taken from Etsy

From Store.MickHuckabee.com

The only options Huckabee supporters have is how they want to display “I Like Mike” or #IMWITH HUCK: on a bumpersticker, on a wall decal, on a campaign button or on a yard sign.

Screenshot from Store.MickHuckabee.com
Screenshot from Store.MickHuckabee.com

From Rick.Santorum.com/store

Rick.Santorum.com/store currently returns an error message but a quick Esty search of “Rick Santorum” brings up a number of sweater vests, which Santorum first popularized in 2012.

clinton
Screenshot taken of RickSantorum.com/store

From RickPerry.org

Rick Perry’s official store only has a variety of t-shirts with his baseball team-esque logo. If that doesn’t have you pulling for your wallet, there are also t-shirts making light of Rick Perry’s indictment for sale on his super PAC’s website.

Screenshot taken from rickpac.org
Screenshot taken from rickpac.org

 

From JebBushStore.com

No one product stands out at JebBushStore.com, but you can bet your 2016 vote that the capitalized letters “J-E-B” will be visible from afar on every single thing for sale.

Screenshot taken from JebBushStore.com
Screenshot taken from JebBushStore.com

 

No official campaign stores or Etsy merchandise were found for George Pataki, Lincoln Chafee, Lindsey Graham, Jim Webb, Bobby Jindal or Martin O’Malley.

The only merchandise that could be found for Chris Christie and Donald Trump on Etsy was largely outdated.

Check out MyStatesman for more info on the 2016 candidates.

The weirdest deals from Amazon’s Prime Day

A United Parcel Service driver delivers packages from Amazon.com in Palo Alto, Calif. Amazon aimed for Christmas in July with its much-hyped “Prime Day” sale on Wednesday, July 15, 2015, but some shoppers were disappointed by the offerings. (AP Photo/Paul Sakuma, File)
A United Parcel Service driver delivers packages from Amazon.com in Palo Alto, Calif. Amazon aimed for Christmas in July with its much-hyped “Prime Day” sale on Wednesday, July 15, 2015, but some shoppers were disappointed by the offerings. (AP Photo/Paul Sakuma, File)

Amazon celebrated their 20th anniversary on Wednesday with “Prime Day,” a 24-hour sales event catering to Amazon Prime members.

For $99 a year, Amazon users can sign up for Amazon Prime, a service which offers free 2-day shipping, free video and music streaming and access to the Kindle Owners’ Lending Library. The online retailer proclaimed that they would be celebrating the big two-zero and thanking Prime subscribers by hosting “a global shopping event, with more deals than Black Friday.”

But when July 15 rolled around, Prime Day didn’t wind up delivering.

Many of the deals being offered to Prime members were just…weird. From discount ham to industrial-sized barrels of personal lubricant, we rounded up a few of the strangest online steals below:

https://twitter.com/DCBALTICH/status/621378797405761536

https://twitter.com/Kat217_/status/621222502900080640

https://twitter.com/theneener/status/621216851205316608

https://twitter.com/shave_my_lemon/status/621462914533232640

Despite the online disappointment directed at Prime Day, Amazon called the event a success. Greg Greeley, Amazon Prime Vice President said they retailer will “definitely be doing this again.”

It’s official: MAC Cosmetics to release Selena Quintanilla collection

Here’s news sure to make fans of the Queen of Tejano music fall in love. The cosmetics company MAC announced today the legendary Selena will be represented in new collection.

According to the singer’s official Facebook page, the line is due out in the second half of 2016.

FILE - In this Feb. 27, 1993, file photo, Selena performs at the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo inside the Astrodome in Houston. Twenty years after Selena's murder, the Latin world will remember "The Queen of Tejano" with concerts, lookalike contests, dances and a massive festival. But her father has mixed feelings about the celebrations. (AP Photo/Houston Chronicle, Dave Einsel, File)
(AP Photo/Houston Chronicle, Dave Einsel, File)

More than 37,000 supporters signed an online petition on Change.org for the company to release a line inspired by singer. The petition quickly went viral, with media outlets across the country writing about the push to feature the Texas icon in MAC stores.

The company eventually responded, saying “The loyalty and enthusiasm of Selena’s fans are clearly evident and we love this. M·A·C admires the passion and joy Selena brought to the world. She was an amazing person with amazing talent. We consider all types of feedback like this as we plan our collaborations.”

Selena Quintanilla-Perez became a style icon, often seen sporting detailed bustiers, lipstick and long manicured nails. The singer was born in Lake Jackson and grew up in Corpus Christi, where she launched her career as a Tejano music singer. In her short career, she racked up an impressive musical resume that included chart-topping singles, awards, gold records and a Grammy for best Mexican-American album. In 1995, Quintanilla died at 23 after her fan club manager, Yolanda Saldivar, shot and killed her.

Following her death, Selena’s popularity continued to grow through her English-language crossover album and a biopic film that also launched the career of Jennifer Lopez. Earlier this year, the “Fiesta de la Flor” festival was held in Corpus Christi to honor the singer’s legacy with music performances that included her family.

Remember: ‘Magic Mike XXL’ star Amber Heard is one of Austin’s own

Though Zooey Deschanel is the new girl in town, don’t forget that another buzzworthy actress called the capital of Texas home long before: “Magic Mike XXL” actress Amber Heard. The 29-year-old was born in Austin and can currently be seen receiving Channing Tatum’s athletic overtures in the male stripper blockbuster.

Amber Heard poses for photos on the red carpet at the Texas Film Awards at Austin Studios on Thursday, March 6, 2014.   (JAY JANNER / AMERICAN-STATESMAN)
Amber Heard poses for photos on the red carpet at the Texas Film Awards at Austin Studios on Thursday, March 6, 2014. (JAY JANNER / AMERICAN-STATESMAN)

Here are five things to know about Heard:

1) Heard, married to actor Johnny Depp since earlier this year, made headlines Wednesday after she was summoned to appear in Australian court over allegations she smuggled her pet dogs into the country. The couple did not declare their Yorkshire terriers, Boo and Pistol, when entering the country in April, according to Australia’s agriculture department. Addressing the Australian government’s response to the incident, Heard told NBC “I have a feeling we’re going to avoid the land Down Under from now on, just as much as we can, thanks to certain politicians there.”

2) As is befitting an actress with Texas ties, Heard made her film debut in 2004’s “Friday Night Lights.”

3) She was honored by the Texas Film Hall of Fame in 2014, receiving the Rising Star award.

4) According to Tatler, Heard loves guns, muscle cars and line dancing.

5) Heard reportedly shaped much of her “Magic Mike XXL” character’s appearance and personality, including an affinity for red velvet cake, as she explains in the video below:

Zooey Deschanel walks among us in Austin

3/20/2010 - Jay Janner/AMERICAN-STATESMAN -  Zooey Deschanel of She & Him performs at Rachael Ray's party at Stubb's during SXSW on Saturday, March 20, 2010.
Zooey Deschanel of She & Him performs at Rachael Ray’s party at Stubb’s during SXSW on Saturday, March 20, 2010. (Jay Janner/American-Statesman)

Far be it from your friends at Team 360 to pander to the gossip rags — FAR BE IT — but this one bears mention. “New Girl” star, She & Him singer and bangs icon Zooey Deschanel, currently expecting a child, has been spotted around Austin recently alongside fiancé Jacob Pechenik, according to several reports by the Daily Mail.

(She was also spotted by yours truly on a Sunday evening at Justine’s Brasserie in April, and I would like to formally apologize to Ms. Deschanel for loitering so close to the window.)

Pechenik, a film producer, is based in Austin, according to Variety, so it makes sense that Deschanel has popped up in the Live Music Capital so often recently. She joins a roster of illustrious Austin-linked celebs, including Matthew McConaughey, Sandra Bullock and Elijah Wood.

Deschanel is familiar with Austin; she’s stopped by on tour dates with She & Him bandmate M. Ward in the past.

Eleven funny tweets about Pluto

Sure, we’ve all fallen in love with the one-time planet with the great big heart. The stunning photos of the heavenly body sent to Earth during the New Horizons fly-by have prompted everyone from Stephen Hawking to The Dandy Warhols to wax rhapsodic on social media.

But high-profile events bring out the smart-alecks, too. Here are eleven funny Pluto-related tweets we found on Twitter today:

https://twitter.com/briangaar/status/621032637637881856

https://twitter.com/thejoelstein/status/620939633577304064

How big is Texas compared to Pluto?

How big is Texas compared to Pluto?

This July 13, 2015 image provided by NASA shows Pluto, seen from the New Horizons spacecraft. The United States is now the only nation to visit every single planet in the solar system. Pluto was No. 9 in the lineup when New Horizons departed Cape Canaveral, Fla, on Jan. 19, 2006  (NASA via AP)
This July 13, 2015 image provided by NASA shows Pluto, seen from the New Horizons spacecraft. The United States is now the only nation to visit every single planet in the solar system. Pluto was No. 9 in the lineup when New Horizons departed Cape Canaveral, Fla, on Jan. 19, 2006 (NASA via AP)

This was just one of many questions that ran through Texans’ minds when a nine-year, three-billion-mile NASA mission reached its goal this morning when the New Horizons spacecraft made the first close-encounter pass with the former planet.

Here is the answer you’ve been waiting for:

According to the Texas Almanac, the longest straight-line distance between two points in Texas, from the northwest corner of the Panhandle to the southernmost tip on the Rio Grande River below Brownsville, is 801 miles.

Measurements from the probe New Horizons, whose mission marks the farthest distance humanity has ever made, has put Pluto as a wee bit bigger than previous estimates with a diameter of 1,473 miles.

In other words, the dwarf planet is just double the size of the biggest state in the continental United States when it comes to distance across.

But when it comes to surface area, the dwarf planet dwarfs the Lone Star state: With an estimated surface area of 6,427,806 square miles, Pluto could hold almost 24 states the size of Texas.

That’s not bad considering that Pluto is the largest known object in the solar system beyond Neptune.

Way to go, Texas.

Now that you have the hard data, here is a rough estimate of Texas versus Pluto, Texas versus Pluto’s largest moon Ceres and Texas versus the moon:

http://twitter.com/favdata/status/574031846691987456

Related reads: 

» Timeline: Pluto flyby

» Pluto close-up: Spacecraft makes flyby of icy, mystery world

» 5 things to know about NASA’s Pluto flyby