Amazon to buy WFM for Billions

My phone lights up, spitting out various news sources all saying iterations of the same thing. I stare at it blankly. I couldn’t believe it: Amazon, the online giant, bought Whole Foods Market, the hippie grocery stored turned luxury health nut food store, for $13.7 billion. You read that right. Billion.

Now, I have a soft spot for WFM. I’ve lived in Austin for almost 11 years. WFM is the Austin thing, so the loyalty ran extra deep since I was an Austinite working at an Austin staple during the college days (corn is great 4078! #cashierlife).  I was there when the grand news of WFM’s financial success in late 2013 spread throughout the land. I was there when they came out with their first commercial. I was there when the fancy H-E-B location came along and began to make my WFM store a ghost town(ish). I was there when Trader Joe’s came into Austin and slight pangs of worry hit every manager’s face. I was there when the prison labor controversy was running around causing questions. I was there when they put more fruit inside their Berry Chantilly cake (it’s a disappointing three berries and 99% cream now).  I befriended many fellas from various backgrounds–including the friendliest porter you ever met and the wackiest guests–even met celebrities (Jesse James was kind enough to donate $25 to one of our donation drives one year and Meatloaf is super nice despite his large size). Days spent among friends during the lunch break exchanging gifts of books, food and music were the best. I’ve seen the stock plunge and rise and repeat, staying in the $30 range.

Bakery @ WFM Gateway, ATX

I was gone by the time their financials were not rising, their overprice asparagus water caused uproar, the closing of different extra aspects of the company is other regions, the stepping down of co-CEO Walter Robb in November 2016, and the opening of 365, the “lower-priced” store that follows a Trader Joe’s format.

I’ll be honest, I don’t shop there as often as I do now. You can’t go back when you had a 20% discount card for two and a half years. I still follow the news though. I cheer when they hit a high point and feel a slight pain of sadness when they lose (except for the asparagus water incident. That was just a “raise an eyebrow and face palm” moment).

WFM Original Store
I do find the timing a little funny. Texas Monthly just came out with an article called “The Shelf Life of John Mackey“. John Mackey, who is regarded as the “animal spirit” of the company (Robb was the business brains), was interviewed by Tom Foster. Mackey pretty much lashed out at NY hedge fund Jana Partners for trying to buy them out without really telling Mackey. He was starting his book tour for The Whole Foods Diet, his second book, so he considered the move “intentional”. The article is well-thought out and details everything from WFM’s inception to the present day conundrum. Foster even plays out what I call the WFM contradiction: as it got bigger, it became more corporate, less healthy and the core values became more….confusing…Was it a hippie store? Was it a rich people store? Was it a rich hippie store? I’ve seen my fair share of both groups at the store I worked at, so honestly I can’t really tell. I just saw happy folks buying kale salad and kombucha. No need for labels.

Anyway, Amazon. Good on you for allowing WFM to operate under their name. Also, good on your for raising the stock price from $33.06 at 9:30 AM on June 16, 2017 to $42.00 twenty minutes later (I knew I should have bought WFM stock three months ago when it was $29). I hope you can keep the spirit of WFM alive and well. As much as I don’t want the online robots to take over and ruin any chance I have at working at Vogue (print is not dead people!) or open my coffeeshop/bookstore, I guess it’s better than having WFM disappear altogether.

(Read the articles here, here, and here, or just Google)


Texas Monthly’s Top 50 BBQ Joints

It’s here! After months of patiently waiting, the list is finally here! Texas Monthly, the National Magazine of Texas, unveiled it’s “Top 50 BBQ Joints” today as part of the release of their June 2017 issue, aka The BBQ Issue. Theories have been swimming around Texas BBQ joints as well as around the office since forever. For those of you who are Franklin fanatics, you are in for a treat.

(Read the full article at

But wait. There’s more! Yes BBQ lovers and connoisseurs there is indeed more!

Local ATX favorite YETI partnered up with Texas Monthly to create the beautifully designed wormhole of everything Texas BBQ related: the YETI BBQ Passport. This includes short notes from Texas Monthly staff members, including BBQ Editor Daniel Vaughn and everyone’s favorite Texan, the Texanist (aka David Courtney). There’s wonderfully created map and challenges brought to you by YETI to complete for your chance to win YETI prizes (coolers and mugs and hats oh my!). You can grab a passport by buying the June 2017 TM issue at your local bookstore or grocery store, visiting one of the Top 50 BBQ joints on the list, or, for any of you Austinites, at the YETI Flagship store in Austin.

(Don’t have access to a print copy of the mag or passport? Click here to get your own passport:

Also, don’t forget to check out the stories in this month’s issue. There’s an inspiring personal essay from John Nova Lomax about his son joining the US Army (“The Green Machines”), an interesting story on Dallas Police Chief Brown during the moments of the Dallas shooting (“The Empathy of David Brown” by Michael J. Mooney), and a story on a hippie Catholic Church in Southeast Austin. Yes, you read that right, hippie Catholic Church. I’m talking a priest who has a hubby, women being ordained and the awesome feeling of being truly all-inclusive (“Critical Mass” by Robyn Ross).

If you need me, I’ll be in my car driving all the way Lexington, Texas for some amazing ass BBQ (hint hint cough cough :D).

Share and comment below your experiences with these BBQ Joints and don’t forget to follow Texas Monthly on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram!

Texas Monthly Unveils Refreshed Website

Texas Monthly, the National Magazine of Texas since 1973, went live yesterday with their refreshed website in conjunction with the release of their May 2017 issue “The Edge.”

Texas Monthly is cool. It’s always been cool with its riveting stories and love for BBQ. Since the change in ownership from Emmis Publishing to Genesis Park in November 2016, there have been a whirlwind of changes going on in the Austin-based magazine. New leadership, new mergers between the creative and business sides of the company, new events, and expansion beyond the politics and BBQ stories.

(Read “New Texas Monthly Owner will be ‘Hands On’ in Managing the Magazine“)

I am a traditionalist and actually read physical magazines, so it would be every once in a while that I would actually sit down on at a computer and actually type (yes, I know there is a bookmarks button. I prefer hearing the sounds of typing). The website was always easy to navigate but this new look is much more streamlined. The way the stories are organized reminds me a bit of a Pinterest board in the sense they are not stacked perfectly vertically nor perfectly horizontally.

There is a nice balance between politics and lifestyle. TM was recently under fire by CJR for “[pulling] back from the kind of longform and political coverage that gave the title a national profile to focus instead on lifestyle coverage, website enhancements, and a live-events business.” Aghhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh…that hurts my heart by the amount of BS conjecture in that statement. Sure, TM refreshed their website. Yes they are planning more diverse events. But they are not, absolutely not, dropping longform and ditching political coverage. CJR, have you not read the Power issue (February 2017)? Have you not seen the April issue’s stories by Michael Hall and Skip Hollandworth? Have you not read the May issue? Obviously not. Le sigh. I digress.

(Read Editor-in-Chief Tim Taliaferro’s letter to readers in response to the CJR article here.)

I love love loveeeeeeeeee the archives section. Each issue is represented by its cover. It’s a never-ending gallery of every cover of TM since day 1. I’m a history nerd and an art nerd so the fact they have a 44 year archive of covers, features, and columns is a delightful wormhole for me. I lost my January 1985 copy a few weeks back so I’m happy to know I can easily access the Peter Applebome story, “Between Two Worlds”, while having the oh-so-entertaining “Cuban Revolution” story by one TM legend Skip Hollandsworth on a separate tab.

(Read Peter Applebome’s “Between Two Worlds” on Jake Harmon, son of a powerful Dallas oil family, and his struggle to find the balance between new world 1980s and old money.)

(Read Skip Hollandsworth’s adventure in trying to get Mark Cuban to admit if he will run in 2020 in “Cuban Revolution“. If you are a business school student then you will find Cuban’s rise to power quite inspiring.)

If there is one grievance I should make, as everything is not perfect but in the pursuit of perfection, it would be the TMBBQ website. Again, I am a history nerd. I like to know past events and create hypothesis  and theories for future events. Please update your Events calendar TMBBQ. I know you had the TMBBQ Fest 2016 the last weekend of October 2016. It’s not listed. I would recommend updating that calendar. You can even provide a link to a gallery of photos and reviews of the events from the TM staff, sponsors, media, and attendees. Free idea Texas Monthly.

All in all, I am excited to see what TM has planned for the future. I wish them much success and recommend that you get their May 2017 issue, “The Edge”, at your local Texas grocery stores. Not in Texas? Then head on over to their website! That’s