Tuesday, April 28, 2009

A Woman's Work in Rice Village

Found yourself in the family way? Unsure what the heck to do next? Already had your baby and have no clue what all this "latching on" or "Dr. Brown" business is about?

I think if you are pregnant or have already given birth to your lifelong mystery, then you need to high tail it on over to A Woman's Work in Rice Village. Quick like. I swear on my life after I went to this awesome place to buy a gift I could have breast fed if I wanted to. The ladies there are geniuses, especially with breast feeding. In my opinion, any woman who is breast feeding is miserable and lactation-challenged. I have yet to meet one who hasn't told me the insane obstacles involved with the football hold, latching, baby falling asleep mid feed, mom falling asleep mid-feed, it goes on and on. Not to mention, it does not look like the most luxurious activity.

The services this facility provides are incredible. Not to mention all the absolutely ridiculously adorable gifts, clothing, toys, etc. that are available for purchase. You can totally get a diaper genie thingy and a nursing bra and a new shirt (for mom and baby) all in one stop. Plus, you can weigh your baby weekly. Seriously, better than hospital services.

One time I was there to buy my usual gift (a "Got Milk?" onesie), when I heard one of the Board Certified Lactation Specialists on the phone. It was truly incredible. She was so kind, so patient and so understanding of the poor woman on the other end of the phone line. Yes, in case you didn't read that, they have Board Certified Lactation Specialists on staff. You can make an appointment to come in and have a breast pump set up for you (they will also teach you how to use it), you can buy a breast pump, rent one (ew), make an appointment for a Lactation Specialist to come to your home and assist you with breast feeding obstacles, come into the store and get custom fitted for a nursing bra and they even provide personal assistance for purchasing nursing supplies and clothing.

Workshops and support groups are just another awesome facet of this company. From child birthing workshops to CPR and First Aid classes, they have it covered. Also, based on my conversations with many new moms, I think a support group would be amazing for those who have just given birth. Especially first-time moms. How scary is it to go from no kids to screaming baby in the matter of a day? How great would it be to discuss your stresses, postpartum issues, get ideas and learn new techniques from other moms who are just like you? Heck, I might join to see if they have any thoughts on how to re-potty train FiFi (my cat).

A Woman's Work is unlike any other maternity/baby store. They not only have a faboo storefront, but if you are bedridden, which unfortunately many mom's-to-be are, you can shop online. I love online shopping! Their products and services help mom's-to-be and mom's-who-already-be, with a range of items from maternity all the way to infancy. The clothing is so adorable that I want to buy it just to come home and snuggle it. What I think is most important and so unique about this store is that they take parenting and childcare very seriously. So, you know that the products you purchase have been painstakingly researched and are only offered if they are truly a benefit to you and your child. Items aren't displayed or carried just because a rep for a big company came in and "sold" the owner on carrying a product. How wonderful to know that in one of the most scary times of your life there is a place you can go for comfort outside of your home? A place with caring and understanding women who really do want what is best for you and baby. I like that. :)

Some of the items sold at A Woman's Work:

***all images in this post courtesy of A Woman's Work website***

A Woman's Work
2401 Rice Blvd.
Houston, TX 77005
(713) 524-3700

Monday, April 27, 2009

I "Nidda" some Thai food.....

***Logo courtesy of Nidda Thai website***

So, I love Thai food. I love everything about it. I love saying the word "Thai", I love the sauces, I love the noodles, vegetables and the way the smell permeates throughout an entire house when you bring it home.  Even more, I love Thai food that is inexpensive and from a little hole in the wall restaurant that not many people know about so I can go whenever I want without having to deal with a huge crowd.

Nidda Thai on Westheimer is just the place for me. Introduced to me by my beautiful friend, Angela (seriously-she is sick gorgeous), Nidda has become my newest love and obsession. I think about it all the time, dream about it, heck I'm about to write a love letter to Nidda. I guess you could consider this post my love letter to my newest crush.

When I sat down to eat at this joyous location, I instantly knew that we had a connection. The smell, the clean tablecloth, the clean plate, the clean forks. I was so psyched. Then, came the spring rolls. Holy Heaven have mercy these were delicious. Wrapped to perfection in rice paper and complimented with a sublime peanut sauce, I almost cried. It was so dang good. I chased my spring roll down with a Nidda Veggie plate. Now, this is one of the milder dishes. Even so, the flavor was amazing, the vegetables were cooked until just on the cusp of crispy and the sauce flowed lovingly down my steamed rice and enveloped my plate in a Thai-herb ecstasy. Wow. Wow. Wow!!!

Not for the Gastro-intestinally challenged, Nidda Thai is know for their ability to make your dish Thai spicy. I was freezing when I first sat down and later understood why their air conditioner had been set to sub-zero. After a couple of bites, you will be sitting in a pool of your own nasty Thai sweat, so I recommend asking them to take it down a notch if you aren't a spicy person. The dessert was fab (mango-rice pudding) and they had a lovely wine list along with beer selection.

Don't let the location (next door to Erotic Cabaret) keep you from coming here. You will be missing out on one of the most authentic and delicious Thai meals of your life if you let a little "naughty store" next door keep you away.

Lookie, Lookie:

***Image courtesy of nextstop.com***

Don't hesitate!! Go there today and get your sweat on!!!

Nidda Thai Cuisine
1226 Westheimer
Houston, TX 77006
(713) 522-8895

Friday, April 24, 2009

Mani, Pedi and a Cosmo

I'm so excited about today's post. I've been dying to go to this little place called Bliss Nail Spa on Shepherd near Washington. Not to be confused with the well-known Bliss Spa in New York, this place was an amazing delight. I'm so used to going to salons and day spa's where I have to bring in a list of topics to discuss because I know the technician is going to talk my ear off when really, all I am there to do is relax. Now, I don't mean to offend any technicians because they are all incredibly sweet, but when you are rubbing my hands and arms with some grainy moisturizing potion, someone else is dipping my feet in hot wax and a chair is massaging my back, the last thing I want to do is talk about what I do for a living, how old I am, why I don't have children, yadi yadi yah. I am there to relax and discussing my everyday life doesn't let me do so. Capiche?

This is one of the many reasons I love Bliss Nail Spa. Seriously, how shocked was I when I realized I was the one blabbering and the nice ladies who were doing my mani/pedi were just thoughtfully listening and probably thinking "would you shut up?". Cindy, my manicurist and Jennifer, my pedicurist are two of the nicest and best technicians a gal could ask for. Both were sure to use proper sterile technique, made sure I was comfortable at all times and I swear I had to beg both of them to speak to me. I love it! So if I want to just sit there and cry, sleep, complain about my day, bemoan my fate, whatever, I can do it.

The ambiance of this place is great. Such an adorable and hip place. When you walk in you are greeted by the sweetest and cutest girl in the entire world and then you realize that you are in a little section of heaven. There is a beauty bar with an adorable display of snacks where you can just run up and get a quick manicure or fix a chipped nail, etc. (no extras like paraphin). Also, as soon as you come in a nice man asks you what he can get you to drink. A glass of wine? Cocktail? Water? Coffee? Soda? May I heat up the coffee you already have in your hand? Unbelievable. I'm not gonna lie. I imbibed. It was one of the best Cosmopolitans I've ever had. Dear God it was good. It was past noon, so it was cool and everything.

I tried not to make it obvious that I was eying the sweet display of treats on the beauty bar because, Lord knows, that is the LAST thing I need. Once my eyes were able to engage something other than food, I realized I was standing amidst a full-service salon. This wasn't just a nail salon. They had some awesome skin-care products that were for sale, adorable purses, toe rings, nail art, etc. and some great bath products, too. I might have bought some. Ok, I might have bought a lot.

Bliss Nail Spa also offers services for men, a cute little package for girls 10 and under and the best-they have a private room that you can book with your best girlfriend so you can gossip and not worry about bothering other patrons (much like I did today). Oh, and before I forget, they also have waxing services, Thai massages, lash extensions, facials and even makeup. I really hope you try this place. It is so adorable and if you are tired of the typical salon/spa this is the place for you!!

Here are some pics of this fabulous place:

***All images courtesy of Bliss Nail Spa's website***

Bliss Nail Spa
701 Shepherd Dr. #100
Houston, TX 77007
(713) 864-8787

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Good Idea. Thanks, Weekends At BARC!

I thought today would be a great day to discuss a good idea. Sounds like a great idea, doesn't it?

I'd like to discuss animals. How many of you love dogs and cats and want them or already have them in your life? I know I do (to both). One of the best things you can do for both yourself and this city is adopt a dog, cat, whatever animal you choose from a shelter. In addition, an overcrowded shelter where animals are under terrible duress and could use a loving home would be a much better idea.

Ever heard of BARC? It is the City of Houston's Bureau of Animal Regulation Control. And, it's horrible, for lack of a better term. The conditions the animals are living in I wouldn't even wish on my most hated enemy. The intake at this facility is so overwhelming with little adoption (output). Partly because until my two good friends, James Oxford and Lance Marshall got involved, the sanitation was poor, the animals were dirty, unfed, couped up and not looking like the most desirable creatures. Especially for someone looking for a new family pet.

Weekends at BARC, which was started by James Oxford and Lance Marshall is a volunteer group that has come together to work with BARC. Not shut it down, discourage current employees or go on a BARC-bashing frenzy. What they have done is eased themselves into the system and used encouragement, volunteers and love to help slowly make change at this facility. If you have ever visited BARC in the past and swore you would never go back, try it again. I think you'll see a huge difference. Weekends at BARC is also a great idea for a way to give back to all those little loved ones who don't have a home, but still need love. I'll never forget when my friend Lance said "Sometimes when I get there to walk these animals, I feel like I can see it in their eyes that they have been waiting and hoping I would come. They have nothing else to look forward to.". That still makes me cry. So, if you were ever put off by the red-tape involved with an adoption at BARC or the facility itself, please go by there and have another look. And, if you are so inclined, give another animal a shot at life. They deserve some happiness, too.

Volunteer opportunities are also available and you can contact me at anytime and I will put you in touch with James.

Weekends at BARC facebook page and website

Some of the adorable and adoptable animals:

***Images courtesy of HAPI***

Speaking of adopting incredibly sweet animals, I feel I simply must show you what you are missing. A friend of mine has a dog that she adopted from a shelter (saved, in other words) and I AM IN LOVE with this dog. His name is Cole and he is the sweetest, happiest, most loving, big teddy bear I have ever seen in my life. They have a two year old little girl and he treats her so gently. He is also so sweet to the two cats (which they also saved!). Once I saw him walk up to Bill, the cat, and just give him a few sweet little kisses (licks). So darned adorable. I dream about owning a dog like this. He is perfection:

***Images taken from my cell phone, so quality is poor***

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Rain, rain go away...

Well, since it is so nasty outside. How bout we saddle up and get ready for some links of the week? The first is for my beautiful friend, Angela, with her fantastic hand-cuff earrings. I've told her about my ghetto-fabulous nameplate earrings (ala, Carrie on Sex And The City) and I always get compliments on these babies:

Aren't those fly? Shop Intuition is so sweet. I love this place (site). Whenever I'm reading my US magazine and I see all the young ladies on the Hollywood scene strollin' out of this joint with something uber-cool, I hop onto this site asap. Let's just keep in mind when you all leave here immediately to copy my nameplates, that I'm so ultra-hip that I bought them 3 years ago and they have since been a little re-designed. But, they are still available. You can also pick up some shoes, handbags, clothing, scarves, you name it, Shop Intuition has it! You can even shop by celebrity, trend or category. How cool is that?

Now here's a little sumthin' for the fellas. Soft Surroundings has some of the best bedding and bath products a girl could ask for. Ok, so maybe this isn't exactly for the fellas. But if your man loves you and wants you to be comfortable and happy and surrounded in luxury, then this is a great place for him to start. They have some of the most feminine and pretty bedding ensembles ever; as well as soft, luxurious robes, jammies and slippers. This totally makes me want to jump into bed and NEVER get out:

***Image courtesy of Soft Surroundings website***

And did you know that they have also added more to their beauty section? They now carry the Ojon hair care line, Paula Dorf and Becca Cosmetics and MD Perricone skin care line. This is quite an upgrade from my last visit when there was no beauty section AT ALL.

Moving on. I love to shop online. I don't have to get dressed, I don't get buyer's remorse for at least a week because I have to wait for shipping and by that time I've moved on, and best of all, I don't have to go out in this God-forsaken weather.

For my incredibly hip clothing needs, I go to somewhere very, very special. Yoox.com is pure genius. I can get designer clothes without having to take out a home equity loan. They have designer duds for men and women so your honey has no excuse for lookin' like a hot mess when going out for a night on the town. The measurements are very accurate and should you buy something that is less than flattering (designer clothes less than flattering, pffftt!!), the return process is a breeze and they credit you immediately. You can even buy designers like Manish Arora who is not available in the states. I need these RIGHT NOW:

***Stella McCartney Shoe image courtesy of Yoox website***

***Givenchy Ankle Boot image courtesy of Yoox website***

What I really love about Yoox.com is all the different search options. They make it so easy to narrow down your search to your size, color and you can even filter buy dollar amount. Go there now, before I buy it out.

Friday, April 17, 2009

The Mucky Duck

I was first introduced to this hole in the wall when I worked at a previous job. What a pleasant surprise! On the outside, The Mucky Ducky looks like a dirty, musty, abandoned little shack on Norfolk. But, it turns out that it is a fun-filled, half-way clean good time! This little Irish pub is such a great place to knock back a few after a long day of work. It's wonderful for happy hour or for an entire night out. I love the fact that a musician is featured daily and that the food isn't horrible. The drinks are not ridiculously expensive and the atmosphere is so cozy.

If you like to watch live music and hear local musicians, this is a great place. The acoustics are decent (unless you want to have a heart to heart conversation), the decor is charming and the waiters/waitresses/bartenders are as nice as can be!

If this sounds like your kind of place, but you prefer being outdoors and being able to hold a conversation, they have an adorable little sitting area in the back. I will say, the parking situation is pretty bad. So, your best bet might be to claim your spot in the morning and then cruise the city via Metro the rest of the day. Ok, totally kidding, it isn't New York, it's Houston. The only thing scarier than riding a city bus in Houston is missing out on a night at The Mucky Duck because you opted to go to Vintage down the street.....

Mucky Duck
2425 Norfolk
Houston, TX 77098
(713) 528-5999

***Logo courtesy of Mucky Duck website***

This is nifty...

I was driving back from Sephora and passed a place that proved to be a most genius concept. It is a wine storage facility (I know they are everywhere), but this one is special. At least it is in my opinion. Nos Caves Vin in West University, on Wroxton, is a very interesting concept, indeed. Not only is a sweet off-site storage facility for your finest of the winest, it is also a fab palace filled to the brim with pretty people and fantastic architectural design amongst which you can taste your vino.

You can also join Nos Caves Vin's exclusive wine club, Lagniappe. This is a pretty sweet deal as well. You have access to wine tasting, sommeliers, "wine trips and excursions to hard-to-access vineyards and wine properties", and you can get advice from the wine staff so you don't look like a novice when you go on a date and order a bottle. The advantages are endless! If you are something real special (Platinum), you get your monthly wine placed in your temperature controlled-locker by the staff so you don't have to come in and waste the whole 5 minutes it would take you to do it yourself.

Here is the info:
Nos Caves Vin
2501 Wroxton Rd.
Houston, TX 77005

In order to get a membership here, you have to fill out an application form and then someone will contact you regarding availability. Enjoy!

***all images courtesy of Nos Caves Vin's website***

Thursday, April 16, 2009

I think this is cool....

For those who are rebuilding or renovating a historic home, or any home for that matter, this place is phenomenal. Especially if you tend to lean towards arts and crafts style and materials from old bungalow and cottage style homes. All around our city we have so many historic homes that are run-down or uninhabitable, but they still have some parts that can be salvaged and re-used. But, the cost to completely save the home would be so high, that they are usually torn down or sit there rotting while condemned.

Historic Houston is fantastic for a variety of reasons. They have a main mission: preservation of these abandoned homes and revitalization of the community. They do this through a couple of ways. The most advantageous to the home and the ability to restore its historical significance is their Relocation Program. Here is a snippet of information from their website regarding relocation/preservation:

"Our relocation program is designed to return historic homes once slated for demolition into affordable housing for Houston. Through collaboration with neighborhood associations, community and faith-based organizations, city housing departments and private individuals this program offers an economically sound solution for preserving these homes and a wonderful tool for neighborhood revitalization and community development."

I think that is so great. What a wonderful way to save a beautiful piece of our past. With so much of the history this great city has to offer going down the tubes via construction, this is a fantabulous idea.

The second portion of their program is what you, my reader, might find interesting. Their are some homes that simply cannot be relocated. For this reason, the salvage warehouse was created. This is a wholesale warehouse that you can go to and purchase some historical pieces of homes and incorporate into the building/renovating/even decorating of your own home. It is best to make an appointment, as walk-ins cannot be accommodated, but if you want to just swing by during their weekly warehouse hours to take a look-see, you can do so.

I think this is such a genius idea. What a great way to recycle and build. Here is their excerpt regarding salvage versus relocation:

"Only in cases where relocation of the house is not feasible will Historic Houston consider salvage of the historic building materials for our Salvage Program. With an estimated 75 TONS of building materials going into landfills as result of demolition each year, Historic Houston is committed to salvaging and recycling historic building materials as an economical and environmentally sound alternative for restoring older houses while protecting the environment."

So, for all of you who are going green, this is a fantastic way to use recyclable materials, reduce the tonnage of waste in landfills and have a great story behind your home. How can you go wrong?

If you are cool enough and are able to restore and preserve a home, you can apply for a Houston Historic Landmark Preservation Plaque. All of your friends will be jealous. Also, if you purchase a Houston Historic membership (like, $35) you can receive tons of discounts at the warehouse. How sweet is that? I love a good bargain.

Here are some gallery pics of the warehouse:

***all pics on this post including header are courtesy of Historic Houston***



***I would totally use these as hooks or in a shadow box frame***

Window Frames-


Fireplace Mantle-

You can get the contact information Here. They have different locations for salvage, warehouse, membership, etc. You don't have to be a dealer or a member to shop there, but remember, it is in your best interest to make an appointment if you are serious about actual building needs. Otherwise, it will be difficult for them to accommodate.

Location of Salvage Warehouse and hours:

Salvage Warehouse

1307 W. Clay Street
Houston, TX 77019
(713) 522-0540
Wednesday & Saturday
10:00am - 4:00pm

*or by scheduled appointment

Go and shop brilliant consumers!! Report back with your purchases!!!

Medium-Well. No, rare. NO! Make that RAW!!!

I love sushi. I would eat it for breakfast lunch and dinner if I could.

Blue Fish House on Richmond Ave., between Greenbriar and Kirby is so darn good. This little boutique restaurant will knock your fins off. Ok, that was too far. But, seriously, you have not had the perfect tekka-don, tiger roll, california roll, sashimi, or whatever until you've eaten here. The cuts of meat are quite possibly the best. They are melt in your mouth, non-chewy, non-gritty perfection. And, if you order one of those fancy concoctions with a saucy topping, you will cry, just a little.

I love Blue Fish House not only because the food rocks, but because the atmosphere is so laid back. You'll see anything from a couple on their first date in their finest duds, to someone like me with sweats and flip-flops and hair in a bun (and sunglasses, of course). I do have to say, the seating is quite limited and the hours are kind of funky; even so, it is worth it. Try one of their House Specials and tell me you don't love it. I get the Mango/Tuna deal all the time. Also, they have this crab meat topped roll that will kick you up a notch in your dress size, but just eat a salad the next day and you're good to go.

They have a whole menu dedicated to the people who thumb their noses at uncooked food.

Go today and order up. Tell me how much you love it and thank me later with some presents.

Blue Fish House
2241 Richmond Ave.
(713) 529-3100

Lunch M-F

Dinner M-F

Closed Sundays

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

I'd like the most obscure plant you can get me, please.

Have you ever been driving around a neighborhood and just been completely blown away by the landscaping? Or, gone over to your friend's house and seen some of the most gorgeous flowers, plants, trees or shrubs and then run over to Home Depot or the Houston Garden Center to get it only to find 10 aisles of azaleas? Well, this has happened to me. Plenty of times. Probably because I don't put much thought into how much a beautiful garden, plant or flower could actually brighten up my life.

Now, we have plenty of fantastic places here in Houston to go and buy some gorgeous greenery. Teas, Smith and Hawken, Buchanan's, but none of them even remotely compare to the service and quality of Thompson and Hanson.

Located on W. Alabama, this landscape architecture firm, nursery, retail interior decor shop, and cafe is one of my favorite places to meander through on the weekends. If I was to completely re-do a yard, I would use these people. Costly, yes, but absolutely worth it. Their entire team of landscape architects and design professionals can customize your home to be a beautiful oasis reminiscent of the Caribbean, Asia, or the jungles in Africa. Whatever you desire, it can be done.

Most importantly, if you don't have the dough (or a husband who will shell out that kind of dough) to completely re-configure your landscaping needs, you can just go by the awesome nursery and pick up a plant or flower or anything that resembles something that would go in the ground or in a pot, vase, etc. Get my drift? What I'm saying is this place has all the typical stuff plus all the hard to find things you never even dreamed you needed. If they don't, they will get it for you.

The layout of the nursery is so serene and you want to pitch a tent right there amongst the Wisteria or the Passion Fruit. Yes, I said Passion Fruit. I know they have these because I witnessed my sister purchasing one while I freaked out about the caterpillars on it (it's supposed to have caterpillars on it, ew).

Anyway, if you feel you might end up there for the whole day (not uncommon), you can grab some coffee and treats at their cafe. Perhaps if they are kind enough, they'll let you take a quick power-nap on some of the furniture they carry in the design store. Seriously, need I say more? This place is so beautiful that they should open it up for events. Oh, wait, they do! If you go to their website and click on events, you can get a glimpse of all the exciting things they have coming up on their calendar. Shoot, I'll even provide you with a link to their site:

Thompson And Hanson

Thompson and Hanson is also notorious for being incredibly helpful. With the well trained and ridiculously kind staff on hand to help you, it isn't embarrassing when you go in and ask, "Ummm, what is a perinneal?" They totally help you if you are botanically challenged, like myself.

Here are some pics of plants, nursery and store. Followed by location and hours. Please report back to me and tell me how much you love this place!!!

Plants/Nursery Pics:

Pics from inside the design store, this is an interior designer's dream:

***All imgages courtesy of Cote De Texas Blog-awesome blog!!!***

No pics of cafe or massive nursery/warehouse, you have to go yourself!!

Thompson And Hanson business locations and information:

3600 West Alabama
Houston, Texas 77027

Everyday 9 AM - 5 PM
tel: 713.622.6973
fax: 713.622.8083
email: nursery@thompsonhanson.com

By appointment only
M-F 8 AM - 4 PM
tel: 713.622.0602
fax: 713.622.8083
email: design@thompsonhanson.com

Monday, April 13, 2009

Brookesmith Heights....What a great investment!

Investing in Real Estate can be tricky, but if done correctly, can be the smartest thing you have ever done in your life. With the stock market being as unstable as it is right now and our 401k's trickling down from an ocean of wealth to a puddle of sorrow, we all need to be looking at different options.

If you are old enough, like me, you can remember when the Houston Heights was a sketchy area and people who owned properties there were selling them left and right. Families would sell loved ones estates because the reputation of the Heights was less than stellar. Boy have times changed, haven't they? With a massive revitalization, loads of civic associations and a neighborhood full of residents who genuinely love to watch this area thrive, the Heights has now become as desirable as West University. I can't even count the number of times I have been in the car with a client who said "Man, if only I hadn't sold my grandfather's bungalow over on Harvard". I just shake my head and think, "yep". Know why? Because that bungalow that was sold on Harvard 10 years ago for about $100K is now worth at least $220K in land value alone (depending on location, of course). And, if it has a decent house with good structural sound on it and original windows, floors, etc. Lord help me, you've got a goldmine.

That brings me to a little gem of an area that is a section of the Heights and hugely ignored. Because it is further northeast and on the less desirable side of Main St., Brookesmith is a neighborhood that is largely un-tapped. However, those in the know are starting to realize what is happening and making smart decisions by buying great investment properties. I can see what happened in Heights Proper (Historic Heights, Woodland Heights, Norhill Heights) just beginning to take place in Brookesmith.

Let's look at the numbers, shall we?
If we compare the lot values only (meaning just value of land without house) in Brookesmith from a few years ago to now, the changes are dramatic. Between 01/01/2005-12/31/2006, a 5000 square foot lot would be priced anywhere from $39,900-$105,000. The average selling price of a lot during this time period was about $67,842 with an average cost per square foot of $13.57. Pretty inexpensive, huh?

If you look at the data from 01/01/2008-today based on "sold" listings that were also listed as lot value only, the price has increased dramatically. The average selling price of a 5000 square foot lot in this period of time was $113,705 compared to the previous average of $67,842 and the average cost per square foot increased to $22.74 from a previous average of $14.57. Incredible isn't it? What does this mean to you? Well, the Houston Real Estate Market saw the largest increase in average sales prices per home and number of sales right smack in the middle of 2005-2008. The supposed "decline" started right before the strike of hurricane Ike in 2008. If you look at the data, during a major boom in the industry, when we were seeing 50% increases year over year, the average cost of a lot in Brookesmith was $45,863 less than it is currently. That is an increase of about 68% in the value of those lots. That is crazy amazing.

If you were to buy a lot in Brookesmith today, the cost would be 68% more than it was in '05-'06. However, this neighborhood is still not nearly at it's saturation point. In my OPINION, this is a great area to invest in. Should you move across Main and into Norhill or Woodland Heights, you are looking at paying about $50/sq ft for just the land as opposed to $22.47 for the same size lot in Brookesmith.

Now, let's look at actual homes, not just lots in Brookesmith. If we take the same years (2005-2006) and compare them to current numbers (2008-2009), this is what we end up with: During '05-'06, homes ranged from $37,500-$319,000 for an average cost per square foot of the building (not the lot) at $125.90. Obviously, the lower end of the spectrum were homes that probably needed some work and the higher end were homes built/renovated by the smartypants who had already seen this was a smart community to invest in. The average sales price of homes in '05-'06 was $149,006. How do you think the current listings in this market area compare? The average list price of a home (not lot) in this area is about $270,692 with an average of $141.43 per square foot. That is an 82% increase between what sold 3-4 years ago and what is listed today. How can you not think about investing here? Where else would you get that kind of return on your investment? The stock market? No. Savings account? No. CD's? No.

There are still so many lots with tear-downs, empty lots, homes that could use some tlc and renovated homes-all for sale in Brookesmith. If I was you and was looking to make a smart investment, I'd grab my Realtor (preferably me) and get there asap. Don't worry about some of the area looking a bit drabby. Remember, the Heights didn't look too great 10-15 years ago either. Just think, if you bought a home that was liveable, touched it up and rented it out at cost or a little above, you could have a home paid for (all by renters) in about 30 years. You wouldn't use any of your own money and your retirement will be a free home in a very nice area.

Now, I think that's a great deal.

Contact me if you want to make a smart decision and buy in this area:
Danelle Reed, Realtor
Boulevard Realty

1545 Heights Blvd.
Houston, TX 77008

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Eric Conveys an Emotion

Ooooh, It's Saturday and that means it is time for my link of the week! This week it is all about making sure we let our loved ones, co-workers, friends and enemies in on our innermost thoughts and feelings.

Sometimes I find it really difficult to let people know what my sentiments truly are. I don't always have the words. It's times like this when Eric Conveys An Emotion is really helpful. Not only does it give me a dose of laughter, but should I lack the proper words to explain that I'm feeling a bit Hysterical, I can just email this to everyone who might be affected:

See? Isn't that much easier. Eric makes it so much simpler for me to express myself. For instance, sometimes when I take money out of my man's wallet and he catches me, I'm fairly certain I look like a Deer Caught In The Headlights. But, that is kinda hard to relay to people when I tell them what happened (especially over the phone). And, since lately I seem to have a vocabulary that barely extends beyond a 3rd grade level, it is so nice to be able to just send them this:

And, in those rare cases, I like to rub it in to those less fortunate than me that I Am Better Than You, And I Have More Money.

Yes, Eric gives me all the tools I need to belittle those around me, freak out without actually having to use essential face muscles in the process (which would lead to wrinkles) and basically live my life emotion free. Well, not really emotion free, I just don't have to expend any energy at all while feeling. What a great thing. I guess that might make me somewhat Complacent.

Also, if for some reason, Eric has not conveyed an emotion that is essential to my daily use, I can request one that will be put into a queue for him to fulfill. He is so accommodating. This guy is totally "Kicking A$$ And Taking Names".


I'll see you around the site. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do. Have a wonderful Easter Weekend and I'll meet you back here on Monday!!

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

An in depth look at Target stores in Houston

So, over a long standing relationship between myself and the Target chain of Super Stores, I have had the pleasure of visiting the majority of the locations in and around the area and I truly feel that I might be the expert on which Target will benefit you depending up on the urgency of your situation/needs. As we all know, Target rocks, but I bet you didn't know that some stores are stocked differently than others.

You think the Target GO! designers are the same each month at each location? Oh no, my dear. They are not. For instance, when Alexander McQueen was being featured at some locations, other locations were featuring some young designer I know nothing about. I remember seeing a Paul and Joe top that I loved and neglected to buy at the San Felipe location. I figured I would pick it up at a closer location another day. I got to the Target on Taylor St. and the featured designer is Mathew Williamson, not Paul and Joe. Which is actually totally ok because I love Matthew Williamson. However, I don't have time to shop every Target store in Houston. Seriously, I don't. But I have, so I can go ahead and tell you about them.

To begin, let's just remember that EVERY Target store is a fantastic place to take your fussy children if you need to get them out. I take my nephew to a new one each week and don't even think twice if he has a complete melt-down in the bra and panty section. Know why? Because there are about 1500 other children screaming, crying, freaking out, pooping, yelling, hitting, throwing things. Good times. Actually, I love it because I can go in gross out clothes and let my nephew wig out to his hearts desire while I peruse shoes.

If you need to get some good clothes, the Target on San Felipe and 610 is probably the best. I find they get the largest stock of clothing in and the most options. Also, they get the better designers. Probably because they cater to the River Oaks section.

If accessories are your thing, then you needs to high tail it to Katy to the Target on Fry/I-10 feder. By far the biggest selection of purses, shoes, socks, pantyhose, sunglasses, jewelry, scarves. It is fab. The clothes aren't as great as the inner loop locations, but they will do.

For a the best Starbucks while shopping, the Target on Taylor street off of I-10 is AWESOME. I think they add extra stuff to it because I always leave that place with a bit more than usual. They do have a sweet cosmetics section. And, if you know me, you know I loves me my cosmetics!

If stationary/cards are your thing as well as scrapbooks, then the Target on Eldridge at Westheimer is your location. Wow! This section of this store is stupendous. They also have a great home section. I try to stay away from this store because I run the risk of spending way too much money.

The cleanest bathroom I have ever used in my entire life has been at the Target on 249 in Tomball. Their inventory is acceptable, with the skin care area having a great showing. Lots of stuff in that little area.

And last but not least, the Target in Meyerland Plaza. This particular store is great for seasonal items. An entire end of the store is dedicated to it. I'm always buying candy for Halloween, Christmas decorations, Easter stuff, you name it-at this store.

Oh, and before I forget, the Target in Sugar Land has a sweet selection of gifts/toys for kids. Seriously, I will drive all the way to Sugar Land to make sure that I can find whatever it is that is on my niece/nephew's Christmas lists. It is invariably available at this store.

I hope this guide helped you. There won't be any pics or links or hours, this is just strictly informational. I might actually do two posts today because this one might only be for the ladies.


Monday, April 6, 2009

Sloan Hall

Sloan Hall is a bit too pricey for me in many areas such as jewelry, the cute clothes they feature and shoes, but the over 800 greeting cards they carry are right up my alley. Also, one has been known to spot cool finds like Jonathon Adler vases at this store and beautifully leather bound books that could be displayed so elegantly in someone else's home, other than mine. With a wide range of products, it doesn't really matter what your price range is because you can always find something that will fit your budget. Soaps, perfumes, home scents, home accents, books, purses, jewelry, stationary, trinkets, Prada shoes (OMG!), Puma stuff, you name it-Sloan Hall has it. The free gift wrapping is a huge bonus. I've picked up some of the coolest little gifts there as presents for clients and did I tell you about the card selection? Oh yeah, I think I did. 800 cards! I'm a bit of a card freak.

Right at this moment I am totally lusting after the Lena Wald 14K White Gold and diamond lip necklace because I dig on bling:

(pic courtesy of sloanhall.com)

It's priced at $245, which is actually pretty good considering the quality.

Here is a little peek at the interior of the store from a pic I got off of HoustonCitySearch.com:

(Can you see the wall of cards?)

The images that I have borrowed do not do this store justice, you must go in and see it for yourself. Buy me something while you are there. Thanks.

2620 Westheimer Rd
Houston, TX 77098
(713) 942-0202

Link: Sloan Hall

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Go Fug Yourself blog

Sometimes when I am sitting in my house, reading my In Style, Us, People, Cosmo, Vogue and Allure magazines I get sad. Mostly it is because I'm reading these periodicals in a pair of sweatpants and a ratty old t-shirt with my hair in a bun, glasses on and zero makeup. Oh yeah, and typically eating ice cream. Looking at pictures of Jessica Alba, Blake Lively (Gossip Chick), Penelope Cruz, Salma Hayek and others in their beautiful dresses with flawless makeup and fab bodies does not help my self esteem. At all. But, I still do it. Why? Because I am seriously obsessed with anything and everything that has to do with Hollywood gossip and glamour.

What puts me in a great mood is the website: Go Fug Yourself. Obviously the authors of this site have also done irreparable damage to their self esteems by perusing jillions of gossip websites, magazines and watching entertainment television. I love this site. It reminds me that when a celebrity dares to confront the public world without the help of their stylist, that they look awful too. How great is it to see Halle Berry or Angelina Jolie looking all sorts of jacked up on the red carpet? Or, the always perfect Jennifer Aniston in a not so figure friendly dress? Whenever I feel gnarly and need a pick me up, this site is my first stop. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do. The "fuggers" of the blog (authors) are hilarious and their descriptions of what these people were thinking is what makes this site all the more fabulous. My favorite is when they do a fake conversation between two people who are looking TOTALLY ridiculous on the red carpet.

Here is an example of their fine work:

Fugmerica's Next Fug Model

Not so much, Tyra.

[Photo: PacificCoastNewsOnline.com]

If you wore those pants to one of your own judgings, you'd lecture yourself about how a model has to learn how to dress, so she can walk into the room looking both edgy and unique and like a blank slate; oozing personality but also being bland enough not to offend anyone; understanding that high-waisted cargo-breeches that make it appear you have wet yourself with fear are NEVER okay unless you're doing an ad for Depends. And then you'd make put yourself in the bottom two, because that week's photo shoot did not pertain to Things That Happen To You When You're Five, and you'd proceed to cut yourself for not having any kind of sexy disease -- unless the girl next to you doesn't have one, either, in which case you'd decide to keep yourself on the grounds that incontinence needs a new Beautiful Young Face. Then you'd have yourself on your talk show and get a People cover headlined, "Who You Callin' Urine-Soaked?!?" All of which probably sounds kind of appealing to you. But since we don't want to look at those pants ever again, we'd all prefer it if you went home and changed.

(***pic and paragraph taken from gofugyourself.com***)

Link to the website: Go Fug Yourself

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Speaking of used pants....

So, yesterday I pondered upon the wonders of buying some used clothing while you party. Today, I decided it was time to get serious about the purchasing of other people's trash. Or, some might classify it as thrift store finds or even resale items. Whatever, it's all the same to me. Whether I find a deal on Craigslist, ebay or a garage sale, it is new to me. That is all that matters.....

That brings me to discussing one of my favorite haunts in this ENTIRE city. The Guild Shop Of St. John The Divine on Dunlavy/Welch. You haven't been there? Do you know what you are missing? I love this place. This place rocks. Now, if you are only into extreme minimalism, your home is shock white and you purchase everything from Kuhl-Linscomb cause you are high dollar, this might not be your thing. No, Dee Anne (my sister), I am not referring to you. You do have color in your home and it is quite cozy.

The Guild Shop has so much to offer. I remember the first time I stepped into the store. I was on sensory overload. Do I look at clothes? Jewelry? Plates? Knick-knacks? Furniture? Mink Coats? (wait, no someone will flour-bomb me).They have vintage LV's! That is about the time the security guard (same one, always there-super sweet) came over to check my pulse and make sure I was still breathing.

I spend a lot of time in the "last call" room. Some of the stuff in this room is junky, some of it you wonder why the person didn't just throw away. But, every so often, in that lone little room, I will find a fantastic painting, vase, lamp, or even entire dish set. For like, $1. I'm dead serious. Sometimes I will go to the other rooms that are not last call and if I like an item, but it is set to markdown a few bucks if it doesn't sell in the next week, I'll hide it and come back and buy it. I do run the risk of someone getting it. I mean let's get real, How well can you hide a piece of furniture? But, it is worth it when I lug home a big antique chest that I got for $50 instead of $250. I bet I'm going to be thrown out one day. However, I know for sure I am not the only one who hides things. I see it happen ALL THE TIME. Where do you think I got the idea? Sheesh!
Some of the stuff at The Guild Shop is overpriced. You have to remember that it is a consignment shop, not the Salvation Army. I love that I can shop for an entire set of delicate china, buy a bread-maker, a mink stole and grab a pair of sunglasses on the way out. Oh, and what about the silver section? Unbelievable! Seriously, you just have to go because no words can describe it. Buy me something while you're there. Kthanks.

Here are a few pics from inside the shop:

***These two images courtesy of visithouston.com and kprc.cityvoter.com, respectively***
***Exterior image courtesy of yelp.com***

Location and Hours:

The Guild Shop
(713) 528-5095
2009 Dunlavy St

Houston, TX 77006

  • Hours:
    Mon-Fri. 9:30 a.m. - 3:30 p.m.
    Sat. 10:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m.
www.theguildshop.org *Site is under construction*

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

I'd like a beer.....And a pair of pants, please.

I can't even begin to count the number of times I've been to a bar and looked down to realize that I forgot to put on my pants. Oops! In all seriousness, there are plenty of times when I've been out for a night on the town and absolutely HATED what I was wearing. "If I just had a different shirt", I would say to Lauren (bff-to be used in this blog many times-do not forget her!). "Sweet Jesus, I hate my outfit"; "These pants are cutting off my circulation"; "I don't match". These are all statements that serve as testimonials to the fact that selling clothes where I party IS a brilliant idea.

That is where Dean's Credit Clothing downtown on Main St. comes in. I mean, where else in the city can I go vintage clothes shopping and listen to live music? Or, go out for a beer and pick up a sweet prairie dress? Granted, I cannot give this place 5 stars (you know my rating system is tight-totally kidding) because of the many occasions I feel I have been robbed blind on my drink tab. There is also the occasional run-in with the hipster who gulped a few too many and is revisiting his/her dinner in the bathroom. But, I guess that is typical of most bars.

I must say that the uniqueness that is Dean's Credit Clothing is what makes it a must-see. Not many places in the city will always have music (sometimes live, sometimes d.j.) and drinks while you are getting your shop on. I'm sure if you look hard enough you could find another one. Oh, wait - there is another one! It's just opened: Dean's Credit Clothing in Montrose. What are the odds? So, now you don't have to pay for cab-fare from downtown, just mid-town. How awesome is that? After your alco-shopa-holic spending spree, you will need to save a dime somewhere.....

Dean's Credit Clothing Locations:

316 Main Street
Houston, TX 77056

Montrose Area-
315 Fairview
Houston, TX 77006

***Pic courtesy of www.waymarking.com***