Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Giacomo's cibo e vino

Well, yesterday turned out to be quite a lovely day.  Even though I pulled some weird muscle in what feels like my esophagus area thanks to Jillian Michael's “30 Day Shred”, I still managed to have a nice Tuesday.

You see, as I was coming home from the store, I realized I was being honked at from behind by a blond lunatic.  Just kidding, that was my good friend, Jamie.  She pulled me over to see if I'd be interested in an impromptu lunch at Giacomo's.  Since I'd been wanting to go there and I love me some Jamie, I said “yes, please!”.  

Well, was I happy Jamie spotted my car on Westheimer.  It's not like it is hard.  I'm “branded” by a bashed in side panel (I was over confident parking next to an I-beam in a parking garage), bumper that is hanging down (I ran into a street lamp while backing up), and various missing pieces of trim from other minor mishaps.  Anyway, I'm so glad Jamie saw my piece of junk and asked me to lunch.  The food was so delicious!

**Logo taken directly from Giacomo's website**

Lynette Hawkins, owner and chef of Giacomo's, was right there at the register with her beautiful smile and charming personality.  She recommended a great Pinot for us and we ordered a pasta dish to share (I know, I know, I can't eat gluten) and Jamie and I each got our own salad.  The della casa, or house salad for me and the lucia for Jamie.

The tortelli di bietola was so good, light and the perfect pasta dish to share.  The sage butter sauce was outstanding, not too heavy and complimented the goat cheese, swish chard and ricotta stuffed ravioli's perfectly.  Not many pasta dishes make me happy I ate gluten, but this one definitely did!

The salads were so fresh and beautifully plated.  My “house” salad had a mix of greens with some olives, fennel and beautiful cherry tomatoes. Not only is the food here at Giacomo's delicious, but it is also quite lovely.  

Stop by Giacomo's and say “Hi” to Lynette today.  You'll be glad you did!

3215 Westheimer
Houston, TX 77098
(713) 522-1934

Tues-Sat 11am-10pm
Sun 4pm-9pm

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Heights Mistletoe Madness, Holiday on 19th & the Heights Holiday Home Tour

It's that time of year again! Time to dust off your Santa hats and get on over to the Heights for "Mistletoe Madness", "Holiday on 19th" and the holiday home tour.

Take a tour of some of the most charming and beautifully decorated homes in the Heights.  This event falls on the first weekend of December and runs from 6-9pm on Friday, December 2nd and from 3-9pm on Saturday, December 3rd. 

This year, 6 homes will be showcased on the tour.  You can purchase tickets in advance for a $5 discount at several businesses including Heights Antiques on Yale, Buchanan’s Native Plants, Bliss on 19th, The Artful Corner, Phil’s Texas Barbecue and Waldo’s Coffee House. Tickets purchased online may be picked up at the “Will Call” booth at the Heights Fire Station at 107 W. 12th and Yale Street during the hours of the tour.  Tickets purchased the day of the tour, at the Heights Firestation, will cost $25 to view all 6 homes, or you can choose to visit just one or two homes for the cost of $5 each.

Shuttle information and details can be found on the official page of the home tour: Houston Heights Association

While you are out, take advantage of many of the businesses that will be staying open late and offering some exciting specials during "Holiday on 19th".

On Saturday, December 3rd (one day only), the Heights will be bustling with excitement for the most exciting "Heights 1st Saturday" known as "Mistletoe Madness".  What a great opportunity to check out some great artists, great food, and pick up some sweet gifts for your family and friends.  If you didn't get to experience "White Linen Night in the Heights", then this is the perfect time to come out and see why so many love to call the Heights their home.

Details for for this event can be found on the official website: Heights Mistletoe Madness

Monday, November 22, 2010

Armenta Jewelry

So, I ran into a lovely young lady at a function at few months ago and she mentioned that she worked for this jewelery designer, Armenta Jewelry, based in Houston. As one who is a great lover of jewels, I felt it necessary to investigate further. I asked that she send me some information on the company.

WOW!! That's about all I can say to describe them. The woman behind the name, Emily Armenta, has a flair and passion for jewelry that is unparalleled, in my opinion. She views each piece she designs as a delicate piece of art, each inspired by something different. All of the jewelry is hand made, in Houston, in the Armenta studio.

Granted, some pieces are quite pricey, but the detail is amazing (and what good jewelery designer isn't pricey?) She does offer quite a few pieces that are under $1000, for those who are not able to whip out $15-$20K on a whim. I, of course, can only drool at all the pieces, but trust me, if I ever get a spare grand, I'm hitting up Armenta (which can be found at Tootsies, Judith Ann Jewels and Neiman Marcus). 

I thought this post would be great for someone to use as an idea for holiday presents.

Here are a few items I especially love:

Yes, please to all of these!

Keep in mind, the website is still under construction.  Here are the deets for buying some awesome baubles, should you feel it necessary to make someone in your life totally happy:

Armenta Jewelry
Can be purchased at Tootsies, Judith Ann Jewels and Neiman Marcus

**sorry for the uneven box lines around the pictures. I had to cut and paste from a pdf**

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Best Drive Thru Iced Tea-I'm not kidding

Ok, so let's be real here, folks. 
Here is what a perfect glass of iced tea (unsweetened, with Splenda added in place of sugar) looks like to me:

Please note the generous use of ice cubes, the bendy straw, the perfect color (deep brown, not too light, not too dark).  Ok, I know I sound insane, but seriously, there are some gross iced teas in this city.

Here are my go to places for your best drive-thru iced needs:
  1. Chick-Fil-A By far the winner.  Any Chick-Fil-A drive-thru I go to, no matter where in Houston, has the BEST iced tea in the whole wide world.  Great flavor, tons of ice, and they have Splenda (some places don't).  One note to point out here, a lot of fast food restaurants will brew the tea hot and then pour it over your ice, melting it.  I can't stand that.  Chick-Fil-A wins precious points here for ALWAYS pouring cold tea over my ice so that I don't end up with a weird watered down mess.
  2. Taco Bell Ok, ok, I know.  I'm going to get some heat on this one.  But, when you need your fix, you   need it. They don't have my beloved Splenda, but they do have some tasty tea.  Beware, they do sometimes give it to you after brewing which results in ice melt.
  3. McDonalds The flavor is good, they have the ice issue that I don't like, but they carry Splenda and also have this cool device that squirts the sweetener of your choice into your cup so you don't have to deal with the annoying little packets.
  4. Arby's This place can be a crap shoot.  Most days, the tea is great, however I have had a few run-ins with the dreaded tea brewed in the same urn as the coffee.  That is just nasty and it tastes disgusting.
  5. Starbucks I think their tea has a weird flavor to it.  I order it as Black Tea with no sweetener and ask that they throw in some Splenda.  Otherwise, I'll end up with some weird sugary syrup they add to it.  Even so, when I ask for the syrup to be removed, it still has a specific flavor that kind of annoys me. It is a fruity note that I can't put my finger on.  But, I do like that their tea is shaken, so when they add my Splenda it gets mixed up really well.
Here are the places I will never order iced tea at again:
  1. Jack In The Box Dear Jesus help me this tea is nasty.  They obviously use the same urn that the coffee is brewed in and don't clean it out very well.  The tea tastes thick and has a definite coffee flavor to it.  They also have the issue with zero ice, very annoying.
  2. Taco Cabana I don't even know where to start here, just don't do it and don't look back.
  3. Whataburger I don't care for the flavor and they always put about 2 ice cubes in my cup.  Also, it tastes like it has just been brewed and it is on the warm side when I order it. Yuck!
Hopefully this manual will help you.  
Lastly, here is a picture of my sweet little nephew, Yoda (on Halloween) to brighten your day:

Monday, October 18, 2010

Trying to take a family pic...

Recently, we celebrated a birthday (I can't even remember whose it was), at my mother's house and I decided that it was time to update the picture of "My Sweeties" in the right hand column of my blog.  First, the previous picture was about 3 years old and second,  there is a new little addition to the family: Brandon, aka "Tater Nugget", "Chicken Thigh" and "Doodlebug".

Let me just start by saying this, I cannot handle how fast my niece and nephews are growing up.  It feels just like yesterday that little "Fattycakes" was crawling across the room to face plant into his "Ruff-ruff" or that Taylor ("Peanut") was running around saying "me no silly!".  Now, both Taylor and Trevor are old enough to string together full sentences and walk on 2 feet and be independent and ignore me and realize I'm not cool and OH MY GOD I'M FREAKING OUT.

What's throwing me the most is the way they are each developing their own little personalities which are so vastly different.  This became very clear when trying to take a picture of all 3 kids together for my blog.  I would like to start by showing you the end product:

Isn't that sweet?  It's a little grainy, but whatev, doesn't that look like it was so simple and that these 3 cousins love and enjoy each other's company so much and that nothing else in the world matters?  NOTHING ELSE?  Wrong.

Let me take you on a stroll of the previous shots.  First, let's recall the end product.  You'll note the baby in the picture, Brandon, is strapped into a carseat and has a pacifier shoved in his mouth.  This was not a baby that was stoked about taking a family photo.  This was a baby that was tired, angry, sick of his family passing him back and forth to be "oohed and aahed" at, and wanted to go home to his crib, ok?  Evidence of this is fully apparent in the first attempt at a picture, as seen here:

Can somebody tell me what is up with Trevor's eyes?

Also, you will notice that in every single picture, Taylor is smiling as if she is on stage, being judged for a beauty pageant.  As soon as you throw a camera in her face, she stops, poses and throws on her million dollar smile.  It's stressing me out big time to see how beautiful she is and the lightning speed to which she is growing.  I don't want her to date.  I won't allow it.

The real "issue" with the taking of the family photo pretty much lies in the inability of Trevor to sit still for even 1 full second after eating sugar.  There is really no way to explain it.  I think the best thing to do is to show you:

This is Trevor, at Target, after a few sips of an Icee.  Now, take that same child, put him at a family birthday party at Grandma's house with cake and all other sorts of sugary treats and you have just set yourself up for disaster if you want a simple family picture...

Here are some examples:

First, we tried to get him to sit down, but he would jump up and run around before I could snap the picture, as seen below:

You can tell by the look on Brandon's face that he is in awe of Trevor's super energy, however, Taylor makes it obvious she is just DONE with it.

Next, we tried to get him to FOCUS on Aunt Nellie and smile, but he was much too interested in talking to everyone else behind me:

Then, seriously, Brandon!! You couldn't look at the camera on this one! Aaarrggghhh!:

You'll also please note that Taylor nonchalantly has the death grip on Trevor with one of her hands (behind the carrier) in aformentioned photo.

Finally, we were able to get him to lighly place his hand on his brother's head, but this just looked stupid:

Trust me, there are about a billion more of these and I could go on for days, I just wanted to give you an idea of what I go through to update my right column for my lovely readers.  Poor, poor me....

Also, for those reading and judging me (mom), I am aware this post as well as others are full of grammatical errors and major comma abuse.  But, I'm tired when I write, so you will have to just live with it.

Next post will be on the best and worst drive thrus to get iced tea, I've become a connoisseur.

Friday, September 17, 2010

World Habitat Day-Habitat For Humanity

After the successful completion of SLGT's partnership with Habitat For Humanity on September 13-19, I felt compelled to post regarding the upcoming annual 'World Habitat Day' that has been designated by the United Nations to take place the first Monday in October of every year, this year being October 4, 2010.

This year, the Houston Habitat For Humanity local affiliate will be participating in two ways.  First, the event will be used to raise awareness by posting pictures and information on the local Habitat For Humanity Facebook page, and second, local restaurants can donate a portion of their sales that day to the local chapter.

What a great way to help this cause! During the SLGT build, so many volunteers went out and got their hands dirty, sweat buckets and took time off of work to build a new home for a deserving family.  However, it is understandable that not everyone can do this kind of work, nor do they have the time or work schedule that allows them to.  By participating in 'World Habitat Day', you can give back to Houston and to those in need when circumstances prevented you from being able to do so in an actual build project. 

What can be easier than taking a picture of yourself holding a sign that says "What will you build?" and submitting it to the Habitat For Humanity Facebook page?  If you find yourself grabbing a bite for lunch or dinner that day, why not do so at a participating restaurant?

Here is the official press release regarding 'World Habitat Day': Social Media Press Release

Houston's local affiliate page (contact information, etc.) Houston Habitat For Humanity

Houston's 'World Habitat Day' information page: Houston World Habitat Day 

Houston Habitat For Humanity Facebook Page: Houston Habitat For Humanity, Facebook

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Chef's Under Fire-a culinary event in Houston

Like the food at Central Market?  How about Max's Wine Dive?  Azuma Sushi?  Gotta favorite restaurant in Houston?  If so, then the chef there is likely competing in Keeper Collection's "Chefs Under Fire" Culinary Competition.  You can bask in the greatness that is sure to come from these fine Chef's battling it out at Sysco Houston, Inc. on October 4, 2010.  Chef Monica Pope, from famed restaurant T'afia, will be the judge.  Seating is limited.  Don't miss your opportunity to rub elbows with some of Houston's finest Chefs and fellow foodies.

For more information, see the official website: Chefs Under Fire

Deets below (via email from Amber Roussel and Monica Danna of 'Ah-Ha Creative')

Chefs Under Fire™ Announces Details of Regional Events in Dallas/Fort Worth, Austin/San Antonio & Houston

Local judges panels include Chef Sharon Van Meter, Chef Scott Gottlich, Chef Josh Watkins, Chef Paul Qui and Chef Monica Pope
Chefs Under Fire™ has announced the details of their Area Regional Events. CUF 2010 is the second annual Chefs Under Fire culinary competition hosted by Keeper Collection, LLC, and is traveling throughout Texas this fall to bring the heat to your city.
  • The Austin/San Antonio event will take place Monday, September 27, 2010 at 7pm at Texas Beef Council in Austin, TX with judges Chef Josh Watkins of The Carillon and Chef Paul Qui of Uchiko.  
Event Sponsors include Capital One Bank. A limited number of tickets are available to the public for the event. Tickets are $35 and can be purchased on the Chefs Under Fire website.
...want to know more? 
View the full media releases for each city on
Amber Roussel | Ah-Ha! Creative
Tel  713.530.0106
Monica Danna | colab
Tel  281.687.7515
Chefs Under Fire banner
9002 Chimney Rock Road, Suite G127 | Houston, TX 77096

Friday, August 27, 2010

Hotel Derek

Logo from Hotel Derek website
So, if you are a regular reader of my blog (I just know you are), then you probably realize that I try to only write positive reviews. However, there are some instances where I cannot, in good conscience, do so. This is my first negative review and I feel very torn about it.

My mixed emotions come from my desire to only show the awesomeness that is our city, but for those readers who may visit someday, I feel this post is important.

Houston is a city well known for its diversity, FOOD, museums, health care and historic attractions. We also have a plethora of hotels to choose from.

Every so often, I will check in to a hotel to see if we like what they have to offer. Not that people really know who I am, but since I've gotten more followers over the year, I have decided that checking in "incognito" and at different times of the day would be the best way for me to give a complete, unbiased opinion.

I decided this time I should check out the Hotel Derek. I had driven by it a million times and I always see it on different internet sites listed as modern, sleek and geared toward the younger and more successful businessmen/women. I went spur of the moment, late one night. I checked in about 11pm and acted like I was coming in from Dallas and needed a room stat.

The valet guy was incredibly helpful, as was the lady at the front desk. I will say that Hotel Derek offers absolutely wonderful customer service. They listened to me ramble on about my hardships and my desperate need for sleep, blah, blah, blah. That, in and of itself, was worth gold.

They were able to get me the exact type of room I requested, explained to me how to get around Houston, were extremely accommodating and very nice. I requested a balcony room suite with wi-fi internet access. At $179 + tax for the King Bed suite, I was pretty impressed. That was, until I walked into said suite.

As I meandered through the lobby and wandered down the cool hallway of the Hotel Derek, I begin to feel a knot of excitement develop in my belly. "This is going to be so amazing, I can feel it" I told myself. Total luxury for much less than other places I've seen.

As I slid my electronic card key into the reader and opened the door, I was almost instantly disappointed. I should have realized that a balcony suite would be the room most smokers utilized. I was greeted with a wave a smoke that actually took my breath away and made me gag. The "luxury" was limited to the comfy bed that we slept on.

The overdone cold, sharp lines of the room and the exposed plumbing and metal in the bathroom just looked old and ghetto. There was a large bench across the bed that looked dirtier than my cat's litter box and a small little office area off to the side. I've honestly seen more luxury in a La Quinta before.

I could see how this would have been fantastic 10 years ago, but Hotel Derek is in some serious need of updating. The trickle of water that came from the shower was barely enough to get the shampoo out of my hair. The waffle-weave robe was rough and scratchy, the lighting was horrendous and I could hear traffic from the 610 loop ALL NIGHT LONG.

Being the hot-natured person that I am, I was excited to see that the thermostat was set at 60 degrees. However, after about an hour, I realized that the actual temperature in the room was increasing. It was 67 degrees when I checked in and 74 when I checked out. I know how to work a thermostat and am not crazy, so this was disappointing, to say the least.

The wi-fi made zero sense to me as my laptop could not detect it, There was a wi-fi jack in the room, but no place to plug it in. It was very confusing.

Perhaps most annoying was my inability to access the refrigerator to get a cold water. I had to call down to the concierge to GET A KEY to open the mini-fridge for a $7 BOTTLE OF WATER.

All in all, the customer service at this hotel is great, but if it's luxury you're looking for, I'd try someplace else.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Kata Robata

I am always on the search for the perfect sushi place.  For some reason, whenever I find it, the Chef is always Jean-Phillipe Gaston.  Hmmmm.... I think I see a trend here.  I love what Chef Gaston cooks, or doesn't cook in some cases (raw fish, mmmm!). 

I was first introduced to my food hero when I dined at Kata Robata's sister restaurant, Soma, about a year ago.  He was able to make anything on the menu for me, Gluten-Free, and taste good.  Needless to say, Chef Gaston has always had a place in my heart.  When I found out he moved over to Kata Robata to work with World-Renown Executive Chef Manabu "Hori" Horiuchi, I knew I was going to have to make a bee-line over to Kata Robata asap.


Wow! Wow! Wow!!!!!!!!! Am I super happy I did. Kata Robata not only lived up to my expectations, but surpassed them, exponentially! My sister and I were on a food high for the rest of the night and I swear I woke up at 3am craving some of their AH-MAZING Grilled Sashimi Grade Salmon with Yuzu Creamy Butter Sauce.  Wow, that is some good stuff.  

Per the website and per Chef Gaston, "Kata Robata" loosely translated, means "a type of grill".  The salmon was grilled to perfection, not that nasty chain restaurant type of grill.  The texture was smooth and buttery and when combined with the sauce, it made for quite a taste explosion in my grill (mouth). Get it? Grill. Ok, whatever.

Anyway, we started off with some pretty nifty cocktails and then ate about a billion different meals.  Since it is served "tapas" style, you can order everything on the menu and you really aren't a pig.  You are just doing what you are SUPPOSED to do, ok?

The steamed mussels did not have one piece of grit in them and the saki sauce complimented it beautifully.  Followed by the most unbelievable tuna tar-tar and topped off with a special gluten-free cheesecake that Chef Gaston made for me, I was in HEAVEN.

Have I made it clear yet that this place rocks?  Hands down best sushi I've ever had, best Japanese food I've ever had, best restaurant experience I've had, to date.

Thank you Chef Gaston and all the wonderful staff at Kata Robata for making my evening so spectacular!

Interior of Kata Robata

Kata Robata
3600 Kirby Suite H
Houston TX 77099

**All pictures and logo from Kata Robata's official website**

Thursday, August 5, 2010

White Linen Night in the Heights

It's that time of year again! Time to pull out your only white linen shirt or pants that you own and get your sweat-ridden self to The Heights asap.

Saturday, August 7 is the date for Houston's biggest party, "White Linen Night in the Heights".  Fashioned after the "White Linen Nights" parties in New Orleans, The Houston Heights version promises to be just as fun, eclectic and HOT.  Or, as the official website says: "Sultry, Steamy, Exotic and Artfully Provocative".

Here is an excerpt from the official "White Linen Night in the Heights" website, explaining the history of this celebration and what it means:

About White Linen Night in the Heights:

White Linen Night began in New Orleans‘ French Quarter’s Arts District as a way for artists and patrons to celebrate their city’s creativity while wearing cooling apparel to escape the summer heat. After Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans, several business owners relocated to The Heights and set up shop in their new community. Recognizing an opportunity to carry on the tradition set forth by the Crescent City, the new merchants approached neighboring business owners about starting a new event that mixed New Orleans soul with Heights heart. Today, White Linen Night in the Heights is a neighborhood-wide event. It’s held the first Saturday evening in August and draws an estimated 20,000 to 30,000 attendees. Like in New Orleans, event-goers wear white linen and take to the Heights’ streets to celebrate art, culture and community while taking in some of the best entertainment, boutiques and shops, art galleries, restaurants and eclectic bars in Houston. “It’s a way of showing everyone in the city a good time and letting them know what we’re all about,” event organizer Mitch Cohen says. For more information, visit

About The Houston Heights

The Heights, Houston‘s oldest planned community, was annexed to the City of Houston in 1918. The area still has many of the original Victorian homes and classic Craftsman Bungalows that it did in its early stages of development, with the addition of new construction that mimics the original architectural vision, sharing tree-lined streets alongside modern homes that reflect the diversity of the residents. Warehouses, old gas stations and old grocery stores have been converted into homes, cafes, restaurants and bars. Gourmet food markets, one-of-a-kind shops, restaurants and bars, and fine art galleries pepper the community. The Heights is home to more professional artists than any other area in Texas – one of the hottest professional art scenes in Texas and is home to the Heights First Saturday and the First Saturday Arts Market. The Heights unofficially now includes the Woodland Heights, Norhill Heights, Sunset Heights and surrounding tiny subdivisions that have all grown together into an eclectically charming area. 

There is no way to go to this event and not find something fun to do.  Between the "First Saturday Arts Market", the Fashion Show and all the participants throwing their own shin-digs, you are bound to find something you will enjoy.

There will also be a great community driven party held at the "Christine Tremoulet photography studio" located at: 1024 Studewood St. Houston, TX 77008.  This party will start at 6:30pm and continue until midnight.  There will be live music, food and tasty adult beverages.  Sponsored by SLGT (if you don't know what that is, then I feel bad for you), this party is going to be the most happening spot in The Heights!!

Hope to see you there.  Don't forget to bring your spray mist and hand-held fans.....It's hot outside!

Monday, July 19, 2010

Idylwoood-Houston's hidden treasure

I don't know about you, but whenever I visit Austin, TX, I'm always so jealous of the beautiful landscaping, historic homes, gorgeous hills and the overall atmosphere.  Not that Houston doesn't have its share of all those wonderful things, but one in particular, we are lacking.  The only time I get the thrill of driving through a "hilly" terrain is if I happen to hit one of our many potholes or fly over an unseen speedbump.  Let's face it, we are a flat city.

At least I thought!  That is until one of my previous clients introduced me to the awesomeness that is Idylwood.  Located off of 45 and Wayside, Idylwood is a subdivision I would recommend to any of my buyers.  This neighborhood is unlike that of any other in Houston.  It possesses all of the charm of The Heights, but without the hefty price tag.  In addition, you can buy a home that actually has a backyard.  Best of all, it has small hills! Granted, it isn't a mountainous region, but it is the closest thing we as a city will ever get to rugged terrain.  I LOVE IT in Idylwood.

Now that I've had my say about the hills, lets move on to an incredibly awesome house for sale there, right now!  I am not listing this home, it is listed by Judy Berno with Keller Williams.  However, the seller is a friend of mine, relocating to Dallas.  This house is so beautiful that I feel compelled to tell you all about it so you don't miss out on an incredibly wonderful opportunity to live in the neighborhood that I call "Houston's Best Kept Secret"

Let's look at the deets, shall we?

This home is on almost a full DOUBLE LOT, 10,354 sq ft, to be exact.  It is a 3 bedroom, 2 bath home with a 1 car detached garage.  It has the charm of the bungalows we all love, but with lots of updates so you don't feel like you're walking into Grandma's house.  The master suite has an amazing closet that I swear I could live in.  The kitchen's granite counter tops and Viking stove will make any chef, or amateur chef, feel at home.  The front porch is a coffee drinker or people watcher's dream and the hardwoods are absolutely stunning.  Priced at $265K, this WILL NOT LAST LONG.  So, call myself or Judy for an appointment asap.  You will not regret your decision to make the move to this home located in this AWESOME neighborhood.

Pics for your viewing pleasure, all from the MLS (, courtesy of Judy Berno:
These are only a few of the pictures, the rest you'll need to see for yourself!


Front Porch:

Huge Lot:

Living area


Dining area:

Master Bedroom:

One of 2 secondary bedrooms:

Master Closet (HUGE):

Now that I'm sure you are drooling and love it as much as I do, you better get to steppin...You snooze you lose!

Friday, July 9, 2010

Shade of Hope, benefiting The Furniture Bank

Ever been sitting around, looking at your belongings and thought, "My God, I have horrible taste?".  I have.  I do it all the time.  Probably because I have a couch with a hole in it, hand me down furniture (compliments of my sister), zero art and no flair for interior design.  However, unlike many unfortunate families, I do have a couch to sit on, table to eat at, bed to sleep on and chair to relax in.

So, the next time you're sitting there eyeballing your "ugly" side table, keep in mind that there so many families out there who would feel incredibly lucky to have your cast-offs.

Shade Of Hope is an "art affair" benefiting The Furniture Bank.  Artists will display their works of art, specifically made for this function, to be sold with all proceeds going to The Furniture Bank.  Now, I can't think of a much better reason to go and buy some cool art.  Can you?

Wouldn't it feel great to know that a painting you purchased to spruce up your pad helped pay for some sheets so that a needy child could actually sleep in a bed for the first time?  I know I would!!

Come to Shade Of Hope on July 18, from 9am-2pm at The Furniture Bank and enjoy some great art, fun people, fabulous music and a most wonderful cause!!

Friday, July 2, 2010

July 4th Celebrations in Houston

Well, it's that time of year again!  Time to sweat, bbq, eat kettle corn and enjoy some fireworks! If you're not doing your own thing, here are some suggestions:


Chevy's Freedom Over Texas
Where: Downtown Houston, Eleanor Tinsley Park
July 4 from 4 p.m. - 10 p.m.
Admission: $8 at the gate; children 2 and under get in free, with donation of one canned item for Houston Food Bank, admission is FREE!!

Houston Symphony's Star Spangled Salute, Hosted by Exxon Mobile
Where: Miller Outdoor Theatre
When: July 4 at 8:30 p.m., fireworks to follow, ends at 10:30pm
Admission: Free, must pick up tickets at Miller Outdoor Theatre between 10:30am-1pm

Sam Houston Race Park
Where: Sam Houston Race Park
When: July 4 Live racing gates open at 2:30
Live racing from 5pm to 9:30pm
Fireworks directly after races

Free parking is available until 6:00 PM and will be $10 per car after 6:00 PM.
General Admission is $6 for adults and $4 Senior Citizens until 6:00 PM.
After 6:00 PM  General Admission ticket prices will increase to $10 for Adults & Senior Citizens.
Kids 12 and under FREE all day.

Special promotions for the day:
* Post-Race Fireworks Extravaganza
* Performance by Team Ghost Riders featuring 4 monkeys riding dogs and herding sheep
* Face Painters and Balloon Artists
* Free train rides for kids by Stan's Trackless Train

For information, call (281) 807-RACE

Beaver's Houston
Details, taken directly from the press release:

"Start Independence day off right with BRUNCH at The Beav and you don't even have to get dressed! Come in your favorite Jammies and enjoy our brunch (11-3)and our ALL DAY happy hour: 
enjoy $2 Lone Star & PBR, $1off drafts, $4 house punches, $6 select Classic Cocktails and more!!!

Dont wanna go home? Then stay! 

From 3pm-10pm we start our Pajama Jammy Jam Patio Party with a Patio Bar, Texas Draft Beer & "Backyard" Appetizer menu (featuring Frito Pies, Fish n' Chips, TX Style Hot Dogs w/ Chili or Oma's Sauerkraut, Tacos and more!).

At 5pm, get that Tail Shakin' with Houston's own DJ Kung-Fu Pimp spinning Old Skool Hip-Hop, Dance, Mowtown & Funk.

Call the restaurant to make your reservation for Patio seating NOW (we are taking reservations for parties of 6 or more). First come-first serve lawn chairs in our garden."
Contact Beavers for more information: 713-864-2328


Baytown's July 4th Celebration
Where: Bicentennial Park
When: July 4, Parade begins at 5pm, Fireworks at 9:30
Admission: Free
Call (281) 420-6597 for more information

Clear Lake (Webster, Kemah, Friendswood)

Fourth of July Celebration
Where: Texas Avenue Park
When: July 4, Festival at 5pm, Fireworks at 9:15 p.m.
Admission: Free
For more information, call (281) 332-1826

Fireworks on the Kemah Boardwalk
Where: Kemah Boardwalk
When: July 3, Kick off parade, starting at 10:00am, Children's Parade at 9:30 am
July 4, Fireworks start at dark
Admission: Free
For more information call (281) 334-3181

'115th Annual 4th of July Celebration'
Where: Centennial Park
When: July 4 at 7:00 p.m., Fireworks at approximately 9:20pm
Parking: None, must ride FREE shuttle from either Clear Brook High School or Friendwood Community Church; Shuttle service begins at 6:30pm
Admission: Free

City of Galveston's Annual July 4th Fireworks Display
Where: 37th Street at Seawall Boulevard
When: July 4, Fireworks at 9:00 p.m.
Admission: Free
Call (409)763-8676 for more information


July 4th Freedom Celebration
Where: Katy Mills Mall
When: July 4 - Fireworks when it turns "dark"
Admission: Free

4th of July Jamboree
Where: Smith Ranch
When: 12pm-11pm
Admission: 12pm-4pm, Adults $10, Kids $5; 4pm-11pm, Adults $15, Kids $5; Kids under 3 years of age admitted all day FREE!
Contact (281) 371-3318 for more information

July 4th Big Backyard Barbecue
Where: La Centerra
When: Festivities start at 5:30 pm, Fireworks at 9:30
Admission: Free
Parking: Interior drives close at 4:30 pm for pedestrian safety.  If you park in the garages and are not gone before 4:30, you must be prepared to stay the entire day.

Sugar Land
Red, White & Bluefest
Where: Oyster Creek, 4033 Highway 6 South
When: July 4 from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m., Fireworks at 9:30 p.m.
Admission: Free
For more information, call (281) 275-2885

The Woodlands
8th Annual Red, Hot and Blue Festival
Where: Town Green Park and Waterway Square
When: July 4 from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m., Fireworks begin approximately 9:15pm-9:30pm
Admission: Free

Have fun and Happy 4th!!

Monday, June 14, 2010

Ginzu Japanese Restaurant

As most of you know, if you actually read my blog, I love, love, LOVE sushi.  And, I thought I had tasted the best and already written about it.  However, I was wrong my friends.  Dead wrong.

Last week whilst out with my friend, Far, (read her blog,), she took me to have some of the best sushi I've ever tasted in my entire life.  Ginzu Japanese Restaurant on San Felipe has made me a new woman.  We had so much food on the table we could have fed a third world country.  Nonetheless, my significant backside wasted no time in scouring down almost the whole feast.

The Spicy Tuna Tar-Tar was pure heaven.  I have had some Tuna Tar-Tar in my time, but NOTHING like this.  It came in a little bowl with tons of avocado and the texture/taste of the tuna was perfection.  I think I might have snorted like a pig while inhaling it, but whatever.

If rolls are your thing, they have plenty to choose from.  And, unlike most sushi restaurants where you have to get out a magnifying glass to get a good look at the picture and description, Ginzu's Sushi roll menu is huge and the pics are so big I could mount them above my fireplace.  Ok, that's exaggerating a little, but they are quite large pics and descriptions of the rolls and are very on point.  We shared the "Ginzu roll" and it was on fiyah! So spicy and so delish.  My mouth is watering just thinking about it.

We also had this cool Sake that was not like your typical Sake.  It had a milky flavor to it and tasted so dang good.  I give this place an "Ah-Mazing" for sure.

High Tail it to Ginzu today and thank me (or my friend, rather) for bringing it to your attention!

**Pic above courtesy of**

5868 San Felipe Street
Houston, TX 77057-3066
(713) 785-0332

Thursday, June 3, 2010

New addition to the family!!

Well, let it be known that on Tuesday, April 27th, 2010 at around 1:30am, Brandon Reed Simonton was born at Methodist Hospital.  Weighing in at 7lbs 12.6oz, he was/is a very solid and sturdy baby boy!!  Mommy and baby are doing fine and are at home now (of course, it's been over a month).

Big brother, Trevor, aka "fattycakes" is enjoying his new role in life.  I got to spend a few days taking care of him while the 'rents were in the hospital.  We had so much fun!  However, he couldn't wait to go to the hospital and see his new baby brother.

We realized that there would be some explaining to do when Trevor try to do his impression of the "Wiggles" and screamed "WAKE UP BRANDON, WAKE UP!!!!" upon first meeting.  He proceeded to poke Brandon in the eye with his pointer finger and then pat him (just a tad too hard) on the head.  Although it sounds like a bit of nightmare, it was adorable to see him interact with his little brother.

Here are some pictorials for your viewing pleasure:

Mommy and Baby, right after delivery:

Brandon in hospital:

Brandon at home:

Trevor helping make his breakfast before going to visit Brandon for the first time!

Trevor on the way to the hospital, so excited we had to get a "messy dipped cone" from Dairy Queen: