Visit Houston Part One – Six Bars to Experience

I just returned from an amazing trip to Houston this past weekend. You know the kind of trip that you never want to end, well this was it. It was everything that I was hoping for in a good-for-the-soul kind of trip. There is so much to share with you guys, but we are kicking off my Visit Houston series with a look at five bars you MUST experience while in town. With one caveat – two of the coffee shops I visited while I was there double as bar-like, but those will be included in the coffee-shop post coming up later this week.

Drinking in Houston is an experience. If they don’t have music playing, the ambiance and history is killer. From Houston’s oldest bar to the coolest ceilings you’ll ever see Houston is by far one of my favorite places to find a cocktail {and I live in DC people!}. So, let’s get down it, shall we?


La Carafe {813 Congress Street} – Believed to be Houston’s oldest bar, La Carafe is located in a building on the National Register of Historic Places and has been a public venue since its opening. Don’t bring your credit cards or your desire for cocktails here. La Carafe is cash only and boasts a pretty healthy wine and beer list. But I came for the cash register and the atmosphere. The amazing and giant all metal cash register still works and the ‘ching-ching’ of the bell is the best sound ever! The candles which burn endlessly are a thing of beauty, and if you were to visit La Carafe’s facebook page they just recently announced the latest passing of one of their candles. Sounds weird maybe, but go check it out and you’ll see what I mean. La Carafe also self-proclaims themselves the owner of the best jukebox in Houston, which I for one won’t argue with. The tunes during my time there were on point. For me the atmosphere and the music are what make a place like this, so leave your credit cards at home and make La Carafe one of the places you stop in Houston.

Public Services {202 Travis Street} – Housed in one of Houston’s cool old buildings that they don’t tear down (take notice cities!) is Public Services. Set up in the Cotton Exchange Building, built in 1884, downtown Public Services has found the balance between modern and vintage. With its large bar, oversized cushioned couches and dim lighting this may have easily been my favorite places. Even standing for a while doesn’t put you out because of the feel of this place! The service was wonderful, with knowledgable and friendly bartenders who bring your drinks to you wherever you happen to end up. My whole purpose for coming here was to find a particular kind of Scotch – Glenmorangie Nectar D ‘Or – because when you are visiting a fellow Scotch drinker you want to take advantage of that. Public Services specializes in hard to find Whiskeys so this would the place to go. If that wasn’t enough, they also offer special classes to educate you about liquor and wine.

By Ed Uthman, Houston, Texas, USA – Own work, CC BY 3.0

Captain Fox Hearts Bad News Bar {308 Main} – After you catch your breath from saying the name its time to hike up the narrow stairs to the bar. Captain Foxhearts truly feels more like a speakeasy, which makes the vibe kind of awesome. Combine that with the deep red walls and dark wood and the ambiance is a winner. You can also step out on the patio if it’s not too cold. If you’re looking for a quiet and chill place this might not be exactly what you’re looking for but their version of an Old Fashioned was interesting enough. Snag a classic Old Fashioned for $5, a deal you can’t beat.

Deans Downtown {316 Main Street} – Located in another original building built in 1893, Dean’s has seen several incarnations – department stores, other bars and Deans Credit Clothing. The bar table is made from 100-year-old timber reclaimed from the Saint Arnolds Brewery. My favorite part about Dean’s was probably the outside, with his fluffy velvet couches and chairs, and cool artsy tables (one that had keys mixed in with the marbles) lets you be a part of what’s going on at the bar but with a little fresh air. Grab yourself one of their killer Old Fashioned (what can I say, I’m a creature of habit).

Houston Watch Company {913 Franklin Street} – For a more low-key end to your evening find yourself sitting at the bar at Houston Watch Company. With a cozy feel, excellent Old Fashioneds and some chill bartenders Houston Watch Co is a nice place to relax for a few hours. Located in the Historic South Pacific Railroad the original watch company was the “unofficial timekeeper” for the local railroad employees. You won’t find televisions or loud obnoxious music, but you will find good cocktails and a variety of whiskeys to choose from.

Ready Room {2626 White Oak Drive} – Located in what is known as Heights, Ready Room is a nondescript building next to Ritual (another great place to visit, which you’ll see in a future Houston post). Created with giving a huge nod to old Houston in mind, the owners of Ready Room created a menu with different sections, they call ‘Wards’ that pays homage to the original Wards of Houston. Grab the Lincoln drink from the Third Ward, which I had. Its a different take on the classic Old Fashioned. But what makes The Ready Room special and unique only starts with their menu. From the amazing tile ceiling (probably the coolest ceiling I’ve seen in a bar), the dapper dressed barbacks, the pineapple lights and dim lighting combine together to make this Speakeasy feeling Jazz club at the top of the list of places you should visit in town.



You might have a stellar tour guide like I did, but at least this list can get you started in the right direction. The Houston Bar scene has dramatically improved and become downright stellar over the last six or so years. This list barely scratches the surface!

Visited any awesome Houston Bars? I wanna hear! Find me over on Instagram and share.

make sure to check out my other Houston Posts!

Houston Coffee Shops and Houston Arts and Entertainment


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A New Year Reflection

I’m taking a cue from my best gal Rebecca, over at What Rebecca Thinks, and choosing happiness over resolution for 2019. So much about 2018 was a little crazy and, like most people I tend to think about all the things I would change. What will I do differently this year? Will I lose weight, give up soda or stop biting my nails? Don’t get me wrong I am focused on starting 2019 on the right food and being intentional about what I want to do in the new year. The definition of resolution is “a firm decision to do or not do something.” But I want more than to just simply decide to do or not to do something. I want to choose happiness.

{Meet Jena from Sweet Tea and Style blog }

The last several months of 2018 I have been reflecting on this phase of life that I’m currently in. My kids need different things from me. I won’t say they need less, it’s just different. They are older, bigger and capable of doing more on their own. They are all in school, go to be on their own and can even get up and make breakfast if I needed to get a little bit more sleep on the weekends. There is more time in my life to focus on me and guess what, there’s nothing wrong with that. So much of my identity, and that of many mothers is wrapped up in our kids. Getting married young and having kids young has made things different for me. I was growing up and still figuring things out as I was having babies. I still had a strong desire to do things, go places and accomplish things, whatever that meant. It’s the struggles that I think most twenty-something people go through. I always made a conscious choice to be as independent as possible, leave the kids with family or babysitters, date my husband and do things as much as I could. My life as a military spouse complicated a lot of things. Saying “No” is something that I had to do, and for the most part still, have to do a lot. Finding a new rhythm as the kids get older, making time to do things for me, traveling, making time for girlfriends and even going into DC for the day just because are just some of the things that I can do in 2019.

As a mom, we shouldn’t feel guilty for having tough days or wanting to do more than just take care of our kids. We also shouldn’t feel guilty for finding someone that we can safely talk to and express these exact feelings. We do more harm to ourselves by not acknowledging where we struggle, the feelings that we have and what we want to do with our lives. It doesn’t matter how many kids we have, whether we work or not, what kind of job we have, what our spouses do or whether or not we’ve lost all the “baby weight”. We should be free to have these feelings and thoughts. Its what we do with them after that matters.

So choose happiness, choose to be honest with yourself about what you’re going through and find the people that are going to help you get through it. Maybe, like me, you are entering a new and different season in life and unsure of how to proceed. It’s a weird feeling I know. A little unsure, a little crisis-like feeling mixed with guilt because you feel selfish. But we can do this moms!! We can get through this.

cheers to a new year full oh happiness and contentment



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14 FREE YouTube Workouts for the New Year!

I know, another blog post about working out! But no, this is about continuing on with the momentum that I have! For me its more than just working out or even being healthy. Its taking the time to work on myself and being focused on that. I always feel better when I take the time to work out. Endorphins are a thing people! So what do you do when you don’t want to go to a gym, and buying an a specific program is either a) not in the budget or b) not something you want to buy? I’ve done the gym thing and I’ve done the “program” thing, but I have never really had success until I started creating my own programs with free YouTube videos. I’m going to share some of my favorites with you here so that you can start your new year off on the right foot.

Channels I Freaquent – BeFit, PopSugar Fitness, Apartment Friendly and Fitness Blender

Equipment I use – 3, 5, 10lb Weights (sometimes 15), Yoga Mat, Chair

  1. Denise Austin Boot Camp Cardio and Strength Workout
  2. 20 Min Total Body Sculpt and Tone with Autumn Calabrese
  3. In- Home Arm Sculpt with Katie Austin
  4. Awesome Abs by Katie and Denise
  5. Target Tone Legs with Katie Austin
  6. Target Tone Abs with Katie Austin
  7. Denise Austin Total Body Workout Dance!
  8. No Equipment At Home Cardio Workout
  9. 5 Minute Cool-Down and Stretch (some workouts on youtube do not have their own so this is good to keep bookmarked)
  10. Tank Top Arms
  11. No Equipment Belly Fat Burner HIIT
  12. No Run Cardio Workout PopSugar Fitness
  13. Apartment Friendly Workouts (Any!!)

Check out some of these workouts and aim to do cardio every other day, unless its a short HIIT! On your off days focus on one part of the body and switch things up. Keep your body guessing and have fun!! Do you have a favorite YouTube workout?

Here are more of my favorite YouTube workouts

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Christmas in Washington, DC – 5 Must-See Sites!

Christmas is one of my favorite holidays, second to July 4th! And while we don’t always get a snowy Christmas, there’s a bit of magic in the air. And whether you want to explore the city during the holidays with kids or without, taking in all the sites in can be fun for everyone!

  1. The National Christmas Tree & the White House Christmas Trees

Last year was my first year (out of the six Christmas’ here) that I experienced this really cool display. My friend text me and said, “we’re going into the city for some Christmas bucket list check-off!” So we packed up the kids for a day of fun. Our first stop was this display. There was a tree for every state which was really cool. The kids enjoyed finding tress of the states of family, or where we used to live. I imagine the display was even more beautiful at night, but with the backdrop of the White House you can’t go wrong.

2. A Victorian Christmas at Mount Vernon

This one is probably one of my favorite things to do – it makes a perfect date night, a special tree for visiting family or a fun family night. On this night you get to experience Mount Vernon in a way you only can during the Christmas season. I first heard about this awesome event from my mom who read about it in Victoria Magazine. During this special event there are actors and you are able to see the top floor, which is not opened during the year. The Christmas Camel is present, with carolers and you can grab yourself some wassel.

3. CityCenterDC

CityCenterDC is located near the Washington, DC Convention Center with amazing shops and restaurants. The amazing blogger ladies here in DC first showed me this place. Its the most awesome place to take pictures. Every season the display changes, but the display at Christmas is the best.

4. US Botanical Gardens

We have been to the Botanical Gardens during the summer because its usually on someone’s list who is visiting you. Its a really neat place to visit even if it doesn’t h ave all the amazing decorations for Christmas. Each year there is a new theme. Last year’s was “Roadside Attractions” which was really amazing. Each item uses live or dried plant materials, so its kind of ala Rose Parade. This year’s theme is “All Aboard!” exploring train stations of America.



5. National Harbor

The National Harbor has all sorts of cool things to do during the holiday season, with the Gaylord Hotel having all the coolest things to do! You can even see it snow indoors!! One of the big events is the ICE event, with giant ice sculptures. This year’s theme is Charlie Brown and I can’t wait to go! Visit Mrs. Claus, take pictures with Santa, decorate gingerbread men and see the “Unwrapped” Cirque show! There’s so much to do throughout the whole harbor so make sure to check the daily calendar out.



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5 Reasons to Visit West Virginia this Fall

Fall Farm West Virginia

I love West Virginia. It is a place that is my soul and makes me feel so deeply when I am there. Have you ever been to a place like that? My mom is from West Virginia, so that probably helps explain a little bit about why I love it so much; but there is so much that is unexplainable. Those are the reasons that I love to visit West Virginia, and the reasons that living there would make me happy. But lets talk about some of the other reasons that visiting West Virginia in the fall is the perfect time of year to go.


Be a Leaf Peeper!

If you’ve ever driven down 79 into the Charleston area of West Virginia…words can not explain the beauty if you happen to catch the leaves changing at the right time! One of my favorite places to check out the leaves, and just visit in general, is Hawks Nest State Park. Some of the most spectacular views of the state can be seen at this park, including the amazing New River Gorge Bridge.

History is Alive in West Virginia


Take a peek at West Virginia History – Beckley Exhibition Coal Mine – We love this place, and the drive is beautiful. Check out some of the most important history of West Virginia, and what makes her, her! Coal mining is in my family, as it is in most, and was the life blood (and still is if you ask most people) of this beautiful state. Visiting the coal mine is a must-do event any time of year, but going in fall just kicks it up a notch. Summer hours are from April-November, so add this to your list of things to do when you come see the fall foliage. Blenko Glass Museum and Factory – The Blenko Glass Museum is on Travel Channels Top 10 Factory Tours list, and there is a good reason. You can see glass being blown, check out of the museum of glass and get some killer details on a product made in America. These people are true artisans and I love supporting local business. The Blenko pieces I have are some of my favorite things I own, and they make amazing gifts. They also hold events periodically through year, like come at the end of this month and blow your own pumpkin! Sign up for their event notifications on their website and don’t miss out on all the cool stuff you can do at Blenko.


Fall Festival Time!!

Fall wouldn’t be fall without a good festival, and West Virginia provides some great options! I might be partial to hanging out in Charleston at West Virginia’s largest Octoberfest, “OctoberWest!” Check out the amazing WVtourism for more about West Virginia’s Fall Festivals.


Hang out in Charleston, on the Kanawah River

In and around Charleston – Hang out on the Kanawah riverfront in Downtown Charleston. Check out one of the most beautiful State Capitol buildings ever, visit the WV Governor’s mansion, and stroll along the beautiful riverfront. Take a Riverboat Cruise.  Check out smaller towns like Dunbar and their Fall Fest, or head over to Polka and check out a haunted hay ride (of which I’ve done before! I love some small fun!!

Kanawha River

Haunted Fun in West Virginia

West Virginia is home to some old stuff! Hanging out where Civil War ghosts walk is a pretty cool thing! West Virginia is also home to the Trans-Allegany Lunitic Asylum, a place you don’t want to miss this fall if you happen to be into that kind of thing. Have you heard of the Pumpkin House? If you haven’t, you’re missing out! And while it isn’t necessarily haunted, putting this attraction on your list of Halloween Fun in West Virginia is a must! Head over to Point Pleasant and see if you can spot the Mothman! We go almost every time we are in West Virginia! There’s a funky museum, a super cool statue, and you can kind of drive down one of the roads where mothman was spotted. While the nature reserve is officially closed to the public because of the old bomb shelter and artillery storage areas, you can kind of drive down and get totally spooked!!!

Mothman Statue

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