Ten {More} Great Eats in Houston, Texas

Bebidas 2606 Edloe St, Houston, TX 77027

Situated in the the somewhat swanky River Oaks neighborhood of Houston sit Bebidas. As a Californian and a DC-ite I can tell you for sure that this place is a hipster-millennial, health conscious person’s paradise! Bebidas serves cold-pressed juices, brown rice bowls, kale salads and vegan options. They have fancy toasts, all day tacos, breakfast and a kids menu. Throw in the most adorable wallpaper and neon sign, sweet garden area and their famous Snowballs {dessert} put Bebidas on your list for lunch with girlfriends, an early evening date or a place to grab some respite from the Houston humidity.

Coppa Osteria 5210 Morningside Dr, Houston, TX 77005

Coppa Osteria is some of the best Italian food I’ve ever had, and it should be on the list of places you eat while visiting Houston. Located in the South Hampton/Rice University area, it has a small town feel as it sits on a quiet street perfect for outdoor dining and people watching. The inside and outside seating options are equally fantastic choices; and it blends a fancy Italian vibe, with its candelabras and large mirrors, with a casual sidewalk cafe – perfect for a date night or a casual dining experience. The pizza dough and almost all the pasta is made in house (and you can watch your pizza getting made inside).

Velvet Taco 4819 Washington Ave, Houston, TX 77007

When you need some really good food at 2am Velvet Taco is your best choice in Houston. Although I will say at 2am the over TWENTY options is a little overwhelming, but oh so good. Buffalo Chicken, Rotisserie Chicken, Nashville Hot Tofu, Cuban or Korean Pork and Kobe Bacon Burger are just a few of the options you have to pick from. Velvet Taco makes their own tortillas, slow roasts their own chicken and make everything from scratch. This is not your average fast food in the middle of the night. Where else can you get an artfully crafted meal that you might not remember the next morning? Don’t forget to pick up a slice of Red Velvet cake too.

Niko Niko’s 301 Milam St, Houston, TX 77002

Among the must-visit places in Houston that about four or five people mentioned to me before I went the first time was Niko Niko’s. Why? Well, because gyros and history. Opening their first stand in 1977, Niko’s has expanded to three locations and is the one of the historic pillars of the Houston restaurant world. In a city full of new and different, coming and goings, Niko’s has been providing the same amazing food and family experience for over thirty years. And if you were wondering if I might be over-exaggerating a little bit, Guy Fieri saw fit to include Niko Niko’s on Diners, Drive-In’s and Dives “Legends of Texas Episode”

The Rice Box 1111 S Shepherd Dr, Houston, TX 77019

As soon as I heard about this place {and more importantly – saw the pictures} I was really hoping I’d find the time to make it here. John Peterson, the creator of this dystopian vibe, loves two movies – Blade Runner and Big Trouble in Little China. The food truck gave you vibe, but the restaurants immerse you in the vibe. The neon lights, the exposed wires, combined with the industrial feel give you a unique experience. And while it is simply Chinese take out, its seriously good. You’ll find your food truck staples, for those that remember the good ole days when Rice Box was only a food truck, standard Chinese food fare, house favorites and Thai Tea on Nitro tap…I mean, for real that’s a thing. The chow mein was really good, but my absolute favorite thing was their Yang Chow friend rice. It adds a Chinese sausage to the mix that I’ve never had before and it was YUM!!! I had a real strong desire to eat the entire bin of it. You have two locations to chose from, and while its easy and fast for a grab and go meal, eating in and taking in the vibe is a must as well. 

Maharaja Bhog (Thali) 8338 Southwest Fwy, Houston, TX 77074

Looking for amazing Indian food and a unique experience? Maharaja Bhog provides a traditional Thali experience that is probably one of the most interesting food experiences I have ever had. Thali is an buffet type style dining experience served on a silver platter, or the Thali, to you. No need to get up and go through a buffet line. The idea behind this style of dining is to gather the six different flavor experiences – salt, sweet, bitter, sour, astringent and spicy on one platter. Indian food custom states that a proper meal should a perfect balance of all of that. This particular restaurant we went to is quite amazing, and is well known in the area and internationally, with Houston being their only US location. So, if you are in Mumbai or Dubai look them up. Otherwise, when in Houston, check out this really neat experience.

Present Company 1318 Westheimer Rd, Houston, TX 77006

High on my personal list of places to visit was Present Company, located in the Montrose area of Houston, is like an instagrammer’s paradise. One of my goals was to get a group of bloggers and influencers together in Houston. After visiting there the first time I completely fell in love, and I knew I had to go back. People have places they love – my mom loves San Francisco, my MIL loves Tahoe, I have friend that loves London and another that is simply nuts over New Orleans. My love is Houston. I can’t quite put my finger on it, but I do, and places like Present Company are a part of that love. So, following along with other bloggers in the city I came across Souzi (Confidently Corporate). Together, with another blogger, we got together a group on bloggers and sampled new drinks, food and got to know each other. I connected with another amazing group of Houston photographers and talked one of them {Hidalgo – check out his stuff here} into coming out to take pictures and we were set! It was a blast and I really didn’t want to call it a night. We are already plotting our next get together. The people at Present Company are incredible, the drinks are so interesting and unique and the food is yummy. Plus, you really can’t find ambiance like this anywhere else! Go now, and thank me later.

Christy’s Donuts  1103 W Gray, Houston, TX 77019

I love me a good donut – specifically a donut with white frosting and sprinkles. When I asked around I heard that Christy’s was the place for a good donut in Houston, so I made a swing by while I was out on one of my crazy site seeing days. It looks like a small, hole-in-the-wall typical donut shop, nothing to write home about. But what they don’t offer in Instagram-worthy murals, they make up for in actual good donuts. They’ve been in the game for a long time and they know what they are doing. They are simply here to offer up some freaking good donuts and that’s all folks! No one can really say it better than Joanna from the Houstonia online magazine – with her Ode to Christy’s article. Check it out.

Amy’s Ice Cream 3816 Farnham St, Houston, TX 77098

Amy’s Ice Cream, opening in 1984, hails from Austin, Texas. And yes, there is a real Amy. With a flavor list a bajillion miles long, there’s something for everyone at Amy’s. From Apple to Avocado to super weird flavors like Guinness Gingerbread and Hatch Chili Peach, if you couldn’t find something that peaked your curiosity I’d be shocked. They call the servers “Scoops” and even have Scoop Olympics. Its a safe bet to say they take their ice cream seriously. And as a side note, their Mexican Vanilla Ice Cream is world famous…so even if you like things plain you’re safe.

Tout Suite 2379, 2001 Commerce St, Houston, TX 77002

The only NEW coffee shop I tried this visit was Tout Suite. Part coffee cafe, part bakery, part Brunch spot – Toute Suite is a huge location, with plenty of seating and perfect for working on your computer. Don’t be alarmed by the Tent City across the street, just be aware. I felt safe waiting outside for my Lyft, but if you aren’t expecting it it can be alarming. The highlight is definitely the macaroons, and trying to pick a flavor…or even three might prove difficult. I chose Honey Lavender, Birthday Cake and the Creme Brulee…but had a hard time passing up the Fruity Pebbles and the Churro. I would definitely add this place to my current list of best coffee shops in Houston. To see that list click here.

Continue Reading

All the Movies You Need to Watch {From CNN’s The Movies: The 80s}

When I saw that Tom Hanks was teaming up with CNN to put on another mini series, AND it was about movies, I was thrilled! The Decades series that they did was incredible, and if you haven’t watched it you can head over to Netflix and look for it. But this Movies series seems to be headed in the same direction of amazingness. So far I’ve watched the 80’s episode, and as a self-proclaimed movie buff I feel like they really nailed it, covering the movies that really made the 1980’s. In the 80’s movies became a little edgier in my opinion, but also sought to right many wrongs that as a society we had experienced in the 70’s. There was an overwhelming number of movies that covered the Vietnam War, and by the 80’s we were really starting to recognize that the treatment of veterans and the service members themselves was less than what should have occurred, and I really feel that movies like Born on the Fourth of July, Good Morning, Vietnam and Full Metal Jacket spent time giving the American People a view into the war that wasn’t like anything that had been portrayed in the news media, a more human view.

On top the 80s were really the golden age of Saturday Night Live stars and the movies they were in. Films like Ghostbusters (which is one of my favorites), Trading Places, Blues Brothers, Caddy Shack, Beverly Hills Cop, Three Amigos (which was not mentioned on CNN, and This is Spinal Tap are glorious comedies that stand the test of time…and frankly are a lot funnier than many things out. SNL stars even moved over to less comedic roles like that of When Harry Met Sally (a huge favorite of mine). Films today just frankly aren’t as good on the level that were in the 80’s and the 90’s. I feel like we’re lucky now if there is one good, non-remake or non-fast and the furious movie out at any one time. Maybe Hollywood is just running out of ideas? Sure special effects were in their infancy and sometimes they are pretty funny to look at, there’s a timelessness and re-watchability about many of these movies that you just don’t have as often anymore.

Movies in the 80’s also gave us Blockbusters and Franchise hits – like Die Hard, Star Wars, Indiana Jones, Predator and Terminator. I mean, how can you argue with that. Movies with intense plots, story lines with depth. I mean, sometimes Indiana Jones was just a little more funny than deep, but you get what I’m saying. Below you’ll find the list of all the movies mentioned (which I painstakingly wrote down as I was watching), and I’ve grouped them into my must-see movies and all the rest; but all the rest are still pretty awesome!

What’s your favorite 80’s Movie?



Other’s Mentioned

Raging Bull
Ordinary People
Blue Velvet
The King of Comedy
Heaven’s Gate
The Verdict
Hannah and Her Sisters
Broadway Danny Rose
Purple Rose of Cairo
Crimes and Misdemeanors
Crocodile Dundee
Caddy Shack
The Women In Red
48 Hours
Trading Places
Beverly Hills Cop
Escape From New York
Mad Max 2
Blade Runner
Aliens 2
Fatal Attraction
The Color of Money
First Blood/First Blood II
Missing in Action
Blood Sport
Conan the Barbarian
Hamburger Hill
Sophie’s Choice
Silk Wood
Out of Africa
A Cry in the DArk
The Right Stuff
The Last Empire
Stranger Than Paradise
Drugstory Cowboy
Sex Lies and Videotape
Blood simple
Pee Wees Big Adventure



Continue Reading

4 Easy Ways To Keep Your Kid’s Brains Active This Summer

I don’t know about your kids, but mine aren’t the biggest fans of doing much educational stuff during the summer. I get it and if I asked my mom she would probably say it wouldn’t have been my favorite thing either. But, the summer slide is a real thing! I came across a great article from NWEA, the Northwest Evaluation Association – a not-for-profit organization that has been operating for over 40 years! In this article they discovered that kids moving from 3rd to 4th grade can lose up to 20% of their learning from the previous school year. This is especially true in subjects like math and reading! Other statistics say that by the time child reaches high school 2/3 of the reading achievement gap can be attributed to the summer slide. Forcing kids to do endless amounts of work isn’t the best way to combat this. While all kid’s go through periods of time where school isn’t their favorite, making a positive connection with learning, to me anyway, is important.

So, how do we make learning fun during the summer?

  1. Incorporate learning into everyday activities: This is an easy one! Baking keeps the brain working with reading, math and figuring out how to use the recipe. Plus, it also incorporates stuff like working together and ends with a fun dessert usually! Other ways we do it is countdowns to vacations, how many more days left to this activity or that activity. Using car time to do multiplication facts or reading license plates is also fun.
  2. READ READ READ: I can’t stress this enough! The saying that “Reading is fundamental” is probably the most true statement I’ve ever heard. It is the basis of of EVERYTHING! My oldest isn’t a huge reader, like my daughter or myself, that just means we spend a little more time looking for books he likes. My kids still have a quiet time, even my almost 13 year old. During that time they can take a cat nap, draw, read, build Legos or something like that. Its good for their brains and gets them calm. Reading for at least 20 minutes is a great place to start! Reading endurance is a huge part of learning and something your kids are probably hearing about in school as well.
  3. Simple workbooks – I love the Summer Bridge books because they help the kids work towards a goal, gets them ready school the next year AND are only one page (front and back a day). Its an achievable goal that doesn’t force the kids to do pages and pages of one subject, which might not be their favorite. Plus, my kids like it because it mixes things up, it isn’t just a bunch of one subject every day. We have been doing these bridge books since my oldest was in Kindergarten. They are $10 and you can get them in my Amazon store. They are a perfect price point!
  4. Visit your local library – If your kiddos don’t have a library card the summertime is a perfect time to get one! Libraries usually have more activities during the summer time as well as a summer reading program with prizes!! Visiting the library during the summer is easier for us, and my kids are at the age now where they love to sit and read at the library! Learning to use the library catalog to find books that interest them and then going on the hunt for them all by themselves. More learning!!!

While summertime is for having fun, vacations and being outside, keeping your brain working and active is important for starting school off on the right food come summer’s end.

What ways do you incorporate learning into your summer activities?!

Continue Reading

Visit Houston – The Renzi, Museum of Fine Arts Houston

I was so excited to have the opportunity to visit the Renzi on my trip to Houston. The Renzi is a part of the Museum of Fine Arts Houston collection and is a house museum in the River Oaks neighborhood. The home was donated by Houston philanthropists Carroll and Harris Masterson and full of amazing 17th-19th art, furniture and dishes. It is an absolutely incredible home with incredible grounds as well. The home is kept very much as it was when the Masterson’s lived there, incorporating many items belonging to the Mastersons, with some items brought in that fit with the time periods. The entire house is just gorgeous and interesting, but some of my favorite parts were the library and the ballroom – yeah, you read that right…a ballroom. Complete with family crest inlaid into the floor. No big deal! The Mastersons also spent some time producing Broadway plays, because when you have a lot of money and time why not right?!

Visiting the Renzi is different than your typical museum. Due to the nature of the collection, it is done by reservation and docent-led tours only. There are six tours available Wednesday through Saturday, and four slots on Sundays. The gardens, however, are open for self-guided tours every day, and those are free. Renzi also provides a military discount and kids 12 and under are free! This puts it at a very affordable option in the Houston area.

But for locals, would really recommend looking for one of Renzi’s special events. There are several options throughout the year including Twilight Tours in May, Family Days, Opera and Symphony performances, sketching and art times and focused tours. After you check out the Renzi, make sure to look for the other house museum in Houston, Bayou Bend, which focuses on American Art.


Continue Reading

Great Myrtle Beach Condo Giveaway! {Enter Today}

When we moved to the East Coast we quickly learned that Myrtle Beach, and the surrounding area, was a favorite vacation destination for many of our friends here – and the greater Washington, DC area. Surprisingly we have STILL never managed to make it there. Between military life, visiting family, a busy life with three kids it’s just hard. I know we aren’t alone, that’s why I’m so excited to bring to you the great Myrtle Beach Condo giveaway!!!

Win an Oceanfront Condo and Change Your Life!

Vacation Myrtle Beach, one of the largest providers of family vacation accommodations in Myrtle Beach, SC, is pleased to announce the launch of The Great Myrtle Beach Condo Giveaway contest, which features the grand prize of a furnished oceanfront condo at The Caravelle Resort located in Myrtle Beach, SC, valued at nearly $100,000 (or $50,000 CASH, winner’s choice)!!! Other lucky winners will receive a 7-night stay or a 3-night stay at one of Vacation Myrtle Beach’s oceanfront properties.

The newly renovated, oceanfront efficiency condo offers room for up to four guests and includes a fully-equipped kitchen. In addition to its prime Myrtle Beach location, the resort provides convenient access to all of the area’s major attractions, restaurants, and things to do. Families and couples enjoy a wide variety of on-site amenities including an indoor pool, a block-long poolscape complete with a large pool, whirlpool, lazy river, kiddie lazy river, kids’ pool, poolside bar, and plenty of relaxing deck options. In addition to everything you need for fun in the sun, the resort offers an array of dining options as well as an opportunity for rejuvenation and relaxation at its on-site spa.

The Great Myrtle Beach Condo Giveaway sweepstakes is now open for entries. To enter and get official rules, as well as more information about Vacation Myrtle Beach properties,  click here –> Enter here!

Continue Reading