Wednesday, December 28, 2016

3 Strategies to Make 2017 Your Most Organized Year Yet!

The new year represents a clean slate and the chance to begin again. It's also the ideal time to clear out unwanted items and organize your home for the year ahead. If you want a fresh start to 2017, let these decluttering approaches inspire you.
Organizational Apps
Decluttering apps are plentiful, and they provide an effective way to complete the purging process. Some, like Snupps, let you digitize your belongings and organize them into simple categories or "shelves." From there, you decide what to keep, sell or give away. You can also reach out to other users for organizational inspiration, discover items you may be interested in acquiring or show off your personal collection.
Room-by-Room Schedule
To systematically remove clutter over time, try monthly organization that's broken down by room. For example, you can tackle the kitchen in January and give the home office a deep clean in February. Make a schedule that works for you. This method may feel less overwhelming and rushed.
Single Purge 
Prefer to declutter your entire home all at once? Designate a few days or a weekend to devote to the process. The secret is to stay focused on one task at a time and avoid getting sidetracked. Work your way through each room one by one until you've cleared out all areas of your home.
The new year is fast approaching and now's the time to eliminate your clutter. Whether it's an app, a 12-month schedule or one big purge, there's no shortage of methods to help you have a more organized 2017.

Friday, December 16, 2016

Sunday Open Houses! December 18th, 2-5 pm

Open Houses in Woodland Heights, Willowbend, and Sienna Plantation 

2108 White Oak Dr., Woodland Heights 
Make this beautiful Woodland Heights property your new home sweet home. Situated on a large 4,675 sq ft lot, the oversized front porch welcomes you to this beautifully updated home with hardwoods, high ceilings, crown molding, spacious kitchen and black and stainless steel appliances. Living room just off kitchen overlooks large backyard - perfect layout for entertaining. Home is just minutes away from bike and walking trail- a move-in ready gem! 

Stop by the Open House this Sunday (12/18) 2-5 pm! 



Welcome home to this picture-perfect lovingly remodeled ranch in one of Houston's most charming and convenient communities close to the Medical Center, Galleria, and Downtown! With formal living in front and a large den in back, the floor plan is great for families. No neighbors behind - just green space for a private school! Super quiet street at the back of the neighborhood - let the kids can play in the street out front worry-free! Make this your new home today!

Stop by the Open House this Sunday (12/18) from 2-5 pm! 



 GORGEOUS 4-bedroom family home on a large corner cul-de-sac lot. Chef's dream kitchen with granite counters opens to sunny breakfast room, large dining room, and huge great room. This beautifully maintained showstopper is truly a home sweet home! Make it yours today!

Stop by the Open House this Sunday (12/18) from 2-5 pm!

Monday, December 12, 2016

Why I Love Houston: Holiday Outings!


The North Pole via Montrose!
Welcome to my Why I Love Houston Series, where I share my favorite Houston experiences and excursions. My goal is to make my hometown of Houston more accessible to the ever-changing mix of folks adopting our amazing city as their home base and reminding natives of the hidden gems throughout H-town. 

Round up the gang for these Houston holiday events! 

The Nutcracker: The Houston Ballet recently re-imagined this traditional Christmas favorite staged every year at the majestic Wortham Center downtown. Join generations of Houston families to take in the stunning scenery of the Land of the Sweets and the charming cast of characters from the Mouse King to the Sugar Plum Fairy. (Last performance 12/27).

It's a Wonderful Life: Take in the world premiere of the Houston Grand Opera's riff on the Frank Capra classic, It's a Wonderful Life. Kathlyn's Tips: Pre-order drinks at the bar so they will be waiting for you at intermission. Bring your binoculars or rent them on the Grand Tier Level, 5th Floor of the Wortham Center. (Last Performance 12/17). 

Into the Woods: TUTS presents this Broadway crowd pleaser for the holiday season. The music is magical and the cast of fairy tale favorites will enchant young and old. Make a reservation for dining before the show at Artista, conveniently located in the Hobby Center for the Performing Arts with views of Tranquility Park. (Last Performance 12/18). 

Shen Yun: Enjoy the pageantry of classical Chinese dance and music at Jones Hall. Be sure to admire the five civic art pieces on display inside and outside this elegant venue, including The Dancer who greets theater-goers and passersby.  (Last Performance 1/2/17).

Moody Gardens: Head to Galveston for their Festival of Lights and Caribbean Christmas Ice Sculptures at Moody Gardens. Be sure to get tickets for the live penguin encounter at the Aquarium Pyramid. (Ends 1/8/17).

Houston Zoo Lights: More than two million lights and plenty of hot chocolate await you and your family at the Houston Zoo. Be sure your phones and cameras are charged because there's plenty of photo opportunities from a musical, talking Cadillac to a 33-foot tall Christmas tree. Kathlyn's Tip: The Houston Zoo has a recycling bin for unwanted holiday string lights located at the main entrance. 
(Ends 1/15/17).

The ICE at Discovery Green: Get some Christmas cardio at Discovery Green's ice rink which also has a smaller rink for the under 4 set. Afterwards, marvel at the winter art installations currently on display in the park. Kathlyn's Tip: Be sure to check their Facebook page for closure announcements due to unseasonably warm weather. (Ends 2/5/17).

Merry Christmas!
Kathlyn 

Friday, December 9, 2016

Lights in the Heights!

Why I Love Houston: Lights in the Heights!
Lights in the Heights Sneak Peek - Norhill Esplanade

Lights in the Heights is a yearly tradition in my Woodland Heights neighborhood where we roll out the welcome mat to our fellow neighbors and the entire city to celebrate holiday decor in all its megawatt glory - from LED spectacles to luminarias lining the driveways. Whether you're attending a house party like me or simply admiring from the sidewalk, there's no better way to get into the holiday spirit! So mark you calendar for Saturday, December 10th. Be on the lookout for the towering palm trees decked out like candy canes on the corner of Michaux and Woodland, along with the glowing dinosaurs on the Norhill Esplanade.

Candy Cane Palm Trees 

Pterodactyl Sighting on Norhill Esplanade


Practical tips for enjoying Lights in the Heights: This year's route is on Euclid and Woodland, from Studewood to Houston Ave. Please be mindful if parking in the neighborhood as you will not be able to park on closed streets which are barricaded around 5 pm and re-opened at 9 pm. There are port-o-lets located on the Norhill Esplanade and along the route.

If you need a break from all the festivities, the Red Dessert Dive on Studewood is open until 10 pm and you can enjoy a glass of cocoa or wine with their decadent dessert selections. Be aware seating is limited in their cozy space. Antidote Coffee, also on Studewood, is a great spot for refueling during the festivities, especially for their cajeta latte!

Here's to making spirits bright!

Kathlyn

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Why I Love Houston: Easy Holiday Escapes!

Map out a holiday excursion to Austin, San Antonio, and Palestine for the Polar Express!
Welcome to my Why I Love Houston Series, where I share my favorite Houston experiences and excursions. My goal is to make my hometown of Houston more accessible to the ever-changing mix of folks adopting our amazing city as their home base and reminding natives of the hidden gems throughout H-town. 

Plan ahead to take a road trip during the holiday season with these amazing Texas destinations!

All aboard! Make your reservation for a seat on The Polar Express Train Ride in Palestine, Texas, approximately 2 1/2 hours from Houston. Departures run through December 28th and fill up fast so don't miss out. Complimentary cookies and cocoa are served as the train makes its way to the North Pole for an on-board visit with Santa and the elves! Revisit this Christmas classic before your trip when Brazos Bookstore features The Polar Express at their Holiday Storytime on Saturday, December 17, 10:30 am. 

Feliz Navidad! Head to San Antonio for the city's Fiesta de La Luminarias (Dec. 2-18) when the River Walk is illuminated by more than 2000 luminarias. Grown-ups can enjoy a cocktail at the Esquire Tavern, the oldest bar on the River Walk with the longest wooden bar top in the state! San Antonio's SeaWorld hosts the largest display of lights in Texas with five million twinkling LED lights and Rudolph too! (Through Jan. 1). For a parade of lights on the water closer to home, visit Kemah for the annual Christmas Boat Lane Parade on Saturday, December 10th at 6 pm. More than 100 powerboats and sailboats decked out in Christmas cheer cruise the Clear Lake Channel to Galveston Bay. 

The Stars at Night are Big and Bright! Deep in the heart of Austin, Zilker Park is home to the Trail of Lights (December 10-23) where locals gather every Christmas to stroll the grounds full of sparkly displays, a lighted tunnel, and the stunning Zilker Christmas Tree. Kathlyn's Tip: For a date night dinner in the Capitol City, make a reservation at Counter 3. FIVE. VII, owned by my talented friend Eric Earthman. The menu features seasonal, fixed course options in an intimate setting for a phenomenal dining experience. 

Happy Trails!

Kathlyn 





Thursday, December 1, 2016

Four Open Houses this Sunday, December 4th, 2-5 pm!


Open Houses in Woodland Heights, Willowbend, Sienna Plantation, and Memorial


Make this beautiful Woodland Heights property your new home sweet home. Situated on a large 4,675 sq ft lot, the oversized front porch welcomes you to this beautifully updated home with hardwoods, high ceilings, crown molding, spacious kitchen and black and stainless steel appliances. Living room just off kitchen overlooks large backyard - perfect layout for entertaining. Home is just minutes away from bike and walking trail - a move-in ready gem!
  

Welcome home to this picture-perfect lovingly remodeled ranch in one of Houston's most charming and convenient communities close to the Medical Center, Galleria, and Downtown! With formal living in front and a large den in back, the floor plan is great for families. No neighbors behind - just green space for a private school! Super quiet street at the back of the neighborhood - let the kids can play in the street out front worry-free! Make this your new home today!


GORGEOUS 4-bedroom family home on a large corner cul-de-sac lot. Chef's dream kitchen with granite counters opens to sunny breakfast room, large dining room, and huge great room. This beautifully maintained showstopper is truly a home sweet home! Make it yours today!


Check out the phenomenal 3 bedroom and 2 bath gem just a short distance from local shops and restaurants! Open floor-plan features tile floors and built-in shelves in living areas. Kitchen is a chef's dream with granite countertops, Stainless Steel appliances, and tons of storage. Retreat to your cozy master suite with spacious bath and closet. Spacious outdoor patio is perfect for entertaining.

Monday, November 28, 2016

Cleaning Tips for Your Hardworking Appliances


Occasionally cleaning household appliances like stoves and refrigerators may seem obvious, but what about equipment that does the cleaning, like the dishwasher and washing machine? Give these often overlooked appliances a deep clean with the following tips before the holidays have them working overtime.
Unclog the dishwasher. The cleaner the dishwasher, the cleaner your dishes will turn out after going through a wash cycle. Take a moment to clean the dishwasher's filter, usually located on the inside bottom of the machine. This detachable filter becomes clogged with food and debris over time, so empty it out regularly to keep it working efficiently.
De-gunk your garbage disposal. Use a natural abrasive combo of ice and salt to loosen grime from the blades. Though it will be loud, run the disposal until the ice is gone. When finished, you can grind up a lemon or lime wedge to deodorize the drain.
Give your washing machine a wash. Hosting out-of-towners during the holiday season? Avoid musty bedding and towels by sanitizing the machine and removing mildew buildup every few months. To do this, run a hot wash cycle without a load and add one cup of bleach to the soap dispenser or directly into the machine.
Give your vacuum more power. Increased foot traffic could have this tool working harder over the holidays. Keep your vacuum maintained with simple fixes like unclogging hoses, cleaning the rotating brush and replacing the filter.
Want to keep your appliances working hard for you? Give them regular attention and their own cleaning now and then.

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Open Houses This Weekend, Sunday Dec. 4th, 2-5 pm!


Open Houses in Woodland Heights, Willowbend, Sienna Plantation, and Memorial


Make this beautiful Woodland Heights property your new home sweet home. Situated on a large 4,675 sq ft lot, the oversized front porch welcomes you to this beautifully updated home with hardwoods, high ceilings, crown molding, spacious kitchen and black and stainless steel appliances. Living room just off kitchen overlooks large backyard -perfect layout for entertaining. Home is just minutes away from bike and walking trail- a move-in ready gem!




Welcome home to this picture-perfect lovingly remodeled ranch in one of Houston's most charming and convenient communities close to the Medical Center, Galleria, and Downtown! With formal living in front and a large den in back, the floor plan is great for families. No neighbors behind - just green space for a private school! Super quiet street at the back of the neighborhood - let the kids can play in the street out front worry-free! Make this your your new home today!



GORGEOUS 4-bedroom family home on a large corner cul-de-sac lot. Chef's dream kitchen with granite counters opens to sunny breakfast room, large dining room, and huge great room. This beautifully maintained showstopper is truly a home sweet home! Make it yours today!


Check out the phenomenal 3 bedroom and 2 bath gem just a short distance from local shops and restaurants! Open floor-plan features tile floors and built-in shelves in living areas. Kitchen is a chef's dream with granite countertops, Stainless Steel appliances, and tons of storage. Retreat to your cozy master suite with spacious bath and closet. Spacious outdoor patio is perfect for entertaining.


Wednesday, November 16, 2016

3 Key Tips for a Stress-Free Dinner Party


Think being a good host means stressing in the kitchen while your guests enjoy the party? Think again. With a little advanced preparation, you can unlock the secrets of a stress-free holiday get-together.
Plan and Practice the Menu
Choose dishes that don't have to be served piping hot, like lasagna, quiches and braised stews. Test out new recipes in advance so you can make necessary adjustments to the ingredients and perfect your prep time. Once you've got the menu figured out, prepare what you can ahead of time. Ready entire courses that will keep for a day; then heat them up just before your guests are set to arrive.
Don't Forget the Drinks
Serving a signature holiday cocktail, whether it's alcoholic or family-friendly, can simplify your hosting process. If you can, find one that can be premixed and served from a pitcher. Chill other beverages in an ice-filled tub to keep your refrigerator food-focused, and position the drink station opposite the food buffet to create a nice flow and avoid bottlenecks. This will help cut back on the number of people congregating in and around the kitchen.
Aim for Easy Cleanup
Plan out the number of serving dishes you'll need in advance, and borrow from family and friends to supplement what you have. Want to reduce your dish-washing burden? Serve hors d'oeuvres, which can be filling and require little more than a napkin. If you do opt to use dinnerware, begin the party with an empty dishwasher so you clear plates and glasses as soon as guests have finished.
These tips will help you enjoy your gathering without the typical hosting hassles.
Cheers!
Kathlyn

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Why I Love Houston: Holiday Shopping Guide


Welcome to my Why I Love Houston Series, where I share my favorite Houston experiences and excursions. My goal is to make my hometown of Houston more accessible to the ever-changing mix of folks adopting our amazing city as their home base and reminding natives of the hidden gems throughout H-town. 

With the holidays fast approaching, many of us turn to online shopping for the convenience. Why not leave behind the laptop and check out these festive markets in Houston for unique presents that also provide the opportunity to meet the creative minds and makers for a soulful shopping and gift giving experience!

The Nutcracker Market (Nov. 10-13) opened on Thursday at NRG Center and the shopping frenzy continues through Sunday, November 13th. Be sure to study their handy floor map of merchants which includes many Houston-based businesses. The proceeds benefit the Houston Ballet which will be premiering a new rendition of The Nutcracker this year. 



Power Stone Rings from Lee Lewis Designs


Flea Style (Nov. 19, 9 am-4 pm) Don't miss this Dallas-based traveling market when it sets up booths filled with handmade and vintage wares inside Silver Street Studios. Be sure to check out the jewelry collection from Lee Lewis Designs, handcrafted by Kaila Lewis who learned the traditional craft of filigree in Ecuador. Her one-of-a-kind designs feature brass, silver, and incredible stones. 




WHAM - Winter Holiday Arts Market (Nov. 19-20) This is the 11th annual three-day juried art sale in the Washington Avenue Arts District. Fuel up with a latte or enjoy an herbal tea at nearby Catalina Coffee before heading in Winter Street Studios to view the wares of over 90 artists. 

DesignCraft Holiday Art Market (Saturday, Dec. 3, 10 am-5 pm) The Houston chapter of the American Institute of Graphic Arts (AIGA) hosts their 7th annual market in downtown's historic Market Square Park. Food trucks will be on site along with live music to accompany your browsing. Be sure to review my recent blog post for exploring downtown before you head out.

The First Saturday Arts Market (Saturday, Dec. 3, 11 am-6 pm) Catch their last market of 2016 to score unique works of art from paintings to photography to sculpture. The location on 19th Street in the Heights provides hardcore shoppers with more opportunities to shop small and local at neighboring businesses.

Glassell Studio School Student Art Sale (Friday, Dec. 9 at noon and Saturday, Dec. 10 at 10 am) Discover up-and-coming talent and find one-of-a-kind gifts at this annual sale featuring prints, paintings, ceramics, watercolor, and jewelry. 

Happy shopping!

Kathlyn 

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Find Your New Home This Sunday!

Stop by one of our 4 Open Houses this Sunday, November 6 from 2 to 5 pm to find your new home.

Check out this charming brick bungalow in the Heights.

4507 Warm Springs Rd., Houston
A must see lovely remodeled ranch-style home in one Houston's most charming communities. 

9418 N Fitzgerald Way, Missouri City
View this gorgeous home on a large corner cul-de-sac lot. 

12955 Trail Hollow Dr., Memorial
Don't miss this phenomenal townhouse a short distance from local shops and restaurants.

See you this Sunday!

The Why I Love Houston Team


Monday, October 31, 2016

Why I Love Houston: Downtown Explorations!

Houston is Inspired Mural by GONZO247 on the corner of Preston and Travis
Welcome to my Why I Love Houston Series, where I share my favorite Houston experiences and excursions. My goal is to make my hometown of Houston more accessible to the ever-changing mix of folks adopting our amazing city as their home base and reminding natives of the hidden gems throughout H-town. 

I'm a big fan of Houston's Downtown Theater District and Historic Market Square Park where you can watch concerts and movies under the stars and visit old school favorites like Treebeards for comfort food lunches and La Carafe for a glass of wine and a possible ghost-sighting. Don't forget to get a photo in front of the nearby Houston is Inspired mural by Houston's own street art ambassador and artist, GONZO247. Here are some future events and sights to add to your downtown explorations!

The International Quilt Festival kicks off Wednesday, November 3 and runs through Sunday, November 6th. Every year visitors from around the world head to the George R. Brown Convention Center to witness the showcase of quilts from traditional to cutting edge. Special exhibits include quilts celebrating the Christmas season, Wild West motifs, Japanese patterns and quilts commemorating the 50th anniversary of the first moon walk. How appropriate for Space City! Exhibitors offer the latest in quilting and embroidery equipment along with classes to inspire professionals and beginners. Wind down with happy hour at the Grove in Discovery Green Park across the street for a sunset finale. 


Sidewalk chalk scenes from past Via Colori Festivals
Downtown's Hermann Square at City Hall is the canvas for the annual Via Colori Street Painting Festival held on Saturday, November 19th - Sunday, November, 20th. Come early and check out the artists as they use the pavement as their palette to create the most amazing works of (temporary) art. The festival also features live music, a family zone and photography center where experts will teach you to capture the works of art for excellent Instagram pics. Houston Via Colori benefits The Center for Hearing and Speech, a local non-profit that serves children with hearing loss. Take advantage of the B-Cycle Station near City Hall and rent a bike for a ride around downtown! 
Downtown's Art Block installations 

For a splash of color, visit the Art Blocks at Main Street Square featuring a variety of installations including Patrick Renner's Trumpet Flower, climbing the side of a building while acting as a shady shelter for pedestrians. The artist also created the Funnel Tunnel which welcomed drivers as they made their way along Montrose. The Main Street Marquee hosts a rotation of murals, including one paying homage to Houston bluesman, Lightnin' Hopkins. Turn the corner on Main and McKinney to experience the vibrance of Color Jam Houston. If you're going to show at House of Blues or the Toyota Center, the art blocks are a delightful detour to add to your downtown Houston outing.


Enjoy!
Kathlyn 

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Trends and Tech for Today's Bathrooms


According to a recent Houzz & Home survey, homeowners are investing more on bathroom renovations than in previous years, largely due to outdated designs and finishes. What types of upgrades are they spending money on? Here are some of the latest trends and tech updates being used in bathroom design.

Aesthetic Additions
You don't have to tackle a full overhaul to make a big impact in the bathroom. Smaller changes can often bring big rewards, both from a resale perspective and by adding value to your daily experience.
Cosmetic favorites, according to the National Kitchen & Bath Association's 2016 bathroom trends, include polished chrome finishes and neutral colors like white and gray. And bathrooms are becoming more streamlined with floating vanities, open shelving and undermount sinks. When larger changes are made, homeowners are incorporating amenities such as no-threshold showers and higher vanity heights that allow for aging in place.
Tech Touches
When you consider updating the appliances in your home, you may automatically think of doing so in the kitchen, living area or laundry room. Many, however, are quickly adopting technological advances in pursuit of the smart bathroom
Some of the more popular add-ons available include:
  • High-tech toilets: The most basic bathroom appliance now has seat-warming options, LED lights, motion sensors and automatic dryers.
  • Accessorized soaking tubs: You can take a basic bath, or you can soak in a chromotherapy tub with mood-enhanced lighting. Or enjoy an air bath, with massaging bubbles similar to a hot spring.
  • Digital faucets and showers: Along with reduced flow, which conserves water and money, faucet features also include touchless technology and programmable settings like a timed shower option.
Which market trends and tech updates appeal most to your family? When done well, these upgrades can improve your quality of life and increase the value of your home.

Friday, October 21, 2016

4 New Must-See Listings! Open Houses Sunday 2-5 pm!


Make this beautiful Heights property your new home sweet home. Situated on a large 4,675 sqft lot, the oversized front porch welcomes you to this beautifully updated home with hardwoods, high ceilings, crown molding, spacious kitchen and black and stainless steel appliances. Living room just off kitchen overlooks large backyard -perfect layout for entertaining. Home is just minutes away from bike and walking trail- a move-in ready gem!


Stop by the Open House this Sunday (10/23) from 2-5pm! 



Welcome home to this picture-perfect lovingly remodeled ranch in one of Houston's most charming and convenient communities close to the Medical Center, Galleria, and Downtown! With formal living in front and a large den in back, the floor plan is great for families. No neighbors behind - just green space for a private school! Super quiet street at the back of the neighborhood - let the kids can play in the street out front worry-free! Make this your your new home today!

Stop by the Open House this Sunday (10/23) from 2-5 pm! 


GORGEOUS 4-bedroom family home on a large corner cul-de-sac lot. Chef's dream kitchen with granite counters opens to sunny breakfast room, large dining room, and huge great room. This beautifully maintained showstopper is truly a home sweet home! Make it yours today!

Stop by the Open House this Sunday (10/23) from 2-5 pm!


Check out the phenomenal 3 bedroom and 2 bath gem just a short distance from local shops and restaurants! Open floor-plan features tile floors and built-in shelves in living areas. Kitchen is a chef's dream with granite countertops, Stainless Steel appliances, and tons of storage. Retreat to your cozy master suite with spacious bath and closet. Spacious outdoor patio is perfect for entertaining.

Stop by the Open House this Sunday (10/23) from 2-5!