Friday, August 26, 2016

Join Me! Theater District Open House

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. 

Why I Love Houston...The Theater District!

Please join me Sunday, August 28th and get to know the venues of the Houston Theater District during their annual, free Theater District Open House in downtown Houston. Visiting the variety of performing arts spaces might inspire you to become a regular! I've already got my season tickets for the Broadway series at the Hobby Center featuring classics like The King and I and nostalgic favorites like Jersey Boys and MAMMA MIA's farewell tour. I also look forward to the lineup for TUTS, Houston's Theater Under the Stars, which presents touring productions and self-produced shows. 
In the Heightsa  winner of five Tony Awards and created by Hamilton mastermind, Lin-Manuel Miranda, kicks off their season in September. The Theater District Open House schedule has performances by the Houston Symphony, the Houston Grand Opera and the Houston Ballet, plus opportunities for kids to check out the instrument petting zoo and learn how to wave a conductor's baton like a pro!  

Budding theater-goers, Jean-Luc and friend, getting their Playbills signed after Wicked

Highlights for the Open House include: 
  • Backstage tours and stage combat demos, Alley Theatre, 12-4 pm 
  • Broadway Showcase, Hobby Center's Sarofim Hall, 12-12:30; 1:30-2; 3-3:30 pm
  • STOMP Performance, Jones Hall Stage, 12:30; 1:15; 2:00; 2:40 pm
  • Tango Demo and Lessons, Wortham Center's Brown Theater Alcove, 12:30-1:30 pm
  • Houston Ballet Rehearsal of Sleeping Beauty, Wortham Center's Cullen Theater, 4-5 pm
  • Houston Symphony Concert, Jones Hall stage, 4-5 pm 

All the world's a stage- see you Sunday! 


Monday, August 22, 2016

Make a Statement with Your Front Door

Your front door is one of the first things guests notice when visiting your home. In addition to providing security and protection, your front door can make a bold statement and reflect your personal style.
But whether or not your current front door matches your home's interior and your taste, if you feel a draft, see any cracks or hear squeaky joints or scraping sounds, it may be time to replace it. Consider your options with some of the most common front door materials and features.
  • Wood: Though beautiful, solid wood doors are expensive and sensitive to the elements. Some modern wood doors come with steel cores to minimize warping and reduce cost.
  • Fiberglass: A durable and cost-effective option is a fiberglass composite door. Their foam cores are good insulators, and they can withstand harsh climates.
  • Steel: Strong but subject to dents, steel doors are the least expensive of the three. They have shorter life spans and aren't well-suited for extreme climates, but depending on their core, they can be energy efficient.
There are multiple styles to choose from, including:
  • Solid panel doors
  • Arched doors
  • Dutch or split doors
  • Double doors
  • Decorative doors with glass inserts
  • Frosted glass doors with ornamental wrought iron overlaid for added security
You could even complement your front door with sidelights or a transom window while also letting in more outside light.
The color of your front door should depend mostly on the exterior style and colors of your house, your personal taste and the type of door chosen. If your house is mostly neutral in color, don't be afraid to go bold with your front door, just like "Chateau Kipper" (pictured above). Contact me to schedule a showing of this beautiful home in Montrose. 
Use these tips to help make your front door an inviting entrance that not only offers protection from the elements but also reflects your personal style.

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Make Your Own Household Cleaning Products

Whether you're looking for greener ways to clean your home or you just want to save money at the store, there are simple household cleaning products you can make on your own. Use the recipes, tips and precautions below to help you get started.
All-Purpose Cleaner
Create your own inexpensive and effective all-purpose cleaner with liquid castile soap, tea tree oil, vodka, washing soda (not baking soda) and white vinegar. Boil the vinegar in the microwave, mix in the remaining ingredients according to the recipe and put the solution in a spray bottle for easy cleaning.
Laundry Detergent
Avoid questionable foaming agents and heavy fragrance by making your own laundry detergent. Measure the correct amounts of soap flakes or grated bar soap, borax and washing soda, and store in an airtight container.
Tips to Keep in Mind
  • Avoid mix-ups by labelling and dating each cleaning product when it's made.
  • Add a few drops of essential oils like tea tree, lavender and lemon to scent your homemade cleaning solutions.
  • Substitute vodka for vinegar if you want a lighter smell.
  • Before using a homemade cleaner on delicate surfaces like hardwood floors or marble, first test it in a small, hidden area.
What to Avoid
  • Do not mix bleach with ammonia or vinegar. The dangerous combination can damage your respiratory system.
  • Keep hydrogen peroxide and vinegar separate at all times. Together they create peracetic acid, a highly corrosive compound that can lead to chemical burns.
  • Don't use vinegar on reactive metal surfaces like aluminum or cast iron.
  • Refrain from using large amounts of any cleaning solution, homemade or store-bought, in unventilated areas.
When mixed and used properly, homemade cleaning solutions can work as well as, if not better than, commercial cleaners, plus they're also easier on your wallet. Make sure you know the basics before you make your own cleaning products.

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Houston Restaurant Weeks!

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.

 Why I Love Houston...Houston Restaurant Weeks Season.

Nothing represents a people and their culture like food. Houston’s cuisine – like the city itself – is diverse, innovative, and accessible. As much as I love to travel, there is truly no place like home for this fifth-generation Houstonian – and food plays no small part in that romance for me and the millions of others who are proud to call Houston home. There’s always a new​ ​place ​to try​ and Houston Restaurant Weeks is the perfect opportunity for plotting​ culinary adventures​ ​while benefiting the Houston Food Bank. Here are some of my favorite picks from this year's list of participating restaurants.

I just enjoyed a celebratory dinner at Artisan's Restaurant in Midtown. They are offering a lunch and dinner menu full of French classics like Petite St. Jacques scallops, duck confit, and chocolate mousse! Midtown is also home to other special occasion foodie favorites, New Orleans classic, Brennan's, Holley's for outstanding seafood and service, and Damian's Cucina Italiana for traditional Italian that's been around for 30 years. I love how Houston Restaurant Weeks is an affordable way to enjoy fine dining and explore the latest restaurants while giving back to the community. 

For refined casual cuisine with a Southern flair, I love the flavors and ambiance of rooftop dining at Harold's on 19th Street – housed in the hallowed remains of the landmark upscale department store by the same name. Harold's recently converted the first floor into a taproom where you can meet up for specialty drinks and craft brews before or after dinner. Other must-reserve spots in the Heights on the HRW list are Brit-inspired Hunky Dory, spicy Thai dishes at Foreign Correspondents and modern American at Glass Wall

Steak lovers should take advantage of the carnivore-friendly offerings at B and B Butchers, Vic and Anthony's before a ballgame downtown, and Brenner's Steakhouse, a Houston tradition since 1936!

After a full day of art-gazing in the Museum District, make a dinner reservation for a table at the Monarch Bistro in swanky Hotel ZaZa (formerly the historic Warwick Hotel) or plan for lunch or dinner at Lucille’s, ​named after the first black female business owner in Texas whose recipes are dished up proudly by her descendants for ​all the Southern comfort​ food​ one art-loving soul could desire. On the weekends, be sure to catch the live Blues brunch, oysters, and fresh fish Texas-style at Danton's Gulf Coast Seafood. Houston Restaurant Weeks runs through September 5, 2016, so be sure to start making those reservations to dine out for a worthy cause. 

Bon appetit!