Perhaps  it’s the typically warm Houston weather that can last well into November, maybe it’s the fact that I’m not quite in Christmas mode until after Thanksgiving, or possibly it’s because I don’t care for large crowds of (sometimes) boozed up women spending oodles of money in a tight, enclosed space, but I never felt the need the attend the Nutcracker Market, despite it’s considerable annual significance in this city.

I take a great pride in living in one of the top US cities that has an extensive fine arts district. The Houston Ballet is the 5th largest in the United States in terms of number of dancers, and the theater that houses their performances, the Wortham Center, is America’s largest professional dance facility! Each year, as the Ballet gears up for their almost 2 month long (exquisite and magical) production of The Nutcracker, they roll into town at the beginning of November with this Texas-sized holiday market to raise funds for the Houston Ballet Foundation, their Academy & scholarship programs.

Every year around this time, the ladies of the city are lacing up their sneakers, prepping their monogrammed shirts, summoning their girl gangs and preparing their bank accounts, but all I can think about is the traffic and the crowds and spending more money than my budget would allow and I usually say to myself, “Not today, Satan!”

Until this year.

For lots, this is an annual tradition. You get together with your besties and/or your mom, sisters, tias & primas and make a big day of it! Ladies often tailgate beforehand (as it’s now held at NRG Center, next door to NRG Stadium where the Houston Texans play, so tailgating is only fitting for this event), getting a pre-game buzz going so that they can shop, shop, shop til they drop. A family friend of ours asked if we’d like to EXPERIENCE the market this year with her crew. Because this isn’t just a holiday market, it’s a holiday EXPERIENCE! I however, had no vacation days left this year and could not finagle even a half day to attend, so we decided to go after work on a Thursday, their opening night to the public.

Tips for making your first time as painless and as enjoyable as possible:

  1. If this is your first time, like mine, I would suggest to do as I did for my first time as well and attend after 3 P.M. on Thursday evening as the crowd is minuscule to what (I’ve heard to be) the normal daytime crowd. Because you guys, OH EM GEE!!! When you walk in, your jaw hits the floor.

    Booths, upon booths, upon booths, upon booths, upon booths, upon BOOTHS of merchandise.

    Anything and everything from the obvious Christmas decor & gifts & wrapping, to clothing to accessories to home décor to knick knacks to snacks and food to furniture to jewelry to shoes to house-ware to ANYTHING AND EVERYTHING IN BETWEEN!!

    If you are a Nutcracker Market virgin like I was until 2018, you need NOT a crowd of retail hungry females ruining your experience when the experience in and of itself is overwhelming enough.

  2. Do your research : Upon entering the market, you are greeted by a volunteer who hands you a very  large, empty shopping bag with a program. The program contains a list of their sponsors and a FULL list of merchants including a description of what they carry, along with their booth number and a website, if applicable (you can also find this on the Nutcracker Market website if you want to do your research prior to attending).

  3.  If you need some help with the anxiety that can come from not knowing even where to start, there are plenty of bars with menu options from beer to mimosas to cocktails to double cocktails. (there are also non-alcoholic options like water!! Stay hydrated, my friends.)
  4. There are plenty of places to sit, but regardless, be sure to wear comfortable clothing and good walking shoes!
  5. Utilize the people there; lots of vendors have been there for consecutive years and right in the center of the market is an information center where you can ask questions to a handful of expert volunteers who will usher you in the right direction for whatever it is that you are looking for.
  6. Use ride-share to get there! Unless you plan on buying everything you see, the first time is really overwhelming, so I didn’t buy a thing. We took a Lyft, and used a code for $10 off a round trip ride that I found on the Nutcracker Market website. If you do plan on spending big bucks, then you might want to take your own car. Be aware of the $12 parking fee & $20 ticket price just to get in the market, FYI.
  7. Be prepared for buyers remorse/consumer regret. Everything you see there can literally either be made on your own or bought on Amazon/Hobby Lobby/Home Goods. Fight the urge to buy that $63 mermaid stocking… but the “see it, want it, buy it, own it” is REAL, girl!

You will leave feeling the Holiday spirit, financially depleted, and ready for next year’s Market!! If you’re anything like me, you will spend the ride-share car ride home creating a game plan for making sure you have at least one extra day of vacation, the vendors that you’ll plan to visit next year, the monogrammed shirts you’ll all wear, and who’ll be bringing the bubbly to the tailgate!

If you have any tips to help with my second go-around next year, please leave in the comments or email me! I’d love to hear more.

Should you be interested in visiting for the first time this year, check out their website for more information!

Houston Ballet | Nutcracker Market

xoxo

La Glam Greek

I’ve been thinking a lot about time lately, as my birthday usually brings this about  – how we use it, where it goes, how fast it goes as you get older, where I was at this time last year vs where I’m at now and all the time that’s passed in between.. then there was daylight savings this past weekend and even my priest’s Sunday sermon was about time this week!

Time is such an arbitrary concept.. what does it mean? What is it? This inter-dimensional property that even physicists can barely explain? It seems to go by SO slow as children – we go to school and wait for summer vacation and the summer seems to last forever. I used to hate when annual things would come and go as a kid because it left me feeling so sad and like, how could I possibly wait another year to see all my family or friends again? Now as an adult, I feel like I’m constantly marveling at how fast a year passes by.

Even as decades pass and time changes, we, as a society, most times as a generation, like to look back on better times.

This fall, one of my Halloween costumes was 70s disco, and I got the inspiration for my costume from my parents and my tias, which all said it was like looking through a time machine!! And thinking about where I am in life, it was really nice to play homage to my mom with this year’s costume, because she was about my age in the late 70’s/early 80’s.

70s fashion is also perfect for fall because the rusty orange, cognac leather, and the ever trendy mauve-pink color palette of the decade works well with the season!

T U R B A N : local beauty supply store or you can find some on Amazon or Etsy
T O P : Bodysuit by Emerson Rose
C O A T : Target
P A N T S : Flare Bottoms by Mez Boutique
S H O E S : Steve Madden

This makeup was fun and actually very easy! I started by blending a soft brown through my crease – Soft Brown by MAC – just a shade lighter than my skin tone. Next I went to the lid using Steamy by MAC, followed by a bluish/teal tinted glitter from a small makeup boutique no longer in service, but Transparent Teal by MAC is a good dupe. A white pencil in my water line, and a pair of fluffy/wispy false lashes. I then used Bottle Green by MAC on the bottom lash-line blended out with Steamy to create a soft, iridescent smokey eye. I finished off the eyes with Lumi pigment by Sugar Pill Cosmetics as a highlight on the brow bone and inner corner. For brows, I used the tinted brow gel by Anastasia Beverly Hills through the brows to create messy definition. I then used bronzer and blush with most of the product placed at the part of the cheekbone that meets the ear for that long 70’s face shape. For the lips I wanted a bright frosty pink, which I don’t actually own in all of the thousands of lipsticks that I own. So I created this color by using Magenta lip pencil by MAC all over the lips, with Saint Germain and Snob lipsticks, also by MAC, with a touch of Vanilla MAC pigment on top to create that frosty look. But I also wanted a glossy look to this lip, so I applied Oyster Girl on top (again, by MAC).

I am a huge fan of keeping time-specific inspired pieces in my wardrobe, because time keeps going, but fashions recycle! I love throwing a recycled trend (i.e. bell bottom jeans, embroidered skirts, over the knee boots, etc) in with modern pieces. It’s a good way to keep your style edgy and honestly, up to date. Even if you like to keep your style minimal, your makeup can always tell your story because even makeup trends recycle! The metallic eye, gilded lids, graphic liner?? These aren’t new things, honey! The styles we see on magazine covers and blogs like the one you’ve visited today were on magazine covers and in fashionista’s closets once upon a time before.

Pro-tip : keeping your closet/wardrobe inspired with pieces that were relevant once upon a time makes it easier to create a costume come time for a themed party or Halloween, because who really wants to spend $60 on a cheaply made costume you’ll never wear again??

I had so much creating this look, I can see why styles from the past always come back full circle! They just can’t make it like that anymore. It would be so fun to do a costume like this again, I see a Studio 54 Party in my future! 🙂

 

xoxo

The Glam Greek

Well the first full weekend of October has passed and it was sweltering! Still no sweaters in sight. And like every first weekend in October in Houston, the annual Greek Festival is held, rain or shine.

It’s actually sort of perfect that we were blessed again with perfect pool day weather for Greek Festival because I’m starting to really miss Greece again, but then again, when am I not? I love swimsuit cover ups that are a versatile piece to have in my closet, especially if that means I can wear it in Greece and then again here, as if I were bringing a piece of it back with me. *tear*…

Here are my favorite cover ups from Summer 2018, that can be used at other times of the year than besides in the summer or just when you go to the beach, which means, more bang for your buck, and I’m all about that :

A Lightweight LBD

This one from Stitch Fix gave me SO much life this summer. My favorite way to wear it from beach to lunch or post late-evening swim drinks was with a straw fedora and Birkenstocks like pictured… and will probably wear with a denim jacket and sneakers like Stan Smiths or with a flannel tied around the waist and booties when the temperatures drop a bit more. AND… it has POCKETS!

An Oversized White Cotton Button Down

You can find these at H&M, you can find them at Forever XXI, you can find them just about anywhere and you can find them for reasonable prices. Even BETTER idea is to find these for pocket change at a thrift store! Wherever you find one, be sure that it’s cotton or linen because you do not want to catch yourself on a boat in the middle of the summer in a shirt made of a fabric that does not breathe! Find one long enough that you can wear open or with a few of the middle to bottom buttons closed or you can wear the shirt tied up in a knot at the waist paired with denim shorts. Then, wear with jeans and sneakers or with pumps for a date night outfit! You can never go wrong with a white button down shirt.

Denim Cut Offs

Like the aforementioned white button down, I’m not sure what’s more classic than denim? Worn simply with a one piece swimsuit or paired with anything to cover up on top like a tee or tank or a sleeveless chambray? This piece speaks for itself for it’s versatility in your closet or when having to pack for a trip, so I don’t think I need to say anymore.

Sarong

Sarongs hadn’t really been my thing. When I think of “Sarong” I think of walking along a Hawaiian beach in Maui, and nothing is wrong about that at all, but it just feels almost too tropical which is usually reserved for vacations and certain outfits, which sort of limits your options on how to repurpose the piece into your wardrobe. As someone who likes to support local owned businesses and especially locally woman owned businesses, I was thrilled when a couple of friends of mine opened an online boutique inspired by Greece. I was even MORE thrilled when literally everything on their site is precious and I need everything for my own closet and home. I especially fell in love with this year’s resort collection and this sarong. I’ve worn this as a headscarf, a shawl, a beach wrap and as a regular scarf. Can we say, perfection?

Will I ever not wear a kaftan or a sheer, flowy maxi dress over a swimsuit again? Of course not!! Caribbean vacations and Vegas pool parties need these kinds of swimsuit cover ups!

But if I can save some suitcase space for a cute cover up that I can also wear to dinner or breakfast on that same vacation or use as a cover up and then bring back home and re-wear at a later date? I’ll take it. Then if you do take it on vacation, you can bring it back and each time you wear it, it can remind you of being back at your favorite place or a happy get-away.

xoxo

La Glam Greek

KALO MINA!!! Octubre, te he estado esperando!

This year, fall has not been exciting me… Probably because the weather’s been SO HOT still!! And the rain… I don’t remember the last time we’ve had a rain free day, which wouldn’t be an issue for this season, if the rain meant an incoming cool front.

But no, it’s been hot, rainy and HUMID.

I feel like I need to be in the rainforest or the jungle, not frolicking in a pumpkin patch wearing a sweater, sipping on a cinnamon dolce latte.

Alas, it’s finally October! My favorite month of the year!! And while temperatures are still in the upper 80’s, pero, feeling like 92, I have to psych myself up for the month that sets the precedence on festivities for the rest of the year.

Even though the weather isn’t cooperating with my Fall Schmood, here’s a list of a few things that are making me excited about for Fall 2018:

  1. Fall Color palette
  • Do trending fall colors really change year to year? No. But while I’m not quite the fan of PSL (please don’t hurt me!), I am LOVING more of the rusty orange and mustard hues that are popular for this season 2018!

2. Fall Fashion

  • Leopard Print
  • Snake Skin
  • Western Inspired Boots/Booties
  • Oversized Blazers

Along with the obvious other reasons I adore October :

  • Libra Season!
  • Birthday Festivities
  • Greek Festival
  • Texas Renaissance Festival (don’t judge me)
  • Cozy weather
  • Halloween!!!

The weather is supposed to be back in the 90’s on Friday, but the evenings are getting cooler… only a matter of time before it’s truly sweater weather!

Happy October, everyone 🙂

xoxo

La Glam Greek

I have become accustomed to a certain lifestyle, I like nice things, and so my favorite things – like clothes and makeup – must be put on the backburner in terms of splurging, because I want to live in a nice part of town and wanted to buy a new car… But I had to make things work somehow!

For the past couple of years, I’ve seen Cupshe, Romwe, and Shein ads for super cute swimsuits come warm weather time, but never considered it because I felt that my money would be best spent elsewhere like on really good, reliable swimwear.

Then I moved out… and I was ready to take the risk on a $20 dollar, super cute and Instagram worthy swimwear despite the rather sketchy spectrum of reviews from “REALLY GREAT” to “DONT WASTE YOUR MONEY”.

Swimsuit I :

After spotting something similar from an article from Popsugar, I eventually stumbled across this candy striped one-piece. It had 4 out of 5 stars on Amazon, and the user submitted photos seemed pretty promising.

the Verdict – this is the swimsuit that covers and holds everything while ALSO making you feel fun and flirty. Maybe others might feel this swimsuit is revealing in the back, but it’s not high enough nor does it show enough cleavage or even side boob to warrant this as scandalously sexy. It’s cute, it’s fun, it’s pretty practical. Love it and worth the Barbie on a Budget gamble.

Swimsuit II :

Swimsuit I turned out to be a rather surprising hit, so I decided to keep going and ended up adding this fun ruffled top and high waisted floral bikini by Cupshe to My Cart. It came in the mail and I tried on the top first.

It. Fit. TERRIBLY!!!! I tried adjusting the straps, I tried taking it in on the sides to consider having it tailored, but the fabric itself was no good. I couldn’t even imagine swimming in something in it.

After the disappointment with the top, I was a little hopeless when it came to the bottoms. But I tried them on anyway. Luckily, I had the top pictured from a previous high waisted swim suit set bought a couple of years ago. And it went perfectly together. The bottoms fit great, but the fabric didn’t have what I’d consider grade A, top of the line material. It lasted me multiple wears to the beach without any issues, but we’ll see how long these babies last.

The Verdict – I expected this would happen. I knew with a 3.6 rating, the odds of loving all parts of my order might not be in my favor. However, I do not regret buying this swimsuit. Only thing I would say is – Dear Cupshe, please provide the option to buy your swim swear as separates!!!

Swimsuit III :

Ever since I got my Amazon Prime membership, I realized all of the amazing, cheap things you could have arrive to your doorstep within 48 hours. Including swim suits! The knotted top was quite a trend this past year in swim suits, as is Gen Z yellow! So, a broke girl trying to stay somewhat within trend, decided to go out on a limb and buy an $11 bikini. The whole set. Eleven Dollars.

The bottoms made me feel like I was wearing an adult diaper because it sat weird around the booty area and front, upper thigh area. But the top was SO worth it!! And this color was ON POINT for Summer 2018.

The Verdict – Like swimsuit II, I knew that I couldn’t love ALL pieces of this swimsuit, because how could true swimsuit love exist for $10.99 and some tax? HOWEVER – the way I felt in the top, the amount of compliments, the way it held up after trips to the lake and pool multiple times this summer… WELL worth the fact that I got rid of the bottoms. No point in keeping something that does not make you feel like a sexy, international celebrity, or something.

Swimsuit IV :

Straight up cant remember the last time I bought a swimsuit from Walmart or if I ever had in my life? I remember buying swimsuits from Old Navy or Academy as a kid, but Walmart was always just that place we got groceries and toiletries for long weekend trips or vacations. But as social media takes over our lives, this INCREDIBLY ADORABLE striped top showed up a few times on my newsfeed from fashion bloggers/influencers. I couldn’t track it down online, and almost gave up on it, but when I happened to run by the Walmart by my house for packing tape of all things, I found the last of these tops in MY SIZE!

The Verdict – WORTH IT!!! and thank you, Walmart, for selling your swimwear as separates to mix and match. Watch out, Target, Walmart might be one of my first stops next year for Instagram-worthy and affordable swimwear.

As with anything that you buy online, you never know what you’re going to get. And with so many sketchy “boutiques that I saw ads on Instagram…”‘s out there, you NEVER KNOW! But do the research and read the reviews. The items with customer photos and multiple, detailed reviews are going to give you a better idea on where to set your expectations. But regardless of how the ratings and reviews are, don’t expect too much either, you know?  Either way, I was thankfully very pleased with the affordable, cute and decent quality selection that’s out there. Sometimes, those questionable ads you see on Instagram aren’t that bad after, all!

 

xoxo,

La Glam Greek