And just like that, Christmas 2018 is over. It came, and it went! I don’t even know where the year’s gone, but it’s been such a great ride.
As I get older, sometimes it’s hard to get in the Christmas spirit… responsibilities, work, bills, social events, adulting…
At Christmas Eve mass last night, I thought to myself, this is my 30th Christmas!
And I looked around at all the people there, all different ages, all different backgrounds, and thought about all the Christmases they’ve celebrated; the number of Christmases my parents have celebrated; and I looked around at all the children and their bright eyes, looking at all the lights & the decorations, dressed in their red and their green, trembling with excitement. And I remembered that same excitement when it was my 8th Christmas too! After about 20, there will be some years when the feeling just isn’t there… until RIGHT at Christmas!
This year though, I was quite in the holiday spirit early on – had my decorations up the weekend after Thanksgiving, and I wanted all the red, glittery, sparkle everything I could find!
Sometimes it’s hard to feel the sparkle & shine of life, but I hope you all have felt it this Christmas!! And if by chance, it didn’t go the way you’d hope (as holidays usually don’t!), just know that there’s always next year, God willing ❤️ love you all, thank you so much for stopping by my blog, wishing you many blessings of health, happiness, success & love for 2019!
Once upon a time, not a long while ago, bachelor and bachelorette parties were simple, yet very festive and celebratory affairs, where a young, soon-to-be married couple would have “one last night” to be wild and free with some of their best friends before the impending incarceration in which we call marriage. (just kidding, I don’t think that way!) It used to be a night before or a couple nights before the actual wedding, and didn’t really consist of too much other than maybe dinner and drinks with your girlfriends, and perhaps a male stripper if you were on the wilder side… Then millennials started getting engaged and married and it turned into a weekend get-away with your closest gal-pals to get really wild. (I blame Vegas for this)
Now don’t get me wrong – AT ALL – I ABSOLUTELY adore a destination bachelorette party! But sometimes, it just doesn’t fit in someone’s schedule or perhaps even a budget! So when my cousin asked me to be one of her koumbares and plan her bachelorette party, she was very carefree & go with the flow, “I don’t mind at all what we do or where we go, here’s who I’d like to attend, knock yourself out…” the only thing was that between moving across the country in July to be with her Sailor, having a new work schedule and coming back and forth for dress fittings and wedding preparations… well time was a precious commodity.
Houston isn’t exactly a city one comes to to vacation. We’re a commercial city, people come here to work! But we know how to have a d*mn good time!
There are only a few things that one must truly need to successfully pull off a bachelorette party and that’s :
(lol, jk… but actually)
Luckily in the Bayou City, the temperature rarely falls below 85 F well into mid October, so a Labor Day staycation was the perfect time to lay by the pool since that’s all anyone wants to do anyway!
Literally the Best Pool in the Nation, y’all!
Right in the center of downtown, is a little modern, urban oasis, with a Texas shaped pool, a pool that looks over Discovery Green, goddess treatment and a stellar spa (I highly recommend the massage!) – this is the place to hang out for the day or overnight. There are multiple hotels in Houston that would offer the same, luxurious experience, such as the Houstonian, but I decided that the Marriott Marquis would be great for a recently relocated Texan!
That evening, we went back to my house, which is close to a very popular nightlife district, to enjoy a rather naughty time learning about fun toys and being served by a handsome BUTTler. Decorating and party favors don’t have to be expensive, and you can find lots of really great and affordable things on Amazon!
Then we went out for a traditional bachelorette bar-hopping experience! (only thing is that we didn’t get out of the house til midnight, so we only stayed at one bar… haha!)
Brunch, which is always a great idea, can only be elevated by an accompanying performance! Houston now is home to a Hamburger Mary’s, the Original drag brunch! And let me tell you something, honey… Houston Queens can SERVE! On top of that, the food is GREAT!! (as are the Bloody Mary’s) As well as being a fun experience, it’s a great place to go with a group of friends.
I suppose Houston isn’t the first stop I’d consider for a destination anything, but there are fun things to do in every corner, which only a true Houstonian can truly appreciate. And besides, who doesn’t like a spa day and some time out by the pool accompanied by a fruity drink?
There are plenty of places to play here, my sweet bachelorettes (and any Maids of Honor or Bridesmaids who are currently stressing over where, what, how and when to plan a bachelorette party your best gal pal would love). Throwing a Bachelorette Party in your own town should be an easy job, let me know other ideas and suggestions! 🙂
The goal was to come home last night and share all of the things that I’ve been grateful for this year here on Glam Greek, but after starting my day at the crack of dawn and spending half my day on side of the city and then the latter part on the other; I was knocked out by 10! Granted, there was lots of turkey involved in my day and isn’t there some sort of scientifically proven fact that turkey has some sort of enzyme that when it breaks down it causes fatigue?! Either way, Thanksgiving 2018 was REALLY nice!!! Sometimes the holidays can feel really overwhelming. What is it about this time of year and having people over that gives everyone like, this intense need to make everything perfect? I felt that this year was a little more chill after I finally allowed myself to just go with the flow! And really took the time to think of the things I was really grateful for this year.
This Thanksgiving, I am thankful for:
The place and location I moved to January 2018
The vacations I was able to take!
The people I’ve met & relationships I’ve made
The experiences that helped me grow
Buying a new car!
Keeping my faith through the tough times
The good times I had with those I love most
Watching this blog and my style grow
The friends who’ve stuck with me through the ups & downs this year
My wonderful family
Denim Jacket : recycled from years in my closet | Body Suit & Pants : Emerson Rose Houston | Shoes : Asos
I am also thankful for these paper bag elastic waist band pants that have been VERY popular this year! I found the most perfect fall colored pants from a boutique here in Houston along with this body suit which I also wore for my Disco Fever Halloween costume. I paired with these platform cork sandals that tied together this 70’s color palette inspired outfit. and it was greatly comfortable even after 2 plates full of Thanksgiving dishes and treats!
Thanksgiving isn’t complete without beautiful rusty orange shadows and lipstick colors. I used the Morphe x Jaclyn Hill The Vault palette in “Ring the Alarm” on my eyes and “Out Loud” Always On liquid lipstick by Smashbox on the lips. Finished off the look by nixing a thick winged liner and and using Selfless false lashes by Glory by K.
I am currently ABSOLUTELY OBSESSED and 90% positive that I will never use another nail polish brand besides OPI’s Infinite Shine. They have an amazing array of colors for all the seasons, and their color “Hold Out For More” is a beautiful deep orange that suits the season and the holiday. Besides the fact that the color is immaculate, it holds up SO well. My contribution to Thanksgiving dinner was a broccoli, cheese & rice casserole, cranberry sauce and a beet/pomegranate/arugula salad. My manicure, which I had gotten on Monday lasted through all the chopping, mixing, peeling, prepping, washing, scubbing, and wiping that happens during the preparation of a Thanksgiving feast. Having a presentable manicure for Thanksgiving day is both a miracle and a blessing, of that, I am very thankful as well!!
Hope you all had a blessed holiday, and cheers to the next month of Christmas cheer!
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:
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.
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).
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.)
There are plenty of places to sit, but regardless, be sure to wear comfortable clothing and good walking shoes!
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.
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.
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!
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! 🙂