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

July 13th only comes around once a year, but for those of us here in the Bayou City, every day is 713 day.

In case you have no earthly idea what July 13th and 713 have to with each other besides coinciding numbers, 713 is the most recognized and oldest area code for the greater Houston area. There are others, like 281 and 832, but February doesn’t have 81 days, nor does August have 32. So the OG gets to represent this local little holiday in all its glory.

It doesn’t hurt that Queen Beyonce herself hails from this modest city of 2.3 million people, only the 4th largest city in the U.S., and reps it every chance she gets, along with the likes of other rappers & artists like Drake (who’s actually from Toronto, but I’ll let my Champagne Papi shout out H-Town anytime he wants!). Now you can imagine if someone who’s “never home but always reppin'” is obsessed with this city, those of us who live here full time, have nothing but MAD LOVE for this muggy, hot, traffic hell-hole, flatter than a “booty-do” metropolis.

So why wait for July when you can celebrate and rep Houston all day, every day!?

Best way to do so –  getting your hands on some locally sourced threads so that you can wear your pride everywhere for everyone to see!

As a fairly avid advocate for shopping local, the Heights, Montrose/Westheimer and Memorial areas are great places to find locally owned boutiques with some pretty awesome pieces for showing off your Space City spirit. The tee shown above – which is EVERYTHING, btw – along with the HOU hats (available in 4 different colors, and can be found online here) are from Emerson Rose, with 2 locations in the city and PLENTY of super adorable Texas and Houston shirts, hats, and even bandanas! Or maybe you’re new to the city and having Houston scrawled across your chest or forehead isn’t something you’re ready to commit to. With the statement earring/jewelry trend in no hurry to leave, finding orange colored accessories is a relatively easy feat. Unless orange is your favorite color, in which case if you’re like me orange is anything but, you’re probably thinking, why in the good Lord’s name would I buy bright AF orange earrings, girl?! Well, in case you live under a rock, the Astros are the 2017 World Series Champs! Also, in which case you’re like me and could give 3 and a half cares about sports, this refers to baseball. And orange is basically like, their team color! OH and Whataburger! It’s Team Whataburger’s colors as well.

Actually… I might go put on these earrings from Bauble Bar (this style is no longer available, but similar ones here) and hit up Whataburger for a late night Honey Butter Chicken Biscuit!!

If nothing else – pop on a vibrant purple lipstick. Why purple? Made popular by the Houston rap community, mixing prescription grade cough syrup with Sprite and a Jolly Rancher yields a [supposedly] yummy, intoxicating, and purplish concoction often referred to as Purple Drank (or Purple Sprite). In addition to sizzurp, Houston is also well known for candy paint

candy paint

Other ways to stay reppin’ :

  • drink Houston brewed beers at one of the many local breweries like Karbach, 8th Wonder, or Saint Arnold
  • do a Houston Mural tour
  • indulge in Houston’s mega-diverse foods
  • get cultured at Houston’s expansive museum and theater districts
  • sit in an hour and a half (at least) of traffic during rush hour
  • take a walk [or a jog for those brave enough to take the heat] along Memorial Park or Buffalo Bayou

It’s an H-Town Thing

xoxo,

GG

I felt compelled to write today.

This week has been a hard, stinging slap in the face of awareness for mental health. The world has lost not only one, but TWO brilliant, creative and influential minds/beings/souls.

Yes, I’m a fashion, makeup, and beauty junkie through my core, but if I lost all my money, I’d do whatever it took, not get a new pair of shoes or a handbag, but I’d do whatever it took to get my next train ticket or plane ticket to my next stop in the world. (def starting on the Eurasian continent, obvi). Sure that denim skirt or that Gucci belt will last you a long time, but that experience you had on the Danube River, or the views from the Acropolis will last you until your last memory escapes from existence.

Anthony Bourdain was a pure inspiration to me. I’ve watched almost all episodes of his shows – No Reservations and Parts Unknown – travelled to all parts of the world, even to parts of the world I never thought I had wanted to go. Everything that he did, okay almost everything that he did, I wanted to do when I visited that place. And I say almost, because sometimes his travels were a tad bit grungey. But that’s what I absolutely adored about him and his style. He travelled to places in a manner where he sought to engrain himself in the people, the food, the culture, as if he himself were a local.

“I think food, culture, people and landscape are all absolutely inseperable”

Which is EXACTLY how I love to travel. I want to feel as though I’m a part of the place I’ve wandered to. I like to immerse myself in it all, leaving my heart in the soil of this strange, new, exciting land; traveling in a way where each time I leave a foreign land, my heart hurts with nostalgia, learning the place through all senses.

 “You learn a lot about someone from sharing a meal together”

The saddest part of all this is that piggybacked another tragic loss this week. Kate Spade made hell of a name for herself, becoming not only wildly successful but an impactful role model for all women. But despite all the money, success, trophies, fame, and physical “rewards” that come with notoriety, sometimes we can’t escape certain terrorizing demons. This sheds a light on some really sad statistics about Americans, and the world we live in.

Just know that someone’s here. Even I’m here.

xoxo,

La Glam Greek

Crisis Text Line
National Suicide Prevention Hotline
International Association for Suicide Prevention 

Anyone who says they have the most perfect relationship with their mother can kiss my… just kidding. But seriously, how many times do we have some choice words to say back, perhaps roll our eyes, or sigh exasperatingly at what our moms have to say about how we live our lives? Just me? Yeah… I guess I can be a pain in the…

But the little lady that housed me in her belly and then spent her life giving me a life of lessons and unforgettable memories/experiences from her raising me into the adult I am today, is THE sweetest angel there is. She’s kind, loving, SO SMART!!! (sometimes too smart, it’s scary), beautiful, warm, compassionate, peaceful, selfless, calming, level-headed and so strong. Not only to us, and those she loves, but even a stranger on the street. She’s taught me what it is to be a decent human being in a world that can be mostly cruel and cold, she lives her life out by one of my favorite Commandments – Love thy neighbor. Not only has my family been able to experience and love the woman that loves God so completely, but so have the people that ever come in contact with her. I’ve never met, and probably never will meet a woman more generous with her love than my momma. Which is why this first post I’ve written in a while, is dedicated to the precious gem I call, Mom.

You know those commercials around the time that the Olympics air, summer or winter, usually from like, Cheerios or some milk commercial, where they show all the behind the scenes of the proud mamas? (the ones that get you right in the feels??) Well I always think about those around Mother’s Day, because oftentimes we get to where we are as adults and THEN look back at all the behind the scenes works our Moms did for us – wake us up early for school, make our lunches, make sure we eat breakfast, make sure we do our homework & work assignments, came to all of our games, dance recitals, concerts, school plays, taking pride in everything that we do, etc, and the list goes on…

I know, Moms are pretty rad right?? So I’ve compiled my TOP TEN REASONS WHY MOMS ROCK!!! (in no particular order)

  1. Let’s start with the first – she carried us in her tummy for months and then, had to endure this thing called labor where she has to push something the size of a small watermelon out of her body. Or hopefully she had a Stork deliver you, either way, they gave us the very life we breath, so thanks for that!
  2. Sweet notes they leave – in lunch boxes, and maybe now that it’s 2018 – in a text message or email – just letting us know how much they love us
  3. Always making sure her babies are fed.
  4. Providing unconditional love – would never understand that concept if it weren’t for mothers. What if I had turned out to be a huge eff-up?? My momma would still love me 🙂 (probs, I hope!!)
  5. Because – WHO RUN THE WORLD? – GIRLS! – Without mamas, how would we as ladies, know how to act and how would fellas learn how to treat a lady?
  6. Superhuman strength – emotionally (& sometimes physically! ever heard of moms lifting vehicles off a baby?)
  7. They always have your back
  8. Talk about a cheerleader!! I can’t imagine not having my mom at every home game and every dance competition
  9. Making holidays fun & bright
  10. THE ULTIMATE SLEEP SACRIFICE – and for this I am ETERNALLY grateful (because, boy, do I LOVE ME SOME SLEEP!!!!)

for this and SO many reasons more, I think it’s safe to say that we children are not worthy of YOU QUEENS!!!!

Thank you Moms of the world!

and to mine in particular, and my sister – who’s now a mother of her own – love you forever.

xoxo,

The Glam Greek

So you don’t have a Valentine this year, boo freaking hoo!

If you’re under the age of 22, I can see how not having someone to buy you a large teddy bear & big balloon can sorta suck, but after 28 years of life, Valentine’s Day isn’t all its cracked up to be even when you’re boo’d up.

This year, I’m flying sola and loving it. There’s no pressure to partake in the cheesiness of it all, although I am wearing pink right now – but I would’ve worn pink or red regardless of the holiday, okay?! However, I understand how this holiday brings awareness to how “single” one is, has been, or can be and I comprehend the anxiety of it all, especially at my age –

OMG I’M SINGLE!!!

WHY DOESN’T ANYONE LOVE ME?

I’M GOING TO DIE ALONE AND ALL MY CATS ARE GOING TO DEVOUR MY FACE!

But then I pulled myself together, and compiled a list of 10 reasons why I will enjoy my singleness this Valentine’s Day!

snapseed-26

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