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

Well. It’s been quite a week.

It’s hard to believe that it’ll be 70° through the weekend since we had a minor ice-pocalypse at the start of the week.

But this is Houston. Nothing new. Honestly, sometimes I wish for a mini-disaster like ice or snow in our southern, humid little city for an extra day of repose that you don’t have to request off. Even BETTER was that it fell a day after MLK day, which a good handful of people had off. Including me.

So I had Monday off, which turned into “All school districts are closed, if you decide to come in, please use caution”- Tuesday, which then turned into “there’s an overnight hard freeze warning, school districts remain closed”-Wednesday.

It was glorious!

Here’s the thing about Texas though, our weather is relatively temperate all year round, so something like a flood or ice/sleet/snow make us all a little stir crazy!

However, considering I’m on my own now, I wasn’t quite as prepared as I should’ve been for the impending doom. I was out of town the weekend, and returned late Sunday, spending Monday resting my minor sinus infection/enjoying my God-given day off. So I had no food.

In vain, I tried ordering pizza for delivery. But they weren’t delivering. So we tried Uber Eats, ’cause you know people be hustlin’ if they driving for Uber! The order was placed, processed, made and PICKED UP, but then… they cancelled on us.

In fury, we walked down to the bar Down the Street, literally down the street, for some sustenance & alcohol, you know – to keep us warm (and sane #Texas).

Even though it wasn’t Pink’s pizza, and we had to venture out in the cold, it was still such a good time!!

Just being able to get out of the house, finally finding somewhere open, enjoying the rare weather and good company – Houston Snow-mageddon 2018 was definitely one for the books.

Hope everyone is having as an eventful start of the year as us here in the south!

xoxo

the Glam Greek

Hoping everyone had an amazing holiday season! I can’t believe it’s already coming to an end. No matter how hectic and stressful it can be, it’s always such a magical time and when it’s all over – it’s such a void!

This year’s holiday season has been quite the test for me. There’s been a lot of changes and a lot more to come, but I’ve been able to enjoy it as much as possible because come 2018 – there are plenty of amazing things in store!

This jumpsuit from A Thinking Boutique has been the It-Piece of my wardrobe this season, and seasons to come! It’s perfectly lightweight and the burgundy color goes with anything holiday, or even into early Spring with the perfect rose gold accessories.

 

For the Christmas AHEPA dinner I paired this gorgeous jumpsuit with a warm, glittery eye and a deep red lip. Because who doesn’t love a deep red lip for the holidays??

FACE

Foundation : Urban Decay Naked 7.5
Highlight : Maybelline Instant Age Rewind in Neutralizer
Setting Powders : Laura Mercier Secret Brightening Powder under the eyes; Laura Mercier Translucent Powder all over the face
Contour : MAC blush in “Blunt”
Blush : “Warm Soul” by MAC
Highlight : “Mary-Lou Manizer” by The Balm Cosmetics

LIPS

“Misconduct” by Smashbox Cosmetics

EYES

Brows : Benefit Ka-Brow! Cream Eyebrow Gel Color in “5”
Huda Beauty Desert Dusk Palette
Crease : “Eden”
Lower Crease : “Blazing”
Outer Crease : “Oud” + “Saffron”
Lid : “Nefertiti” + “Angelic”. “Festive” glitter by Lit Cosmetics pressed on top
Liner : Kat Von D “Trooper”
Lashes : Vegas Nay by Eylure “Fiercely Fabulous”

Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night!!
Love you all!

 

xoxo,

The Glam Greek

It’s a Thursday afternoon, it’s been a long week – you’re looking for a good happy hour. Or maybe you and your guy are looking for a good date night option that doesn’t include the run of the mill dinner & a movie. Houston has so many fun things to do and so many great happy hours, but this one for me, takes the cake.

When I say I ADORE museums, it’s not an understatement – name a museum and I’ll go and have an amazing time. I’m a sponge for knowledge and if being a scholar were a rational and affordable way to make a living, I’d be reading and expanding my horizons right now. Alas, this isn’t Europe during the Renaissance, and I’m not a male… but museums are the way to my heart, especially art museums.

My favorite in ALL of Houston is the Museum of Fine Arts. They constantly have amazing exhibits come through, more often than not, they have multiple exhibits from out of town at once; and even their regular collection has some INCREDIBLE pieces by European artists like Rembrandt, Francisco de Goya and Theodore Rousseau, amongst many others from all over the world, that you can only see here. They have artifacts, sculptures, paintings, drawings, photography and even a film collection – oftentimes foreign, which. I. LOVE!!!

Anytime someone asks what there is to do in Houston, I always recommend MFAH because besides housing fascinating pieces of art, it’s located in the Montrose District – within walking distance to Hermann Park, the Museum of Natural Science plus a large number of other museums, the Miller Outdoor Theater, Rice University, the University of St. Thomas, Hotel Zaza, the Houston Zoo; it’s a short uber ride away from cafes, bars, and restaurants off of Montrose, Westheimer or Midtown, and there’s a Houston Metrorail station RIGHT next to the museum, taking you into downtown if you’re looking to do more exploring.

And if you’re in town on a Thursday? You’re in luck. The Museum of Fine arts is free general admission (does not apply to ticketed exhibits or events) all day, and food trucks for your lunch time enjoyment. But if it’s after work where you’re looking for a good and cultured time, stop by between 5-8 p.m.!!

A bar featuring wines, beers and a handful of craft cocktails just for the occasion

A DJ for your listening pleasure

Outdoor seating to enjoy the evening weather as an escape from the usual Houston heat or when the weather gets better (getting close to this time of year), Houstonians flock to patios like white on rice.

Forgo the usual sit down 2-3 course meal between you and your company, and just grab a quick bite to eat along with your beverage of choice. The proprietor and pizzaiolo of this particular truck, came out and said hi to Bae & I and we chatted for a while. He went on to tell us that he’s originally from Rome, moved to New York but fell in love with Houston’s lifestyle – there’s something for EVERYONE! Smart guy, and AMAZING pizza. MFAH usually features different food trucks, but this one is on the rotation every couple of months.

Once you’re liquored up, belly full and feeling fine, head into the museum from 8-9 p.m. to check out an exhibit or their home collection, then ride-share to a nearby bar (suggestions – La Grange or Rosemont rooftop options!) and talk about what you’ve seen.

It’s a fun and exciting way to start your weekend antics. Happy Friday Jr!

xoxo

The Glam Greek