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NYE in the HOU – Celebrate 2019 in Style

New Year’s Eve is a time to reflect on great times and greater expectations. Houston is a bastion of possibilities, so as we raise a glass to 2019, we also raise our hopes for another 12 months of wonder and light. The following gatherings present our residents, friends, and neighbors three distinctly different opportunities to celebrate all the best that our happenin’ hometown has to offer.

Gatsby’s House NYE

As you look forward to the future, get transported to the past with a gangbusters shindig that evokes the roaring 20’s (1920’s that is – don’t get ahead of yourself, kiddo)! This upscale throwdown features three of Houston’s best DJ’s, a pre-paid cocktail extravaganza, and jitterbugging galore on dance floors that eclipse two entire floors of the Omni Houston Hotel. 23 skidoo, get on over there!

Intimate New Year’s Eve at the Houstonian

 If mellow is more your speed, then this is the Zen zoiree – oops, we mean soiree for you! Shift into low gear (metaphorically speaking) as you savor a romantic meal at Tribute. Now that you’re all fueled up, peruse the swanky surroundings as you sip champagne to the tune of the “10, 9, 8” of the East Coast countdown. But your night is just beginning, so bust out some complimentary festive accoutrements (hats, noise makers, etc) and enjoy more champagne as 2018 slips into the rearview mirror. The best part: your hosts are already anticipating the morning after, so their party package includes a late checkout. Time to get lazy…

New Year’s Eve at CityCentre

OK, so this is way cute: if your little ones can’t stay up until midnight, this twofold bash is counting down TWICE! That’s right, there’s a “practice” celebration at noon, and then the real thing 12 hours later. Super special, right? They’re calling the kiddie version “Noon Year’s Eve” (does the adorability ever stop?) and it’s all thanks to the wonderful folks at Texas Children’s Hospital. The grown-up soiree boasts confetti, fireworks, and the talents of A Sure Thing – they have to be seen/heard/experienced to be believed!
No matter where you rock out the New Year, you can always retreat to the comfort and calm of our welcoming community. Here’s to 12 more months of cheer!

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The Holidays in Play – The Best Theater in West Houston

We all have our go-to holiday movies and tv specials, but experiencing a live play truly brings the season to life. By huddling together in a West Houston theater, we honor community and local talent as the festivities unfold before our very eyes on stage. From timeless classics to fresh creative takes, the following shows are bouncing into town this month…

Houston Ballet’s The Nutcracker

Our hometown is a fantasy come to life, so this performance is perfectly suited to life in West Houston! Immerse yourself in a dreamland filled with toys, dance, and happiness personified as Clara tiptoes her way through the Wortham Center and straight into your heart. Thrill to the sounds of Tchaikovsky’s timeless score and recapture your youth, one leap at a time!

A Christmas Carol at Alley Theater

Haunt your holidays with a ghost story that has entertained audiences for centuries! This family favorite shimmers its way through December and enlightens fans anew right here in our hometown. Watch as Ebenezer Scrooge learns the true reason for the season and endures three spirited visits from specters of his past, present, and future. These are the ghosts with the most!

Christmas Is Comin’ Uptown

For a modern twist on the aforementioned Dickens classic, check out this soulful retelling at the Ensemble Theater. To thwart a Harlem landlord from evicting his tenants, three funky phantoms visit him on Christmas Eve to show him the error of his ways (and a few awesome dance moves to boot)!

A Charlie Brown Christmas Live on Stage

Groove with your beloved Peanuts pals in a theatrical adaptation of the enduring holiday classic. You know the songs by heart, but now you can rediscover their brilliance at The Grand Opera House, performed by a three-piece band on stage. Good grief, this is a great show!
The real star of the season is our vibrant community, so whichever show you enjoy, be sure to take a bow. You are a showstopper, and we give you a standing ovation, WeHou neighbor!

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Celebrate the Holidays at the Best Candy Shops in WeHou – Sweet!

The holidays evoke so many different feelings in us all. Family, togetherness, and candy, candy, candy! From stocking stuffers to chocolate Santas to office sweets galore, this is a season of indulgence, so get ready to get caloric with this sugary spotlight on the best candy shops in West Houston…

Araya Artisan Chocolate

Though this family business was founded in Houston back in 2010, its influences circle the globe deliciously. The owners draw inspiration (and gourmet cacao) from their native country of Venezuela, they harvest training and expertise from their collaborators in France and Japan, and they hone techniques from the capital of chocolatiering: Belgium. Your palate will feel well traveled and wonderfully satisfied with every trip to Araya!

Sweet Taste of Texas

Their glazed pecans are nuts! All punning aside, the signature specialty at SToT is hand cooked and lovingly crafted by these hometown heroes, but the sweetness doesn’t stop there. Their menu includes Fantastic Fudge, Temptation Tins, and the Texas Two Step, all uniquely packaged and ready to wow your holidays!

IT’SUGAR Katy Mills

No trip to the Katy Mills Mall would be complete without this blast of radical rainbow realness. Bright colors dance along every surface of the space as the whiff of powdered sugar invades your soul. Quirky offerings from around the globe mingle with vintage candies from your childhood, all set to the tune of fun, fun, and more fun! So flex your Pez dispenser and prepare for a Pop Rocks avalanche, because IT’SUGAR is getting retro in the here and now, West Houston.
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take out never looked so good (📸 @bobacouple)

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Lolli & Pops

For a more upscale confectionary adventure, pop on over to Lolli & Pops, a gourmet taste sensation for the discerning sweets lover on your shopping list. Champagne Bears frolic around Fancy Sea-Salted Caramels as the festivities reach a fever pitch of flavor, and as the dreamy sugar haze fades, you’ll realize you never left the comfort of your hometown.

Speaking of which, the sweetest sensation of all is living smack dab in the middle of this cozy candyland. We love West Houston, and we can’t wait to taste what happens next!

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That’s a Wrap! The Best Holiday Shopping Spots in West Houston

“If you like it, then you should have put a bow on it.” These are the immortal (and severely paraphrased) words of Houston native Beyoncé, and she was (probably) referring to the excellent array of shops and craft fests that greet our fair city every holiday season. In December, our hometown transforms into a wonderland of giving and gorgeousness, so get out there and get into the spirit of West Houston!

CityCentre Houston
Located a mere 10 minutes from our front door, CityCentre blends fine dining panache with holiday shopping convenience. Sprawling over a span of 37 acres, this upscale yet down-home destination is the perfect locale for anyone braving their gift list… or for those who are seeking a great meal to muster up their strength for another foray into the shopping breach!

Tomball German Festival Christmas Market
Nothing says yuletide like The Chardon Polka Band! They will be joined by Yodel Blitz, Tubameisters and over 160 street vendors to create an uber-unique spin on the season this December 7th through 9th. The festival is a short jaunt north in Old Town Tomball, but well worth the trip. In the span of about 30 minutes, you’ll feel like you crossed the globe and went back in time!

Katy Mills Mall
Put on your comfy shoes (or buy some new ones) because this huge-mongous shopping center covers a whopping 1.3 million square feet. That’s “million” with a WHAA? Boasting over 200 retailers, the Katy Mills Mall either has what you need, or you need a new shopping list. Also, refresh your palate with some tasty Texas Blue Bell ice cream to refresh after all of that walking/shopping/awesome’ing.

Rice Village
As eclectic as its neighbor, Rice University, this mainstay of Houston shopping dates back to the 1930’s, yet it constantly innovates and evolves to match our thriving city. Big name shops dovetail with local mom and pops to create a tapestry of triumph!

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Who wants to join @fluff_bros for a game of cornhole?

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No matter where you get your shop on, be sure to pay with the preferred currency: a smile! After all, Houston’s greatest resources are hospitality, heart, and home.

Get Outta Town! The Best Hiking Spots Near Houston.

The holidays are a time for family, friends, and food, food, food! ‘Tis the season for stuffing yourself royally, but all those extra calories might leave you hungry for a chance to burn off the excess baggage.

Well, lace up your hiking boots and hit the trail! These three hometown havens are all within an hour of Houston, but a world apart from the ordinary…

Galveston Island State Park
No one is an island, but this destination is singular in solitude, serenity, and sightseeing opportunities. Birdwatching soars to the top of the itinerary as majestic herons, curlews, and laughing gulls fly overhead – no joke! Watch as these feathered wonders fish for sustenance and then follow their lead; the fishing off of Galveston is unparalleled.
Paddle your way around the coastline and camp to your heart’s content. If you’re not in the mood for roughing it (due to all of that tasty goodness in your belly), then you can rent a cabin and glamp the weekend away!

Stephen F. Austin State Park
Oh deer! The nature viewing at this placid locale is filled with lush greenery, fresh air, and, of course, deer. Boasting six miles of trails, this spot is ideal for biking, hiking, and generally communing with Mother Earth. Park guests can also access a nearby 18-hole golf course, wade the Brazos River trolling for catfish, and camp under the stars of the Lone Star state. The sky truly is the limit at Stephen F. Austin Park!

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#brazosriver & #silver #clouds from #stephenfaustinstatepark

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Sam Houston National Forest
For the eagle-eyed Houston traveler, this wooded wonderland is an ideal vantage point to see bald eagles during the colder months of the year. These patriotic birds are joined by rare red-cockaded woodpeckers who make a home in the Sam Houston National Forest. If your hiking and birdwatching efforts become too strenuous, you can always float your way to a natural nirvana with a boat ride in one of the area’s beautiful lakes: Conroe and Livingston.

Sam Houston National Forest

No matter where you may roam this holiday season, Houston flourishes with nearby getaways and general gorgeousness. And, as always, your return home to Alta City West is the most beautiful destination of all.

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The Three Best Live Music Venues in West Houston

There’s nothing like live music, and Houston is an amazing place to catch your favorite bands and musicians. You can find a wide variety of genres. From country to jazz to piano, there are clubs and bars dedicated to showcasing the best artists. When you live in West Houston, you’re close to some of the best spots for live music in the city. Here are the three best live music venues in West Houston.

Firehouse Saloon
For an authentic honky-tonk, you can’t go wrong with Firehouse Saloon. The country music venue is owned by retired firefighters and is a rustic Lone Star bar. You can find the newest up-and-coming acts as well as some of your favorites. Miranda Lambert performed on their stage seventeen times before she catapulted into national stardom. Speaking of national stars, Firehouse Saloon was named one of the top 15 best venues for live country music in the U.S. by Americantowns Media.

Martini Blu
If you’re looking for some cool jazz, head to the Galleria and Martini Blu. Inside, you’ll find walls decked with fine art, a bar serving up craft cocktails and their eponymous martinis, and performers that’ll take you to a time of speakeasies and sultry singers. There’s a cover charge unless you visit on Wednesdays and Thursdays when you can get in for free all night. You can also get your first glass of wine for a dollar. Another twist is weekend brunch when you can dig into an all-you-can-eat buffet and be serenaded by jazz musicians.

Caps Piano Bar
You’ll be singing along to the classics at Caps Piano Bar. Also located in the Galleria, their talented band plays jazz and blues, and will even throw in some Top 40 if the tips are right. This venue isn’t just for listening, though. They’ve got a dance floor that invites you to get up and swing and sway to the music. There’s no cover charge and the drinks are affordable, making this a perfect spot out for date night or an evening with friends.

When you’re looking for live music, West Houston has some of the best venues in the city. For more concert venues, be sure to follow us on Twitter and Facebook. And follow our blog here for more West Houston happenings!

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The Three Best Spots for Sushi in West Houston

When you’re in the mood for sushi, nothing else will do. The Japanese delicacy is one of the most popular cuisines in Houston, and there’s even a 17,000 member club dedicated to sushi. You can get it from places as diverse as high-end restaurants to strip mall storefronts. There are several options to satisfy your cravings for maki, nigiri, and sashimi. If you’re looking for the freshest and tastiest, these are the three best spots for sushi in West Houston.

Aka Sushi House
For lunch or dinner in a quaint neighborhood spot, visit Aka Sushi House. They’re known for offering sustainable seafood, and their menu features all the standard rolls you’ve come to expect. They also offer ramen, made at their sister restaurant Tiger Den. They’re probably best known, however, for their generous happy hour. From 3 pm to 7 pm and from 9 pm to close during the week, and all day on Saturday and Sunday, they offer an extensive selection of discounted items.

Aka Sushi

Kata Robata
Generally acclaimed as the best sushi restaurant in Houston, Kata Robata is helmed by a James Beard-nominated chef. Their fish is flown in directly from Japan multiple times a week, and you can also get locally-sourced soft shell crab. For the complete experience, get a seat at the sushi bar and try the omakase menu. This prix fixe extravaganza is considered one of the best dining experiences in the city.

Teppay Japanese Restaurant
This tiny spot is a perfect place for an intimate dinner. Teppay Japanese Restaurant offers an authentic Japanese dining experience. Sushi is the star, but they also offer traditional dishes like tonkotsu ramen and udon. Be sure to ask what’s been flown in fresh, as they also get deliveries from Japan several times a week.

There are so many great places for sushi in West Houston, and these are just a few of our favorites. Each has their own appeal so you can find one that suits your tastes. Let us know your favorite sushi restaurants in Houston on Twitter and Facebook.

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The Three Best Spas Around Westchase

Self-care is important, but it’s something we all-too-often forget in our rush to get everything done. Instead of waiting until you’re at your wits’ end to take some time out for you, why don’t you go ahead and book a spa day? Nothing is as relaxing as a session of pampering. We’ve made it easy for you by finding the three best spas around Westchase.

Victoria Heavenly Spa
You’ll be on cloud nine when you book a service at Victoria Heavenly Spa. It’s a full-service wellness center that offers massages, facials, and body wraps. What separates this spa is that they also offer laser treatments, body contour and cellulite treatment, and post-liposuction treatment. If your skin needs a little tightening, they can do it with radio frequencies. It’s a non-surgical method that reduces the “early signs of loose or sagging skin and stimulates subdermal collagen production.”

Akyish Japanese Retreat and Spa
Take a trip to Asia without leaving Houston at Akyish Japanese Retreat and Spa. They’ll take care of your nails, scalp, feet, hands, and eyelashes, and many of the products they use are straight from Japan. Reflexology is also offered, and if you’re going out for a night on the town, they’ll provide styling and do your makeup, too.

Amy’s Skin Care
Don’t let the name fool you; Amy’s Skin Care offers much more than just treatments for your epidermis. Her menu includes massages, waxing, tweezing, tinting, and both hair and skin tag removal. Her skin care really does shine, though, with comprehensive services including microdermabrasion, electrolysis, and permanent makeup. The philosophy behind this Houston day spa is based on ayurvedic principles, so you can expect holistic treatments in a restorative atmosphere.

When it’s time to unwind and take care of you, these Houston day spas are the best in Westchase. Let us know about your favorite local spas on Facebook or Twitter. And Follow our blog here for more local tips and recommendations.

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Best Brunch in Uptown Houston

When the weekend arrives, you’ve got one thing on your mind: Brunch. This mix of breakfast and lunch is perfect for relaxing with friends and indulging in treats like French Toast and eggs benedict. Whether you prefer mimosas, bloody marys, or fair-trade coffee, here are some of the best places for brunch in Uptown Houston.

Get a fresh start to your brunch routine with fresh seafood. Caracol, little sibling to the much-vaunted Hugo’s, specializes in Mexican coastal cuisine, and that means an abundant selection of fish, ceviches, and oysters on-the-half-shell. Saturday brunch is a la carte, and Sunday is buffet day. In addition to seafood, you can also load up on chilaquiles with eggs, migas, huevos a la Mexicana, tostadas, chile rellenos con huevo, and more.

Dish Society
If you like your brunch old-school, then Dish Society is your classroom. They’ve got standards like shrimp and grits, beignets, and a traditional breakfast of three eggs, two pieces of bacon, toast, and fresh fruit. Want some Texas flavor in your brunch? Then get the brisket n’ eggs, a dish of smoked and pulled brisket with tomatillo relish, two sunny-side eggs, smoked gouda grits, and a house buttermilk biscuit.

Peli Peli
Break out of the standard breakfast routine with a visit to Peli Peli. Specializing in South African cuisine, their menu invites you to dig into kitka french toast, chicken schnitzel, and deep fried waffles. Their Filet Medallions and South African Eggs Benedict is a must-try, made with tenderloin, baby spinach, and eggs benedict South African style on an English Muffin and served with red potatoes.

La Table
Day drinking is de rigueur at brunch, which is one of the many reasons to visit La Table. It’s a Parisienne-style cafe that offers your choice mimosas, bellinis, and bloody marys with your buffet. You can indulge in eggs benedict, prepared traditionally; egg white frittatas, a classic Caesar salad, and more.

These are just a few of the many places you can have brunch in Uptown Hosuton. For more delicious ways to begin your weekend mornings, follow us on Twitter and Facebook.

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