Category : Holidays

5 Hot Spots for Holiday Shopping in Houston

The holiday season is fast approaching, and that means gift giving is in full swing. With a city as large as Houston, deciding where to go for holiday shopping can be overwhelming. To help make your shopping experience a breeze instead of a burden this year, we’ve gathered five of the best shopping areas in the city.
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8 Fall Events in Houston You Don’t Want to Miss

Fall will be over before you know it, so don’t let another weekend go by without joining in on a festive fall activity! Thanks to such a vibrant and bustling community as Houston, there is plenty of fun happening every weekend. Between fall festivals, haunted houses, and beer fests, there’s something here for everyone!  

#1. Annual Puerto Rican & Cuban Festival: With over 20,000 attendees, this festival has plenty to keep you entertained! Enjoy local food, live music, vendors, and a car show. (October 22; prcfestival.com)

#2. Memorial Villages Farmer’s Market: Support your local farmers and small businesses at this weekly market. Shop everything from fresh produce to baked goods to gifts and stationary. (every Saturday; mvfarmersmarket.org)

#3: Texian Market Days: Costumed interpreters make Texas history come alive. Kids will have fun at dedicated activity booths and adults can take in the antique tractor show. (October 22; texianmarketdays.com)

#4: Untapped Music & Beer Festival: Get lost in the world of craft beer. If you’re a fan of music and beer, this festival is for you! (October 22; untapped-festival.com)

#5: Scream on the Green: Get your game face on, because this citywide costume contest is no joke! There are prizes for contest winners, music, and activities for all ages! (October 28; discoverygreen.com/scream-on-the-green)

#6: Rocky Horror Picture Show: Watch the festive musical classic on Halloween weekend, offered in two special midnight showings! (October 28-29; rockyhorrorhouston.com)

#7: Screamworld: With 5 haunted houses inside – Skull Cave, Jake’s Slaughterhouse, Zombie Graveyard, Edge of Darkness and Maze of Maniacs – this Houston Halloween staple is ready for screams! (through October 31; screamworld.com)

#8: Texas Renaissance Festival: Enjoy watching old-world fun, with festive reenactors and plenty of food and drink options! (October 8 – November 27; texrenfest.com)

Party Planning: Throw a Monster Mash Like a Pro

This year, don’t let another Halloween pass you by without throwing a party your friends will be talking about ’til next year.  You know, one that’s Pinterest-worthy – think cute decor, festive food, and clever party hacks. If party planning skills don’t come naturally and you’re tight on space, have no fear! Follow these 10 steps for a macabre monster mash to remember.    

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1. Start with enticing e-vites – Get people excited for your ghoulish gathering. This is the chance to set the tone for your whole party! Paperless Post is a great site for designing and emailing easy, beautiful invitations online. Tip: save the invitation to your phone and text it to your guests as well.

A photo posted by Jana ? (@nebulochaotic) on

2. Set the stage Store your everyday decor and wall hangings in another room and cover your furniture with flat white sheets for a creepy vibeBonus: hang fake spider webs for extra spookiness.  

3. Prepare some repugnant recipes

You’ll most importantly need finger foods, a dessert dish or two, and a signature cocktail. If you love baking, consider a dessert bar! Try these adult-friendly – and very ‘Instagrammable’ – Halloween recipes, pictured above: Decadently Dark Candy Apples, No Bake Pumpkin Cheesecake Truffle Mummies, Candy Corn Jello Shots, Ghostly Party Cake, and Paleo Bloody Eyeball Brownies.

4. You will obviously need a Pumpkin Cooler All you’ll need is a large pumpkin, carving tool, bowl, and ice. Could this possibly get more festive?  

5. Haunted lighting is a must

Make a bunch of these glow jars and set them all around your place for an eerie, evil scientist ambience.

6. Don’t forget the bathroom

Replace your normal shower curtain with a ‘bloodied,’ plain white one. Then take lots of fake blood, make a couple bloody handprint towels, and leave some body parts around. Quite the butcher shop, eh?

 

7. You know it wouldn’t be a party without a photo booth!

Take some white fabric or old sheets and ‘bloody’ them up with some fake blood. Once it’s dry, hang over tall furniture, pin to an empty wall, or hang from the ceiling. Then, set up your camera on a tripod with the photo timer and flash settings saved. Tip: mark the tripod’s spot with an ‘X’ on the floor and place glow jars in a circle around the tripod as a safe zone!

8. Scientific specimens just to be extra gross

Who knew that canned fruit and breakfast sausage could look like body parts? And once you figure how easy it is to put a head in jar, you might want to think making one of each of your attendees as a party favor!

9. Background sounds and scene are key

shutterstock_202999735 Have classic horror movies playing on the TV, and/or your Halloween playlist on repeat. Here are some horror films and spooky songs to consider.

10. #Hashtag your party

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Within a day or two after, send emails or texts to your party guests with a link to the photobooth pictures. If you’re particularly social media savvy, assign your party a signature hashtag!

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Fun and Free Labor Day in Houston

If you’re like most Americans you will be celebrating this Labor Day with a day off of work! Although summer doesn’t officially end until mid September, for many, Labor Day culturally signifies the end of summer and is a final shebang before school or other fall activities begin.

There’s plenty to do on Labor Day in Houston and some of those activities are easy on the wallet!

Enjoy a free boat ride at the Port of Houston’s free public boat tour. Begin the tour from Sam Houston Pavilion and seated on an open-air deck with padded lounge chairs, take in the views of Houston’s port and surrounding area as you travel through the Houston Ship Channel, a 52-mile, man-made wonder that connects Houston to the Gulf of Mexico. According to the Port of Houston, some things you take site of on the trip include Seagulls, Cormorants, Brown Pelicans and… trash.

The tour is closed Monday and Tuesday and the passage must be booked 24 hours in advance.

At the Miller Outdoor Theatre in Hermann Park, you can enjoy artistic performances from ballet, musical theater, children plays, and acrobatics. Have a picnic on the lawn infant of the stage and enjoy snacks while lounging on your blanket. Looking for something special? The full event calendar can be found on their website.

If Labor Day is synonymous with parks for you, Houston’s Buffalo Bayou Park is the perfect space to run, play, or lounge as there is 125 acres of green space to explore.  Buffalo Bayou has 52 miles of waterway to create a beautiful scene-scape. There are also hiking and biking trails for the active and adventurous souls.

What are your fun and free activities in Houston? Let us know and we’ll feature your feedback in our next article!

4 Great Ways to Spend Father’s Day in Houston

The creator of dad jokes, the holder of the dad bod, and your daily superhero and piggyback-ride-giver.. is there anything Dad can’t do? While you may have stuck to a more traditional Father’s Day in the past, why not take you dad on an exciting adventure this year? Luckily, our beautiful city of Houston offers numerous options of how to give your dad a Father’s Day he won’t forget! Here are 4 great ways to spend Father’s Day in Houston!

  1. Skydiving- This year, head to the outskirts of Houston to take your dad skydiving at Crystal Beach. You should probably check with Dad before signing him up for this event, but it is definitely much more exciting than another striped tie!
  1. Brewery Tour- Now this could become a yearly tradition!  Fresh Tap Tours gives you and Dad the option to choose the type of beer tour and which breweries you will visit, making it quite an adventurous day!
  1. The Woodlands Craft Beer & Music Festival– This weekend, Friday, June 17 and Saturday, June 18, head north to Town Green Park in The Woodlands to sample more than 80 beers from 40 craft breweries while enjoying live music from the likes of the Journey Agents, Rainchild, Petesimple, Marshall Moon and more. Tickets start at $29, not including ticket fees.
  1. Galveston Cajun Crawfish Festival– The flavors and sounds of New Orleans will come together in Galveston this weekend for this three-day festival of crawfish, live music, and kids activities. Tickets start at $10, not including ticket fees.

A day filled with golf or brunch can be relaxing for Dear Ol’ Dad, but why settle with the norm when you live in such an exciting city? Houston is filled with so many events that can be fun for the whole family, so it may be difficult to choose! All these events are what makes Houston so wonderful!

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Ways to Show Your Appreciation for Earth Day

One of the things that makes Houston so awesome? How naturally beautiful the city is. And who do we have to thank for that? Plain and simple. Mother Nature. This coming up week on April 22nd is Earth Day and we’re rounding up our favorite ways to show our planet how much we care and appreciate the beauty it provides for us. Don’t stress about not having time to dedicate to a whole lot of Earth Day celebrations. Showing your appreciation can be simple and easy while still helping spread the word about our planet. Here are our favorite ways to show your appreciation for Earth Day.

Volunteer with Trees For Houston
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Trees for Houston is an organization whose goal is to preserve and grow the natural beauty in Houston by way of trees. Planting a tree is a beautiful way of giving back to Houston and maintaining our city. Photo from & volunteer opportunities here: treesforhouston.org.
Head out to the park
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By heading out to the park and sharing photos of your experience you’re brining awareness to the various outdoor parks that Houston has to offer. Photo of Memorial Park Houston.
Volunteer at Earth Day Houston
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Earth Day Houston brings together all of Houston to celebrate this holiday. We personally love it because we can’t think of a better thing to celebrate in one of Houston’s most beautiful parks. Volunteer at earthdayhouston.org.
One day a year we like to celebrate the natural beauty that we are so lucky to have here in Houston. We get beautiful views all year long and around this time every year we think it’s time to show appreciation for those views. Show your appreciation any way you want this year but make sure to show it!

Alta City West Favorite Easter Recipes

Sure, maybe Easter isn’t recognized every year for great food like Thanksgiving or Christmas but we think Easter is highly underrated in the food category. So much tasty goodness comes out this time of year (um, hello Peeps?!). Alta City West is here to remind you Easter is still in the running for the holiday with the best food. We’re going to show you all our favorite Easter recipes that you can make your family and friends believe in the food spirit of Easter again.

Carrots for Dinner
What’s a bunny to do when everyone likes carrots?! Make carrots! These Maple Dijon carrots will make everyone remember the greatness behind carrots and Easter. Photo and recipe from Closetcooking.com.
Eggs
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Easter is filled with eggcelent traditions and one of them is the egg! Between hunting for them and dying them the egg is an eggceptional part of the Easter tradition. Turn them fun colors and serve them up deviled style for a fun Easter tradition. Photo and recipes from Justapinch.com.
Peeps
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Remember the previously mentioned Peeps? Well they’re good for more than just snacking and microwaving to see how big they can get. Make them into these delicious brownies for a new Easter tradition.
Photo and recipe from Thedomesticrebel.com.
Crack open the eggs (pun intended) and get to making those delicious Easter recipes! It’s time to remind everyone that Easter does serve up some of the best dishes!

Alta City West St. Patricks Day Cocktails

Every year when St. Patricks day rolls around we look forward to dressing up in green, pinching our friends who skipped on the tradition and eating all the green foods we can get our hands on! This year we’re celebrating with our favorite cocktails in St. Patricks day form because green foods are great, but green drinks are so underrated. You can throw a party or show up to any gathering with your green drinks and blow your friends and family away. This isn’t the luck of the Irish, this is Alta City West St. Patricks Day Cocktails!

Sangria
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The only thing that could possibly make any holiday any better is sangria. It’s light and refreshing which is perfect for Houston spring time and it is so easy to make. This sangria is made with green apples to commemorate the Irish Holiday. Photo & sangria recipe from madewithhappy.com.
Layered Cocktail
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This beauty features layers of delicious St. Paddys Day deliciousness. It also has our favorite honorary Irish spirit; Bailey’s Liquor. Easy to make and even prettier to look at, this is the most delicious cocktail you can throw together this weekend. Photo and recipe from diply.com.
Decorative Drink
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Of course you can’t talk about holiday drinks without showing off the flashy, sugar drink. This beauty not only features the color green but you get whipped cream AND cookie crumbs in there and since calories don’t count on holidays, this makes for the perfect St. Patricks day drink. Photo and recipe from snappygourmet.com.
Don’t worry, we have all the best cocktails for you to celebrate St. Paddys Day in style and with some cute homemade cocktails. March is the perfect month in Houston because it’s just starting to get nice outside and you can head out to the park in your green outfits with your green cocktails and celebrate your luck of the Irish.

Hosting An Oscars Betting Party

With all the other events and parties going on in February it’s no surprise that Oscars season has creeped up on us almost unnoticed. So don’t feel bad if you haven’t planned how you’re going to have the best Oscars party ever. We’re here to break down all the necessities you need to gather last minute and all the games you need to play at your Oscars party. Leave the thinking to us here at Alta City West, we know exactly who the winner will be this year.

The Food and Drink

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We understand that one of the most important things at any party is the grub. People come and they want to socialize, drink and chow down while they watch their favorite actors or actresses take home the gold trophy. Spruce up the drinks a little too for a fun touch that everyone can enjoy while they mingle and cast their votes on the winners of the night. Add a few gold touches to the buffet table and you’ve got yourself a golden hour ready for the Oscars. Photo via Popsugar.com.

The Games

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We go to the movies year round to see the performances and try to guess who we think acted their hearts out best each year. By the time the Oscars are here we’ve made our bets and we know who we want to win the nominations. So what’s better than a little friendly competition between friends? Cast your ballots and see who wins the most categories. Print out some of these printable ballots and hand them out at your party for a fun game. Photo and ballots from Theglitterguide.com.

The Oscars only come once a year and you shouldn’t have to stress last minute over it. Alta City West has the fun all planned out for you and all you need to do is throw it together and remind your friends to stop by and have fun. All of your friends will agree that the Oscar goes to you this year!

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