Category : Know Your Neighborhood

10 Wonderful New Year’s Home Resolutions

2017 is almost here, and it’s a time for reflecting on the past and planning the future. Are you looking for ways to make the most of apartment living? Here are 10 awesome New Year’s resolutions you can do at home, for your home this year. Let’s make 2017 a good one!
  1. Declutter
  2. Master your tomato sauce recipe
  3. Take a one-week home design challenge
  4. Clean your apartment from top to bottom
  5. Throw a dinner party
  6. Redecorate boldly
  7. Make your bed every morning
  8. Make a gallery wall
  9. Make friends with your (new) neighbors
  10. Volunteer and get involved with your community

Your Guide to Houston’s Best Museums

Houston’s Museums are a must-see destination for both locals and out-of-towners alike. Between art, science, and animal history, there are plenty of museums offering exhibits to suit all tastes. Whether it’s simply a Sunday afternoon or a weeknight adventure, we know you’ll enjoy these artistic havens any day of the week.

 

The Houston Museum of Natural Science – A city favorite, this museum houses everything from preserved wildlife and dinosaur bones to the Butterfly Center, a real-life rainforest home to hundreds of butterflies that you can actually walk through! Bug-lovers will appreciate the Insect Zoo, but there are many more exhibits to see; such as chemistry, fossils, and an IMAX theater.

 

Museum of Fine Arts, Houston – Established in the 1920’s, Houston’s first art museum may also be its largest, with over 40,000 pieces of art and 300,000 square feet of exhibits. Today, it stands as one of the country’s most renowned art museums. You won’t want to miss the impressionist collections, as well as a number of Picasso’s known works. Be sure to enjoy the 18 acres of gardens during your visit!

     

Children’s Museum of Houston – This museum specializes in hands-on interactive and bilingual exhibits for kids. Older kids can explore science while younger tots practice their motor skills in the pillow pit. Hint: families get in for free on Thursday nights from 5-8pm.

     

The Menil Collection – French couple Jean and Dominique de Menil came to Houston in the 1940’s, subsequently transforming the city’s art scene by making their private collection a public one and turning their museum into an large artistic campus. Visit The Menil for fine art, ranging from the medieval times to 20th century pieces.

GUIDE: Your Perfect 24-Hour Houston Staycation

Sweet, sweet summer is over and so are the days of week-long vacations. As we are about to embark on the busy holiday season, it’s harder than ever to squeeze in a weekend escape. Something about the return of pumpkin spice screams need to getaway. Can’t get away but want to pretend you did? Try a staycation.

staycation: a period in which an individual stays home and participates in leisure activities within driving distance from home, eats like a boss, and sleeps in their own bed at night.

So go ahead, stay home and take advantage of all that Houston (particularly, the immediate area surrounding Alta City West) has to offer. Here’s our curated itinerary for your best Houston staycation yet!

MORNING

Start your morning at Mi Pueblito, a local spot with only two locations serving up some of the finest, homemade-quality Columbian food this side of Houston. Seriously, check out those pastries: it’s a done deal. P.S. – Don’t forget to grab some caffeine to-go, because you’ve got quite a packed day ahead of you!

 

Next you’ll head to Painting With a Twist, a Houston art studio that offers BYOB painting classes! All instructors are formally educated in painting, so no need to worry if you’re not the artsy type. After all, they call it FUN art – not fine art! Bonus: attendees 21+ over (with valid ID) may bring whatever they’d like to eat or drink!

  AFTERNOON

At this point you’re probably hungry, so we selected nearby Zagat-rated spot Ragin’ Cajun to grab some grub. Established in 1974, this locale serves up authentic bayou cuisine and has even been featured in People Magazine and Food Network. We recommend the crawfish etouffée, jambalaya, and seafood gumbo!

 

As much as we’d love for this Houston staycation to segment into a food tour, we have another activity planned for those who are up for the challenge! Gracie Barra jiu-jitsu school offers a free trial class – just remember to sign up online ahead of time. Now go ahead and kick some butt!

EVENING

Going into the evening, we bet you’re already thinking about dinner. Next up on the itinerary is dinner at Fogo de Chão, a high-end Brazilian steakhouse serving up a plethora of tasty, tender meats. Besides their signature steak, chicken, lamb, and pork, their menu includes seafood, sides, fine wines, desserts and more. This is a dinner worth splurging on!

To cap off your staycation, stop by Krispy Kreme on your drive home for their classic glazed donuts. If you’ve never had them, they pretty much taste like a ball of fluffy, sugary heaven. Keep a lookout for their neon sign to get them hot off the press!

  We’ve given you the plan – the rest is up to you. Have fun and make yours a Houston staycation to remember!

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)

Houston Bloggers to Follow

Want to know what’s happening in Houston? Take it from these bloggers, who are on the front line with their finger on the pulse of what’s hot in the city. From style bloggers to foodies, these are the people you’ll be happy you followed. They’re sure to show you a side (or flavor) of Houston you have yet to see!  
Bake at 350 – Bridget of Bake at 350 started blogging thanks to a passion for cookie decorating. These days, you’ll find more than just cookie recipes on her blog…you’ll find all kinds of goodies that will expand your waistline!  

It’s Not Hou It’s Me – Ran by two Houston natives inspired by the city’s never-ending adventures, they’re here to share their experience and expertise about Houston and inspire readers who are new to the city or want to explore more in their hometown.

A photo posted by Urban Swank (@urbanswank) on

Urban Swank – This lifestyle blog is dedicated to all things food, fashion, and travel. Ran by two Houston-based editors, this site is a great resource of information on where to go in the city!  

Whatever Is Lovely – Fashionista and Houston local Lynne Gabriel started her blog to share her stylish ensembles with the world. She’s a great resource for daily fashion and lifestyle inspiration!  
  My Fab 5 Houston – Meet your new guide to Houston’s tastiest places. Visit their Instagram page to stay connected with the city’s diverse restaurant scene!

Interesting Facts About Texas and Houston:

Oh Texas, how we love you. Our state is the 28th state of the Union is a vast land metropolis’s, suburbs and farmlands, boasting both a roaring economy and an eclectic lifestyle. This week’s blog is all about giving some very interesting facts about not only the state of Texas, but also its best city: Houston.

Interesting facts about the state of Texas:

1. Texas is the only state to have the flags of 6 different nations fly over it. They are: Spain, France, Mexico, Republic of Texas, Confederate States, and the United States.

2. The Tyler Municipal Rose Garden is the world’s largest rose garden. It contains 38,000 rose bushes representing 500 varieties of roses set in a 22-acre garden.

3. Texas includes 267,339 square miles, or 7.4% of the nation’s total area.

4. Texas possesses three of the top ten most populous cities in the United States: Houston, Dallas, and San Antonio.

Interesting facts about the city of Houston:

1. The first word spoken from the moon, July 20, 1969, was “Houston…”

2. The Heisman Trophy was named after John William Heisman who was the first full-time coach at Rice University in Houston.

3. The first domed stadium in the U.S. was the Astrodome in Houston.

4. Houston is larger as a city than the entire state of Maryland.

5. The names of Houston’s sports teams are all after features of space–the Astros, the Aeros, the Comets–except for their football team, the Texans.

6. Houston is home to more Fortune 500 company headquarters than anywhere in America except for New York.

7. Houston’s got more parks than any other top-10 metropolitan area.

8. Houston is the No. 1 city for job creation in the U.S. By a lot.

From its beautiful skyline and booming culture, it’s not hard to see why we love living in Houston so much. This city has so much to offer its residents, which makes it difficult to ever leave!

Explore Your City: Houston’s Best Public Gardens

Living in the heart of Houston’s metropolis is extremely diverse and exciting, but you may also wish to sometimes trade in the hard concrete and buildings for some soft grass and flowers. The summer season is almost underway, so that means Houston’s beautiful flowers are almost in full bloom. Houston boasts some of the most stunning public gardens in the country, so we have decided to list our three favorite spots to get reaquainted with Mother Nature!

1. Bayou Bend

Starting with Houston’s oldest public garden, the Bayou Bend contains 14 acres of formal gardens that reflect the Country Place era of American landscape design, with separate spaces that are formed by neatly manicured shrubbery, a style inspired by formal European gardens. The garden is displayed around the former home of Houston civic leader and philanthropist Ima Hogg (1882–1975), and visiting the garden allows you to re-enter the cultural epicenter of the early 20th century. A guided tour is recommended, but the self-guided tour is wonderful, too.

2.  Cockrell Butterfly Center

Attached to Houston’s Museum of Natural Science, this three story glass house is a wonderful place to marvel at a multitude of different butterfly species. The butterflies aren’t the only attraction of this beautiful center, since it’s also a simulated rainforest built around a towering 50-foot waterfall. This garden features dozens of tropical plants and flowers that were chosen for their butterfly-attracting qualities, making the Cockrell Butterfly Center a breathtaking display you won’t see anywhere else!

3.  Japanese Garden of Hermann Park

If we had to choose one of the most peaceful and relaxing settings in all of Houston, the Japanese Garden of Hermann Park would absolutely be at the top of our list. Designed to replicate an authentic Japanese garden, this park contains stunning bridges, waterfalls and stone paths that meander through crepe myrtles, azaleas, dogwoods, Japanese maples and cherry trees. The winding path is the perfect way to take a long stroll through the garden, while experiencing the serene atmosphere and beautiful sights.

Botanical gardens and parks are a great way to remove yourself from all the hustle and bustle of Houston’s sprawling metropolis. Exploring these sights is a great way to spend your weekend, or even your lunch break!

4 Houston Staycations That Won’t Break the Bank

Summer is quickly approaching and people are beginning to plan amazing vacations for some fun and relaxation. Even though extravagant vacations can be a blast, sometimes it just is not in the budget. This week’s blog is all about our favorite “staycation” spots in the Houston area!:

Lake Houston or Lake Conroe

Instead of heading to the crowded Galveston Beach, why not hop onto the I-45N and head to one of Houston’s beautiful lakes? Both of these lakes have camping facilities and hiking trails in the wilderness, giving you even more fun options on the trip. The serene atmosphere gives the opportunity for some true relaxation rather than just being a tourist jammed into the crowded beaches or sitting lines of traffic trying to navigate around Galveston.

Hotel Icon

If you want to be pampered while staying at a luxe hotel for a night or two, then Houston’s Hotel Icon is your best bet! Smack dab in the middle of Houston’s epicenter, this hotel’s style and atmosphere will allow you to truly enjoy everything that downtown Houston has to offer. Restaurants, shops, and entertainment all right outside your door step will ensure a great time for all parties involved!

Galveston Beach

To some people, vacation and relaxation are synonymous with the beach, but that does not mean you have to travel far! With it’s abundance of sand and sunshine, Galveston Beach gives a tropical oasis feeling without the long travel time. Seafood restaurants, museums, the beach, shopping and beautiful hotels will keep you busy for your entire vacation, or you could just skip all of that and post up on the beach to catch a few Zzz’s underneath the warm Texas sun.

Houston Space Center

If you are only looking for a day trip in the neighborhood, then we highly suggest you spend a day at the iconic Houston Space Center. This gigantic center shows behind the scenes tours that give “unprecedented access to see the real world of NASA up close and personal” science shows, exhibitions and interactive presentations. All visitors get as close as possible to experiencing space travel and flight without ever leaving the ground!

One of the best attributes of living in Houston is the fact that you do not have to spend a month’s worth of pay to have a fun, relaxing experience. Our city offers a multitude of experiences and adventures without the extensive travel time!

Best Museums in Houston, TX

What’s a city without a little culture? And if the arts are any indicator, Houston is brimming with cultural exploits.

Home to some of the finest museums in Houston, Texas and its arts scene features a wide array of offerings, everything from modern and contemporary art, to historical and alternative pieces.

Located on a 30-acre campus, the  Menil Collection features multiple collections and is home to many special exhibitions annually. With buildings dedicated to artists Cy Twombly and Dan Flavin, and Byzantine, medieval, and ancient artifacts on display, the museum was founded by John and Dominique de Menil in 1987.

Founded in 1948, the Contemporary Arts Museum Houston opened in its present location in 1972, and its two gallery spaces feature eight to 10 exhibitions annually by a mix of emerging and established artists. Exhibits are accompanied by publications, designed to present exceptional international, national, and regional art.

An alternative gem, Houston’s Art Car Museum was opened in 1998 by James and Ann Harithas, an artist and long-time supporter of the art-car movement, which is designed to emphasize personal expression and a choice of imagery or subject matter selected from popular culture. Drawing from the traditions of fine, folk, and public art, the art-car movement reflects fundamental changes in popular consciousness; art cars are subversive and represent the transformation of the vehicle from a factory-made commodity into a personal statement or expression.

The Houston Museum of Natural Science features 16 permanent exhibitions, everything from a butterflies and African wildlife, to a gem vault and a hall of paleontology. Beyond the traditional exhibits, HMNS is also home to the George Observatory (open Saturdays).

Opened in 1996, the Holocaust Museum Houston features its permanent exhibition, “Bearing Witness: A Community Remembers,” that focuses on Holocaust survivors in the Houston area. The museum features artifacts, photographs, and films, and is also home to an original 1942 World War II railcar and a Danish recue boat, used to save more than 7,000 Jews from concentration camps. Additionally, there is also an education center that includes two classrooms areas and a research library.

On a lighter note, the Children’s Museum of Houston is home to a number of interactive exhibitions designed to stimulate young minds. With an emphasis on science, technology and culture, CMH also offers educational programs for children, helping to foster local youth, along with an outdoor water works play area.

Photo Blog: Our Favorite Houston Graffiti Art

Houston is full of art and culture and museums galore but sometimes the best art comes from the most unexpected places. Houston graffiti has become a centerpiece of the culture in HTown and it brings out a unique perspective in a surprising way. Houston graffiti is widely popular and well known for some of it’s most catchy sayings and unique branding. We’ve complied our favorites and put them together for Photo Blog: Our Favorite Houston Graffiti Art.

Houston Mural
This local favorite has become a hot spot for photography as it encompasses the beauty and feel of HTown. Photo via Instagram user we.art.as.one.
Technology Art
Combining traditional art and new age graffiti, this piece is a new Houston favorite. Photo via Instagram user scenesaver.
Be Someone
Possibly one of the most well known and widely popular pieces in Houston, the Be Someone graffiti has become a Houston trademark. Photo via Instagram user hi_haterz2015.
Next time you’re out and about in West Houston, snap a picture of your favorite graffiti, Alta City West! One of the beautiful things about the HTown graffiti is you don’t know how long it will be around for. So remember it how you love it and share the beauty of Houston’s graffiti.