Buying gifts for the men in your life goes 1 of 2 ways…it’s either the easiest thing you’ll ever have to do or it will be single-handedly the hardest. I’m unlucky in the sense that Matt doesn’t ever really want anything, but very lucky that he would not bitch if I gave him a tree limb wrapped nicely. However, although he has no needs, I still pride myself in being a good gift giver. I put a lot of thought into what people would like, and probably just as much thought in presentation. Last year I went above and beyond…he turned 25 and I was bound and determined to have 25 gifts, one for every year of his life. This year, I was like, what in the hell do I get him?? So I brainstormed and came up with a pretty good list of things that every guy needs…or could use a duplicate of. Most of the items on my list come in a variety of price ranges meaning you can either spend as much as you want, or as little. Here are my recommendations for the man in your life…
Clockwise from the top left…
1. Wallet - There are so many options with this gift. You could scale it down and get a nice money clip for a guy who already has a wallet, you could go big and get a luxury designer, or you could kill 2 birds with 1 stone like this wallet from Tokens & Icons does. It is lined with an actual uniform a Houston Astros player wore so it makes a great gift for the sports enthusiast in your life, who also happens to need a wallet.
2. Swim Trunks - self explanatory. Just like swim suites, there is no such thing as too many.
3. Sunglasses - once again, self explanatory. Most guys love Ray-Ban so there is a good option to go with. Your guy doesn’t like sunglasses? New hat. Problem solved.
4. Grill - I love cooking…I love baking…those are womanly things. What I think is unwomanly? Grilling….yet I love most things grilled, so I needed to quickly find a solution to this problem. Oh, buy the boy a grill. Problem solved. Another “you can spend as much as you want or as little as you want” gift. I found out you can get a grill for pretty cheap, and they even come in lovely apartment patio sizes. Snaz up the wrapping with some cute grill accessories and bam, great gift!
5. Shoes - Hate the shoes in your man’s closet? Replace them.
6. Headphones - I feel like this is a very “in” gift right now, and most boys I know love music.
Clearly I’m not a rocket scientist, everything on my list is pretty logical and , but I know what it feels like to be stuck on what you are going to buy.
Good luck ladies.
Teacher appreciation week is upon us and I felt the need to help some people out. If you have a child, please take this seriously, if you are a teacher, I’m sure you’ll understand.
Dont get me wrong, all gifts are appreciated, no matter how large or small, but I’ve never known anyone to send out a registry for this holiday, so maybe you are feeling a little lost in the gift giving department? Here are some suggestions…
1. Stationery - We make a living making lists. At least let them be cute lists. Want to make it better? Personalize it.
2. A Beach Towel - You might think this is strange, but summer is fast approaching us, and we like to hang out by the pool too. This is a great gift because not only is it affordable and accessible, you can pair it w something cute like a magazine and the teacher’s favorite snack.
3. Gift Cards - You cannot, and I repeat, cannot go wrong w a gift card. We are teachers, hello, we are poor. We love free money, especially to restaurants and places like target!
4. Nice School Supplies - I hate to be the bearer of bad news but schools aren’t just handing out goody bags for their teachers full of fun things like pretty pens and cute agendas, and to be honest, it was probably your child who swiped my hot pink Paper Mate pen I love so much, so restock us w the faves. Ask your child if you need to know the favorites, or look in their backpack and take notice to stuff you didn’t buy…*
5. Last but not least, for the stylish teacher, a Floppy Hat - It doesn’t actually have to be a floppy hat, but we love stuff like this- little bangles, sunglasses, and scarves. Remember, it does not have to be expensive! This hat is on sale at Target for 7.99! Anything in a bright color is sure to make a teacher happy!
Now, do not think that a nice hand written thank you card isn’t enough. We also love the flowers your child picks out of the random person’s garden on the way to school, so like I said, all gifts are appreciated. However, there is one thing we do not want…please do not get your child’s teacher Bath and Body Works - I don’t care how long you’ve been waiting to regift it, spare us. We would rather have a hand drawn scribble w a heart from your 4 year old than have to hide the disdain of receiving a smell we loathe.
Everyone bundle up, the world is surely coming to an end since it’s 42 degrees on May 3rd. But before we all die, thank your child’s teacher, we are running low on fuel at this point, and it will make our day!
*Your child probably did not intentionally take the teacher’s favorite pen, but these things just happen.
I know I haven’t blogged all month, but testing drains me, but I have lots planned for the coming months! It has been a pretty eventful month this round, averaging a new restaurant every week, and I have to say, I was much more impressed with April’s new tries.
The first visit was to Max’s Wine Dive on Washington, which truth be told, wasn’t exactly my “first visit”, but I had only been once before, and it had been over 2 years and it was a much different experience, so I’m counting it! I had the Happy Hour version of the Famous Fried Egg Sandwich and the Twice Cooked Texas BBQ Foldover, and both were amazing! For dessert we split the Goo Goo Pie, and let me just say, if you like peanut butter, this is for you. It’s peanut butter, and chocolate, and peanut butter, and caramel, and more peanut butter, and Oreos, and who knows what else, all mixed into a delicious dessert!
Next was Red Lion Pub on Shepherd which was pretty good, but not nearly as good as The Queen Vic, which I find strange, because I know a lot of people prefer RLP to The Queen. Things just didn’t seem as fresh (as in my rice was kind of hard and I’m not convinced the beans weren’t out of a can). However, I would go back and give it a second chance, and the atmosphere inside was pretty authentic.
The new hit Dogwood in Midtown was also a must try this month, and I think it is definitely a great add to the area! Was the food life changing? No, but was it better than most bar food? Definitely. The chicken and waffle sliders will be passed on in the future (too greasy), but I would definitely get their quesadilla again!
Alright, the moment of the month, the best place I’ve tried all year, and probably the most anticipated on my bucket list this year, aside from Uchi…Hugo’s on Westheimer has been visited. There is a reason this place is on every “Where to Eat in Houston” list. It was phenomenal and met every expectation I had for it! Matt and I went for their famous Sunday Brunch and holy moley, there are few days I wish I had a bigger stomach, and this was one. They had every Mexican dish you could think of, plus a bunch of meats, and a dessert table to make you swoon. The outside patio is beautiful and the drink menu was delicious and really affordable (which is nice since the brunch itself is quite pricey). I look forward to many more visits to Hugo’s!
Okay last but not least, I’m not even sure if this counts, but I have to talk about Minute Maid Park. Matt got us Club Level tickets to Saturday games…I had no clue there is a slew of crazy places to eat! This past month I had El Real’s nachos. Oh goodness, I’ll never look at stadium nachos the same! I’m going to try a new place at least once a month, and eventually work up the nerve to try their sushi bar!
May will probably be less eventful in the new restaurant arena seeing as it’s Birthday Month and I will be eating at a lot of favorites, but I’m going to try and test 2 new places, even if one is a food truck!
Can you believe April is already over?
Soma Sushi on Washington was first on our list. We ordered 4 rolls and I loved 2, but felt unmoved by the other 2. I would definitely go back, the setting is nice and intimate, and the service was really on top of it. We didn’t make it in time for their happy hour but I did look at the menu and felt like it wasn’t life changing.
Another place we tried was Spaghetti Warehouse. I know this place has been around for ages, but surprisingly enough, only one person in our party had ever been there. The food was slightly better than your average Olive Garden or Carino’s, but no where near as good as your favorite local places. We also noticed we were all about 40 years too young to be in there at the time of day we were. Was it good? Yes. Will I go back on my own? No.
Initially I had planned on making the Haute Truck Food Festival an entire post, but I found it didn’t actually deserve one. (Have you noticed my life wasn’t changed by any of the places I tried this month??) It was fun, and the food was good, but waiting 45 minutes for the The Waffle Bus in 40mph winds when I could just drive around and find it and wait 3 minutes was not a highlight of my day. I will say though, the burrito from Coreanos really, really hit the spot!
The only other place I tried this month was Royal Oaks on Westheimer. I would go back but the drinks didn’t necessarily impress me. In fact, I had been sure my sour Sauvignon Blanc had been a Happy Hour wine because it was so gross but lo and behold…it was not.
I have really good feelings about April! Stay tuned!!
Hope everyone has a hippity-hoppity Easter!
This past weekend we went to one of my FAVORITE cities, New Orleans. There is something very different about the entire state of Louisiana in general, that makes it unlike any other place I’ve ever traveled. It was just a short trip but we packed in a lot of punch while we were there! Just wanted to share some of my favorite pics from the trip and advise anyone who goes to eat at Desire Oyster Bar & the natoinally acclaimed Cochon.
I hope everyone had a wonderful spring break…I’m counting down the days until summer!
1. J.Crew Embellished Tank 2. Starbucks Reusable Sleeve 3. EOS Lip Balm 4. Ferragamo “Bali” Sandals 5. Real Murders by Charlaine Harris 6. Canon Camera 7. Reed Krakoff Gym Bag 8. Turkish Beach Towel
With Spring Break in full swing, I am very much looking forward to our upcoming quick trip to New Orleans. Like any weekend getaway, I don’t want to over pack but I have to pack the necessities. For instance, I don’t go on any car trip longer than an hour without a book so this seems like the perfect time to start the Aurora Teagarden Series by Charlaine Harris. Another “never leave without it” item is lip gloss. EOS has replaced Burts for my favorite lip balm. It’s easy to grip container and delicious flavors make it an everyday item. Last but certainly not least is my Reed Krakoff Gym Bag. This thing is big enough to be a small suitcase and is truly a beautiful bag. I throw everything I need for a busy day in there and out the door I go. I also get very cold in cars and on planes so I have a feeling this cute Turkish towel are going to become very close friends.
I hope everyone is staying dry…here is to better weather!
Holy Moly - for such a short month, I packed in a lot of new places!
Let’s start with Steak n’ Shake. I have listened to my boyfriend ramble on and on about this Midwest staple. Well now it’s here (and by here I mean in the far suburbs of Houston, but luckily for him, we travel that way occasionally) and Matt is in Heaven. I didn’t eat an actual meal, but I have to say, my “Banana Chocolate Split” did NOT disappoint. While chatting with the district manager, he recommended the “Ultimate Banana” next time which actually contains chunks of banana. Sign me up.
During a Friday Happy Hour with the girls, we went to Molina’s Cantina, which I’ve been curious about for awhile. If you like salsa with a citrusy kick, this place is for you. I wanted to drink the stuff. My enchiladas a la Michael were also really, really good. My only complaint was the actual margarita…I don’t know if it was because it was just a Happy Hour special and they didn’t really care how much I loved it, but it was so potent I couldn’t take more than a couple of sips.
Coco Crepes, Goode Company BBQ, and Brasil all made appearances in my life this month. Each was good enough to get a mention and a trip back. Coco wasn’t as life changing as I thought it might be, but that could have very well been just what I ordered. Goode Company left me wanting more, especially of the jalapeno cheese bread, good lord. Brasil though, with the location being great and the food being pretty close to great, they need to work on their friendliness. Ain’t nobody got time for that.
I have to give Matt credit for Valentine’s Day. He chose Vinoteca Poscal (same owners as DaMarco which I’ve added to my must try list) on Westheimer. I was a little hesitant when he said “the place doesn’t take reservations*.” I’m sorry, what? You chose a restaurant that doesn’t take reservations for one of the busiest eat out days in America? But fear not friends, they had us seated right away. This place was good, if not great. I highly recommend it to anyone looking for a cozy restaurant for date night. The options are endless, you can get meat and cheese platters, tons of different small plates, it really went on and on. I definitely want to go back, and in all actuality, it was super, super reasonably priced. Good job boyfriend, I knew I kept you around for a reason :)
*Poscal does take reservations for Valentine’s Day. They just don’t advertise it anywhere…and if you are going to go for Valentine’s Day, I do recommend making them, because by the time we left, there was a line out the door.
We also had brunch at Natachee’s (pronounced like Apache) Supper n’ Punch…so good! The fact that 2 people, in the same week, had mentioned it to me let me know really quickly I needed to venture on over. I had the breakfast sliders and I ate all of them (much to Matt’s despair…) and everyone else had delicious looking plates as well! I definitely want to go back to this little gem!
Before I go on my dessert only description- it is safe to say that giving up sweets has been the biggest joke ever. I can say that I’m eating sweets less than I usually do, but I finally just reasoned with myself and justified it by my life long soda give up that happened in January. Life goes on…
Moving on, I tried the new highly buzzed about MACARON by Patisse in River Oaks shopping center. Personally, I’d rather eat a cupcake, but these things were the bomb. I am going back to try the Fig & Goat Cheese. (Do not confuse these little beauties with macaroons…they are not the same!) I also visitied the Zeapod Cakery Food Truck and tried a cake on a stick. They call them pushies, which I think is kind of funny. If you love traditional cakes, you will love these, and they make for great party favors. They were very moist and not messy at all!
Other places visited - Banana Leaf & Bonnie’s … and something I ate at both made me extremely sick, so I’ll just leave it at that.
Here is to a very eventful March!!
i pride myself in, for the most part, liking to try new things. i’m all about new food, new cultures, new places…it may take me awhile to warm up to some ideas but i usually do and get more excited than the next…so i was pretty excited to celebrate chinese new year yesterday.
all in it was fun, but one thing just put a major damper on my parade…cuttlefish. ground up cuttlefish, mixed with group up shrimp, mixed with spices, poured over fruit salad. wtf. remember fred from my last post? well this tasted like fred smells after he just gave himself a bath. cuttlefish has such a bad rap, there is south park episode about it…all of this took place at a restaurant called banana leaf, which i have to say, everything else prior to this taste was pretty good (indian pancakes and some kabobs) but after we had that…there was no turning back
besides the cuttlefish incident, i saw lots of new things…
i had never been to chinatown so the fact that everything for miles was in chinese, and sometimes not even subtitled in english, was really interesting
at the festival i saw panda man, a fashion show, and got a face painting (i love face paintings!!!)
don’t you want them all??? no? not even for that cousin of the groom bridesmaid you had to put in your wedding that you hate? i thought so. if there is any place i can get a face painting done…i will…i think they are about as much fun as you can legally have…
here is casey getting her face painted…
but even beyond the face painting…the best part, without a doubt, was the super market…it was crazy.
real crabs? got ‘em.
an entire aisle of soy sauce? yep…they had that too.
but this, this my friends is by far the best thing i saw all day…giant boxes of hello panda cookies!!!!!
good luck year of the snake babies
I hope everyone had a wonderful Mardi Gras season…with Fat Tuesday being last night, we went the traditional pancake route…but with a twist. I’ve been trying to be really good (um, I put on 5 lbs during the holidays…eek), so I made my “always a hit in my house” banana pancakes, and quite frankly friends, you should make them too. I found this recipe on Pinterest about a year ago…and it quickly became a Saturday ritual.
Whole Wheat Brown Sugar Banana Bread Pancakes - makes 12
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup regular flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 c brown sugar
1 teaspoon (or table if you really love it) cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg (optional)
2/3 cup milk
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
3 large ripe bananas, mashed (i find a potato masher works best)
2 tablespoons butter, melted
1.Mix the flours, baking powder, salt, sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg into a large mixing bowl.
2. Combine the milk and vanilla in small bowl and mix together, pour into dry ingredients bowl.
Okay, so right now you are thinking this is so damn dry and clumpy, i know. but don’t you fret.
3. add the bananas into the mix…see now it’s all mushy!
4. finally add the melted butter
Heat pan or griddle to medium heat…using a 1/3 c measuring cup, pour the batter on the griddle and heat on each side for 2 minutes…they are going to look a little mushy…they will be, but in the best of ways…plus there isn’t anything raw like eggs to make you sick!!
Serve with syrup :)
I can’t lie…these are the bomb…I always eat the first one because it is my trial one, or at least that is what I tell myself.
Now, I was not raised in a religious denomination where Lent is really observed, but in college I decided there was nothing in my life I needed so badly that I couldn’t go 40 days without it. I’ve given up cupcakes and shopping (broke college student really benefited from this) but this year I’m bringing out the big guns…sweets in general. This will be the trials and tribulations for me…I love sweets. Wish me luck, especially since the 6 boxes of girl scout cookies I ordered arrive smack dab in the middle!!
WHO WANTS MY THIN MINTS??
P.S. I’ve been kitten sitting…here is Fred.
i’m sitting here ordering candles from one of my student’s sisters for a fundraiser…and it comes with all of these little sample candles to pick from…well as i scroll through, i come across this one
i just want to know who in their right mind thought someone would want to buy a candle with a scent called “monkey farts??” to make it worse…it doesn’t smell good…at first i thought…oh, it’ll be tropical…like monkeys…maybe?? no. it’s like fart with some sort of pineapple sprayed over it.
i’m constantly amazed