Friday, March 6, 2015

River Oaks Garden Club's 80th Azalea Trail

The Azalea Trail is a 3-Day event that allows guests to view the most gorgeous homes and gardens in River Oaks, Houston, Texas. The event will continue through Sunday, March 8th, 2015. Side note: Some of these yards and gardens are so full of color that I could not manage to tone them down in Photoshop. They are just that vibrant and I'm not at all mad about it.

Ya know when you see something fantastic and then you spot a little decor piece that just puts it over the top? That's how every home was that I visited on the Azalea Trail. I would walk up, think "This is beautiful!", then see a perfectly-placed black and white tapestry that would make my brain explode! "Why are you doing this to me!?" I am in love. And there is no way a photograph can justify the all-around artistry of these homes. You may have to go see them for yourself.

River Oaks Garden Club's 80th Azalea Trail

Home #1
Backyard garden by Johnny Steele

Backyard garden detail by Johnny Steele

Backyard garden and fountain by Johnny Steele

Garden + back of the home

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Microaggressions: tiny, sneaky, back-handed compliments

Racial Microaggressions by Buzzfeed
I just learned about microaggressions.
I've always been into sociology, so this is so interesting to me.
Microaggressions are the everyday verbal, nonverbal, and environmental slights, snubs, or insults, whether intentional or unintentional, which communicate hostile, derogatory, or negative messages to target persons based solely upon their marginalized group membership.
In other words, they're back-handed compliments from straight, white men to everyone else. Haha! It's actually a bit broader than that.

Buzzfeed did a little piece on it a while back - "Racial Microaggressions", and I'd have to say that race, age and gender seem like the biggest targets of microaggression.

So let's have a chat about it.
Has anyone ever displayed microaggression toward you?
If you're still wondering what microaggressions are, watch this video by Dr. Derald Wing Sue from Colombia U on his book Microaggressions in Everyday Life.

Monday, March 2, 2015

Grocery Shopping Pro-Tips

I love grocery shopping.
I like to go in there and just mosey around and read labels for hours. If I'm in a rush, I usually just postpone the shopping until later. I need that time to check out new products, see the ingredients and find the best prices.

Here are some tools and tips I use for more effective grocery shopping.

1. Find Recipes on Pinterest

Pinterest is an endless source of internet round-ups. Just go to the search bar and type: "easy recipes" or "vegan desserts". So many great resources pop up, and through that you will find some new favorite recipe websites. Create boards on your Pinterest such as: "New Recipes", "Diet Recipes" or "Recipes to Try" so that you can easily find them later. Here's what I'm pinning!

2. PepperPlate is a great resource for those who prefer their grocery list on paper. Once you've found your recipes online, create a PepperPlate account and paste the link to your recipe in the "Import This Recipe" bar. It will pull all of the ingredients required into your grocery shopping list! After all of your recipes have been imported or manually typed in, you can adjust the order of the list based on your own grocery store (produce first, then baked goods, meats, etc.). Print your grocery list and get to shopping!

For the iPhone only shoppers like myself...

3. AnyList App

My go-to. This free app allows you to input all of the ingredients you need and cross them off as you shop. If your list is the same the next week, you can review your completed items and add them back to your shopping list as needed. I usually go back and forth between AnyList and my calculator ensure I'm staying on budget.

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Romantic Day Trips & Weekend Getaways from Houston

Valentine's Day is coming up!
I think one of the best ways to celebrate is to get away. Houston has so many things to do within 3-5 hours driving. Check out the options - for every budget - below.

1. Austin

You've probably been here before, so you know how awesome it is. If you didn't like it before, try it again! Here are my recommendations:


Be smart and use a site like Expedia to compare prices on all of the available hotels in the area. I prefer something downtown or near South Congress for easy walking.
Hotel San Jose
Omni Austin
The W


Swift's Attic - this place is as close as Austin gets to Houston's Underbelly, in my opinion
Elizabeth Street Cafe - French and Vietnamese? Yea!
Bouldin Creek Cafe (vegan), but oh so good
The Backspace - a cozy, brick Italian restaurant with incredible pizza
Hopdoddy - an awesome hamburger joint that always has a line
Gourdough's Donuts - to die for
NO VA Kitchen + Bar - great food, awesome space on a cool street


Kayaking or Paddle Boarding on Lake Bird Lake
Watch the Bats fly out from the bridge on Congress
Hike the Greenbelt

Monday, February 2, 2015

Perfect Gifts for Every Woman and Every Man

Why is gifting so hard? Maybe we over think it, but there are so many options and things to think about! This is Part 1 of my Valentine's post. It's about gifts you can buy your husband, wife, boyfriend, girlfriend, recently divorced best friend, etc! But come back for Part 2 next week when I suggest getaways and activities for Valentine's Day. It's on a Saturday this year!

The Foodie / Cook