A Local’s Guide to Houston

A Local’s Guide to Houston

Someone once told me “Houston is a great place to live, but not the best place to visit.” Having lived there for six years, I totally get what they meant now. It took me about two years to get my bearings in Houston and once I did, I completely fell in love with the Bayou city. 

Unlike other major cities in Texas, Houston’s Charms aren’t that obvious at first glance. It doesn’t have a lot of natural beauty like Austin and it isn’t a cultural phenomenon like Dallas. But with a little digging and some good resources, I know you will see what a gem Houston is.

From incredible food to world-class museums and more shopping than you can imagine, Houston has everything you could ever need or want. Because Houston is technically larger than the state of Rhode Island, I’ve found the trick to enjoying the city is finding the neighborhood you like and going from there. 

The gorgeous oak trees that line Rice University.

Favorite Neighborhoods

Uptown

River Oaks

Rice Village/West University

The Museum District

Montrose

The Heights

The food in Houston is some of the best in the world. When I lived there, going out to eat was my favorite thing to do. Whether it was brunch with girlfriends, grabbing a bite to eat at the cafe after a day at the museum or a dinner out with my husband, there was no shortage of incredible and diverse restaurants to choose from.

Favorite Restaurants

Something I love about Houston is that they have BYOB restaurants. I haven’t quite tapped into that scene in Austin, but I live for BYOB spots. My No. 1 all time favorite restaurant in Houston is Huynh and it is BYOB. Since I’m a wino, I am SUPER picky about the wine I drink. Going to a BYOB restaurant is great because I can bring literally anything I want and enjoy it with fabulous food all at a reasonable price. 

Hole in the Walls/BYOBs:

Huynh

Giacomo’s

Himalaya 

Cooking Girl

In addition to my BYOB faves, I have a solid list of go-to places that I would be at on a regular basis. For dinner, I love Kata Robata (fancy sushi and IMO better than Uchi, Nobu and MF Sushi), Coltivare–you cannot beat the experience of Coltivare in Houston. It is a farm-to-table Italian restaurant in the Heights with its own garden. You can wait in the garden for your table (and have one of their famous gin and tonics), the food is incredible as well. Nobie’s is also fabulous for dinner. Their menu is always changing and the food is top-notch. The restaurant is so cozy so I love it for a date night or dinner with close friends.

I love B19 for a boozy brunch or dinner with my girlfriends and Bistro Menil is the absolute best for a salad, carafe of wine and a delicious dessert. The Menil Collection is a must-see while you’re in Houston too so you can knock out two birds with one stone with this one.

I also love Mala Sichuan and miss it dearly. If you’re looking for legit sichuan go to their China Town location, but if you want a hip vibe in town, check out their Montrose location. If you’re looking for a bougie Asian dining experience look no further than Le Colonial. I absolutely love everything about this place. From the decor, to the food, wine list and service, Le Colonial is hard to beat. I love it for brunch, a boozy lunch, dinner and late night… yes, the second floor of Le Colonial turns into a mild club scene at night and it is SO fun! Another fun dining experience with fantastic food is Armando’s. In my opinion, Armando’s has the best margaritas in town and while their food is flavorful, it doesn’t leave me feeling sick and way too full like other Mexican restaurants in town. On Thursday nights, Armando’s also turns into a dancing scene! It is the absolute best.

For sophisticated dining I always seem to go to State of Grace and La Table. Both restaurants are beautifully designed and in fabulous locations. I love the oyster happy hour at State of Grace, but really everything on the menu is incredible. La Table is truly French fine dining. The wine list is the best in Houston and I love all of their food. The service is also outstanding.

My go-to’s:

Coltivare

Kata Robata

Nobie’s

Brasserie 19

Hillstone

Le Colonial

Mala Sichuan

La Table

State of Grace

Bistro Menil

Armando’s

If you’re looking for a Fancy dining experience in Houston, there are so many world-class options to choose from. I added La Table on this list as well because it is a very upscale dining experience. 

Houston recently opened its first Michelin starred restaurant, Le Jardinier, at the Museum of Fine Arts Houston (MFAH) and it is truly incredible. The decor is very European and the food, wine and cocktails are outstanding. Musaafer is also new on the food scene in Houston and if you like Indian food as much as I do, you will not want to miss this spot. In addition to incredible food, the decor and vibe of this restaurant are unparalleled. Bludorn *somewhat* recently opened in town and we love everything about it. It is more traditional, elevated American food with oysters, steak and a killer wine list.

Whenever Will and I were celebrating something special, we would try to go to BCN. This elegant spanish restaurant is phenomenal and so charming. It is very hard to get  a reservation so you will have to plan your visit far in advance, but it is totally worth it. 

If you’re looking for an over-the-top steak experience, Mastro’s and Doris Metropolitan are my favorites. Mastro’s is just a sceney experience with great cocktails food and people watching, but Doris Metropolitan is really for the foodies. I think the best steak I had in Houston was at Doris. 

Fancy Night Out

BCN

Le Jardinier

Bludorn

Mastro’s

La Table

Doris Metropolitan

Musaafer

Did you know we are standing in front of “Cloud Column” at the MFAH? This sculpture is the sister piece to Chicago’s iconic Bean sculpture. Having been to both, I would visit Cloud Column any day. No lines or massive crowds and The MFAH is simply the best.

The activities in Houston are endless, but I don’t think they are obvious to a first-time visitor. If you couldn’t tell from my extensive food list, eating should be a top priority if you’re in Houston. Make reservations in advance and do a fun food tour trying out as many places as you can. I cannot stress how incredible the museums in Houston are enough. Having visited museums around the world, I can honestly tell you that Houston has some of the best. The MFAH is remarkable in every way. It is an entire campus with multiple buildings that house different kinds of art, sculpture gardens, the Glassell School and incredible dining options. In addition to the MFAH, the Contemporary Arts Museum, Jung Center and the Houston Museum of Natural Science are fantastic. If you are with children, the Children’s Museum, the Health Museum and the Zoo are incredible as well.

Adjacent to the Museum District, is Rice Village (my old neighborhood) and Rice University. This is one of the most stunning campus’ in the U.S. as it is lined with century-old oak trees and gorgeous brick buildings. There is a walking track that runs the perimeter of the campus and is a perfect 3-mile loop. I used to walk the loop every morning for exercise and I miss it so much. While you’re doing the walk, you can stop to see James Turrell’s famed SkySpace (sunrises and sunsets are the best time to go) and when you’re done, you can pop into Rice Village for food, drinks and shopping.

If you’ve taken in enough culture for your visit, Athletic events are always fun to attend….Astros games are definitely my favorite. The shopping in Houston should also not be missed. The Galleria is incredible and has every store imaginable. I love the Saks Fifth Avenue and all of the restaurants around it most. Outside of the Galleria, Tootsie’s is fabulous and if there is one store you absolutely have to go to while in town, it’s Kuhl Linscomb. To say I’m obsessed with Kuhl Linscomb is an understatement so if you’re in town, please go!!

Fun Things to Do

Visit the museums

Walk around Rice University and see the James Turell SkySpace

Go to a game! Texans, Astros and Rockets games are the best

Go shopping! 

Do a food tour

I hope you all have the chance to visit Houston soon and that you love it as much as I do! If you have been, leave me a comment and tell me your favorite things about the city! Hope you all have the best weekend!

XO,

Brit

Shopbop Style Event is Live

Shopbop Style Event is Live

Shopbop’s bi-annual Style Event sale is now live! This sale is a tiered event and gives buyers up to 25 percent off of their purchase using the code STYLE based on how much they spend. The Style Event is a great time to stock up on fall and winter favorites, Christmas presents and swimsuits for next year.

This fall, I am obsessed with sweater dresses and shearling shoes. I also *cannot* recommend these green cargo pants enough. I bought them in August and have worn them at least 25 times since then. They are great for travel, going out to eat, running errands, literally whatever! I get so many compliments on them when I go out and they are so comfy.

I know many of us are still wearing lounge sets so this sale is a great time to restock on those. I’m obsessed with these black lounge pants and love this grey set. This sweatshirt robe also just moved up to the top of my Christmas wishlist. On the opposite side of the fashion spectrum from loungewear is swimwear and now is a great time to buy for next season. So many Hunza G styles sell out buy March so I scooped up this adorable mint green one for next season!

Happy shopping, friends!

XO,

Brit

Halloween Costumes that Aren’t Really Costumes

Halloween Costumes that Aren’t Really Costumes

Halloween is almost here! Although I love the holiday spirit and live for a good theme, I’m not all that crazy about over-the-top Halloween costumes. Maybe it’s the extreme promiscuity or the gore, but my favorite costumes are usually the ones that mimic a real life character.

For my last year of college, I went to one of our halloween parties as Ja’mie King. For those of you who don’t know, Ja’mie is one of the three characters Chris Lilley plays in the one season wonder, Summer Heights High. In addition to my *perfect* Ja’mie accent, I borrowed my roommate’s little sister’s school uniform to emulate Ja’mie’s jumper and threw on knee high socks and a blazer and it was literally the best costume I’ve ever done. My roomie went as Barbie and that was pretty iconic too.

Cinderella: Tiara, Black Choker, Blue Nap Dress, Glass Slippers
Frosted Animal Crackers: Pink or White Dress with Glued-on Pom Poms, Mouse Ears, Superga Sneakers
Audrey Hepburn: Eye Mask and Tuxedo Shirt Set, Black Heels
Peacock: Peacock Headpiece, Peacock Ombre Dress, Glass Slippers
Dorothy: Bows, Blue and White Sleeper Dress, Red Slip on Mules, Basket Bag

If you’re like me and *really* leaned into the nap/sleeper dress trend, why not make a costume out of it too? Pair this beautiful blue one with Amina Muadi dupe glass slippers for an effortless and comfortable Cinderella look. If perhaps you have a blue and white checkered dress, add a basket bag, bows and red slippers (maybe a puppy too) for a modest and chic Dorothy. On the sleepy chic train is also this iconic Audrey Hepburn look from Breakfast at Tiffany’s. Amazon even sells a sleeping mask, earring and tuxedo shirt set from the movie…I’d pair it with these Manolo dupes for and easy and elegant Audrey look.

I also loved this creative crew I did Halloween with nearly a decade ago! I’m Mary Katherine Gallagher (Superstar) of course and then we’ve got Medusa, Bob Ross!! and the Morton’s Salt Girl. All of our costumes were from home and could be recreated so easily.

I can’t tell y’all what Will is being yet because it is SO good and pulled straight from real life. I think those are really the best costumes when you can take on someone’s voice and personality for the night and just have a ton of fun with it. What are you planning to be this year?!

XO,

Brit

Fall Date Night

Fall Date Night

Fall is finally here y’all!! The heat in Austin has been so overwhelming the past few weeks so when we woke up to weather in the 50s, Will and I decided to have date night at one of our favorite outdoor spots, Cosmic Coffee and Beer Garden. Although Cosmic has a gravel patio, I just knew I had to break in my favorite new shoes from Zara!

Y’all…these shoes are an absolute dream!! They are like Manolo Blahnik and Amina Muaddi had an affordable baby!

I didn’t expect this, but baby blue or powder blue has become my most worn shade this month and might be my favorite color for fall. Here’s what I threw together to pair with my shoes.

When a dinner turns into late night margarita walks!

Are you excited for cooler weather?! Leave me a comment and let me know which looks and colors you are loving for fall!

XO,

Brit

Fall Style Under $100

Fall Style Under $100

Fall is nearly here, y’all! During this time of transition, I’m loving lighter pieces in fall tones of sage, blue, tan and black. Just because we are changing seasons, doesn’t mean you need to break the bank with a new wardrobe. I’m sharing some of my favorite fall pieces that are all under $100.

Since I’m here in Austin, temperatures are still in the 80s and 90s. Because of this, I sticking to dresses made of light fabrics and pairing them back with everything from sandals to slides and boots. I have been wearing this sage green dress from H&M nonstop. I love it with a belt, my tan Hermès Oran slides and my nano Celine Belt Bag.

Mixing High and Low

As much as I love getting a good deal, I also love luxury. The fun thing about fall is that you can mix high fashion, luxury pieces with budget friendly items to create a polished and accessible look.

Living for this polka dot midi dress from H&M for fall. I paired it here with my favorite Gucci dupe slides and a classic black Louis Vuitton purse.

What styles have you been loving as we transition to fall?!

XO,

Brit

Top Five Austin Happy Hours

Top Five Austin Happy Hours

There are few things I love more in life than a good happy hour. Luckily, some of the top restaurants in Austin love them too and offer some of the best food and drinks in town at a fraction of the price. From $5 martinis to 50 percent off on food and wine, I’m breaking down my five go to spots for happy hour in Austin.

1. Clark’s 2. Jeffrey’s 3. Buffalina Due 4. Neighborhood Sushi 5. Backspace
  1. Clark’s

Taking the top spot on my list is Clark’s. We love going to Clark’s any day and any time so I especially love going when I can get a deal on my favorite food and drinks. Will and I love a good martini–Hendricks with a twist, straight up–so you can catch us here having a little tini time and enjoying the most delicious burger and fries in town for half-off!!

The Deal:

Monday-Friday: 3-5 p.m.

$5 Martinis, oyster shooters and draft beer, half off burgers and 50 cents off oysters.

Saturday and Sunday: 3-5 p.m.

Half off all bottles of wine.

2. Jeffrey’s

Jeffrey’s is not only probably the best restaurant in town (in my opinion), they also have one of the best happy hours. I love this happy hour because they change it each night so it isn’t just the same deal every day. As a wino, I live for their Sunday night deal, which is half-off ALL wines, because I get a chance to try some of the most beautiful wines in the world at a really accessible price point.

The Deal:

Monday: All night

25 percent off all items marked with a diamond and $2 off beverages.

Tuesday-Sunday: 5-6 p.m.

25 percent off all items marked with a diamond and $2 off beverages.

Sunday: All night

Half-off any bottle from the Jeffrey’s Cellar.

3. Buffalina Due

When we first moved to Austin last year, I fell in love with Buffalina and when they closed, I was devastated. Luckily, they have a second location in north Austin and I make Will go as often as possible! Is there anything better than half-off on a beautiful bottle of wine and a couple of pizzas? I think not. A must-try if you are in Austin!

The Deal:

Seven Days a Week: 4–5:30 p.m.

Half off all wines under $100, $5 house wine, $5 draft beer, half off all pizza

4. Neighborhood Sushi

Many Austinites will tell you to try Uchi while you’re in town, but my go-to spot for sushi is Neighborhood Sushi. I love their vegetable tempura and I think their sushi is the best in Austin. They also have the perfect location right on South Congress so once you’re done with happy hour, you can walk down the street to enjoy some of the live music Austin has to offer.

The Deal:

Monday-Friday: 4:30-6 p.m.

$10 beer and a sake, $2 off drinks, 25 percent off all food.

5. The Backspace

We love the Backspace! It is a hidden gem in downtown Austin that serves incredible pizza and wines (lots of other food and drinks too, these are just my faves.)

The Deal:

Tuesday-Saturday: 5-6:30 p.m.

Half-off antipasti and half-off beers and wines by the glass.

I hope you get a chance to try these spots out soon! What are your favorite happy hours in Austin?! Leave me a comment and let me know!

XO,

Brit

Fall Style Crushes

Fall Style Crushes

Fall is almost here, my loves! Even though it is 100 degrees outside in Austin today, the promise of cooler weather, sweaters and boots is here. Although it has been hard for me to get in the mindset for fall, I’m sharing my crushes as we transition into this new season.

If my wardrobe on our trip to Kohler was any indication, I will be wearing these green pants all day, every day for the foreseeable future. They look amazing and are incredibly comfortable. I’ve paired it here with my favorite H&M sweater set from last season and my new shearling Birkenstocks.

Since the temperatures in Austin will be toasty through November at the earliest, I’m focusing mostly on dresses in darker tones of green, rust, black and blue as the seasons change. Swapping out sandals for tennis shoes and mules is also a great way to transition in a warmer climate.

I cannot wait to pair this dress with a great pair of tan boots this fall.

As promised, I will be styling my favorite shirt dress with tan boots this fall. I love this dress because you can use the buttons to make it a sexy look or leave it undone for a sophisticated casual look.

What colors and styles are you loving as we move from summer into fall? Leave me a comment and let me know!

XO,

Brit

The American Club and Chicago: A Weekend Travel Guide

The American Club and Chicago: A Weekend Travel Guide

We just got back from the most relaxing and enjoyable trip to Chicago and to a little town called Destination Kohler, near, Sheboygan, Wisconsin…random, right? It totally was, but also completely amazing. My mom, Charlie and I tagged along with Will, my dad and their friends on their golf trip to Wisconsin and I am so glad we did.

Since we were barely in Chicago, this is by no means an all-encompassing guide to the city, rather just a quick taste of the town. My guide to Destination Kohler and Sheboygan is a bit more comprehensive.

Chicago:

Because we could all get nonstop flights into Chicago, we decided to start our trip and celebrate my mom’s birthday with 24 hours in Chicago. We stayed at the Fairmont Millennium Park, which was nice, but I didn’t love it and am not sure if I would stay there again.

Pizza in the Park!

Since we knew our time was limited, we hit the ground running as soon as we landed. We picked up a deep dish pizza from Giordano’s which was around the corner from our hotel and had a picnic lunch in Millennium Park (home of the infamous Bean). I know there is a heated debate about deep dish pizza in Chicago, but honestly, I will eat any pizza, any time so I was just happy to try one of the many famed establishments. Pro tip: order your pizza ahead of time online because they take about 50 minutes to cook.

Enjoying the Architecture River Cruise with my boy and a little Gin and Tonic.

Once we were done with our lunch, we walked from Millennium Park over to Navy Pier, where we boarded a boat for the Chicago Architecture River Cruise. This is my absolute FAVORITE thing to do in Chicago because I love being on the water, but I also love learning about the Chicago architecture. It is truly stunning and all of the boats have a bar so there is no better place to spend the afternoon in my mind.

We celebrated my mom’s birthday while we were in Chicago and had the most delicious meal at RPM Steak. We all loved the food and the service was incredible, but the music was really loud and the vibe was something like what I would have been into in my early 20s. I would highly recommend it and also suggest trying Bavette (and making reservations early!)

Destination Kohler:

The Iconic American Club.

The main part of our trip was spent in Destination Kohler–an idyllic town outside of Sheboygan, Wisconsin. The area is well-known for its golf–Whistling Straits and Blackwolf Run which each have multiple courses within them, and the Kohler Waters Spa.

Although the beginning of our trip was a bit stressful–we were staying at the Inn on Woodlake which at the time legitimately seemed like a frat house for golfers, and my mom, Charlie and I were getting a lot of unwanted attention, by the end of the trip, we were all raving about how we had the best time. My mom and I relaxed, went paddle boarding, did two days at the spa (if you’re getting a facial or a manicure, ask for Dawn–she is incredibly talented and a truly wonderful person), went shopping at Sweet Potato’s and the Woodlake Market (I live for a good grocery store) and we are already planning our return trip.

Where to Stay:

My husband booked our stay with a golf package so we could only stay at the American Club or the Inn on Woodlake. By the time we booked, the rooms at the American Club were fully booked. The next time we go, I definitely want to stay at the American Club rather than the Inn on Woodlake. If you’re not planning to book through a package and just want to explore Sheboygan, I would suggest the Fairfield Inn or the Grandstay hotel.

Activities:

I know we just barely scratched the surface in terms of activities, but my mom and I really enjoyed ourselves and didn’t want to over do it. Obviously the boys golfed so we took full advantage of the spa and the recreational activities at the Sports Core on Woodlake which included paddle boarding. I would also recommend stopping by Sweet Potato’s for some retail therapy. They have everything from Birkenstock’s to Vince and CBD oil–mom and I loved so many things there.

One of my favorite activities wasn’t exactly planned, but we kind of stumbled upon it. After our massages one day, mom and I were both craving just a really simple sandwich so we picked up Jersey Mike’s and then my mom had the brilliant idea to eat it by the lake. We discovered Deland Park which is a beautiful park right on Lake Michigan. Lots of green space and even beach access so we had a gorgeous lunch and Charlie loved running around.

Where to Eat:

The food really blew all of us away on this trip. I asked our group after to rank our meals and it was nearly impossible because we enjoyed each one so much. In my opinion, I guess I would have to say my favorite breakfast was the burrito at Whistling Straits and my favorite dinner was at Trattoria Stefano–the food was delicious and we had the best waiter. My mom and I loved grabbing coffee and snacks from the Woodlake Market and lunches at the Horse and Plow were so good! Our waitress there even showed me the most delicious trick–dipping sweet potato fries in honey–genius!

Truly the best trip! I am so thankful for the new memories made with my parents, Will, Charlie and our friends and I can’t wait to go back to Destination Kohler!

XO,

Brit

Packing Guide for Chicago and Destination Kohler

Packing Guide for Chicago and Destination Kohler

I can’t believe we are finally going on a vacation this summer! Because of our housing drama, we were forced to cancel all of our trips this summer except for one…of course it is a golf trip, but regardless, I am excited to travel and get out of the Texas heat for a few days.

This weekend we will be going to Chicago for one night and Destination Kohler for a few days so my husband, dad and a couple of their friends can have a Ryder Cup Style golf tournament with one another. Thankfully, my mom and sweet Charlie are coming on the trip too. We plan to do an architecture river cruise and dinner in Chicago and lots of spa time, walking and water activities while we are in Kohler.

Since the vibe of this trip is relaxation and fun dinners, I’m bringing mostly casual clothes with a few fun pieces for our dinners. I am also so excited to read my new book, Golden Girl, written by the “queen of beach reads” Elin Hilderbrand. Of course we will be on the shores of Lake Michigan, but that counts as a beach, right?

Stay tuned next week for my travel guide to Chicago and Destination Kohler!

XO,

Brit

A Midsummer Date Night

A Midsummer Date Night

We have had wild few weeks here in Austin! After finding out our lease couldn’t be renewed on our current house, we decided to buy our first house. While the process was wild–have you heard about the real estate market in Austin?!–we finally found a house and are moving in this weekend. To celebrate, I wore my current favorite dress. I love this dress because you can easily wear it during the day with tennis shoes or turn it into a sexy look for the evening.

Celebrating closing on our first house!! I wore the dress loosely here without attaching any of the buttons and paired it with my favorite Vejas.

To transition this look from day to evening, simply swap the tennis shoes for heels, add some hoop earnings and a great clutch. by fastening the buttons on the front and back, this dress goes from casual and comfy to chic and sexy.

Gypsy Water Perfume, Blue Shirt Dress, Hoop Earrings, Tan Strappy Heels, Tan Clutch

From day to night, I have been living in this dress. While it is a little bit pricey, I believe it is worth the money. Not only is it machine washable, it is also incredibly versatile. In the fall I plan to pair it with tan knee-high boots…stay tuned for that!

XO,

Brit