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

Watercolor Packing List

Watercolor Packing List

We are heading back to one of my favorite places…Watercolor, Florida!! As many of you know, we love Watercolor and have been going there A LOT over the past year. I have been visiting this area for about a decade and my husband and his family have been going for pretty much his whole life. To get ready for my trip, I’m sharing my packing list!

This trip to Watercolor is even more exciting than usual because we’re not only going to enjoy the beach, but we also get to celebrate Easter with our friends at the Chapel at Seaside which is going to be so special.

For those of you who don’t know, Watercolor and Seaside are two communities that back up to one another along the iconic stretch of the beachside highway known as 30A. You can distinguish where you are in this area by the architecture. Seaside is known for having almost dollhouse looking homes painted in pinks, yellows, blues, greens and white and Watercolor is filled with larger homes mostly painted in whites, blues and greens. All of these towns are connected with bike paths so you never have to drive anywhere which I love.

The most beautiful beach.

The weather along the Florida panhandle is gorgeous during the month of April and it’s usually a lot less busy than spring break and the summer. Since the vibe in the area is casual chic, I’m packing mostly dresses and pastel-colored swimsuits. I never go to the beach without packing a few sunhats…I live for my Eugenia Kim hat and it is just amazing, but it is kind of a hassle to pack. If you’re flying or don’t want to deal with bringing a big hat, check out this foldable one I found for less than $10. I use it way more than my other hats and I get so many compliments on it.

Have you been to Watercolor or anywhere on 30A? What are your favorite things to do in the area?

XO,

Brit

Winter Essentials on the Winter Solstice

Winter Essentials on the Winter Solstice

Happy Winter Solstice, y’all! As we celebrate the first day of winter and a whole new season of energy, I’m sharing my winter must-haves to keep you warm and stylish. As a native of Salt Lake City, I’ve had a few years to figure out how to keep myself warm in the cold and I think the key to staying warm is layering, having a really good coat and solid shoes.

I won’t lie, Winter is probably my least favorite season. I hate being cold and I generally don’t enjoy wearing heavy clothes, but over the years, I’ve come up with some cute ways to stay warm and keep my style. Living in Texas, our winters are quite a bit milder than other parts of the country, but it still gets cold here and when I visit family in Montana, I have to bundle up!

Tennis shoes have also been a life saver for me during the winter months. During spring, summer and fall, I live in sandals so it is hard for me to give those up in the winter. I love Golden Goose sneakers because they are super stylish, go with all of my outfits and think they are worth the money for sure. If you’re not ready to make the splurge, Steve Madden has made much more affordable versions. I recently bought the Steve Madden star fur slides specifically for chilly walks with my dog in the morning. I love these shoes because they are warm and they are so easy to slide on and off. I also love the price! I got them on sale for $49…10 percent of the price of what most Golden Goose sneakers will cost you!

My other favorite shoes for the winter are my mini Uggs! I have been wearing these boots for years and I no shame wearing them all around town! I really only like the tan Uggs because I think they are a great neutral and I love the mini size!

Regardless of the season, you’ll find me in my duster sweaters…I literally live in these. I have a black, white and tan duster and throw them on over everything thing. In the winter months, I layer the sweater with long sleeve shirts and sometimes a scarf over the top and in warmer months, I throw them over a tank and jeans or a dress.

I have a hard time staying warm so blanket scarves are a necessity for me in the winter. I love getting mine from Madewell and Gap, but I recently found one I really like at Target. Scarves can often be incredibly expensive and high-maintenance to care for, but at these stores, the scarves are affordable, well-made and come in the cutest colors. You can easily throw them on over a sweater or layer them under a jacket. I also love my pom pom hat. I wear mine around town, skiing or inside if I’m really cold!

What are your winter essentials? Let me know what you’ll be buying to keep you warm this season and I hope you all have a beautiful winter solstice!

XO,

Brit