Monday, March 5, 2012

By Invitation Only - Issue 7

International Blog Party

this month the ladies, specifically Catherine @ Cashmere Lover, Jacqueline @ Home,
& with the same idea, Karin @ LaPouyette,
decided it would be nice to know about each of our hometowns...
whether it be our current town or the one where we were born.
in my case, it is the same:  Houston, Texas.

a night time view of our downtown, where all the major oil companies are headquartered,
as well as the biggest law firms and international banks.
at one time all of the luxury shopping was there too, but no longer.
it's hip little cafes, bars, and the theatre district where the Houston Ballet, Symphony
& Opera perform, the Alley Theatre, as well as a multitude of travelling shows
& concerts.  The baseball & basketball stadiums are also here.

Houston is the 4th largest city in America, and is a big, international city...
but the locals hardly leave their zipcode.  Funny, isn't it?

The world-famous Texas Medical Center is straight down Main Street to the South,
so is Rice University

 as well as the world-famous Houston Museum of Fine Arts

Florescence showcased floral arrangements and horticultural specimens exhibited by Garden Club of America members from all over the country. Many of these arrangements are interpretations of masterpieces from the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston’s permanent collection.

and the fabulous NFL football stadium for our Houston Texans.
Surrounding the football stadium is one of the largest convention centers in the USA,
where, right this minute, the Houston Livestock Show & Rodeo is going on.

some 30,000-50,000 people attend each day, it's the largest rodeo in the world
and goes on for 3 weeks.  the livestock show raises more money for young 4H'ers
than anywhere else in the country, and often the world champion steer sells for
The daily entertainment is also not-to-be-believed:
This year:
Lady Antebellum
John Legend
Kid Rock
Enrique Iglasias
Blake Shelton
ZZ Top (Billy Gibbons is my 2nd cousin)
Reba McEntyre
Zac Brown Band
Miranda Lambert
Train, Alan Jackson, The Band Perry
etc etc etc

but, you guys already know all this don't you?

One of the lovely things you may not know is how brilliantly talented and
sweet Joni Cohen Webb of Webb Designs and the blog
Miss Gracious Living
 Cote de Texas really is.  She's also in Houston & is the reason I began blogging, though I don't think I ever told her this.  Once I saw her blog, her readership and realized she was also in
Houston, I thought "why not."
She's so sweet she said I could use her post from 2008 of a driving tour through
River Oaks, our poshest neighborhood.
All of you will see this is the highlight of today's post.

I've also invited Joni to join our group, not because she posts about Houston, but because
she is a world-class designer who happens to live in Houston. She also conducts the
Skirted Round Table periodically with designer guests who contribute.

Moving on....

the shopping
Houston Galleria Shopping Mall

everyone who comes to Houston eventually ends up at the


anchored on one end by Neiman-Marcus & the other by Sak's 5th Avenue
it is not-to-be-missed to the newbie.
For us locals, we walk into Neiman's where we valet park, do our shopping, or
our little lunch and then leave.  Or we valet park at Sak's where we do the same.
Every single designer name is here + a plethora of shops that only a teenager would love,
and many department stores.  The place is endless, has 3-4 hotels (really!), restaurants, an
ice-skating rink (imagine that when it's over 100f outside). But you would have to see it.

Otherwise,  we shop in other locations, at smaller stores & boutiques, where we can
just park our own cars and walk right in.

Houston Restaurants - Ciao Bello

Ciao Bella, of Tony Vallone's legendary restaurants.  
As you can see, it's casual, friendly and very very good.  It's like a neighborhood place. 
And, Houston has many neighborhood places.
These are the places we see our neighbors having lunch al fresco after Sunday church services.
Houstonians are very very friendly people and never meet a stranger.  Really.  
The hospitality abounds.
The Dallas people do not understand this at all.
And no one outside the state understands any of us.

Houston people dine out often so we have many many take-out places with gourmet foods,
many upscale grocery markets (remember, Whole Foods is from Austin Texas).

We also love entertaining in our homes.
Formal or casual, we're up for it.
& casual means a cook-out.

Pools are everywhere because of our weather, so the outdoor kitchen
has become very important to us.
If we're cooking, 10-20 people are always welcome.  It's not a party, it's
a cook-out grilling day.

And, then we have some famous people you may know:
Lynn Sakowitz Wyatt

a great beauty, a the biggest supporter of charitable causes Texas has ever known.

We have a big social scene, charity balls & galas every month, big fashion show luncheons
where women still get waaay dressed up, everyone has manners and actually understands the need
for proper etiquette, we also have a high school for the performing and visual arts in our public school system, we have a beautiful park called Memorial Park smack in the middle of everything, it has a
3-mile jogging/walking trail where you will see moms/dads running with strollers, and others running with their big dogs.  We also have miles of bike trails winding around Buffalo Bayou, which one could call a river if it wasn't so murky, where my son rides every day and has since he was about 14.

Former President George H. W. Bush & Mrs. Bush live right down the
street from Ciao Bella, Mrs. Bush pushes her own grocery cart at Rice Epicurean which
is only a couple of blocks away.  Not one bit of pretense about either of them.

All of us native Texans say "no one moves out of Texas."
Once here, even our hideous weather cannot drive people away.
The Texas charisma & charm, the real-ness of everyone works it's way into your soul.

We have to drive 100's of miles to any mountain, but we have our own Texas Hill Country,
a geographic location itself.  Houston is not on the coast, it's 50 miles inland, but it only
takes an hour to reach Galveston, the historical old quaint town on the Gulf of Mexico.

It's not like New York in any way, even though both cities have their individual neighborhoods,
in land area only Los Angeles is larger,
It is filled with fine shops, elegant boutiques, endless horizons, verdant greenery,
and is home to millions of people.
Our international visitors are only surpassed by New York City.
The Neiman-Marcus store is the largest grossing luxury retail specialty store in the USA.

But, some of the biggest business deals are still completed with a handshake.


it's my home and my hometown.

i've lived in the Middle East, travelled to many many many places,
seen most of the USA,

& I wouldn't live anywhere else.

Please join all the other ladies of our international group who are
participating today, you will find the link-up below.
And, I encourage you to visit Joni Webb @ Cote de Texas.

TISH JETT an American in France 
Fifi Flowers a French artist in California           
COTY FARQUHAR in Australia
DEBORAH PETERSON between Houston & Scotland
DUSTJACKET ATTIC, Debra in Australia
VICKI ARCHER an Australian in France
FRANCINE GARDNER a woman of the world in NYC blog
LENE Norway
KAREN MALAN UK Pas Grand-Chose Blog http://athousandmiles-k.blogspot

VERONICA  veronica clark