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



Mona Thompson Providence Ltd. said...

What a wonderful post Marsha. Loved learning more about your beautiful city. Been out of town in late last night. Haven't had the time to do a post about my home town. May just have to pass this time. XO, Mona

Francine Gardner said...

This is amazing Marsha. I must visit Houston. You have an excellent quality of Life down in Texas and the countryside looks absolutely beautiful!

LENE said...

What a wonderful big town Houston is Marsha:)
So exciting with a lot of nice culture, parks, shops and all the beautiful, large homes with swimming pools - I would have really enjoyed myself in such a house. Is it your own house and swimming pool you show us in the post?
It is a very educational and interesting post you wrote. I love that som of the biggest business deals still are completes with a handshake.
Thank you for that and thanks for taking my blog in your writing!

Love from Lene

Leslie said...

I've been to Texas and loved it! Great view of the city and that rodeo looks like fun. I could use some of that warm weather now - we are still getting snow-rain here in the Pacific Northwest..

Enjoy the start to your week!

Veronica said...

Marsha, this is a wonderful wonderful post and I am sold darling! Houston would never have been on my list of places to visit and your post has presented just the kind of place I would love to visit... not for the shopping or any of the other wonderful things, although they are a bonus, but, the people sound devine and that is what I enjoy most when visiting a new destination! Love your pictures and that home is amazing... This was a fab idea and I am so looking forward to the other posts.

Big Cape Town hug to Houston!!


Catherine Robinson said...

Houston sounds absolutely wonderful, Marsha...I agree with Veronica it wouldn't have been on my 'list' but I think you have now put it there ;) I will pop across to Joni your inspirational blogger friend!
Great post, always.
With love

Charlotta Ward said...

Darling this is so beautiful and I thoroughly enjoyed reading about your lovely hometown. It is always so nice to see it through the eyes of someone who loves their home and you did a wonderful job here.

Thank you!

Oscar is in and out of hospital and my blogging suffers. I will return to social media in a fuller capacity when all is under control.

I loved hearing that you may come to Sweden. You are so welcome and I will drive up to Stockholm and give you a guided tour. How fun Marsha!!!

Big hugs


The enchanted home said...

I LOVE THIS!!!!! This might be my favorite post of all time of yours Marsha. Houston rocks!! Only been once many years ago but now have a cousin and a friend both living there so I think its time for a visit. The Galleria in and of itself is reason enough to warrant a visit! So many wonderful attributes it has and lets not even talk about the southern hospitality which is like the icing on an already beautiful cake!
Sorry not joining in the fun, but definitely next month.:)

Sam @ My Carolina Kitchen said...

Making me homesick Marsha. Houston was the first big city I call home when I began my career. You've highlighted it beautifully, including Lynn Wyatt. How I miss the Sakowitz stores, so classy.

Jacqueline @ HOME said...

WOW Marsha .....what a fabulous city and one that I have yet to visit even though we have visited many parts of the US. Such a vibrant and exciting city by the looks of it too. I love all of your images but my favourite is the last one. I really loved reading your post Marsha and I'm pleased that Catherine, Karin and I chose a subject that has been embraced to the full. XXXX

Virginia said...

Hey, I'll just bet you and I talk alike! :) B'ham AL is not that far from your hometown. Great photos. Loved this post.

Ann said...

You sure make Houston sound divine!
Perhaps I should stay longer than a quick airport layover!

Would you show me around?

BRASWELL said...

Having lived in Houston for a little over 5 years(many moons ago) I have such fond memories + your description of the city & its people was right on. Long live Texas.

A Tale of Two Cities said...

If I didn't already live in Houston, I'd want to move here! You did a fantastic job of describing our hometown. Beautiful--don't you just love Houstonians?

Karen @ Pas Grand-Chose said...

Lovely post! Your shots of outdoor living in Houston are a dream. Thanks for a lovely theme - I'm sorry to have been a poor contributor to the monthly event (I sometimes find it difficult due to work pressure) but glad to have managed it this time! It's been great fun seeing the range of different home towns. Merci!

Nuit Hernandez said...

what a beautiful post! I LOVE Houston :) x

Teresa at Splendid Sass said...

Thank you for sharing your home town. Houston is such a beautiful city.
Would love to have a mall that large and grand.
Happy Tuesday.

Cote de Texas said...

wow!!!!! this is so incredible! you made Houston look and sound as gorgeous as it really is. thank you sooo much for including me! that picture! oy!!! haha!!!

love this sooo much.


Debbie said...

Well done!

Debbie Clark

Anonymous said...

Hello Marsha!
I wrote about Houston on my blog. If you have time, you can visit me and read "Christian Louboutin ~ Part Deux"
You definitely live in a beautiful city, fantastic food and amazing shopping!
Have a nice day!

Shauna at Classically Chic Design said...

Marsha, I love Houston. Love all the great antique shops! I don't live far and love making trips to Houston to go antique shopping. I am your newest follower and new to "blogland". I just started my own blog and would love for you to drop by and take a look. Beautiful post. Have a great day.


Coty Farquhar said...

Dearest Marsha,
I am sending my apologies for not attending this party this week. Work has been incredibly demanding and I have a huge presentation to give tomorrow. Sadly my blog is being totally ignored at the moment, I just hate it!!

Your hometown Houston looks amazing, what a wonderful life you must have there.

Sending love and beautiful wishes to you. Please forgive me?
xxxxx Coty

Hena Tayeb said...

Oh wow that last photograph is beautiful..

Simone said...

I can't tell you how much I loved reading this Marsha....the southern US states really intrigue me & I have yet to visit any of them.

Houston looks & sounds amazing, you have shown us some great photos.

I love "no one moves out of Texas" ....brilliant!

Anonymous said...

Lovely post from someone who obviously loves her hometown. Absolutely the coolest music set to any blog post that I have every read. Beautiful blog.

Anonymous said...

Lovely post by a gal obviously in love with her hometown. Absolutely the coolest music to accompany a blog post that I have ever heard. It's so you!

Darleen~ Places In The Home said...

Wonderful idea for featuring cities & hello, Houston! We have had great & memorable times over the years in Houston, and we have thankfully had healing times in Houston. The city itself, Houstonians, and the surrounding areas proved to be therapeutic in my mother's treatment & recovery from cancer. We moved to Houston under unfortunate circumstances as visitors but left feeling as if we were true Houstonians.

Four star shopping, the topiary display at Westheimer & Buffalo Speedway,antique shopping, restaurants and the Houston Museum of Natural Science make Houston Houston for me. And who doesn't love a field of TX. Bluebonnets? Thank you for the opportunity to "visit" Houston once again.

marthainvienna said...

Loved your photos of and around Houston, especially the gorgeous Bluebonnets on that country road. Also think you have a great idea to feature different cities around the world. I'm a Texan living in Vienna, Austria and would love to invite you to visit my blog about this fabulous city (and sometimes other places) and add it to your list:

marthainvienna said...

Loved your photos of and around Houston, especially the gorgeous Bluebonnets on that country road. Also think you have a great idea to feature different cities around the world. I'm a Texan living in Vienna, Austria and would love to invite you to visit my blog about this fabulous city (and sometimes other places) and add it to your list:

marthainvienna said...

Loved your photos of Houston and nearby areas...especially your photo of the Bluebonnets. And, that's a great idea to feature cities around the world. I'm a Texan living in Vienna, Austria and have a blog about this fabulous city (and sometime other places), which I invite you to visit and possibly add to your list:


Sammy said...

I enjoy your blog so much. Actually, it is much more than just a blog. Your pictures are beautiful and so is the way you describe them.