Are you looking for something to do for the New Year? Want to do something with the family? Get the New Year started out right by participating in the “3rd Annual Friends of Galveston Island State Park New Year Fun Run”.
The “3rd Annual Friends of Galveston Island State Park New Year Fun Run” will take place on January 5th, 2013. The event will offer a 5K & 10K course; fun run will begin at 9:00am with the runners….the walkers will begin shortly after them. There will be refreshments offered and prizes handed out. You’ll also receive a t-shirt and a “goodie-bag”. It’s a family friendly event, kids are more than welcome! Once the prizes have been given out, just enjoy the scenery and fresh air. Take in what Galveston Island State Park has to offer. Their mission is to Improve the park’s facilities, protect it’s wildlife, to preserve and restore its fragile environment.
If you register before December 28th, a $20 dollar fee will be required for each participant. The day after December 28th the fee will go up to $25. Registration can be made here:https://tickets.destinationnext.com/fogisp/funrun.aspx
The holidays have come upon us. I don’t know about you, but this year seemed to go by slow up until Halloween time. Ever since then everything feels to go by so fast. I’m currently in school, and I’m at the end of the semester. It crept up on me. I have so much school work to finish. That’s why this site has been neglected some. I apologize to those who have visited recently.
I would like to show you some Holiday Events around my side of town. I will work on getting some for the other big cities of Texas. The Christmas season is one of my favorite times of year. Cool weather shows up this time of year (It doesn’t get cold in Houston).
Greater Houston Area Holiday Events
The Woodlands – Check out Holiday in the Woodlands.
- Ice skating rink
- Winter Wonderland
- Holiday Market
- Festival of Lights at Moody Gardens - check out the website for the current schedule. The lights are a nightly event, but there are other events such as the Magical Christmas Dinner.
- Dickens on the Strand – This has to be one of my favorite places to go during the holidays, but due to my schedule I was not able to go this year. You will travel back in time to the era of Charles Dickens. You will see people dressed up in the Elizabethan era clothing. You will hear choirs caroling up and down the Strand District. A must see. Only comes to town for one weekend a year.
- Discovery Green – Ice skate in downtown Houston at discovery green. Check it out at ICE at Discovery Green.
- Memorial City Mall Light Show – do a little Christmas shopping then catch the daily light show.
- Houston Zoo Lights is the newest attraction this year. Check it out this holiday season.
More to come! Hopefully
Merry Christmas to all!
I have not been able to dedicate myself much lately to this blog. BUT I have been coming across some events that are occurring soon in a few cities around Texas.
The Texas State Fair begins. The theme this year is BIG & BRIGHT. I have never been, but I hope to do so one day. There are concerts and fried food. It is Fried Food capital for about a week. This year they have created Fried Jambalaya. mmmm…Good! I think. Anything fried you can think of the people at the State Fair may have tried to fry. Other things to check out at the fair are the museums and theater events. The Addams Family musical will be playing this upcoming week starting Oct. 2. Visit the Chinese Lantern Festival. If you like college football, then try to get tickets for the UT Longhorns vs. OU – Sooners game — AT&T Red River Rivalry. Check it out if you will be in the Dallas area anytime this week. You can find more information on the Texas State Fair website.
Austin will be holding its annual Austin City Limits Music Festival. For the music enthusiast, this is a weekend-long festival filled with music of all sorts. People from across the country venture to Austin to partake in the amazing festival. The only problem is – it appears that the tickets are sold out for this event. I’m sure if you look hard enough or have connections then you will be able to get in. This is a must see event if you ever get the chance. KEEP AUSTIN WEIRD!
A couple of upcoming events in Houston are: The Greek Festival and The Italian Festival. These two events are separated by about a week.
The Greek festival begins Oct. 4. Enjoy everything Greek – Food, music, people, etc. 1-Day tickets are $20 and it includes: admission and dinner plate (excluding gyros….sad I know). This event takes place at the Annunciation Greek Orthodox Cathedral in Houston. You can find more information — food choices, event info, etc. on their website.
The Italian Festival, or FESTA ITALIANA, begins Oct. 11, taking place at University of St. Thomas, in the montrose/neartown district of Houston. This event is one of my favorite because I like the Italian culture. The italian cultural center has host mini cooking classes with one of the local italian chefs. There is a pasta eating and grape stomping contest. Play in a Bocce ball tournament. If anything else just come for some food. The money raised help the Italian cultural center give out scholarships to Italian studies students and other educational programs. More information is found on their website. If anyone goes, let me know. I may be around one of the days.
This past week Houston got to see an amazing bird!
Although the city was not happy with the outcome of where all the space shuttles end up, we at least got an opportunity to see one up close. Space shuttle Endeavour, on its way to California, made a fly over and an overnight stay here in Space City Houston. The space shuttle parked overnight at Ellington Field. A couple of thousand of people made the trek to Clear Lake City/Webster area in the Houston Metroplex. I was one of them.
Before going to class, I made the trip to see this shuttle. People parked as far as 2 miles away from the entrance to the tarmac. It was a well worth trek. The shuttle is an amazing bird on top of another amazing bird that is transporting it. I like planes, love flying, and this was just an overwhelming, once in a lifetime experience.
From only 100 yds away, I took several pictures. People were taking in this experience. NASA people, I’m sure, were happy to see up close something that many of them worked on/for in one way or another. For the city itself, being command central, the city was pleased and thankful that NASA gave us this opportunity (I Hope).
What is a place to visit when you come to Houston? Head down to Webster, TX to the Johnson Space Center. It is like the Disney, maybe ????, of anything astronaut and space. They do have a mock shuttle that you can walk in and see the astronaut environment. This is the only place in the nation that you can see this. There you go. For all astronauts and space enthusiasts – this is a must see.
OH TO BE AN ASTRONAUT!
Here are a couple of pictures I took of the shuttle. Enjoy.
Every summer the city of Houston, in association with the University of Houston, hold the annual Houston Shakespeare Festival. Since the beginning the festival has entertained almost 500,000 people who come all sorts of places. This is a great family event to go to, or make a family day out of it by first visiting one of the museums in the area. All you need is a blanket or couple of chairs to sit on the hill.
There are two productions/plays put on each summer. Go out to Miller Outdoor Theater in Hermann park to watch either Hamlet or The Comedy of Errors. These are both great plays sure to bring an evening of great entertainment.
So here are the details:
In the past year I have visited this little known restaurant in Houston about 4 times. Its name: Cafe Mawal.
Cafe Mawal is a small Mediterranean restaurant in the Galleria area of Houston. The food is delicious. The food has its origins from the country of Jordan. The general manager/owner, Ibrahim, started this little restaurant a couple of years ago. It has slowly gained its customers, and now is named one of the best restaurants according to HoustonPress.
Until further notice, the 2012 Italian Expo has been cancelled.
It is a sad notice for me. I enjoy going to the expo and volunteering.
Check back here to see if anything changes.
State parks are always a good bet when you want to go camping. They have pre-planned places where you can set up camp with a bonfire, have water and electricity, and access to bathrooms. They make it camping an enjoyable trip, convenient too, for those who are not all that into the outdoors. The parks offer a variety of activities such as bird watching, water sports, fishing, horseback riding, hiking, etc. All you have to do is search for it on the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department for the perfect park for you.
Texas has more to offer than just the state parks. There are plenty of lakes and rivers to enjoy water sports. There are different terrains to traverse, i.e. hills, mountains, rocks, beaches, plenty of places to enjoy the real outdoors. Recently I took a trip with some friends to a place about an hour outside of Houston. We traveled to Cleveland, TX. Well we went to a spot a few miles east of Cleveland on F.M. 787. What’s there you ask? The Trinity River.
Texas has many rivers and lakes. The Trinity River is a long river than goes from north Texas to the Gulf of Mexico (Trinity Bay). Want to see some beautiful scenery; all you have to do is go down a river. I took my camera on the trip, but was not equipped to take pictures; did not want to get my camera wet.
Every year, when spring or fall comes around, a huge antique festival is set up in the small town of Warrenton, Texas. It is only about 17 miles north of La Grange, or about 27 miles south of Brenham. As you drive down the country roads, you will see merchants set up as far north as Round Top, Texas and down south a little past Warrenton. The event and drive are perfect for a day trip to the Hill Country.
This was my first time going. I have heard about this place from my family who have gone for the past 3 years. There are two weekend for each season that are open to the public. We went the second weekend, Easter weekend. The weather was perfect - clear blue sky, cool breeze, and fresh air. The scenic drive took a little over 2 hours.
The spring season arrived early in Texas this year. We have had amazing and unusual weather. Clear blue skies, cool breezes, and sun that will make you want to find some shade. I decided to take advantage of this weather to plan a weekend trip to Lake Somerville State Park – Nails Creek Park.
Lake Somerville is just a short drive away from the small city of Brenham, nestle in the Hill Country of Texas. It is about a 2 hour drive from Austin or Houston. The roads take you through some beautiful ranches along the way. The fields were covered in wildflowers and Bluebonnets, the Texas state flower.
With the abundance of rain that we have received in Texas this year, Lake Somerville is a perfect weekend getaway for fishing and boat riding. Camping is the main activity that people do at this park. The state park fees are reasonable. The fee for camping for 2 nights is about $20. Some of the other activities to do at this park include hiking the trails, bird watching, horseback riding, and you can do a little off-the-trail/primitive camping.
It was a really bad year for many of us here in Texas. Talk about WARM weather. Sorry, an extremely HOT year. The lack of rain and the hot temperatures took a toll on the state. Texas was and still is in a drought state. Thankfully this year there has been sufficient rain to nurture the land back to health.
Some of the most extensive damages from the drought occurred in the State Parks. Wildfires nearly destroyed the beautiful lost pines in Bastrop and Buescher State Parks. Other parks had low lake or river levels. The fees that you pay help to keep the parks open for us to keep enjoying them.
Here are some ways you can help:
- Help get our parks back into shape by visiting the parks often.
- Some of these parks are only an hour away from a nearby city – Make it a DAY trip with your family.
- Go camping with your friends.
- Make a donation directly to Texas Parks and Wildlife Department.
- Make a donation when you renew your vehicle/trailer registration in Texas.
For more info click below:
I thought that I would provide you all with something upcoming rather than something that has past.
Here are a few upcoming festivals or events in Texas:
Warrenton, TX – Antique Show
Are you into antiques?
Do you go to flea markets or garage sales looking for knick-knacks?
Every year, twice a year, there is an antique show in a small town outside of La Grange called Warrenton. This antique show is the largest or one of the largest in Texas. It is a few miles long. Arts. Crafts. Music. Food. Sellers and Dealers from all over come to this show. Don’t miss out on some awesome stuff and great deals!
Preview Weekend: March 28-30, 2012
Antique Weekend: April 5-8, 2012
Austin, TX – SXSW
A mass gathering of all people who love music, film and interactive, South X South West is one of the most exciting festivals around. About a week long of music concerts of local, indie, and upcoming artists is epic. The week long Film festival screenings of indie films, documentary, shorts and more from local and other film makers made for the film enthusiast. To top it all off it takes place in Austin, the live music capital and home to the UT Longhorns and the famous 6th street.
When: March 9 – 18, 2012
Galveston, TX – Mardi Gras
The biggest and best Mardi Gras celebration outside New Orleans. Come on down to the oceanside city to celebrate the biggest party in Texas. Great people, amazing float parades, and lots of beads. If you’re looking for a Mardi Gras celebration that doesn’t have a lot of crazy people, then this is your place. While in Galveston, take a tour to the Historic Strand District.
When: February 10-21
Bayou City Art Festival
When: March 23-25
Houston International Festival
Get cultured in a new culture every year at this festival. Last year’s theme was The Silk Road: Journey thru Asia. This year do the TANGO! You’ll love the food (chimichurri), the people and the culture. Don’t miss out on this yearly event.
When: April 21-22, 28-29
Worldfest: Houston International Film Festival
When: April 13-22
Pasadena Strawberry Festival
Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo
The largest rodeo show in the nation is back again! A whole month of music, food, livestock, and RODEO! Buy some wranglers, grab a hat, and put on some boots and head down to the Houston Rodeo. Choose your favorite country music star from the lineup, ride the tall ferris wheel, try a fried oreo, pet some sheep and have some fun. Are you Latin? Go to Go Tejano Day. Come on down for Black History Month Day at the Rodeo. For all the tweens and teens Big Time Rush will be in town. Let’s not forget The Band Perry. Don’t miss out on some great deals.
When: February 28 – March 18
Hear Ye….Hear Ye!
Let the Festivities begin!
Every year, in a distant wooded area outside of Houston, Texas is one of the largest Renaissance Festivals in Texas. Thousands of people go back in time around the months of October and November. This is a must visit festival that takes place every weekend beginning in October and ending the weekend after Thanksgiving. This is a fun, family friendly festival with lots to do.
Each weekend is a themed weekend. All workers at the festival dress up and act their part very well. You too can dress up and be part of the action. There are Barbarians, Romans in toga, knights in shining armour, the lay people, and the pompous elite. The one person to look out for is the King who can be seen wandering around the grounds. I must warn you that some of the actors have a foul-mouth which could be taken offensively by some.
Travel from country to country. Have a Turkey Leg. Drink some Ale. There are countless places where you can eat. Each “country” has their own food. You can travel from Germany to France, Greece to Italy, then make a stop for Mead. If you have never had Mead, this is a must try. It is a type of wine made from fermented honey. Interesting process that could be better explained by the local mead distributor.
Throughout the festival there are many shows. The Greeks have comedy shows, in the forest you can throw “tomatoes” at the insulting man, watch the belly dancers shake up a crowd, and don’t forget to catch the Jousting competition. This is a festival full of fun things to watch, do, eat, drink, and listen. Catch it if you can. It only comes around once a year!
Take the day trip to Plantersville. It’s about an hour north of Houston. You will find signs that will point you in the direction to the festival. The tickets are at reasonable prices and no fee parking.
Get ready now for Ren Fest 2012!
A three course meal at Quattro restaurant consisted of: antipasti, primi, and pesce. Tutto era molto delicioso!
Groupon gave me the opportunity to visit a restaurant that I have wanted to go to. Over the past two years I have attended the Italian Expo and Italian Festival. In the two places I was able to meet the executive chef to Quattro, Chef Maurizio Ferrarese. Quattro is an upscale restaurant in the Four Seasons Hotel in Houston.
An elagant restaurant with fine dining. I took my opportunity and had a three course meal. It all started with the antipasti - Prosciutto di Parma e Mozzarella. One of my favorite things to eat is prosciutto. This prosciutto was paired with sweet Texas melons. I couldn’t help but to slowly savor each bite. The second course was the primi - Parppadelle con Guace di Vitello. It’s parppadelle pasta with veal and porcini mushrooms. Yummy! The third course was the pesce - Dentice. This consisted of Texas red snapper, cannellini bean ragout, butternut squash, and fig marmalade. To top it all I had a glass of wine – Montepulciano.
What made my night was not just the food, but to see the chef come out and make sure every was enjoying their meals. I did stop him and told him I finally made it to his restaurant. At the Italian Expo 2011 I took part in a cooking competition in which the chef made a delicious Black Truffle Risotto. At the Italian Festival I sat in his cooking class where he made another Risotto with Sausage. An amazing chef and one I would like to take a cooking class from someday.
For more reviews check out
The heart of the Lost Pines of Texas. Located just outside Austin, East on Highway 21/71 you will find the most historic small town of Texas. It is the only area in central Texas, and the westernmost part of the state that you will find pine trees. Also it is home to Bastrop State Park and Buescher State Park. Want to get away? You can find the most relaxing spot in central Texas, the resort in the middle of the woods, Hyatt’s Lost Pines Resort.
The beauty of the pine trees has made this area of Texas a little hidden gem. There are many things to do. The state parks offer great camp grounds, beautiful scenic views, and miles of hiking trails. I have camped in this park and hiked the trail. I recommend bring plenty of water for your hike. The scenic view areas offer amazing views over the hill country. Visit at sundown to view the sun setting over and behind the hills. Have a bike? Try riding your bike up and down the steep hills throughout the park. You can also join the MS 150 charity bike ride, a bike ride that begins in Houston, TX, rides through the Bastrop State Park and ends in Austin, TX. Visit the Texas Parks and Wildlife page for more activities at the state park and visit the MS 150 organization for more info on how you can take part in the bike ride.
The historic town of Bastrop has slowly been renovated within the past few years thanks to the Lost Pines Resort. In the historic town you will find many of the structures that were built long ago, post civil war and about 130 historic buildings. There are a couple of stores/shops that have been there since the 1960′s, the pharmacy on main street, where you can get some Blue Bell ice cream along with your meds. There are some restaurants with live music on the weekends if you’re looking for a little nite scene. The town is located along the Colorado River. Drive down to the park along the river for a family picnic or go canoeing/kayaking on the river.
This town is close to my heart because it is where part of my family grew up. I wrote about the places I like to visit and what I would do. I hope you enjoy your visit to Bastrop and please let me know how your trip turned out.
With a recent fascination with taco trucks, I’m on a quest to visit every taco truck/stand in Houston and try them out. This quest began after a group of coworkers and I visited Tacos Tierra Caliente. It has been said that this taco truck is one of the best in town. With the help on an Ipod/Iphone App I will be able to visit these other taco trucks. Have any ideas on where to visit? Leave me a comment.
Tacos Tierra Caliente has been around for years, but I recently just found it. It has been at its current location for about a year. The ladies who work the taco truck are really nice, and if it’s not busy you can talk to them. In my opinion, they have some awesome tacos! For a reasonable price, under $10, you can get a meal. These tacos are not greasy, their yummy! They’re served with enough cilantro and onions, and a couple of different homemade salsas. In the mood for pastor, chicharron, barbacoa, or lengua tacos? Then this is the place to go. Click the links below to see more reviews. This is sure to please the taco lover. The hours are great! Their open til midnight on most nights. So if you’re hungry for a late night snack, grab a couple of tacos. Located next to, on the property of the West Alabama Ice House makes for a perfect combination, symbiotic relationship. Grab a bite to eat, turn around and grab yourself a nice, cold beer.
Tacos Tierra Caliente
1919 West Alabama St.
Houston, TX 77098
Hours of Operation:
around 9am – 12 midnight.
Just returned from a trip to the Valley, Rio Grande Valley of South Texas. This is as close as you can get to the border to Mexico. The City of McAllen is a simple city. Being the center to the Foreign Trade Zone, this area has become one of the fastest growing cities in the state.
Since it’s located miles from the Mexican border, it is no surprise that population is mainly Hispanic. Some of the most popular places to eat are the many Mexican restaurants or Taco places. Taco Palenque or Tacos El Zarape are two chains with many locations where you can stop and grab a quick bite to eat. I like to eat their fajita corn tacos with cilantro, onions, and a bit of lime.
In an effort to not eat Mexican food on my visit, I found this place called Solo Empanadas tucked in a little corner of a shopping strip in McAllen. The food is great, and like the title says all they sell is empanadas, Argentinian empanadas. This food is new to the people of McAllen and so far it has had great reviews. The restaurant is a cozy, little place with music videos of Argentinian singers, bands playing in the background. Are you into soccer? They have an autographs jerseys of Messi and Maradona and others from players from Argentina. Talk to one of the workers and they could tell you about the jerseys and the person who is in all the pictures on the wall.
The prices are reasonable and the variety is great. You can eat here for less than $10 and try 3 or 4 different empanadas from the 10-12 on the menu.
You’ll receive each empanada stamped with your choice of filling and a small cup of chimichurri, the sauce used to put on your empanadas. If you don’t know what they’re like, the wonderful staff are very helpful.
Here’s my review:
I have tried 4 different kinds of empanadas, and all I loved each one of them. I have been back several times since and it has not disappointed me. They’re YUMMMY! so yummy that I brought them back home to some friends and family in Houston.
Here are a couple of more reviews from
Would you like to learn a little about Italy? You don’t have to leave the country to experience “La Dolce Vita”, that is “The Good Life” in italian. The expo is a fun-filled event for everyone put on by the Italian American Chamber of Commerce. For the past three years the City of Houston has been host to the Italian Expo. This year the event will take place on: June 3-5, 2011, at the George R. Brown Convention Center.
The expo showcases Italy’s finest culture, food, wines, fashion and much more. Guest will be able to taste a variety of Italian wines; reds and whites, sweet and “bubblies”, Rosé and Sparkling wines. Don’t forget to try the cheeses! More than 30 vendors will be there. One of my favorite stops is at the Prosciutto di Parma and Prosciutto di San Daniele. Don’t miss out on all this good stuff. This is all partially possible from a sponsorship from Spec’s Liquor.
New to this year’s event are the Fashion and Cooking Competitions. The chefs competing are from Houston area Italian restaurants. Earlier this year I was able to see and meet two of the chefs competing. Maurizio Ferrarese from Quattro and Renato di Pirro from Ristorante Cavour. They are my favorites so far, but you decide who is “Maestro della Cucina”. You will be able to taste their foods throughout the three-day event. A “panel” of judges, selected at random from the audience, will decide who has the best dish. Be there June 5 at 5:30 pm to find out who the best of the best is.
Is Fashion your Passion? An emerging group of fashion designers will be able to showcase their work this year. The show will bring together fashions from Italy and United States. Designers will be judged on Saturday, June 4, don’t miss out! Besides the competition, you will get a special show by Houston designers Chloe Dao and David Peck.
Cars and Motorcycles your thing? You can see Ducati and Ferraris on display. Visit the art exhibit or home decor section. Listen to some music while you eat. Take the kids to learn Italian. Then top it all off by taking a stroll down the market to buy some fine italian products.
Tickets are on sale now! Get them online and save $5. You don’t want to miss out on this amazing event. Join me! I will be there all weekend.
Visit – Italian Expo Houston for more information.
When: June 3-5, 2011
Where: George R. Brown Convention Center in downtown Houston.
Prices: $10 if pre-ordered online before June 2.
$15 at the door.
Children 12 and under are free.
Get your tickets NOW!
*** Bring extra money for parking and food, souvenirs, etc. I usually spend about $5 -$8 on food. There are many shops where you can buy things, up to you how much you are willing to spend. Other than that, to my knowledge, everything is free.***
Eagle Pass, Texas
Eagle Pass has some rich, early Texas history. The town site was founded in the 1840′s, and the trading post established around 1850. Camp Eagle Pass was a post for the Texas militia, and Fort Duncan was a site that protected the trade, among other things, in the flourishing town of Eagle Pass. Visit the Ft. Duncan Museum for more in-depth history located within a couple of blocks from the US-Mexico Border, surrounded by parks and recreational facilities. Eagle Pass borders the neighboring Mexican town of Piedras Negras. There are two international bridges that lead into Mexico. You will see many Mexican license plates in Eagle Pass. I recommend travelers caution if one chooses to cross the border into Mexico.
** In my time in Eagle Pass I learned something. If you look Hispanic you everyone speaks to you in Spanish, even when you don’t speak it. Everywhere I went people assumed I spoke Spanish; I do. **
Places to eat
You can find just about all of your major fast food restaurant chains there. One place that you must try is the Mexican Restaurant Parrilla de San Miguel. The scene inside the restaurant makes your feel like you’re in a plaza or courtyard. Think about Mexican plaza and courtyards. The chairs were a little awkward to sit in, but the food makes up for it. Homemade tortillas chips with three sauces (red, green, and purple) to start you off. I ate some fantastic Flautas, freshly made served with guacamole and sour cream and rice. One of my favorite drinks is freshly squeezed lemonade, and this restaurant has a perfectly sweetened lemonade.
Things to do
For shopping you have the Mall de las Aguilas and you have shops in downtown main street that sell Mexican-made products. Visit the Ft. Duncan Museum and/or amphitheater. Eagle Pass also is home to the Lucky Eagle Casino on the Kickapoo Tribe Reservation. The casino is the only one in Texas with Electronic Games, Poker, and Bingo. For the avid golfer, there’s the Municipal Golf Course. There are many ranches out there, some are good for hunting white-tail deer. My challenge to you is to find an eagle.
This is a good place to get away for the weekend and explore. Try out your luck in the casino. Take a trip to neighboring towns of Del Rio or Carrizo Springs to check out their history and shops. Above all, have fun!
I’m sure I could have started with the big cities, but there is so much I have not yet seen, experienced, tried, participated in. Therefore, for my first few post I will present to you a couple of small towns.