An Afternoon in Galveston 

Considering how close we live to the coast, it’s a shame we don’t make it down there very often. This year, I was determined to introduce Barley to the ocean, so we packed up a cooler and some sunscreen and headed down I-45 to Galveston for the best Sunday afternoon.

We stopped at Mosquito Cafe on our way in for lunch and it didn’t disappoint.

Afterwards, we headed to the beach and set up camp! The tailgating tent was a true life saver- it kept us surprisingly cool and prevented sunburns. We threw around the football, let the dogs play in the water, and just had a super relaxing afternoon. The pups were definitely pretty hesitant- we had to really encourage them to actually get in, but it was pretty funny to watch Barley try to jump over the waves and watch them play together.

All in all, it made me wish we did this more often. And in Texas, you can do it the majority of the year- we once laid by the pool in Galveston in January! Even if not’s the prettiest beach in the world, it still makes for a nice day 🙂 Especially when you’re there with great friends and cute pups!

Dog Friendly Restaurants- Houston

Since I’ve been asked a few times about dog friendly places, I figured I’d write up some recommendations. Houston has a bad rap of not being very dog friendly. While it’s true that the city makes it pretty difficult to have a permit (from what I’ve heard), there are actually a lot of places that allow dogs, even if it’s only on one specific part of the patio. Dan and I are very clearly obsessed with our pup, Barley, and tend to take him everywhere. I’m pretty sure all the Lowe’s employees know him by now. So if a place is a dog-friendly, you better believe we will hit it up more often.

Let’s start with our personal favorites (which also happen to be some Houston favorites):

Onion Creek All the food is delicious, there’s a serious Austin vibe, it’s right off a walking/bike trail, and the drink variety is great (frozen mimosas at brunch, yes please). This is our major go-to if we want to get out of the house and just chill out for a bit. It’s also super shaded by trees, which is perfect for the devilishly hot Houston summers. [Dogs only allowed on concrete portion]

Cottonwood Voted the best patio bar (at least I heard that somewhere?), it delivers. The design is super cool, and while the food is mostly meh (seriously, I’ve tried everything on the menu- Sloppy JoJo is the only excellent thing), this one is a 5 minute walk from our house. AKA, it’s our most frequented spot. The beers on tap are constantly rotating and I love their Too Fresh cocktail. [Dogs only allowed on gravel] TIP: If you’re in the area, and want really tasty food, you should hop over to Shepherd Park Draught House, which is also dog friendly.

West Alabama Ice House This place is just a Houston establishment. It’s been around since the 1920’s and is absolutely no frills. Don’t visit looking for AC, but do visit for the ice cold, cheap beers and laid back vibe. Or if you like to shoot some hoops while drinking said beers. Even fun when your husband crushes you at a game of HORSE, while playing left handed. When he’s right handed. They don’t serve food, but there’s typically a food truck!

Restaurants worthy of a good date night:

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Giacomo’s Cibo e Vino Located in River Oaks, this place is a big favorite within the neighborhood. Fantastic Italian food, with a great wine selection, and a patio that somehow makes you feel like you aren’t sitting right on Westheimer. On top of that, service is great too. It’s nice without being frou-frou or overpriced, which I really appreciate in a restaurant inside the loop.

Zelko Bistro Everything I’ve eaten here is spot on- especially the mussels. The patio isn’t very large and is covered by a white tent that makes it feel intimate, but also like you’re at a wedding. There are also fresh flowers are on each table (when I’ve gone), which I always find charming. Put this at the top of your brunch list too- the sandwiches are all stellar.

Gratifi Set in a cute old house, in the middle of Montrose, this one is a winner. Full disclosure- I called this “Graffiti” for over a year, before realizing it’s actually pronounced like “Gratify”. I recommended it to several people this way, and am now embarrassed. This one has a wonderful brunch as well… leading me to branch out on this top.

For brunch:

Empire Café Super solid, true, breakfast items at an amazing price. Love this place. And so do other Houstonians based on the line that runs out the door every weekend! TIP: If it’s too crazy and you don’t feel like waiting, walk across the street to Brasil. It’s another yummy order at the counter place, with a big hidden patio in the back. Good luck finding the gate.

Backstreet Café Adore this place so much. While I haven’t sucked it up and paid dinner prices yet, Dan and I have enjoyed an absolutely delightful brunch here and I would love to go back (DAN!). They even brought out tiny baked goods with our meal. Someone get me a Backstreet Benedict, STAT.

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Tiny Boxwood’s Without a doubt, the CUTEST restaurant I’ve ever been to and my go-to when out-of-towners visit. It shares a lawn with a plant nursery. (My sis-in-law thought I meant a nursery for babies, so had to make that clear. That’d be an interesting concept…) The charm of this place just oozes and the food & drinks are worth the wait. Don’t worry, they set up a bar outside when they’re busy so you can sip your white wine mojito while you’re in line. Oh, and don’t forget a choco chip cookie. They’re Houston-famous. (Also, LOOK HOW TINY BARLEY IS!!!)

Just for Drinks:

Bar Boheme HUGE outdoor space. Actually, this place is mostly outdoor space. Go for the relaxed vibe, later than normal HH (4-8), and diverse drink options that still has all the classics. And if they have the frozen mojito, get that. And I know I said “just drinks” but do yourself a favor and order the Vietnamese fries too.

Axelrad Newer to Houston, this one is quickly becoming popular. Great local beer selection and they have hammocks, which is novel. Maybe not the best idea when people are drinking, as we witnessed! But amusing to watch people fall out J They also have a couple food trucks on site.

Karbach Brewing Company Probably our favorite Houston brewery. It’s closest to our house and they just do a really solid job with all of their beers. It’s been really fun to see them grow but also crazy how much they’ve expanded since we’ve lived in Houston! The actual restaurant patio isn’t dog friendly, which is weird, but the brewery area is and they usually have food trucks! Or you can order food at the bar in the restaurant and bring it out.

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Eight Row Flint Another newer place people are flocking to! Driving down Yale, it’s hard to resist the call of this patio. It always seems to be bustling, and for good reason. Although the whiskey selection is what they’re known for, the frozen margaritas are some of the best I’ve had. Another perk- they cook all the food out of a truck, but there are actual servers, so no waiting in line! And the chips are to die for.

Cheers to all my pup loving Houstonians!

November Festivities

Seeing as we are half way through December, this post is way delayed. But oh well. November was so good!!! With the remodel finally wrapping up, we were able to get some serious friends and relaxation time in. It was like we were on a remodel hangover and the first weekend we could take a break, we did. And did nothing house related! Woo! But some other so good bits from the month…

I turned 26! We celebrated in Austin at Jacoby’s (East Austin has gotten way too cool) with Chels & Katie and our boys (men?). LOVE quality time as grownups with our husbands, who I think are all pretty darn awesome…. note how much we match our significant others. It’s kind of creepy and maybe narcissistic? But fun 🙂

We hosted our first tailgate!! In true Callie form, I stressed out about the details while Dan was beyond chill (and very last minute) about all of it. It was a pretty cruddy day, but the rained cleared up by the time the tailgate started and we found a great spot on campus! Everyone brought treats & drinks and we grilled up some burgers & dogs. Such a fun time. And we crushed KU!

We had a Novemberfest party. Dan & I are trying to make an Oktoberfest party an annual thing for us, but due to the state of our house in October, we pushed it back a month. Dan brewed an Oktoberfest beer that was great and I cooked up some goodies. Tara came into town and was a god send in helping get everything ready. Phew. Too bad I took almost zero pictures… I did get a few of some of the food. So there’s that. This mulled wine was a huge hit! As well as this pumpkin spice trifle. And both were very easy 🙂 We also did brats and pretzels with beer cheese dip.


We checked out the new movie theater in town, where we had delicious food, a pillow, blanket, and recliners. Best way to see a movie!

We went to the park & had a picnic- the weather is good! Finally!!!! (Although it was 82 and humid beyond all December reason this weekend, so that was maybe premature. Unfortunately.)

I cannot believe Christmas is NEXT WEEK!! Meanwhile, I’ll be in a t-shirt. Thanks Houston.

 

Thanksgiving

Oh my goodness do I have so much to be thankful for. Thanksgiving is such a good time to enter the holiday season with a grateful heart. This was definitely one of my favorites yet in terms of getting to see so many of our loved ones in the span of just a few days. Being in the car was definitely worth it! We spent Thanksgiving with my family in Colleyville, with my dad’s side visiting from Mississippi, then spent the weekend in Georgetown with Dan’s family, including a day trip to Waco to visit his extended family. Our holidays are never relaxing, but they are very full of all the best things 🙂

I hadn’t been home since the beginning of August and it felt SO good. My mom is a superhost and kept us all well-fed at a beautiful table. I also really cherish any time I get to spend with extended family since it doesn’t happen as often as I’d like. I still can’t believe how big my cousin’s little girls are! They probably spent half their time cuddling up with Barley, which he greatly enjoyed. My grandparents also treated us to ICE at the Gaylord where we wrapped ourselves in parkas to endure the 17 degree temperature. The theme this year was Christmas Around the World and I thought it was really well done. It’s amazing the time that goes into the sculptures considering how impermanent they are. The Gaylord has the best Christmas decorations I’ve ever seen in one place. It’s pretty magical.

Then at Dan’s parent’s we finally got to meet our new niece!! Holding babies gives you a feeling that can’t be beat, and this baby was just the sweetest. She looked really cute in Dan’s arms too 😉 And Ellie & Robbie were so much fun- it’s awesome to see their little personalities. I’m looking forward to having Dan’s sisters back in Texas (I know his parents are loving it) and can’t wait to have them all visit soon in Houston! This weekend, Dan asked if I was sure I was ready for kids. I responded with, “Yes, one… not three.” In Waco, we built our own pizzas (Dan was really proud of his cheese stuffed crust) and spent time chatting next to the fire with all his family. It was lovely! Another thing to be grateful for- marrying into a wonderful family.

Now we can officially start celebrating Christmas! We picked up & decorated a tree last night 🙂

Barley’s 1st Birthday

Dan finds it silly to celebrate a dog’s birthday. I told him I wanted to throw Barley a party and Dan said he wouldn’t attend. So he’s a big party pooper, clearly. But! Seeing as we don’t have children to spoil, and considering how much of our life revolves around him, I think he needs to be celebrated. Because I just adore him. A bit surprising considering how adamant I was that we weren’t going to get a Great Dane. Now I can’t imagine life without him 🙂 Yes, I’m bringing full on cheese. For his birthday he got this collar that I found on Etsy and we are meeting up with some friends for drinks at Cottonwood- his favorite bar 😉

Looking back over these pictures, it’s INSANE how much he has grown.

Happy 1st Birthday Barley boy!!

Summer Daze

Houston gets reallllly hot in the summer. I grew up in Texas, I’ve lived through Dallas summers, I know it gets hot. But the humidity in Houston totally ups the heat game. Between that and the mosquitos, I feel like everything outdoors has been semi-miserable since June started. And I haven’t really been enjoying the summer time, just kind of waiting for it to be Fall already. This is on top of getting ready for the remodel/ being out of town all the time anyway. But thinking back, relaxing outside on summer nights at home can be pretty magical.

All this to say: thank goodness for having friends over to grill because it saved me and now I want to take advantage of the rest of the summer, even if it is hot 🙂 Oh and it may have had something to do with the watermelon, which I had for the first time this whole year. Juicy goodness.


Summer Goals:

– Make homemade ice cream

– Take Barley to the beach

– Blend up some frozen margaritas

– Not complain about the weather- embrace it as a warm hug

– Go to an Astros game

– Go swimming

I’m giving myself to the end of September 🙂

Dallas Days

I’ve gotten to head home and visit my family twice over the last month, which has been great!! When I moved to Houston, I kind of resigned myself to never living in the same city as my parents again, so visiting lots help make that feel a little less depressing. I was able to see best friends from high school, celebrate at a baby & wedding shower, shop for house things with my mom & sisters, and explore Dallas a bit. Having grown up in the suburbs, Dallas always feels new and now that Tara has lived in Deep Ellum for the last year, it’s fun going with an actual local 😉

Some pictures from the weekends, even though I slacked a bit:

^^ Laura & Alex’s wedding shower at my parent’s and Ash’s Baby shower 

^^Barley hated every second of learning to swim.

Lunch with mom’s at Celebrity Cafe  

^^He’s gotten huge. To scale: Dan is 6′ 4″. 

Dinner in Ft. Worth (whoops, not Dallas) for Tara’s birthday

^^ My parents treated us to a really fun night out at Trinity Groves, which lots of great restaurant concepts. We tried LUCK (Local Urban Craft Kitchen) for dinner, which only serves beers from DFW, and Off Site Kitchen for games & drinks. 

Barley had a great time too 🙂