Tuesday, March 30, 2010

The Houston Experience (I met Joni!)

0ur Houston experience got off to a very rocky start last week.

Thanks to Air Canada cancelling our morning flight (leaving passengers scrambling), we arrived at our hotel at 3am on Thursday morning (instead of 4:30 pm on Wednesday, as planned). I had to get up 3.5 hours later for my Thursday class on highly technical engineering software. As you can well imagine, I had a totally rotten day, verging on a migraine all day due to lack of sleep, and was very upset with Air Canada (who were incredibly rude and entitled and arrogant).

Despite the lousy start, we enjoyed our hotel, the Marriott Westchase which was not super posh but was very nice and had friendly staff, a great restaurant for breakfast, wonderful beds and amazing pillows (from Pacific Coast)! While I attended class all day Thursday and Friday David got to see the sights (and Galveston!). In the evenings we wandered around Houston, visiting Whole Foods (I am envious), the wonderful Phoenicia market (also envious), and the Cypress outlet mall.

On Saturday, the real adventure began when I met Houston bloggers Joni, Tricia, and Paloma for lunch at Tiny Boxwoods, the cafe at Thompson + Hanson's garden center. I loved Tiny Boxwoods (what a sweet name) but the service was slooooow...Tiny Boxwoods is the tony spot to see and be seen, but don't stop there if you're in a hurry.

And now for the part you've been waiting for...I got to meet Joni from Cote de Texas, which was like meeting a celebrity. I was nervous to meet her, but she was very lovely and a little...shy? Joni is very witty and she and Paloma (from La Dolce Vita) regaled us with some great blogger gossip from the inner sanctum (i.e their very successful blogosphere!):
I also met Tricia, from Morning T who plied me with mojitos as we waited for our lunch!

Aren't they a great looking trio?
After our lunch, the four of us wandered down Saint St. to Indulge:

Indulge is a beautiful French-inspired shop that was chock full of to-die-for pretty things. Their central atrium has a high ceiling and amazing light, which totally complemented the gorgeous blue-painted plaster walls, which reminded me of being inside a cloud. I loved the little topiaries, which were everywhere:
Below is the central atrium, with wonderful light. I forgot to get a close-up of the birdcage to the right, with a pair of tiny blue finches (with pink beaks) inside. What sweet little birds...
Indulge has a large collection of beautiful bed linens, from luxury linen companies like Sferra.
There were also lots of beautiful reproduction headboards and sconces from companies like Blanc d'Ivoire, which I discovered in Paris and just l o v e. Look at these pretty sconces, not to mention the chandeliers...
After our visit at Indulge, Joni and Paloma had to run, so Tricia and I decided the only sensible thing to do was to keep shopping. She was a wonderful chauffeur and shopping buddy and took me all around. We visited Mecox Gardens, which we both enjoyed.
I admired everything at Mecox, but weirdly coveted nothing. Mecox is a very interesting shop. I found the look to be quite masculine and cosmopolitan, for lack of a better word. I liked just about everything here, including these amazing light fixtures:
The items at Mecox reminded me of a collection that a sophisticated world traveller might put together to reflect his travels to far-flung places. Everything seemed a little odd and exotic. For a more detailed post, check out Paloma's post on Mecox here.

There were some feminine touches. I loved these mauve linen chairs, which reminded me of chairs I spotted in Ina Garten's Hamptons barn. I also liked the little campaign-style tables:
A fab map of Paris flanked by found objets. So many pieces had a wonderful sculptural quality:
Subway signs and sea life:
Scores of interesting light fixtures. I would have no trouble shopping here (except that things are all too big for my house):
A light-coloured "room" with Gustavian-looking pieces and more sea life:
Tricia and I had a lovely time and I was sad to see it end! We visited Anthropologie and then slummed at Z Gallerie and visited Pottery Barn (which is 10x bigger than here). Such good fun!

Later that evening, David and I went and got very smoky eating barbeque at The Goode Co. (sorry, no photos). Then we went to the Galleria for a couple of hours where I shopped at J. Crew (which is not available in Canada) and ate Godiva milk-chocolate Oreo cookies.

On Sunday, David and I returned to the Thompson & Hanson garden center and shop, next to Tiny Boxwoods, for a closer look. The well-heeled are in good hands buying their plants and gourmet compost here:
We are lucky if our hydrangeas bloom in Calgary before it snows:
The Thompson + Hanson garden shop is G L O R I O U S. The ceilings are high and pitched and there are tons of windows, letting in gorgeous light. The decor is perfect:
As Joni said, I too could totally live in this store. Who needs a whole house when you have a room like this:
What gorgeous things! Every view was exquisite.
I love you, store. I miss you already.
Before heading to the airport, David and I took a quick detour to the Museum of Fine Arts Houston:
The museum has a very interesting underground tunnel, linking its two buildings. The tunnel reminded me of the one linking buildings at the National Gallery of Art in Washington. Here the colours in the tunnel change, to the delight of kids (and me):
Inside, I headed straight for the Sargent exhibit. His seaside works are incredible and naturally his portraits were delightful. I could not take photos inside, sadly, as I really wanted to capture his nautical blues.
Next I headed upstairs to see the Europeans. They are always reliable. I was delighted to see a Chagall (second from left):
And this Modigliani:
Plus lots of other wonderful works. What a lovely gallery. If I lived in Houston, I would be here all the time.

On the way back through the tunnel, the colour had turned to red for our departure:
Then off to the airport we went. What a great trip!


  1. It was such a pleasure meeting and spending the afternoon with you Terri. You're an amazing woman and I felt an instant bond with you...perhaps it was the white wine mojito?! :)
    Your photos turned out great and now have me thinking I need to head back to Mecox for more inspiration.
    Have a great week and I hope to see you again soon.

  2. Hi Terri,
    Who needs to travel when we have you! I'm so enjoying your trips to all of these wonderful places. And love the great window browsing at all the beautiful stores. It offers such a wonderful getaway feeling just reading your words and seeing your great photographs. And I have Whole Foods envy too. I have yet to live in a town that has one! Welcome home, xoxoTrina

  3. Merci beaucoup for all the lovely photos, it was almost as good as being there :-)

    Leeann x

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  5. It looks like a great trip, Terri and how fun to meet some fellow bloggers. The shop photos are great. Welcome back!

  6. Terri,
    How devine to meet these wonderful ladies and go shopping!

    I think I would like to join you in living inside Thomson & Hanson. Bet not only is the merchandise fabulous, but it has that amazing feeling and aroma that one of my favorites once had. Smith & Hawkin. Sadly,they closed up shop last fall...after 30years. Sniff, sniff...

  7. wonderful. thanks for showing us all your experiences. what a treat meeting all those lovely ladies. some of the art you featured made me swoon....

  8. Hi Terri, I am here Via Tricia's blog. So glad she shared your blog name with her readers. What a great post you did on your special day with blogging buddies. You have a wonderful blog and I am so glad to have found it. I just love Tricia such a sweetheart and would love to spend time with her, lucky you. It looks as if you had a good time in Texas even with the rough start. Have a great Wednesday, Kathysue

  9. What wonderful pictures! Thank you for sharing,all the stores look so amazing! Lucky you to meet Tricia, she has one of my favorite blogs!
    Take care-

  10. Hi Terri,

    What a wonderful trip. It sounds like you made the most of a short time in Texas! The pics of the garden center are my favorites! But everything looks wonderful.


    p.s. I would be nervous meeting Joni too!

  11. It was so wonderful to meet you and Tricia! I am glad that you enjoyed your visit to Houston. Your pictures turned out so great!

  12. Terri, what a wonderful trip - isn't it nice to get together with fellow bloggers? I went to a blogger dinner on Sunday night, didn't know a soul, and within minutes we were all talking like we had known each other for years.

    I went to college in Houston, believe it or not only 1 block from the art museum, and I never once went to it! Shame on me. During my last trip to Houston, several years ago, I went to the Rothko Chapel which is also just a few blocks from the museum. The Menil family commissioned Mark Rothko to create works just for the space.

    Houston has so much to offer! I love Good Company - they have several restaurants each with a different flair. I actually prefer the Goode Company Taqueria. I think I need to plan a trip to Houston!

  13. so much fun! ssssh - don't tell everyone that i really am shy!!!!!

    cynthia from indulge has a great blog if you want to read it. i love it. she's really witty.

    mecox is just things from wholesale cos. that's why it left you cold - there's nothing original to it, at least at the houston store.

    love TH - the bEST!!!! ever!!!!
    Come back soon!!!

  14. I'm here via Morning T and have to say I enjoyed living vicariously through the 3 of you and your lovely outing!! Thanks for bringing us along!
    Really enjoyed this post :)
    Have a Happy Easter!!

  15. I'm so glad you had a wonderful time, especially after the flight getting there. Thanks for sharing all those beautiful spots with us, felt like I was there!

  16. Fun to see all your pictures. Sorry about that rough start, but it was looking like a lot of fun for the remainder. Glad that you got to meet with some blogging friends, too. I can only imagine how very special that was.

  17. oh what fun terri!! i'm so glad you had such a great time!! your pics are beautiful as always and i need that th shop--oh my gosh!!!

    I agree with Tricia about the instant-bond thing- I felt the same way when meeting you!

  18. What a fantastic trip Terri. Isn't Joni the best? I loved meeting her last year at Round Top. Looks like you had a fantastic trip.
    Love your guest room btw. You've created such a relaxing place for your guests. You better be careful, I may just pop in unannounced!
    Happy Easter...


  19. If you all ever get together in Houston again...Let me know! How fun! Meme

  20. oh so fun! I head to Houston later this summer for work and will have to check out the shops you previewed!

  21. Terri, This is such a wonderful post! I'm catching up on some blog reading and my goodness all these fabulous links you have here.. each shop or blog is gorgeous. I love everything. How much fun to meet everyone! I love Mecox gardens.. we have one here in LA.

    Lots of love,

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