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!