Category Archives: Houston

Bringing Bootie Back

The return of cool weather in Paris signals the time to bring out the boots. Women wear boots all winter long. They’re warm and sturdy and can be stylish without a ridiculously high heel. Boots are the bomb for Paris winters.


Stuart Weitzman bootie

Unless you have been hiding under a big rock for the past year or so, you are no doubt aware that it’s all about the bootie now. Yep- whatever color bootie you prefer, the retailers have got the bootie for you to hold at night, or at day, or whenever you feel the urge to bring the bootie back (out).

I myself own a couple of pairs of booties. I have a grey fringed pair I bought during the Paris sales. I also have a black suede Stuart Weitzman pair that I got for Christmas last year. I love my booties, but lately I have been considering the “moto bootie”, which  follows the trend of the “motorcycle jacket” of the past few years. These booties are embellished with buckles, chains, studs, zippers, and the like. They are decidedly more edgy than my traditional booties, and I thought I wanted some.  Sometimes I feel the need for a touch of edge, as opposed to round and soft curves, just to remind myself that I still got it goin’ on. I know some of you out there can relate.

The bootie options are endless.








Yesterday I ventured into Nordstrom’s shoe department, where I really never, ever should be left unsupervised. I looked around for this boot I had seen on the internet. It was a little moto, but not too much moto.

Stuart Weitzman double buckle bootie

Amazingly enough, they had it in my size, but not in my width. (and where do I file a complaint about the new Houston Nordstrom policy of not ordering any narrows in any brand?) The salesman brought it out to me and my foot swam in it. More than the width, though, it was just too much shoe for my scrawny calves. I looked like a little girl trying to wear her mom’s shoes. Or, more likely, like a little old lady trying to wear her brawny teenaged daughter’s boots. Ouch. That bootie was just too big.

The second box he brought out was by Aquatalia, a brand I was unfamiliar with but that he assured me was THE MOST comfortable bootie, and made by a company that specialized in boots. I was underwhelmed when he showed it to me. Kind of plain. Definitely not edgy. But then I put it on and BOOM- bootielicious! Perfect fit for my narrow foot, comfy padding in the inside, and a heel that was made for walking. Bonus points for being weatherproof suede, since we do have some weather in Paris.

It does have a second zipper on the other side, giving it a tiny bit more pizzazz than shows in this picture, but it’s definitely not a moto bootie. But I loved it anyway. I guess I can skip the moto bootie this year. I have a great moto jacket that will just have to be my nod to the moto mania.

I may not have much in the booty department ( I’m more of a treble girl, myself), but I am racking up quite a big bootie collection.

Keep shakin’ what your mama gave ya, my friends. And if you go to Paris this winter,  don’t forget your booties!



Filed under fashion, Houston, Paris, Uncategorized

When In Houston

Bonjour, mes amis.  As promised, this blog returns to Paris tomorrow for a month of Paris In The Springtime.  Yay!  I am looking forward to settling back into my apartment and resuming the daily challenges of ma vie parisienne, such as trying to coax a smile out of the women at my boulangerie, always having correct change, and remembering to keep my purse zipped on the metro.  Wish me luck!

A few weeks ago I made a trip to one of my favorite Houston establishments- Wabash Feed and Garden Store.  The website says the store has been around for over a hundred years, although I have known of it only since my kids visited it on nursery school field trips. The kids were not too interested in the organic gardening products, but they loved seeing the baby animals and the assorted fowl. My friend was actually there to replace a chicken in her fancy new chicken coop, with which I am mildly obsessed.  IMG_1043


Ever since I experienced fresh, delicious eggs in Paris, I have dreamed of finding them in Houston. Now that my friend is the proud owner of 5 Rhode Island Reds, I am hopeful that I will occasionally score some of those fresh eggs!

So- back to Wabash Feed Store!




I love anything galvanized.  Is that weird?







Got mealworms??

Got mealworms??

Please do not tell Wonder Chien that such fancy dog food exists in this world.

Please do not tell Wonder Chien that such fancy dog food exists in this world.


precious Westie puppy

equal time for kitties

equal time for kitties

my friend's new chicken!

my friend’s new chicken!

come to mama!

come to mama!



even togs for the bee keepers!

even togs for the bee keepers!

Wabash is such a fun place to take kids.  If you find yourself in Houston during Spring Break, or if you live here, you must experience it.

Next broadcasts will be from Paris.  See you there!



Filed under Houston, Paris

Leaving So Soon, February?

Whoosh. That’s how fast the month seemed to go by. A blip. A blink. It was a good one, though. We had some cold weather, which is always nice in winter. I spent some time in Austin, which is always nice in any season. I finished The Goldfinch and read all of Good Lord Bird, both satisfyingly hefty reads. I turned “fifty-too fabulous” and celebrated my first-born turning 24 (whaaa?). Yeah, February was short, sweet, and swift.

Some friends and I spent my birthday visiting the amazing Houston Museum of Fine Arts, a place where I really should hang out more often.





The birthday celebrations continued with a lovely brunch hosted by some dear friends who also happen to be fabulous chefs, a serendipitous combination.


I enjoyed many leisurely days in Austin with family and friends, and, at times, all on my own.

hello, red bud tree!

hello, red bud tree!


yes, those docks are still resting on the rocks down there in the big limestone pit that once was Lake Travis






My first baby, Patrick, turned 24, despite my best efforts to keep him like this:


Finally, a colorful day in the Houston Heights, which is always a day well-spent.


shrimp tacos



So what’s in store for March?  Paris!  Stay tuned.  Same bat channel; same bat time.

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Filed under art, Austin, books, Houston, Paris, Texas

My First Week Back In Texas

Mosquitoes.  98 degrees in the shade.  Wonderchien, I’ve a feeling we’re not in Paris anymore.

But guess what? I’m not complaining.  I’m so glad to be home, in the land of Everyone Understands Me and Endless Grocery Aisles, that I welcome the pesky insects and the blazing heat.  This is the honeymoon, you see, before I start missing the city I just left.  I am learning this about the Ex-Pat experience.  If I am not missing Houston or Paris, it must be because I just left one and arrived in the other.

So what have I been doing since my arrival a week ago?  A lot of staying home, or close to home.  I have been nesting in my Houston townhouse- cleaning, organizing, provisioning, and breaking in my new stove.  (And on that note, whoever came up with the idea that ceramic would make a good cooktop surface clearly did not do a lot of cooking.  But I digress.)  The best part of being home is that I have had all three of my kids around my table for a few meals, and even had their help in preparing one or two.  The space feels a little small at times, but my heart is full when my kitchen is full of my offspring.  And then they quickly fly out the door, leaving me with all the dishes.  Huh?

I think I have been pretty clear here that I  sorely missed fresh jalapeno while I was in Paris.  I have been making up for it this week.

Is there a limit on how many of these I can buy at one time?

I have been cozying up with several new cookbooks that I didn’t have or wasn’t able to use in Paris, and I intentionally chose recipes featuring jalapeno.

First I made Homesick Texan’s Pico de Gallo and then put it on everything except my morning oatmeal.  Just the smell of it in my kitchen made me happy to be home.  I also picked up some fresh corn on the cob (no corn in Paris!) and cut off the kernels and sautéed them in butter, salt, and minced jalapeno.  Sooooo good sprinkled on my chef salad!  Or on anything, right?

I made a polenta crusted quiche from Cowgirl Chef’s new cookbook (Cowgirl Chef- Texas Cooking with a French Accent), which included chorizo and canned green chilis.  That tasted like home, too.

This morning I tried Homesick Texan’s Kolaches, but replaced the fruit filling with Lil Smokies, American cheese, and minced jalapeno, as my friend Martha suggested.  They were pretty darned good for a beginner!

Of course, all this cooking has required several trips to my favorite grocery store, which still sends me into an altered state of euphoria when I cross the threshold into the vast space of way too cold but infinite possibilities.  I’m not sure how long that will last, but I’m enjoying it while it does.  I have also reintroduced myself to my gym, which sends me into a completely different kind of altered state.  Two days ago my right tricep was so sore I could hardly lift my hand to my face, which made both eating and oral hygiene a challenge.  Fortunately that has passed, and I was able to heft not one but two of the afore-pictured kolaches to my mouth this morning.  I guess that means it’s time to go back to the gym.  Sigh.  It’s a vicious cycle.

I have enjoyed running into many friends and acquaintances on my trips in and out of the grocery store and the gym.  Some give me a quizzical look that says “Wow- I haven’t seen you in a long time.  Where have you been?”  Others, who know me a little better, say “I thought you were in Paris now!”.  And finally there are those precious souls who actually read my little blog and so are not surprised to see me and just welcome me home.  I do love those people!  Thanks, y’all.  It’s so good to be home.


Filed under cooking, Houston, Uncategorized