5 Hidden Shopping Gems Neartown/Westheimer Corridor

Photo by iodine127 via Wikimedia Commons
Probably one of the most popular shopping strips in Houston, Westheimer Road is a main thoroughfare where we all have dropped a few hundred dollars during holiday season. Even though we all are very familiar with the strip, there are hidden spots that you may have never seen or heard of before. Tucked away on the side streets and in the shadow of The Galleria and West Ave are mom and pop shops with really great fashions and gifts for you. Here are five of my favorite off the beaten path Westheimer Road shops inside the loop.

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Simon Malls and Refinery 29 Shopping Block Party at Houston Premium Outlets

Photo of past event courtesy of Simon/Refinery29
You know who's kind of killing it in on the event front now a days, Simon Malls. I will wait for your shock and awe to wear off.......ok. Yes, the purveyor of mega malls like the Galleria and Houston Premium Outlets is changing it up in an effort to become its own destination for shoppers, specifically the twenty and thirty somethings everyone is after these days. First, they brought us the fall fashion extravaganza Lookbook Live and now comes The Shopping Block, a national collaboration with millennial favorite and online content juggernaut Refinery 29, on Saturday, October 11 at Houston Premium Outlets.

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Elizabeth Anthony Celebrates New Look, Here's Why You Should Check It Out

Photo courtesy of Elizabeth Anthony
Uptown Park boutique Elizabeth Anthony has had a serious facelift. To celebrate, the team invited a few hundred close friends, created a fashion week atmosphere, and hosted an Escada runway show. Now that's how you throw a party.

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8 Things to Consider Before Getting a Tattoo

Categories: Style/Fashion

Photo by Nina Hale
Tattoos were once considered taboo in this country, something ne'er-do-wells and criminals got to mark themselves as outsiders in society. Tattoos weren't something respectable people considered for themselves.

That's changed, with something in the neighborhood of 23 percent of all Americans and 32 percent of people between the ages of 30 and 45 having at least one, according to a recent Pew Research Poll. Tattoos clearly aren't just for bikers, sailors or rock stars anymore.

I've had tattoos for more than 20 years at this point, and I've observed a few things that might be helpful to those contemplating getting their first one. I don't claim to be some "tattoo authority," but since the majority of the people I associate with are inked, I've noticed a few good rules of thumb over the years. Things to keep in mind before strolling into a tattoo parlor and getting that heart with "Mom" tattooed on your neck.

8. People Will Judge You.

Yes, they will. Even with much more mainstream acceptance of tattoos, people will still make unpleasant and unfair judgments about tattooed people. To some folks, a tattoo will mark you as trashy, no matter what the circumstances of your life. Of course, the types of people who will actually hassle you over a tattoo are total pricks if they're not your own mom or something, so ignore them. Allow creeps like that to go through their joyless lives judging people they don't know. They are probably miserable on some level.

You'll hear the same tired crapola like "Think what it'll look like when you're 80."

Yes, because the average 80-year-old's skin looks wonderful, and a tattoo would destroy that. The tools of tattooing have improved a great deal in recent years, and tattoos look better longer. You can also get them touched up, so there's no reason a person's older tattoos have to look like some hideous blue blob like the ones some older men have. I personally think old people with tattoos look as if they've led interesting lives. Who cares what their skin looks like at that age?

Others will judge a tattooed person in other ways. Trying to get certain types of jobs if you have visible skin art can be difficult. If you're in a very conservative field, expect to cover your tattoos if you manage to get the job at all. Things have mellowed a lot over the years, but expect that a tattoo still might close a few doors.

There's another potential downside to the way others might feel about your tattoos. Some people think that a tattoo erases any sort of personal boundary you have, and total strangers will accost you and ask to see your "work." I've had them just start rolling up my sleeve to see better. Without asking. I guess some people think that a tattooed person wants attention at all times. It's a creepy thing to think.

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9 Fall Trends for People With No Extra Time & Limited Cash, Like Me

Categories: Style/Fashion

Event photos by Keith Luter, Jr
Last week, The Galleria hosted a fashion extravaganza to launch the new Fall season. Simon Malls invited Vogue, GQ, and Glamour magazine reps and local bloggers to host a huge fashion show and trends presentation for guests. Everything was quite impressive and the clothing was, of course, superb, but as I was marveling at the fashion, I began thinking, "Ok, how does a regular Jane like me do this?" I do not have a million dollar job - though I absolutely love working for the Houston Press :-) - so my shopping budget is itty-bitty and I have a toddler hanging off of me everyday, groceries to shop for, and errands to run. I live in the real world, so my clothes have to as well.

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Houston's Newest Woodhouse Day Spa Location Opens September 20 in Tanglewood

Photo by Lubyanka
Attention writers--you need this.
In which I show up for a tour, and receive a luxurious, complimentary volcanic massage.

Located at the corner of Bering and San Felipe, Houston's newest luxury day spa is preparing for its grand opening on September 20. A modest sign hangs along the San Felipe side of the building, but the spa itself is accessed, quietly, from the interior court of the building where Dish Society is also located.

Upon entering, a friendly staff is ready to greet spa patrons in the combination reception and retail boutique area. At this point, it's important to resist the shelves full of Skinceuticals, Clarisonic, and other luxury bath and body products--proceed to the counter for pampering, and shop later.

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Lifestyling the Less Rich and Unfamous: Blake Lively's Preserve

Next stop: blogdom
When Blake Lively's lifestyle website Preserve debuted, it drew the expected comparisons to Martha Stewart (a hero of Lively's) and--more sharply--Gwyneth Paltrow's goop. Pretty actresses turning themselves into lifestyle gurus/mavens/experts with a slick website are bound to draw ire, especially since Gwyneth's goop scoop on her "Conscious Uncoupling" from husband Chris Martin. It's hard to explain the push and pull of attraction and repulsion that makes one a goop fan, but it certainly makes one predisposed to curiosity about Lively's take on lifestyle.

Plus who could resist the possibility of stumbling across Ryan Reynolds somewhere along the way?

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Houston Fashion Blogger Taylor McClure Proves You're Never Too Young for Style

Categories: Style/Fashion

Photos courtesy Taylor McClure
Did you know what you wanted to do with your life when you were 13 years old? Well, neither does Taylor McClure--not necessarily, anyway. McClure, who is in eighth grade, says that while her passion for fashion is what led her to create her own fashion blog, she hasn't mapped out her entire future quite yet. "I started my blog last summer," said McClure. "I'm usually really bored in the summer, and since I love fashion I thought a fashion blog might be fun." One day, while learning how to play the tune "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" the idea for her blog just came to her, and Somewhere Over the Runway was born.

Although fashion counts among Taylor's many hobbies -- she also golfs, and enjoys cross-country and track -- it's certainly a serious one.

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Five Things You Need to Know About Houston's Newest Fashion Blogger, Lisa Dawn of A Chic Effect

Categories: Style/Fashion

Photos by Will McDonald
Lisa Dawn of A Chic Effect
Lisa Dawn's new fashion blog, A Chic Effect comes complete with its own motto: Dream Big. Stay Chic. Be Unrealistic. According to Lisa, dreaming big--and being unrealistic--are important, no matter what the naysayers might think. "I've gotten a lot of flak for starting a blog. People can't understand why I would do anything different after spending three years in law school, but I'm passionate about it," said Lisa. "I don't see anything wrong with having unrealistic expectations, and realizing them!"

Fashion, for Lisa, is a creative outlet--a way to express herself in a conservative professional environment. She's been bringing extra flair to her own work wardrobe for years, and now she's started A Chic Effect--a guide to office chic, and beyond.

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5 Hidden Shopping Gems In Greenway Plaza

Photos by Cherise Luter
When you think about Greenway Plaza, you probably imagine business men and women milling about on their lunch break and expensive apartments housing said business men and women - because they are the only people who can afford them. Never would you think there are hidden shopping gems amidst those high rise office buildings and restaurants, but you would be mistaken.

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