Phoenicia

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I didn’t expect to write about a grocery store, but Phoenicia is so much more than just a grocery store. It is a destination in its own right.

Derek first discovered Phoenicia back in the fall, and he suggested that we check it out together. The first time we were there we only did a quick look through and got drinks to go from the cafe inside, but we both knew we had to come back and thoroughly look around.

So, Phoenicia, located in downtown, is first and foremost a grocery store, but there is only the basics like meats, fruits and vegetables. Don’t come here looking to get everything on your shopping list like toilet paper and cat food. Their website describes themselves as “Houston’s one-stop gourmet, international food experience with more than 10,000 products from more than 50 countries.” It is most definitely an international food experience, but also an international people experience too! I think I must have heard four or five different languages spoken there.

Today we decided to go have lunch there. They have a bakery and cafe inside, as well as multiple deli sections. I decided to go Greek, and I got spanakopita and stuffed grape leaves. I also got a honey and lavender scone to go. Derek got a turkey, bacon and swiss sandwich with a brownie. The meal selection is expansive. It is hard to decide what to want because it all looks so good!

There is a section to eat inside, but there are also tables outside so we ate our food outside. There were tons of people there, most looked like they were with colleagues on lunch break from work.

After we were done with lunch, we decided to peruse the aisles. I was really impressed with all the selection, and happy to see tons of Kinder chocolate and Walker shortbread cookies. (Yum!) I was intrigued by the middle eastern section, and they had a ton of loose leaf teas that I will definitely have to purchase in the future. They have a upstairs section that has some more food, a bunch of kitchen gadgets and cookware, and a huge wine selection.

My recommendation is that if you know someone who is a food connoisseur, you could do some gift shopping for them at Phoenicia!

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Art Car Parade preview

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The Art Car Parade is an annual event in Houston, and I’ve been told by many people that it is quite the quirky thing to attend.

Unfortunately the parade is on a Saturday, (like most events) and I work weekends. However, I lucked out this time because there was a special preview of about half the cars at the Discovery Green park on Thursday night.

It was really neat to see so many different cars. The collection of “junk” on some of them was just amazing! The owners of the cars really get to show off their artistic abilities and their creativity. My favorite car was¬† one with singing fish and lobsters. The lobsters and the fish would move in sync with songs! It was hilarious!

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Houston Zoo

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Derek and I went to the zoo this week. We had a good day! It is a fairly large zoo, and even with spring break crowds, it didn’t feel all that crowded.

Some photo highlights:

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We really loved the blue feathers on this kookaburra!

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An ocelot.

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Stick bugs! The bug area of the zoo was actually quite fascinating.

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This tiny owl was so cute!

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This chimp has the right idea. Nap often!

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This baby tapir was born in February. Their baby stripes are so cute!

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All of the big cats are my favorite!

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A mother’s love. Awww.

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These cuddling cloud leopards were adorable.

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I was most excited to see Shasta the cougar. He is the mascot for the University of Houston. Some trivia from Wikipedia: “Shasta VI was born in September 2011 in the U.S. state of Washington, and was adopted by the university as a cub.¬†Shasta’s mother was killed in 2011, when a hunter shot her. After a search from the Washington Department of Fish & Wildlife, Shasta VI was rescued, and transported to the Houston Zoo on December 11, 2011. In March 2012, the University of Houston Alumni Association announced that the cub would be adopted. Shasta VI is the first live mascot since 1989.”

 

The Super Bowl

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So the Super Bowl has come and gone, and the $&#$%@! Patriots have won AGAIN. *sigh* I almost feel personally offended that they won in Houston, because I live here now, haha.

The last few days leading up to the game, and the day of the game itself was an experience to remember.

A week before the game, Derek and I drove around the stadium and took pictures of all the Super Bowl LI banners hanging on it. A lot of other people were doing the same thing.

I attended NFL Experience, which is an event that is hosted by every Super Bowl host city. It was a neat interactive place, with lots of displays, games, the opportunity to see NFL related TV shows being filmed live (I saw Von Miller of the Denver Broncos!), and of course, photo ops.

I also went to Super Bowl LIVE, the free fan festival that was held at Discovery Green park. That was less to do with football; anyone could go and have a good time. There were NASA exhibits, and there were even showings of the Puppy Bowl!

The day of the game itself I was freaked out about traffic because I have to drive right past the stadium on my way home from work. No car traffic, but so many people were walking around on the sidewalks, making their way to the stadium. I also saw a ton of people advertising how much their parking spaces were. I saw one for $120! Outrageous!

As much as I wanted to be at the game, I realized that most people in Houston were probably avoiding the game (and the prices) like the plague. The best seats in the house truly are your couch. It was extremely cool though when the Thunderbirds flew overhead, and it sounded like a rocket! I knew it was coming, but I didn’t expect it to be quite THAT loud. And I am pretty sure that I heard some of the fireworks during the halftime show.

Some pictures from Super Bowl week:

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Book of Mormon

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Last month Derek and I went to see The Book of Mormon. It was a show that has been on our radar for a while. When we first moved here, I kept seeing commercials for the show. I was able to buy tickets with money I had received for my birthday. That seems like ages ago!

The performance was at the Hobby Center for the Performing Arts. It was a really nice venue. Our seats were the front row for the top balcony. Nice to not have any heads in front of us!

I understand the show is not everyone’s cup of tea, but we thought the show was hilarious! I’m so glad we got the chance to go. In April, we’ve got tickets for Cirque du Soleil.

Also, I would like to mention: We decided to take the metro into downtown and walk to the Hobby Center to avoid parking costs. After getting on the metro, walking through all the buildings and then going to a Broadway award winning play, I had one of those, “Woah, we live here” moments!

Some photos at the Hobby Center:

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Houston Marathon

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I had a bit of a weird moment happen to me this morning. The Houston Marathon was today. I was watching the coverage on the news before I left work this morning. I heard them talking about the route, and they echoed multiple times to CHECK YOUR ROUTE if you need to head out for anything. Silly me, I didn’t think to check if I would be effected.
So I’m driving to work, and I approach the light just before my office. I see a bunch of runners going past, along with some police cars and barriers. Uh oh! So I get back on the highway, go one exit up, with the intention of coming back around. Turns out that road is blocked too!
I tried not to panic, and eventually I realized that I could just take the road in that I take to leave the parking lot when I go home, which was one turn before approaching the blocked off road. I wish I could say that I realized this route right away, but I never claimed to be good with directions. I made it to work 10 minutes late. Not bad.
All morning long I watched the runners pass by the windows, and just thought that it was interesting that I live in a city that hosts a popular marathon. I knew about the NYC marathon and Boston marathon, but I never realized Houston had one. This would have never been a problem if I hadn’t had to work Sundays, but no matter what the day, I wouldn’t have had to deal with something like this back in Wellsboro. Sure, we had a bunch of races, but lots of them were on designated trails, in the canyon and forests!!!
Just something new to have to think about!