Downtown underground tunnels

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Did you know that Houston has underground tunnels connecting all of the major buildings downtown? We didn’t know until recently, when I came across it online.

If you ever think that downtown is a bit empty during lunch time, there is a reason for that. Everyone is just below you! I expect a lot of people use the tunnels for relief from the summer heat.

It is like a little city underneath the city with multiple entrance points. There are over six miles of tunnels. We entered through one of the towers; there was an escalator going down right in the main lobby.

The tunnels are a large maze of sorts, with lots of long twisting and turning hallways, but there are maps every so often so you know where you are.

The tunnels are a mixture of shops, restaurants and food courts. Derek commented that it almost had an airport terminal feel. Most of the shops were errand related, like dry cleaners, banks and pharmacies. A one stop shop for workers on their lunch break. In fact, Derek’s bank had an office down there, so we stopped in and we were able to get a card for me for his account. It was something we had been meaning to do.

We had really good Chinese food at Dumpling House in one of the food courts. It was cheap too, can’t beat that. Funny because the Chinese food restaurant back in Wellsboro is called Dumpling House too.

It was interesting to explore a whole new level of the city. We will probably venture down there again, because there were a lot of good looking places to eat.

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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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Gingerbread House

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I unexpectedly had Christmas Eve off, and I am so used to working that day at all my other jobs. With a free day ahead of me, I looked into Christmas type activities to do.

I found a large one-and-a-half story gingerbread house set up in the lobby of the Hilton Hotel.

Some facts about the house:

It took 75o hours to build. The builders used 500 pounds of gingerbread, 350 pounds of dark chocolate, 725 pounds of milk and white chocolate and 325 pounds of sugar!

The team really did a nice job with the details. We especially thought that being able to see inside the house was a nice touch.

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The Galleria

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The Galleria is an upscale shopping mall in Houston. Originally I had figured that I wouldn’t ever have a need to go inside. My wallet would cry just being in the vicinity!

But, when I was looking for things to do over Derek’s winter break, I saw that there was a huge Christmas tree in the middle of an ice skating rink (!!) in the Galleria. Well, if anything, it would be a good photo op.

However, the more that I looked into the Galleria, I realized that, while there are mostly high end shops, there are also plenty of stores for us poorer folks too!

We ended up going to familiar stores such as Hot Topic, Game Stop, Disney Store and Aeropostale. We also stopped at Nestle’s to get cookies to go (snickerdoodle), and a macaroon stand. I got mint chocolate and almond. Yum!

The mall is definitely huge. In fact, it is the largest mall in Texas! Although I must point out that the mall by my Grandma’s house in NJ is bigger! I guess not everything is bigger in Texas…

We kept getting lost trying to find our way to specific stores. Thank goodness for the directories! Funny, there was always a line to use them! At least we weren’t the only ones walking in circles.

I enjoyed coming here. I may come again during a day off when Derek is back in school just to kill a couple of hours and get some exercise.

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Breakfast at Hotel Derek

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We pass Hotel Derek every once in a while on the 610 inner loop, depending on where we are headed.

It cracks us up, because obviously, my husband’s name is Derek. He thinks it is cool because growing up he always knew Derricks, and had assumed that his spelling was the odd ball spelling.

We started talking about checking the hotel out just for the fun of it. I looked it up online, and discovered that there was a restaurant inside. Lunch and dinner prices are out of our budget, but breakfast was doable.

We went yesterday morning, and it was a good breakfast. I had a waffle with fruit, and Derek had a broken yoke sandwich.

Friends and family joked that Derek should get a discount, and we did, sort of. Tea was listed on the menu for $5, and but we were only charged $3! Perhaps it was because Derek ordered a certain flavor that was only available in the Starbucks variety, because it came in a Starbucks to go cup.

The hotel looked nice itself, and there were lots of cool decorations.

It was something different to do for the day. I enjoy coming up with little things like this, and I am sure there will be plenty more.

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A Christmas tree in a small apartment

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When we first moved into this apartment, I knew right away that there would be no room for a Christmas tree anywhere. But seeing as we moved in August, I pushed that thought out of my mind for a while.

But then November rolled around, and I had to think and get creative. I knew I wanted a “tree” no ifs, ands or buts. I googled, “Christmas tree for small spaces” and my dilemma was answered.

Thankfully there were plenty of people before me who had the same problem, and came up with a wall Christmas tree. There are many different varieties, but I went with garland.

It was a little bit trial and error to get the trees (I did two!) to stay up on the wall, but I am happy with the results!

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George Ranch Historical Park

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I love history. And I love photography. I discovered a place where I could combine my love of both: The George Ranch Historical Park.

The GRHP is 26 miles southwest of Houston, perfect for a day trip. The park features four homes belonging to four generations of one Texan family, ranging from the 1830s to the 1940s. It is a whole lot of history packed into one area!

The first home is an 1830s cabin. The second home is an 1860s home with a chuckwagon set up outside. The third house is an expansive Victorian 1890s home (with a second sharecropper home off to the side.) The last home is from the 1940s. At each home, a costumed person takes you through the rooms of the house and explains what life would have been like for the family back then. Extras included a working blacksmith shop and cattle demonstrations. There was so much to look at! The park really outdid themselves in the details.

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