The Texas Bluebonnet = Perfection!

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Today, I want to introduce you to one of Texas’ greatest treasures – the Bluebonnet.

To quote Texan Historian Jack Maguire, “The bluebonbaby-bluebonnet-fieldnet is to Texas what the shamrock is to Ireland, the cherry blossom to Japan, the lily to France, the rose to England and the tulip to Holland.” The annual resurgence of this bloom sparks for many Texas families, a pilgrimage to their favorite bluebonnet spot to take family photos. You may notice cars pulled over on the sides of roads for no reason, other than to take it in beautiful fields full of the charming blossom.

There are loosely identified bluebonnet “trails” not far from The Woodlands. Bluebonnets bloom all over the state, so there really isn’t a defined “trail”, though some communities promote annual events celebrating wildflowers with suggested driving routes. US 290 is a prime corridor for the official state wildflower. You can find out more information by visiting the following sites.

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If you are not up for a road trip, you can find a bluebonnet meadow at Rob Fleming Park. Details on the park can be found at www.woodlandsevents.com/parks/creekside-park/rob-fleming-park.

In conducting my research, I also found information on kissy-bluebonnet-field-821x1024how to get some great pictures, especially if you are going with younger children. And our family is all about the “fail” lately, so I thought I would include a few of those sites too!

Grapevine-engagement-photos-bluebonnets-wild-flowers-field-trains-historic-tracy-autem-ashley-travis_0006Each April 24, Texas celebrates State Wildflower Day, and many cities have pageants, parades, and other celebrations. A partial listing of cities includes Mason, Chappell Hill, Keney, Glen Rose, Ennis, and Hughes Springs. The best way to learn what is scheduled is to contact the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, 4801 La Crosse Avenue, Austin, TX 78739, (512) 292-4100.

We would love for you to share your family photos with us! You can email them or connect with us on social media. Find us on Facebook, Google+, YouTube and LinkedIn. Look for a fun contest coming up in April where you can win a great cash prize!

Happy bluebonnet hunting!

Amy McLaughlin Personal Concierge and Blog Contributor

Amy McLaughlin
Personal Concierge and
Blog Contributor

Fresh is BEST!

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As we are rolling into spring time, I know many people naturally want to add fresh produce into their daily routine. Several specialty produce stores have opened up in our area, and there are many options to get fresh, straight from the farm, healthy foods. The following is a list of local resources to get these kinds of foods.

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The biggest news is that Whole Foods Market is opening here!  We are really excited to be able to shop at their newest location in Hughes Landing. The grand opening was Wednesday, March 18th!  Make plans to swing by early on your way into work that morning as there will be a grand opening ceremony, complete with free coffee and pastries from 7:30-8am.   Visit the webpage for details:  http://www.wholefoodsmarket.com/stores/woodlands

LogoAbout two years ago, Trader Joe’s opened up in Sterling Ridge. Trader Joe’s is a fun store, small in size with great service and so many amazing food items. You can find a great selection of so many yummy foods, and the Trader Joes brand is typically a great inexpensive option. They have many organic options and all items are well marked so you are an informed consumer. Trader Joe’s webpage and location:  http://www.traderjoes.com/stores?q=77382

Just outside of The Woodlands, on Kuykendahl Road, is a treasure called Sprouts Farmer’s Market.  Sprouts is a healthy grocery store that offers fresh, natural and organic foods at great prices.  Follow this link to get a 360 view of what to expect once you reach the store:  https://www.sprouts.com/about-us  And here is the link for the address/contact information for the store located in Spring: https://www.sprouts.com/stores/details/-/store-details/view/store/139  It’s much closer than you may think!

If you are looking for a true farmer’s market shopping experience, I have great news! Located in Grogan’s Mill, in the Grogan’s Mill grogans-mill-farmers-marketVillage Center, you can find the Grogan’s Mill Farmer’s Market. This shopping experience is open year round from 9am-noon on Saturdays.  If you are a true farmer’s market shopper, consider following this link to receive a weekly Friday newsletter that will let you know who and what will be available at the market the next day:  http://www.grogansmillvillage.com/fm_about.htm

A great farmer’s market and berry picking combination can be found at Neal’s Berry Farm and Farmer’s Market. Their spring season has officially begun and they are now open Monday through Saturday 10am to 6pm. Neal’s boasts an “almost year round” farmer’s market that is truly one-stop shopping. They farmers-market-photo1offer produce, local honey, jams/jellies, free range eggs as well as dry pantry items. If you want to enjoy a day of berry picking, Neal’s offers three acres of blackberries! Also, for the home gardeners, you can find plants and plant cuttings. The hard to find heirloom tomato plant can be found here in early spring.  Neal’s is located in Spring just south of The Woodlands past Creekside Park.  For more information, please go to their website:  http://www.nealsberryfarm.com/

Another option for a great farmers market is just up the road in Conroe, where you will find a traditional farmer’s market on Saturday mornings from 9am – 2pm year round. Homegrown vegetables and in season fruit, farm fresh eggs, herb plants and local honey. There is even a baker that provides gluten free products and mail order connections to grass fed beef sources. This market is located at the corner of N. Main Street and Metcalf in the jury parking lot, across from Creighton Theater. I was not able to find a working website, but you can find them on Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/ConroeSamM

1795For those who want to enjoy alfalfa grass fed raw cow and goat milk, you are in luck! Calico Dairy is just up the road in Conroe.  They are licensed by the State of Texas to offer raw dairy. You can also find organic free range eggs, cream, buttermilk and fresh butter.  You can follow them on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/calicodairy) or Google+ (https://plus.google.com/100407797653177952476/about?gl=us&hl=en) for up to date information.

Finally, for those of you who prefer to sleep in on Saturdays and have your produce gathered for you, I have an option!  Check out Rawfully Organic Co-op.  This is an incredibly flexible program without a membership fee. You can choose what weeks you would like delivery, if you would like a 1/2 or full order, or if you only would like fruit. If you need to skip a week or two, that is not a problem. You can also receive notification of what is in the box RawfullyOrganic1each week before you decide to order it. You can pick up your box at a designated volunteer’s home here in The Woodlands on your delivery day. You would just swing by and grab your box and continue on your way. You will be given the address of the Porch Pick Up Volunteer once you place your order, until then that information is not given out. For more information their website is:  https://www.rawfullyorganic.com/

I hope these suggestions help get you and your family enjoying local Texas organic produce this spring and in several options year round. If it is true that we are what we eat, then I wish you Bon Appetite with these healthy options.

Kimm Dwyer Personal Concierge and Blog Contributor

Kimm Dwyer
Personal Concierge and
Blog Contributor

 

Time for some Outdoor Music!

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Outdoor concerts are a great way to enjoy a beautiful evening here in the Woodlands! The Cynthia Mitchell Woods Pavilion, located on the Waterway, is a favorite for artists and concert goers alike. The Pavilion ranks #2 in the top 100 amphitheaters in the WORLD!!pavilion2

The outdoor pavilion features lawn seating and also has covered stadium seating. My favorite feature of the Pavilion is that due to its location, you don’t have to have a ticket to enjoy a wonderful night out. There are lots of greenspace options outside the Pavilion along the Waterway and at Town Green, where locals pack a picnic basket, a cooler and some lawn chairs to have a great night out with friends. Concerts sell out here since some of artists prefer a tour stop here in The Woodlands instead of Downtown Houston. For all you need to know about parking, tickets and more, visit the Pavilion website at www.woodlandscenter.org.

pavilion1Below is a list of current events on the schedule, but keep in mind it is subject to change as well as new additions are very likely. You can also download the Pavilion app for your smart phone, since the amphitheater is always adding new acts. It will send you push notifications. Also, note that there are several cultural events that feature free lawn seating and reduced price orchestra seating.

  • Sun, March 22 5 p.m. The Pavilion Partners Wine Dinner & Auction
  • Sat, March 28 7 p.m. KSBJ Anniversary Concert with MercyMe, Crowder, Matt Maher, Jamie Grace, Tedashii, Group 1 Crew, Jon Guerra, I Am They & Shaun Groves
  • Wed, April 1 7:30 p.m. Nickelback
  • Sat, April 11 8 p.m. Bryan Adams
  • Sat, April 18 1 p.m. Buzzfest 33 with Godsmack, Hollywood Undead, Buckcherry, You Me At Six, Within Reason, Dirty Heads, Breaking Benjamin, New Politics, AWOLNATION, Joywave, Everclear, IAMDYNAMITE, Young Guns & Robert DeLong
  • Wed, April 22 8 p.m. The Peking Acrobats with the Houston Symphony ($20 orchestra seating / Free mezzanine & lawn seating)
  • Fri, April 24 8 p.m. Tony Bennett & Lady Gaga
  • Sat, April 25 7 p.m. Chris Tomlin with Tenth Avenue North and Rend Collective
  • Sun, April 26 7:30 p.m. The Doobie Brothers with Don Felder
  • Fri, May 1 8 p.m. Elton John
  • Sat, May 2 7 p.m. ZZ Top and Jeff Beck
  • Thu, May 7 7:30 p.m. Lana Del Rey with Courtney Love
  • Fri, May 8 8 p.m. Beethoven & Bartok with the Houston Symphony ($20 orchestra seating / Free mezzanine & lawn seating)
  • Fri, May 15 8 p.m. “The Magic Flute” with Houston Grand Opera ($20 orchestra seating / Free mezzanine & lawn seating)
  • Sat, May 16 8 p.m. Dave Matthews Band
  • Thu, May 28 8 p.m. Jimmy Buffett & the Coral Reefer Band
  • Fri, May 29 8 p.m. The Music of Led Zeppelin with the Houston Symphony ($20 orchestra seating / Free mezzanine & lawn seating)
  • Sat, May 30 7 p.m. Train with The Fray and Matt Nathanson
  • Fri, June 12 8 p.m. DISNEY IN CONCERT Tale as Old as Time with the Houston Symphony ($20 orchestra seating / Free mezzanine & lawn seating)
  • Wed, June 17 7:30 p.m. MOVE with Derek & Julianne Hough
  • Fri, June 19 8 p.m. Texas Music Festival Orchestra (FREE)
  • Fri, July 3 8 p.m. Star-Spangled Salute with the Houston Symphony (FREE)
  • Sat, July 18 7 p.m. Steely Dan with Elvis Costello & The Imposters
  • Wed, July 22 7 p.m. Kid Rock with Foreigner
  • Thu, July 30 8 p.m. “Old Time Rock ‘n’ Roll” with the Houston Symphony ($20 orchestra seating / Free mezzanine & lawn seating)
  • Fri, July 31 8 p.m. Idina Menzel
  • Sat, Aug. 8 7:30 p.m. 5 Seconds of Summer
  • Sat, Aug. 15 8 p.m. Grease Sing-A-Long ($15 orchestra seating / Free mezzanine & lawn seating)
  • Fri, Aug. 21 6:30 p.m. J. Cole with Big Sean, YG, Jeremih and Dreamville Artists Bas, Cozz and Omen
  • Sat, Aug. 22 8 p.m. Def Leppard with Styx & Tesla
  • Tue, Sept. 1 7 p.m. Kelly Clarkson with Pentatonix and Eric Hutchinson
  • Sat, March 14 at 10 a.m. Fri, Sept. 4 6 p.m. Slipknot with Lamb of God, Bullet for My Valentine & Motionless in White
  • Thu, Sept. 10 8 p.m. Music of the Americas with the Houston Symphony ($20 orchestra seating / Free mezzanine & lawn seating)
  • Thu, Oct. 1 8 p.m. Mixed Repertory Program with Houston Ballet ($20 orchestra seating / Free mezzanine & lawn seating)
  • Fri, Oct. 23 8 p.m. Hocus Pocus Pops with the Houston Symphony ($20 orchestra seating / Free mezzanine & lawn seating)
  • Sat, Nov. 14 10 a.m. 20th Annual Children’s Festival ($8 in advance / $10 at the door)
  • Sun, Nov. 15 Noon 20th Annual Children’s Festival ($8 in advance / $10 at the door)
  • Thu, Dec. 3 7:30 p.m. Holly Jolly Jingle (FREE)

If you want a smaller venue, some other music hot spots in the area include:

Dosey Doe (www.doseydoe.com) has two locations for great live music, good food and a wonderful atmosphere. Check out the Big Barn, which hosts seasoned artists from a variety of genres, located dosey doeat 25911 N I-45. The Music Café is a great venue to check out up and coming musical talent, located at 463 FM 1488. A full schedule for the Big Barn can be found at www.doseydoe.com/upload/upcoming-eventsbb.pdf. The schedule for artists highlighted at the Music Café is located at www.doseydoe.com/upload/upcoming-eventsmc.pdf

Amy McLaughlin Personal Concierge and Blog Contributor

Amy McLaughlin
Personal Concierge and
Blog Contributor

Spring and Your Home

home and garden showGreetings! It is officially March, the month where Spring will soon be in full bloom! I am excited to announce that The Woodlands has its own Spring Home and Garden Show scheduled for March 7 & 8 at the Waterway Marriott. This is a fun way to see what is new and get ideas to spruce up your new home here in The Woodlands! http://www.woodlandsshows.com/

Springtime also is a great time to do someSpring_Cleaning_Tips spring cleaning and get some home maintenance completed. I thought this may be a good time to remind you that here at Woodlands Relo, we have done some research for you on some great service providers in the area.

On the www.woodlandsrelogroup.com website, we have a section called Preferred Providers. You will need to log into our website with your user name and password to access this area. (Please let me know if you need your login information again) Once here, you will find a listing of all of our Service Providers. I’d like to highlight several here:

As I type this, there is a bit of a chill in the air outside. But everyone should be warned that the heat will be here before we know it! I can’t recommend enough having your air-conditioning unit(s) inspected to be sure they are in great working order and not draining your energy budget. We have two air conditioning service providers that we work with at Woodlands Relo Group: Happy Air offers WRG transferee’s 10% discount off their first consultation. Justin VanHarn is the owner, you can find him at http://www.happyairac.com/. We also recommend The A/C Guy http://the-ac-guy.com/

If you are like me, your house could use a deep cleaning! Again, we list two cleaning companies in our Service Providers Cleaning category. The first is Maids in Action. The owners, Bob and Kathy Shelton, will offer 15% off of your first cleaning as a WRG transferee. Their number is 281-367-6650. You may also check out The Secret Service Cleaning Service, they even do windows! Find Brian Domingue at http://secretservicecleaning.com/.

poolsFinally, once the evenings get a bit longer and start warming up, sitting outside is hard to beat! If your house needs some outdoor lighting, we again have two options for you! Create another living space for your family to enjoy be checking out The Perfect Light http://theperfectlight.com/ or contact Carnahan Landscaping and Pools http://www.carnahanlandscaping.com/. Once you create this amazing outdoor space, you may want to contact Carnahan Landscaping and Pools about their mosquito control. You will thank me for that tip!

Whether you need an electrician, new flooring or considering a home theater or pool installation, let me encourage you to head to our Preferred Providers page to completely take the guesswork out of whom to hire! We would also love feedback on any of our Preferred Providers that you use. Please use the following survey to give us your assessment so that we can continue to provide you excellent service, http://vid.us/04y3at

One last thing…
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Happy Spring Cleaning!

Kimm Dwyer Personal Concierge and Blog Contributor

Kimm Dwyer
Personal Concierge and
Blog Contributor