The Most Wonderful Time of the Year List for the Weekend

Find the perfect things to do in Houston this weekend with our Houston Weekend Guide for Friday, December 14 to Sunday, December 16, 2018. 

Watch TUTS perform Disney’s famous tale as old as time; grab a craft beer and meet Mr. and Mrs. Claus; dress up as your favorite character from Game of Thrones for a downtown pub crawl; add a Tex-Mex spin to your Christmas celebrations; enjoy the magic of Harry Potter at a gut-busting production; get crafty at a BYOB meet-up and more.

Check below to find great things happening around Houston this weekend, from Friday, December 14 to Sunday, December 16, 2018.

Things to Do All Weekend

·         Christmas Events Around Houston | Daily – Get in the Christmas spirit with our list of the Top 25 parties, festivals, concerts, markets and other festive events happening in and around Houston. Times vary.

·         Potted Potter: The Unauthorized Harry Potter Experience at the Hobby Center for the Performing Arts | Daily – The magic of Harry Potter comes to life in this comedic performance that runs through all seven books in just 70 minutes at Downtown’s Hobby Center. Tickets start at $49.99. Showtimes vary.

·         Disney’s Beauty and the Beast at the Hobby Center for the Performing Arts | Daily  See a live version of the Disney classic, Beauty and the Beast, when TUTS presents a new production of the timeless tale at Hobby Center for the Performing Arts. Tickets start at $43.50. Showtimes vary.

·         Alley Theatre presents A Christmas Carol: A Ghost Story of Christmas | Daily –Catch a performance of the classic, seasonal tale of Ebenezer Scrooge, who’s famously visited by the ghosts of Christmas past, present, and future in Alley Theatre’s annual production of A Christmas Carol. Tickets start at $37.  Showtimes vary.

·         The Ultimate Christmas Show (Abridged) at Stages Repertory Theatre | Thursday to Saturday – Follow along as three quick-witted church members are forced to perform an impromptu Christmas pageant after none of their scheduled acts arrive. Tickets start at $25. 7pm daily.

·         Panto Star Force at Stages Repertory Theatre | Thursday to Saturday – Crack up at this hilarious spoof of the original Star Wars trilogy, which follows Jed, a farm boy from the planet Cypress, who joins forces with a zany band of space rebels to take on the powerful Emperor Snorkelfish and Dark Tater. Tickets start at $25. 7pm daily.

·         Pride and Prejudice at Studio 101 | Thursday, Friday, and Sunday – Watch the literary classic, Pride and Prejudice, come to life in Kate Hamill’s adaptation of the famous play that follows the love story of Elizabeth Bennet and Mr. Darcy. Tickets start at $17. Showtimes vary.

·         Comedian Chris Distefano at Houston Improv | Thursday to Saturday – Laugh it up at a comedy show by actor and stand-up comedian Chris Distefano, who will perform five shows at Houston Improv. Distefano has appeared on Late Night with Seth Meyers, Late Show with David Letterman, and Comedy Central’s The Half Hour. Tickets start at $20. Showtimes vary.

·         The French Farm’s Annual Holiday Open Warehouse Sale | Friday and Saturday | No Cover – Stock your kitchen for all of your holiday season get-togethers at The French Farm’s Spring Open Warehouse Sale. You’ll find discounted prices on everything from jams, mustards, and oils to cutlery and serving ware. 10am to 3pm both days.

·         Love & Makes Candle-Making Workshop in Rice Village | Friday to Sunday – Design and create a personalized wax candle with help from the team at Love & Makes in Rice Village. The BYOB workshop also features handmade goods from local artisans to shop while your candles set. $45. Times vary.

·         Death by Natural Causes at Houston Museum of Natural Science | Friday to Sunday – Discover a range of deadly “animal, vegetable, and mineral” specimens from the natural world at this educational exhibit in the Houston Museum of Natural Science. Full price tickets are $30 for ages 12 and up; $20 for ages 3 to 11; $20 for ages 62 and up. Discounted $17 tickets are available for most dates. 9am to 5pm daily.

Friday, December 14, 2018

·         Children’s Campfire Christmas at George Ranch Historical Park – Take part in fun Christmas crafts, hop on a hayride through the park, and sing Christmas carols while huddled around the campfire during this festive evening at George Ranch Historical Park. A light dinner is included. Tickets are $35 for adults; $25 for kids; $10 for children 3 and under. 6pm to 8pm.

·         Cocktails in the Ballroom at El Dorado Ballroom  Warm up with spiked hot chocolate and sweet treats while listening to atmospheric music at Project Row Houses’ annual event at El Dorado Ballroom. Located in Third Ward, PRH aims to enrich lives through art and create opportunities in marginalized communities. $50; admission is free for current members. 6:30pm.

·         6lack’s From East Atlanta with Love Tour at Revention Music Center – Jam out to songs like “Prblms,” “Free,” and “Cutting Ties” when 6LACK (pronounced Black) brings his melodic raps to Houston from Atlanta, Georgia. Tickets start at $30. 7pm.

·         Jason Mraz with Toca Rivera in Concert at Smart Financial Centre – Singer-songwriter Jason Mraz joins his longtime pal, percussionist Toca Rivera, for the Live in Stereo Tour, which showcases an acoustic performance by the talented duo. Tickets start at $34.50. 8pm.

·         Saxophonist Chris Mitchell’s White Christmas Concert at Hyatt Regency Houston – Sit back and take in the soothing sounds of the saxophone when musician Chris Mitchell plays a selection of songs from his upcoming holiday release, White Christmas, at the Hyatt Regency. Tickets are $30. 8pm.

Saturday, December 15, 2018

·         Running of the Bulls 5K at NRG Park  Race through NRG Park alongside the Texans’ Toro, cheerleaders, the Deep Steel Thunder band, and more in the eighth annual Running of the Bulls 5K, presented by HEB. The day will include a Kids 1K for children 12 and under, and both a competitive and non-competitive 5K for adults. The competitive 5K costs $40, while the non-competitive 5K is $35, and the Kids 1K costs $30. 7:30am.

·         Santa Train at the Galveston Railroad Museum – Snap photos with Santa and take a ride on the Harborside Express during a family-friendly afternoon at the Galveston Railroad Museum. $12. 10am to 2pm.

·         Love & Make’s Bath Bomb Making Workshop in Rice Village – Create your own luxurious, scented bath bomb at this DIY workshop, hosted by Love & Make in Rice Village. The family-friendly activity allows crafters to incorporate essential oils and experiment with fun colors. $45. 11am.

·         Heights Mercantile Holiday Market | No Cover – Shop unique gifts from trendy boutiques and pop-ups on the promenade in the area’s hottest new mixed-use development, Heights Mercantile. 11am to 6pm.

·         Holly Jolly Christmas Food Truck Festival at Town Green Park – Chow down on tasty food truck bites while you pose for photos with Santa, enjoy live music, and shop from local vendors at the Holly Jolly Christmas Food Truck Festival in Town Green Park.$5. 11am to 7pm.

·         Connect with Art Saturday at the Silos at Sawyer Yards | FREE – Tour the workspaces of local artists and shop their work when the Houston Art Collective opens its studios to the public for Connect with Art Saturday at Sawyer Yards. Noon to 5pm.

·         Rice University Owls vs. UC Santa Barbara Gauchos at Tudor Fieldhouse  Take your seat to watch the Owls when they play the Gauchos on their home court. Tickets start at $12. 2pm.

·         Paws with Claus at Nettbar Houston – Bring your four-legged friends to a holiday fundraiser benefiting the Houston BARC Foundation and BARC Animal Shelter at Nettbar Houston. You can take pictures with Santa Claus, win raffle prizes, and leave with a goody bag. Donation of $10 for adults and $5 for children. Admission is free with the donation of a requested item. 2pm to 4pm.

·         Game of Thrones Pub Crawl in Downtown – Bring honor to your house by dressing up in Westeros-worthy garb and trekking Downtown for a Game of Thrones pub crawl. Expect GoT-themed drinks, drink specials, prizes for the best costumes, and a raffle. Tickets start at $17.89. 3pm to 9pm.

·         Skate with Santa at Discovery Green – Lace up your skates and prepare your Christmas wish list to ice skate alongside Old Saint Nick at Discovery Green. Tickets are $11. Skate rentals cost $4. 5pm to 6pm.

·         Holiday Music with First Colony Church of Christ at Sugar Land Town Square | FREE – Rock around the Christmas tree when the band from First Colony Church of Christ performs its blend of contemporary classic Christmas tunes at Sugar Land Town Square. You’ll hear both modern and a cappella versions of all your favorite carols throughout the evening. 5pm to 7pm.

·         Christmas Party with Santa & Mrs. Claus at Southern Star Brewing Company | FREE – Don your tacky Christmas sweater to meet Santa and Mrs. Claus at Southern Star Brewing’s family-friendly Christmas extravaganza. Featuring holiday tunes by The Home Brewed Brass Ensemble, the party will also offer plenty of grub from Russo’s Pizza and La Grange Bar B Que & Grill. 6pm to 10pm.

·         The Dollop Podcast at The Ballroom at Warehouse Live – Comedians Dave Anthony and Gareth Reynolds bring a live version of their hilarious and educational podcast, The Dollop, to Houston’s Warehouse Live this Saturday night. Focused on American history, each episode of the podcast pulls a specific event or person to discuss for its humorous or peculiar qualities. Tickets start at $29.50. 7pm.

·         KiKi Maroon’s Ho Ho Ho-liday Burlesque Show – Join KiKi Maroon and The Burly Qutie Showgirls for The Ho Ho Ho-liday Show, a Christmas-themed burlesque production, complete with reindeer showgirls, naughty elves, sexy show queens, and even a Nutcracker or two. $25. 7pm.

·         Sleep in Concert at White Oak Music Hall  Jam out to heavy metal when the influential band from the early ‘90s, Sleep, returns to the stage in support of its fourth album, The Sciences. Tickets are $25. 8pm.

·         Kshmr in Concert at Stereo Live – Hit the dance floor at a live show by EDM giant Kshmr when he brings his magnetic electro house mixes to Stereo Live. Tickets start at $29. 10pm.

Sunday, December 16, 2018

·         31st Annual Fort Bend Kia 30K at Sugar Land Town Square – Take your mark and get set for the thirty-first annual Fort Bend Kia 30K, which takes runners through the certified, triple-loop Sweetwater Country Club course in Sugar Land. Costumes are encouraged, and runners can sip a complimentary draft beer from Jupiter on the plaza following the race. Tickets are $85 for adults; $42.50 for youths. 6:30am.

·         Santa Hustle 5k & Half Marathon in Galveston – Race a 5K or half marathon through Galveston while dressed up as old St. Nick—no need to purchase a costume; you’ll get a beard, hat, and performance hoodie with registration, and can upgrade to receive candy cane socks, a red tutu, arm warmers and face tattoos for an additional fee. You can enjoy cookies, candy canes, and holiday tunes all along the way, then stick around for an after-party. Tickets start at $49.75. 7am.

·         Brunch Screening: The Holiday Movie Screening at Alamo Drafthouse – Kick back with mimosas and tasty brunch treats while watching the heartwarming seasonal rom-com, The Holiday, starring Cameron Diaz, Kate Winslet, Jack Black, and Jude Law. $27. 11am.

·         A Christmas Story Art Market & Movie Screening at Karbach Brewing Co | FREE– Warn Ralphie that he’ll shoot his eye out at a free screening of The Christmas Story, complemented by a holiday art market featuring local vendors and a gift-wrapping station at Karbach Brewing Co. Tacky Christmas sweaters encouraged. Noon to 5pm.

·         The Roadshow Christmas Tour at Smart Financial Centre – Compassion Live presents The Roadshow Christmas Tour, featuring contemporary Christian musicians Matthew West, Matt Maher, Building 429, Plumb, Josh Wilson, and Leanna Crawford in a jubilant Christmas concert at Smart Financial Centre. Tickets start at $27.25. 6pm.

·         TexMex Christmas Fiesta: Los TexManiacs featuring Flaco Jimenez in Concert at Heights Theatre – Spice up your holidays at this Christmas fiesta in Heights Theatre, featuring Grammy-winners Los TexManiacs with special guest Flaco Jimenez, who has received the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award. The band will perform their beloved hits, as well as a slew of holiday favorites. Tickets start at $28. 8pm.

 

 

Let’s Go On A Journey

Sometimes, the only way to get the message across to someone is to be direct, but how can you be direct with someone that’s a pro at mind manipulation? I never truly realized just how but I despise that trait in people until I began working directly with one. Their minds operate in an almost warp speed with only one goal in mind, I’m going to get what I want even if I have to trick you into a yes. I thought, at one time, that I admired this trait and wanted to acquire it for myself, but what it taught me is that those types of people only are interested in themselves. There are no red lines with them and even if they get caught outside of the line, once they pay for the “mistake” they’re back at it again. They just look for other lines to cross without ending up the same way. Their mindset may make them wealthy, but how happy are they, truly?

How happy they are depends upon who you ask, but it’s more about what you can see in their tells. Oh, and you better be paying attention, because they’re not so easily revealed. That’s intentional. The facade they put up can be easily torn down once you can get them to reveal a weakness. Thinking about this, maybe the real reason that I despise this trait is that it’s fairly easy to see things in others that you have yourself. I think that there are reasons I choose the light rather than the darkness. I listen to people’s concerns and try to balance them out. I have zero empathy, but I can always sympathize with someone. What’s frustrating to those around me is that when I get to the point where “I’m done”, I change careers and just into something completely different. I can’t say that I have a life long career in Real Estate, but I can say that I do in management which can transfer into just about any industry.

So how did I end up in sales? Dear me, I’ve always been in sales and just never looked at it as sales. It was exciting, fun and kept me on my toes, but when you work with a master sales person, it can do one of two things: either it will spark the competitive side of you or it will completely demotivate you. If it does the latter, then you’re doing the wrong thing! I can say this, I do not like high-pressure sales at all. Do not like it when someone’s trying to do that to me nor me trying to do that to someone else. If I try to hard close someone, there is usually 1 reason I will do that, they already want to sell and just need a little extra push to finalize the deal. Cars salespeople have the reputation that they do because they have to be aggressive. A lot of them work on straight commission, which is something I have done before.

Now that I manage a sales team, I have to motivate the team and constantly give them ideas on how to improve. Recently I have begun to look at things a little differently and that old itch is starting to return. This usually means that it’s time to move on, but I swear this is true, this guy can read my mind! He gave me some solid advice that I can utilize and build upon and actually spent more than just a few of minutes discussing how I could better myself instead of “I know you’re better than this” spiel. Although the meeting didn’t start out that way, it did end on a high note.

I’m still not a master mind manipulator and don’t think I ever will or want to be, but I know that I can improve in many areas of what I’m currently doing. So, we’re going to go on a journey, where you hold me accountable by following my blog, commenting and then watching my progress. All suggestions are welcome.

Let’s get this started!

The Mystery of Blue Topaz

Are you one of those people who can’t get themselves to express what they’re thinking about and whenever you try to talk out loud, it comes out gibberish or anything but what you want to say? Then don’t feel alone because you’re not only one facing a hard time with it. There are a million people around you that are victims of the expressionless void we live in. Every piece of communication we resort to is either too limited or too vague to express the real depth of the emotions we feel. That is why Blue Topaz Stones are associated with expression and communication and the topaz stone is the crystal you need.

Metaphysical Properties:

It’s nothing to doubt that the world is a busy place and no one has the time to wonder what’s wrong even though by trying to make it work, we’re making it all worse. But this can have its toll on any person of faith. The Metaphysical properties of the Blue Topaz Stones include self-confidence. And not just confidence for your physical being, the crystal is very beneficial for your soul as well. Whether you’re trying to pray after having all those crazy world related thoughts constantly bulging up in your head or you’re just trying to get yourself together, you should try this crystal.

Ability to speak

One of the most important features of this stone is that it enhances the ability to speak. It doesn’t mean that it gives you command over the language. No stone can do that. But what topaz crystals can do is cleanse your soul and your mind of the traumas and the confidence-shattering events you may have had in the past and give you a new voice to express yourself. This has been helpful to many patients suffering from speech impediments. Not only do occupational therapists and psychologists recommend it, various doctors diagnosing diseases can refer people to spiritual rehabilitation. Because all people of Faith know that divine intervention can save you from anything. And through God’s creation can come His magic and only then will success be ours.

Topaz Stones Meaning:

Emitting and radiating energy that not only makes the blue topaz stone meaning close to healing our stone, topaz stones meaning also gets associated with the chakra of the world. That’s right; all energy healers can tell you that this stone is so powerful, it can make a tough decision for you like knowing where to get employed easier for you to take.The Blue Topaz Stones properties don’t just limit themselves to the soul of the individual. The metaphysical properties extend their effects to the mind and body, healing it all while restoring the former state of immunity and stability. People have doubted it, but the metaphysical properties are much associated with peace and calm.

Blue Topaz Stones Healing Properties:

These stones are often admired for their beauty and the sense of awe they bring in the eyes of the viewer. Therefore, these crystals are also used in jewelry. Much more radiant than other stones, these little helpers of the soul have existed since ages in the past. Not only have they been a source of great mystery due to the nature of the power that early energy healers and spiritually enlightened people recognized, but civilizations have also used them for many purposes.

Social anxieties

From dealing with the social anxieties of the people today, blue topaz meaning has been associated with decision making since the beginning of humanity. Often, various tribe chiefs used blue topaz crystals. Topaz stones meaning gets associated with guidance to the right path. When facing difficult decisions like where to move next, ancient tribesmen often spent time with the blue topaz crystal to have some spiritual connection with the world and see what the eyes can’t and hear what the ears can’t.

Guide the individual 

This has been a significant property of the topaz crystals. To be able to guide the individual that is in contact with them. Many famous writers have worn this as jewelry when writing some of their best works because they felt that it took away the feelings of procrastination and helped them write. Not only did it help boost their creativity, but many writers facing a writer’s block had also been referred to these stones. And suffice it to say, their success speaks the truth about how much effect the topaz stone had on their creativity. So, rest assured that you will not be facing mental limitations and your soul will be as free as it was and hopefully will be in heaven.

Conclusion:

This Stone is one of the most beautiful stones ever to exist and will be attracting you towards it through that characteristic. Irradiated from White and Silver Topaz stones, the Blue Topaz Stones can be found in Africa, but you can order them online since we’re living in a technological world. Get yours now at out Woodlands location and experience it yourself.

H/T www.guardian-angel-reading.com

How Zircons Grow in Nature

Zircon crystals grow in many different types of rock and possess a range of optical and physical properties.

Some zircons—usually green ones—display much lower values for these properties than others. Scientists have determined that the crystal structures of these gems were almost completely broken down by radioactive elements—often present in zircon as impurities—that damaged the gems’ crystal structure over long periods of geological time.

Some gemologists classify zircons into three types—high, intermediate, and low. A zircon’s classification depends on its properties, which are directly related to the amount of radiation-induced damage done to its crystal structure.

High or normal zircons have full crystal structures, with little or no damage from radioactive elements. As a result, they have the normal physical and optical properties associated with the mineral.

In intermediate or medium zircons, radioactive elements have caused some structural damage. They have physical and optical properties that are between high and low types.

Extensive crystal-structure damage from radioactive elements results in low zircons with much lower optical and physical properties. In extreme cases, they are practically amorphous, which means they lack an orderly crystal structure.

Virtually all the zircons used in jewelry are of the high type. Interestingly, radiation-induced crystal-structure breakdown can be reversed somewhat by heating zircon to high temperatures. High-temperature heat treatment repairs the stone’s damaged crystal structure.

The Hues of Zircon

Colorless zircon is known for its brilliance and flashes of multicolored light, called fire. These zircon properties are close enough to the properties of diamond to account for centuries of confusion between the two gems.

Zircon occurs in an array of colors. Its varied palette of yellow, green, red, reddish brown, and blue hues makes it a favorite among collectors as well as informed consumers.
Colorless zircon is well known for its brilliance and flashes of multicolored light, called fire. These two zircon properties are close enough to the properties of diamond to account for centuries of confusion between the two gems.

Zircon occurs in an array of colors. Its wide and varied palette of yellow, green, red, reddish brown, and blue hues makes it a favorite among collectors as well as informed consumers.

The Native American Legend of Turquoise

Legend has it that the Native American Indians danced and rejoiced when the rains came. Their tears of joy mixed with the rain and seeped into Mother Earth to become Sky Stone Turquoise.

Turquoise, the “fallen sky stone” hidden in Mother Earth, has been valued by cultures for its beauty and reputed spiritual and life-giving qualities for over 7000 years. It is a true gem of the centuries. A long time ago someone noticed a clear blue line running through gray rock, and saw the imagery of sky and water in stone, and from that time on, turquoise has been cherished above all else in creation – turquoise, stone of sky, stone of water, stone of blessings, good fortune, protection, good health and long life. Elsewhere, turquoise may come and go with fashion. Here turquoise is more precious than gold, an enduring expression of Native American Indian culture. It is the birthstone of December and signifies success.

There is a wonderful fascination to turquoise, a feeling that takes hold of a person who comes in contact with it for a while. The fascination has been the same down through the centuries and it has been prized for thousands of years through many countries of the world.

Native American Indians had as many different words for turquoise as there were languages spoken. Many of the words translated into English as the sky stone evoking the sky-blue shade of the stone most commonly found. Native Americans had been working turquoise mines with stone mauls and antler picks for centuries before the arrival of the Europeans.

Native Americans believe that the earth is alive and that all things, no matter how small or apparently inanimate, are precious. To the Native Americans, turquoise is life. There are stones medicine men keep in their sacred bundles because they possess powers of healing. Stones and crystals have unique attributed that support and heal us. Turquoise, especially, is known for its positive healing energy, an aid in mental functions, communications and expression and as a protector. If you’re wearing a turquoise ring and you look down and see a crack in your stone, the Native Americans would say “the stone took it”, meaning the stone took the blow that you would have received.

Your Seasonal List of Things to Do This Weekend

Find the perfect things to do in Houston this weekend with our Houston Weekend Guide for Friday, December 7 to Sunday, December 9, 2018. 

Stroll down 19th Street while surrounded by real snow; watch the annual menorah lighting at City Hall; head to Tomball for German beer, food, music and more; don your tacky Christmas sweater for a pub crawl through Rice Village; hear country music star Martina McBride live in concert; cheer on the Texans at NRG and more.  

Check below to find great things happening around Houston this weekend, from Friday, December 7 to Sunday, December 9, 2018.

Things to Do All Weekend

·         GUST: Celebrating a Decade of Discovery at Discovery Green | Daily | FREE – Check out Discovery Green’s latest interactive winter art installation on the Brown Promenade, comprised of more than 1,600 colorful plastic pinwheels that spin and shift in the wind. At night they take on a gently-changing glow as LED lights add another element of sensory delight. Open from sunrise to midnight. 

·         Chanukah Events Around Houston | Daily – Celebrate Chanukah with friends, family, and loved ones with a variety of festivals, menorah lightings and more happening around Houston this weekend. 

·         Christmas Events Around Houston | Daily – Get in the Christmas spirit with our list of the Top 25 parties, festivals, concerts, markets and other festive events happening in and around Houston. Times vary.

·         The Ultimate Christmas Show (Abridged) at Stages Repertory Theatre | Daily – Follow along as three quick-witted church members are forced to perform an impromptu Christmas pageant after none of their scheduled acts arrive. Tickets start at $25. Showtimes vary.

·         Panto Star Force at Stages Repertory Theatre | Daily – Crack up at this hilarious spoof of the original Star Wars trilogy, which follows Jed, a farm boy from the planet Cypress, who joins forces with a zany band of space rebels to take on the powerful Emperor Snorkelfish and Dark Tater. Tickets start at $25. Showtimes vary.

·         Alley Theatre presents A Christmas Carol: A Ghost Story of Christmas | Daily –Catch a performance of the classic, seasonal tale of Ebenezer Scrooge, who’s famously visited by the ghosts of Christmas past, present, and future in Alley Theatre’s annual production of A Christmas Carol. Tickets start at $37. Showtimes vary.

·         Netflix Hit Comic Steve Byrne at The Houston Improv | 2-for-1 Tickets | Thursday to Saturday – Score two-for-one tickets to a hilarious show by comedian Steve Byrne, who has featured specials on several TV networks including Netflix, Comedy Central, TBS, and Showtime. Tickets start at $20. Showtimes vary.

·         The French Farm’s Annual Holiday Open Warehouse Sale | Friday and Saturday | No Cover – Stock your kitchen for all of your holiday season get-togethers at The French Farm’s Spring Open Warehouse Sale. You’ll find discounted prices on everything from jams, mustards, and oils to cutlery and serving ware. 10am to 3pm both days.

·         76th Annual Kappa Holiday Pilgrimage Home Tour | Friday and Saturday –Houston’s oldest home tour kicks off the holiday season with festive décor, while supporting local charities. The Holiday Pilgrimage includes a tour of four homes in the River Oaks and Tanglewood areas decorated for the season by some of Houston’s top professional floral designers. Tickets are $20 and include admission to all four homes on the tour. 10am to 4pm both days.

·         Houston Chamber Choir presents The Wondrous Gift is Given: Christmas at the Villa | Friday to Sunday – Houston Chamber Choir’s annual The Wondrous Gift is Given: Christmas at the Villa features five holiday concerts. Beloved carols and works destined to become classics are performed by the Chamber Choir in the serene beauty of the Chapel of the Villa de Matel convent in the Greater East End. Tickets are $40; $36 for ages 65 and up, veterans, actively military, first responders, and music educators; $10 for students. Showtimes vary.

·         Catastrophic Theatre presents First Suburb at MATCH | Friday to Sunday – Venture back to early ‘90s suburbia in Catastrophic Theatre’s newest presentation, First Suburb, which follows five preteens who fall witness to a shocking and violent act that forever affects their views on life. Tickets are pay-what-you-can. The suggested price is $40, but attendees can select ticket pricing from $5 to $75. Showtimes vary.

·         2018 Tomball German Christmas Market & Festival | Friday to Sunday | FREE – Do as the Germans do and celebrate Christmas with plenty of food, beer, and wine, as well as live music on four stages, a petting zoo, and a holiday market featuring more than 200 vendors with antiques, arts and crafts, souvenirs and more. Showtimes vary.

·         A Very Merry Pops with Ali Ewoldt at Jones Hall | Friday to Sunday – Get in the Christmas spirit with a spectacular concert starring the Phantom of the Opera Broadway star, Ali Ewoldt, who will belt out all of your holiday favorites while backed by the Houston Symphony. Tickets start at $40. Showtimes vary.

·         Love & Makes Candle-Making Workshop in Rice Village | Friday to Sunday – Design and create a personalized wax candle with help from the team at Love & Makes in Rice Village. The BYOB workshop also features handmade goods from local artisans to shop while your candles set. $45. Times vary.

·         Elton John in Concert at Toyota Center | Saturday, December 8 and Sunday, December 9 – Bid farewell to Sir Elton John as he tours the world one last time after more than half a century on the road. Expect to hear all of his top hits that have inspired multiple generations and redefined the cultural landscape. Tickets start at $59.50. 7pm both nights.

Friday, December 7, 2018

·         Holiday on 19th Street in the Heights | FREE – Enjoy free in-store cocktails, roaming carolers, and real snow as the shops on historic 19th Street open their doors for a special Friday evening of shopping and holiday cheer. 6pm to 10pm.

·         Peppa Pig Live! At Smart Financial Centre – Treat the kids to an action-packed show with all of their favorite characters from the children’s show, Peppa Pig. Expect an exciting evening of singing, dancing, games, and surprises throughout the show. Tickets start at $29.50. 6pm.

·         Holiday Market at Holler Brewing Co. | No Cover – Sip craft beer while taking care of holiday shopping with plenty of art, accessories, vintage goods, produce and more for sale at the Holiday Market at Holler Brewing Co. 6pm to 10pm.

·         Holidays in the Plaza featuring Heart & Soul Ensemble at Sugar Land Town Square | FREE – Enjoy a festive concert by the all-female ensemble, Heart & Soul, when they perform a selection of holiday favorites at Sugar Land Town Square. 6:30pm to 8:30pm.

·         Funfetti Fridays on The ICE at Discovery Green – Skate around The ICE at Discovery Green while jamming out to a colorful light show with beats from DJ Mohawk Steve during Funfetti Fridays. $11. 7pm to 9pm.

·         The Menil Contemporaries Holiday Party – Kick back with tasty bites and cocktails while admiring the new additions to the Menil Collection at their annual holiday celebration. Join the Menil Contemporaries at the Partner level and two complimentary tickets to the party. Tickets start at $75. 8pm to 11pm.

·         The Commodores, with The Temptations in Concert at Arena Theatre – Get down to groovy tunes by funk/soul band The Commodores when they team up with their Motown contemporaries, The Temptations for a single performance at Arena Theatre. Tickets start at $55. 8:30pm.

Saturday, December 8, 2018

·         Troy Barbell & Fitness Warehouse Sale in Spring Branch East | No Cover – Don’t miss the opportunity to check out Troy Barbell & Fitness in Spring Branch East as the shop opens its doors to the general public for the first time in its 30-year history. You can expect clearance deals on fitness equipment and accessories, including dumbbells, barbells, plates, bars and more. 9am to 1pm.

·         Breakfast with Santa at Hermann Park – Let Santa know what’s on your Christmas list when Hermann Park offers breakfast, a ride on the Hermann Park Railroad, a pedal boat ride, and pictures with Santa this Saturday morning. Tickets are $14 for adults; $7 for kids. 8:30am to 10am.

·         Opera in the Heights presents Lucinda y las Flores de la Nochebuenaat Lambert Hall – Opera in the Heights presents the bilingual children’s opera, Lucinda y las Flores de la Nochebuena, a retelling of the Mexican folktale about the poinsettia at Lambert Hall. Tickets are $20 for adults; $10 for children. 11am.

·         Love & Make’s Bath Bomb Making Workshop in Rice Village – Create your own luxurious, scented bath bomb at this DIY workshop, hosted by Love & Make in Rice Village. The family-friendly activity allows crafters to incorporate essential oils and experiment with fun colors. $45. 11am.

·         Holiday Dance Showcase at Sugar Land Town Square | FREE – Enjoy a lineup of dance performances by several local companies at this holiday-themed event in Sugar Land Town Square. 11am to 4pm.

·         The Market at Sawyer Yards | No Cover – Shop a curated selection of specialty foods, folk art, and artisan crafts during this market hosted by The Washington Avenue Arts District. 11am to 5pm.

·         14th Annual Heights Holiday Market | No Cover – Carry on the 14-year tradition of shopping local vendors, gourmet foods, and artisan goods at the annual Heights Holiday Market. You’ll find everything from handmade jewelry and leather handbags to vintage wreaths and scented beeswax candles. 11am to 5pm.

·         Holiday Wreath-making Workshop at Houston Center for Contemporary Craft – Craft a contemporary holiday wreath using a variety of seasonal greens and cuttings during this seasonal workshop at Houston Center for Contemporary Craft. All skill levels welcome. Tickets start at $50. 1pm to 3pm.

·         Winter Wonderland at Creekside Park Village Green | FREE – Bring the family to Winter Wonderland in The Woodlands for photo opportunities with Santa, live reindeer, a pony carousel, carnival games and inflatables, face painters, balloon artists, and plenty of holiday music. 1pm to 5pm.

·         Saint Arnold Rice Village Pub Crawl | No Cover – Whip out your tacky sweater and Santa hat for the Saint Arnold Pub Crawl in Rice Village. Starting at Under the Volcano, the crawl also includes Kelvin Arms, The Big Easy, The Ginger Man, Little Woodrow’s, and Hopdoddy Burger Bar. 2pm to 6pm.

·         Stop, Look and Listen! At The Menil Collection | FREE – Take a seat for this month’s edition of Stop, Look and Listen!, featuring Da Camera Young Artists. The musical selection is inspired by Guyana-born British artist Frank Bowling’s painting, Middle Passage, which will be displayed at The Menil for the first time. 3pm.

·         ROCO Unchambered: Force of Nature at MATCH – ROCO’s principal flute, Brook Ferguson, will perform in this nature-themed piece called “Force of Nature,” which features music for the flute, oboe, viola, cello, and piano. $15. 5pm.

·         Lights in Heights in the Woodlands Heights | FREE – Stroll through the beautifully decorated streets of Woodlands Heights during one of Houston’s biggest holiday events, Lights in the Heights. Every year, the neighborhood streets are closed off, allowing pedestrians to roam freely as they admire the gorgeous homes, which host private parties that sometimes feature musical performances on the porch. After admiring the festive scenery, make your way to area bars and restaurants for tons of after-party fun. Times vary.

·         Elf Movie Screening at Sugar Land Town Square | FREE – Crack up at a free screening of the hilarious holiday movie, Elf, starring Will Ferrell. Follow along as Buddy the Elf discovers that he is no elf at all, and ventures out to New York City in search of his real father. 7pm to 9pm.

·         Martina McBride in Concert: The Joy of Christmas Tour at Smart Financial Centre – Hear a spellbinding concert by famed country music singer Martina McBride in her annual touring Christmas show at Smart Financial Centre in Sugar Land. Tickets start at $39.75. 8pm.

·         John Butler Trio in Concert at House of Blues – Head downtown to House of Blues for a concert by Australian-based roots/rock group John Butler Trio. Tickets start at $25. 8pm.

Sunday, December 9, 2018

·         Holiday Celebration & Toy Drive at Techland Houston | FREE – Bring a new toy to this holiday pop-up event and meet Princess Anna and Elsa lookalikes, enjoy holiday entertainment, character greetings, live costume and cosplay demonstrations, and more. Toys will be distributed to children served by Child Advocates of Houston. 10am to 1pm. 

·         Beers & Cheers Holiday Market at Saint Arnold Brewing Co. | No Cover – Saint Arnold presents its special holiday market, Beers & Cheers, which features local artists and vendors offering unique gift ideas, along with craft beer, bites, music, and a gift-wrapping station. 11am to 4pm.

·         Holiday Market at the Lawn at Memorial City | No Cover – Discover unique artisan gifts for your wish lists at the Holiday Market at The Lawn at Memorial City. In addition, Special K from KRBE’s Roula and Ryan Show will be hosting a live remote from 11am to 1pm, offering market-goers a shot at heading home with exciting prizes. 11am to 4pm.

·         Love & Make’s DIY Macrame Wall Hanging Workshop in Rice Village  Craft a gorgeous macrame wall hanging out of simple cord and twine in this DIY workshop led by designer Tanya Bagashkawill at Love & Make in Rice Village. BYOB and snacks are welcome. $65. 11am.

·         Houston Texans vs Indianapolis Colts at NRG Stadium – Watch the Houston Texans play the Colts on their home turf at NRG. Tickets start at $35. Noon.

·         Jewish Culture Fest at Levy Park | FREE – Celebrate Jewish culture with live music, crafts, specialty foods, art, and social action projects at this afternoon festival in Levy Park. 1pm to 6pm.

·         National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation Movie Party at Alamo Drafthouse – Follow along as the Griswolds celebrate Christmas with their eccentric family members, outrageous Christmas lights, and other shenanigans at a movie party hosted by Alamo Drafthouse. $14. 6pm.

·         Skating with the Stars at Discovery Green | FREE – Skate alongside skilled professionals when they take to The ICE at Discovery Green every Sunday evening throughout the winter season. 6pm to 6:45pm.

·         Menorah Lighting at Houston City Hall | FREE – Witness the 23rd Annual Menorah Lighting at Houston City Hall, which will include addresses by Dignitaries and elected officials on the eighth night of Chanukah. You can also enjoy music, dreidels, sufganiyot, and Chanukah gelt throughout the evening. 7pm.

 

 

 

What do you Know About Zircon?

Many people have heard of zircon but never seen it. This is mostly because of colorless zircon’s wide use as a diamond simulant in the early 1900s. It was long ago replaced in that role by more convincing look-alikes, but its name still means “imitation” to many people. That’s unfortunate because zircon is a beautiful colored stone with its own fair share of folklore and charm.

In the Middle Ages, this gem was thought to induce sound sleep, drive away evil spirits, and promote riches, honor, and wisdom.

Many scholars think the stone’s name comes from the Arabic word Zarkun, meaning “cinnabar” or “vermilion.” Others believe the source is the Persian word Zargun, or “gold colored.” Considering zircon’s color range, either derivation seems possible.

Blue zircon was a particular favorite in Victorian times, when fine gems were often featured in English estate jewelry dating from the 1880s. Gemologist George Kunz—Tiffany’s famed gem buyer—was a notable zircon advocate. He once proposed the name “Starlite” to promote the gem’s fiery nature. The name never caught on.

About Tanzanite

Tanzanite is the blue/violet variety of the mineral zoisite (a calcium aluminum hydroxyl Sorosilicate) belonging to the epidote group. It was discovered by a Tanzanian Jumanne Mhero Ngoma in the Mererani Hills of Manyara Region in Northern Tanzania in 1967, near the city of Arusha and Mount Kilimanjaro. Naturally formed tanzanite is extremely rare and is endemic only to the Mererani Hills.

Tanzanite is noted for its remarkably strong trichroic properties, appearing alternately sapphire blue, violet and burgundy depending on crystal orientation. Tanzanite can also appear differently when viewed under alternate lighting conditions. The blues appear more evident when subjected to fluorescent light and the violet hues can be seen readily when viewed under incandescent illumination.

The largest tanzanite crystal “The Mawenzi,” was found in 2005 and crystal weighed 16,839 carats.

The Largest Turquoise Mined

This gigantic Turquoise nugget is one of the largest ever found. Weighing in at a huge 97 pounds, this surreal piece features a light blue glossy band cutting across the piece of otherwise greenish-blue Turquoise. The surface texture is extremely intricate with an abundance of crevices and crenellations. Discovered in 1979, the nugget is one of the three largest ever found in the World. The fine color is all natural with no treatment, and it shows excellent hardness for Turquoise. In form and color, it is arguably better than a slightly larger piece currently on display in Sedona, Arizona. The other contender of the three was carved into a sculpture and currently resides in an exhibit at the J. W. Cooper Gallery in the Time Warner Building in New York City. The custom stand is composed of wood and metal. The base appears to be of South-Western Mesquite or Ironwood which helps to enhance the thematic impact of the specimen. This exquisite piece is remarkable in size. The nugget measures 22″ in. (56 cm) x 18 in. (46 cm) x 8 in. (20 cm). It mounts on a wooden stand that is 12 in. (30.5 cm) tall making the total height of the piece on the stand 34 in. (86 cm).

Recovered in 1986 from the now-closed Cananea Copper Mine in Senora Mexico, this 97-pound turquoise nugget represents one of the richest ore finds in the history of Mexican copper mining.  It’s natural color and hardness has been enhanced to reflect a stone second to none including the famed Arizona Kingman Copper Mine turquoise digs of late.  One of the oldest copper mines in the world with a startup date of 1899, the Cananea mine had produced tons of high-grade turquoise rough up through 2010 at its closing.  Even so, to our knowledge as well as many noted experts, this huge turquoise nugget is the only one of its size available on the world markets today.

H/T rareturquoisenugget.com