Gadgets are getting smaller and can do many more things. Whether you are downsizing your living space or just want some cool all-in-products, here are some of the products I spotlighted on a recent HOUSTON LIFE appearance.
Hot Logic Mini
JetComfy Travel Pillow
WATCH [Houston Life, KPRC-NBC]
Driving cross-country can be an experience that some people despise while others enjoy a leisurely, cathartic trip across our great country. I generally remember my family trips when I was younger sitting in the back seat of our station wagon. The only that kept us entertained between nightly stops at a Holiday Inn was playing the license plate game on passing cars.
Today’s driving experience is much easier thanks to luxuries like satellite radio, GPS directions and – with all due respect to Holiday Inn – much nicer places to stay and a lot of entertaining (and appetizing) cities to stop over in.
On a recent journey from Orlando to Houston I wanted to stay the night where I could take in some nice scenery, experience local food and culture and relax a bit to get my mind off the 1,000 mile trek. Based on that smart GPS map I found that Biloxi, Mississippi, was the perfect place to chill out for about 20 hours.
I contacted the Mississippi Gulf Coast Regional CVB for some tips on what to do in the area during a quick stop. I was inundated with a variety of options that could have kept me busy for a week. Here are some of the places I checked out and recommend when in the area:
- Harrah’s Gulf Coast. It helps that I like to gamble so why not stay in a hotel/casino. Harrah’s is centered along the seawall with sweeping views of the gulf and other large hotels that twinkle at night. The rooms are spacious and the pool is situated on a deck a few floors above the street which provides a wonderful place to watch the sun rise or set with your favorite cocktail. I spent some time in the vast casino just off the lobby area. The table minimums (as low as $5) make it easy to hang around awhile and the dealers were some of the friendliest people I have ever met.
- Magnolia House by Kelly English. We had reservations at this restaurant which I imagined was a stand-alone house with a 100 year-old back story. I actually appreciated the fact it is situated in Harrah’s just inside the pool deck area. But the easy and laid-back décor made it seem we were dining in that heritage home I had envisioned. Kelly English is a 2009 Food & Wine “Chef of the Year” who makes a very creative menu that highlights the southern and Gulf Coast roots of the restaurant. It is a luxurious experience that is romantic; made even better by the attentive and knowledgeable wait staff. Must try dishes: Fried Oyster Spinach Salad, Black Truffle Burger, Gulf Snapper with Pontchartrain Sauce, Cheese Grits. You will thank you me later.
- There is a great deal of history throughout the Gulf Coast and as you can imagine a number of interesting museums, tours and sightseeing for all ages. The Lynn Meadows Discovery Center is a top 50 children’s museum and the Infinity Science Center should also be a stop with the family. History buffs should visit the Maritime & Seafood Industry Museum which will impress and make you hungry at the same time. Beauvoir is very unique as it the home of Jefferson Davis, the last president of the Confederate States of America. The Walter Anderson and Ohr-O’Keefe Museums of Art offer lovely exhibits and pieces showcasing the Gulf Coast. The design and architecture of the Ohr-O’Keefe itself is a work of art.
- We did not have time to play on the water and beaches during our brief stay but Biloxi is not lacking in adventures for those that like sun and sand. Kayak and jet ski rentals can be found up and down the shoreline. Biloxi Schooners and Ship Island Excursions take passengers out on the water to a variety of destinations or just to sightsee from the water back to the land.
Though our stay was short lived the entire area is inviting and I look forward to a return trip with a longer stay. I plan to bring my golf clubs, sandals, sunscreen, dancing shoes and maybe even my kids. It’s my turn to show them how to travel in style and have fun doing so…unlike their dad in the backseat of that station wagon and playing in above-ground motel pools.
Bowling is the one sport that your score seems to improve proportionally to the amount of alcoholic beverages you imbibe. If that holds true then get prepped to roll high scores at Bowl & Barrel. The new venue opened its third Texas location in City Centre on the west side of Houston after its success in Dallas and San Antonio.
Fifteen bowling lanes featuring the newest QubicaAMF bowling equipment welcome bowlers of all sizes. The electronic scoring machine is one of the simplest ones I have used that takes just a few seconds to enter names to allow for a quick start. Lanes are rented by the hour with prices from $32 per hour Monday-Thursday and $44 per hour Friday-Sunday (they can also be rented in half-hour increments). Shoes can be rented for $6 per person. I suggest bringing socks.
Beyond the bowling comes good food and drink. I remember when bowling alleys served nothing but greasy burgers and fries. Bowl & Barrel goes for a modern, upscale tavern menu with hot fried quail appetizers, buffalo chicken meatballs, a six-pack of mini hot dogs and 18″ pizza pies. It’s a full-service place with a friendly waitstaff bringing food right to your bowling. My only suggestion for them as of now is to put a bottle of hand cleaning gel on each table so you can grab snacks in between rolling your bowling ball.
The barrel part is abundant with several local beers on tap and a nice selection of wine served by the glass or bottle (why not?). I recommend the Bloody Mary with sriracha and curry (hint: order before 3pm and they’re only 3 bucks) and the Lebowski. This aptly named cocktail is pretty a White Russian but goes down nicely.
Bowl & Barrel is located at 797 Sorella Ct., Suite 118, next to its sister restaurant, The General Public. Hours of operation are 11a-12a Sunday-Thursday and 11a-2a Friday-Saturday. This is one of the properties run by Dallas-based FreeRange Concepts. Founder Kyle Noonan is originally from Houston and earned his chops in the business inside the Pappas restaurant chain.
Here is my conversation with Kyle at the VIP opening.
Even if you are not a dad here are some items that may be interesting to you.
SureCallEZ4G Cell Booster – Don’t drop those phone calls (can you hear me now?)
Oregon Scientific DreamScience Alarm Clock – Sleep better with brainwave technology
ThinOptics – The most convenient pair of reading glasses evah!
Coin – An example of where e-wallets are headed.
WATCH [Great Day Houston, KHOU-CBS]
If a company sells custom-made suits online then why would they need physical stores? I posed that question to Knot Standard co-founder John Ballay at the grand opening of their newest shop in Houston.
Ballay is a University of Texas graduate which is reason enough to check out his company. They combine a high-tech approach to classic tailoring which appeals to me on several levels. I love tech and I live for fashion (or is it the other way around?). Customer measurements are digitized and a 3D image of their measurements are created and stored in their database. Once an order is placed their tailors use lasers to cut pieces directly from the cloth. The process takes 3-4 weeks from order placement to delivery.
Placing an order can be fun as you can customize everything from the jacket lapel style (the Peak Lapel is classy), to the number of buttons, pocket style, and jacket lining. You can even have your name embroidered on the inside jacket pocket in one of 18 thread colors. Blazers start at $375 while suits have a beginning price point at $595. Shirts and slacks can also be ordered in the same manner.
The Houston showroom is located at 2439 Bissonnet and is the company’s third Texas location after Austin and Dallas. Other showroom locations include New York, DC, Chicago and Dubai.
WATCH my interview with Knot Standard co-founder John Ballay:
Deborah and I have a dance-off whilst showing off some new gadgets on Great Day Houston this morn.
A piece of smart luggage, a smart cup that tells you when to drink water/coffee, Polaroid is back and some cat headphones with outside speakers from Brookstone. And a little surprise for me at the end.
The Nissan Sentra has a 34 year history of being a solid, compact sedan. 2016 is not the year Nissan will introduce an “all new” model but they are releasing a mid-cycle refresh (aka “facelift”).
On a recent trip to Orange County, California, Nissan offered a group of automotive journalists and enthusiasts the opportunity to put the car through paces up-and-down the Pacific Coast Highway. The smooth-rolling Sentra carried me past some of the most beautiful scenery in the country including a quick ride on a ferry boat.
Several new safety features debut on the car include rear cross-traffic alerts, blind-spot warning system, and NissanConnect emergency telematics with vehicle monitoring. A thicker windshield, new engine mounts and more insulation make the car quiet – potentially a good spot to broadcast one of my radio shows from.
Competition in this segment include the Honda Civic, Hyundai Elantra, and Toyota Corolla.
It’s a nice vehicle and with a starting price of $16,780, this could be a smart choice for a first car purchase and certainly a first family vehicle.
Check out my video review here:
A convertible from Buick? Yessir. I got a sneak preview of the car back in March 2015 at the Dallas Auto Show. It looked cool but then I didn’t hear much about it. Until a few weeks ago.
The Buick peeps invited a select group of media to take the new ragtop on a drive from Miami Beach to Key West. My hair was flying during the leisurely ride-and-drive as we hit the hot spots from Ocean Drive to Duval Street.
You’ll hear a lot more about the Cascada in the coming weeks as Buick will air an ad during the Super Bowl featuring NFL baller Odell Beckham, Jr. His hair is much tighter than mine and won’t flow as freely as mine did. But he will be smiling.
Check out my video review here:
A home beer-on-tap machine? Who doesn’t want that? And check out some of my fave Bluetooth earphones that are guaranteed to stay on your noggin. I got some ideas for everyone so run out to the store or – even better – just go online.
WATCH [Great Day Houston, KHOU-CBS]
Fizzics Draft Beer System
myCharge Hub Ultra
Ventev Hub Charger
Aftershokz Bluetooth Earphones
Klipsch R6 Bluetooth Earphones