Why I LOVED Valentine’s Day in 2017- SireneWorld

The last couple of months have felt like living in a war zone of political views between families, friends, colleagues, and anything that holds some sort of human relationship.

I am that V-day grinch who feels Valentine’s Day is a marketing stunt for consumers. But this year, I definitely loved all the marketing on love, friendship, chocolate, roses, and anything that feels mushy, cheesy, and overly lovey dovey. I loved seeing my Facebook timeline full of people showing their Valentine’s gifts. I loved every photo of married couples reminiscing on their Valentine’s love over the years. I loved seeing all the snap stories celebrating love. I loved showing my love to those I appreciate through a text or something materialistic like a balloon, or some dessert. It felt really great and not overly cheesy.

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For a while, I have felt a little disoriented and confused about people’s choices. But, thanks to Valentine’s Day and a project I’ve been working on (more about it later), my brain can humanize humans more efficiently again. Not that I think humans are monsters or anything. I’ve just felt very disconnected from everyone and everything lately.

This Valentines I am not only gratefully in love with my Baby Seal, family, and friends, but I am also grateful for the new people I’ve had the pleasure of meeting. Coming from a place where I have felt disconnected and not really myself, they are a reminder that kindness among strangers exists. And, that people love “love”. And that, my friends, rules over anything else. People love “love” and I am happy they aren’t afraid of showing it off.

Alas, Valentines came to save the day guys! haha. Thank you for stopping by.

Stay goovy,
Sirene

 

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Pet Shop Boys-Super Tour, HTx

Oh, the Pet Shop Boys. Such legendary sound in that name and set. I had the chance to see them in concert this past Wednesday, November 2 at White Oak Music Hall. It was fantastical to say the least. I found out who the Pet Shop Boys were back in high school (05-06?), in a MySpace page. lol. I’ve grown to appreciate them and what they have done for the music industry more and more as time passes. They played a variety of songs from their latest album and of course some classics. Even though this tour is about Super, I love their ability to carry their style in their newest sounds. I took so many pictures of such an amazing show. I am posting only a few because quite frankly, Pet Shop Boys is one of those bands that everyone should experience live at least once in their life time. If the show is coming near you, I encourage you to go! You won’t be disappointed. Great music, great visual effects,  great company. That is all.

Do you listen to PSB? What’s your favorite song of theirs?! 😀

Stay groovy, Pop Kids!
Sirene

PSB 2016
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PSB2016

If you are interested, here is the set list: http://www.vintagevinylnews.com/2016/07/set-list-pet-shop-boys-pull-out-some.html

 

This is not a compensated post. All opinions are my own. 

El Gato Coffeehouse Pop-Up Party! 

This past Sunday I attended El Gato Coffeehouse’s Pop Up Party, and wow! The idea behind this coffee shop has got to be one of the coolest things about Houston right now. I know that’s a big statement, but hear me out. El Gato Coffeehouse could be Houston’s first coffee shop that will merge a coffee shop environment with a cat petting section with adoptable kittens.

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I am certain we have all heard of cat-petting-themed cafés but, what makes El Gato Coffeehouse unique is its partnership with Houston Humane Society. El Gato Coffeehouse’s goal is to provide its customers with a hip coffee shop environment while simultaneously providing an opportunity for Houston kittens to find a “furrever” home. Customers can expect a place to relax (or work) or a place to play with Houston kittens while enjoying a nice cuppa, among other tasty treats and specialty drinks.

 

 

Walking in, customers will find themselves in a hip coffee shop: coffee bar with various treats and drink options, cool coffee chairs and tables to hang out or work at. On the cat-lounge side of things, guests will have a chance to interact with adoptable kittens from Houston Humane Society for a small fee. The cat lounge will be an adoption center suitable for 15-20 adoptable kittens, each with a place to be themselves while mingling and bonding with El Gato Coffeehouse guests.

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They were all my fave, but this one stole my heart!

During the free pop-up party event this past Sunday, guests were able to walk into an idea of what will be the coffee shop area and then walk around to the cat petting area. The petting area will be in the same building, but in a completely closed off room, away from the food, drinks, and whatnot. We were able to take our drinks in and then had the chance to play with roughly 5 kittens. All of which were playful and very friendly.  The party showcased different local artists in Houston that had excellent cat-inspired work! From wall art pieces to statement necklaces and handbags, the items being sold were all so cool, perfect for the artsy feel of El Gato Coffeehouse.  Check them out:

Although this project is still in the works, I feel it will take Houston’s hip community to the next level while doing so much for Houston animals.  Not only did guests show so much love to these adorable kittens, but we did so as a community. There was so much togetherness during this event. It all felt like a group activity rather than a bunch of individuals petting kitties. Everyone was so happy and amused by the kittens, strangers were hanging out with strangers, laughing and petting the cats. The one thing we all had in common was the love we wanted to share with the kittens.

 

The project was founded by Renee Reed, a native Houstonian and lifelong cat lover. With the launch of El Gato Coffeehouse and the help of the Houston Humane Society, Reed hopes to educate and raise awareness to the Houston community about cat population control. If you would like to donate to this amazing project, Reed has set up a Kickstarter account to raise funds for this amazing cause.

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Renee Reed

Without a doubt, this one of the coolest things about Houston right now. Even if the project hasn’t officially taken off, it’s a beautiful thing to have Houstonians advocate for animals in such a grand way. I often hear people speak of their love towards animals, but very rarely do I see people actually take action and express that love in a way that will benefit so many. I cannot wait for this project to take off! I will definitely be one of the “regulars” at El Gato Coffeehouse. I can’t wait! Thank you for stopping by.

Stay groovy,

Sirene

Band “The Other” wrapping up the event.

Disclaimer: This is not a sponsored post. All opinions are my own.

 

 

The Sunflower Bakery & Café- The Sunflower of Galveston

Little gem in Galveston, Texas! The Sunflower Bakery & Cafe

Recently, my boyfriend and I had the opportunity to brunch at the delightful Sunflower Bakery & Café, located on Galveston Island.  We were in G-town for one of my dear friend’s wedding (beautiful wedding, btw), and being the opportunists we are, we made the event a mini get away for us.

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Look at all those goodies!

We live in Houston, so naturally we have been to Galveston often, but never on a staycation. We both know of Galveston’s gastro reputation; we know there are plenty of big chain restaurants, as well as local gems, such is the Sunflower Bakery & Café.  The bakery/ café was established in 1999 (rebuilt in 2008 due to IKE) and has been serving fresh food created from scratch ever since. They take pride in making and baking all of their menu items from scratch, and specialize in making their dishes and desserts using local and seasonal ingredients.

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Sunflowers every where!
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Their own pancake mix! Yum!
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Sunflower Granola Mix

The experience:
When we walked in to the restaurant, I was a bit confused because there’s the restaurant sitting on the right side and a cool small shop on the left side- the Bacon Farm. This small, unique shop carries all kinds of cool stuff! Anything from antiques, to furniture, to great collectibles.  Nevertheless, after some re-orientation, we were welcomed by the hostess who proceeded to sit us right away. We were fortunate to get a table in front of the dessert pantry.  Like kids in the proverbial candy store, we were both gawking over the pastries tugging at our eyes and hearts. Soon enough, we were greeted by our polite and agreeable server, Serghei, who was very knowledgeable about the restaurant.

One of the things my boyfriend and I pay close attention to when visiting a restaurant for the first time is the menu selection. If a restaurant has one too many items on their menu, it makes us wonder what can they cook really well, since they have so many dishes to focus on and prepare “well”.  Can they focus on cooking all dishes deliciously without having a few of them being cooked half-heartedly? What is their specialty dish when they have so many dishes on their menu?  Not to our surprise, the Sunflower had a good handful of items in their brunch menu: not too many, not too few. And they are all brunch-relatable items that align with the culture of the restaurant- A cozy, home-cooking type of place.

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One of the sweets pantries.

Our food:
We ordered the Big Breakfast and the Eggs Benedict. Both dishes were served in a timely manner, they were both very delicious, and were both hot and right out of the kitchen onto a plate. The Big Breakfast included freshly made pancakes from the Sunflower’s own pancake recipe. I personally don’t fancy pancakes much, but my boyfriend does. Let me tell you, he was in pancake heaven. The pancakes were steaming, soft, and cooked thoroughly. Not to mention they tasted delicious. He claims they make Le Peep pancakes…weep, and IHOP pancakes drown in their own syrupy sorrow.  Our Eggs Benedict was worthy of a Michelin star (if Michelin ever gave stars for breakfast); eggs perfectly poached and the sauce culled from the Hollandaise gods. The coffee was proper and so fresh; a perfect accompaniment to our perfect breakfast foods.

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Eggs Benedict, Big Breakfast & Coffee
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Season greetings
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Life really is SWEET!

Over all:
We loved The Sunflower Bakery and Café! For as long as it’s been in operation, my boyfriend and I couldn’t believe we hadn’t made the trip to dine there sooner. It’s evident that they care about who they hire and what they cook. The food was peerless, coffee was spot-on, and customer service was 5 stars.- thanks Serghei!  The Sunflower Bakery & Café is the perfect place to enjoy a sunny seaside brunch whether you’re a flip-flopped, vapin’ bohemian or a hungry hungover sailor.  We encourage all Texas visitors to make the trip to dine here, you will not be disappointed!

Till next time!

love,
Sirene

More beautiful than scary, Mt. Raineir

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Mount Raineir is the tallest peak in the Cascade Range in Washington. This 14,400+ Ft. tall, active mountain is one of the world’s most massive volcanoes. Although this may be the main attraction in Mount Raineir National park, it is hardly the only one. The park is filled with fields of wildflowers and wildlife. We spotted three deer within a few feet from us as well as different species of birds and a pool of tadpoles (and yes, i became extremely excited to see animals i can other wise find here, in Houston). May I also add that the smell of this place is magnificent. It’s a combination of floral, rainy, icy, warm and piney scents within each breath. Simple, pure, raw and clean.

As I stood right in front of this place, I repeatedly said how it felt like a gorgeous, well-done wallpaper behind all the pine trees. The beauty of this place is breath taking and dreamlike. Enjoy the photos!

-Sirene

Grove of the Patriarchs trail

Beauty in all its glory.
Beauty in all its glory.

This place was phenomenal. Some trees in this trail are over 1000 years old, nearly 40 ft. in diameter and more than 300 ft. tall! I felt strange walking through this trail. I was instantly reminded of how many eras these trees have lived through. They were alive when world war II was going on and during the dark ages.  Weirdly enough, it made me think about how these trees were alive when Elvis Presley was alive and when Frank Sinatra was alive, too. I am a huge fan of Frank Sinatra. Knowing that these trees have lived through the years he was alive made me feel warm inside. It may sound childish to link Frank Sinatra’s life to the existence of these trees. Specially when there are far more important people or events that were also alive and going on during those past years. But linking a dead idol to a beautifully living thing that I also love makes me feel happy. It brings about a nostalgia of some sort- a happy one.

How small are we compared to nature.
How small are we compared to nature.
This tree was one of my favorites! I took a picture inside the tree. It's wide enough to fit about two average sized adults inside.
This tree was one of my favorites! I took a picture inside the tree. It’s wide enough to fit about two average sized adults inside its shallow trunk.

Walking through this trail also made me think about how simple life used to be 100-1000 years ago. Life is so different now. I feel technology has made life easier for most of us. Yet, I feel life was much simpler back then; with out all this technology and easy ways of doing things. I guess there is a difference between an easy life and a simple life. I want to live a simple life, not a easy one.

Only one person at a time.
Only one person at a time.
Shallow cascade. The water was so clean and freezing cold.
Shallow cascade. The water was so clean and freezing cold.

This is one of my favorite trails so far.. it truly felt like entering a kingdom.

Some trees have broken and fallen into the trail. It makes the place that much more beautiful.
Some trees have broken and fallen into the trail. It makes the place that much more beautiful.
looking into the woods
looking into the woods
One of my favorite photos. Me on a trunk
One of my favorite photos.

-Sirene