Bravo for Bravado

James Nelson made it to the top five in the hot reality TV show Master Chef before being sent back home to Houston, Texas. But when he got home, it was a different kind of heat he was interested in: Bravado Spice Co. Unlike most hot sauces, Nelson claims to focus on raw flavor instead of just heat, featuring profiles like Ghost Pepper and Blueberry, Jalapeño and Green Apple, and Pineapple and Habanero. With multiple awards already behind their sauces, we think these sauces have an extra kick that’s well on its way to [... more]

Keeping Up With The Hamiltons

A lot happened in Texas in 1883. The state hosted what some believe was the world’s very first rodeo; The University of Texas was founded; and the Hamilton family started making fine shirts for men. The company adopted the motto “quality above all” and has stood by that statement for more than a century. Unlike mass-produced products, each Hamilton Shirt begins with a roll of fabric pulled off the shelf of the brand’s single, pristine Texas workshop. The fabric is hand-cut and constructed from start to finish, [... more]

Bold Integrations

Let boring all-beige rooms be a thing of the past. Today, the talk of the town revolves around saturated colors. Interior design pros everywhere are forgoing our standard go-to neutrals for deeper and brighter color options such as royal blue, plum, and dark green. But remember, going bold doesn’t mean you have to paint an entire room; instead, sprinkle in pops of color with one or two pieces of furniture, or with accessories such as rugs, curtains, or throw pillows. As you gain confidence, you can begin [... more]

In Rhythm With Nature

Inspired by the rhythms and changing forms of the landscape, Anna Jaap uses printmaking, drawing, and painting to create soothing masterpieces with multilayered surfaces. Currently living in Nashville, Tennessee, the Texas native muses upon organic forms that can be seen at a microscopic level, but also enjoys pairing polar opposites and finding a balance between them. Her work exemplifies her belief in the power of beauty as well as the time and effort that she puts into each piece. Anna’s art consists of multiple layers and a [... more]

Texas Tradition

In Texas, the state of cowboys and cattle, you expect real American chuck-wagon food. And at the Perini Ranch Steakhouse in Buffalo Gap, you get it. The Perini family has been serving up delicious cowboy cuisine since 1983, but they made national headlines in 1995 with their Ranch Mesquite Smoked Peppered Beef Tenderloin (the New York Times named it the mail-order gift of the year). Called the true taste of Texas, the signature beef tenderloin is shipped fully cooked to every corner of the country. We prefer [... more]

Art on a String

Contemporary artist Gabriel Dawe creates grand structures out of rainbow-colored string as part of his site-specific Plexus Series. The way he twists and turns the brightly hued thread gives the illusion of movement and allows the works to transform depending on the lighting and angle viewed. Because of their sheer size and complexity, his installations have the power to stop you in your tracks, captivating you for hours. Although these works were displayed in his current hometown of Dallas, other pieces appear at museums across the country and [... more]

Houston’s Underbelly

Chef Chris Shepherd describes his hometown of Houston, Texas, as “The most secretive and dynamic culinary destination in the country.” At Underbelly, Chris does his part to make that claim true. Upon entering the eatery, you notice the modern Southern architecture—tall open-rafter ceilings, handcrafted wooden tables, and expansive windows—and the wall of photographs displaying the people who have inspired Chris over the years. He and his staff design the weekly menus to accentuate seasonal produce, fresh catches of seafood, and local grass-fed beef (butchered in house). With [... more]

Transitional Statement

You can’t assemble a complete spring wardrobe without a pair of fashion-forward wedge sandals. But is it too much to ask that the wedge also be miraculously comfortable and appropriate for both day and night? Texas designer Elaine Turner doesn’t think so. Featuring an elegant color-block design of rich black and tawny brown, her chic Camila Black and Butter Leather Wedge ($278) transitions perfectly from the office to an evening out. And thanks to the memory-foam insole, your feet will feel as good as they look.

Romantic Escape in Austin

Once one of Austin, Texas’ landmark estates, Hotel Ella has returned to its former glory thanks to a multimillion-dollar renovation completed in late 2013. While its Greek Revival exterior reflects the past with stately columns and crown molding, the hotel’s modern décor brings the century-old structure into the 21st century. Formerly the Goodall Wooten House, this historic mansion also boasts an impressive collection of 19th-century art and artifacts not to be missed. Explore impressive sculptures by Barbara Segal and Charles Umlauf, or linger over the iconic photographs [... more]

Strapped In Style

You’ve been there: You’re out on the river either angling a smallmouth or whipping your cousin in the inner tube. As you glance over the side of the boat, you watch in dismay as your sunglasses fall and sink into murky waters. It’s a painful experience, especially knowing this all could have been prevented if you’d only worn a sunglass strap. Cotton Snaps brings a bit of style to a utilitarian piece of gear with lots of variety. You’ll find plaids, ginghams, and seersucker straps in every [... more]

Art Beyond the District

Dallas, Texas, boasts the largest arts district in the country. Who knew? If on your next visit to the Big D you stay at the Joule Hotel, all of this creative wealth will be within easy walking distance. The sleek and modern Joule shows off its own artistic richness with a recently renovated rooftop terrace, a luxurious subterranean spa, and its impressive collection of original artwork from such notables as Andy Warhol, Tony Cragg, Adam Fuss, and Richard Phillips. On second thought, postpone your walk to the [... more]

Bringing Preppy Back

Buying clothes for three boys and a husband, I get lots of feedback on what I purchase. Well, the reviews are in, and Criquet’s Long Sleeve Players Shirt is a winner. Made of lightweight, organic-cotton fabric, it can be worn alone or over another shirt. The shirt also offers great flexibility in terms of both style and movement, a very important quality when it comes to outdoor activities such as golf and Frisbee football. And while winning isn’t everything, looking the part sure counts for a lot!  

Destination Relaxation

Texas claims to be bigger and better than anywhere else, and one local spa can back that claim up with confidence. Fodor’s Travel recently named Lake Austin Spa Resort the top fitness and wellness resort for 2014. To celebrate, the spa wants to extend your trip for a well-deserved weekend of rest and relaxation. Book a two-night Ultimate Package by March 28 for stays through December 31 and receive an additional night free. Need another excuse to pamper yourself? Arrive on Sunday, and you get two additional [... more]

Odd Duck

The announcement that the Odd Duck food trailer was closing in 2011 devastated many Austinites—especially after chef Bryce Gilmore was named a Food & Wine “Best New Chef” and the Food Network featured Odd Duck on “The Best Thing I Ever Ate.” So you can imagine the jubilation at the recent opening of the brick-and-mortar reincarnation of the trailer—on its original location on South Lamar Boulevard. Even more good news: Gilmore carried over his strict farm-to-table commitment, refusing to source ingredients from outside the state of Texas. [... more]

Texas Born From Texas Corn

I decided to drive through the Lone Star State to find out more about a distillery that has recently gained serious acclaim in the small town of Hye, just an hour west of Austin. The Garrison Brothers Distillery had me fired up to witness the authenticity of the first and oldest legal whiskey distillery in the state of Texas. I took a tour of the facilities on a Friday night for $10 and tasted their award-winning whiskey, wine, and moonshine. Passion was evident each step of the [... more]