HOUSTON: Color Factory with kids

I guess the reason why you’re reading this blog post is because you want to find out what a trip to the Houston Color Factory with kids looks like. So read up…

Color Factory- Houston

Address: 3303 Kirby Dr, Houston, TX 77098

***PARKING IS HARD. So make sure to read the website prior to your visit. They will tell you where to park. We lucked out and found parking at the very end of the street by an empty lot. It was a walk with kids but its free.

Tickets:  $35 for adults; $28 for kids (3-12) 

You have to buy tickets online and they sell them by time slots just to ensure that there’s just a right amount of people when you go. Also they want to make sure its never too crowded to take pictures and enjoy the installations. See, they thought about us. lol

The kids prices… yep, I know. I was a bit hesitant to purchase a $28 ticket for Cassie (4) not knowing what to expect plus mind you that doesn’t even include taxes. Cassie and I ended up paying somewhere close to $75 for the both of us (yikes) since Xavi was free but I can honestly say it was worth it. I figured they scouted the entire US to find the best place to put up a pop up of this amazing New York exhibit and among all the cities in the United States, they picked Houston so I wasn’t going to let this chance slip away. Plus on their website they go in detail explaining how they came to do so. Check it out here.

Pro tip with kids: Come 30 minutes early so you can enjoy the lobby display and take pictures. (I mean that’s the reason why we rough out a trip to the museum with kids, right? Its all for the gram. lol) Plus it gives you and your kids time to enjoy the FREE mochi without getting a brain freeze. Don’t bring strollers. They’re not allowed in the exhibits inside, you will be asked to check them in.

Once they take you in, adults are asked to register and get a token that can be scanned for different photo opportunities all throughout the exhibit. Yes, they have pretty amazing cameras set up so you and your friends (or kids for this matter) can enjoy taking as many pictures as you want. These photos will directly go to your registered email once the visit concludes so its important to have that token with you at all times.

Pro tip with kids: Have them get their own token even if they’re not registered, I’ll tell you at the end of this post why that’s a good thing. Make sure that your kids tokens are a different color from yours, you don’t want to scan the wrong token and have those photos sent to an invalid email address. It would be a waste.

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Trying out my token and it works. First official photo from Color Factory’s Cameras.

After registration, they let you grab your very own French Macaroon to enjoy. They have a LOT of flavors to pick from too (same as the Mochi), I made sure I picked Coffee. The kids are allowed to get their own macaroons, even Xavi who came in free had his own.

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Unwoven Light by Soo Sunny Park

Nice to hold but No-no to touch, of course Cassie went in and reached for it. She did this too at an exhibit at the Broad but they were more understanding over here when I apologized.

Someone forgot to blow dry her hair today. Haha

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This photo was from one of the Color Factory’s cameras in the room. Pretty neat huh?

You know your kids are having fun when you can’t even ask them to take a decent picture with you because they’re too busy playing with gigantic bouncing balls. haha

Pro tip with kids: I wish I had one for this room but I was honestly overwhelmed, I myself got excited and I wasn’t thinking straight but if I were to change anything, I would have given my kids one ball each and I would have gone straight for the camera so we could take decent pictures and get that out of the way then explore and play in the room. Oh, and make sure your kids don’t throw the balls too high so they don’t hit the ceiling.

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YOU. ARE. MAGIC

Pro tip with kids: See our hands on those blue things? Don’t let the kids do that part, if you break connection (they will explain this over there) those things don’t light up so if they ‘accidentally’ take their hands off then you’ll be taking pictures in total darkness. Okay, maybe that’s a slight exaggeration.

Also, notice the letters GI not lighting up? Well, no one was there to press those thing in the right side of the room (not seen in photo) so a full room is what it’ll take to get a good photo. The nice thing with those tokens is you can always go back and try it again if it fails the first time.

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The Confetti Room

The photo opportunities here are endless with two cameras situated by Color Factory to take awesome photos but this is also the room where my kids felt so wild and free that they were rolling over and having confetti wars with each other. They got so excited that Cassie felt compelled to ‘taste’ confetti.

Pro tip with kids: THEY. WILL. GO. CRAZY.— just expect that. And also don’t make the same mistake I did, I had Cassie wear boots to the exhibit and she brought home a dozen confetti paper in those boots.

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Make sure you leave the room without any confetti on you, you also get to grab a bag of colorful popcorn (yes, just like the confetti). 3rd treat of the tour.

We have this in our local Muncie Children’s Museum so we didn’t really spend a lot of time in this room. Its a given though, kids will always want to play with this giant version of the Lite Brite, big lighted pegs? I mean who wouldn’t.

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Doodle Away.

Pro tip with kids: Grab a marker as soon as you enter, markers are limited and just to let you know, they might be too heavy for your kids so make sure to assist them. Then search for an area on the wall with minimal doodles.

Do not let them handle the markers by themselves unless you have older kids. My daughter tried turning around while holding it and almost knocked someone over.

Sniff. Sniff. And sniff some more.

You know how you smell something and it brings up a memory, well this room is full of those.

Pro tip with kids: If there’s too many people in the middle, you can always go straight to the walls, they also have those tubes on there and they will give you the exact “sniffing-experience”.

My partner in crime, Ann Marie.

This interactive activity might only be applicable to adults and older kids since instructions are given. My kids were too young to do this one and so I had Xavi on my lap and Cassie had to stand.

Pro tip with kids: Distract the little ones with a pencil or paper or whatever is on your assigned color desk while you’re doing the activity. It can be hard but it’s doable.

Oh, and you get a small pack of candies based on your color card. 4th treat of the tour. They’re also nice enough to hand your kids candies even if they didn’t do the activity with you.

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I think the main attraction and the last exhibit of this pop up is the massive ball pit, a collaboration with NASA which makes perfect sense that the area is designed like a galaxy and that they decided to put this pop up in Houston. This intergalactic experience is quite a workout with kids though, they have a bunch of cameras set up in the ball pit area but getting there is quite the struggle.

Pro tip with kids: If you have more than one child below the age of 5 then it would be best if you had another adult or a friend handling the other one(s). The pit is deep and they can easily “sink” in it. I know Cassie started panicking because she started feeling trapped after awhile.

Also be careful with those phones, they do tell you that you can easily lose your phones in the pit but it also helps if you leave it in the cubbyholes especially since you’re going to need both hands to handle the kids. Believe me its hard to keep track of your child and your phone at the same time when you’re trying to stay “afloat” in the ball pit yourself.

Take advantage of the camera set ups in the ball pit if you need those photos badly, you can take a gazillion ones with your token.

Before you exit, they ask you to drop your tokens in exchange for a souvenir. The choices we had were a pin, a pen, temporary tattoos (or was it stickers? ) or a magnet. This is where it pays for you to have your kids get their own token. They also have to drop those and you get to bring more souvenirs home, I know I kept those for myself. Haha, I’m kidding. And if you’re wondering what that black thing we’re eating is, thats the complimentary black ice cream in a cone from Aqua S, another Instagram worthy Ice cream place in Houston. That was a nice treat to end the tour.

Pro tip with kids: Don’t get your ice creams all together. Make your kids have their ice cream first so you can make sure that they don’t get any stains on their clothes and also so you can enjoy your own ice cream once they’re all done. And take pictures…they have some cute colorful areas for sitting.

Can I just point out how even the staircases to different rooms and different exhibits were presented in a way that was still in theme with Color Factory’s color goals. Even going up and down the stairs seemed enjoyable.

The last colorful wall before we headed down to the souvenir shop aka the Exit.

Even the mirror by the restroom was gram-worthy. Haha.

Most interesting wall right after the souvenir shop, make sure you slide up those circular panels, they have a lot of photos from Htown . Get to know your city y’all, Get to know Houston.

Overall, I can say that the Color Factory is a place for kids and adults alike and I would like to commend everyone who made our tour a very pleasant one. As a mom, you’re always weary about causing delay especially in exhibits like these and in the Color Factory, I never felt any pressure to hurry up to the next room with my kids. They never made me feel that the kids were rowdy, on the contrary they were very welcoming so enjoy and take your time and let the kids be kids. I’m sure it would be have been a different experience with friends, the Color Factory could easily be an Instagram playground  but the look on Cassie and Xavi’s faces every time we entered a new exhibit room was priceless. I love how we ooh-ed and aaah-ed over things together, it certainly is a great thing to experience with your kids, I highly recommend you take them.

~Rhea

Houston Local: Downtown Houston Graffiti Art (Part I)

For months now we’ve planned to visit Downtown Houston to visit the graffiti art within the city but for some reason something always comes up and we end up postponing our plans for another day. In a way a there’s a slight urgency to see these outdoor artwork  because some of them aren’t permanently there and what I mean by that is sometimes artists change their work and it gets replaced by something else so while they’re there its best to take advantage of it.

Today, my husband woke up and suggested to randomly visit downtown so we could finally see some of Houston’s graffiti art work. We figured since we’re moving to Indiana in a few months, now would be a best time to explore Houston so we headed to Halal Guys first for lunch since we’ve been craving it for days now and the location we wanted to go to was approximately 7 minutes away from it so that worked out perfectly fine.

Here are some photos that we took during our visit. For those who are interested to see these murals here’s an address to put in your GPS:

1503 Chartres St., Houston, Texas 77003

I just wish there was someone who could tell us the name of these pieces. Anyone knowledgeable? Shoot me an email or comment down below. I’d love to recognize the artists and their artwork. Thanks!

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Oh, btw today is the First Day of Spring. How apt that our day turned out to be full of life and full of colors, just like spring. Happy First Day of Spring, everyone!

~Rhea

Rodeo Houston 2017

For an unplanned trip to the rodeo, I think we did pretty okay. We really didn’t have a specific day to go nor were we picky with the performing artist, I just wanted Marco and Cassie to experience the rodeo as it was their first time to go. We picked Wednesday because it had the cheapest tickets for the concert and the artist performing that day was Thomas Rhett, a well known country singer. Of course this was the first time we were hearing about him but that’s because Marco and I don’t usually listen to country music.

We started the day with a bunch of rodeo fails :

#1 We didn’t leave early enough. We could have made it an entire day affair but we didn’t take that into consideration. So for future references think of it as a day at Disney or Six Flags, there literally is a lot to do over there.

#2 And again, since we didn’t leave early enough we caught the rodeo traffic and it took us a good hour to look for parking

#3 We forgot to withdraw money, we only figured that out when we were trying to park and they had signs saying they only take cash. FYI, parking is hard during rodeo season if you’re not there early. Parking costs range from $20-$50, maybe even $60. We were lucky enough to find more in the yellow lot for $20.

#4 We forgot to bring our umbrella stroller and we ended up lugging our big jogger stroller around.

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We knew it was going to be impossible for us to take a decent family picture once we get rolling with the rodeo activities so we opted to do it as soon as we entered the vicinity

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The biggest boot in town

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She’s at this stage where she completely recognizes the animals and masters the sounds they make so you can only imagine how delighted she was to be surrounded by them. We probably would have spent more time at the petting area if only she wasn’t recovering from the flu and if we had more time before the concert.

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It was pure chaos buying food at the rodeo, with a child and a handful of food it was impossible for us to take photos of  what we ate. (Volcano Nachos, Giant Pizza–one slice was actually 2 regular ones, Cheeseburger and Funnel Cake)

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One out of the two photos I took from the Rodeo festivities. Marco and I were so into it that we forgot to take pictures. Our favorite was the Kids Mutton Bustin’ event where the kid who could stay on the back of the mutton, the longest wins.

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….We finally got introduced to Thomas Rhett and we enjoyed his songs more than we expected. I think I like country music as long as its not too hard core. Haha. This photo right here was when he asked everyone to take out their phones and wave it in the air, it was a pretty cool sight, this photo does not do justice.

Cassie on the other hand didn’t really act up considering that this was her first ever concert. She tried to out-scream the music during the concert and couldn’t figure out why people couldn’t hear her, it was the funniest thing ever. She was scared a few times when they would dim the lights but generally she was a sport and would clap her hands with everyone else after every song.

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Me and my sister after the concert. They kinda allowed us to crash their monthsary date to the point where we sat next to them during the concert.

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Our last photos of the night.

It is exhausting to go to the rodeo with a baby but I’m glad that Cassie had a great time. It was challenging for me and Marco but the day turned out great and most importantly we were safe. To those who didn’t hear, there was a shooting scare that day so after the concert we were asked to stay in the stadium premises until they cleared things out in the grounds. They didn’t really mention anything about “shooting or gunning” but it was on the news so people were texting us, asking if we were okay and that’s how we knew. After that, Marco and I decided to call it a day and we headed home.

~Rhea

Houston Local: BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir

It always amuses me when people say “I’m bored”; I feel like theres so many things to do in this life that even our time on this earth would not be enough. It might be just a matter of perspective and I’m trying to raise Cassie to see things the way Marco and I see it. As much as my little family and I would like to travel and go on a lot of adventures I truly believe that not all adventures entail money (well, maybe gas money), that’s when being resourceful kicks in.

Unconsciously, I’ve been on a mission to prove my point, locally this community has a lot of things to offer and its a matter of learning how to take advantage of it. We’ve visited the Houston zoo for free but you’d have to know that they do that mostly on the first Tuesday of each month, Thursdays are usually free admission days for museums especially the Children’s museum where I’d like to take Cassie soon and then there’s one and a million parks here in Houston and the near outskirts that are waiting to be explored.

BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir was a gem that we discovered 17 minutes away from home. It’s a local Hindu temple that opens their doors to visitors even those of different religion and their architectural construct does not fall short from what India is known for. I could go on and on about our visit to the temple but I’ll let the pictures speak for itself.

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The first photo we took as soon as we entered the premises, I had to tell him to stop acting all goofy since we were in a temple and all

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I though that the temple would be a good place to take pictures of Cassie but she fell asleep right before entering the gates

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Today’s #OOTD

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The fountains opposite side from where we entered

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Steps going up to the Mandir (temple), no photographs and no shoes allowed beyond this point

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Had to check out the intricate details up close, that college class I took on India really taught me to appreciate not only their architecture but everything else that’s embedded in their culture

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Coming out of the mandir. The walls, the ceilings, the floor and everything else was breathtaking, if only we cold’ve taken pictures inside.

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It does make a beautiful background thus acquiring that unofficial nickname of “Houston’s mini Taj Mahal”

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…he just had to pose that way. Ugh

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The temple vicinity is very friendly to visitors, they have signs and guides all over the place

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Family photo by the structure across the mandir, thanks to a friendly temple-goer who randomly offered to take our picture

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Color pop against the plain white details. Can’t get enough of these carvings.

I was a bit disappointed that Cassie slept the entire time because I wanted her to explore the grounds and run around to check out the fountains but on the other hand I’m glad she slept so Marco and I could appreciate the place without any crazy distractions, haha. We can always bring Cassie  back here next time. If you’re a Houston local, this place is a must-see but before you come visit please check their website and familiarize with their rules as this is a sacred place to them and a place of worship. Before you leave the area, please visit their gift shop, make a donation or try their daily vegetarian lunch buffet (we have yet to do that). Oh yeah, I hear that they light up the temple at night and it looks magical, you should definitely drive by to check it out.

Well, there you go…that’s another thing to do here in Houston. I don’t think this place will ever bore me. Enjoy!

~Rhea

Destination: Harlingen, Texas

Marco was scheduled for another interview here in Texas but this time it was in Harlingen so we took a road trip close to the border of Mexico more for business than pleasure. It’ s days like these when I get to take advantage of the perks working PRN (as needed) at the hospital. I love how I can just pick my schedule and take off from work without any hassles or complications when need be. It took us roughly 4 hours and 30 minutes to get there and the first thing we did was google a good place to eat. We ended up having lunch at Brass Wheel Restaurant.

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Marine Memorial

Visited this mini museum mainly for the Iwo Jima Memorial statue. The wind was acting up so we didn’t even stay long and I didn’t even bother visiting the gift shop like I normally would.

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Iwo Jima Memorial up closeimg_9599_zpsimpsxovc

Because he feels the need to do the “Lion King” pose at every historical landmark we go to.img_9611_zpslbwedbei

 Checked in at Courtyard by Marriott

It had a modern minimalistic feel to it.

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The hotel’s poolside was pretty decent and since we had nothing else better to do, we decided to take Cassie for a swim.

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She acts like she runs the place, waiting for daddy to get ready.

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So apparently people who viewed my snaps thought we were crazy for swimming that day since it was rather breezy, the water was warm and we didn’t really stay long so I promise you Cassie was fine.

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Famished after her swim so she grabbed her snack, sat on the sofa and started munching on her puffs like a boss

That night Cassie and I stayed in and ate left overs while Marco had an informal dinner with the rest of the interviewees for the residency program.

The next day, Marco rode a shuttle and left early for the hospital, Cassie and I packed our stuff, loaded up and went window shopping after we had that cockroach incident. I am not even going to expound on what happened since I am positive that it wasn’t even the hotel’s fault but lets just say I had to get over my fear of roaches so I could kill one. I felt like if I didn’t, it would have called the rest of its friends and Cassie and I would have a cockroach frenzy.

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Just roamed around town while Marco was doing his interview, its a good thing I found the mall right when he finished. He gave me a call just when I walked in a Forever 21 and it looked like 6x this photo. It felt like a Forever 21 warehouse and I was just glad he called before I could do any credit card damage that  I would regret in the future. Everything was on sale!!!!

Met up with one of Marco’s friends from med school that was currently doing residency over there, they had a quick catch up before we drove back to Houston. On our way home we got stopped at an immigration checkpoint. Because the city was located in the border  line of Mexico, immigration was taking precautionary measures that Marco was unaware of and I totally forgot about. He forgot to bring his green card and it took them a while to verify his identity with his drivers license. I’m just glad nothing crazy resulted from our inefficiencies. We got home safe, extremely exhausted but safe.

~Rhea