I’m presenting our second Houston blog series post in a slightly different way, it’s similar to a magazine interview with direct quotes. Which do you like better? Leave a comment or send me a message to help me make this a better experience for you!

Summer in Texas always seems like it’ll never end, but the heat is finally easing up, and I’m not sweating buckets as soon as I step foot out the door. Anyone else out there hate the intense heat and humidity as much me? But if there’s one thing this season is good for, it’s icy cold treats. Of course ice cream is always a good idea, but sometimes when the temperature is 90 degrees (but feels like 104 because that’s how we roll in Texas), don’t you prefer something lighter? That’s why I think popsicles are perfect for days like that, they’re so refreshing, especially if you pick something citrus-y! Kevin and I discovered Popfancy Pops back in July, after he managed to coax me out from my usual summer time hibernation, and we were delighted to see that it’s actually owned and operated by someone we went to high school with–Chris Doan. Located in Memorial City Mall’s food court (near the carousel), it immediately caught my eye with its fun colors and delicious looking pops. Also because I saw a sign offering a discount to Pokemon Go players, and multiple Pikachu dolls. I’m not ashamed to admit that. Anyway, now that I’ve confessed to having kind of dorky hobbies, read on to get to know Chris and see what sets these popsicles apart from others!
 


 

HOW POPFANCY POPS WAS BORN

“I’ve always been an artist my entire life and spent a long period of my post grad career transforming other people’s homes and businesses with small makeovers to modernize their lifestyle. I always wanted to do this for myself and brand something of my very own one day. I got the idea for Popfancy when I noticed the malls in Houston hardly had any choices for healthier dessert alternatives. My favorite part of the job is getting that priceless reaction from our customers when they try one of our pops. The feeling is euphoric, validating, and completely humbling all at the same time.

The most memorable experience I’ve had in this journey is looking back at how it all started with my two business partners, Kelly Choi and Kat Guzman. We started this company from humble beginnings and had to develop our own product, procedures, and branding all from scratch with no past experience. In a way, this blank canvas allowed our creative freedom to soar to new heights without any restrictions.”

 

 

CHOICES, CHOICES

“We cycle in flavors according to the produce calendar most of the time, but some flavors are just spur of the moment inspirations from daily life, cultural influences reflecting the diversity of Houston,and some nostalgic flavors from our childhood. My personal favorite from the fruity flavors would be our Mangonada. It’s sweet Mexican mango puree with a chamoy sauce, which adds a kick of tangy, salty, and spicy flare to the pop. And from the creamy variety I love the cereal milk pop because the flavor of the pop tastes like a childhood memory of drinking the milk after a breakfast session.”

Popfancy’s organic handcrafted pops come in a multitude of flavors: blueberry lemonade, coconut lime, pineapple mojito, watermelon basil, mangonada, raspberry bellini, salted caramel brownie, vietnamese coffee, horchata, thai tea, cereal milk, and strawberry parfait. (my mouth is watering as I type this, and I’m wondering if I can find time to stop by this week)

 


 

MEET THE MAN BEHIND THE POPS

“I’m a pretty simple guy. I enjoy watching movies mostly in my spare time. I grew up playing fantasy video games, so there’s still a big kid stuck inside of me.”

When asked about his favorite local eateries, Chris had this to say–“[That] is a bit difficult to nail down cause there are so many. I absolutely love Vietnamese food, not being biased because of my cultural heritage, but it’s honestly the best comfort food, with lots of authentic local hotspots to find here.”

 

GET YOUR POPS HERE

Memorial City Mall

303 Memorial City Way – Food Court                                                                                  
Houston, TX — 77024                                                                                                            
popfancypops@gmail.com                                                                                              

Galleria

5085 Westheimer Rd
Houston, TX — 77056
(Grand opening Oct 15)

First Colony Mall

16535 Southwest Fwy
Sugar Land, TX — 77479
(Winter 2016)
 

Popfancy Pops also provides catering services for private events, corporate events, and even large scale city events like the Rodeo, Pride, and Comicpalooza. As more and more brides are choosing to deviate away from the traditional wedding cake and opting for cupcakes and cake pops, might I suggest contacting Popfancy for something unique and memorable?

 

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Welcome to my Houston blog series, where I introduce different hot spots around town and nearby suburbs! There are so many amazing restaurants, hair stylists, and boutiques that pop up every year, and it definitely can be hard to keep track of them all, so I wanted to collect my favorites (or your favorites, send me an email and let me know what you would like to see featured) to make it a little easier for you all. For the very first post, I’m featuring my go-to place in Houston to feed my sweet tooth.

 

Nestled between a Starbucks and Marble Slab on West Gray St over in the River Oaks district is a beautiful boutique selling one of the hottest treats. Maybe you’ve seen it featured on CNBC’s Billion Dollar Buyer, or maybe you’re already a huge fan like I am. Owned by siblings Sukaina and Mohammed, MACARON by Patisse features delectable flavors like Fleur de Sel (salted caramel) and Lavender White Chocolate. Pick a flavor, any flavor, I guarantee you cannot go wrong. I first heard about MACARON through the lovely lady who was our wedding planner, and because I’d become obsessed with macarons after honeymooning in France (poor Kevin was dragged through 40 degree weather to Laduree, Pierre Herme, and Aoki Sadaharu because I had problems), I stalked their Facebook page until their grand opening was announced. Then I discovered how close their boutique is located to my house and knew I’d have to put forth a great effort at self-control. It’s worked ok so far. Maybe.

(If you’re only here for pictures of this beautiful boutique or the address, scroll all the way to the end)

 

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THE MAKING OF MACARON BY PATISSE

IMG_9141Sukaina’s background is actually in pharmacology, and before creating MACARON by Patisse with her brother Mohammed, she worked on addressing food sensitivity issues with autistic children. The transition began when she started baking gluten and additive free macarons for her clients. They were a hit; however, since these weren’t always available at her office, they began requesting orders from her, and this turned into referrals for birthdays and weddings. Around this time, Mohammed was looking into franchise opportunities and suggested selling macarons, and though she was wary of the idea at first, Sukaina eventually came around to it, and their lovely boutique was born.

 

It wasn’t an easy road from there. Sukaina knew she wanted to be in the River Oaks area, but her contact at Weingarten Realty didn’t think a 27 year old with no business background was suitable for such a prime spot. Luckily she’d sent him a box of her creations, and a visitor in his office tried one and convinced him the macarons were amazing and deserved a chance. So now Sukaina and Mohammed had the storefront, but what about everything else? This is where friends and family came in—their wonderful support network referred all the different trades the siblings would need to transform a space that used to sell clothing into the beautifully designed macaron boutique it is today.

 

 

GET TO KNOW SUKAINAIMG_9148

Unlike her career in nutrition, running MACARON by Patisse gives Sukaina instant gratification. Results with past clients took time to see, but here reactions are immediate. She loves seeing the smiles that light up customers’ faces as they bite into each juicy pastry. And if you ask her what the most memorable experiences have been so far? Well, there are two. The first is the day they opened. After working all night, the doors opened at 7am and she immediately got notices that people were going to stop by before work. In fact, they sold out by 4pm, and once again Sukaina stayed up all night baking fresh batches. Seeing the reactions of everyone coming in made everything worth it. The second experience is a bit more recent. Like I mentioned earlier, they were featured on the first episode of CNBC’s Billion Dollar Buyer (view here). The opportunity came out of nowhere, and at first she thought all the casting calls were a little fishy. But ultimately this experience gave her the chance to put her brand on national TV; in fact, even audiences in Canada and UK saw it.

 

Now that MACARON by Patisse has two storefronts and two booths in the Galleria, Sukaina finds herself busier than ever. In what little free time she does have, she enjoys teaching hot yoga with house music—it’s her time to breathe. Additionally, she loves eating and enjoying a nice meal at the end of the day. Some of her favorite local eateries include Pax Americana, Bombay Pizza, Oporto, Uchi, Kata Robata, Burger Joint, and the salmon sandwich at Paulie’s. She also admitted that sometimes she heads back to the store for a little late night dessert, but who can blame her? I think we all would.

 

 

ON MACARONS AND GELATO POPS

IMG_9130What sets MACARON by Patisse apart from the many other macaron providers in Houston? No artificial flavoring. These macarons are made with all natural flavors, like juice straight from a lemon and freshly steeped Earl Grey tea. And because natural flavors can vary day to day—tomorrow’s lemons might not have that same intensity of tart, lemony goodness as it does today—this means the staff at MACARON by Patisse have to work extra hard at making adjustments to ensure macaron flavors don’t vary too wildly every day. Her pastry chefs have certainly given her a hard time about this, and initially balked at how much extra work goes into it. To prove that her method was better, she had them make two batches—one with artificial flavoring, and one natural. It was obvious who was right.

 

I asked Sukaina what the process for coming up with new flavors is like, and she replied there’s not really a process. When they think of an idea, they try it out and taste test it, and then tweak things along the way to make sure the flavors are, in her words, “bang on.” Currently, potential future flavors include a gluten free chocolate chip cookie dough (which, apparently is harder than it sounds) and tart apple. I’m excited for both of these.

 

Macarons aren’t the only sweets you can find here. There’s also gelato pops, which Sukaina insists she came up with before they became the “it” thing in New York. If you’ve never heard of this, her gelato pops are created with a macaron shell base and alternated layers of gelato and crushed macaron shells. The current seasonal flavor is mango, which I’ve now had the chance to split with my husband and it’s amaaaaazing (said in a sing-song voice, of course). If that’s not your thing, there’s also salted caramel, chocolate hazelnut, raspberry rose, fig and goat cheese, cookies ‘n cream, pistachio cherry, and tiramisu.

 

 

WANT TO MAKE YOUR OWN MACARONS?

They’ve recently started offering once a month macaron classes. Each class is limited to 16 people, where you’ll learn how to make 4 different flavors AND get to take them home. I haven’t taken her classes yet, but I can tell you that trying to learn on your own is a huge pain, and so much easier with someone to guide you. So if you’ve ever wanted to try your hand at it, go sign up on her website (link) now. You can also book a class as a private party, which is a great idea for a kid’s birthday party or bachelorette party.

 

 

LOCATIONS

The Woodlands

1950 Hughes Landing Blvd, Suite 1775

The Woodlands, TX 77380

832.974.1622

 

IMG_9072

River Oaks

2033 W Gray                                            

Houston, TX 77019                                 

713.965.7359                                             

 

 

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photo credit Christa Elyce

Galleria

Two booths: between the Lego and Disney stores, and over in the Nordstrom wing

 

(I asked Sukaina about the possibility of a Sugar Land or Katy location for those of you who live there, and while they’re looking at options and evaluating, there’s no guarantee. We can only keep our fingers crossed. In the meantime, run, don’t walk, to your nearest location to grab a sweet treat and a refreshing iced tea. Tell them Wendy sent you and pick up a special gift from me during the month of September, and let me know in the comments what your favorite flavors are!)

 

 

SOCIAL MEDIA

Website: http://www.macaronbypatisse.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/MacaronByPatisse/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/macaronbypatisse/

 

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Megan is another winner of the auctioned sessions I contributed to Travis High School, and I absolutely love her session. I know I say that about all my sessions, but it’s always true because everyone brings such different personalities! Not only is Megan a sweet young lady, but she also has a passion for weight lifting and wanted to incorporate that into her session. My eyes immediately lit up when I heard that since it’s so different from all the other sessions I’ve shot so far. Megan was such a trooper through the latter portion of her session, patiently holding up those heavy weights as I worked with different angles and lighting to get the perfect look, and the results are amazing! Take a look for yourself:

(Oh, and of course I have to mention her beautiful dog Sadie, who was full of energy the whole time and absolutely adorable)

 

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After attending Kelly’s Senior Serve at Travis last year and seeing just how much work the seniors and their parents put into creating a great event, I decided to contribute a couple sessions to their auction this year as a way to give back to the community. Meet Alyssa, my first client from the auctions! When we met at Terry Hershey Park the morning of her session, I knew from the start it would be a great day. Alyssa has this outgoing personality that immediately draws you in, and I love her sense of humor and how easy it was to banter with her. She even brought her dog Jessie, who is one of the most adorable puppies I’ve ever seen (all dogs are puppies to me, regardless of age). Even though Jessie was distracted by every runner or biker who went by, the pictures of the two of them together are some of my favorite from this session; it was so easy to see the genuine love Alyssa has for her dog. This is why I encourage everyone to bring their pet, it creates wonderful natural moments…and I get to fawn over cute animals!

 

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Kelly has such a bubbly personality and a killer wardrobe to boot, I knew it would be fun to shoot her session. Not only is she academically driven, but she was also very dedicated to her school golf team, so of course we had to incorporate it. For her second session we headed to her neighborhood golf course, where we continued the “regular” portion of her portraits and finished off with Kelly in her golf gear. We had an interesting time hauling buckets of golf balls and a giant, giant ladder so that we could recreate the cute “snow angel” Kelly’s mom found on Pinterest. I have such an immense fear of heights, but hey, whatever it takes to get the shot!

 

 

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