Archives for March 2014

Rediscovering Art with the Bayou City Art Festival

Bayou City Art FestivalOne of my favorite activities to celebrate the start of the spring is the Bayou City Arts Festival.  This bi-annual festival is one of my favorite opportunities to get out and about in Houston and enjoy some of the best artists from Houston and around the states.  The festival is an eclectic mix of arts with a wide range of mediums all showcasing their skills and provoking thought and conversation for attendees.  Annually my daughter and I attend and it always gives us a chance to really engage in how we see beauty and defining what is art.  It is a really interesting conversation to see art through a child’s perspective.  In starting the conversation you give yourself a chance to really rethink what you define as beauty and strength and art.  The conversation itself teaches attendees to expand their look on what art is.  In my own youth, I thought of art as beautiful paintings that realistically capture people and places.   With every stop at a booth at the Art Festival you get a chance to challenge any limits you place on your vision of art.  You see pictures and sculptures that are new and fresh and best of all they can be yours (if the price is right).  Perhaps my favorite part is you get the chance to speak with the artist themselves and learn what moves and motivates them.  Being this close gives you a chance to get some deeper insight on the process instead of just the product.

The art festivals range of art really expands everyone’s impression on what art is.  Art does not have to be neat or pretty or realistic to really express someone’s vision of the world.   Sometimes it is dark and snarly and messy and still can express something that provokes strong reactions.  In circling the festival and looking at different paintings and sculptures and jewelry you get to enjoy the beauty of both the simplicity and complexity of life.  When in great company on a beautiful day it reminds you that art really does imitate life.

This weekend grab some friends make it out for a great day at the Bayou City Arts Festival!

Neiman Marcus CUSP Fashion Trends

Cusp EventNeiman Marcus hosted a great Spring Trends Fashion Show to give shoppers a sneak peek into fashion trends and designers inspiration for the spring lines.  While I loved all of the looks here are some great trends that are easy to work into your look both at the office and when having fun:

White with Black:

Campbell Striped Crossover SkirtThis spring designers are bringing new life into a classic combination.  White and black always make a great contrast and the basic nature of the colors allow for a wide range of accessories possibilities to fit any occasion.  You can keep the white on black classic for events that are more professional and add pops of color to keep the look more young and playful.  The Cusp Fashion Show did a great job of showcasing black and white with pops of color like pink so you get really get the best of both worlds in the color palette.  Plus white with black is the perfect canvas for some really fun and fierce makeup!  Check out the A.L.C. Campbell Striped Crossover Skirt.  The colors make it classic but the shape keeps it fun.  Wear it with a cropped top for fun with friends and a blazer for a professional look at work.

Textured White JeansThis season also look out for textured jeans to mix up an outfit.  In person the texture adds a really pop to a white palette and sets the tone for a fun ensemble.

 

 

 

 

 

Pinks:

Addison Bow Cropped Jacket in PinkMy favorite color is back with a vengeance this spring.  This is not your same old Easter pink. Pinks are being reimagined for looks that range from “Come Hither” to “Don’t break your neck when I walk by”.  This splash of color is the perfect mix with a white and black palette for a pop color or take it spring to the max with a healthy helping of pink in your wardrobe.  I love the Alice + Olivia Addison Bow Cropped Jacket, Pink as the structure of the jacket really accentuates your face but the volume at the bottom shrinks the look of your waist.

Artistic Prints:

Nico Versailles Printed Super-Skinny JeansPrints can quickly add interest to almost any outfit.  This season’s prints are bold and the color palettes keep them from being too busy.  Prints are always a great way to add some interest to a suit through a great blouse or scarf.  The right print and shade can accentuate all the right assets while giving the things we rather not showcase a chance to take backstage.  Check out the Hudson Nico Versailles Printed Super-Skinny Jeans for a good mix of classic and fun!

Houston Children’s Festival Fun

Painting at the Houston Children's Festival This weekend the Houston Children’s Festival rolls in to town again.  With the weather clearing up and the heat holding off it looks to be a perfect weekend to get the family out for festival fun.  I have a special love for festivals as the vibe in a good festival makes it almost impossible for you to not have a great time.  When you work in an office, most of what happens outside passes you by, making the time you get to spend outside is precious.  With people having fun and smiling all around you it is difficult to not just give into enjoying yourself and leave the stress of the life behind, even if only for a day.  The Houston Children’s Festival features a cornucopia of things kids love, from the Discovery Zone to the rides to the performances.  One of my favorite things to do is always the arts and crafts.  Taking time out to really just enjoy the short time where kids are kids and letting them express themselves through the various projects in the festival reminds us as adults exactly where our priorities should land.  Real quality time with kids can be hard to come by and this festival is a great way to share food, fun, and laughs and an overall great family experience.  Best of all this festival benefits Child Advocates.  This charity focuses on neglected and abused children and finding ways to make their environment safe and nurturing.  The fun and laughter of the festival really is a great platform for a charity that fights so every child can have periods of fun and laughter where they can just be kids.  Don’t miss the chance to get out and enjoy great fun for a great cause!

Check out the Entertainment Schedule Here

Don’t miss your chance to win free tickets to the festival.  WIN TICKETS NOW!

PHPB Home: Choosing a Roof

PHPB Budget Part 3 of 3

Believing in the impossible

http://www.dreamstime.com/royalty-free-stock-image-high-dream-concept-image38126146It is always amazing when you ask a room full of kids what they want to be you hear answers that range from teachers, to doctors, to astronauts, to the President of the United States.   Fast forward 20 or 30 years and ask that same question and the answer is far less diverse and the dreams are far more scaled down.  The more you grown the more you learn and with learning we get a different vision of what our on reality can be.  When we once thought we can move mountains we learn to settle for throwing rocks in the water and watching them sink.  A lot of this change comes from things that life tells us about ourselves and things that we adopt that make the ceiling the limit instead of the sky.  So how do we re-learn to shoot for what is seemingly impossible when life dictates we should keep two feet on the ground?

In shooting for the impossible, more than half of the battle is learning how to conquer the self-doubt within.  With every hurdle life puts in front of us we internalize what we see as our limitations.  So when the light of old dreams flashes we quickly extinguish it with thoughts that we are too old, too slow, too tired to accomplish them.  The best thing about shooting for the impossible is not actually getting the impossible done, its learning that we have defined for ourselves that the goal is too difficult to achieve without committing to the process of trying.  In actually attempting for the impossible you reach farther than you thought you could and even if you don’t reach that goal you learn that your reach is as good or even better than that young kid ready to conquer the world.

I often frequent the same gas station on one trip I was approached by a man asking for money to fill up his tank.  After that question quickly followed a request for my phone number.  In my mind how could someone both beg for money and ask for my phone number???? But there is a lesson underneath about seeking the impossible.  When we stop reaching we forget that even the smallest percentage something will happen is still a chance.  This man’s “F” it attitude reminded me that by trying he was going for what he wanted and it was his effort that defined the goal, not the fact I declined.  The lesson remains that in reaching for the stars, win or lose, you learn that the failure to try is even scarier than the fact you did not win.  Always remember you have to play to win!

The rise of the Sneakers

Kicks for all agesSneakers are something that most professionals segment only to certain areas of their lives.  Outside of trips to the gym or chasing kids in the park sneakers can often go dormant for the other periods in your life where you focus is on your look instead of on your comfort.  Sneakers have fortunately been reimagined by designers to produce shoes that give you the coveted combo of comfort and style.  Here is what’s new in the world of sneakers that help you expand their scope in your closet.

Sarah Jessica Parker in ChucksKeeping it casual: Sneakers still reign supreme when it comes to errand running.  Throwing on the first comfortable pair you see suit that “let’s get ‘er done” style of running errands.  With new styles out you can add some style to your comfort go to.  By keeping it simple with the Chuck Taylors many of us grew up on you can move away from the athletic style and move to a casual and current style your kids or spouse are not embarrassed by.

Aldo Haliadia WedgeAll day apparel: I love any look you can rock from day to night.  By changing up on the look and materials of traditional sneakers you can reinvent a causal look and make sure your style is infused throughout your apparel.   Current fashion trends such as maxi dresses and leggings all look great when styled with a sneaker that adds some fun and shine and dare I say a little funk.  Keep it simple with sneakers like these burlap sneakers from Aldo or adding some spice with sneakers with studs that put style on top even with the comfort you know and love in sneakers.

Lamb - Freeda in GreyStepping out for the night: The wedge sneaker is really where I think the sneakers had the biggest win in entering a new era.  I adore the long legged look you get from high heels and heels are my natural go to when I want to get dressed up or go out.  For me it is usually the higher the better.   I resisted the urge to try wedge sneakers for a long time, thinking it was just a passing trend.  All this is easy to say until you go out for a night on the town and your feet actually do not hurt at the end of the night.   The impact heels had on feet after 2 hours or more of standing can change a smile into a frown in zero to sixty.  In situations where walking or a lot of standing is required, the support and comfort that comes from a wedge sneaker cannot be topped. With the wide range of sneakers that exist, your look can be more casual or dressy all with the same ease.  One try on a long night and you may be sold on the look as well.

Photos courtesy of heels.com and Glamour.com

Kemah Crawfish Festival

KemahSomething about crawfish gets people going in Houston.  Whenever crawfish season hits if you do not make it to a boil or sit down for a huge heaping of crawfish you are definitely in the minority.  The Kemah Crawfish Festival is proof positive that crawfish has some serious fans.  The festival combines crawfish with music, drinks and family fun all in downtown Kemah.  There is something nice about a festival that is condensed so you are not walking down long streets to get to the music or the booth you passed up 2 hours before.  This festival is set up all in one fair grounds with picnic tables set up to showcase the star of the festival…The Crawfish.  Be prepared for the lines for the crawfish or beat the crowd by going early.  All in all the crawfish itself received rave reviews.  If crawfish is not your thing they have a variety of other booths with food ranging from fried fish to alligator and even churros are on the menu.  The music and kids games added to the festive environment and most attending seemed to be enjoying the fun and food that always define a good festival.  As an added bonus the festival occurs in the heart of Kemah so once you have had your fill there are bars and restaurants just steps away and for those who are more adventurous step over to the rides on the Kemah Boardwalk to complete your day of family fun.  Today is the last day this weekend for the festival but look out for the sequel coming up in April.

Truth Telling

Mouth of Truth

I went to a high school where our school motto was “VERITAS”, Greek for truth so I had a daily reminder growing up in how important it is to tell the truth.  Funny enough the idea of telling the truth that is a basic lesson for kids gets a lot more complicated as adults.  Every day we are faced with an important decision, to share our truth with those around us or to keep it to ourselves.  Sometimes it is something small or with an impossible answer, “Do I look fat?” quickly comes to mind.  Other times it is a lot more complicated in drawing the line between telling the truth and being rude.  Here are some important things to remember when it comes to navigating the mind field of telling the truth to those around you.

Some truth is universal and some truth is personal, know the difference: The sun always rises in the east and sets in the west, it is the same for everyone and no matter what you cannot change it.  Your friend’s outfit being ugly is not in line with being universal truth, no matter how ugly it is to you.  Being honest with others is an important part of any relationship but doing so means you have to be able to communicate how you feel as just that, your opinion.  Once you’ve shared then that should be that’s all she wrote.  Being honest does not mean you will successful make your opinions someone else’s.  Remember it is not as universal as arguing that the sky is blue.  Knowing when to stop is an important part of cutting down on the risk of honesty turning down rude alley.

Delivery is fundamental:   The way you say things is just as or even more important than what you say.  Body language accounts for allot of communication that occurs so the extra gestures and looks all go into what someone takes away from the words you say.  Putting yourself in someone else’s shoes is a great place to start when you have to tell someone a truth you feel will be difficult.  At work I once had to tell a member of her staff about her body odor.  Truthfully there is no easy way to have that conversation but imaging how I would like someone to have that conversation with me allowed me to tell the truth with compassion.

Check yourself before you share: At work and with friends sometimes our internal motives to telling the truth is the real priority instead of sincerely wanting someone else to know our truth.  Ever notice how much easier it is to share how you feel about someone that you are mad at instead of someone you love.  Motives can impact the urgency you feel in sharing the truth as well as the delivery so check yourself before you jump off the cliff.  Truth is usually received better when the intentions are to help to provide some insight instead of when it’s done to hurt someone or for you to feel the relieve of getting it off your chest.

People accept things in their own time: Truth is a journey and you sharing yours with someone else is just a stop on the path.  If your expectation is that in sharing your truth, people will revert to your truth then double check your motives.  At its best truth can provide some real insight that gives people clarity on how the world sees them and reconcile differences in that view and how they see themselves.  When a dear friend or respected co-worker shares truth with me I really try to internalize what they said.  In being honest with myself sometimes I agree and sometimes I disagree but as always knowing how someone else feels and their truth is half the battle.

10 Must Do’s to celebrate your Born Month

birthday cake with candle and gifts

When I was a kid my mom always kicked of the beginning of March as my birthday month and ever since I took celebrating my whole month pretty seriously.  Naturally I am the kind of person who likes to celebrate life and our birthdays are a great reminder of the blessing of life is as well as commemorate the “-“ in between our birth and our death that defines our lives.

10. Celebrate those who can no longer celebrate life. As the years pass by most of us experience the increasing loss of those we love.  Often this loss hits us most on the anniversary of the day they were born or died and we naturally mourn.  Our birthday month, however, provides a time to really celebrate their live and all the ways the relationship impacted and improved our own lives.  Think of it as a personal day of the dead where you can remember them and let that memory continue to strengthen the impact on your own life.  Don’t leave them behind on the celebration of you!

9. Ask if your affairs are in order.  All life stories end with a period (or perhaps an exclamation point) and it’s easy to lose sight of the legacy you build every day in your life.  Birthday celebrations in part are about mortality so don’t be afraid to take inventory on where you are.  No tomorrow is guaranteed and asking if you are where you want to be if the promise of life is not fulfilled helps you put things in your life in perspective.

8. Get in gear for the next year.  Yes you flip another year on the counter of you but there is no time like the present to take the steps you want to make your New Year one where dreams do come true.   Birthdays mark a life milestone and it is a great time to plot on the course for the next year.

7. Take time to remember life does have a period.  Birthdays and death days have an inseparable tie.   This does not have to be a bad thing though as the time in between becomes more precious when you stop seeing it like the Energizer bunny that keeps going and going.  In remembering that life ends you can turn on the HD glasses in how you view your life so flowers smell sweeter, cake is more delicious, and the celebration rocks like it is 1999!

6. Cross off a bucket list item. Bucket lists are not things you drag along with you until you get old.  Crossing items off make space for new items and gives you a well-rounded list of things to see, do, and experience.  Big or small, make sure you actively pursue checking things off the list that remind you just how bight the world truly is.

5. Spend time with your loved ones.  I read once that not spending time with loved ones is one of people’s biggest regrets on their death beds.  Don’t take for granted the people who support you on the road call life, smile when you win and cry when you fall.  They are truly the things dreams are made of.

4. Pat yourself on the back. Usually when something big happens like a new job or graduating from school people gather around to pat you on the back.  But those successes are just the finished product of hundreds of long days and longer nights where the struggle is real.  As a lot of it you walk alone you may be the only person who knows of the bumps along the way.  Take time to really appreciate the fact that you survived as that is the first step to thriving.

3. Thank those around you who helped define the previous year of life.  Most of us don’t walk along in life alone.  Having loved ones around us to give us support and strength adds some brightness today their day.  Their role is important so if you don’t say any other day of the year, take some time during the month that celebrates you to give your acknowledgements.

2. Live in the day and celebrate. Live, love, laugh!  It’s all a part of the celebration.  Your birthday is the New Years of you.  Most of us find some way to celebrate the new calendar year so why not put the same care into planning the Celebration of your new year?   Celebrations don’t have to be elaborate or expensive to be special so in whatever way suits you make sure you celebrate.

1.  Thank God for the blessings, both big and small. Every day we wake up with lungs full of oxygen and a world full of possibilities, and yes everyday this fact is a win!  Don’t get so caught up in failed expectations and dreams deferred to be thankful that there is always someone there who has your back and loves the beautiful disaster you are!

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