Archives for November 2015

Medieval good times at the Texas Renaissance Festival

Tex Ren Fest 2015 (4)With the end of the year and holiday season always comes another one of my favorite traditions, The Texas Renaissance Festival. Yes it is a festival but more like a festival on steroids offering all of the food and entertainment of a normal festival but without the temporary structures and set ups that a festival builds itself on. Instead The Texas Renaissance Festival is more like stepping back a couple of centuries. As you are whisked back in time you can quickly get lost in a world of magic, or kings and queens or even barbarians if you allow your imagination to go there. If not you can just dive feet first in the celebration of food and fun that makes up the Renaissance Festival. In our group within the first 10 minutes we had fairy ears and food galore and it started what was a wonderful day of enjoying old friends and new friends alike.

Outside of the food which is always a highlight for the festival the entertainment is always on point. From bird shows to fire whips to the Jousting Show a whole day can quickly slip by with still more left to be seen and done. Even topping the amount of options is the fact that you don’t have to just watch, you can take part of the show as screams and yells are what make this interactive shows true entertainment. It is not even just in the scheduled shows as the entire festival gives you the opportunity to hop in and join in on the fun. As you move from face painting to picking up a corset to throwing on a hat you find yourself more and more in the spirit of fun that makes the Renaissance Festival a must for me every year to kick off my holiday season.Tex Ren Fest 2015 (12)

 

The Balvenie and Anthony Bourdain team up for the Rare Craft Collection

Balvenie Rare Craft Collection (10)The Balvenie pulled out a culinary heavy hitter as it brought is Rare Craft Collection, curated by Antony Bourdain, to Houston. In putting together some of their finest selections they energized Silver Street Studios while guests were treated to an intimate tour of superb whiskey. As if the headlining Rare Craft Collection was not enough the curator on the tour is food aficionado Anthony Bourdain who definitely knows how to distinguish the outstanding nodes of flavor of the Balvenie whiskey from all the imitators on the market.

The best thing about the Rare Craft Collection presentation is that the entire experience was carefully fashioned to be as exceptional as the whiskey. From the moment you step into the door you can sense the luxury influence that blends ingredients which are impressive on their own but are ultimately breathtaking when masterfully combined. From the art that embellished the walls to the crowds of beautiful people to your first sip of the 14 year blend.

Balvenie Rare Craft Collection (3)The main attraction of the night was presented to take a tour of all that is wonderful about whiskey. Crafted from The Balvenie whiskey isn’t just a drink it is a nod to the journey from the rolling hills of Scotland to your glass. The presentation began at one of my favorites, the Caribbean Cask. Aged in Rum bottles produces a memorable spin on the whiskey and for rum lovers gives a nod to something near and dear to your heart but in an elegant presentation. Imagine regular rum getting a high end make over. With each sip of the Caribbean Cask and the Dodgewood and Portwood that followed you taste why these selections were singled out by the curator. Making a single malt look easy the taste confirms the true craftsmanship from the inception of the barley, to the meticulously maintained barrels to the skilled malt masters all working seamless to produce a beautiful result.   Years ago The Balvenie became one of my favorites in an intimate presentation and being in a room full of fellow whiskey lovers confirmed that from taste to ingredients The Balvenie is exceptional. For a whiskey lover a taste of these selections, especially this holiday season, cannot be missed.

Back to basics with black and white

Black and White Casual Style (3)The basics of every wardrobe should be strong structured clothing that you can embellish to fit your mood and style. But being basic doesn’t mean it has to be boring. You can still pack a ton of style and energy into a black and white outfit! With autumn upon us a well-planned black and white outfit can provide structure and a pop of variation to make your look memorable. For my play on black and white I choose a white turtleneck and a pair of black stretch pants. Yes that sounds basic and downright boring but with the play on color gone the focus can be on fit and silhouette. In order to get a focus point I added a long flowing vest to the mix which really highlights the brightness of the white turtleneck. Paired with my favorite casual knee boots the look was classic yet still very modern.   What I like best about this black and white look is that it can work pretty easily in a range of settings. I took the look from my grandmothers birthday party to dinner in a look perfect for both because it was less about the clothes and more about what was in them…Me!Black and White Casual Style (1)

Taking Risotto to the next level at the Houston Risotto Festival

IMG_7550Taping into the imagination and creativity of chef’s opens an exciting world of possibilities. Few events in Houston better celebrate the potential for greatness than the Houston Risotto Festival because with just one option of comparison it has to be pulled together amazingly to win. The festival challenges chefs to put their spin on this Italian specialty in an event that has raised hundreds of thousands for local charities since it began. From Thanksgiving spring boards to mushroom explosions the chefs competing in the festival went all out in order to put their own personal spin on risotto. Get the standard rice and cheese mix out of your mind because the result of the challenge on these chefs was food at its finest. There were so many spins on the classic it was dizzying and all of them delicious. In between the mouthwatering risotto stops the festival celebration continued with great Italian wines and antipasto.

While you are making room in your stomach there were opportunities all around to pick your pleasure. With the perfect Sunday weather you could just grab a seat and enjoy the scenery, for the shopper there was an amazing silent auction and several open stores in the design center, for the car buff the displays of classic and sports car was spot on and for the music lover the Italian music transported you to another world. My daughter and I were excited we started off hungry because conquering all the tastings was a daunting feat.   In the end I walked away feeling inspired by the wide range of risotto visions the chefs brought to life and even without a silent auction win feel great about the money raised for such worthy local causes.IMG_7562

Letting your shoes do the talking with Giuseppe

Giuseppe Opening (10)With shoes being such a big part of any fashionistas closet you have to look being beyond trendy. Your shoe choices need to be an expression of you and well designed enough to not be out the door. At the Giuseppe Zanotti store opening in the new River Oaks District they showcased why the designer is not only known for amazing designs but has also withheld the test of time (and the fickleness of trends).

Giuseppe Opening (12) Giuseppe Opening (8) Giuseppe Opening (7)You always now if you are going to have a great store party when you can follow all the beautiful people to the store. With the beautiful designs of the River Oaks District as the perfect setting the flowing drinks and trendsetting people still managed to serve as backdrop to the mesmerizing shoe designs. Giuseppe is in a league of their own for me in their ability to match perfectly the fabric with the design. Seamlessly blending sating with futuristic nods and ostrich with tried and true favorites keeps them both innovative but classic at the same damn time. Something that is required for your shoes to move beyond a passing trend to more of an investment in your wardrobe present and future. From everything from the fun sky high heels, to fancy flats to even tennis shoes that can take you from day to night they served up all kinds of fabulous at their party.  Giuseppe Opening (4)

Building support by showing support

Building support by showing supportAs children we learn the Golden Rule to treat others how we would like to be treated, but somehow the “me first” attitude often creeps back in as adults. This attitude demands to first receive the benefit of support from others, while our own commitment to support those around us can be questionable at best and damn near non-existent at its worst. In a business environment where you want a strong network being present to support the successes and accomplishments of those around you is a necessary part of your own longevity.

Too often the notion of supporting someone else comes with a reciprocation tie. You show up to those you feel may show up for you instead of showing up to support and leaving the strings at the door. I am not for pouring energy into those who cannot understand how to return the favor but if your goal is to support someone then do it. Leave the questions and strings at the door and do it because you want to. With that as the goal then no matter what happens next you have accomplished what you set out to do. The benefits after making that selfless commitment begin to roll in without you even asking for more. When you go into an event with a positive and encouraging spirit it is contagious. You are showing yourself as a supportive colleague and believe it or not that will attract others. This energy can serve as a pick me up of what could typically be a boring networking event and provide some purpose to a happening you would otherwise miss. In business opportunities are often hiding in the place you least expect, but as with winning at the casino, you have to play to win. Whether or not the generosity of your time and energy is ever returned by who you showed up to support you begin to plant the seeds of unselfish support which are essential to harvesting a bounty of support in your own ventures and successes.

Celebrating New Beginnings with Orgins

Orgins Relaunch (6)The skincare phenomenal Orgins is doing its own renewal with new products and a new look at the Orgins Galleria relaunch. Orgins has always been a brand focusing on the pulling only the best ingredients nature has to offer and innovative formulation to address a wide range of skin care needs. Whether your problem areas are oil, age, sun or drynees, Orgins prides itself on specially formulated products and the insight of a knowledgeable staff who works with you to shine the best you through in your skin. The relaunch of the Galleria store marks the redesign initiative of all of the Orgins stores according the global Vice President. The clean lines and airy spaces put the spotlight on the pure components that are the source of Orgins strength. Orgins Relaunch (5)The beautiful Orgins approach of being transparent in what they use and how they use it is beautifully woven in their new design and as always strongly present in their product lines.

Orgins Relaunch (1)Of course outside of the ingredients the fact that Orgins is set up as a giant tester store is a sweeping win with the redesign. Whether it is a hand massage or a quick facial, Orgins backs up their promise of better ingredients to fit a better solution to your skincare concerns by working with you in the store to find your customized solutions. Orgins Relaunch (8) Orgins Relaunch (7)

 

 

 

 

 

As an added bonus to the already fabulous Orgins lines they had The Bachelors Catherine and Sean on hand to share some of their favorite picks from the store.

 

Orgins Relaunch (4)Here are some of the must haves from Orgins that can help you step out with your best face forward:

Weil for Orgins: Breaking free from a routine of washing that can overly dry out your face is easy with this Mega Mushroom Skin Relief. No matter if you use it as your make up remover or bedside to clean and calm your face before bed the mushroom based skin cleanser breaks the chains to soap and water.

Clear Improvements: You can search all over and be hard pressed to find a charcoal mask that works better. For me hands down this is one of my tried and true favorites, especially for those with oil and acne prone skin. Even using the treatment just once a week does wonders for reducing oil and seeing less pimple pop ups.

Original Skin: Even better than a regimen for reducing the signs of aging is one that prevents! This product aims for those in the quarter life range to prevent a crisis down the road. It is a great way to start investing early in your skin care for the long term.

High-Potency Night A-Mins: If you hate waking up in the morning to find the hardship of yesterday still written all over your face this product is for you. The vitamin rich formula helps your skin supercharge its healing so it wakes up in the morning as refreshed as you are.

Eat, Drink and Be Merry for this Sunday Funday

IMG_5274Yes the summers in Houston are pretty brutal but the good news is that we get not one but two opportunities for nice weather and the perfect conditions for festivals. In the fall we have a wide array of festivals ranging from family fun to grown up libations, so there is literally something for everyone. This weekend on deck are two amazing opportunities to eat, drink and be merry so make sure to get in on the fun and make this Sunday a Sunday Funday to remember.

Houston Margarita Festival

I grew up in a family of tequila lovers so margaritas have always been my thing. If you share a love for this tequila libation then this the festival for you. With 19 types of margaritas on deck how can you go wrong??? On top of the margarita fun there are music, bands and music galore insuring an all day fiesta.

Houston Risotto Festival

If food is more up your alley the risotto festival is a celebration of Italian Food and Wine designed for the whole family. The festival not only offers food tastings but an exotic car display and activities and tours for kids and parents alike.   Best of all the festival has a charitable purpose and has benefited local charities to the tune of half a million dollars since the festival started in 2000.

Deciding when to say f-it, and proceed just for you

Middle fingerGuess who’s back. After months of not posting on my blog I have followed the call to return to the world of blogging. I wasn’t sure if I was ever going to make this journey on this blog because, as with many walks down reality lane, blogging wasn’t quite what I was expecting. I started off on the path blessed to have a really great blogging mentor to look up to. I thought I would start posting and before long be a super big blogger, flying all over the world and only having to drop a line to have doors swing wide open for me. The reality was that blogging is super hard work. It requires commitment, discipline, and a willingness to risk a very public failure if it doesn’t pop off like you hope it will. Coupling that with a stupid web hosting company I cannot escape from and a mysterious reason why Google won’t index my blog I reached my maximum frustration level. I thought that follow others suggestions to just stop or find a different domain was the best idea.   I struggled with this idea for months and today while watching The Voice a kid reminded me of something that I lost in translation of trying to have a successful blog: Following your passion is a reward in itself.

Up at midnight on a Monday night it dawned on me that following your passion is not easy and the rewards may not come from where you expected. If my expectation was to start writing a blog and get paid in money and clothes for my opinion then I struck out. But if I blog because I love to write and want to share the real life struggles, lessons, laughs, and adventures of my world then whether 1 person reads it or 100,000 I have already won. Life often deals us cards that seem the exact opposite of what we expect and at this point it is the opportunity to pull out the f-it card. If you aren’t doing it because it’s a passion that makes you better than by all means stop, but if the opposite is true whether others love it or hate it – F-IT! Do it because you love it and leave the rest of the angst and expectation at the door. My life is full of challenges of being a mom and working and thinking and praying and a million other things not unlike people across the globe. In this blog I hope to share my life in its fun and thoughtful moments as an inspiration to others facing the same challenges of not just making it through life but on really enjoying it to the fullest. It is not for money or fame just because I like to write and I like to share. If you are new I hope you enjoy and if you are not new thank you for reading and if you hate my post and wish you could get the 3 minutes of your life it took to read it back well then F-It and have a nice one.

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