Adding a Carnaval twist to the Champagne Campaign with Veuve Cliquot

All the music, fun, and sun that comes to mind when you think of Miami was turned on and amplified for the Veuve Cliquot Carnaval.  This annual Veuve extravaganza celebrates all the vibrancy of Miami in a fun twist on their typical events.  As a frequent attendee for the Polo Match I was curious to see what this MIA variation brought to the table as partygoers celebrated the dancing and music of Carnaval with a Veuve twist.

So in an easy answer to the question “How was the Veuve Champaign campaign at the Veuve Carnaval in Miami?” is that it was fantastico! Set in the Biscayne Park, the venue was both centrally located and offered great views of both the water front of Biscayne Bay and neighboring downtown Miami.  The staples for veuve events were of course present as well with food trucks and Veuve bottle tents conveniently spaced throughout the celebration.  For the Miami edition I think the location layout tops even some of other popular polo venues as right away when walking in you were faced with the very difficult decision to buy a bottle or glass of your favorite Veuve.  The food truck options presented a wide range of selections from bar food and pizza to some more lavish possibilities like my choice, an outstanding lobster roll food truck.  They offered some great variations on the traditional lobster roll and the bite was the perfect base for the bottles of Veuve on deck.

What really makes this event unique is the music and entertainment. With live performances from local bands and a thrilling performance from Swing Latina there was an instant fiesta vibe tingling throughout the entire event.  What is best about good vibrations is that they are contagious so even in the threat of an afternoon Miami shower or bearing the mostly standing only seating options you still feel energetic as you sway to the beat and check out all the cool kids that are certainly in the building in any Veuve event.

Cabo Azul: A shining star in luxury family vacations in Cabo

Cabo Azul redefines luxury family vacay on the beautiful coast of Cabo.  At some family hotels you have to sacrifice some luxury in order to get the amenities that make it work for your family, especially small children. In an unexpected turn of events I ended up doing a quick booking at Cabo Azul with no idea what to expect.  I was literally blown away as this is a luxury hotel where you can do both, family fun and max out the luxury.  My go to last minute hotel app, Hotel Tonight, specializes in providing immediate hotels available at discounted pricing so it’s a great way to find a great hotel in a hurry, such as a cab ride from the airport.  They break the hotel down in categories of luxe, modern, basic, etc. so I hopped in a taxi, booked a hotel and hoped for the best.

With low priced booking you are almost left waiting for the other shoe to drop, how can a great hotel be super cheap???? With hotel prices in Cabo ranging from the hundreds and work its way up pretty quickly it can be a mixed bag of what you get in reality.  With my expectations low price I found I figured at the very least I would have a safe place to lay my head for the night.  But upon walking in I got waaay more than I expected.  Across the street was a great strip center with food and hand crafted vendors to give you every bit of the luxury but an escape from what can be high hotel prices.  Inside the hotel, everything from the doors, to rooms to pools was big and lux! With various buildings it can take your while to make it around the whole complex as bigger is better is definitely the theme for the hotel.

Of course the first pit stop is your bag drop off to your room. The entire decoration provides an exotic Moroccan theme with separate living and dining rooms, perfect for family living.  With a bed so comfy it was hard to want to move around but with an adult’s pool jumping from my balcony I knew I had to make my rounds.  The grandness of the hotel reaches its pinnacle in its chapel area.  With handcrafted details surrounding the chapel it is the perfect place to commit to something sacred.  The gorgeous ocean views on top of it do no hurt one bit.  As nice as the first two pools are, the real masterpiece is the main pool.  As I approached at night the pool was lit by large fire pits inside the pool.  Complimented best from the luxury lounge areas that surround the pool so you can watch the kids and have a good time of your own throughout the area in their warm waters of the pool.

With great restaurants mixed in within the pool area is a great showpiece that you could really spend the entirety of your vacation on.  But oh wait you can’t because the beach area is equally breathtaking.  With meticulously combed sand and sprawling beds and beach chairs, every seat is the best seat in the house to enjoy the sunrise or set and get a bit of the local flavor.  As opposed to some busier beaches I spent an entire morning out on the beach almost by myself, making it a great place to give kids freedom to play without worrying about who is around.  I capped off my stay at the Cabo Azul having breakfast by the pool, waited on by some friendly and attentive waiters who went above and beyond to make sure I got the most out of Cabo Azul.  Although my stay was short the Cabo Azul has my full attention on a perfect place for a family getaway in stunning Cabo.

 

Diner en Blanc: A dinner party like no other

What originally started nearly thirty years ago as a handful of friends gathering for dinner dressed to the nines in all white in Paris, has exploded to the famed Diner en Blanc celebration of food, friends, fun and all things fabulous.  Recently I had the opportunity to attend the Houston edition, however this traveling dinner party has stops all over the world including previous locations at the Eiffel Tower and Champs-Elysees.  But utilizing the elements of surprise and the host city’s natural beauty the event draws crowds of the city’s movers and shakers all with a have fun while “you see and be seen kind” of attitude.

As much of the event is hazed in mystery that quickly intrigues you and pulls you in I walked into the experience still in the fog.  And by experience I do mean the entire process as it is more than just one night.  It starts with registering, or trying to register, and if you have not been before waiting to see if you are pulled off the waitlist.  Then quickly moving to buy your tickets and as a newbie finding out that they supply the place and the party but it is your job to bring everything else.  And when I say everything else I do mean the whole shebang.  From chairs and tables to linens and plates the work is on your end to get things done within the all-white guidelines provided to you by your section leader.  As I opted to bring my own food I spent the day of the dinner in full panic mode.  From finding plates to putting together a dinner menu that would work on the move to my dinner date making table arrangement plans for the entire week.  After all of this and the huff and puff of moving yourself, your settings and your food to your space you are left with your heart and mind pumping with the following question: Is it worth it?????

Fortunately for the Diner en Blanc brand the answer to that questions is a resounding YES!!! As people began to pull out their table settings I knew I was in for a treat.  The average park we arrived to was transformed to all the elegance and glamour you would imagine on a beautiful night on the River Seine. With everyone pulling out all the stops from their outfits to their table décor the ability to just sit and peek the scene is absolutely thrilling.  The added bonus surprise is that all the work and hassle that it takes to get people prepared for Diner en Blanc has an amazing effect on the crowd.  I think its easiest to describe as the work makes attendees humble and hungry.  Not just hungry for food but for experiences, for laugher, for the opportunity to check into their friends and check out of social media, for the break  in their life where in a room full of other grown and sexy folks they can kick their shoes off and just enjoy life.  At the end of the day I believe this attitude is what the Diner en Blanc brand is built upon and without question after attending this reputation is on solid footing.  If you hear of Diner en Blanc coming to your city start doing the work to get in the know, it is well worth the work!

Martell Cognac H.O.M.E. making libations an experience

Martell Cognac has gone on tour over the US and is reminding those who were not in the know how they became a Cognac Powerhouse.  Yes the master crafting began over three centuries ago in 1715 but Martell has proven they have a product that is not just timeless but actually connects an amazing range of demographics and cultures.  With the foundation being in a smooth cognac the passion for the Martell products is indeed contagious and the Home event was no exception to this legacy.

Set in a sleek, modern, luxury home the Martell Home event was a perfect clean slate to paint beautiful palettes of cognac. Every room housed a different way to enjoy Martell.  So you can could start smoothly at the door and enjoy a Huncho Punch and then let it flow as the night and vibe takes you from rooms busy with beautiful peoples or rooms pulsing with fun.  With exciting rooms featuring dry iced concoctions and bustling rooms full of the city’s movers and shakers not only were guest enjoying the cognac but the elegant, one of kind atmosphere the cognac produces.

My favorites without questions were the rooms where I got a chance to really explore the Martell brand. First up was a chance to get in the driver wheel of my nights libations.  Yes we were put in charge and taught by master bartenders to become your own mixologist.  With our choice of fruit selection, freshly made sour mix, and of course a heavy or light pour of Martell you could really allow your taste preference to meet Martell in the middle.  Definitely on the best drinks of the night if I do say so myself.  Last but not least, tucked away in a closet of your dreams, you had a chance to get intimate with the pure cognacs without the mixers and extras taking away from the smooth flavorful Martell Cognac.  Straight up or with ice you not only got to sip the Martell of your choosing you had an opportunity to chat with brand ambassador who already know and love the Cognacs and who could share this passion with guests..  To top off an already memorable night the guest of honor Quavo from Migos insure guest had a night as unforgettable as the cognac.

Wine on the move with Premesi Wines

When a seasoned, serial and successful entrepreneur invests tons of money and time in something you have a pretty good bet its going to be outstanding and with my introduction to Premesi wines that is definitely true for Al Rucker.  Al Rucker has built a name and brand in the Houston area for his undeniable business savvy, creating brands throughout the city from bail bonds to comedy clubs to radio shows.  Now he is investing these same gifts into a new avenue, the wine business.

Now the jump from his previous ventures to wine may seem like a bit of a leap, however, when it comes to wines there is always one overriding vote…Taste!! To make sure we not only got a chance to experience the wines but the lifestyle that the wine should embody we were treated to a wine tasting extravaganza.  Meeting for a mobile happy hour traveling from the Galleria are to Dolce Ultra Lounge in Cypress guest were able to network, nosh on some superb treats by the Chef to the Stars and of course sample the goods!  Not one minute of the night backed away from the claim of a phenomenal experience.  To first wet our pallets Chef Tiffany spoiled us with a unique box for eating on the go.  With treats like chilled shrimp, chicken salad and waffles, and cornbread and black eyed peas it seems like we had gotten to the main course, but the true super star of the night was the wines.  Chef Tiffany carefully curated two cocktails that had everyone on the bus smiling and deserves a place on everyone’s holiday drink list.  Best of all each recipe gave an opportunity to really explore the depth and flavor of both the Brachetto and Moscato d”Asti.

Even with all of the fun and delicious food on the bus, the party did not stop as we experienced the Premesi lifestyle for a day. As we arrived at Dolce Ultra Lounge the excellence continued with samplings of both their white and red wine and a full blown comedy show that pulled out heavy hitter Michael Colyar.  There is nothing like enjoying a night full of laughter, vibrant ambiance, amazing food, and of course unforgettable wine.  Make sure to get in on the lifestyle and amazing wines that Premesi has to offer!

Girls Trip Fun: Reclaiming our time

Sometimes you just have to getaway and using your escape to reconnect with girl friends who reflect some of the best of you is a great way to reclaim your time, your life, and dare I say your groove? Whoever encouraged me to take the leap into adulthood and failed to mention all the unfun things that get in the way clearly wanted to mislead me. In what I thought would be a glamorous life of an attorney and entrepreneur is instead long days of running around, often in circles, for people I may not like.  It is definitely the life I choose so this is not a complaint just a note that what I want to do is often placed waaaayyyyyy behind all the things I need to do.  So that rare weekend when the stars align and I can get 7 of my friends away from their busy lives to enjoy some fun in beautiful southern California is one of the best ways to tap into the young, carefree Cori often hidden under the driven hard working Eleanor.

So how and why can a girl’s trip help you reclaim your time? Well the most important part is all the things you leave behind.  Yep the best trips are ones where you leave the laptop, pre-warn everyone you will be unavailable and tap into the present.  You only have one life to live and often we forget this message behind all the other things that seem to get priority.  Make money, find love, raise kids! All of these important life requirements but sometimes a little pearl is forgotten along the way… you are as important as all of the things on your to do list.

You

When you believe that and take occasions, even if they are rare to feed into that amazing things happen. Your step peps up, your smile gets a little more genuine, you remember to have fun and love with power. And for me there are few better people to tap into this part of myself than my good friends.  There is influence in perception and when you surround yourself by those who in the glimpses of you they get see you as smart and beautiful and powerful and competent, you can catch the same feelings about yourself.  As we set out to cheers in LA I laughed and smiled and even was a tad bit bossy, but with women who see all of those qualities as benefits to me and my friendship with them. A weekend with these kinds of reflections of yourself is a great reminder of how strong the best of you is when you untie the teeter and let the balloon soar. If only for the weekend.

Veuve Polo Classic: New York

Vueve Clicquot Champagne and Polo are already a certified classic with scenes from Pretty Woman dancing through my head at the mere mention. With the combo already being a tempting combination for me a text from one of my fav road trip divas about the Veuve Polo Classic and before I knew it I was booked to New Jersey with ticket to this uber posh event.

With gorgeous city views, great vibes and flowing Veuve Chicquot champagne this event made sure to get a special marks on my calendar as it not only met but exceeded my already high expectations. Nothing beats the opportunity to step outside the regularly scheduled program of your life, get all dolled up and do something both different and absolutely fabulous.  As soon as I hopped off the shuttle and headed towards the location I felt the vibrations of fun and fancy from walking in the door.  Set in Liberty State Park you have a jaw dropping view of the impressive Manhattan skyline.  My immediate first move…head straight for the champs!! Even that very easy decision though was difficult just because of the sheer beauty of the venue and the people that inhabited it.  With special Veuve photo opts sprinkled throughout the park it is hard to stay focused in heading in one direction.  Despite the struggle I made it and quickly decided on getting a bottle of Veuve, which came with a classic Veuve carrying case, to get the show on the road.  With the champagne moving your feet and probably your mouth too, the feeling of getting all dressed up with your friends as you feeling on top of the world and ready to slay only to realize you weren’t the only one who caught the vibes.  Chic dresses and distinguished gentlemen abounded offer a sea of eye candy with the champs easily opening the doors of conversation.

So of course on top of all the eye spy fun there is the Polo Match. Admittedly I was a little late for some of the fun and when we finally made it over to the field we found a sea of blankets and picnic baskets checking out the action of the game.  While on my first go round I opted for general tickets if floor seating is not up your alley you can also upgrade to VIP for more formal seating (and of course easier access to the champagne).  To top off a full day of day drinking the fun climaxed as Alicia Keys performed to cap off what was a great day enjoying some beautiful weather with even more fabulous friends.

Next up is the Veuve Clicquot Polo Classic Los Angeles on October 14th!  Mix in the Classic Fun with the easy flow and beautiful scenery of Southern California and you are sure to have a fabulous combination on your hands.

The Texas Black Expo delivered on Texas size fun!

The Texas Black Expo is just what you may expect, but sooo much more.  The expo is a great opportunity not only to support black owned businesses, but also offers some great showcases and seminars from everything from entertainment, to health and wellness to real talk from successful professionals.  Last weekend I had the opportunity to not only check out some of the great vendors at the expo but also get a little insight in the age old question, what are the differences between men and women?  In the Diva Dialogues Entertainment Attorney Jalene Mack brought together a power packed panel to take on the challenge of “The Great Divide” and see just how different do many and women feel about things from business to love and relationships.

This Texas Black Expo seminar was a great look into the differences, sometimes subtle, sometime distinct, between how men and women see the world. This type of conversation can either be lots of fun or down right argumentative so it was an extra bonus that Jalene was not just an entertainment attorney but an actor as well, and able to keep everyone both on task and having fun.  With a feisty panel of professionals you who are enjoying themselves and openly sharing you almost cannot help yourself but get wrapped up in the fun.  The panelists ranging from philanthropist, to attorneys, to radio station owners, to successful entrepreneurs and even a special guest Golden Brooks, a successful actress and business owner most known for her role on Girlfriends.

So what is the take on the great divide? Actually in listening to the responses you begin to understand women and men are looking at the same side of the different coin.  Although initially it may seem like two completely different approaches, the more you communicate and open your mind the more clarity you see on the differences.  Whether big or small, however, the panel offered some great insight on how they take on the challenges of being a business owner.  Here are a couple of pearls that most of us know, but often forget to apply and use in the way to approach both business and life:

  • Jalene Mack – Entertainment Attorney and founder of MPAC: On networking Jalene recommends entering into it with purpose. When you are focused in on finding opportunities you make sure networking actually enhances your business.
  • Golden Brooks – Actress and Entrepreneur: When faced with the challenge of being an African American woman in business Golden found strength by walking in her own light. By knowing herself she is not diminished by others but can use it as a basis of celebration for the unique person she is and the distinctive gifts she brings to the table
  • CleRenda McGrady – Author and Philanthropist – in referencing her favorite movie scene in The Wizard of Oz CleRenda draws strength from the idea that the power is within you all along, you just have to believe it for yourself.
  • Velma Trayham – PR Expert recommends business owners really invest the time and energy to know their market. When you don’t waste time and money focusing on being everything to everyone you can focus on making real connections with your target audience
  • Keisha Nicole – DJ for 97.9 The Box: In speaking to purpose Keisha is inspired by knowing that if God gave her a purpose, he also blesses with the gifts and capacity to carry it out if you are willing to put in the work.
  • Al Rucker – owner of Midtown Bail Bonds – For those who do not network Al recommends using the energy to focus on building their brand. After time a strong enough brand gets people searching for them instead of the other way around.
  • Danny Norris – Attorney with Norris & Norris Attorneys Essential tips for starting a business are to work out a business plan, a mentor, and the capital needed to get the business off the ground
  • Marcus Bowers – Owner of She’s Happy Hair – In his journey to hair mogul Marcus made a commitment to himself to just try to be better every day than he was the day before
  • Oscar Hines – Owner of KYND Radio shared his favorite quote that captured his life philosophy – “It’s not the number of breaths you have in life, it is the number or moments that take your breath away”

All in all the Texas Black Expo is a great way to support your community with businesses you love and others you have yet to fall in love with. Most importantly it is a great opportunity to have more breath taking moments and learn something along the way.

Big eats and even bigger charity at Big Taste of Houston

If you are looking for a party with a purpose infused with great drinks and food then look no further than the Big Brothers Big Sisters Big Taste of Houston.  Big Brothers Big Sisters has always been a charity that inspired me.  With a strong commitment to providing diverse mentorship to area youth the non-profit is based off the principals that giving back does not have to be ordinary.  The Big Taste of Houston is another nod to this idea as you have the opportunity to taste some of the best bites Houston has to offer while raising money for this worthy cause.

The premise is just as it sounds, fabulous local restaurants and chefs dig deep in putting together big bites of some of their best or newly created dishes. From braised short ribs to oysters shucked to order there were bites big enough to satisfy even the hungriest Texan.  It always brings a smile to my face when I see some of my favorite local restaurants participating as I know the competition will really get their creative juices flowing.  Restaurants like Uchi and North Italia really outdid themselves on coming up with delectable treats that you just could not say no to.

No question the party was great, but there is no forgetting the great purpose behind it all as some of the cities shining stars turned out to support. Although the tastes were definitely big, the auction prizes were arguably bigger.  From a silent auction full of goodies to an Audi A3 giveaway there were so many ways to support the Big Brothers Big Sisters while coming away with something amazing for yourself in the process.  With the panel of celebrity judges and beautiful people enjoying the night the event was hard to beat.  The perfect balance of drinks flowing and music bumping and charitable giving made the big Taste of Houston a must do on any foodie’s annual calendar.

Tampa Girls Weekend Fun

Birthdays are a perfect excuse to visit long distance friends so I recently hopped to Tampa for the weekend to get a taste of this South Florida destination and celebrate with friends. A weekend trip for a purpose is great as you get to wash away some of the excuses that normally plague a short trip.  Instead of worrying about ticket prices or how to work time off in your hectic schedule it becomes a lot easier to just bite the bullet and commit.  When you are visiting a new city the choice is even more tempting as you can get some of the highlights of a city in a very fun weekend with friends.

For this trip as I have amazingly chic friends I got some of the best food and drinks that the city of Tampa had to over. Fresh off the plane, thanks to a prime airport location, I quickly started my Tampa tour and the super sophisticated Ocean Prime.  This was my first time trying this is a national restaurant chain and I was definitely not disappointed.  The lounge and bar area have a cool kids vibe flowing from the staff to the guests.  The smoking Berries and Bubbles cocktail caught my eye as soon as I walked in and with first sip I was in love.  The food and service combined with this intoxicating cocktail started my night off on a high note.  To keep the party going in Tampa is easy as pie as they have several bar areas which making something you like a breeze.  As bar hopping is a serious past time of mine it was easy to go from grunge, to bar, to hookah, and even to live music so finding something up your alley is almost guaranteed.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

After a long night of fun and a nice day of taking advantage of some of the great shopping Tampa had to offer it was time for a birthday dinner. Where else should you celebrate one of your most fabulous friends than the world renowned Bern’s Steak House.  To say the restaurant is a culinary experience is an understatement.  From the ornate decorations to the completely separate dessert restaurant the experience at Bern’s is top of the line.  While I am not a big steak person, I could not resist as you look at the giant menu of options.  Even more exciting is that you come in with the expectations you are about to give away your first born for your meal and I was pleasantly surprised with the cost of the food considering we got course after course of exquisite dishes.  For some extra bonus points you have the opportunity after your meal to tour the kitchen, including in house butcher, and wine cellar.  A great way to appreciate your gastronomic adventure at Bern’s even more.

 

Now of course everything I did in Tampa did not consist of food and drink but those were definitely some highlights. All in all Tampa was a cool city that had a mix of small town closeness with stylish city flare.  With their closeness to the water and constant festival city one thing is for certain, Tampa and its residents know how to have fun!

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