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.

Fusing fashion, music, and motivation at the Tanqueray Trunk Show

Tanqueray Trunk Show (7)Getting together innovators, movers and shakers, and influencers throughout a city all together in a celebration of the spirit of following your passion is no small feat. Last weekend, however, this feat was successfully dynamically produced with the Tanqueray Trunk Show at the stunning Astoria by the forces at Tanqueray USA and Team EpiphanyTanqueray Trunk Show (1)This invite only event not only featured some on the move designers and a ground breaking hip hop artist, it gave some real insight on the challenges and benefits of entrepreneurship through the creators perspective and with their end products on hand.

With an introduction like the Astoria as your event space, how can you go wrong?  This new premier event space was born out of the ingenuity of repurposing warehouse space off of the Washington corridor.  The space, with its dramatic setting, various bar areas, and spotlight stage, showcases the elevation of the Houston event scene.  Tanqueray added the polish to the space with a Tanqueray décor that was artistic in and of itself.  As you entered the venue and ascended the stairs you were given access to not only see what the designers had to offer but get a chance to model the brand for yourself with an invitation to walk away with one item of your choosing.

Tanqueray Trunk Show (8)The real nexus of the event occurred with a panel featuring the mastermind Curtis Coltrane from Team Epiphany along with the creators from the brands KiTH, Black Apple, and Striver’s all shared insight on the hustle and heartache in following your dreams on an entrepreneurial panel.  Sharing the vision and passion that led to creating a brand is powerful in itself, however, combing this in a room full of peers takes on a contagion that can be explosive.  Tanqueray Trunk Show (2)Environments such as this help foster the critical insight and motivation needed to continue pushing on personal journeys and is one of the best ways to bloom right where you are planted along your journey towards entrepreneurship.

As if the flowing libations and entrepreneurial inspiration was not enough, the night ended with a rousing performance by Common.  As a rapper Common is renowned for the dual complexity of his word play along with his commitment to address social issues.  His notoriety as a performer is complimented by his immense vision in taking a passion, weathering the storm, and making your passion into a business and a brand.  Tanqueray Trunk Show (6) Tanqueray Trunk Show (5)With his rousing words and flows everyone ended the night on their feet.  With a sleek combination of fashion, music, and spirits the Tanqueray Trunk Show and Common closed out their tour in Houston with the crowd urging for more.

 

 

Food Nirvana at the Sugar Land Wine & Food Affair

SFWFA 2015 Grand Tasting (7)In an effortless combination of the best of the best that food and wine has to offer the Sugar Land Wine & Food Affair once again swept in town bringing good times, good people, and great spirits along with it.  The Sugar Land Wine & Food Affair is an annual celebration of all things culinary paired with the perfect spirit to match any occasion and paired perfectly with the cuisine.  The four day affair not only benefits a great cause with proceeds benefiting the Conrad N. Hilton College of Hotel and Restaurant Management.  The event is a great way to expand what you like or thought you liked in the food, wine and spirits arena.  Armed with a pen or even easier your camera phone to record your favorites, your ticket to the events buys you access to check out some old favorites but a lot of new favorites and event restaurants and wines on your wish list to try.

SFWFA 2015 Grand Tasting (6)The weekend celebration starts off in a day celebrating the spirits with the On the Rocks Challenge.  From the best of the best bartenders the city has to offer you get an explosion of their creativity going wild and end up with a champ that reigns throughout the remainder of the weekend to make sure you don’t miss out.

SFWFA 2015 Grand Tasting (3)SFWFA 2015 Grand Tasting (4)The main event of the weekend is a glorious celebration of the best of the best at the Grand Tasting in the Sugar Land Town Square Marriott.  Every year for this event I try to prepare myself and every year I leave, although very happy, also feeling a little defeated that I did not get to try everything.  This year the culinary features set the event on fire.   I spent about 30 minutes going around and enticing whoever would listen to try the Frito Pie.  This gourmet take on a childhood classic made an overhaul of classic ingredients and adding an impressive flair with chipotle cream sauce.  I was in awe.  This combined with some other favs including lobster pizza, lobster mac and cheese, mac and cheese stuffed fried chicken I was literally floating on cloud nine.  When you combine the food nirvana with the bountiful selection of wines, whiskey and vodka who in the world could have a bad time.  Another great addition benefitting their worthy benefactor was the online aspect of their silent auction.  From trips to gift certificates you can bid on any and all from your phone and get in on the fun.

SFWFA 2015 Grand Tasting (8) SFWFA 2015 Grand Tasting (9) SFWFA 2015 Grand Tasting (10) SFWFA 2015 Grand Tasting (11) SFWFA 2015 Grand Tasting (12) SFWFA 2015 Grand Tasting (1) SFWFA 2015 Grand Tasting (2) SLWFA 2015 Sip and Stroll (9) SLWFA 2015 Sip and Stroll (10)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Day two of the extravaganza was the Sip and Stroll at the old Imperial Sugar Factor and even spring showers could not stop the fun!  Spread between two building this event replaces some of the finesse of the Grand Tasting with sheer volume.  SLWFA 2015 Sip and Stroll (5)At this event you are sure to see some of your local favorites in food and drink pulling out all the stops.  I was pleasantly surprised by some up and coming restaurants with my number one choice being the Big Ben TavernSLWFA 2015 Sip and Stroll (10) SLWFA 2015 Sip and Stroll Big Ben TavernThey easily slide to first with their memorable bites including a peanut butter glaze on their chicken wings!  Other long time favorites like the Lobster Roll from Academe Brasserie had stomachs growling with lines wrapped around their booth for this savory delight.  The combination of sweets, eats, and drinks with a lively mix of music and entertainment was a sure winner.  SLWFA 2015 Sip and Stroll Lobster Roll and Me SLWFA 2015 Sip and Stroll Lobster Roll 1A great addition this year was the live demonstrations of beef 101 to help you sharpen your butchery skills and give some ideas on expanding your chef skills with beef.

SLWFA 2015 Sip and Stroll (7) SLWFA 2015 Sip and Stroll (4) SLWFA 2015 Sip and Stroll Beef 101 Demonstration SLWFA 2015 Sip and Stroll (9)

 

 

 

The final event of the weekend is a great recover from the hard core eating and drinking of the first two days.  With the Bistro Brunch you have a chance to take a little more leisurely approach and collect some great brunch favorites while you listen to some mellow tunes.  Although the weather forecast predicted rain my love of the fried lobster and waffles drew me back.  SLWFA 2015 Bistro Brunch (3)Of course the treat did not disappoint and with the delicious vanilla butter blessing my waffle it will likely draw me back year after year.  As with any celebration of food one of the best features is tasting combinations you would have thought of like the chicken slider with a pineapple slaw that had me coming back for seconds.  With the company of a great friend there is no better way to start the week and join in on the celebration of some of the things that make life worth living at the Sugar Land Wine & Food Affair. SLWFA 2015 Bistro Brunch (2) SLWFA 2015 Bistro Brunch (1) SLWFA 2015 Bistro Brunch (4)

 

 

 

 

Beauty in Courage Event Recap: A stunning mix of art and fashion

Live Auction at Beauty in Courage (2)Fashion, music, dancing can all be considered art forms but rarely do you see them presented together, let alone in a flow that shines the best qualities in all.  Vox Culture carefully mastered pulling together these various forms of art at Beauty in Courage to benefit a powerful cause on Monday night at Mr. Peeples Restaurant.  By pulling the best of performers, designers and artist from all around Houston and beyond Vox Culture was able to raise awareness and funds for the Tahirih Justice Center.   The center provides helps to women and girls affected by gender based violence and the passion behind such a worthy cause came to light in the creativity and magic you saw not just in the event production but in the guest that attended as well.

Life perforance at Beauty in Courge (2) Life perforance at Beauty in Courge (1)The event really provided a little something for everyone.  For the entertainment enthusiast the entire night delivered from the second you approached the venue as you were greeted by a stilt performer at the entrance to visual arts throughout.  Throughout the night’s festivities there were rappers and singers tearing down the house and sharing the message of understanding and hope that the Tahirih Justice Center is all about.  For the art lover you were right at home with the artist exhibition set up giving you live one on one access with many of the artist accompanying their designs.  Finally for the fashionista there was an overload with a fashion show that showcased designers on the cutting edge of what was new and hot in fashion.  I adores shows where the range of clothes give me some real insight not just on a season but what aesthetically drives the designer.  Beauty in courage red carpet and entryI got a perfect introduction to some up and coming designers an those who are well on their way to making their mark including Rammyez by Rammy, Elle Milady, Virginia Colao, Damari & Co., Panache by B, and the incomparable Danny Nguyen Couture.  With performances sprinkled throughout the show and a great live auction for some of the pieces Vox did a great job of bringing together some of Houston’s most fabulous people to benefit one of our most worthy causes.

 

Mixed Media and Monet combine for a perfect Friday Night

Mixed Media and Monet (1)Picking your pleasure in the world of social fun is never easier or better packaged than in the Mixed Media series at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston.  While normally it may seem like going to a museum and a fun dance party are on two completely sides of the spectrum, The Mixed Media series manages to deliver the best of both world, with access to the current exhibit combined with drinks, music and dancing in the main portion of the library. Mixed Media and Monet (4)

This Mixed Media was surprisingly poignant to me as I got a chance to see the exhibit: Monet and the Seine – Impressions of a River.  I am a big art lover, but mainly I am drawn to pieces that capture life as it moves around people.  Coming into the exhibit I was not sure what to expect when I thought of Impressions of a River.  Mixed Media and Monet (2)So when I made my way up the stairs, away from the drinking and party, and up to the exhibit I thought I would just make a quick round.  Instead I did just the opposite, I starred at the paintings and absorbed the experience as if time stood still.  The exhibit itself was truly mesmerizing to me.  The tranquility of the impressions of the river as well as the artistry that it took to show such simple reflections of light and space at a river so effortlessly was intoxicating.  It was easy to just slip right in to see the world through the eyes of Monet and breathe in the sounds of a river at peace, or the reflection of the trees in the stillness of the water.  It was a great contrast to real life as well as the busy party environment to check off a lot on my checklist of weekend activities.

Mixed Media and Monet (6)As I stepped out of my art trance I was quickly drawn back into the fun of the night’s festivities. As always DJ Sun manages to get the crowd moving.  What I love best about DJ Sun is his ability to feel the crowd so well his song selections get you moving even if the song is a mystery to you.  By perfectly matching the vibe of the crowd with the rhythm of the beat it’s almost impossible not to indulge in a little boogie.  When you add in a photo booth, great food, and a bar, I have pretty much entered a social nirvana. Mixed Media and Monet (5) Mixed Media and Monet (8) Mixed Media and Monet (7)

 

 

Changing the face of giving with Cheers for Charity

Me with Cheers for Charity Performes

You can often open the social section of a Houston magazine or newspaper and hear about a charity that is able to raise large amounts of funds all in one night with a glitzy and glamorous gala or event. The ability to pull in the big bucks for a gala, however, is often an impossible feat or a smaller charity as it takes years of building connections and sponsors to make these fabulous galas possible.   That is, of course, before Cheers for Charity hit the scene bring the huge fundraising potential of established charities to equally worthy charities whose scale is a little bit smaller.

Enjoyign the festivities with founder Peter RemingtonCheers for Charity is the brainchild of Houston Luxury Magazine Publisher Peter Remington, who was inspired by the thought of bringing top of the line fundraising capabilities to smaller charities. As the size of the charity does not automatically reflect the needs of their cause it is a great way to spread the wealth of our generous city and make a big impact on the people and communities affected by the charities.

Fun Silent Auction Items 1 Fun Silent Auction Items 2 Silent Auction Art 1 Silent Auction Art 2 Cheers for Charity DonutsIn its inaugural event, Cheers for Charity, brought an eclectic mix of fun and posh to Midtown Houston.   The venue, like the event, is not your typical charity gala scene as Gaslamp was transformed into a party headquarters with good drinks, delicious food, and beautiful people all around.  The performers and the DJ produced a vibe that definitely reflects the joy of giving that was contagious to the crowd.  With the drinks and music and laughter flowing the giving also began to flow very fast and furious.  With a fun live auction and a goodie filled silent auction on deck it was a great feeling to see how greatly enriched the four charities would be long after the party stopped. Cheers for Charity Peformer

 

The Art of Fashion: The Little Black Dress Recap

IMG_8781With the definition of art being the expression or application of human creative skill and imagination, it is easy to understand that indeed fashion is a medium of art.  Last week as a kick off to the weekend celebration of art known as the Bayou City Art Festival, art met fashion head to head at The Art of Fashion: The Little Black Dress.  The Art Colony Association, known for the incredible art and life celebrations it produces in the Bayou City Art Festivals and Art Heist, connected the beauty of fashion and art with one fundamental question– “What moves you?” Regardless of if you are moved by wonderfully elegant, or fun, or sexy, The Art of Fashion Celebrating the Little Black Dress took the simple concept of the “Little Black Dress” and celebrated how the different vision of four different designers all made their own unique art expressions.

 

IMG_8782As a kick off to the fun of the Bayou City Art Festival the event gave a fun glimpse into the weekend art celebration ahead. With art pieces throughout you by featured artist Ella Richards you were able to get your palette wet of the different art you could appreciate over the weekend.  With a fun mix of art and fashion appreciators in the space the flow was easy to relax and enjoy the fun celebration.  The fashion show showcased the variation of visions that designers create when they think of the little black dress.  IMG_8710 IMG_8712With fashions from local favorites Azuz, Chloe Dao, Jonathan Blake, David Peck and Tenenbaum & Co. you got a full range of all that could be offered in a little black dress.  From sleek and sexy to reimagined looks to vintage fabrics, every look took you deeper into the vivid visions and imaginations that are in place for designers to create.  Fashion not only has the ability to inspire the aesthetic but to also be empowered when you find the perfect look or cut to bring out the best in you.  Personally, my imagination took me not just to how I would look in the creations, but to all the fun places, people, and experiences that the clothes would fit right in.  As art is a reflection of life, there is no better way to celebrate the art of fashion than by living it up in the creations!  With great ambiance and fun provided by Bayou City Magazine the event was definitely a great way fashion experience.

 

 

 

 

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