Archives for September 2014

Cooking classes that turn up the heat to romance: An Evening in Paris Date night at Sur La Table

Chocholate and wine are the perfect way to end the nightA romantic date in Paris is out of grasp for most of us on a regular weekend night, but you can still infuse the food, laughter, and intimacy you could find there on a romantic date night with the date night cooking series with Sur La Table. Sur La Table is distinguished as a culinary wonderland, however they are much more than cooking gadgets and high end pots.  The store and their hands on instructional cooking class serves as an inspiration point to novices and pros alike in their exploration of cooking.   Their cooking classes offer a great chance to get the instructional guidance that you can’t find by watching your favorite cooking show but in an environment where you are comfortable with friends or loved ones as you start on your culinary exploration.

Date Night in Paris at Sur La Table (5) Date Night in Paris at Sur La Table (2)Over the weekend I enjoyed one of the date night series “An Evening in Paris” and had not only a great time, but a great meal to boot. A great date night offers a break away from the regular pattern of daily living and gives an opportunity to see someone in a whole new light or shine up some of the attractive characteristics that become with dull with time and lack of attention.  Cooking is something most people have to do pretty regularly and it can become something that becomes more of a chore where speed is your main concern.  Cooking, however, can not only be fun, but can also be a real chance to share and bond with your significant others or friends.  The class offers a community cooking approach, so all of the work load is not all on one person, so you have a chance to both actively participate in your meal but also sit back and take in some of the tips and tricks that the chef offers through the process.

Date Night in Paris at Sur La Table (10) Date Night in Paris at Sur La Table (9) Date Night in Paris at Sur La Table (8) Date Night in Paris at Sur La Table (7) Date Night in Paris at Sur La Table (11)With an opportunity to bring your own wine or beer you start off in class relaxed and ready to have some fun and really enjoy the experience. Unlike a lot of classes you have to take in life, being a great pupil at these classes means a great reward… an awesome meal at the end of the night!!!  Between the stirring and pouring and chopping not only do you feel closer to who you came with, but also to your classmates who have shared in the experience with you.  Regardless of your cooking skills before coming both the chef instructor and other attendees have some awesome pointers to help you make your meal your own and prove the point that cooking may not be as challenging as it can look.  With the cooking done and the wine poured you slow down to enjoy your meal and company in something you were able to get done together.  The newness of the experience and the ingredients and the meal all take you away from the mundane to make it something really special, so while Paris it’s not, it still can end up being a romantic reawakening.  Not only can it spike your enthusiasm for cooking new things away from class but also exploring new ways to connect in your relationship!






Hennessy Luxury redefined in a perfume meet Kilian as an Art

Kilian Hennessy himself at the Saks launch party

Kilian Hennessy himself at the Saks launch party

The search to find some of the world finest cognac gave birth to the discovery of some of the hottest perfume on the scene. Kilian Hennessy has brought the luxury Hennessy is renowned for and applied the skills of quality, craftsmanship, and distinctiveness the brand has perfected to perfume in the Kilian as an art brand.  The ties between the legacy that Kilian brings to his perfumes is undeniable.  It takes an impeccable sense of smell to carefully select the best barrels that make the final cut to the cognac that Hennessy prides itself on.  This same selection process and innovation was brought to the world of perfumery as Kilian draws from not only his experience in the cellars but also his strong passion for the connections that the sense of smell has to some of our most cherished memories and experiences.

Kilian clutch

Kilian clutch

Kilian scented jewelry

Kilian scented jewelry

Kilian as an Art has taken the world of perfumery by storm and distinguished itself with its distinct themed lines, long lasting aromas, and unmistakable packaging.  His releases of new fragrances all revolve around his inspiration and plays on themes such as “The Garden of Good and Evil” and “Arabian Nights”.  With each whiff you take one step deeper into the vivid picture these scents create of exotic travels and mystic paradise.  Not only do the scents define the lux essence of the brand but the packaging marries the idea with lacquers and shapes far too beautiful to leave on the shelf at home.

With the most recent release Kilian has once again set the pace for luxury. Following the inspiration of Addiction, Kilian has pulled scents from some of the most intoxicating addictions around: cigars, coffee, and even cannabis.  Kilian effortlessly balances the complexity of the backstory with a smooth finish and it becomes easy to see why the perfume itself can easily marries to the inspiration of addiction.  And just when you think there could be nothing to add to the scents to define luxury, Kilian tops itself.  To ensure all other perfumes have been left in the dust, Kilian has taken the style component of its packaging and reimagined it into scented jewelry.  These pieces use ceramic stones or scent infused cords to ensure you have a wearable fragrance whose look is only matched in appeal by its fragrances.

Kilian at Saks with the best salesperson around - Charlie

Kilian at Saks with the best salesperson around – Charlie

Kilian has had my heart since receiving the travel set as a gift. With the impeccable design of the case and three refills it has been a lifesaver when traveling and the scent Good Girl Gone Bad gets me stopped more times than I can count.  With the new line available at Saks there are few perfume brands that can match the style and extravagance brought by Kilian as an Art.

New line launch party with Kilian and Saks with music provided by DJ Supastar

New line launch party with Kilian and Saks with music provided by DJ Supastar

Letting go of the fear of failure in order to reach for success

Rock climberHow easy do you think it would be too pick up a watermelon while holding a hand full of rocks? Chances are either the rocks fall out or your smash the watermelon in trying. Success is a big treat many strive to attain in their lives, however, reaching high levels of success often require grabbing for your dreams with both hands.  Making this reach often seems a lot easier than the reality as it means abandoning other coping methods we have learned throughout our lives to cushion or hearts and minds from when we fall.  Even without recognizing it these methods become a part of our way to survive the pitfalls and ensure we weather the storms that come without completely destroying.  High levels of success require some levels of risk and learning how to deal with the fear of failure is a big step in taking the plunge and diving with both hands towards your success.  Here are some ways to let go of the fear and commit to success.

Facing Fear. Fear of failure is one that crosses the mind of most people when reaching for success.  This fear can be depilating as it can seem like an easier option to live with the potential of what could have been instead of the reality of no.  Not fully facing the possibility of failure makes it is a lot easier to reach for the lower rungs of success and stick with the risk level that you feel pretty confident that you can beat.  At least you know what you are getting instead of the risk of failing that comes with reaching higher. The scary thing about big leaps in success is that it is often hidden behind a dimly lit corner, requiring you to take some steps in the dark.  To combat this fear you rely on the experiences and skills that have gotten you this far and in understanding that even if you don’t make it you will still add to your knowledge base and walk away better prepared for the next round.  The fact you are well armed in fighting failure is a good way to guide you through the darkness of doubt that the fear of failure instills.

Breaking old habits. There are patterns we set in our lives that stick with us from very young throughout our lives if we don’t put in the work to change them. Perhaps that habit is tardiness, or procrastination or maybe even a negative attitude but they all work to support the illusion that failure is the worst possible option.  Identifying these bad habits in ourselves and putting in the work to correct the bad habits shines the light on how success is usually within reach, you just have to stretch out to win.

Considering the alternative. The fear of failure sells the dream that your pride and self-confidence would not and could not survive the failure and therefore it’s better to not even try. The truth is when people look back on their regrets in life the fear of not trying often trumps the fear of failure as a lifelong regret.  Our limits are never known unless they are explored, challenged and even re-challenged.  The fear of not trying leaves the sting of untapped potential that you have to live with forever.  Even when you experience failure you quickly learn it’s rarely as bad as we imagine it to be and even it is that time and patience can really heal all wounds.

Plan. Facing your fear because you’re prepared and being fearless because you are stupid are not the same thing.  Instead of ignoring the fear of failure, letting it fuel your success gives you the offensive strategy you need to be prepared for the mystery of what lies ahead.  The possibility of failure can inspire you to think of alternatives, do your research, and choose your strategy carefully, all of which work to get you through the darkness that comes with reaching for success.

Jump. Planning is pointless if you can’t summon the courage to jump when you need to towards your success.  If you are not careful planning can become a crutch to hinder the commitment you need to jump with both feet.  No matter how much you plan the truth is that part of the fear of success and of failure is that you cannot see all the obstacles in your way and therefore cannot plan for everything.  Being prepared means you have done the leg work but also that you are responsive enough to begin the run and make changes along the route in order to reach your true possibilities.

The fears of failure and of success are often different sides to the same coin. You have to choice one and commit to it in order to win big.

Entering the world of luxury timepieces with Eleven James

IMG_8303When it comes to having a smooth and polished look there is no better way to round out your look than with accessories. In men’s fashion there are few better ways to accomplish this goal than through a timepiece.  A great time piece highlights not only a man’s style, but also speaks volume to the occasion, polish and position that comes with the wearer.  Whether it be fun or bold or classic or even extravagant a man’s time piece gives a visible node other’s take note of when they size up a man.  Stepping into the world of luxury timepieces, however, is no small feat.  With watches often coming with a heafty price tag it can become a challenge to choose the right one to carry through all the important occasions and styles a man wants to access.  With so many choices and so little time what’s a man to do when making his choice for arm candy?  Eleven James is a company that has burst on the scene ready to answer this question and give men access to a range of options, brands and styles without having to commit to just one choice.

Eleven James stylized photoExclusive access to some of the premier watch designers is enough to make almost any fine watch collector or enthusiast drool. With access to brands like Cartier, Audemars Piguet, Hublot, and even Patek Philippe the selection is unrivaled to watches that redefine the style element of almost any occasion.  Just as car clubs work to provide access to luxury vehicles without having to make the commitment that comes with purchasing, Eleven James subscriptions provides two month rotations where you can get hands on access to the watches that dreams are made of.  As you begin the process the personalized services of Eleven James takes the time to find out about the personal style and options you are interested in.  Either through the guidance of their concierge or at one of their exclusive networking events you get to discover the style, fit, shapes and features that connect with your style.  In line with keeping you on your toes and giving you an expanded personal experience with the watch just as one rotation ends, the fun and excitement of a new watch makes it not just Christmas in July but year round when you see the Eleven James box pop up.

As the world of accessories have already blazed ahead in the world of women’s luxury purse exchange programs, the concept of bringing luxury and options together for timepieces is a concept that is right on time. The decision to begin any luxury collection is not a light one and the ability to still have options is irreplaceable.  What is the fun in having something very nice and very expensive that you either no longer like, are tired of, or just does not connect any longer to your personal style.  The truth is we change with time and position and making an investment that allows you to explore these changes can never be a bad thing.  For those new or old to watches, what better way is there to really decide if you want to keep something or find the perfect match to an important occasion than getting some real hands on time with the timepiece?  Hands on experience with luxury timepieces give all of the insight without the loss that comes with making the wrong decision for you.  With great benefits and outstanding luxury watches, Eleven James is making a bold statement in not just men’s style but their lifestyle as well.  If you want more information on the great watches included in the membership Click Here or check out their 11J Look Book.


Exploring the wonderful world of art at Houston Fine Art Fair

Houston Fine Arts Fair 2014 (21)The Houston Fine Art Fair brings international powerhouses in the world of art to the Houston area in an easy and fun format that you can enjoy alone or with friends.  The casual nature of the event encourages the conversations that open the door to art appreciation by asking the why questions that go to heart of why you like the pieces that move you.  Once you know the root it becomes a lot easier to spot out what moves you.  As you begin collecting, pinpointing how to merge the qualities you like with appreciating art pieces is the lynchpin to creating a collection that you love of pieces that are growing in value.  With the art fair organized by the interest of the galleries represented, you have a chance to engage curators and artists alike in what is new on the scene and the pieces and projects that excite them.

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The easiness in exploration found at the fair is unmatched when it comes getting the expansive range of art mediums to find what resonates with you and gives a much different vibe than art exploration at a museum. Museums are the main way most people get an introduction to art.  Having the opportunity to wander a museum and develop a sense for what you like and don’t like is a great way to get a quick glimpse into what art has to offer. Starting in a museum is a great way to get an appreciation for the craftsmanship, love and reflection artist pour into their creations.  Museum curators choose their collections based on the aesthetic of the museum and how they can best weave a story for their audience, not based on any individual’s personal preference.  So although you get an opportunity to look around you may be limited in getting deep into an art style that really resonates with you.  A step outside a museum as with the Houston Fine Art Fair gives you a chance to take a deeper step into exactly the kinds of mediums you like most.  The fair gives you a whole new opportunity to explore and possibility own some phenomenal pieces of art that directly speak to what sparks the passion for art in your own heart.

Houston Fine Arts Fair 2014 (16) Houston Fine Arts Fair 2014 (12)What I love best about the Art Fair is that moment you wander across a piece that really leave you in awe. The piece is different for everyone so it is a bit of a treasure hunt to find.  In the end, however, the reflection, inspiration, and inspiration that occurs when you find the piece that moves you is worth every step.  Regardless of if you lean towards pop art, photography, painting, or even performance art there is something to light everyone’s fire at the Houston Fine Art Fair.  If you want a more structured look make sure to check out the expert guided tour during the weekend’s festivities.


Networking one round at a time at the HYP Meet the Mentors

September Meet the MentorsThe Houston Young Professionals presented yet another great opportunity to expand your network and learn tips for success in the most recent showing for their Meet the Mentors series. The series allows you get one on one interaction with business professionals who are at the top of their game in a roundtable setting.  The diversity of the mentors ranged from media to fashion to restaurateurs and even ventured to relationship experts.  Each one sharing their own insight on their path to success and unique challenges and advantages they face in their perspective fields.

Meet the Mentors pic 1In attending these events previously I cherished the opportunity not only to hear very personal success stories from the mentors, but also to have an opportunity to make a personal connection with the mentors. Although this event was no exception to the high bar the “Meet the Mentors” series has set, I was also reminded of another powerful benefit of the series.  When you and another seven professionals sit around to meet, ask questions, and learn from the mentors you also have an opportunity to learn from each other.  Whether if you hear an intriguing new company idea, or a success story, or even similar business challenges than the ones you face, the mentorship extends just from the assigned mentor to the table full of colleges that you can also learn from.   Sharing these experiences and interactions really are the stepping stones for building a network.  You can transform your perspective from how can I help myself when I meet someone into how can I learn from others or better yet, how can I help others in their own business endeavors?   By the time the last mentor rotates a table full of strangers transforms into a table full of colleagues.

One of my biggest criticisms of many networking events is that it can become a little like speed dating. You move quickly on from one person to the next looking for the key words that would make you want to take the relationship outside that setting and see if something deeper can occur.  The Meet the Mentors series is a stark contrast to this model as you first give the nuts and bolts of your job title and in the questions and conversations you share the concerns, attitudes, and even motivations that are unique to you and really draw people into your story.  For those with a fear of meeting new people, especially those you look up to, there is no better way than in a casual, laid back setting where you can be yourself without feeling the pressure to be entertaining and suave at all times to keep the conversation going.  As this is just another great portion of the events put on by the Houston Young Professionals make sure to stay tuned to different way the chamber can enrich your path to success as a young professional.




The Great Banh Mi Cookoff Recap

The Great Banh Mi cookoff photobooth funWhen I was first introduced to the Bánh mìsandwich by a co-worker I thought that a sandwich with carrots, cilantro and cucumbers was a strange mix. At first bite, however, there was no words for the deliciousness.  Honestly it was because I was busy stuffing my face but once I took a break for air I realized it was love at first bite.  The Bánh mìis a foodie’s delight as this Vietnamese staple’s followers are spreading like wildfire in Houston and shops popping up all over. With a great mix of fresh baked bread, veggies, and herbs giving it a great freshness and even jalapenos to add a little kick this quick eat offers a little bit of action to almost any palette. The Great Banh Mi cookoff (2)

The First Annual Bánh mìCookoff celebrated all things Bánh mìin a challenge to some of the best restaurants and chefs in Houston on how could make the best twist to this beloved sandwich. The Cook Off was the brainchild of BPSOS as a fundraising event but also as a way to share in the comradery and culture in celebrating something that is universal… A love for great food!   Throughout the event you had a great opportunity to sample the sandwich with different twists from the traditional to the gourmet and even to the big Texas version.  Each competitor specially finding a way to highlight their meat ingredient with their own take on the simple sandwich.  Combinations went in all directions, from pork with a pork rinds crunch, to seared Tuna and even to slow cooked brisket, the sandwich was completely reimagined and celebrated through the cook off. The Great Banh Mi cookoff (1) The Great Banh Mi cookoff (4)

The Great Banh Mi cookoff (3)Outside the awesome food, even a rainy day and a venue change could not cast a cloud over such a festive event for such an awesome cause. From the coffee samples to the great music from 97.9 the Box to a photo booth that ensured smiles filled the room the event emphasized the sharing and caring that makes every community special.  At the end of the day R&D BBQ went away as winners and as a great reminder that in this melting pot we call America there is always room to mix things up and honor tradition at the same time.  If you are interested in learning more about BPSOS check them out at  All of the fun for me was possible due to an invite from the great judge and food critic Renia Butler.  Check out her blog Gristle and Gossip for more highlights of great eats and awesome events!The Great Banh Mi cookoff winners R and BBQ The Great Banh Mi cookoff (6)



Fall Style Spotlight with Vogue and the Galleria

Simon Fashion EventIf you are looking to be on the cusp of new fashion trends there is no better place to look than the Galleria. Regardless of if you are in the know on each season’s fashions or if you need some guidance on how to be on trend, Simon and the Galleria finds chic ways to showcases fall fashions.  Events that mix fashion and fun really inspire you to get more creative in your own style to develop a look that is sure to help you shine through the upcoming seasonal transition.  Simon Signature Fashion Event and Lookbook Live gave a great peak into phenomenal fashions of premiere designers all found at the Galleria.  Take a look at some of my favorite trends and fashions of the night. Vogue Market Stylist Cara Crowley       Shimmer and Shine. When you are going to a formal event it is a great opportunity to really get dolled up and show off a different side of your fashion palette.   In dressing up, however, you want to still work the dress and not let the dress work you.  This season showcased some beautiful metallic that gives the wow factor but still allow you to use the shine and shimmer to really sparkle instead of falling flat.  By balancing the shimmer and shine of metalics with clean and symmetrical lines you get some of the flash with all of shape that really makes you feel great when you are stepping in a special event.Vogue Galleria Fashion Event 9 Vogue Galleria Fashion Event 7 Vogue Galleria Fashion Event 3 Vogue Galleria Fashion Event 1 Vogue Galleria Fashion Event Shimmer with Missoni Dress Vogue Galleria Fashion Event Shimmer Dress Vogue Galleria Fashion Event Shimmer Dress 3 Vogue Galleria Fashion Event Shimmer Dress 2                                                                                     Pant Prints. When you are always on the move between work and fun learning how to balance party and business wear is a must.  This season ‘s fall collections features some really fun prints on pants that emphasis plays on color and comfort while still pulling off a sophisticated style.  When paired with a jacket and heels you have something that works well for a sleek look but also can be dressed down for something that stays in heavy rotation in your wardrobe. Vogue Galleria Fashion Event 8 Vogue Galleria Fashion Event Fun pants prints                   Outstanding Outwear. With outwear this fun I am really wishing for a white Christmas.   Jackets can add instant pizazz to almost anything and give you room for real flexibility in your style.  Long jackets are a particular winner for me as they really allow you to dress however you like and still look classic.  The runway featured a long jacket, which many would typically think of as formal, with a casual skirt and boots.  The long jacket along supplied the splash of polish the entire outfit needed to work well.  Without question the show stopper for me was the St. John cape.  It pinpoints that fashion staples can still be trendy and that traditional does not have to be boring.  When paired with a sheath you evoke classic Hollywood sophistication that still carries over to jeans and boots.Vogue Galleria Fashion Event Long Suit Jacket Vogue Galleria Fashion Event 6 Vogue Galleria Fashion Event long jackets Vogue Galleria Fashion Event Cape 2

Ageless and Timeless Fashion with Black Halo

With Black Halo Designer Lauren BermanWhen you follow too closely to what is trendy your closet is always in a constant rotation of what’s hot, closely followed by what is not.   True style is not just the inspirations designers share in their collections as the seasons change.  Instead true style cultivates one’s personality and combines it with the shapes and designs that stand the test of time by accenting the shape and beauty of the wearer first and foremost.  Black Halo is one of the brands that is on a true pursuit to cover the natural style and grace that showcases women best assets and giving them the poise to put their best foot out that is the root of ageless and timeless fashion. Black Halo sleek La Reina jumpsuit




















Black Halo is the brainchild of Laurel Berman and is the elegant combination of strength paired with softness and reserved paired with free-spirited that speaks to women of almost any age.  The journey to deliver the ageless and timeless fashions Black Halo is known for begins with a focus on fit.  By starting off with the challenge of making every woman look 2 inches taller and 15 pounds thinner in each garment the secret ingredient of their success is quickly revealed.  Nothing carries through the years or the trends more than making clothes that make a woman confident and more often than not fit is the key.  As making this focus on fit is the cornerstone for the brand, women can carry these garments with them throughout various occasions because quite simply they feel good and look good in the garment. Black Halo proivdes timeless and ageless style regardless of your style preferences

Black Halo models showcasing how to rock the little black dressWith the foundation in place with a focus on good fit, quality and exquisite fabrics add to the equation to answer the call of ageless and timeless fashions. The fact is that being ageless and timeless does not mean that every dress is the perfect fit for everywoman.  By adding variation in color and committing to fabrics that wear well and drape even better each woman can explore the differences that make us all unique and beautiful.  Black Halo takes their clean, fit focused style and embellishes in color and textures that may appear on trend but stand the test of time as the wearer knows they will look phenomenal.

Black Halo finding the perfect balance between allure and tradition in the little black dress









When I looked to some of the reasons I love this brand I did not have to look any further than its creator Laurel Berman. She is masterfully able to roll in all her experiences, from living on a farm to living it up in San Francisco, and her choice to follow her heart instead of her wallet in going to design school to pour into the constant inspirations she applies to her designs.  Although know for the ageless and timeliness deigns such as her Jackie O Dress it is clear that her vision of style simply refuses to accept the limits of age and time to define beauty and confidence in a woman. Black Halo lets effortless style combine with todays trends









Top Golf Fun

Top Golf Fun 2For a fun spin on the game of golf, no one is doing it better than Top Golf.  Golfing has long been the mainstay sport for business transactions.  The time between holes gives time to stop and discuss matters and without some physical contact that other sports demand everyone usually shows a good amount of sportsmanship.  Thinking of taking a real celebration at a golf course is a new idea, however, and in celebrating my cousins 30th birthday I realized that you can indeed party and golf at the same time.

Top Golf Fun 3Top Golf Fun 4Top Golf offers a chance for kids and big kids, aka the adults who bring them, alike to take a whole new look at the game of golf.  Typically I steer away from golf because of the time commitment it takes to complete a round of golf.  When you factor in Houston heat and the fact that my bad form makes the game really creep by, it is a sport I usually don’t mind missing out on.  Top Golf has managed to take away the best components of both the game of golf, but also a fun night out with friends for the perfect combination to suit almost any temperament.  For those who are avid golf players you get give them a real chance to show off some skill and also share some pointers with some of the more golf game challenged.  For those who really just want to party the food and drink selections are the perfect way to start the night off with the bang.  With your time on the green limited to five shots at a time you can easily adjust your time commitment and still have a ball the rest of the time.  As some nights also feature a fun DJ you get a chance to dance, enjoy friends and share in the ups and downs that come with any sporting event.

Top Golf Fun 1No matter the skill level the great thing about sports is that they tend to bring people together.  You laugh together at your mistakes and also can all cheer together when someone makes an incredible long drive.  Between the Golfbag Fishbowls and laughing with my friends the time flew by at Top Golf for a really fun celebration of life and love.