Archives for February 2015

Why to put a Spring Break family vacay on deck

Spring BreakSpring Break presents a much needed opportunity for parents and kids to break out, have a little fun and get some R & R.  That opportunity is frequently passed by, however, because it always seems like there are not enough hours in the day for planning a trip away from your hectic life and just be a kid again.  Well I think crossing the March checkpoint is something to celebrate as when it’s over you are quickly approaching the end of the school year.  Not to mention your time with your kids literally flies by and a Spring Break vacay with them helps the whole family appreciate each other a little more and build those memories that help in bridging the path over the bad times that are sure to come (i.e. hormones, dating, curfew, etc., etc., etc.).  Here are my tips to Spring Break Nirvana:

Incentivize the year with a Spring Break trip: I am not beyond bribery when it comes to the kids.  Let’s face it we all need a little motivation sometimes, and be the issue grades, or chores, or just staying off your nerves, appealing to a child’s short term memory can go a long way (you can’t start on Christmas in March it just won’t work).

Try something new: You can really make Spring Break pop by doing something new from the norm of winter or summer vacations.  As it is a time that seasons are changing you may be on the cuff of winter in some parts of the country and summer in others so new adventures are within reach and maybe even at a discounted price before off season begins.  Don’t be afraid to put yourself out on a limb with camping or rafting instead of something more commercial.  If nothing else you always have each other!

Keep it to a scale that works for you: As adults unfortunately we do not also get a scheduled week off from work and other commitments so the time you want off you have to plan for.   Be a weekend or weekdays or perhaps a full 10 days be firm with the fact that it will be a vacation.  Kids are always watching, even when we hope they are not, and always including work in family times sends the wrong message as far as what your priorities are.  Sometimes work cannot be avoided but plan then for some dedicated time to do work and stick to you, make family time the priority for the getaway.

Mix business with pleasure: There are things we are supposed to do that can get quickly pushed the back of our to do list so using a Spring Break vacation may be a good time to dust off old to-do’s.  Maybe you want to start checking out colleges or visit family or perhaps even prepare for a history or science fair.  Adding in something you have to do in between some things you like to do makes things go a lot smoother.   Applying a spoon full of sugar gets your kids to take their medicine of things that must be done a lot quicker and it may even convince them to like it.

Using menswear to mash up sexy and confident

IMG_0754How do you define sexy? To satisfy some you have to show more and more skin to get a sexy look.  Change is in the wind, however, and the trend towards women in menswear challenge the question if the skin or the attitude really define what is sexy.  I took on the challenge menswear challenge at the recent ICON Women’s Organization Bowtie Brunch.

The great thing about men’s wear for woman is that you get an opportunity to take on a structured look and add in elements of femininity.  For a bit more moderate look there are an assortment of ways to polish the look for a blend of both worlds.  For me the best way to achieve this look is to work for balance.  My outfit, for instance, started off with a masculine look on the top half.  Once you add a bowtie, the top of your look is going to be pretty conservative.  I paired this moderate look with a fun take on a tuxedo jacket.   For my feminine balance, however, I stopped at the means suit shirt.  Yep this means I skipped the bottoms.  The length of the shirt paired with the front crop of the jacket gave a great balance of black and white to the look.  When I added on a flirty pair of tuxedo hills my job was done.  You can even double down on the challenge and let your own femininity speak for itself and give the ultimate level of contrast for the look.

IMG_0755This same balance can be achieved with suits and slacks and almost any men’s wear by finding the fun feminine component that complements, not overwhelms the look.   The more masculine the foundation is the more feminine you can make your other choices to provide the right balance.  For instance a structured suit looks great with a soft, flowing blouse, or even a fitted tee.   The power of the look is that even as masculine elements take over you can begin to bring out the strong woman.  The look always makes me feel like “I am woman, hear me roar”.  It is a great way to spice up an outfit and in a powerful look that is also contagious to the way you feel.

 

Celebration in a glass with Louis XIII

Louis XIII (2)Marketing can produce an expensive spirit over night, but true craftsmanship in delivering a luxury spirit truly takes time.  Time, paired with an unmatched quest for perfection, is how Remy Martin has approached developing their exclusive champagne cognac Louis XIII.  This week the brand ambassador Mindy Le hosted a glimpse into the world’s most luxurious cognac.

Louis XIII (4)So what makes the cognac so exclusive??? Well it starts with the century in a bottle that has embodied first class patrons throughout the world over since the 19th century.  The journey first starts in the Grande Champagne area of France with the exclusive use of grapes from the Cognac vineyard.  The Cellar Master then begins the process of finding a needle in a haystack as only 1 in 1,000 samples will make the cut to Louis XIII.  The cellar master then says his adieu as the wine the goes a century long beauty rest, where the wine is aged.   The final product is a blend of 1200 eaux-de-vie brining breathtaking aromas to the champagne cognac.

Louis XIII (5)Knowing the intriguing history and craftsmanship makes the presentation of the final product that much more intriguing.  As we first stepped into the room the complex and exotic aromas of the cognac filled the room and made a bold announcement of the treat that would follow.  In the second nose, holding the class to our chest, the smells of jasmine, narcissi, and candied fruit sprung up.  As the glass approached our lips the third nose gently whiffed in of anise and cedar.  Finally the moment had arrived and with a small sip to lift the palette Louis XIII delivered on its loft promise in a perfect marriage of fruity and smoky found in the century in a glass.  The beautiful people and surroundings of the night were only topped by the beauty in the infamous Louis XIII decanter.  This hand-blown unique work of art combines the work of 11 craftsmen and topped with a fleur de lis stopper.  The event did an impeccable job honoring the heritage, elegance and craftsmanship that is Louis XIII.Louis XIII (7)

 

Spicing up your work out with Class Pass

Class Pass offerAs much as like working out, I must say that my days as a gym rat are long over.  Between the parking headaches, people who are there for everything except working out, and loads and loads of lines it just doesn’t fit in with the work out and go mentality of my busy lifestyle.  Luckily for me, however, Class Pass has made its way to Houston this year, giving me the best of the workouts that I love with variation and convenience that I could never have imagined when going to the gym.

Class Pass works by giving you access to classes throughout town at different gyms and studios for one low price.  Once you sign up you have access to a list of classes that take you from 5 am to 8:30 pm from the Woodlands to Sugarland and everywhere in between.  I was pretty hesitant at first because I had made peace with the fact that me and Shawn T where permanent work out buddies.  Looking through the list of classes, however, Aerial Yoga caught my eye.  It was always something I wanted to try and I figured here was my shot at doing something that is hard for many, combine working out and having fun.  Indeed, you cannot beat the variation that comes with class pass. You can go hardcore with strength training and boot camps or take the mind, body, soul approach with yoga or dance classes.  The most important thing in finding a fun class is finding something in the workout that you actually like to do.  When you find your match, mustering up the energy to head over to class becomes a whole lot easier.

The dread or boredom that had walked hand in hand with working out has been replaced for me thanks to Class Pass.  Now I pull up the app and get a little excited about what I can try today.  Yesterday it was Define Revolution, a kicked up spin class, but tomorrow it may be Pilates, or Zumba or even belly dancing.  I am on a whole new work out adventure and hopefully by the time summer time hits I will have the body as proof that working out doesn’t have to be all doom and gloom.

Check out this great offer Class Pass has going that gives you 2 months for the price of one!  Hurry though, the offer expires on the 20th.

Karma vs Retribution

Karma Measurement Speedometer Level Track Your Good Luck Fate DeKarma’s a bitch.  In my youth I knew the word karma meant you get back what you give out but I also took at as an added bonus that those who crossed me who have hell to pay later.  Often I sat back and waited for it and as misery and doom descended on their life I couldn’t help but get a kick out of how life did a better job at retribution than I could ever do.  Although it did not heal my wounds it gave me a little satisfaction that they later learned the lesson or experienced the heartache that they caused me to deal with.  With age, however, my view on the cause and effect of karma has lost its payback component and has become more of a way to inspire me to do the right thing.

My reasoning for the change in views was pretty simple, in expecting the bad karma other others to have a negative action on their fate, I was breeding negativity in myself.  Even if I did nothing, the something bad was in a “Wait for it” hold in my mind.  I was not letting go of what was done to me, I was really just waiting on my revenge to come from some other source.  The question becomes though “How easy it to hold something and let go of it at the same time?” Is the purpose for doing going things is to do something good, instead of being rewarded?  Depending on how the question is answered your efforts can take on totally different meanings and eventually your actions takes on a life of it’s own.  You can let go of the look back and keeping score of others good and bad when others wrong you knowing that your positive action or above and beyond effort was enough in and of itself.  Whether it is appreciated or repaid can be left at the curbside.  Essentially I stopped trying to be life’s scorekeeper of who has good or bad karma.  In letting go I can remember that life is not just about reward and punishment but enjoying all the life giving moments in between.  And truth be told these moments are more easily enjoyed when you have a smile on your face and a positive heart.

 

Putting away your crystal ball this Valentine’s Day

Well it’s Valentine’s Day again and whether you find yourself alone or worst yet with someone who you really don’t want to be with it is a day of reckoning on the reality of your relationship status.  So what better day is there to do a reality check on where you are and what you want out of love?  There are lots of speedbumps on the journey but I find the “crystal ball” syndrome to be one of the most common and damaging.  With the Crystal Ball Syndrome people try to look past who someone currently is or the status of their current relationship to a future that they think will look or feel better.  For instance he may not be your perfect man now but once he gets a new job things will be all good or perhaps you may not like some of her habits now but once she stops it you may consider getting more serious.  All of the “but’s” lure you to think a brighter future lies in store from the present that you aren’t too happy with.

Heart Snow GlobeThe danger in the Crystal Ball Syndrome is that you end up waiting for this reality to come true built out of your imagination in order to get to a reality you think will be perfect for you.  It’s almost like putting a Russian roulette bet on your relationship.  Surely love is not a gamble with everyone, but the odds are always better if you hedge your bets on the qualities and feelings that you love about a person now and how well those qualities match up with the person you also are today.

I have frequently found myself victim to this syndrome as I get lost in the pay my dues category.  I see someone with great potential but equally a good amount of baggage.  Each little detail of who this person was before the baggage becomes like a scavenger hunt for me as I put together the pieces of potential.  Once I have enough pieces in place I think my devotion or love or understanding will be the glue to mend the puzzle and get this person back on track.  Essentially I bet I can undo the damage of past lies and pain and get back the man (pre-damage) that was able to be so loving or romantic or compassionate to the hoochies who didn’t deserve his love or time.

At the end, however, the joke is always on those who play the Crystal Ball game because the only person you control is yourself and your mind.  Betting on the Crystal Ball of who someone else will be or even dreaming up who they should be takes the attention over the great power you have and enters you into a gamble with your heart.  The only real life way to judge if the relationship is right for you is to look at what it is now.  Just the reality of now: as you feel it and live in it without the lure of change or hopeful promise of reformation.  Cure the Crystal Ball Syndrome by getting real.  Someone will change when they want to and some damage that is done is permanent.  All the love in the world won’t change a person until they put in the effort to change themselves. Starting with the person you want to spend today with and everyday making that commitment for tomorrow is a much surer bet than looking into a cloudy future where the present is not that pleasant either.  While dumping the Crystal Ball Method is it is not a guaranteed method to find love it is a step closer to loving yourself today and to stop wasting time with the wrong person doing all the wrong things to woo you.

 

 

Making solo fun contagious

IMG_0634It’s is funny that fun is really contagious.  When you start having a good time, sometimes people cannot help but join in and that makes it one of the best ways to meet people, especially when you are all by yourself.  I found myself flying solo at Tootsie’s Love in Fashion even on Wednesday.  Of course the fashions were fierce and the treats were outstanding, but sometimes flying solo can cut down on some of the experience in a fashion event.  Luckily I try to be all about fun wherever I go and I cannot walk into a store as fabulous as Tootsie’s without getting hands on with things that catch my eye.  For this trip up front and as alluring as ever was their hat selection.  From small fascinators to large showstoppers Tootsie’s is the place to grab a hat that makes a statement.  Especially with Derby parties on the horizon I figured I would step in and try a few on.

IMG_0617 IMG_0591Like Lay’s Potato chips I found that once I started trying the hats on I could not try on just one.  As I moved from hat to hat and in between my selfie obsession I realized that I was actually in a store where other people could see my shenanigans.  Instead of people wondering what was going on, I got people wanting to join in on the fun!!  As we went hat to hat trying to find ones that were more outrageous than the previous, it became second nature to make fast friends with my new fellow hat models.   It was a great reminder that you attract what you give off.   If you are interested in meeting fun people, then being fun yourself should be a part of the formula to do something.  When you open minded to the possibility you realize that few people judge you as harshly as we all sometimes judge ourselves.  By letting our guard down and making a commitment to be ourselves, regardless of the environment, we can meet people who can appreciate us just for who we are.  IMG_0631 IMG_0633 IMG_0632With one small step of things you have in common, other similarities quickly follow, even from those you may think you are worlds apart from.  As for me not only did I have a great time and get some hat inspiration, I was able to change my solo experience to a group one at the drop of a hat.  Adding more fun to a party always makes it a little bit better!

Love’s in Fashion with Tootsies and Dec My Room

Love in Fashion me 2Me and ToroLove was definitely in the air on Wednesday night as Tootsies and Dec My Room as some of the cities hottest couples showed their love for each other and fashion as they took their turns down the runway.  The event effortlessly combined style with fun as guests not only got a sneak peek at some of the fresh spring fashions, they got an early glimpse into the sparks of Valentine’s Day with the couples fun and often loving struts of their fantastic fashions.

The event was a true celebration of love from the love of sweets and treats to fashion all inspired by an organization that is all about the love, Dec My Room.  The organization helps to bring a little bit of normalcy and vibrancy to kids who are hospitalized by giving them the opportunity to shop and decorate their rooms.  The hospital can be a gloomy place and their mission to assist in personalizing their patients rooms helps to bring a daily reminder of who they are and their life outside the hospital.  What better inspiration is there to continue their brave fight than the life they have to live outside of their sickness?

 

Bite 2 Cardamon 2 Slim Ritas Deep Eddy Vodka Cardamon 5

[slideshow_deploy id=’3573′]

 

 

 

 

 

 

The romance of the evening was kicked off in one of the best ways possible to kick off a great night… Libations and confections.  With offerings from Deep Eddy Vodka, Bite Macarons, SlimRitas, and Cacao & Cardamom the show started with everyone feeling the love.  The show was a mix of models in spring fashions as well as some of our cities favorite Philanthropist sweethearts.  Dec My Room MissionWhile the models gave a fierce showing of what is new and hot, the couples really gave them a run for their money.  There is nothing better than seeing a well-dressed couple and the outfit selections were killer.  From slits to backless to cutouts the evening highlighted some great looks to spice up the romance in any relationship.  To match the sexy appeal the ladies offered, the hunks showed just how hot a great suit could be.  With hometown hero’s like Debbie and Roger Clemens, Randi and Johnny Carraba, and Megan and Brian Cushing combining their forces a night of fun and fashion delivered on its promise all for a great cause!

[slideshow_deploy id=’3575′]

 

 

 

 

Putting on the Ritz at the Junior League’s 1925 Charity Gala Preview

IMG_0510There is something magical about a good costume gala that can really transport you back to the era the party is paying tribute to.  The Junior League of Houston did a great job infusing the chic and swinging vibe from 1925 into their Annual Charity Ball Preview this year.  First and foremost the décor started your journey back to 1925 as soon as you stepped in the door.  Decking out with a smooth Gatsby elegance, you instantly knew the event was going to be something special.  The next and perhaps most critical component to having such a great costume party is the actual costumes.  You feel more the role when you and everyone surrounding you are dressed to the nine’s.  From swingers to gangsters the room was full of participants who were ready and willing to take the journey 90 years back and celebrate a time of exploration, music and dancing.  Of course I cannot forget my favorite part… Great friends to take in all the 1920’s chic throughout the building.  By mixing in other components such as wonderful food, tableside bottle service, festive entertainment and animated guests, the party was an Epic Way to kick of a celebration for a wonderful organization.  Without question partying for a purpose always increases the level of enjoyment by a notch knowing you are going to help a good cause.

IMG_0511 IMG_0509 IMG_0503

Resting Bitch Face vs. the Power of a Smile

Two facesHere I am sitting, working, minding my own business and before I know it I have someone in my face asking me the same question I have heard time and time again: “Are you okay, why don’t you smile?”  Well I have for years just assumed this is the thought of someone wanting to make a conversation and who mistakes my peaceful thought and interjects themselves.   Honestly it was an annoyance that I thought I was mine alone.  Recently, however, in talking with one of my friends I heard a new term for the same look and instantly loved it, The Resting Bitch Face.  Yes this is the face that to me means I am thinking or planning or otherwise minding my business and someone expects that in the midst of my mental turmoil I should be smiling in the off chance they will come around and see me.  Now I still support how valid this though is, but the truth is a smile means something.  Even if we are in a smiling mood a smile gives the impression you are approachable, and open and dare I say even friendly.  For years I figured what is the harm with my “resting bitch face”, however, now I realize that this practice may do more harm than good when I do really want to make a positive impression on people.

So what could be the problem with the resting bitch face? I don’t judge who someone is or their mood until I engage them.  With age I have realized that just because that is how I judge others, how I think and how they think are not always the same.  A lot of people determine how you are feeling even before they approach you or say a word.  Just think about your determination to speak to your boss when you see him with a serious look or a scowl on his face.  In a lot of cases you turn right around with the excuse you will speak to him when he is in a better mood.  This is just a judgment based on what you see, but what you see does count for something.  The resting bitch face sends a vibe that you are reoccupied and many people are intimidated in approaching if they feel like they are not going to get a warm welcome.  I am still an advocate that there is a time and a place where it is not only acceptable but the preferred look to keep away random questions and let others know you mean business, it may not be the best everyday look.   You never know who is looking, and judging you based on that look.  Practicing a smile, even a small one, when there is nothing bothering you or serious on your mind promotes a friendlier look even when you are not doing it on purpose.  This default look of happiness comes in handy as like everything smiling is a skill where practice makes purpose.  The more you smile the easier it comes to you when you need it, like when you are networking or trying to catch eyes with the cutie across the bar.  At the end of the day what does it hurt anyway??