Archives for May 2015

Allowing time to wash away the pain of old wounds

Happy New Year 2015 wash away 2014 concept on sea beachThe old phrase that time heals old wounds, although true, can be painfully misleading.  It gives the message that if you wait long enough some of the injustices done to you by others will slowly wear away like sand on a beach.  Although time is a great conduit to healing, the truth is that the mental battle to forgiveness still exists, time or no time.  Forgiveness from our hearts often starts in our minds.  This is where the memory lives and it is all too easy to fall in to the trap of letting the negatives distort the offense and make it bigger and badder than it ever was.  With every negative association we add to the wrong we build up a fortress to prevent times healing power from washing in.  In this case time can in fact make the wound fester instead of heal.  Full of the puss of anger or injustice or neglect that allows us to carry it with us and have a negative impact on other parts of our lives as well.

Time can heal wounds, but it is up to us to open the door to allow it to do so.  Time has the ability to take negative events that were so vividly painful when they happen and slowly erase the jarring edges that hurt us as the mind is attracted to positive more than negative.  We just have to make sure that we do the work as well to assist this alone.  I do it by trying to do some simple re-programming.  Most recently I was deeply hurt and I felt betrayed by someone I trusted and really struggled with the idea of being able to just let it go.  It seemed the well was too deep, but one day it dawned on me that within my life I have forgiven worst offenses.  The newness of the event made it seem impossible, but my track record showed that even the most painful wrongs can find a resolution.

With that goal in mind, every time my mind triggered the event and all the pain and anger that came with it I tried to change my perspective or change the channel all together.  I did so by tempering the pain of the experience with the positives of that person.  Indeed the relationship was not all bad and as the fog of pain cleared I could also remember some of the good times that endeared this person to me in the first place.  Each mix of these positive memories caused a retreat in my mind to the pain that I felt.  If you can’t pull up any good memories you can always just force feed your mind good memories or say a little prayer for them and keep it moving.  No, this is not an instant fix, but is a good way to get a hold of yourself, clean and bandage the wound and prepare yourself to continue on.  As they say “life goes on” and you always have the choice to linger in the past or relish in a future that you can create.

Dinner Lab Houston – a culinary extravaganza

Dinner Lab Houston coverDining is almost religious here in Texas.  Houston is a city full of great restaurants and chefs with a range of cuisine to fit any palette.  You can get lost in the mix of the amazing food options and oversized plates, however, it can be easy to miss some more adventurous dining and side instead with old favorites that are a sure fire win.  With the descent of Dinner Lab to Houston there is a movement to change the traditional approach to food and replace it with an adventurous walk with a local expert that seeks to redefine eating as an experience.

Dinner Lab Houston (12) Dinner Lab Houston (7) Dinner Lab Houston (6)Dinner lab was born out of the desire to ignite a passion for all things new when it comes to eating.  Instead the typical restaurant, Dinner Lab brings together eaters who like to stride on the wild side with equally progressive chefs in a pop up restaurant.  The result is an experience where everything is new.  You come in to a group environment were much of the night is a mystery, and only one thing is for sure you will be surrounded by others who share your passion for food.  With the drinks flowing and the music bumping strangers quickly become friends as you anxiously await the star of the night…the food.

Dinner lab four courses and chefAs the chef and waiters bring your courses for introduction you begin to fully realize that you are not in Kansas anymore but on a type of food safari.  With an inspired chef you begin to understand the development of pairings of dishes and ingredients that are as full of innovation as they are of passion.  With quality, fresh ingredients, the night is master crafted for a flavor explosion.  I am a fan of the term “foodgasim” and this is a place you are sure to have one.  By the end of the night my thoughts reminiscing about my favorite flavors of the evening could only be interrupted by the lively table mates of mine as we laughed, sang and cheers the night away.  If you are interested in trying new foods, up and coming chefs or just a different experience than the usual then get in on the monthly Dinner Lab experience and prepare yourself for the surprisingly familiar taste of the unknown.

Lighting the fire to your personal success with Hip Hop Preacher Eric Thomas

Hip Hop Preacher Eric Thomas and founder of Universal Elite Aerospace Kenneth Morris

Hip Hop Preacher Eric Thomas and founder of Universal Elite Aerospace Kenneth Morris

Success in life is not truly measured in just achieving a goal, it is in the daily push you make to take the small steps closer and closer to your goal.  Without question this a tedious process, and the daily grind and setbacks is one of the major reasons small detours can become permanent stopping places for those working towards success.  In order to get back on track or light a fire to make you run, not walk, towards the future you feel destined for it is good to seek out those whose moving works and uplifting spirits can remind you of the prize and the sacrifices you must make to get there.  One of the most vibrant voices in this spirit is Hip Hop Preacher Eric Thomas with his inspiring message to push towards your dreams and to not accept no as an answer.

I had an opportunity to feel the powerful message myself in Eric Thomas’s private engagement at the Universal Elite Aerospace program.  The Universal Elite Aerospace program is in itself a wonderful source of inspiration geared towards educating and stimulating on a career in Aviation.  Coordinating an event with Eric Thomas is so powerful because it is a great reminder that no matter how good our personal present is, it will can all dwindle away without making the necessary investment into our future…the youth.  Its founder, Kenneth Morris, is a living demonstration of what personal motivation paired with powerful inspiration can achieve.

As Eric Thomas walked in the room the excited and energy of the room became electric.  Each person who was a fan of him from his website or social media presence realized the distinct difference in listening to a great speaker and listening to them in a room of likeminded individuals ready to make changes in their lives and their perspectives.  Eric Thomas, like most great speakers, carries such a punch not in the words he says but the strength and experiences that have made him the man he is and developed the message he was set to deliver.  As he shared his struggles and made the connection to the life stories of the various listeners in the room four universal reminders became clear:

  • Be courageous enough to start your own: With the world waiting to peg us into a predetermined assumption of who we are and how far we will go, it is important to remember that the only person who can truly decide this outcome is us. In choosing your future you don’t have to accept what the society and fate the world gives you.
  • Read books, get connected with history: With the internet and TV making so much information available it easy to confuse what you read and hear with the truth. By investing time into reading, history and autobiographies you get an intimate glimpse into how others faced and conquered defeat.
  • Excel at everything you do: In facing the continuous test life throws at you, the possibility for victory in the war come daily. The ultimate war is won with a commitment to do your best, with or without others watching or recognition. The formula is simple: first you find out what the expectations are, then you meet the expectations and then you beat the expectations. There is no better preparation for your biggest challenges in life than this daily commitment. With making a daily decision to be phenomenal in all you do you ensure you will be forgotten.
  • Know your why: All the hard work and dedication to reach your dreams there has to be a basic connection to the why that motivates you to press on. Whether it is your family or community or heritage having a connection to why you work so hard to preserver will be the life persevere when life becomes overwhelming and threats and early defeat.

In all it was a great event that lit a fire under my goals to put in the work to make them become a reality!  Check out Eric Thomas and get in on the success movement today.

Making a bold statement with Josie Natori

Natori coverA minimal look is a quick way for an easy win when it comes to fashion and staying cool in the hot Houston summers.  The sophistication a clean LBD or white blouse and jeans can provide you with an opportunity to kick it up a notch and add a pop to change your look from memorable to unforgettable.  When looking for a great balance between modern and sleek apparel paired with bold accessories look no further than Josie Natori.

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Last week Tootsies showcased some of the great looks Natori has to offer at their Designer Mix and Mingle.  The great things about meeting a designer and seeing their personal style is you begin to understand the story behind the work.  From her background as a successful executive in the financial world to a powerhouse in the fashion world she exudes not a quiet confidence and subtle chicness. Natori trunk show (4)Her vision is translated into pieces that allow you to quickly dress up and dress down while all embracing the shapeliness that makes us all women as well as the differences that make us all unique.  The enthusiastic shoppers pulling strong necklaces and earrings seamlessly paired with sleek dresses and jackets with a wide range of style aesthetics was a clear example of the commanding impact of the Natori brand.

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Some of my favorites for the trunk show were the strong bracelet and necklaces combination presented at the show.  Strong mixes of black, gold, and silver not just provide an accent piece for an outfit, but it also pulls together influences from all over the globe.  With ease an intricate gold showstopper or versatile black beaded necklace/belt hints at tropical or tribal cultures from miles away.  The great handmaid pieces were surprising light adding to their flexibility and ease to wear and flexibility when mixing and matching in your closet.  Natori trunk show (7) Natori trunk show cuff up closeWhen paired with Natori fashion basics you have an opportunity to blend the basic and ornate in a way that really works to showcase your personal style, vision, and personality.

Amping up the fun for Mother’s Day with the Pleasure Pier

Pleasure Pier kids and IMother’s Day is a day filled with flowers, cards and hopefully appreciation of everything that mom’s do to make your life special.   As I found out this year though, as much as we try to fight it as mothers part of our joy is seeing our kids happy and having fun and building memories together.  On a day where others show their appreciation, it is a great time to reflect on the how much we appreciate not just the kids we have but the sacrifices made by the mother before us.  So as I began to plan my weekend, making memories with the kids that I appreciate was definitely part of my plan.  Good for me, Galveston is just a hop away and like that I whisked the kids to Galveston and set off for some adrenaline packed fun at Pleasure Pier.

Pleasure Pier (4)Pleasure Pier does a great job at combining an old school carnival feel with some action packed rides.  Without question the best things about a carnival is the food and with such great options is something that mom is sure to enjoy.  With funnel cakes, turkey legs, banana splits all at arm’s reach it is easy for her to pick her pleasure and proceed in celebrating her special day.  If none of those options strike her fancy she is right in the middle of a great selection of seafood delights offering the best the gulf has to offer.

Pleasure Pier (3) Pleasure Pier (1)Running a close second to the food is the fun.  As AstroWorld is a distant memory the roller coasters and thrill rides at Pleasure Pier are some of the closest outlets thrill seekers have as a go to.  From giant swings to looping dragons they have a small taste of everything but the fan favorite was definitely the Iron Shark rollercoaster.  With a jaw dropping descent the ride was on repeat throughout the day.  Once you get an all access pass to the pier you can put the rides on repeat so the fun stops only when you do.

Pleasure Pier (6)Taking the kids out to Pleasure Pier brought back tons of memories for me of going out to Galveston with my mom.  No back then the rides and adventure of the Pleasure Pier was nonexistent but the memories of riding bikes and walking along the boardwalk still stay with me to this day.  It is a great reminder of what endures when it comes to family, the memories you build together.  I hope this Mother’s Day, no matter what route you choose is filled with memories that can last a lifetime with your mother or as you mother your children.

By the way, if Pleasure Pier looks like a pretty good choice then this Mother’s Day they have a buy one get one on passes so you can double the fun with your mom at half the cost!

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Learning how to not be the emotional band aid in your relationship

DonazioneRelationships with a damaged person can feel like a constant process of fix it as a way to keep someone else above water.  Often once we are in it the situation, it becomes one of dread, but when we are honest with ourselves we saw trouble coming from a mile away and still invited ourselves in.  We see the baggage, the damage from the ex or their family or just their own self-image and instead of turning around and running or encouraging them to jump start their own improvement, we hop feet first in to a mess feeling like the world’s best handyman up for the challenge of a rundown house.  So what is it that makes us believe that we can be the band aid to someone else’s problems and come out on top in a successful relationship?

There are a lot of band aids we can try to apply to stop the bleeding of a damaged person.  Once you care and you want to help you get involved in a deeply personal process that really must come from that person’s own desire.  Nonetheless we get sucked into the wormhole by either overestimating ourselves and our ability to fix them or underestimating the problems that the person is dealing with and the ease in which it can be solved.  I have often fallen in the overestimation trap as I believed that the damage others have done can be healed just by me showing them the opposite.  If they dealt with a gold digger I have tried to show myself to be self-sufficient with their money not being my motivation.  When they have trust issues I have tried to go above and beyond to prove myself worth and true to my word.  The opposite is just as dangerous, by looking at their tangled personal life or personal image as something that is a quick fix.  Armed with a motto of self-reliance you start on the path of you can do it and you can fix it before even really honestly looking at the problem and listening to what their game plan is for the approach.  Either way the result is you putting in work on a problem that really is not yours to solve.  Chances are it does little to improve that person’s situation because their perspective on people, including you, is a key piece of the puzzle.

Regardless of if you are overestimating or underestimating, the result can put you too close to your band aid application to realize that the small sore you are trying to treat only covers a much bigger internal problem.  Perhaps something about the damage in others makes us feel a little better about the bumps and bruises that we all experience along the way.  If we came out on top our ego whispers others can too just by doing what we did.  The vision loses sight of the truth that everyone is different, and likewise so are their problems and solutions to those problems.  At a point true healing has to come from the inside and be self-directed.  Healing isn’t a magic show where you can waive a wand and instantly someone is better.  They have to be invested in their own growth and healing first and foremost.  Without that they will treat the most trust worthy person with constant suspicion and take someone’s adoration as a trick of the mind.

cuore reduceNo matter how big the impulse is the truth is everyone has to take out their own trash or the end up sealing their fate as the “bag lady”.  Stuck in their own prison of mistrust and self-doubt.  Yes once you have been burned you should learn a lesson, but really learning a lesson involves applying it, not just using it as a giant shield that misses out on good things coming your way or as a scape goat for everything that could be wrong.  Relationships work best when not just both parties are working at it but also when both parties are working on and commitment to their own improvement and growth.  Without understanding and accepting this you can end up in a relationship that ultimately damages you as much as the other damaged party through your attempt to play nurse in their life without being a doctor in your own.

Cinco De Mayo celebrating the PHPB Way!

Cinco De mayo favoritesIt’s Cinco de Mayo and for me the day has always been a great celebration of food and fun.  Admittedly in my college days the fun was more how much tequila could I take on challenge, but to this day it is always a day of celebrating the wonderful Mexican culture and heritage.  Before I’m off to cook one of my favorite Mexican dishes I thought I would share the recipes for the food and drinks that really make this day memorable for me.

Chicken Enchilada SuizaChicken Enchiada Suizas: I can be a little reluctant on Rachel Ray recipes as I like my food spicy and it is usually something she steers clear of.  This dish takes on some of the spice of jalapenos and poblano peppers and mellows it out with layers of cheese and tomatillos sauce that leaves a mark.  It became an instant classic in my house in no time.  The prep work on this dish is no joke as you are essentially making a Mexican lasagna with sauce from scratch but in the end you can feed a lot of people with one pan.  As an extra bonus once you let the food sit over night the flavors unite even more for a left over dish your family and friends won’t run from.


Ingredients:Guacamole dip and nachos

  • 4 ripe avocados
  • 10 Mexican limes, juiced
  • 1 medium white onion, chopped
  • 1 vine-ripe tomato, diced
  • 1 big handful fresh cilantro leaves, finely chopped
  • 5 serrano peppers
  • Kosher salt

Mash the avocados to your preferred consistency and combine with other ingredients

Instead of inserting some extra heat from spices like cumin and chili powder this recipe I learned from my friend Rudy focuses only on using fresh ingredients and the results are amazing.  In the end the recipe is a great way to make a friend or catch a man.  It may look heavy on the limes but not only do they work to add great flavor, they also ensure the avocados don’t turn brown and the guacamole lasts literally for days.  You can use the peppers to scale up or down on the heat or just add more spice in a separate batch so you have something for everyone.  The real secret ingredient in this dish is using fresh ingredients and eating it with home style tortilla chips.


orange jello shotsI was going to include a fav margarita recipe but on this day celebrating Mexican victory I think one of the treasures of Mexico should be treasured…Tequila!!! Unlike how most people drink it tequila to me is best served chilled with lime.  The quality of your tequila will then be the star.  If you feel like spoiling yourself try Don Julio 1942.  If you really must have the tequila in a mixed drink check out one of my favorite jello shot recipes that is festival enough for the celebration.   Orange Slice Jello Shots


The PHPB Met Gala Best Dressed List

PHPB Met Gala AwardsOn a night celebrating fashion, Play Hard Playbook has pulled out some of the best looks of the night that ensured fashion was front page news.  Here is our list of those who dared to Dress to Impress and won.

Zendaya Met GalaBest Risk Taker: Using the Met Gala as a way to step out on a limb is a great way to express individuality and encourage both fans and designers to do the same.  Solange definite came prepared to take a risk with her fan dress, whose galaxy them I thought was perfection on a day celebrating Star Wars but another young starlet ultimately got my vote.  Zendaya has been pushing boundaries of fashion recently and I thought her high low dress this year was both fun and made her stand out in a crowd of beautiful faces. Honorable mention goes out to FKA Twigs who took an artsy twist on a gown that seemed to honor the beautiful museum hosting the affair. solange-met-gala-2015 FKA Twigs Met Gala

Beyonce Met GalaBest of the Trends: Sheer was clearly a topic pic at this year’s Met Gala.  I honestly believe a night celebrating fashion should have guest trying to push the envelope on trying something new and different instead of trends that will predictably be duplicated.  That being said if you are going to be dressed like 10 other people in the room you better make sure you are dressed to kill.  Beyoncé did just that as her gold tones of her dress, strategically placed gems, back cut out and fun styling made her look leave worthy competitors like Kim K. and J. Lo in the dust.

"China: Through The Looking Glass" Costume Institute Benefit Gala - ArrivalsBest Peek a Boo: Be it through cut outs or sheer, the peek a boo looks gives an unmatched mix of sexy and demure that not only leaves something to the imagination, it gives the imagination a path to go on.  This year one of my fashion icons, Helen Mirren takes the prize.  Proving age is not a number, but a state of mind Lady Mirren combines a regal red with festive attention to her curves.

sarah-jessica-parker-met-gala-2015Best Accessory:  Pairing a great look with a great accessory shows that you are there to shut things down.  The attention to detail allows you to be a little more daring and make a statement others are sure to not forget.  Sarah Jessica Parker has made a name for herself with her choices in accessories and her headpiece this year was no acceptation.  The homage to a traditional Chinese headpiece both honored the theme and set ablaze to the competition.

karolina-kurkova-met-gala-2015Best Dressed for Theme: There is a limitless amount of beautiful fashions that can be traced back to this year’s Chinese theme.  Done at its best a look can pull form the influence while still coming out modern.  Karolina Kurkova took classic colors and components and blended them gracefully with new shapes for a great play on the Chinese theme.

Kate Hudson Met Gala Kendall Jenner Met Gala

Best Sparkle and Shine: What is a fancy party without a little sparkle and shine? Those who do it best are able to pull out major bling without being overpowered by the dress.  This year both Kate Hudson and Kendall Jenner choose traditional gown shapes but made sure their shape and silhouette was what is remembered most.


janelle-monae-met-gala-2015 dwyane-wade-gabrielle-union-met-gala-2015Best Twist on a classic look: Although pushing the boundary of fashion is always a goal, sometimes its nice to see a reminder of fashion foundations.   Both Janelle Monae and Gabrielle Union took either classic shapes or colors and made them their own by really find a perfect fit for their personality and then letting their internal shine do the rest.  Honorable mention goes to Katy Perry who again showed her fearlessness to take a classic shape and add her on funky vibe to it.

Zoe Kravitz Met GalaBest S&M: All of the Met Galas I have seen have had someone venturing more on the hard rock edge of things.  At such an elegant gala it is easy for the look to go too far too fast, however, this year Zoe Kravitz pulled from the artsy rocker look of her parents and pulled off a sheer look that somehow managed to still look elegant.

What were you favorite looks form the night?

PHPB Book Club: “The Go-Giver” a great way to realign your success strategy

PHPB Book Club The Go GiverSometimes it pays to have super smart friends!  In mentioning I set off to read two books a month to help my self-development this year to a good friend and the challenges that came in keeping up with such a heavy reading schedule.  Luck for me she recommended her current read, “The Go Giver” by Bob Burg and John David Mann and how powerful the lessons of the book had been in her life.  After reading some pretty heavy, and lengthy books this year this was a welcome change of pace that delivered a really powerful message really succinctly.  It is the perfect book for someone looking for a new perspective on becoming prosperous but isn’t’ a big reader or wants to avoid some of the typical formulas of motivational book.

One of the most exciting components of the book for me was the format.  It is clear that the authors are true storytellers and accordingly they present five gems in their message using the story of a man that may read pretty familiar to many of those who pick up the book.  It is the story of a man who felt like a go-getter but feels like the returns of his work doesn’t mirror the effort and energy he puts into what he does.  In an effort to make a deadline and find a lead he instead finds himself of a journey of not just his business development, but the way he approaches his relationships by not looking at what he receives but instead looking at what he gives to measure his success.  His experiences challenges and then corrects the way he goes about winning in a way that not just benefits him but uplifts and benefits those around him.  No matter if your focus is on personal success or professional success, the Five Laws of Stratospheric Success multiply your return but also re-aligns your motivations so you are truly adding value to those around you.  Once you finish this easy ready I am sure that you will find a way the Laws of Value, Compensation, Influence, Authenticity, and Receptivity can help enrich your pursuits in life.

Perfect Picks for Mother’s Day gifts

Happy Mothers day greeting cardIn a little over a week the annual celebration of all things mom will begin!  For the years of pain, struggle, laughter and tears, on May 10th you get a chance to reward that special lady in your life who can never be replaced.  But with the fun of the celebration comes the dread of trying to find a present that really celebrates all that your mom does for you and all that she means to you.  I am not a big fan of the money present as I think personal presents are the best at embodying the emotions of motherly love.  That being said it can be a really challenge to find a great present for someone who either has everything or doesn’t ask for anything.  Here are some tips to finding a gift that is sure to put a smile on her face.

Pay Attention: Every mom is different so there is no list in the world that will give you a perfect answer for every situation.  There is great news though, you can get the perfect fit for your mom straight from the source just by paying attention.  The things that are most cherished are usually things that can be utilized frequently so be it a great pair of earrings or a new apron that will make her life easier paying attention to her daily challenges is the best way to tune into what your mom wants.  If that is just impossible challenge how well you know your mom with starting in a category she likes and go from there.  For instance if she is a music lover perhaps a dual record player/digital music player may be something she did not even think of but is a perfect fit. If you are unsure about your gift make sure you include the why with the present.  Knowing someone put some extra thought into you always gives you the warm and fuzzies even if the result isn’t a perfect fit.

Staycation: As a mother, sometimes on Mother’s Day I just want to get away.  No matter how much your family is on their best behavior, some of the habits that require moms to work pop up any time they are around, yes even on Mother’s Day.  Putting her in a hotel for the night or weekend allows her to free herself from the mommy world and just get back to being herself.  Yes under all the motherly duties there is just a woman under there and probably a tired one.  A day away can end up with a happier her and chances are in the end a happier you.

Digital Photo Frame: In looking at her favorite things chances are that you, her family, is at the top of her list.  With a digital frame you get to pull some of your favorite moments with your mom and load them for her so she has a functional present right out of the gate.  With new innovations in frames like the line from Nixplay you also have access to convenient features like Wi-Fi and an email address to automatically add pictures.  This way your mom doesn’t have to be bogged down with the technology of it all and you can add music, pictures, and quotes on a continual basis that she can enjoy.

Little things count too: Whether it’s because you are young or your money is funny sometimes our desire to do something nice for our mom is not matched by our bank account.  If you don’t have cash then you still have you.  Going out of our way to help, be it with the yard or cleaning up the house, takes somethings off of your mom’s plate and gives you some insight on the work she does every day for you (for example cleaning up your room is not a Mother’s Day present but cleaning up the house might be).  Just make sure that if you go this route you don’t just do something you should have already been helping with, go above and beyond to show some appreciate on this day celebrating motherhood.