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!

Fashion Challenge: Packing for a day trip

IMG_0245A day trip is a great way to hone your fashion balance between comfort, ease, style, and flexibility.  When your entire apparel should fit in a small bag some of the “what ifs” that come with packing disappear.   My mission impossible for packing for my trip was to include something to wear to a musical as well as something comfortable and cute for my day two.  Here were my answers to the fashion challenge of a one day trip to San Antonio.

Puttin’ On the Ritz

IMG_0244Every year I try to make it up to New York so my daughter can see a Broadway show.  Well in 2014 we couldn’t make it to New York for Broadway so we had to catch it her in Texas.  The Lion King musical is a great introduction to musicals for kids and as an 80’s baby it ties something I loved in my childhood to something she could still connect.  Not to mention you cannot beat a show with both beautiful musical and an inspiring message.  When I am packing light there are few better choices for me than a dress because it is an all in one outfit.  I went with silk Haute Hippie shirt dress.  The flow of the dress made it a bit flirty while I could add other elements like a belt and some boots to give it more of a grown up feel.  Knee boots, like my sued Gucci boots, are a great way to add some class but are flexible enough to fold and fit in a smaller bag when needed.  The cranberry color of the dress helped to add some elegance to the look and was a great balance for a Broadway show with a huge kid appeal like the Lion King.

Conquering the Riverwalk

IMG_0216The flip side of a one way trip is always difficult because you really want to be comfortable for your return but also you want to get in a little bit of fun or sightseeing while you are still at your destination.  It was my goal not just to explore the Riverwalk but also check one some of the awesome restaurants that are sprinkled throughout area.  To get my fix of both comfort and style I chose to keep it simple with jeans and a sweater.  Yep it’s a classic combination and by throwing in a fun hat and belt I added a little shape and sass to freshen up the look.  I was able to both conquer a small exploration of the Riverwalk, some delicious empanadas (with a little room to spare in the waist of my pants) and the flight back to Houston with a smile.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My Fab Five at Fashion Houston

Houston Fashion Bloggers Group photoHouston Fashion week took flight on Tuesday setting off to claim our rightful place in fashion as the fourth largest city in America.  Fashion Weeks in cities like Miami and New York have become renowned not just for the fashion but for the production and glitz that makes the evenings not just about fashion, but about fun as well.  Over the four days of fashion week each show gives its own unique twist to compliment the showing designers of the night.   Tuesday night lights shone for me this week and I got to step into the glamor of fashion week.    Take a look at my favorite five things about my night at Fashion Houston.

Sax and DJ at Fashion houston5. Guest list: Grand events like Houston fashion week manages to be a beacon signal for the cities movers and shakers.  As people watching is one of my favorite things I love sitting back and see who is coming and what they are wearing.  Even more fun than that is watching the interaction people have with one another as they are all out dressed to impress and enjoy the artful fashion of the night.

4. Entertainment: Mixing a saxophone player with a DJ would seem foreign, but with eclectic mix of fun at Houston Fashion Week it blended seamlessly.  As you got this blend of live music and recorded beats as you walked through the doors the imagination could not help but to think what could be next??? The show did not disappoint with live performances in between different designers and a special performance by Houston Metropolitan Dance Company.

Red carpet fashion s3. Red Carpet:  What is not fun about putting on your best and hitting a red carpet?? Between the flashing lights and hot fashions there are few places I would rather be.  It is a great place not just to see some of the hottest fashion elite in Houston, but it’s a great way to feel like one yourself.

2. Fun with friends: Like a good bottle a wine, fashion shows are best when they are shared.  Having someone there to exchange notes and occasional jokes with is icing to the cake on the fun of a fashion show.  When the environment is set on fashion new friends become old ones pretty quickly as I wish I had a cam to catch some of the live reactions of the fun ladies surrounding me.

Rubin Singer Fashion Houston 2 Rubin Singer Fashion Houston 1 Art Institute Fashion Houston 2 Art Institute Fashion Houston 11. Fashions: Well this one is a no brainer.   I saw so many pieces that tempted me to run to the dressing room and try to grab.  What I love best about fashion shows is that it expands your palette for what is new and fresh and give you a taste of how you can use fashion to better set the tone for your personal style.  I saw too many pieces I loved to group it all in one post so stayed tuned for my break outs of the individual designer’s highlights.  Until then here is a sneak peak of my favorite fashion pics for Tuesday night.

 

 

 

My Hollywood Halloween

Halloween at the W (29)The strange mix of fun, horror, and dress up makes Halloween one of the days I look forward to most every year.  My love for the holiday leads me every year to search to find or make costumes that I love only to show up at a party where I feel like one of the few who got the memo that costumes and Halloween go hand and hand.  This year I decided to take my costume show on the road and headed to LaLa land to explore how Los Angeles does Halloween soirees.

Halloween at the W (22)

Halloween at the W (24)While the party choices in LA were hard to narrow down, I took some guidance from the locals and ended up at the W Hollywood for their annual Halloween celebration.  The whole hotel seems to cater to the love of Halloween as even the lobby was pulled into the fun that took over the entire bar and lounge area of the hotel.  As opposed to ballroom parties, using the lobby kept the space feeling fun and the party moving.  The crowd was definitely packed, however, with an included balcony there was definitely enough space for you to take a break and get some air or stay on the dance floor and feel the vibe of the crowd.  I loved the balcony area with huge pictures of some unforgettable actors and of course the premium bar for those who purchased the all you can drink bracelets.

Halloween at the W (28) Halloween at the W (27) Halloween at the W (16) Halloween at the W (2)With drinks pouring and the music flowing it’s hard to ask for anything more, but indeed my favorite part of the night was the costumes.  From Alice in Wonderland to Batman everyone got their crew together and came coordinated and ready to go.  There is something about a costume that allows people to be a little friendlier and party just a little harder (of course the all you can drink bar helped out with that as well).  Throughout the night I laughed, took pictures, compared costumes and had a great time all with perfect strangers with the love for Halloween as our common connection. Halloween at the W (26) Halloween at the W (28)

 

 

 

 

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

 

Pulling strength from yourself and others at the Oprah Life You Want Weekend

New Friends and Old Champagne at Life You Want WeekendWithout question the Life You Want Weekend was an awe inspiring experience for me. In planning to go I really set off to hear Oprah and all the great speakers share their insight on success and peace and inspiration with the hopes it would take seed on my own life and struggles.  True to this expectation the weekend was a great way to catalog old and new mantras and guidance.  The unexpected gift of the trip wasn’t in a gift bag or book or souvenir t-shirt, however.  It was found in the work I put in with myself and the strength I was able to pull from the people I met around me.

Crowd at Life You Want WeekendThere is always something magical that has the potential to happen when you go to an event where everyone’s intention is change for the better. Those who paid the big bucks to go to the event didn’t do it just to do something on a Saturday night, but equally seeking something that was missing the week, day or minute before they walked through the doors.  Perhaps that something missing was self-love or motivation or understanding, but it was something they wanted to grow from by the experience.  When the room is set in this desire it becomes almost like a field ripe for planting.  Within the experience we all received new ideas or repeats of forgotten ones in a personal dialogue that could speak directly to almost any situation.  That level of receptiveness spreads like wildfire and makes you more willing and enthusiastic for the change because you see that when you came missing something that you were not alone.  O Town WristbandCollectively everyone was looking and when you lose that loneliness of your personal situation it can prime you in a way to grow and change that few other scenarios can duplicate.  The people I met along the way all exuded this spirt of receptiveness and even though I came in attending the event solo I felt like I was leaving a good group of friends at the end of day two.  Meeting these strong, intelligent, giving women was a great inspiration for me to look at my own life with new eyes and to feel thankful for the blessings that connections shine through even when they are unexpected.

Goal Setting at Life You Want WeekendKerline at Life You Want Weekend Me at O TownThe second gift to me was the guidance through some of the exercises to do the work in my own life to produce change. The accompanied book with the weekend went through exercises that let us explore some of our motivations and dreams.  With a clear vision of where I wanted to go and the why of my wanting to get, suddenly the road in between the present I have and the future I want felt less scary.   For me the exercises were a strong reminder of not just the reason for it all for me, my beautiful daughter, but that it was as okay for me to want the best for her as it was for me to want the best for me.  The combination of the internal work I put in on myself as well as the energy not just of the entire stadium but in the personal connections of the women I met helped me to leave the Oprah Life You Want Weekend energized, enlightened and ready for whatever troubles may come my way

A few of my favorite things – Chicago edition

Making moves on my visit to ChicagoThere are no ifs, ands or buts about it… Chicago is my favorite US city.   There is something really magical about the balance of the city that gives a little taste of home town hospitality along with an urban metropolitan culture and vibe.  One of the most attractive qualities in balancing those two flavors is the ease you have in exploring some of the highlights of the city on foot (at least before winter hits).  It is with such effortlessness that you can make a day out of exploring and get your fill of culture at the museums, history with the architecture, beauty in the parks and by the lake and of course FOOD.   In my most recent visit I got a chance to really do some walking and found a couple of new favorite things in my favorite city to add to my list.

Events Tips

Raise The MacAllan 5I am never sure how I get on these Chicago mailing list but as destiny would have it right before my trip I got an email from Save Our Social (S.O.S).  The site is a great list into the fun ins and outs of Chicago with some Featured Events that are so diverse something is sure to catch your eye.  The site lead me to a MacAllan tasting that I loved so it is a great place to decide how and where you want to tackle fun in social butterfly called Chicago.

Drinks at the Peninsula

I’m so fancy!!! Well at least this is how you feel when you set foot in the PeninsulaBeignets and Martinis at the Pennisula Martinis at the PennisulaFrom the BMW car service to the Ultimate Academy to the view on the terrace, the Peninsula knows how to make you feel like a boss!  As my stop at the hotel was on the move I stopped by The Lobby to grab some treats, which for me consists of drinks and dessert.  With a French martini and beignets on deck all seems well with the world!!!  If you have time make sure to check out their Afternoon Tea, it’s a great take on an awesome tradition but seats fill up fast

French Market

Chicago is a foodie’s paradise and few places are a greater reminder of just who many great food choices exist in the city than the French Market.  In one short trip around the vendor circle you can get a bite of almost any and every flavor you could think of. From organic pressed juices to wine to pretzels and everything in between the French Market is a great way to grab lunch on the go but still get a great treat for your taste buds and belly alike.  I went with a lobster grilled cheese sandwich and got a little piece of heaven with every bite.

Breakfast of Champions

Breakfast at Yolk Breakfast at wishbone YolkOne thing is for sure if you plan to attack the city of Chicago on foot you need a great breakfast to start your day off right. My go to’s in the city are always Yolk and Wishbone.  Good food that fills your bell and atmospheres were you feel at home really highlight a city where the best at anything can be done fancy or not but still be fabulous.  Between the laughs and conversation with good friends these eateries give you something different with their menu that will leave you wanting more for weeks after your visit.

So what are your Chicago highlights???

 

Raise the MacAllan, a whiskey lovers dream

Raise The MacAllan 1First stop on a great visit to Chicago and what better way to catch up with friends than enjoying a favorite…MacAllan Whiskey. Over the years I have become a huge whiskey fan and The MacAllan is definitely one of the best of the best in the world of single malt Irish whiskeys.  While some back away from whiskey because of its strength (40% alcohol by volume), The MacAllan proves that you can indeed really enjoy all aspects of the whiskey experience.  The brand does a great job of balancing power and style with a rick flavor and a smooth finish. Raise the Macallan 4

The secret to this delicate balance for The MacAllan is their curiously small stills.  Famous enough to make the face of Irish currency these stills are proof positive that The MacAllan puts quality over quantity in every step of the process.  The small still and individual batches are just the first step in a long process that produces an exceptional spirit.  From beginning to end The MacAllan has its hand in every part of their creation process and yes this even includes sourcing barrels in which to age the spirit.  Instead of grabbing up bourbon or sherry casks The MacAllan does something unheard of, they grow the wood that makes the cast.  That’s right, when you can pick up a bottle of The MacAllan in a local store, the process of creation actually started 100 years previously when the seeds for their oak trees are first planted.  Through growing, harvesting, sherry creation, and drying the wood you are talking about a very long and very expensive quality all just to guarantee quality.  Raise The MacAllan 5Raise the MacAllan 2The MacAllan spares no expense, even small details such as allowing the wood to dry naturally in order to maximize their color and flavor which come from the wood, in bring something great to whiskey lovers everywhere.

The process truly demonstrates their craft and their passion for producing exceptional whiskeys. With only 16% of all productions ending up in bottles you can see why their finest cut becomes one of the finest whiskeys.  With such a painstaking process it’s easy to see why The MacAllan appeals to such a wide audience and is a great way to bring people together with the fun, laughter, and memories that really makes life great.

 

 

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 www.bpsos.org.  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)