Category Archives: Travel & Leisure

Seductive Sedona

Sedona 2019 red rocksEnter the trance of exotic Sedona, Arizona.  A flight to Phoenix then a few hours drive, you will enter this fire-like magical wonderland.  A peaceful place, many come to meditate, hike, retreat, and heal.  There are magical powers we hear coming from the five area vortexes.  A many “psychics” call this place home too.  They must know something?  I really wanted to find out, but it will have to be a reading on another trip!

My husband just celebrated a “round” birthday.  So, we decided to take a nice vacation to a place we have never been.  So, Sedona here we came!  And, somewhere not like Vegas I might add!  It did not take us long to agree on Sedona, and the Hyatt Vacation Club Pinon Pointe was perfect for us and our sedona 2019 hyatt+1!  Located in the heart of the city, walkable to restaurants and attractions, we could not have landed in a better place.  Breakfast and Starbucks coffee at 7am, then a dip in the pool, then exploring the beautiful town and surroundings.  Not a bad view anywhere, including the gas station! Also, the property had an activities center which included ping pong, pool table, free internet, grilles, and a fire pit.

Since we have an 8-month old son, we knew this trip was more of a test than a full on eventful adventure.  We used our days to discover what we  can do in the future!  Hiking is definitely an attraction, including their “pink jeep” tours, helicopter tours, river rafting, etc. We very much enjoyed just driving our rental car anywhere and everywhere.  Popular sites include Maroon Mountain, Thunder Mountain, Coffee Pot Rock, Cathedral Rock, Snoopy Rock, and Bell Rock.

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Galante Wine Gang

galanteOur trip to Carmel By The Sea would certainly not be complete unless we did some wine tasting! California does produce some of my favorite wines.  I was born in CA so perhaps their grapes are in my bloodline? LOL.

There are wine rooms on every block in this town.  We took a stroll into the Galante Vineyards tasting room.  There was a good social echo coming out of their propped open door.  It sounded inviting, so we literally followed the vibe thinking, we’ll just pop in for a minute.  Well, that minute lasted more than an hour and before we knew it, we tasted all kinds of wines from their extensive library, nibbling on cheese and snacks, chatting up the locals, and hanging out with wine guru Jack Galante himself! His family is some of the original founders of Carmel.  They have a deep history here and it was fun to hear his stories.  Did you know that a woman’s high heels is banned in this town?  A funny local law that is still in place but not enforced.  LOL!  Ok, back to the wine.   Our tasting only cost $30 by the way.  Not a bad deal at all!

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Carmel By The Sea: “Name That House”

Scenic Road
Scenic Road

My recent trip to Carmel, California was a real sea breeze treat!  Besides losing power at our highlands resort for 1.5 days due to bad weather, the stunning scenery was magical.  We even caught a glimpse of a rainbow a time or two!

The realtor in me had to take a road trip to Carmel By The Sea to check out some Pacific Coast real estate! Sotheby’s has an office in Carmel and Monterrey so I can help you with your RE needs here if you are looking, just an FYI!  Alongside Carmel Bay on Scenic Road we drove our rental car up and down and weaved in and out of the adjoining streets.  Look at this house as my main photo for this story!!!  This was by far my favorite.  Unobstructed views for miles out Continue reading Carmel By The Sea: “Name That House”

Louis Vuitton Launch Party

Photo booth fun with Laura Cernock, Hannah Thibodeaux, Anna Kaplan, and a snapshot with Tenley Huste
Photo booth fun with Laura Cernock, Hannah Thibodeaux, Anna Kaplan, and a snapshot with Tenley Huste

Louis Vuitton just got “smarter” but it comes with a hefty price!  July 12th I attended the launch party of the Tambour Horizon Watch at the Louis Vuitton boutique in the Houston Galleria.  All I can say is….WOW!!!  Apple you have some BIG competition in the smart watch division.

Sipping on champagne and cocktails mixed with music provided by a resident DJ made for a mix and mingling fashion forward unveiling event!  My friends and I had a great time browsing the latest inventory, socializing with fashionistas, and of course getting familiar with the guest of honor….the Tambour Horizon watch! Thank you Tenley Huste aka Regional Retail Training Manager of Louis Vuitton for presenting to us all of the benefits of this savvy new gadget! It’s a game changer!

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Relais & Chateaux World Tour: “Europea”

Me and my hubby indulging in Europea's 12-course chef's dinner
Me and my hubby indulging in Europea’s 12-course chef’s dinner

I recently traveled to Quebec in Canada and fell in love!  The whole Province is French speaking and everything about Quebec is simply charming.  The architecture, rich history, food, art, and culture, it is not what I expected for Canada.  My first stop was to the city of Montreal , and on the first night my husband surprised me with a romantic dinner at a renowned Relais & Chateaux restaurant.  I did not research for this trip at all (and on purpose) and had zero expectations, and I had no idea what was in store!

europea relais and chateau foodWe pull up to Europea in a charming neighborhood.  I am immediately drawn to the old world look of the building.  When we enter they take us upstairs to an intimate table for two.  As I look around I see a few couples, some business people, and all looked very entertained and pleased.  I glance at the menu (in French) and before I had to make any decisions my husband said “Let’s have the chef’s tasting dinner!”  Lo and behold, a 12-course meal was in queue plus wine pairing!  Celebrity chef Jerome Ferrer and his team of highly trained and engaging servers certainly put on a show.  An almost theatrical kind of affair one would say.  Each course had a surprise.  Courses were served in books, boxes, clay pots for us to hammer open, there was steam, and fire, and grand finale cotton candy trees.  Every plate was a work of fine art and tasted delicious.  They love their fois gras in this town and their dessert too.  Plus, the wines they chose were absolutely exquisite and the perfect enhancing match for each entrée it was served. We were overly stimulated I must say but in the best way and they even sent us home with wrapped gifts!

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John Hardy Workshop Tour In Bali!

john hardy workshop 1My love for John Hardy jewelry is so strong I had to fly across the world to Indonesia to visit their workshop!  Ok, my husband and I just happened to be honeymooning in Bali and lo and behold the jewelry company has a workshop in the country hills of Ubud on the island of Bali!  How convenient and coincidental for us!  “Rich in nature, beauty, creativity, tradition and culture, Bali continues to be our universal source of inspiration,” says the folks at John Hardy. It is known as the island of wonders.

john hardy workshop2Talking about entering a magical land!  This place might just be the most zen work environment I have ever experienced.  Taking it all in this atmosphere beyond the rice and bamboo fields is enriched with greenery and traditional Bali-style buildings. They have animals onsite such as rabbits for compost and every day over 700 workers are fed a wholesome vegetarian lunch prepared on property using fresh farm ingredients.  My hubby and I also experienced the sumptuous al fresco dining experience. It might have been the freshest meal I have ever enjoyed and in the company of the workshop’s senior management! Side note….through John Hardy’s  “Jobs for Life Program” they provide vocational training, financial support, and job opportunities to disadvantaged Balinese orphans.

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Ladies & Lace Bridal Brunch

"Blooming Brides" Lori Geshay & Hollie Wells
“Blooming Brides” Lori Geshay & Hollie Wells

Two Brides = Double the FUN!  February 26th seaside in Galveston I had the pleasure to host a brunch & lingerie shower for blooming brides Lori Geshay & Hollie Wells.  The future Mrs Bergeron & Mrs Dorsett were glowing of course surrounded by their besties  for champagne, dining and sweets.  What better venue to treasure these dolls than at the “Queen of the Gulf” known as the Hotel Galvez.  A member of the Historic Hotels of America, Hotel Galvez is a four-star AAA property.

I am not a “crafty” person mainly due to time constraints, however I  was motivated with this occasion and spent A LOT of time on Pintrest.  Let’s just talk decor for a minute!  Going with the lingerie theme I baked heart-shaped butter cookies and

"Trende Brende" the Hostess and future Martha Stewart...LOL
“Trende Brende” the Hostess and future Martha Stewart…LOL

decorated them into cute lingerie and/or bathing suits.  Since this was my first attempt the designs were manageable but aren’t they so cute???  I felt like a fashion designer…watch out Victoria’s Secret!  Next, what is an event without champagne in my group!? So, I took mini bottles, dipped them in gold glitter, and added cute pink ruffle bows w/ a pink/white straw.  I did a similar idea for my wedding favours but the glitter took it to a whole new level!  Pink was my colour choice as it’s feminine, fun, and perfect for Spring.  Also on the table were  ring lotto scratch-offs….and a fun prize included of course for the winner!  Fresh floral arrangements for the brides to take home.  Fun glasses, veils, hats to play with.  Last, Mardi Gras beads for everyone!  Yes, this party happened to fall on Mardi Gras….which made it even more festive.  A good way to “mark your champagne glass” is to tie your beads around the bottom of the flute. The stem.  Choose or “claim” your colour and no confusion there!

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Safari Time Texas Style!

 

"The JaNic" and their furry friends!
“The JaNic” and their furry friends!

It is a dream of mine to travel to Africa and to go on an exotic safari adventure.  Until then, I love to explore Texas because it is convenient!  Recently my fiancé and I went to San Antonio to meet our wedding officiant.  All is good in that department! With our extra time in the day we thought why not check out the Natural Bridge Wildlife Ranch located between San Antonio and New Braunfels! Okay, the both of us love animals and I personally love zebras (and penguins for that matter).  Well, this place allows us to drive though a natural park and feed wild animals and from our vehicle and in their natural setting nonetheless!  How cool!! Just roll down the window and go!

Natural Bridge Wildlife Ranch has taken to heart the care of animals from all over the world for over 30 years. With over 400-acres of pristine, natural, protected, environment, animal populations continue to thrive. Get your explorer hat on because you will find giraffe, zebra, rhino, camel, ostrich, elk, and numerous more exotics!  One part education, one part preservation; this is the place to mix it up for a day full of fun and adventure.  It’s very family friendly too! I can’t wait to take my nephew and niece!

wildlife3Come hungry too because on the premises is the Safari Camp Grill.  Dive into juicy burgers with peppered fries, cheese nachos, chicken salad sandwiches, and finish off with some ice cream or Zebra a la mode!

Let the shopper in you get the goods and gifts at the Safari Trading Post.

For some up close laughs enjoy the Petting Barnyard with the African Pygmy Goats. Or make your way over to Lemur Island, the habitat of the Ring-tailed Lemur’s native home of Madagascar. Peacocks, Peahens and their offspring roam freely.  They know their beauty, and will pose for photos.

wildlife2We had such a wonderful adventure petting zebra and deer. Their whiskers were soft, the animals were so approachable, and it’s an activity that puts a smile on anyone’s face. Okay seriously, now that I’ve pet a zebra I have major bragging rights!

For more information on The Natural Bridge Wildlife Ranch check them out at www.wildliferanchtexas.com or call 830-438-7400. Annual passes are available or general tickets range from $10-19.  It’s a WILD experience you WON’T want to miss!

The Doors Of Spain

spain doors2I recently traveled to Spain for a friend’s wedding. A trip of a lifetime and a fairytale place to say “I Do”. During my stay I explored the historic cities of Granada, Ronda, and Malaga. Besides the romanticism this wonderful part of the Mediterranean offered, naturally I was drawn to the beauty of the historic buildings, the architecture, cathedrals, the narrow streets, art, food and the culture. Easily distracted with tapas and sangria, nothing could take away the ancient yet modern environment as I was taking it all in.

spain doorsAs silly as it may sound, I could not help myself stop taking endless photos of doors!  Yes, in this populated yet compact environment I was immediately attached to the authentic, large, powerful, unique and individual statement doors each home and business distinctively offered.  As I am no expert, I would love to know the story and the history behind each one.  From the knockers to the knobs, to the bolts, color, wood type, curves, size, etc…. ALL have something to teach and a craftsman to compliment.  From 17th century to today they are a work of art in my eyes.  Doors here do not symbolize closure or a message to “keep out”.  To me they are an invitation to something wonderful inside and it stimulates my imagination.

Nicole Brende exploring the streets of Ronda, Spain
Nicole Brende exploring the streets of Ronda, Spain

This is such inspiration to take home and it makes me rethink what door resembles my personality?  Who am I and what door fits me?  When I build my next home “doors” will be very important to me more than ever.    No replica will do now that I’ve seen the real deal.  As I drove the Spanish countryside I was thrilled to see antique shops with doors, windows, etc.  There is much to “re-purpose”.  Oh Spain, mark my word I will be back and I will conquer and claim my dream door.  Thanks Spain, you just increased my budget!  Las puertas authenticas son muy expensivas!!!

“I Like It Like This” Art Exhibit at Sotheby’s Auction House

nyc sothebys auction house5A field trip to the Sotheby’s S I 2 Gallery in NYC is a bucket list treat!  Thank you to Martha Turner my idol and Co-President of MTSIR here in Houston for giving us top producers a trip of a lifetime! May 1st they held a private cocktail and viewing party for us while unveiling the exhibition I Like It Like This with musical curation by the Grammy award winning performer Drake.  Although a disappointment that Drake could not be there in person, it was still a treat to mingle with Sotheby’s corporate execs at the official auction house at 1334 York Avenue at 72nd Street in New York’s Upper East Side.

Clifford Siegel, Kathy Korte, Martha Turner, Bradley Nelson
Clifford Siegel, Kathy Korte, Martha Turner, Bradley Nelson

I Like It Like This, presented by S|2 in collaboration with Drake is a celebration of influential Contemporary black American artists. Grammy winning hip hop icon Drake has provided musical curation by selecting songs to accompany highlighted works in the exhibition. Listen to Drake’s song selections at Beats by Dre™ sound stations throughout the gallery and experience the dialogue surrounding the overlap of these identities and the ways in which they bolster, challenge and inspire one another.

Jan-Oliver Schmidt & Nicole Brende
Jan-Oliver Schmidt & Nicole Brende

It is so NYC to be sipping wine and gallery hopping, right?  It feels so civilized.  I chose to wear the Sabrina black tulle and lace dress by designer nha bhanh. It was my Carrie Bradshaw moment!  Didn’t my fiance look pretty dapper too in his suit?  I love dressing him up pocket square and all!

S|2 is Sotheby’s Contemporary art gallery, offering year-round exhibition programming and bespoke private sales.

SOTHEBY's Cocktail ReceptionWith dedicated gallery space in New York, London and Hong Kong, S|2 presents selling exhibitions exploring the work of celebrated artists, such as Jean-Michel Basquiat, Keith Haring, Yayoi Kusama, and Claude and François-Xavier Lalanne, as well as shows curated by influential art world figures like Vito Schnabel.

SOTHEBY's Cocktail ReceptionIn addition to gallery programming, the S|2 team facilitates private acquisitions and sales around the world. Side note, the reason why Sotheby’s started a real estate company is because of their art auction customers.  It only makes sense that their millions of dollars in art must have a home or two too!  I still find it pretty amazing that some art can sell for over $100 million!  Until next time, learn more at WWW.SOTHEBYS.COM/S2

103I just love being a part of the Sotheby’s global network! We are a world-wide company with endless resources.  Plus, they are the leaders in the luxury market.

NYC I had a great time and I will miss you but I know we will be together again soon!