Category Archives: Travel & Leisure

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 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!



It’s Crystal Clear. Say YES to Baccarat!

baccarat hotel signMy recent Sotheby’s top producer award trip to NYC was simply off the charts! Perfect weather, living in luxury at the Waldorf Astoria, and enjoying private art exhibit events at the Sotheby’s auction house, a Broadway performance, fancy dinners, shopping on 5th Avenue, and bike strolls in Central Park and around the city. In the middle of our great adventure we were introduced to the ultra new and ultra luxurious Baccarat Hotel.  This place is my dream! Surround me every day with crystal chandeliers and luxurious decor. All I can say is more more more!

124Baccarat Hotels & Resorts translates the perfect craft and noble heritage of the legendary, 250-year-old French crystal maker into an elegant lifestyle. Combining this rare legacy with modern elegance and elements of unexpected magic, each of the brand’s hotels and resorts has been conceived as a gracious hôtel particulier, welcoming guests with impeccable service and distinctive amenities. Baccarat Hotels & Resorts launched in March 2015 with the opening of its flagship New York property.  Baccarat Hotel & Residences New York will be followed by Rabat, Morocco, in 2016, with additional openings in Dubai and Doha over the course of the next several years.  Rumor has it, add Miami to the mix!

119Baccarat Hotel & Residences New York is a contemporary Manhattan take on a classically elegant Parisian hôtel particulier. It blends influences past and present to create sumptuous spaces, both grand and intimate that inspire wonder with their enchanting surprises and carefully considered details.  Although one night’s stay can range around $1000, in my opinion this is an opportunity of a lifetime.  In the bar area, I enjoyed a negroni cocktail served in a Baccarat crystal glass.  Only the finest dahling! Even the bartenders and cocktail waitresses wear Baccarat crystal jewelry.

baccarat hotel fur chairTheir lounge is set up like a custom home with beautiful seating arrangements and private rooms for entertaining and meetings.  I found my favorite “fur” chair too.  It’s the Texas chic in me :)  Sought after Paris-based design duo Gilles & Boissier created nearly every piece of furniture  in fact for the hotel’s soaring salon-style public spaces, as well as the 114 light-filled rooms and suites of the hotel. Weaving artisanal Baccarat crystal elements throughout, they lavished attention on each surface, be it a sparkling mica-covered vaulted ceiling, silver-leafed wood paneling, pleated-silk walls or a monumental marble table. New York design masters Tony Ingrao and Stephen Sills, respectively, handled the 60 residences and the ground-level contemporary French restaurant, Chevalier.

123The next time you go to New York City indulge in some Baccarat elegance because you are worth it! After this experience I think I need to add Baccarat to my wedding registry list.  Move over Waterford, Baccarat has a hotel! Located at 20 West 53rd Street , New York , New York , 10019 across from the Museum of Modern Art, enjoy the radiant glow of this 50 story masterpiece.  You are welcome my friends! Trende Brende has you covered.