Lions, tigers, and bears, oh my!!! Have you ever explored the Houston Zoo? Despite the HOT summer days my friend Lindsay and I braved the heat and took our little toddler monkeys to the zoo for the ultimate playdate adventure. Tip #1 – show up early! Parking is free but spaces fill up fast. We hit the ground running right when the zoo opened. Tip #2 – if you have a wagon it is so much easier to tow kiddos and “stuff” around the park. Or, bring a stroller. Tip #3 – wear sunscreen and pack bug spray. Tip#4 – bring snacks and hydrate. The zoo does have concession areas and Moms they sell wine! Tip#5 – know your route. The zoo his huge and you might want to bypass some animals to get to your favorite attractions. Speaking of favorites, we loved seeing the baby elephants, sea otters, and the sea lions. The Houston Zoo has special exhibits and events every day so check the calendar! There is always something new to discover so if you if you really want to maximize your experience then buy the family pass for the year. It’s more than worth it. The Houston Zoo is located at 6200 Hermann Park Drive in Houston, Texas. It is right next to the Med Center, several museums within walking distance, The Miller Outdoor Theater. Definitely take the kiddos next door to Hermann Park to ride the Choo Choo train! All Aboard! For more information head to their website www.houstonzoo.org .
It’s Fall Y’all! For Houstonians, this is the dream season. Weather is picture perfect. Even a pandemic cannot slow us down when it comes to enjoying this special time of year.
Our tradition usually leads us to the St Luke’s United Methodist Church pumpkin patch, but thanks to the COVID-19 times, they opted to not host this yearly event. Another wonderful alternative, which is probably not an alternative to others but their primary, is the Memorial Drive Methodist Church pumpkin patch. They were open for big business and we walked away with the biggest pumpkin we could find! Not only do they have an exciting variety of pumpkin options, but adorable phot-op backdrops for the kiddos, and the most expensive pumpkin you can buy is $25. So, have fun picking both big and small! It was our perfect Sunday activity for today, followed up with brunch at Royal Oaks Country Club.
Stay Safe. Wash Your Hands. Wear A Mask. These are the most common words we hear this year. Thanks to COVID-19 our lives will never be the same. In my world, travel is a huge part of who we are in my family. We love adventure and experiences. Plus, sometimes we just need a little break from every day life. Since hopping on an airplane is not so fashionable, we are now opening our minds up to some convenient road trips. Honestly, since we have a toddler who cannot sit still, short road trips is truly the way to go for us anyway.
First stop this year we chose San Antonio. This is a place we can go to many times and have a different experience each time. Since most large public places are closed such as Sea World and Fiesta Texas, we chose a hotel resort with some amenities to keep us occupied and safe. We tried out the Hyatt Residence Club at Wild Oak Ranch. In a perfect setting, this place has all you can offer to a family. They have a golf course, put put, fire pits, pools, slides, horseshoe games and corn hole, sand volleyball, restaurants, club house, and more. But due to social distancing restrictions the only attractions open were the golf course and the lazy river. We seriously went just for the lazy river! It was awesome!
Enter 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 +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.
Some like it HOT and others kept it COOL for the 19th Annual Thanks for Giving Charity Gala benefiting the Kym Coleman Education Foundation. Saturday, October 14th my husband and I dressed up and joined our wonderful group of friends for the Fire & Ice gala for an evening of philanthropy and fun at the Bayou Events Center in Houston.
From the masquerade decor, to the music, dance floor and theatrical entertainment, to the silent and live auctions, there was something for everyone that evening. In fact, I won two auction items and also participated in the live auction which was a lot of fun!
The Kym Coleman Education Foundation was founded by Cookie Michael in loving memory of her daughter, Kym Coleman, who perished in a plane crash in 1993. Kym had a mission to assist school children that were not as fortunate as others were and to help improve their quality of education. This gala raises thousands of dollars to support incentive programs to low income elementary schools, like the Honor Roll Bicycle Program. For more information on KCEF visit their site www.kceffoundation.com.
Alright my friends, don’t mess with Texas weather y’all! Heavy rain is upon us in the Bayou City and it’s time to gear up. The category #3 Hurricane Harvey is expected to hit Houston on Friday and in some neighborhoods no doubt there will be severe flooding.
Besides fueling up your car (which clearly I did right away) and running to the liquor store to stock up for hunker down “hurrication purposes”, there is a great website that SERIOUSLY helps you prep for disasters including getting us all organized and safe for the wet weather. Check out www.TexasPrepares.org .
A snapshot of the extensive checklist is below (just click on it for a full view), or for better viewing and downloading purposes go to their website. Important items on there include food & water, first aid & medication, lighting, car evacuation, area shelters, pets, documents, and people with disabilities.
There are highs and lows in our days and in our lives. Sometimes we just need a little dose of happiness to get us through it. Well, I might just have the medication you need and no medical doctor prescription is required.
New to the internet shelves is a fun concept called JoyLab. This recently launched company founded by a fellow Houstonian Daniel Knez offers products to make your friends and family smile, yet offering a much more global sense of happiness. JoyLab is a bottle of sugar candy pleasure curing such symptoms as a “bad hair day”, “love intoxication”, or “Sundays without football”. For every relief bottle sold JoyLab will provide school supplies for children in need around the world including the U.S. for a better education. One out of five children cannot afford supplies which leads to a bad quality of education.
JoyLab offers custom designs for most occasions, events, and corporate bottle design. What an unique and savory way to make someone feel special and provide the perfect cure to those ridiculous struggles in life. This one shown is a prescription for a bad hair day. Compositions include tickles, cuddles, snuggles, giggles, kisses, etc. Also, Dr. Joy recommends a regular dose to maintain happiness. Always remember who gave you this bottle too!
What a sweet gift concept! I love supporting fellow entrepreneurs in Texas. Plus, each bottle of “smiles” can really make a difference in someone’s day in a positive way. To find out more about JoyLab view their site at www.JoyLab.co or you can find them on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Tell them “Trende Brende” sent you!
It pays to take frequent trips to the Chanel counter. Our rep Candy at Neiman Marcus informed me and my fun “Blonde Mafia” BFF’s that there was a Fall Trends fashion event coming up. We were able to get front row seats and enjoy a great show and sipping on some champagne, nonetheless! Wednesday, August 14, 2014 we met on the second level where it was full of fashionable and fun people. All smiles and mingling prior to the show. Lots of selfies on the runway and passed hors d’oeuvres to keep us all from being famished. Let’s face it, when you are around models the last thing on my mind is eating! LOL. But turning down a flute of bubbly would just be “out of style” or out of “my style” at least.
New designer to the Neiman’s world and in Houston, TX for that matter is Peter Roth. He started off the one-hour show and announced some of his new fashions including very powerful, colorful shirts with embellished cuffs and tunics with some subtle sequin undertones.
On Trend—-think “Global Chic”. I think it would be really hard to break fashion rules right now. The edgy thing to do is to mix everything! They pulled it off on the catwalk. Not so sure how the rest of us will do, but I will attempt to try. Boho chic, statement necklaces, cammo, mixing of animal prints (from head to toe), knits, and green being the theme! Bootie shoes are a definite hit too. Models showed off some beautiful burgundy’s and grays. I was really obsessing over the shoes I think.
Ok, I am excited for the Fall now. Time to pull out my jewel tones, boots, furs, jackets, hats….I could go on and on. Mother Nature please bring me some beautiful Fall weather I am ready.!
I have lived in Houston since 2004. I am not a Texan or even from the South for that matter, but recently I went on an adventure that makes me feel like a true Southern. Let me introduce you to the sport “crabbing”. Some people go fish, others hunt, well how about digging for crabs? Blue shell crab! On a hot summer Friday a good friend of mine, business social colleague too, invited a group of us to venture out East of Houston bordering Louisiana for a rustic day of swamp adventure fun to “fish” for our lunch, cook it, and enjoy some exploration on the bayou/marsh as well. The closest city I can mention in the county we called home for the day was called Winnie. Some outfitters shared their acres of land to help us explore and experience a day of off-roading, boating, and fishing for crab.
My first concern for this outing was “attire”. What do you wear? The city girl that I am definitely spent too much time worrying about this factor. My wardrobe is full of dresses, heels, and handbags. My casual clothes are fit for a yoga studio. Definitely a stretch for me to wear shorts and shirts ready to get dirty, but I sucked it up and decided fashion was not my forefront for the day. In the 95 degree heat plus scattered showers the best option was shorts and very casual/comfortable shoes. Definitely a hat of some sort, or visor, and sunglasses. Here is a real video of a “true catch” yay! Click this link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qYZ1Czb1IF8
Crabbing is quite simple by the way. By land, we attached string to posts from the shore. The bait was raw chicken! All we had to do was drop the chicken string into the swamp, wait a few minutes, then slowly reel it in w/ a net ready to swoop the crab and place it into an ice cold cooler! The crab would roam around and eventually they would end up somewhere “hot” you can say. This sport is effortless, just dirty, hot, and time consuming. Note though, there were 6 foot long alligator in the swamp eying our activity, our bait, and our crab. It is kind of freaky to see them pop up and out of the water. All I could do is pray they would not bite our bait and join our fishing party.
To top off our outing, we took a fan boat ride in the swamp. Our guide insisted we all take a spin as the driver. I hesitated but rallied when it was my turn. What a rush! I literally drove through brush, weeds, lilipads, I could drive over anything and everything with no impact just a smooth ride!
The day ended with our great feast. I am not a fan of working for my food…yes I am a city girl. Not interested in cracking legs, pulling pinchers, and getting little meat for my hard work. But in the long run, it was the freshest you could get, it was hard earned, and very social as we all sat together and shared in the experience.
Overall, this Trende Brende girl would recommend this experience to all of her city slicker friends. You must purchase a fishing license, FYI. Worth the day trip, photo ops, and stories to tell. Yes, you will be a dirty mess, but at least there is a good excuse!
Crab Crowd: Jan-Oliver Schmidt, Kara Jacobson Schwartz, Jessica Brown, Tammy Bateman, Melissa Guggisberg, Robin Hargrove Rowley, Blake Kunetka.
Most of my family lives in sunny southern California.Every year it is tradition to visit.My uncle hosts a massive party on Easter Sunday.Besides all of the festivities including egg decorating contests, pop quizzes, egg hunts, count the jelly bean in the jar contest, traditional holiday food like lamb, ham, and the fixings, the adults participate in a beer hunt / poker game!In the past few years I have shared this concept with my friends and some have reported back to me and decided to create one of their own as well!
In simple terms this is how the official Brende Beer Hunt game works:count your hunters, hide beer bottles knowing that each hunter can pick up 6 beers or whatever amount you decide, place a poker card on some of them, money on others for fun, then the hunters can only pick up 5 beers with cards (a complete poker hand) then the rest is a free for all.When all hunters gather they get one chance to trade cards they do not like with the dealer.The person with the best hand gets 1st prize, and so on.Basically we all get a prize.We have a table full of prizes including bar accessories, liquor, BBQ stuff, etc.If you are not a beer person substitute it with soft drinks, champagne, wine (mini bottles), or flavored waters.Get creative.I recommend getting a big plastic pail to carry the goods in too.A basket would not be strong enough.
So have fun hunting your favorite liquids next year! No matter how old I get, this is something I truly get excited about.It’s fun, some of us get really competitive, and a cool bonding experience too.