Category Archives: Uncategorized

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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19th Annual Thanks for Giving Charity Gala

Cookie Michael, Jennifer Jordan, Kristin Massey, Nicole Brende, Lori Bergeron, & Lori Blackmon-Schroeder
Cookie Michael, Jennifer Jordan, Kristin Massey, Nicole Brende, Lori Bergeron, & Lori Blackmon-Schroeder

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 JaNic"
“The JaNic”

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.

Houston Weather Survival Kit.

gas up carAlright 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.

Continue reading Houston Weather Survival Kit.

A Small Dose Of Joy Can Go A Long Way

099There 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.

100JoyLab 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!

Fall Trends + Fun Friends + Flirty Cocktails!

nm fashion groupIt 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.

nm fashion1New 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.!nm fashion3

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LLG & Me sitting front and center for the show!
LLG & Me sitting front and center for the show!

Crabby Chic!

My 1st crab!
My 1st crab!

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.

Our fashionable group!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

crab2 nicole netCrabbing 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.

crab 4 boatTo 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.

Our feast!
Our feast!

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.

The Annual Brende Beer Hunt!

Cousins! Nicole Brende & David Brende
Cousins! Nicole Brende & David Brende

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!

Beer hunters getting set!
Beer hunters getting set!

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.

Nice prize Jan Schmidt!
Nice prize Jan Schmidt!
Trende Brende scores big!
Trende Brende scores big!

Sunshine, Shades, Selfies and a Tennis Tourney!

Laura, Lori Lemon Geshay, Nicole Brende, Lori Freese
Laura, Lori Lemon Geshay, Nicole Brende, Lori Freese

Sunshine, shades, selfies, and a tennis tourney!  For the past two days I had the pleasure to attend the U.S. Men’s Clay Court Championship at the River Oaks Country Club here in Houston.  Admittedly, I did not see much tennis as I was socializing amongst the fabulous patrons.

Ladies were all dolled up in their dresses, big hats, and spring colors.  The Gents looked ever so handsome in their suits and boasting their summer hues too.   All day and to the night there was plenty of activity.  From fashion shows, luncheons, live bands, to tented areas catered by Beck’s Prime and cocktails galore, photo booths, and outdoor TVs, it was quite the set up!

Enjoy schmoozing? This is the perfect event to take a client by the way.  It’s on my list every year! Oh, and no worries if you parked a mile away from the club. PediCabs or bike taxis are at your service, and so much fun too!

Nicole Brende & Kara Schwartz
Nicole Brende & Kara Schwartz
Laura Cernock, Lori Lemon Geshay, Nicole Brende
Laura Cernock, Lori Lemon Geshay, Nicole Brende

tennis tourney board

Lemon & Trende pedicab selfie!
Lemon & Trende pedicab selfie!
Bryan/Bryan vs. Guccione/Hewitt photo by Lori Lemon Geshay
Bryan/Bryan vs. Guccione/Hewitt
photo by Lori Lemon Geshay

 

Caught In An Oil Spill

Ladies aboard the Sea Tejas yacht
Ladies aboard the Sea Tejas yacht

I love boating and what better way to entertain your clients and friends than on a gorgeous 40 foot motor yacht!  March 22, 2014 I took 12 of my gals on an outing from Clear Lake to Galveston aboard the “Sea Tejas”.  Our Captain and 1st mate took command of the waters while the rest of us enjoyed cocktails and lite bites.  It was a foggy day causing us to take our time.  What would have been a 1.5 hour trip took us 3 hours!  Along the way dolphins entertained us with their jumps and tricks. Who would guess in the brown murky Houston Ship Channel dolphins would call it home?  Well, just three miles out of Galveston is when the real attraction hit….literally!  Around 11:30 am (the news incorrectly reporting 12:35) an oil barge carrying over 900,000 gallons of oil was struck by the motor vessel Miss Susan.  Miss Susan was transiting from Texas City to Bolivar at the time of the collision.  I must say we were all in shock.  We witnessed the thick oil in the waters; in fact we motored through it and the smell was very potent.

sea tejas march 2014 sinking oil bargeWe were eyewitness to the sinking barge. In fact, here is a video I took from my I-Phone which was broadcasted all over the CBS news stations in Texas.  Yep, my two seconds of fame! :  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3xGdGFD9w9U

We ended up docking at Willie G’s in Galveston and had a nice lunch.  The Coast Guard announced the closure of the ship channel so we were not able to come back via boat.  The boat to this day is still docked in Galveston. I won’t even discuss the financial impact on my pocket book for this diversion.  But, we were able to get back to Lakewood Yacht Club safely via cars.  This was definitely a trip to go down in history.  I am saddened by the accident for the sea animals.  I hope we can get the wildlife protected and clean up their homeland soon.

On Board: Annette Amaya, Anna Kaplan, Laura Cernock, Marina Kaplan, Laurie-Leigh White, Jan Vitenas, Colleen Nichols, Liliana Cuellar, Jennifer Gravenor, Nicole Brende, Lisa Bridle, and Lori-Lemon Geshay.

Toys for Tots at Mr Peeples in Midtown

mrpeeplestoysnicole.lori
Tuesday, December 3, 2013 over 250 guests came out to support our 1st Toys for Tots charity event at Mr Peeples restaurant in Midtown. Hundreds of gifts donated and over $1200 in cash. All supports the Toys for Tots campaign spearheaded by our U.S. Marines. All proceeds go to our local children in need this holiday season. Chaired by Lori Lemon Geshay and Yours Truly, the event highlights included a visit from Santa Claus, our U.S. Marines, frost bite treats and lite bites, signature cocktails, and music entertainment. Thank you to our sponsors CompuCom, Security National Mortgage, Michelle Patrick Designs, Homesavers Financial, Sterling Homes, and the Porsche Club. Thank you to our Host committee members Laura Cernock,Monitrice “Moni” Malone, Abby Lestin, Diane Caplan,Heather Baker, Angela Lipsey, Liliana Cuellar, Elizabeth Destephens. Thank you to ALL for making this a true success!

Professional Photos By: Jaime Lagdameo and Quy Tran Photography

mr peeples dec 2013 group mrpeeples

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