Lilly Loves Texas!

lilly pulitzer mom michelle me and artist charlotte munyardWho does not love the brand Lilly Pulitzer?  The resort wear and color schemes they offer just makes me smile!  In fact, it’s my mother’s favorite, truly!  In April, my mom came to Houston for a visit and what better place than to take her to her favorite store in Highland Village?  Coincidentally, the boutique had a featured artist that day custom painting clutches and totes!

Sipping bubbly, enjoying lite bites, and shopping, what a combination!  My sister joined in the fun too.  It was the perfect girls’ family outing!

Introducing the one-of-a-kind Lilly Pulitzer "Chako Clutch"!
Introducing the one-of-a-kind Lilly Pulitzer “Chako Clutch”!

A HUGE score, and now dear to my heart, is this custom painted clutch I got of my little fur ball in heaven Chako, let him rest in peace.  The artist captured the spirit of my Persian kitty prince perfectly!  This handbag is by far my most prized possession moving forward and I will wear it close to my heart!  I am so appreciative of this custom creation.

Thank you Lilly Pulitzer for adding a little sunshine into our lives!  Lilly loves Texas and Texas loves Lilly!

If you’d like to visit the Houston store the address is 4035 Westheimer Road or shop online at www.lillypulitzer.com .  See you there, perhaps?

Happy Fondue Year! A Fun Tradition To Get You Through The Holidays!

nye 2017 fondueI love the holidays for so many reasons.  It is this time of year when people amp up their game  BIG TIME with festive decor, cuisine and desserts, music, and all of that shared with quality bonding time with family and friends.

It’s the traditions that fascinate me. In The Schmidt family (my in-laws) for instance, every New Year in Ohio they host a family fondue night.  First off, the natural setting up North is so perfect because it’s cold outside, the fireplace is crackling, we’re all bundled up in sweaters and boots, and this year there was snow which makes it even more magical!  Back to the food, how about hosting a party where your guests are their own chefs?  That’s right, just master the art of gathering and forget the thought of slaving in the kitchen!  That’s why fondue night is such a genius idea.  The fondue fixins are unreal folks and all will forget you did not spend all day and night in the kitchen preparing their meal!  The spread gets more nye 2017 fondue3ambitious every year I think.  Check out this display. Besides the cheese, salivate over the lobster, tuna, yellowtail, shrimp, beef, and oh yeah the veggies!  A new addition to the savory lineup is the ravioli and the truffle tortellini! This tradition takes hours of edible enjoyment and it’s interactive which I love too.  Mix in some German gluehwein to wash it all down or sip some champagne cocktails, laugh and chat a bit, then dive in for seconds, and thirds, nobody is counting!  To finish off the evening with some sweetness, bring on the chocolate with strawberries, pineapple and bananas!  My life is complete!

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The Secret Is Out!

TUTS The Secret GardenYou do not need to travel to the Big Apple to experience real life Broadway musicals these days.  Houston is blessed to be home to the Theater Under The Stars at the Hobby Center.  Amazing productions come through the Bayou City.  In fact, my husband and I just recently saw The Secret Garden.  I actually read this book and I love the story-line.  I couldn’t wait to see it and it sure did not disappoint!

A little history, The Secret Garden is a musical based on the 1911 novel of the same name by Frances Hodgson Burnett. The musical’s script and lyrics are by Marsha Norman, with music by Lucy Simon. It premiered on Broadway in 1991 and ran for 709 performances.

The story is set in the early years of the 20th century. Mary Lennox, a young English girl born and raised in the British Raj, is orphaned by a cholera outbreak when she is ten years old. She is sent away from India to Yorkshire, England, to live with relatives whom she has never met. Her own personality blossoms as she and a young gardener bring new life to a neglected garden, as well as to her sickly cousin and uncle.

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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.

Maximalist Oscar de la Renta Graces Houston With His Timeless Presence

oscar 3Oscar de la Renta is the real deal in the fashion world. In fact, he was one of the only New York designers to have his own workroom on-site.  His sophisticated silhouettes often ornately embellished with layered textures required skills that offered specific technique and supervision.  He once said “drawing is actually the way of starting a collection. I draw first and that is my way of creating.”  Fabrics were very important to Mr De la Renta, even more so than his drawings.  Colors offered a special meaning that helped him create shape and life to things.

oscar 1Holding nothing back, De la Renta was a self-proclaimed “maximalist”.  With access to fashion’s finest materials and craftsmanship, he was able to indulge and let his imagination soar with endless flights of fancy.   From now through January 28th, you can catch a real life glimpse of some of his most famous designs that have graced celebrities on the Hollywood red carpets, in films, even dressing America’s first ladies, pop singers, and dresses worn from some of Houston’s most famous philanthropists and socialites. The exhibit is titled “The Glamour and Romance of Oscar de la Renta” and his work is on display at the Museum of Fine Arts Houston in the Audrey Jones Beck Building off 5601 Main Street.  For museum members the tickets are free, and for non-members adult tickets are $25.00.

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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.

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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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Bags & Brunch Go Hand In Hand!

Laura Flaaten & I taking it all in stride!
Laura Flaaten & I taking it all in stride!

Spring, champagne, and handbags…you can’t get much more girly than that! Each year I look forward to the Heroes & Handbags charity event benefiting Heroes For Children.  On April 27th at 10 a.m. hundreds of women gathered at the River Oaks Country Club to place their bids on designer duds like Saint Laurent, Prada, Chanel, Gucci, Dolce & Gabbana, Jimmy Choo, Tory Burch, Elaine Turner, Kate Spade….oh the list is extensive!

Larissa Burns Linton co-founded the charity after her own child battled with cancer.  The organization has raised over $2 million in the past decade to help those families with children fighting the deadly disease.  Money helps pay power bills, put

Larisa Linton, Myself, and an assortment of lovely handbags!
Larissa Linton, Myself, and an assortment of lovely handbags!

food on the table, pay for gas, parking fees, etc.  Guest speaker and local Fox 26 News Anchor/Reporter Melissa Wilson spoke candidly about her experience as she too has a child who fought cancer.  She said their parking bills at the hospital exceeded $6000!!!

Back to the event, my friend Laura and I had so much fun scouting the inventory from table to table, bidding, and silly times at the flower wall photo booth! Bidding was open until 12:30 and I was in a bidding war until the bitter end! It’s such an adrenaline kick I tell you!  I eyed a few bags and scored BIG winning this patent leather Louis Vuitton and this glittery rainbow Anya Hindmarch clutch!! Seriously, I am in LOVE with this rainbow one! It’s such a happy handbag and I probably overpaid for it.  But, it’s all for charity, right?

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