I 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 ambitious 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!
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
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?
Spring is in the air in Houston. In fact, winter never really happened thanks to Mother Nature. But that is quite alright because I am about to get you fully energized and ready to sprint to Saks Fifth Avenue after I show you what is in store for this season!
Friday evening I attended the “Houston Haute Couture” fashion presentation featuring designer Lafayette 148 at Saks Fifth Avenue in the Houston Galleria . Each year the Women’s Council of Realtors Houston chapter get together for fun and fashion benefiting a local charity. This year they partnered with the Nancy Owens Memorial Foundation which raises money for breast cancer research. I am the Founder of this yearly fashion event circa 2014 so of course I would not miss it for the world!!
In conjunction with cool vibrations from the DJ, flowing champagne, and passed lite bites by 51Fifteen, this fashion presentation was spot on FUN! Sitting front row allowed me the opportunity to attempt to photograph some of my favorite outfits and take notes as the Lafayette 148 ambassadors painted the perfect Spring picture!
“It’s not what is new, it’s what is next!” said the Lafayette 148 ladies from NYC. Think the shoulder show. Shoulders are in! Pair with some wide leg trousers or skinny pants and you’re good to go!
Next, mono style….all one color. So fresh and clean, don’t you think?
Trench dressing. It’s not just for Sherlock Holmes and Inspector Gadget, OK? Crop the sleeve. Pair with a dress, and off you go looking fabulous!
Light leather jacket, gotta have! Loving the pop of color too.
And stripes are “so in”. My nautical friends will be happy.
Long flowing cardigans they call “dusters” are HOT. Think linen, light weight. Button them up, wear them open. Wear with a dress or trousers.
Ultra light suede is making a comeback. I know Houston gets steamy hot but you’d be surprised how well this breaths and it’s super light in weight.
And, your Spring look is not complete without laser cut embroidery. Looks like lace! Super feminine with an edge.
Pockets are the “in thing” too! Check out these dresses with pockets. I love the effortless look, plus not to mention “functional” and “comfortable”. Side note, I am a Realtor and I need my pockets when I am out showing property! I am loving this trend so so much and I hope it stays because I can fill my wardrobe with this style. Notice the length too. I can appreciate just below the knee.
Last but certainly not least…..drum roll please…….The outfit turning heads, creating the only standing ovation of the evening , with by far the biggest applause goes to this black jumpsuit! I know we’ve seen them on trend already but this outfit
in particular really got our crowd excited. The edgy yet sophisticated and slip-on-and-go look really works. Dress it up, dress it down. Winner Winner!!!
Thanks again to Saks and Lafayette 148 for putting this amazing event together. It’s always nice to give back to local charities, combine it with a group of business professionals like the Women’s Council of Realtors, and refresh our minds with Spring fashion. Bravo! This is one of our favorite events of the year.
Now, it’s time for me to clear out my closet, donate things I have not worn in ages, and make room for new fabulous stuff!
Here are some links to keep in mind from this article:
Words cannot express our enthusiasm for our bride-to-be Lori Lemon-Geshay! She is a lovely lady inside and out and what a privilege to be her friend and be able to help her in celebrating her new chapter in life—marriage! Our group could not wait to spoil her with all of the things she loves….friendship, bubbly, caftans, pool-side, hydrangeas, Parisian + Italian decor, the color blue, lemons too. Stop the madness!
A few weeks ago Houston’s “Blonde Mafia” hosted Lori’s first engagement soiree at the Manhattan Lofts in the Galleria area. Private room and poolside we sipped champagne, played, danced, and celebrated the gleaming bride. A group effort from catering, to decor, flowers, sentimental touches, and good old fashioned game time…it was an epic evening full of fun and love for our dear friend.
The Girls: Lori Lemon-Geshay, Lisa Bridle, Hollie Wells, Liliana Cuellar, Anna Kaplan, Marina Kaplan, Laura Cernock, Joanna Podsiadlik, Melissa Back McAlpine, Lissa Goldsmith, and me…Nicole Brende!
Hollie thank you for preparing your famous salad and other healthy and sumptuous goodies! Liliana and Lisa the champagne kept flowing….a BIG thank you! Marina and Anna those cupcakes were so cute and loved the gluten-free option!
My hubby and I whipped up lemon chocolate and macchiato desserts for our Ms Lemon…soon to be Bergeron!
Laura the sentimental touches from the photo eiffel tower plus other goodies really set the scene. Joanna the flowers were blooming with beauty. Melissa thank you for the yummy empanadas. Lissa the bridal game was so much fun! Learned much more about our Lori!
More festivities to come! This is only the beginning!! As you can see we all adore our Lori Lemon-Geshay. Keep on sparkling up the room my friend! Bisou Bisou!
Much anticipation for Saks Fifth Avenue in the Houston Galleria for the launch of their new mega store. Many private events led up to the big day but Thursday, April 28th the doors officially opened with the ribbon cutting. There to cut the ribbon on the new department store were Saks president Marc Metrick, chief merchant Tracy Margolies, EVP of stores Larry Bruce and Houston VP and GM Bobby Dees.
I have always been a Saks girl at heart so you can definitely know it was a very important day for me. What fun as hundreds of fashionistas lined up to be one of the first to explore the new piece of what we call “Heaven on Earth”. Saks’ 200,000-sq.-ft. location in The Galleria was designed by CBX Agency in New York and represents a significant expansion from its previous Houston store, which closed earlier this month. The new additions to the brand roster include Proenza Schouler and Dries van Noten. The new store also features a Christian Louboutin boutique and a reimagined 10022-SHOE department. Oh yeah, I said SHOES!!!
I showed up alone but immediately found friends to share the experience. We shopped, sipped champagne, enjoyed lite bites, and the artistic actors and scenery. I even made a quick stop to my friends at the Chanel make up counter for a mini makeover.
I highly recommend you pick a day that can allow for the ultimate field trip. This is not the place to go to when you are in a hurry. You need to indulge, explore, and absorb all of its facets. Houston is getting quite chic these days. Note, the Saks doors do not connect to the mall at the moment. The entrance is not complete yet. It is best to valet for convenience. While you are there, grab a cocktail and a bite at the redesigned 51Fifteen restaurant. It is oh-so-fabulous!
The 2016 Heroes And Handbags event is just around the corner. Last year I served as the Handbag Co-Chair with my dear friend Anna Kaplan. In order to help raise additional funds for the Heroes For Children organization this year my bestie and 2015 Event Chair Lori Lemon-Geshay hosted a private shopping event at the Jimmy Choo boutique in the Houston Galleria on April 12th.
Well, don’t ask us twice. Did you say shoes, shades, and champagne all in the same sentence??? I do not think I shop that often and I am pretty selective. However, if it benefits a charity I care about I will support the cause. In between my meetings what a nice break to mix, mingle, and play dress up with friends and supporters.
From the moment I walked in the store I was immediately drawn to these ‘Nita’s 53 mm sunnies. These logo-etched temples enhance the Italian-made sunglasses. And, look at the genuine-snakeskin-covered frames with metal in an oh-so-modern cat-eye-inspired silhouette! I am in love and they will be perfect for my trip to Mexico!
A little shout out to all who attended. In just 2-hours we managed to create over $12,000 in sales which proceeds will directly benefit Heroes For Children. Great job shoppers! Thanks for putting your best and I must say “fabulous” foot forward! For more info on the organization visit www.heroesforchildren.org .
I truly have the best group of friends. After my engagement announcement in January, the year of 2015 was ALL ABOUT THE PARTIES! One of them included a high tea at The St. Regis Hotel in Houston. I even had some friends fly in from Chicago and North Carolina! Thank you for making me feel so special my loves!
I have written about tea time here before and I cannot express how special it is. From the service, to the harpist, to the amazing assortment of teas, finger sandwiches, and the scones, it is a true treat.
Although I adore my teas, champagne and mimosas are a definite festive must! My hostesses were so creative with the table arrangements too. All had to find their seat by viewing their childhood photo in a frame. It made for a wonderful conversational piece as well as a thoughtful take home memento.
I just have to reflect on one thing too. How cute is my hubby for showing up at the end of the event to not only greet my lovely friends , look very dapper in the process in his suit, but to be the only man in the room and help us ladies pack up the party?!?! My Jan-Oliver Schmidt is the ultimate gentleman.
So, the next time you want to do a lady-like party definitely keep the tearoom in mind. What Texas gal does not enjoy dressing up? The room is very intimate as in “small” so book your reservation weeks or even months in advance. If you have a food allergy let the kitchen know too. They were able to accommodate both of my gluten-free and vegan friends.
Okay, sol I am taking you back to August of this year. Sometimes I get a bit behind. My friend Lori put together the most amazing bridal shower and I love her so much for it and that day in time deserves some Trende Brende attention! If you have ever stepped foot into the Hotel Granduca in Houston then you will see why this place is worth raving about. Naturally, it set the scene for the most perfect shower ever. This Italian boutique hotel in Uptown offers an elegant experience like none other. Lori and I occasionally come here for our “girl time” for high tea during the week and happy hour on Thursdays. We’ve even seen and met celebs here such as singer Steven Tyler and reality TV star Rob Kardashian for example.
Back to my party. From the formal invitation, to the personalized gift bags including monogrammed candles, to the venue, to the food and flowing champagne; my friend really knows my style! By the way, Hotel Granduca has the most savory Sunday brunch! Who knew? Stations included the meats, the cheeses, omelets, and desserts. What got us most excited was the fried chicken and waffles, the grilled cheese with bacon, peanut butter and jelly, and the sushi and oyster bar!! WOW! I should just go ahead and book my standing reservation for every Sunday I am in town for the rest of my life! For more information on their brunch, the hotel, and events check out their website www.granducahouston.com.
I just have to say, the party was so sweet including my wonderful parents, my sister, and a selection of dear friends. We laughed, nibbled, sipped, shared stories, and opened gifts. What an intimate day that I did not want to end.
Our boys met for the first time too. Looks like they will get along just fine. LOL! Hey, it’s important. Thank you again to Lori for hosting such a flawless and meaningful shower. Jan and I are truly humbled by your generosity and love.
Before I go, have I mentioned that I have definitely found my prince and knight in shining armor??!! I am the happiest girl ever! It is the best feeling to love and to be loved. I am marrying the smartest, kindest, honest, caring, and most handsome man in my entire life. God Bless #TheJanic and our amazing future ahead! For our love story we’ve put together a short video https://youtu.be/TL0se2PqxzM. Yes we are goofballs!
If you want to see grown women act like giggling girls then you would have had a good laugh last night. My bestie Lori Lemon-Geshay invited me to the exclusive “Le Petite Marche” grand soiree hosted by Hermes in the new River Oaks District.
Although the boutique does not officially open until October 30th, WOW do they know how to throw a party! Just like Paris the lit courtyard was lined with market-style vendors such as fine meats, breads, fresh produce, chocolates, wine, and flowers. The champagne was flowing and we were loving it! All of us guests were given Hermes tote bags and were encouraged to indulge, sip, and savor. Ohh la la! The stylish guests were also entertained with live music, acrobats, and artists. For a minute I really had to stop and think where I was because Houston has never felt so good! The weather is also amazing this time of year too I must add. We walked away feeling very fulfilled, inspired, and with a trip to France on our minds!
For the ultimate luxurious outdoor experience that Houston has to offer The River Oaks District is THE PLACE to be! Alongside Hermes brings Cartier, Dior, Tom Ford, Harry Winston…just to name a few. A movie theater, restaurants, and the trendy Equinox gym will also call this place home. Step aside Beverly Hills and New York, Houston is a mega market and our international flavor is H-O-T!!!
Lori, thank you for being such a good client at Hermes. All of the bracelets, scarves, and pocket squares I bought in the last year did not add up to getting on the invite list! Please keep the party invitations coming my good shopping friend with amazing taste. I am saying YES now to the next event Wink Wink.
A 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.
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.
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.
With 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.
In 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
I 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!