Monday, March 2, 2015

Oh So Obsessed: FINELL Handbags

The AXIS bag from FINELL

One of the best things about Fashion X (a 3-day fashion event that launched last fall attempting to answer our need for some sort of Fashion Week), was that it brought the show's creator Matt Swinney into my life. Matt founded Austin Fashion Week and he knows everybody in fashion. Particularly in Texas and he has introduced me to some amazing people, including the delightful Rebecca Finell, creator of Austin-based FINELL.  The modern lifestyle brand just launched its first collection of luxury handbags and small leather goods at shows this past fall and look how incredible her line is! I am completely obsessed! The collection introduced eye-catching geometric silhouettes, drawing from origami to create folding, faceted forms. Crafted of premium leather, the bags are made using a unique process to create rigid yet flexible angular panels. They feature durable microfiber interiors and matte black hardware details. This initial collection offers five bag styles and several accessories, available in a range of neutral colors and a cobalt blue. In addition to handbags, FINELL also plans to show selected samples of a new jewelry collection which will roll out this spring.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Join Me At A Walk In Paris To Raise Funds For Autism Research

At this year's FGI Night of Stars with designers
Andre Yabin and Luis Nazario in a custom
Binzario Couture gown made just for me!
The Bobby Norris Roundup for Autism today announces that it will host its first Fashion Show and Luncheon “A Walk in Paris” on Thursday, April 23 at The Fairmont Hotel Dallas featuring one-of-a-kind gala gowns by Binzario Couture. All proceeds will benefit The Autism Treatment Centers of Texas. During the Vintage, French-inspired fashion show, produced by Jeannette Chivvis with Chivvis Style, guests can expect to swoon over the locally designed, custom gowns by Binzario Couture modeled by some of Dallas' hottest local celebrities and charming philanthropists including Dawn Neufeld, LeeAnne Locken, Dawn Mellon, Lisa Petty, Yvonne Crum, Melissa Rountree and - me!

Attendees also have the opportunity to win a one-of-a-kind Binzario Couture gala gown of their own by entering the raffle. In addition to the gorgeous gowns, the models will be styled in jewelry by Couture Rocks Fine Jewelry and will get to enjoy hearing from special guest WFAA 8, Good Morning Texas’ Host, Carrie McClure.

“My Co-Chair Mary Bentley and I are thrilled about hosting Roundup for Autism’s first ever fashion show and luncheon,” Roundup for Autism Executive Director, Gina Marx said. “We are overwhelmed so far with the support of the DFW community and are so thankful to have Binzario Couture on board to help make this event even more special.” The fashion show and luncheon “A Walk in Paris” is a prelude to Roundup for Autism’s grand two-day fall event, the Pegasus parade and rodeo in the Fort Worth Stockyards, followed the next day by a black-tie gala, the Pegasus Ball, at the Fairmont Hotel Dallas. The fall event is slated for Friday and Saturday, September 18 and 19. A pair of tickets to the Pegasus Ball is also being raffled off at the April 23 “A Walk in Paris” fashion luncheon.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

PHOTO GALLERY: 2015 Saint Valentine's Day Luncheon & Fashion Show

More than 750 attendees gathered at the Meyerson on February 17 for the 2015 Saint Valentine’s Day Luncheon & Fashion Show benefiting the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS). Led by Chair Lisa Singleton, Honorary Chair Lynn McBee, Underwriting Chairs Jennifer LeLash and Nikki Webb, Raffle Chair Maggie Kipp and Advisory Chair Carmaleta Whiteley, the team raised more than $505,000 for the North Texas Chapter. The money raised by the luncheon and fashion show will help further the LLS mission: to cure leukemia, lymphoma, Hodgkin’s disease and myeloma, and to improve the quality of life of patients and their families. To read a complete recap of this event, click here. Below is a gallery of photos from this amazing day. Click to enlarge any image and flip through the gallery.

Monday, February 23, 2015

Oh So Tasty: Public School 214

Public School's House Pepperoni Pizza

Public School 214 recently opened in West Village in Uptown and has a second location in the works for Addison, which will be called Public School 972. See how that works!?  The place is a chef-driven gastropub serving craft beer and delivers, “An Education in the Art of Food & Beer.” They rely heavily on cutesy school-themed slogans. Printed on your to-go bag, for instance, is the slogan "Homework: Incomplete. Finish at home." And the menu looks like a Composition notebook. According to their website, they use only the freshest quality ingredients, sourced from local Farmer’s Markets whenever possible. The eclectic, seasonal menu includes favorites such as the Colorado Lamb Burger (which my husband gives two thumbs way up), Roasted Poblano with Quinoa and their infamous Bacon Cheddar Tots, which (according to them) are a must try!

My husband and I visited Friday for date night and I asked every person we encountered for their personal favorites. The dish that came up over and over was the Chorizo Mac & Cheese made with emmental, cheddar, kale, sea salt, vinegar crunch. I'm glad I listened to the recommendations, because it was one of the highlights of our visit. I envisioned the chorizo being a ground sausage. Instead, it was more like a sliced salami. And the "sea salt and vinegar crunch" was a topping of potato chips.

I would highly recommend the Huntsman Burger made with pure ground chuck, balsamic onions, bibb lettuce, tomato & huntsman cheese (of course, I added the optional thick cut applewood smoked bacon). "Recess" or Happy hour happens at the bar Monday through Friday from 4-7 p.m., and includes $4 to $7 food specials, $5 wells, $4 to $5 handles, and $10 to $15 half liters of wine. Weekend brunch occurs on Saturday and Sunday from 11:30am until 3pm and includes a selection of mimosas, micheladas, and bloody marys, and dishes such as chicken sausage with cheddar grits, stuffed french toast, and eggs Benedict pizza.

Friday, February 20, 2015

Pooch Parade in Peril

The Cedar Springs Merchants Association (CSMA) is desperately seeking sponsors and donors to save one of Dallas most beloved events, the annual Pooch Parade aka Easter in Lee Park. New requirements by the City, including fencing the park perimeter, security, and permits, have driven the cost to produce Easter in Lee Park to a total of $25,000, a level no longer sustainable by the Association itself. In order to achieve CSMA’s goal of keeping the event free to the public, they are asking for the community’s help. “It would be a tragedy to lose this great Easter tradition in Dallas,” stated Alan Pierce, President of the CSMA. “We must ask for help in order to continue it.” CSMA has produced Easter in Lee Park in Dallas since 2011 after the City of Dallas asked for help to continue the event. CSMA took the responsibility of Easter in Lee Park after the Turtle Creek Association changed its spring event date. The CSMA has continued to fund the event even with loss each year. This fund raising campaign is set at $20,000. Due to the time constraints, the campaign must be fully pledged by March 4th. If the full amount of the campaign is not met, the funds are not charged, and the event will be cancelled. Potential sponsors and donors are asked to visit our GoFundMe campaign by going to

photo: Easter in Lee Park on Facebook

Oh So Charitable: 2015 Saint Valentine’s Day Luncheon & Fashion Show

Jennifer LeLash, LeeAnne Locken, Cynthia Smoot, Lisa Singleton, Clarice Tinsley, Maggie Kipp, Kate Rose Marquez, Nikki Reed

More than 750 attendees gathered at the Meyerson on February 17 for the 2015 Saint Valentine’s Day Luncheon & Fashion Show benefiting the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS). Led by Chair Lisa Singleton, Honorary Chair Lynn McBee, Underwriting Chairs Jennifer LeLash and Nikki Webb, Raffle Chair Maggie Kipp and Advisory Chair Carmaleta Whiteley, the team raised more than $505,000 for the North Texas Chapter. The money raised by the luncheon and fashion show will help further the LLS mission: to cure leukemia, lymphoma, Hodgkin’s disease and myeloma, and to improve the quality of life of patients and their families. A number of incredible donors helped LLS achieve its fundraising goal. Nancy C. and Richard Rogers contributed $100,000 as the luncheon’s presenting sponsors and have an LLS research granted named in their honor. Al G. Hill, Jr., American Airlines, Robyn and Don Conlon, Dallas Auction Gallery/Kathi and Scott Shuford, Faye C. Briggs, Mary Kay, Park Place Motorcars Dallas, Ruth Robinson and Family, Trinity Industries and TXU Energy were also top donors.  “The success of this year’s event was a true team effort,” said Lisa Singleton, 2015 Luncheon Chair. “We are fortunate to have such a strong network of donors, past chairs and committee members who come back each year to raise funds for this important cause. It has been my privilege to work with them over this past year.”

Oh So Charitable: 2015 St. Philip's Destiny Awards

Pat Smith gets (and gives) some love from the children of St. Philip's

Yesterday I tagged along with Pat & Emmitt Smith to the St. Philip’s School & Community Center for the 15th Annual Destiny Awards Luncheon held on St. Philip’s campus, located in South Dallas. I love that they held this luncheon for over 500+ in the school gym because it gave attendees an opportunity to see their kids in action: reciting poetry, singing the school anthem and greeting guests. They were darling. You think no one cares about what's happening in South Dallas? Think again, because this was a star-studded affair. The A-listers turned out to support the amazing work that Dr. Terry Flowers is doing with these kids. I spotted Ross Perot and Ross Perot Jr., Mayor Mike Rawlings and his wife Micki, and Roger and Marianne Staubach to name just a few. Mickey and Bill Lively, with Ann and Chris Mahowald were the Event Chairs, while Diane and Daryl Johnston were Honorary Chairs of this inspiring event that raises vital funds to operate St. Philip’s numerous educational and social service programs.  The highlight of the luncheon was having Dallas Cowboys Hall of Famer, Emmitt Smith, and his wife, Pat, interviewed on stage by Bill Lively, who spearheaded the North Texas Super Bowl XLV Host Committee. Lively asked them to share with us the secret to their relationship - which was “God, Family, and Business - in that order.” Together, they steer the companies associated with EJ Smith Enterprises, Pat Smith Enterprises, Pat and Emmitt Smith Charities, and Treasure You. The Smith’s leverage their entrepreneurial and philanthropy work to “build bridges to open doors.” I got an Oprah "a-ha!" moment when Emmitt said he had a coach who once told him (and I am paraphrasing), "A dream is only a dream until you write it down. Then it becomes a goal that can become achieved." LOVE THAT! To see more photos from this event, click here.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Oh So Charitable: 6th Annual A Beacon of Hope Luncheon

(Press release) Over 450 people came together to support of Grant Halliburton Foundation’s 6th annual A Beacon of Hope luncheon at the Westin Galleria. Presented by the David B. Miller Family Foundation and chaired by Maloree and Bob Banks, the luncheon featured the daughter and father team of Elizabeth McIngvale-Cegelski and Jim McIngvale as keynote speakers in a dynamic presentation of the compelling story of their family’s journey through years of battling severe mental illness, told from the viewpoints of both parent and child. Master of Ceremonies Terry Bentley Hill welcomed the crowd and shared a personal message of her own story of suicide loss and mental illness in her family, saying she is honored to be a part of this wonderful organization which helps so many. Elizabeth and Jim began their presentation with a snippet of an interview Elizabeth had done over 10 years ago with Barbara Walters on the Today Show, giving the crowd a truthful introduction to her experience with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). As they took turns at the podium relating the horrors and feelings of hopelessness mental illness brought to their family, everyone was drawn into the story of Elizabeth’s rituals and routines, hospitalization and recovery and Jim’s dedication to her, saying her life and determination shows hope and healing really is possible. He said this is the raw reality, that help and hope can lead to peace of mind, challenging everyone to speak out, learn the signs and that the stigma of mental illness can be stamped out with everyone working together.

Last year 5,000 people were reached by the Foundation with personal training. Exciting news for this year: Since the CONTACT Crisis Line has closed, its Teen CONTACT program has been integrated into the Grant Halliburton Foundation’s programming and they have not missed a beat, training over 3,200 students and staff since January 1 of this year, bringing the programs together and moving forward with their mission. The mission of the Grant Halliburton Foundation is to help prevent suicide, promote better mental health and strengthen the network of mental health resources for teens and young adults. For more information, visit the web site at

photos: Dana Driensky and Daniel Driensky

Header image: Jim McIngvale and his daughter, Elizabeth McIngvale-Cegelski, featured speakers
(Left to right) Barb Farmer, Luncheon Founding Chair; Janette Evans, Ashley Farmer | Maloree and Bob Banks, luncheon chairs |  Diana Weaver, Heidi Perry, raffle winner; Vanita Halliburton, President, Grant Halliburton Foundation 

Academy Award Winning Party Ideas Using M&M'S

Sponsored Post:

The 87th Annual Academy Awards are coming up on Sunday, February 22nd. There are those who will watch The Oscars with baited breath to see what actors, directors, cinematographers and writers will take home honors. And then there are people like me, who have maybe seen two or three of the nominated films and will be watching for an entirely different reason - the OUTFITS!

There will be hits and misses. There will be moments where I gasp in horror (usually at Helena Bonham Carter) and ooh and ahhh in adoration (usually over the likes of Julianne Moore, Gwyneth Paltrow and Cate Blanchett). There are always fashion surprises and that's what makes this evening such a fashionistas dream come true!!

While Hollywood's stars will have spent weeks starving themselves, getting facials and meeting with their stylist to find the perfect dress - I will be watching this extravaganza from the comfort of my couch at home, probably in a ratty pair of sweats, with no makeup on eating lots of snacks. I like to live vicariously and let them do all the hard work.

M&M'S® asked me to tell you about ways you could incorporate America's favorite snack into your Oscar watching experience, so here are a few ideas to make your viewing party more enjoyable (even if it's just a party of one). M&M’S® will be commemorating the biggest night in Hollywood by debuting a commercial on national TV that shows M&M’S characters invading the movies. Be sure to watch for it! For those of you who might be fortunate enough to be going to The Oscars, or perhaps a fancy Oscar-watching soiree, I asked Mr. Red what his best red carpet tip was. He sent me a video to share with you:

Here are a few ways you can use M&M'S to make your Academy Awards viewing more enjoyable:

Monday, February 16, 2015

Prepare to be Bowled Over at Bowl & Barrel

Bowl & Barrel's Wagyu Steak & Blue Cheese Sandwich

Bowl & Barrel recently revamped their menu and invited me in to sample their latest culinary creations. Never one to turn down a free meal, I scheduled a date night with my man and we headed over there on Friday night to see what the hullaballoo was about. The German-European infused menu now features an even wider array of smorgas-boards, sausages, exotic shared plates, sandwiches, salads and more, making this boutique bowling venue perfect for parties with friends, fun date nights and adventuresome family outings.  For an appetizer, we loved the Devils On Horseback, which were blue cheese stuffed medjool dates wrapped in bacon ($7) and the Ghost Pepper Peanuts which are dusted in sea salt and chili powder ($3). I really enjoyed the savory Wagyu Steak & Blue Cheese Sandwich and my husband gave the Fish & Chips two thumbs up.