Thursday, August 21, 2014

Meet Jeff Corwin at the Perot Museum of Nature and Science on Sept. 4

(Press Release) The Galapagos Islands top many nature-lovers’ bucket lists. Straddling the Equator in the midst of the Pacific Ocean, this volcanic island chain is a paradise unlike any other – home to some 9,000 species. On Thursday, Sept. 4, at 7 p.m., North Texans will witness the splendor of this remote and rugged destination with an experienced guide.

Wildlife conservationist and Emmy Award-winning TV host Jeff Corwin will host a special opening night, full-length, 40-minute screening of Galapagos 3D: Nature’s Wonderland as part of the Perot Museum of Nature and Science First Thursday Late Night programming when the Museum stays open until 9 p.m. The screening will take place in The Hoglund Foundation Theater, A National Geographic Experience.

Corwin, who narrated the film, also will participate in an audience Q&A and sign autographs immediately following the screening. After the Sept. 4 opening, the 20-minute version of Galapagos 3D: Nature’s Wonderland will run daily at select times through May 21, 2015.

Dallas Celebrities Share Their Favorite Back-To-School Memories (Part 2)

Yesterday, I shared some fun back-to-school memories from some of Dallas most notable faces. Fox 4's Lauren Przybyl, Top Chef's Tiffany Derry, lifestyle guru and Southern Living Contributor Kimberly Whitman, Texas Monthly's Daniel Vaughan, WFAA's Alexa Conomos, real estate blogger Candy Evans, KTXD's Dawn Neufeld and TV personality and sports blogger Gina Miller all shared some fun flashbacks into their past. Today's posts offers up more fun memories of those school day fashions and must-have accessories. Enjoy!

XO, Cynthia

Lisa Petty circa 7th grade
"Looking back, I lived through some pretty cringe-worthy fashion times in my '80s and '90s school days. For example, one outfit I recall involved a sweatshirt printed with dozens of neon high top sneakers, over a pair of grey parachute pants with pink zippers. And don't even get me started on my Punky Brewster phase!

That said, however, my all-time favorite school outfit was a form-fitting red tee and a pair of dark denim jeans that (I imagined) looked just like Brooke Shields' Calvin Kleins. I would top this ensemble with a silver Jordache puffer jacket. Add a pair of studded booties, and I think the outfit might be on point for Fall 2014!"

Lisa Petty
Editor, DFW Style Daily 

"I look back on my freshman year as one of my fondest memories. I was the only freshman at Lincoln High School on the varsity basketball team, which was a big deal because we were the number one basketball team in the nation and also go to travel around the united states for basketball tournaments and also played on ESPN. So for me that was my best moment in high school." Charles advice for students? "Never fall into the pressures of trends that other kids set. Simply dress the way that best suits your mood and personality - if you don’t attend a school that has dress code that is."

Charles Smith
Designer, SMITH II 

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Dallas Celebrities Share Their Favorite Back-To-School Memories (Part 1)

Cynthia Smoot, 7th grade tennis team
Depending on what part of DFW you live in, your kids have either just started school or their days are numbered. My son will entering a new phase this year when he starts High School as a freshman. All I can keep thinking, is "How did this happen?! I am not old enough to have a child in high school!" The transition from Middle School to High School is going to be a huge change for the whole family and it has had me reflecting back on my own school days: the good, the bad and the ugly.

I was inspired to reach out to some of my notable connections and ask for their favorite school memories and ask if they had any advice to offer today's students. I had so many great responses, that I had to break them up into two posts. Here is the first installment and I will publish Part Two tomorrow. I hope you enjoy reading their stories as much as I did.

XO, Cynthia

Lauren Przybyl, first day of Pre-K
"I loved my first lunch box from Pre-K. It was Big Bird!!! Not so sure about socks with sandals though - EEK!!!! In elementary school my mom wrote on my lunch napkin every day. Her sweet notes or drawings were always so fun! It wasn't until I had my own daughter that I realized how time consuming and special those napkins were."

Lauren Przybyl
Fox 4 Good Day anchor

"10th grade was pretty awesome! It was the year I recieved my car and started working. I felt so independant and I loved every moment of it." Looking back on school-day fashions Derry recalls, "K-Swiss (shoes) - I used to love them, ha ha. You would keep them so fresh and so clean. All white or black and your were ready. I must admit I wasnt a girly girl!!" When asked for her best piece of back-to-school advice, Derry says, "I tell my son all the time you need to get good grades and concentrate on what your in school for. If you get caught up in extra stuff and hanging with those folks you think are cool and not doing their work you will be in the same place 10 yrs from now."

Tiffany Derry
Chef and television personality
Catch her in "Hungry Investors" on Spike
Top Chef alumnae

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Go Big or Go Home: Training for the MetroPCS Dallas Marathon

Preparing for a Marathon 
by Ashley Powell 

“I hate to run.” Is usually the response I get when I talk about running marathons. If they only knew that running a marathon, especially running a course for the first time, was much more than just running than I’m positive they would be in love with the sport, the runners high and the feeling of camaraderie as well.

The MetroPCS Dallas Marathon will be my third marathon and I couldn’t be more excited to run a race in my new hometown of Dallas. Over the years, I’ve found that running each new race is unique and holds its own personality, which is why my approach towards each race is different. My first marathon was all about finishing. Last year’s race was all about improving on time. And my goal for the MetroPCS Dallas Marathon? It’s a bit lofty, but if your dreams don’t scare you then they’re probably not big enough. Right? This year I plan on training to achieve a Boston Marathon qualifying time in hopes of entering for the 2016 race.

Now, I don’t know about you all but since I challenge myself with improving speed and pace times for each race, having a relatively flat course is important. Since I’m new to the Dallas area, I had been asking around to gauge if others who had run the MetroPCS Dallas Marathon in years prior thought the course was more on the flat side rather than hilly. The consensus fell on the flat side and I was sold! Plus, the beneficiary of the race is the Texas Scottish Rite Hospital for Children and once you get to mile 22, believe me, you’ll need a dang good reason to think of as to why in the world you need to keep going!

Oh So Tasty: Brian Zenner Takes Charge of Oak

Photo: Bullfrog & Baum / Joy Zhang
At the beginning of July, Richard Gras brought Executive Chef Brian Zenner over from Belly & Trumpet to sister restaurant Oak to completely revamp the menu and move the needle up the culinary radar. You might remember that Zenner was chef de cuisine under Jason Maddy when Oak first opened in late 2011, so he's no stranger to the concept. Have no fear B&T fans, Zenner will remain in charge of the kitchen at Belly & Trumpet, as well as oversee his new duties at Oak.

The Bangkok-born chef (who grew up in Dubai, London and Houston) worked at the Mansion Restaurant with Bruno Davaillon before opening Oak and his work at Belly & Trumpet earned him a spot among The Best in DFW 2013 from the Dallas Morning News. At the time, Leslie Brenner called Zenner’s cooking "accomplished, exciting and inspired." Gras is clearly hoping that Zenner will bring those same traits over to Oak.

I was invited over last night to sample some of the new items Zenner has created. Overall, I found the menu to be filled with fresh ingredients, complex tastes, interesting textures and savory sauces. Highlights for me were the Canary Melon Salad, Branzino and Chocolate Tart with Banana Ice Cream.

Monday, August 18, 2014

State Fair of Texas Announces New Fried Foods for 2014

Fried Food Shock & Awe in 2010
Big Tex is set to host visitors from all across the country September 26 through October 19 for the annual State Fair of Texas®. Since its inception in 1886, the State Fair of Texas® has celebrated all things Texan by promoting agriculture, education, and community involvement through quality entertainment in a family-friendly environment.

Fairgoers have come to expect a plethora of creative fried foods, daily shows, a nightly parade, the largest new car Auto Show in the Southwest, free concerts on the Chevy Main Stage, (and throughout the grounds), the always popular livestock exhibits and competitions, and of course, Big Tex himself.

Since 2005, each year State Fair concessionaires cook up tasty and unique foods for a chance to become a finalist in the Big Tex® Choice Awards. The State Fair of Texas is excited to announce this year’s finalists in the Big Tex Choice Awards, who will compete for the titles of Best Tasting and Most Creative on Labor Day:

Chicken Fried Loaded Baked Potato

Created by Butch Benavides, the creamy and moist insides of a baked potato, loaded with generous amounts of butter, bacon, and cheddar cheese, are coated and battered with a delectable blend of spices and flour that create a perfect combination of fried crispy crust and delicious, creamy loaded baked potato. Served with a ranch dipping sauce.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Don't Get Mad, Sell His Stuff On eBay

Fortunately my husband is not into hunting, fishing or golf. I have spent many an hour listening to my friends gripe about their husbands obsessions with these sports and the endless amounts of money that are spent in pursuit of the next kill or hole-in-one.  Instead of complaining to her girlfriends over a glass of wine, Dallas' Claudia B. is doing something about it. Specifically, she has listed the $20 million dollar yacht she and her husband own on eBay for the bargain basement price of $10 million dollars.

I received an email from Claudia saying, "I'm just a lovely wife getting rid of my husband's SuperYacht that he built from scratch, everything is custom on this boat. Unfortunately he does not listen and puts this thing before me so therefore it has to GO! Happy Bidding!!! Don't let the photo's fool you, this thing is huge! It's bigger than Tiger Wood's Super Yacht." Claudia's email claims that this would be the biggest sale in eBay history. A 30 second search on Google proved her wrong on that one.  Turns out another luxury "Giga Yacht" sold in 2005 on eBay for $140 million dollars. But, this might be the second most expensive item ever sold, which ain't too shabby. The yacht has all kinds of amenities like  a gym, spa, jacuzzi and piano. It also has a 12-person crew that costs $55,000 a month. Yeah...

The Story (and Evolution) of Oh So Cynthia

I started this blog in 2008 as a fun way to share the stories and images of my life with my family (who all live outside of Dallas). I quickly discovered the Mommy Blogger community and fell into that niche for a while. So how did I go from reviewing toilet bowl cleaner to attending the glitziest functions in Dallas and hob-knobing with celebrities?

Well, I have my son to thank for that.

When he started Middle School we bought him an iPhone, "because everyone had one." It wasn't two weeks into the new school year that he came home one day, stomped into my office and demanded to know why his life was splayed all over the internet. Huh? Turns out that while I had been talking about my blog for years, he never actually put much thought into what that meant.

Seems that someone in his homeroom class had the bright idea for everyone to Google their names to see what came up. What came up was a big fat nothing for almost everyone, except my son. That was the day he realized what a blog was all about.

In his 10-year old way, he informed me that this party I was having was over and his life was no longer fodder for others amusement. It was a dilemma because at this point I had built up quite the nice audience for myself and had corporate advertisers and the like. Not to mention the personal fulfillment I was getting out of blogging. What to do...

After a few days of pondering my options, I decided to simply flip the camera around (so to speak) and instead of focusing the stories on me and my life, I would talk about what I saw, who I encountered and where I went. Dallas had always played a big part in my stories - now it was the sole focus.  The response was phenomenal and within a year my website traffic and social audience had more than doubled. I was clearly onto something and I've never looked back.

Today, I am thrilled to let you know that I am taking a new step in my growth an as online influencer and lifestyle blogger and have signed with Amores Model Management as a part of their Special Bookings division.

While I've done a pretty darn good job of marketing myself (PR and marketing is what I do for a living after all), I am thrilled to join forces with an agency who can help me take my brand to the next level in terms of partnerships and visibility.  Check out my page on their website and let me know what you think!

I've always considered myself a connector and sharing the best and brightest our city has to offer is a privilege and a joy. I look forward to hosting and emceeing more amazing events, aligning my brand with others to help bring greater visibility to products and services I support and in general, just promoting this amazing town. If you are interested in working together on a marketing or promotions campaign for your business, contact Luis Basteri at

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Casting Call: Tim Love seeks restaurants to compete on his show Restaurant Startups

If you are a chef or restauranteur looking for an infusion of cash, here's your chance to pitch your concept to Fort Worth-based Tim Love and Joe Bastianich and square off in their new show "Restaurant Startup" on CNBC. To apply, visit

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Find Fashion Inspiration from Sanctuary of Style

Tiffany Hendra is a friend of mine who is beautiful inside and out. This professional model shares her years of experience on the catwalk through her fabulous blog called Sanctuary of Style. I think it's so important to keep positive and productive people around you. Tiffany embodies these traits and I love her infectious spirit.

"Every woman, regardless of age/race/geography, wants to be confident & comfortable in her skin and live life on her terms all while looking her best. Too many women are only dreaming of a vibrant & exciting life instead of actually living it. That’s why all these glamorous housewives reality shows are so popular. Women are watching other people living a fabulous life with the belief that they are not worthy of living it too. I’m sick of seeing women living life below their potential! I was one of them for a very long time. If I can help women walk confident in their power and begin living the life they deserve… then mission accomplished."

Her most recent post struck a chord with me because it's all about transitioning from Summer to Fall. I wanted to share her style tips with you. Check her out in the video below: