Saturday, August 1, 2015

Negra Modelo Provides Dallas With The Perfect Compliment

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Last Thursday, I was invited to attend a special dinner party hosted by Negra Modelo at 3015 Trinity Groves. The venue was filled with beautiful people, tasty food and lots and lots of delicious Negra Modelo beer! Chef Rick Bayless provided the evening's entertainment with a cooking demonstration teaching us some fun ways to put a new twist on guacamole and how to make a slow-cooker dish using lamb barbocoa with penca (see recipe below). Most people know Rick Bayless from winning the title of Bravo’s Top Chef Masters, beating out the French and Italian with his authentic Mexican cuisine. His highly rated Public Television Series, Mexico–One Plate at a Time, is in its ninth season and is broadcast coast to coast. His approachable style was perfect for this event and guests were hanging on his every word! Attendees were encouraged to tweet tagging @NegraModeloUSA and utilizing the hashtag, #ThePerfectComplement. Each tweet adding to milestone markers which then “unlocked” Negra Modelo branded prizes such as glass-wear, a cutting board and a signed copy of Chef Rick Bayless‘ new book Frontera. Be sure to follow @NegraModeloUSA on Twitter and Instagram and search the hashtag #ThePerfectComplement to see even more action from the incredible evening! Visit to learn more about this brand.

Friday, July 31, 2015

Nick & Sam's Grill Joins the Brunch Bunch

The most important meal of the day might be breakfast, but my favorite meal of the day is brunch. There is something so lovely about being able to leisurely sleep in, roll out of bed and then meander over to a lovely spot to enjoy a meal with friends. And then there's the decadent day-drinking aspect of brunch... Whether it a savory, tangy Bloody Mary or a light, crisp champagne cocktail, there is just nothing quite as pleasant as brunch. Recently I was invited to roll and saunter over to Nick & Sam's Grill to check out their new brunch menu. The 2-story restaurant is located on the outskirts of Uptown at 2816 Fairmont at Cedar Springs Rd. and offers patrons the choice of indoor seating or an al fresco experience on their patio. Their patio is my favorite spot because it's covered by a roof but all the sides are open. It's kind of like a car with a sunroof vs a convertible. You get all the benefits of an open-air experience without sweating to death in the blazing sun. Two thumbs way up on that design element. Menu highlights included the Brisket Deviled Eggs topped with pickled red onions, Captain Crunch French Toast and the BBQ Brisket Benny. I spent a lot of time at the Bloody Mary bar trying to figure out how to make the perfect concoction. There were so many selections of veggies and mixers and sauces! If you are into people watching, you won't be disappointed here. The Uptown crowd was swarming this place and it was definitely a see and be seen spot. Brunch is served Saturday & Sunday from 10am to 4pm. Nick & Sam's Grill is located at 2816 Fairmount St Dallas, TX 75201‎, (214) 303-1880,

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Dallas Summer Musicals Provides Thrills For All Ages With Their 2015-2016 Season Selections

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Carrie St. Louis and Joan Marcus in the Broadway musical WICKED (2015)

As a parent, I feel a strong obligation to expose my child to arts of all sorts. From museum exhibits to cultural festivals to live theater – I believe that you need to instill and develop an appreciation of the arts from a young age. Most people don’t just wake up at 35 and say, “I think I’d like to go to the opera…” I cherish the memories I have of my Mother driving us into Dallas to see The Nutcracker at Christmas and getting all dressed up in our Sunday best to see a play at the local community theater in my small hometown. I actually have a blind date to thank for taking me to my first opera (His law firm had tickets and he thought it would impress me if we went. He was right, it did.) But it was all those years of watching Bugs Bunny and old cartoons where my love of classical music first took root.

As a teenager I was a choir GLEEk who spent hours watching the MGM musical motion pictures of the 1940s. The clothes were glamorous and spectacular, the song and dance numbers took my breath away and the boy and girl always fell in love and (despite all the odds) tap-danced happily off into the sunset. I would have given anything to be Ginger Rogers being twirled around a ballroom by the dapper Fred Astaire. I encourage you to expose your children/tweens/teens to the complexity and beauty of classical music and to let them experience the magic of a great stage performance early on. Plant the seeds now and encourage an exploration of art and music that will take root and grow and develop over time. I’m still a girl who loves a Gershwin tune and as such, am always thrilled to take my seat for a Dallas Summer Musicals (DSM) performance. Do you have a favorite live theater memory? If so, share it in the comments below!

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Proving Science Can be Fun: Bouncy Ball Recipe

The Society of Women Engineers

We are well over halfway through the Summer and if you are anything like me I swear I am going to go postal if I hear "I'm bored" one more time. The Girl Scouts of Northeast Texas wants to see more women enter the fields of science, technology, engineering, and math (otherwise known as STEM) so they hold an annual College Prep Camp for High School Girls where they teach activities aimed to encourage interest in STEM fields - like this bouncy ball recipe. I wanted to pass it along as it is an easy and fun activity that will entertain your kids and teach them a little something in the process.

Bouncy Ball recipe from Girl Scouts of Northeast Texas 

  • Warm water
  • Borax (sold at most major grocery stores) 
  • Cornstarch 
  • Elmer’s Glue 
  • Stick 
  • 2 Beakers or glass cups 
  1. Label one cup 'Borax Solution' and the other cup 'Ball Mixture'. 
  2. Pour 2 tablespoons warm water and 1/2 teaspoon borax powder into the cup labeled 'Borax Solution'. Stir the mixture to dissolve the borax. Add food coloring, if desired. 
  3. Pour 1 tablespoon of glue into the cup labeled 'Ball Mixture'. Add 1/2 teaspoon of the borax solution you just made and 1 tablespoon of cornstarch. Do not stir. Allow the ingredients to interact on their own for 10-15 seconds and then stir them together to fully mix. Once the mixture becomes impossible to stir, take it out of the cup and start molding the ball with your hands. 
  4. The ball will start out sticky and messy, but will solidify as you knead it. 
  5. Once the ball is less sticky, go ahead and bounce it! 
  6. You can store your plastic ball in a sealed Ziploc bag when you are finished playing with it.

Learn Your Dogs DNA With Wisdom Panel 3.0 Testing

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What breeds do you think make up this crazy mutt? Picture from adoption date in 2009

I am a big proponent of animal rescue. There are so many animals languishing in shelters that it is beyond my comprehension why anyone would pay money to a breeder when you could get a animal for practically nothing AND save a life from extermination. I also believe that rescue dogs make the best pets because I think they know you saved them from near death and are so grateful to have a happy home. Just my personal opinion... In Dallas, there are many organizations like the SPCA and Operation Kindness, doing amazing work to save animals and find them forever homes. My latest rescue dog is named Tuco (after a character in the Clint Eastwood film The Good, The Bad & The Ugly). I was attracted to him initially because of his unusual markings (I thought he looked like a tiger) and his Scooby-Doo ears.  As you can see from the photo above, he is clearly a mix of breeds. But a mix of what? My family has often wondered about Tuco's heritage so I was thrilled when Mars Veterinary reached out to me to see if I wanted to use their new Wisdom Panel® 3.0 DNA test to determine his origins. 

Friday, July 24, 2015

24 Hours in Philadelphia

Philadelphia skyline. Photo

This past week, my family and I embarked on a whirlwind visit through Baltimore, Philadelphia and New York so my son could play in a lacrosse tournament and we could tour a few college campuses while we were in the area. We had about 24 hours of family downtime in Philadelphia, so I thought I would share a little bit of our time there with you.

Why is this relevant on a blog that normally shares stories that are all about Dallas and what makes it a great place to be? Well, because back in February it was announced that after the expiration of the Wright Amendment, Southwest Airlines would add nonstop service between Dallas Love Field and eight new cities. Beginning August 9th, you will be able to visit Boston, Charlotte, Raleigh-Durham, Detroit, Omaha, Nebraska, Pittsburgh, Salt Lake City.... and Philadelphia. Now that the City of Brotherly Love is going to be easier to visit, it is now relevant to this blog. Plus I just like showing off how cute my family is.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Hawaiian Falls White Settlement adds Waikiki Wipeout Zone

My family is a big fan of Hawaiian Falls Water Parks. I love that you can lounge in the shade of a cabana and have food and drinks brought to you. I also like that the parks are a manageable size so you feel safe letting your kiddos roam without having to trail them the whole time. My son loves that there are a wide variety of rides to keep him and his friends entertained for the afternoon. David Alvey recently took a 12-year-old and a pair of 15-year-old boys to try out the new attractions. Here is his report:

Teens playing on the Meltdown in the Waikiki Wipout Zone at Hawaiian Falls White Settlement

Hawaiian Falls White Settlement adds Waikiki Wipeout Zone 
Water Park & Adventure Park creates additional challenges for kids and young adults
Special report from David Alvey

Hawaiian Falls Water Park & Adventure Park in White Settlement has recently added the Waikiki Wipeout Zone to challenge kids and young adults. The Waikiki Wipeout Zone features three inflatable challenge courses:

Taking the plunge on the Free Fall at Hawaiian
Falls Water Park & Adventure Park in
White Settlement
  1. Kapow is a circular, multiplayer obstacle course with two unique sets of rotating boom arms. One arm is designed to hit players about thigh level, spinning counterclockwise, while the other rotating arm spins in the opposite direction aiming for the players’ chest, both designed to knock over the players. At the start of the race, both contenders begin in their own lanes, each dodging the rotating boom arms and other challenging inflatable obstacles. Since the course is designed in a circular maze, each contender doubles back on themselves three times. Kapow tests a players agility as well as stamina as they attempt to beat their opponent. 
  2. Meltdown can accommodate up to eight players per game in a challenge of agility, stamina and reaction time. With two rotating boom arms, each contender must make split-second decisions to either duck beneath the arm or attempt to jump over it. The suspense increases with each rotation of the arms and with rapid changes in speed and direction. Who will be the last one standing? 
  3. Toxic Rampage is a 2-person race through seven sets of challenges that each contender must overcome in order to be the winner, culminating by climbing Meltdown Mountain and sliding down the other side. 

Thursday, July 9, 2015

“It’s A Jungle Out There” Benefit Will Give Fans a Chance to Meet andCompete Alongside Former Survivor Players and Reality Stars

Readers of this blog know that I am a HUGE fan of reality and competition TV shows. My family has watched every season of Survivor so I am thrilled to see Highland Park native Missy Payne, star of Survivor: San Juan del Sur, Season 29, create the inaugural “It’s A Jungle Out There” benefit that will take place on Saturday, August 29, 2015 from 7pm to 10pm at Lofty Spaces. If you are a fan of the hit TV show Survivor, here’s your chance to not only mix and mingle with former Survivor-stars but compete alongside them to test your endurance and puzzle IQ. Guests will begin the evening with dinner and live entertainment from rising Nashville star, Baylor Wilson, who also happens to be Missy’s daughter and fellow Survivor contestant. Other performers will include talented teens from area Performing Arts High Schools, Competitive Club Cheerleading and Dance programs, and Acrobatic troupes. Among the items that will up for grabs during the live auction will be tickets to attend the live finale in Los Angeles where the next winner of Survivor, Season 31 will be named. Following the dinner and main stage entertainment, the party will move outside where Survivor celebrities will compete in challenges (similar to the challenges seen on the show) while party patrons place bets on teams to win. Guests will have a chance to buy into these challenges and compete alongside the celebrities to see who can become the Ultimate Survivor.

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Oh So Tasty: The Rustic Debuts "Jam & Toast" Brunch Service

The Rustic the recently debuted Jam & Toast Brunch served weekends from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Brunch is served family style and includes all of the following “Jam Out” items, priced at just $16.95 per person:

  • Cheese and Fruit – Local cheeses, honeycomb, fresh fruit and assorted breads
  • Country Baked Eggs – Sharp white cheddar, chives and organic baby spinach
  • Butchershop Skillet – Bacon and sausage from Rudolph’s Market
  • Hot Chicken – Nashville-style spicy fried chicken and dill pickles
  • Baby Fried Toast – Hand-cut challah soaked in vanilla custard and topped with house-made rosemary syrup
  • Smoked Cheddar Grits – Creamy polenta cakes with roasted poblanos and smokey cheddar on sausage gravy
  • Daily Donuts – Small-batch donuts baked fresh. 

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

LLS Announces Man & Woman of the Year for 2015

Earlier this year, the North Texas Chapter of The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS) introduced a new event to the social scene. Man and Woman of the Year (MWOY) served up nine North Texas business leaders candidates competing against each other in a spirited 10-week fundraising blitz that included a letter writing campaign, sponsorship, and unique fundraising events.
On May 30th, Congrats to Dr. Larry Anderson and Erin Ragsdale who earned the distinguished honor as being named the winners of the inaugural MWOY campaign. The candidates collectively raised $677,369.48 to support LLS’s mission to find cure for blood cancers and ensure that patients have access to life saving treatments.

Let's just take a moment to let that sink in... A first year event, that tasked 10 individuals to raise money... and they collectively raised $677,369.48. Are you kidding me!? WOW. Just wow.

“Congratulations to our winners, and to all of our candidates and campaign team members who participated in this year’s campaign,” said Patricia Thomson, Ph.D., Executive Director of the North Texas LLS Chapter. “They are all passionate and determined individuals, and leaders in their communities. Their efforts really go far in bringing help and hope to patients and their families.” Dr. Larry Anderson is an Assistant Professor of Hematology/Oncology at UT Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas and specializes in the treatment of plasma cell cancers (Multiple Myeloma, Waldenstrom's Macroglobulinemia, and Amyloidosis). He also conducts multiple clinical trials for these patients and has over 11 years of experience with bone marrow and stem cell transplantation. Dr. Anderson resides in Plano with his wife and two daughters. Erin Ragsdale became involved with The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society four years ago after her nine year old nephew was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia. She has served as Vice President on the Board of Trustees for the North Texas Chapter of LLS and effective July 1st, she will serve as Chairman of the Board of Trustees. Erin is Senior Vice President at Allyn Media and lives in Dallas with her husband and two children.