Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Oh So Tasty: Roy's Asian Pear Martini

One of my favorite fruits is the pear and Roy's has just introduced a delicious new Asian Pear Martini for the Fall. You'll find it on the cocktail menu or you can make one at home:

Roy's Asian Pear Martini

1 oz. Reyka Vodka (or choose your favorite brand)
1 oz. Grey Goose Le Poire Vodka
1/2 oz. Monin Pure Cane Simple Syrup
1/4 Tuaca
1/2 oz. Lemon Juice
1/8 pear slice for muddling or garnish

Shake all ingredients in a shaker with ice. Strain into chilled martini glass and garnish with an Asian Pear slice. Cheers!

Every Monday, Roy’s guests can now enjoy a specialty cocktail and appetizer for $6 each all night long. On Oct. 6, they will refresh the offerings for fall to the invigorating Asian Pear Martini + Crispy Pork & Steamed Buns.

Roy's is located at 2840 Dallas Parkway, Plano, TX 75093 (972) 473-6263,

Monday, September 29, 2014

HARVEST Provides a Bounty of Fun to Benefit the NTFB

Co-Chair Nancy Gopez, President and CEO
of the North Texas Food Bank Jan Pruitt,
Co-Chair Kristi Bare
Planting Good Seeds, HARVEST.
by Alison Weinstein

Have you ever had a moment when you are out and about in Dallas where you look around and say to yourself, “I love living here!?” HARVEST, a culinary and cocktail tasting benefitting the North Texas Food Bank was just such a moment for me.

What better way to celebrate the philanthropic spirit of our great city then with a good-looking crowd of 500, the backdrop of our growing skyline lit up against the night and good eats? Held at The Farmer’s Market on Saturday, September 20, 2014, in the newly renovated and sprawling Shed, HARVEST featured food stations by some of Dallas’s favorite chefs and restaurants — all under the leadership of renowned chef, Sharon Hage. 

Chairs Kristi Bare and Nancy Gopez simply nailed a cool, urban vibe with DJ Lucy Wrubel literally centered in a cut out above the dance floor. Seasonal cocktails flowed freely at floating bars brilliantly placed in the center of the nearly 20 food stations. I discovered a new Dallas favorite with every lap and grabbing generous bites from greats like Hibiscus, CBD Provisions, Place at Perry's and Pakpao - was exhilarating.

For my husband and I who circled the perimeter of the Shed many times, it became a sport, if not a competition to find our favorites! Topping our list: Bolsa’s rabbit & waffles (rabbit confit and candied carrots with a parsnip mousse), Five Sixty by Wolfgang Puck’s spicy big eye tuna in sesame miso cones AND (can’t forget dessert!), Haute Sweet Patisserie’s (gluten free) popcorn pot de creme. Divine.

Top: Jim and DeeDee Lee, Lawrence and Katy Bock, Honorary Co-Chairs Katherine and Eric Reeves
Bottom: Crowd shot of the scene

In addition to Kristi and Nancy, Jan Pruitt, President and CEO of the North Texas Food Bank, also lauded Honorary Chairs Janet and Phil Cobb, Ruthie and Jay Pack and Katherine and Eric Reeves for their vision, “This team set the bar extremely high for future events and we are so grateful for their support and devotion to closing the hunger gap in North Texas." The evening, presented by VHA, inc., was also an opportunity to honor champions of the NTFB with "Golden Fork" Awards - an annual award that honors five local philanthropists who have made a significant impact in the pursuit of a hunger-free community. This year's honorees included: Robert Miller, The Dallas Morning News - Hunger Ambassador of the Year, Texas Second Chance - Volunteer of the Year, Christian Community Action, Lewisville - Agency of the Year, Walmart - Corporation of the Year, Janet & Phil Cobb - Lifetime Achievement Award, Ruthie & Jay Pack - Lifetime Achievement Award Award.

“The concept of HARVEST was exciting from the very beginning,” said Jan Pruitt. “We knew that we wanted to utilize a space in the Dallas Farmers Market, our new home. We were sure that this setting would be conducive to great food from local chefs in a fun, casual atmosphere.” Kudos to you for far exceeding your goals on all counts!

About Alison Weinstein  A freelance writer and TV news producer, Weinstein started her career with Condé Nast Publications and ultimately followed her passion to television news at MSNBC in New York. Now in Dallas for over ten years, Alison has worked with NBC Network’s Southwest Bureau and other major network news divisions as a field producer. Making a difference in the community is also a terrific passion and Alison is honored to serve in leadership roles for Heroes for Children and The Dallas Holocaust Museum. Alison loves spending quality time with her husband, Michael and their two children, Carter & Ashley.

The Crowned Brunch Series Brings Designer Michael Costello To The Adolphus

Cynthia Smoot with Michael Costello
photo by Thomas Garza
Like many TV-obsessed Americans, I was first introduced to Michael Costello when he appeared on Project Runway Season 8 (he finished in 4th place). He returned to the franchise again for Project Runway All-Star Season 1.

Since the show, Costello has gone on to become one of the show's most commercially successful alums dressing celebrities from coast to coast. His client list includes Khloe and Kim Karsahian, Britney Spears, Lady Gaga, Selma Hayek and Nicole Ritchie. His latest coup was designing many of the show costumes for Beyonce's On The Run tour.

On Sunday, September 28 The Crowned Brunch Series brought Costello to the Adolphus Hotel for "Deeper Than The Dress: An Intimate Conversation" Guests enjoyed a delicious brunch inside the French Room while Costello regaled the crowd with hilarious stories of his childhood: cutting up his sisters clothes to create outfits for their dolls, obsessing over their My Little Pony and Jem dolls, a peek behind the curtain at life inside the Gypsy culture, an arranged marriage that produced two children before coming out and behind-the-scenes scoop from his time on Project Runway.

Friday, September 26, 2014

Oh So Fashionable: Nicky Hilton bring 365 Style to Dallas

On Tuesday, September 23, Dallas’ fashion enthusiasts and media enjoyed an evening with fashion designer and author Nicky Hilton to celebrate the launch of her new book, "365 Style." The event took place at Belk Galleria Dallas and was hosted by the non-profit, THE FASHIONISTAS. The evening began with a VIP reception. Guests mingled with Nicky, took selfies and and enjoyed bites from the Westin Galleria and sips courtesy of Beau Joie Champagne. A signature cocktail was also created using Yacht Club Vodka. Spotted in the crowd were Heidi Dillon (Founder & Chairman Emeritus of THE FASHIONISTAS), Cathy Vieth, Phyllis Comu, Jarrod Fresquez, Courtney Kerr, Yvonne Crum, and Carmen Surgent.  The Savvy Stylist, Dawn Mellon, worked with Hilton and styled models for her TV appearances and for the Belk show. She met up with Hilton at her VIP book signing to quiz her about her premiss for this tome.

Here is an excerpt from Mellon's post:

"Although she once considered a teaching career, Hilton says she can’t imagine herself doing anything outside of the fashion industry. She is fascinated by every aspect of the discipline – from designing to styling to writing. Penning a ‘how-to’ guide to dressing when you think about it, then, makes perfect sense. The book, she confesses, is a result of “the frustration I felt standing in a closet full of clothes feeling like I had nothing to wear.” While it would be easy to surmise from the book’s title that the author has a year’s worth of solutions for dressing. The numbers 3, 6 and 5, actually stand for something unrelated to a calendar. The number 3 represents the three most common occasions for which you dress, based upon your lifestyle. For example, as a wife, mother, fashion stylist, and philanthropist, my 3s are spending time with my family, attending philanthropic or fashion-related events and, of course, working. “Your three’s are unique to you,” explains Hilton,” but the one thing we all have in common is the fact that we can use our three’s as a guide when we shop.” “Ultimately, your wardrobe will reflect your lifestyle,” she elaborates, “and, you must stay true to your personal style identity. It’s imperative to remember that you’re dressing for you.”

Save Snow Leopards by Drinking Vodka. It's a Win-Win.

When newly launched Snow Leopard Vodka approached me about their product my first thought was, "Meh. Vodka is vodka." When I looked at their website, what I found was a company who's mission statement I can support.

With less than 3,500 snow leopards estimated to be remaining in the wild Snow Leopard Vodka is doing what it can to help save this critically endangered species from extinction and to help improve the livelihoods of the poor herder families who share their home range. 15% of all their profits, and monies raised by fundraising activities, are given directly to snow leopard conservation projects through the Snow Leopard Trust.

The goal is to sell 100,000 cases of Snow Leopard vodka annually, generating enough revenue and awareness to safeguard the Snow Leopard's future. I mean... look at that face!!! How can you not want to buy vodka and save these cute, furry, adorable snow leopards!! And that's what some of Dallas' most creative bartenders thought as well, so they have teamed up with the company to create specialty cocktails using Snow Leopard Vodka. Ask for it when you visit these establishments:

Changing Spots created by
Bonnie Wilson of Whiskey Cake
Changing Spots
by Bonnie Wilson, Beverage Director, Whiskey Cake Kitchen & Bar 
  • 2oz Snow Leopard Vodka 
  • 1/2oz Giffard Pamplemousse 
  • 1/4oz Lillet Rouge 
  • 1/4oz fresh lemon juice 
  • 2 dashes Peychauds 
Top with 1oz Prosecco Add all ingredients to shaker, double strain into a coupe glass & garnish with a grapefruit slice

The Cat's Pajamas
by Will Croxville from Parliament
  • 2 oz Snow Leopard Vodka
  • 1 oz Fresh Lemon Juice
  • 3/4 oz Apple-Honey Syrup *
  • 1 bar spoon Allspice Dram
  • 1 Egg White
Add all ingredients to shaker, dry shake. Add ice, shake again. Strain into coupe, garnish with red apple fan and angostura. *Apple-honey syrup: 1 part raw honey mixed into 1 part organic apple cider.

Dallas Dweller: Carmaleta Whiteley

Dallas is full of colorful characters. There are those you see monthly in the society pages, whose stories are legendary in this town. But, this feature is inspired by the people that I think you should know more about because of their fabulous style, interesting back-story or amazing accomplishments. Dallas Dweller seeks to introduce you to these fabulous faces. Today, I'd like for you to meet Carmaleta Whiteley, the Fairy Godmother of the Dallas charity scene:

Carmaleta Whitely is proud to be a sixth generation Texas, born in Ft Worth. Her parents moved to Odessa when she was six or seven and her father opened a machine shop that catered to the oil business. "That machine shop is still in business today and is owned and managed by my sister and her husband," says Whiteley proudly.

"Growing up I always wanted to be like my mother. She was very pretty and dressed like a model. I loved her clothes and accessories and often flew with her to Dallas to shop at Neiman Marcus. I moved to Dallas to go to college and stayed most of my adult life. I worked in commercial real estate leasing high rise buildings. However, leasing has its up and downs so when our Texas economy fell, I followed the money and moved to Los Angeles. I worked for the largest west coast developer managing a 2.6 million square foot office complex in downtown LA. I loved my job but after seven years I was ready to move back to my family and home state of Texas.

Many on the social scene know Whiteley from her years of tireless fundraising for the causes she holds dear. Whiteley is looking to take her years of marketing experience and decades of philanthropic work and combining them into a brilliant publication that aims to become the standard program at charitable events, devoted to supporting Dallas-area charitable organizations. Her latest venture is called Charity Dallas and will launch in early 2015.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Save the Date: Fire and Ice Fashion Show & Concert, October 9-11, 2014


The 3rd Annual Fire & Ice Tres: Fashion Show, Concert and Symposium will return to Dallas on October 9-11, 2014. Over three days, there will be a speakers’ symposium, three fashion shows where featured designers will launch and release their 2015 spring/summer collections and three concerts. This show is the epitome of couture presentations and an annual event of marrying beautiful high fashion runway designs and music concerts, produced by the very best professionals in fashion and music. Event organizer Jennifer Hobson, CEO of Jennifer Hobson Productions says, “The concept of this show was to fuse fashion with music, dance, and visual arts. My goal was to create a show, with excellence in execution, for fashionistas to enjoy a top-of-the-line runway show and have the opportunity to place orders, and interact with the designers.” And why the title, Fire and Ice Tres? Now in its third year (hence Tres for three) Ms. Hobson says, “The idea of Fire & Ice Tres is to show the contrast of in how fashion can be hot in its cTo kick off the entire weekend of events, a survivor speakers’ symposium and dinner will be held on Thursday, October 9th. The purpose of the symposium is to sponsor women in, of, or exposed to domestic abuse, but is also open to loved ones, family members, and friends of those in abusive relationships. Please see below for specific details.

Casting Call: Reality Show Seeks Awesome 20-Somethings

Best party pic ever. Flashback to DIFFA 2012 with my posse. Who says 20-somethings have all the fun.

Ryan Seacrest Productions and Casting Duo are currently casting a group of hot, young, ambitious friends, co-workers, or acquaintances that live in the Dallas area. Think The Hills or Laguna Beach - but in Dallas. If you have a big personality and people always tell you that your group of friends should be on TV - then they are looking for you! To be considered, email a recent picture and a quick paragraph about why you and your friends should be considered for this exciting new docu-series. And if you get cast, you totally owe me a bottle of champs and the exclusive scoop on all the cat-fighting behind the scenes...

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

The Best Events in Dallas for October 2014

September was a haze with the back-to-school transition. I finally feel like I can take a breath and rejoice in the fact that it's Fall! From haunted houses to movie premiers, fashion shows to opera, BBQ festivals to golf this month has something for everyone. Get outside and enjoy this amazing weather!

XO, Cynthia

Wednesday, October 1

Alley’s House will host its third annual luncheon on October 1st, 2014, from 11:30 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. featuring keynote speaker Barbara Pierce Bush and Honorary Chair, Gloria Campos at House of Blues Dallas. Anna de Haro of Clear Channel Radio will return as event emcee. Barbara Bush has spent her career focusing on nutrition and global health issues. She has traveled extensively with the UN World Food Program, is a member of UNICEF’s Next Generation Steering Committee and was named one of Glamour magazine’s Women of the Year in 2011 and Newsweek’s Women of Impact in 2013. Alley’s House luncheon is a forum for conversation to better understand the range of barriers facing teen mothers including access to healthcare, adequate nutrition for themselves and their children, education, and jobs that pay a living wage. Tickets start at $150.

Thursday, October 2 

The Mosaic Champion of Human Rights Fall Gala is an annual event to raise awareness of human rights abuses in our communities and individuals working to address them. Dallas fashion designer, Mosaic supporter, and anti-trafficking activist Abi Ferrin will receive the Champion of Human Rights Award which recognizes the extraordinary dedication of individuals who strive to ensure the protection of the basic human rights and fundamental freedoms to which all human beings are entitled. Abi’s Freedom Project helps create alternate forms of employment and hope for oppressed and trafficked women worldwide. Joining them for this fun evening will also be emcee Amy Vanderoef, Host of Good Morning Texas. Guests will enjoy beer, wine & spirits, hors d’oeuvres, a silent auction, 50/50 Raffle, and live music by the Hunter Sullivan Band.  This gala will be held at Fashion Industry Gallery, 1807 Ross Avenue, Dallas, TX 75201. Tickets start at $200.

Friday, October 3

Project Runway alum, Mila Hermanovski will be coming to Piermarini Boutique on October 3rd from 3pm-6pm. She will be showcasing her Fall collection along with some exclusive styles for the trunk show at Piermarini. Mila, she was born in Dallas and is a fellow Greenhill School alum. She was on Project Runway twice, once during Season 7 and again for Project Runway All-Stars. Piermarini Boutique is located at 6827 Snider Plaza, Dallas, TX 75205.

Saturday, October 4

Attend a social screening for the film "Advanced Style" at the Texas Theater. Advanced Style examines the lives of seven unique New Yorkers whose eclectic personal style and vital spirit have guided their approach to aging. Based on Ari Seth Cohen’s famed blog of the same name, this film paints intimate and colorful portraits of independent, stylish women aged 62 to 95 who are challenging conventional ideas about beauty, aging, and Western’s culture’s increasing obsession with youth. Cocktails begin at 7pm, the film will start at 8:00pm. Tickets are $10 at the door.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Oh So Fashionable: Cufflinks

Cufflinks CEO, Paul Song shows off his Threaded Button
cufflinks at the company's recent 15th Anniversary party
I attended a private dinner recently to celebrate the 15th anniversary of Dallas-based Cufflinks. In looking for info about how this trend got started, I came across an article from San Francisco retailer Wingtip who wrote, "In one form of another, the cufflink, or 'sleeve button', has been a part of men's wardrobe's for over a millennium -- with royal families commissioning cufflinks to mark weddings or other special events for centuries and some historians noting the cufflinks' presence in ancient Egyptian paintings.

But if there's a story to be told about the modern cufflinks and cuff styles prevalent in men's wardrobes today, it should certainly start with a mention of Alexandre Dumas' nineteenth century novel The Count of Monte-Cristo. Nowhere else in the history of western literature will you find a story wherein the cuff of a man's sleeve receives so much attention, or has had such an affect on 'real-world' menswear.

Specifically, fashion legend has it that the turned back, french cuff was born (for all intents and purposes) after french tailors read a description of one particularly pivotal character in the book ('Baron Danglars') -- a man whose presence sparked great envy when onlookers "gazed on the enormous diamond that glittered in his shirt, and the red ribbon that depended from his button-hole". So sumptuous and handsome a description was this, that tailors immediately recognized how outfitting french society with such details could distinguish their clients and add a new chapter to modern man's costume. Shortly thereafter, a cuffed shirt and a set of signature cufflinks (or ribbons) became a characteristic mark of a true, modern gentleman -- and cufflinks started to commonly appear at the wrists of men outside the immediate aristocracy."