Thursday, August 28, 2014

WhereTraveler Has Your Guide to the Best Shopping in Dallas (Because I Gave It To Them)

Dallas is a playground for the retail junkie. From independent boutiques to designer showrooms to national department stores, shoppers will find a vast array of offerings among Big D’s shopping centers, districts and malls. If you want an insiders guide to the best shopping in town, click here to peruse the guide I complied for Where Traveler.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

The Best Events in Dallas for September 2014

The social scene typically follows a feast or famine scenario. When school let out in May, the invitations dried up as folks packed it up and headed out of town on vacation and kids went off to summer camps. A new school year just resumed and the social scene is back with a vengeance. I hope you are well-rested because I've got a full calendar of activities and happenings for you this month!

Thursday, September 4

On Thursday, Sept. 4, at 7 p.m., 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. Corwin, who narrated the film, also will participate in an audience Q&A and sign autographs immediately following the screening. The screening will take place in The Hoglund Foundation Theater, A National Geographic Experience. Tickets for the Sept. 4 screening/Q&A with Jeff Corwin are $8 for Museum members and $10 for non-members. The Perot Museum is located at 2201 N. Field Street in Dallas, Texas. For more information, visit

Merry Voss is a retail legend in this town for her bold sense of style and ability to turn a cabana (literally) into the hottest retail destination in Dallas. Last year, she opened Canary a few doors down from Cabana on West Lovers Lane and made headlines all over again. Stop by on September 4 between 9am-5pm to view a new jewelry boutique called CUCKOO inside Canary. Canary is located at 4609 W. Lovers Lane, Dallas, 75209

Monday, August 25, 2014

Mark Cuban to Debut Shark Tank Proteges at Central Market

I'm a big fan of the TV show Shark Tank on ABC. Entrepreneurs seeking a cash infusion can pitch their concept to five legendary investors and see who bites. Half the fun of the show is seeing the wild, wacky and sometimes downright ingenious ideas that people have come up with. And the other half of the fun is watching all of the investors fight each other to strike the best deal and gain the right to develop and invest in a really great brand.

No one has a better killer instinct than Dallas’ own entrepreneur, billionaire and businessman, Mark Cuban. On Thursday, August 28, he will introduce North Texas to four new entrepreneurs that he personally scouted and is endorsing their products at various Central Market locations around the DFW-area. You can meet Mark Cuban and see product demonstrations from Alyssa’s Healthy Cookie, Chapul, Monkey Mat and Simple Sugars. 

Dallas filmaker debuts new film at Angelika

Norman Gregory McGuire
After getting his start with small roles in front of the camera, Norman Gregory McGuire ended up finding his passion on the other side of it. For the past 20 years, he's traveled a unique journey - from  IT entrepreneur to director. Consistent with this distinctive path, Gregory McGuire brings an unorthodox approach and an eye for detail to all of his films. He’s decidedly hands on, with a high regard for music, considering it “just as important as what’s in the frame.”

Norman Gregory McGuire’s last project “21 Years-Richard Linklater” will be released at the 2014 Austin Film Festival this October. The film featured a star-studded cast including Zac Efron, Matthew McConaughey, Keanu Reeves, and Billy Bob Thornton. McGuire wants to bring more Hollywood projects to North Texas. "Texas is a one of a kind place here in the US. We have all four seasons, beaches, big cities, deserts... not to mention excellent talent and film makers" His next project, "The Lucky Man" is set to begin filming in Dallas in the fall.

McGuire wrote/directed and produced his latest project - a dramatic short about revenge and consequence - and is holding a free screening at the Angelika Film Center on September 4. "From Eva, With Love" stars Marc Jeffreys, Nick Seidel, and Callisto Griffith. Also involved are producers Carolina Hernandez, John Belew, Ben Loggins; foley and sound mastering Johnny Marshall; and scorer (the award winning) Amin Emam.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Tre Wilcox To Offer Cooking Classes With Celebrity Chef Pals

Last fall I spent the afternoon with Tre Wilcox and got to watch firsthand as he held court for one of his cooking "classes".

I use quotes around the word classes, because this is not a traditional class where you make your own food and are instructed step-by-step by the chef. This is more of a belly-up-to-the-bar-and-enjoy-a-cocktail-while-Tre-entertains-you-with-stories-and-shares-cooking-tips-and-tricks kind of class. Personally, I found it infinitely more entertaining than a traditional cooking class.

Wilcox has come up with a fun twist on his classes and asked celebrity chefs to join him for the experience. How great is it that you can now get TWO celebrity chefs for the price of one! Each class, is limited to six people and will be held from noon-­3pm on select Saturday dates in Wilcox’s condo in the Downtown Arts District. The cost is $215 per person and trust me, the entertainment value alone is worth the cost. You'll be laughing throughout the entire class and enjoy a fantastic meal at the end of it. Did I mention he also makes you cocktails? Who knew he was such a good bartender to boot...

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.