Monday, September 26, 2016

Reality TV Stars Outwit, Outplay and Outlast To Raise Funds For Youth

Warriors Games 2016
photos c/o Justin Yoder

The 2nd Annual “It’s A Jungle Out There” benefit kicked off with the Warriors Games, a NEW family-friendly event which was held on the grounds of the Embassy Suites Love Field Hotel. Despite a soggy start to the day, participates were fired up to compete and attendees were able to watch teams comprised of former players from Survivor, The Amazing Race and Big Brother and young adults from Cheer 4 Your Life’s teen Warrior program compete in challenges similar to those seen on the hit CBS show, Survivor. The teams were hit with twists and turns as the games progressed. In true Survivor tradition, the final challenge to determine who would be crowned the Sole Survivor was a fire-making challenge. Congrats to Baylor Wilson from Survivor, Season 29 for using a flint and creating a fire big enough to burn through the twine to raise her flag, making her victorious!! Proceeds from this event raised funds for Cheer 4 Your Life, a non profit organization 501(C)3 that helps empower youth by providing supportive funding as needed for individual participation in various clubs and school programs including but not limited to athletic programs, performance based programs and service projects. “The most touching part of the Cheer 4 Your Life journey (for me) so far has been the Warriors project, which is a leadership program for teens encompassing community outreach and personal growth while raising money through healthy competition in monthly challenges,” said Missy Payne. “To see these kids meet today – the Teen Warriors who have raised money all year to help teens they didn’t even know pursue their dreams – it’s just so rewarding!” That evening, Event Co-Chairs Leslie Madden and Laura Powell gathered with supporters at the Frontiers of Flight Museum for an adult only benefit, which included a concert, dinner, silent and live auction. Guests began the evening with dinner and live entertainment from talented teens from area Performing Arts High Schools, Competitive Club Cheerleading and Dance programs, and Acrobatic troupes illustrating what Cheer 4 Your Life is all about – helping teens pursue their passions and talents. The evening culminated with a rousing performance from rising Country music star, Hudson Moore.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

The Lincoln Experience Center To Open At The Star in Frisco In 2017

Sponsored Post: The Lincoln Experience Center

Yesterday, I attended a media conference at Cowboys Stadium with Charlotte Jones Anderson, Daryl Johnston and executives from The Lincoln Motor Company as they announced The Lincoln Experience Center which will open at The Star in Frisco next spring. This new retail space will expand the brand’s presence in Dallas and strengthen Lincoln's commitment to personalized client services and experiences. The multi-use center will offer people new to The Lincoln Motor Company the opportunity to learn more about the brand in a convenient, luxurious environment. Guests can relax in the connectivity lounge, discover the design inspiration behind the different Lincoln cars and SUVs or customize their perfect vehicle. Should guests be interested in arranging a test drive or purchasing a Lincoln, a host at the Lincoln Experience Center will connect them with the dealer who is most convenient for them. The center also will host a variety of intimate social gatherings geared toward the interests of the community.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Oh So Fashionable: Fashion X Dallas 2016

Scroll through the photo gallery for visual delights: Fashion X Dallas 2016
photos by Danielle Ellis, Shana Anderson, Thomas Garza and Todd White

Fashion X Dallas is our version of “fashion week” and features 3 nights of runway shows each Fall. The event was created in 2014 by Matt Swinney, creator of Austin Fashion Week and each night featured at least 9 full runway collections from local DFW-based designers, Season Winners and All Stars from the hit Lifetime Television show Project Runway, and emerging designers from across the globe. FXD also gives opportunities to the youngest of designers through CAPSULE, mini 3-look collections allowing for an accessible runway experience. Finally, over 20 curated Gallery spaces will feature the best in emerging jewelry and accessories designers each night. This September 8-10, Fashion X Dallas returned for its 3rd year and to keep things fresh, the event is adding a new component called "Style Setters". Linda Gray, Steve Kemble, LeeAnne Locken and Heidi Dillon were selected not only for their iconic style, but also for their tireless work and dedication to nonprofit organizations. Fashion X Dallas donated a portion of all “Style Setter” tickets to each designated nonprofit. I've been a supporter of the event since its inception and can attest that every year, Matt and his team elevate the level of fun and sophistication higher and higher. I encourage you to peruse through this photo gallery of fabulous fashion and save the date for next year's FXD.

Monday, September 19, 2016

The Wand: How To Drink Wine And Not Get A Headache

I love to support local brands, plus I never turn down an invite when there's good wine involved, so I recently braved a monsoon to head over to The Ranch in Las Colinas for the debut of an interesting new product called The Wand™ by Pure Wine. It looks like a small tea bag attached to a plastic handle and when you submerge it into your glass of wine (3-4 minutes prior to drinking), it absorbs the histamines and sulfite preservatives just before you drink it. According to their website, this process helps alleviate the unfavorable reactions many wine lovers suffer from, like headaches, congestion and skin rashes. The filtration also rapidly aerates your wine, maximizing its full flavor potential. I think a box or handful of Wands paired with a great bottle of wine would make a great holiday or hostess gift! Who wouldn't love a product that allows you to drink more wine and feel good the next day!? Keep reading for a discount code! Locally The Wand™ is available at The Ranch in Las Colinas, Asian Mint, Cafe Herrera, Times Ten Cellars, VH Oak Cliff, Eight 11 Place, Goody Goody Liquor (coming soon) and Zen Luxury Nail and Beauty Bar to name a few.

Use the code OSC15 and SAVE 15% OFF your online purchase or at Dallas Fine Wine & Spirits located at 3518 Oak Lawn Ave. Dallas, TX 75219 through October 19, 2016!

Friday, September 16, 2016

Magic & Cookie Johnson Celebrate 25 Years With Famous Pals

People always ask me what my favorite franchise of the Housewives is and my answer is "Beverly Hills". Why? Because of the opulence, luxury and their over-the-top lifestyle. You almost can't believe that people really have that much money that private jets, having a moat in front of your estate with swans swimming in it and prancing mini-ponies in the backyard exists. Yet, there it is. And it's their normal. I have a feeling that Emmitt and Pat Smith had that same feeling when they attended the 25th wedding anniversary celebration of Magic and Cookie Johnson. And boy, did they celebrate in dazzling Hollywood style.

Oh So Hilarious: Heather McDonald

I was familiar with Heather McDonald from her 7-year stint on E!'s Chelsea Lately, and I always enjoy good laugh, so last night I headed over to Hyena's in Mockingbird Station to catch her comedy show with LeeAnne Locken from Real Housewives of Dallas and More Hits 103.3 (KVIL) Leigh Ann Adams, Jay Michaels and Jay Reocker. (I found it amusing that I was with two Jay's and two LeighAnn/LeeAnne's. Makes it easy to not forget someone's name after a couple of cocktails... ) The great thing about Heather's comedy is that it doesn't feel like an act or schtick. It's like you're just having a conversation with a girl-friend - only she's the only one talking. The legendary comedian Bob Newhart once said, "I think one reason for a successful marriage is laughter. I think laughter gets you through the rough moments in a marriage." Clearly, Heather McDonald agrees because the bulk of her act centered around stories of her marriage. She had me rolling with stories of her husband's obsession with saving a buck and her inability to not hit a curb. She is incredibly funny and very relatable. I think I have a new #girlcrush.

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Orange You Glad It's Autumn At The Arboretum!

More than 90,000 Texas pumpkins are on their way to being featured in this year's Autumn at the Arboretum national fall festival. Named one of "America's Best Pumpkin Festivals" by Fodor's Travel and "One of the World's 15 Most Breathtaking Gardens" by Architectural Digest, this year's event at the Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden will highlight the "Art of the Pumpkin," September 17 to November 23. For the 11th year, Autumn at the Arboretum will include the popular one-acre Pumpkin Village in the Pecan Grove, featuring artful arrangements of tens of thousands of pumpkins, gourds, squash, bales of hay and cornstalks. They will be used together to create pumpkin houses that represent naturally occurring patterns in nature to mirror the "Art of the Pumpkin" theme. Cinderella's Pumpkin Carriage will also return, courtesy of Baylor Scott & White Medical Center at White Rock, set amidst the garden's remaining summer flowers, as well as 150,000 fall blooms like chrysanthemums, ornamental grasses, copper plants and firebush, and will be open daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. The popular Haybale Maze will also return with the Tom Thumb Pumpkin Patch offering pumpkins for purchase, and the Great Pumpkin Search.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

MiniLuxe Totally Nails It

MiniLuxe Nail Studio | Dallas Touch the photo to scroll through a gallery of images from this event. Photos c/o Thomas Garza Photography 

MiniLuxe Totally Nails It 
by Contributor, Jayne Herring

After a couple of years living in a beautiful beach town, I’ve come back to Dallas with a penchant for flip flops and a determination to not get too fancied up too soon. It didn’t take long to realize however the toll that a month of packing, moving, and unpacking had taken on my nails and skin, and that a little pampering was definitely in order. But having a new baby at home, clean and toxin-free environments and products are more important than ever, as is being a good example to my daughters by living a socially responsible and ethical life. Finding salons that work with these high standards in an industry known for shortcuts and toxins is not always easy. This is why I was thrilled to attend MiniLuxe's Grand Opening in Uptown Plaza.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

WIN Tickets to Attend Oktoberfest in Historic Downtown McKinney

Oktoberfest in Historic Downtown McKinney
photos c/o City of McKinney

Dust off your lederhosen and tune up your yodel for this year’s Oktoberfest in Downtown McKinney Sept. 23, 24 and 25 presented by the City of McKinney and Pat Lobb’s Toyota of McKinney. This three-day event is a family favorite, offering authentic German food and drinks, entertainment, children’s activities and fun. Patrons will feel like they are right in the middle of Munich and enjoy authentic German fare like bier, brats, strudel, pretzels and live music. Oktoberfest offers an excellent opportunity to try multiple German flavors and styles all at one event with a bier garden that covers 14 blocks. 

What's your favorite thing about an Oktoberfest? The Beer? The brats? The Chicken Dance? Let me know by leaving a comment on the post below and you could WIN AN OKTOBERFEST FAMILTY FUN PACK that will include 60 food/beverage/activity tickets, 2 Souvenir T’s, & 2 Souvenir Steins. Get extra entries when you Tweet "WIN a family fun pack to #McKinneyOktoberfest in @CityOfMckinney! Details". One lucky winner will be chosen at random on Friday, September 16th/5:00 pm CST from all qualifying comments. The winner will have 24 hours to respond to my outreach before a new winner is selected.

Festival-goers can participate in the Oktoberfest march and view the brew tapping where the first keg of McKinney-brewed beer will be tapped by hammering the bronze spout into a 200-year-old keg. Authentic German music performances by bands such as Brave Combo, Alpine Village Band and The Royal Klobasneks will take place on two stages as part of opening day festivities on Friday. Each night, stop, quake and shake for Texas’ largest chicken dance during “Der Ententanz” (The Duck Dance) and celebrate with a drink. New to Oktoberfest in 2016 are the Gemuetlichkeit (goodwill) Games sponsored by the Sheraton McKinney. The fun-filled competition area on East Louisiana Street features bier stein races on Friday, the Running of the Wieners on Saturday, and bier barrel rolling races on Sunday. Additional festivities include a stein holding contest, brat eating contest, giant bier pong, bier barrel races, live band performances and plenty of activities. Oktoberfest isn’t just for those ages 21 and up. There are plenty of activities for kids and families, like carnival rides, petting zoo, face painting, rock climbing wall and weenie dog races. Note: Some activities require a nominal fee.

Oktoberfest is Friday, Sept. 23, 4 to 11 p.m., Saturday, Sept. 24, 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. and Sunday, Sept. 25, noon to 5 p.m. Oktoberfest admission and parking is free. For detailed information on Oktoberfest events, contact 972-547-2660 or visit

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Oh So Tasty: Abacus

Abacus restaurant in Dallas
photos c/o Abacus

In 1999, award winning, celebrity chef Kent Rathbun "swung open the Abacus doors and changed the Dallas dining scene. But his primary goal was far simpler than sparking a food revolution. It was simply to focus on returning to polished, unpretentious service. His aspiration was to reintroduce been-there-ate-that guests to the basics—fresh, local ingredients, prepared to perfection and served with style in an elegant space. If Abacus is the flagship for anything, it’s for epitomizing relaxed, fine dining." That my friends, is how Abacus describes themselves on their website. This past June Chef Kent Rathbun parted ways with H2R Restaurant Holdings, the restaurant group he founded with investor Bill Hyde. In doing so, he stepped away from his award winning Dallas restaurant Abacus, leaving many (including me) to wonder if the place would be as show-stoppingly great without him. Christopher Patrick is the current Chef de Cuisine at Abacus, which serves contemporary global cuisine with Pacific Rim influences, and he brings more than a decade of experience working in top kitchens throughout the city to the table. Patrick began his tenure as a Sous Chef in 2012, before working his way up to Executive Sous Chef and now Chef de Cuisine. Chef Patrick’s talent in the kitchen, dedication to fresh, locally-sourced ingredients and experience preparing a variety of cuisines have combined to give the chef a focused culinary style that’s on display each night and can be found on every plate at Abacus. I visited Abacus in early July for a romantic date-night with my husband and am happy to report that things are cruising along just fine. By the way, don't overlook the bar area. It's a great place to gather for cocktails even if you're not having dinner. Their website states, "In a part of uptown Dallas that knows a thing or two about how to do cocktail hour right, the Bar at Abacus satisfies in spades. Whether your signature drink is a glass of wine, a finely tuned classic or a creative concoction off the menu, let our skilled (and dare we say genius) bar men cater to your every whim. A clever menu, masterfully mixed cocktails and downright sophisticated aura make this the perfect place to begin, end or settle in for an evening of business, pleasure or both. No wonder it’s the one bar to see and be seen in all of the Knox Henderson area." And they aren't kidding. The bar has a great vibe, lots of seating and a killer cocktail menu.

UPDATE: On September 7th Chef Chris Patrick was promoted to Executive Chef and has been asked to cook at the James Beard House in May. Congrats!

Abacus is located at 4511 McKinney Ave, Dallas, TX 75205,