St. Regis Punta Mita

February 15, 2016 by  
Filed under Blogs, Travel Blog

St. Regis Punta MitaSituated near pristine beaches in the Riviera Nayarit, just north of Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, The St. Regis Punta Mita Resort boasts an exquisite and safe retreat for guests of all ages. This year, vacationers can attend the fourth annual Punta Mita Beach Festival taking place July 7-10. Hosted by The St. Regis Punta Mita Resort in conjunction with Punta Mita Expeditions, DINE, the master developer of Punta Mita Resort, and the Riviera Nayarit Convention & Visitors Bureau, the four day extravaganza combines surfing, snorkeling, scuba diving, stand-up paddle, yoga, sandcastle building for the kids and exquisite cuisine prepared by renowned guest chefs at one of the most beautiful and sought-after destinations in the world.


The celebratory summer event and other surf and sand activities offered year-round take full advantage of the renowned beachfront resort’s unparalleled destination.


The Condado Plaza Hilton in Puerto Rico Offers Post-Wedding “Splash and Snorkel the Dress” Package

February 1, 2016 by  
Filed under Blogs, Travel Blog

Indigenous Reef Provides Perfect Backdrop for 

One-Of-A-Kind Newlywed Experience


Here’s a new one: Brides and grooms tying the knot may now opt for a post-wedding “Splash and Snorkel the Dress.” Inspired by the trash the dress trend, the package allows newlyweds to participate in one last photography session after the wedding, as well as enjoy their first married activity together: trashing the dress!

The post-wedding activities begin as a local professional photographer captures the first moments of the new Mr. & Mrs. as they splash along the shore of the resort’s cove-like protected beach, dressed in their gown and suit. After frolicking in the sand and sun, the couple can say “adios” to the photographer and slip into their swimwear apparel to snorkel in the resort’s eco-friendly artificial reef featuring more than 300 varieties of fish. To complete the experience, the couple receives a plush robe, bottle of champagne and hors d’oeuvres upon return to their room.

The Condado Plaza Hilton is a stunning location for weddings in Puerto Rico with 41,000 square feet of indoor and outdoor event space. From the hotel’s Ocean Gardens with crashing waves of the Atlantic surf in the background to the Royal Ballroom, venues can accommodate everything from an intimate gathering of 10 guests to a grand celebration of up to 1,100 guests. The hotel’s professional wedding planners and award-winning culinary team are also on hand to personalize and coordinate every last detail.


The “Splash and Snorkel the Dress” package starts from US$413* per night, including accommodations, a bottle of champagne, hors d’oeuvres, two-hour photography session and complimentary snorkeling equipment rental for two. Photo prints and video, as well as underwater pictures, are available for purchase for an additional cost. To book the package, please visit For more weddings information at The Condado Plaza Hilton, please visit or call +1 787-721-1000.

*Taxes and resort fees are not included. Other restrictions apply.



Telluride, my favorite ski town

November 2, 2015 by  
Filed under Blogs, Travel Blog

A representative from Telluride, CO was in Houston last week. He had a lot to say.

With record breaking tourism in Telluride and a 30 percent increase in available air seats over the last two years, the destination continues to be ranked among the best resorts in the world. Travelers planning trips to Telluride for the winter 2015-16 season will be greeted with added flights, updated lodging options, new restaurants and bars, ski camps, improved grooming and much more. “We celebrated a record season last winter, and with continuing improvements to access, guest services and amenities, we’re giving our guests the best possible experience, whether they are visiting for the first time or loyal repeat guests,” said Michael Martelon President and CEO of Telluride Tourism Board.

United, Colorado’s primary carrier, will continue to expand on its already-existing network to Telluride/Montrose with the addition of highly sought-after flights from New York – La Guardia (LGA). MTJ’s core hub service will continue with multiple daily, year-round flights from DEN, daily service from Houston and Chicago, along with weekend flights from Los Angeles and San Francisco.

Madeleine Hotel & Residences: Renovations of this iconic hotel are on track for completion by December 2015, including a grand new porte cochere and outdoor pool area, featuring a 24’x50′ pool, hot tubs, fire pits and breathtaking views of the towering mountain peaks. New additions include Dylan’s Candy Bar, M Club and M Studio, and updates to the Black Iron Kitchen and Bar are complete. The hotel has also opened a new Club Room with indoor/outdoor bar, pool table, and shuffleboard, and a new Salon.

Peaks Resort and Spa: In July 2015, Telluride Ski & Golf (TSG) closed a deal with Peaks Capital Partners to take over the Peaks Resort and Spa. The Peaks Resort and Spa is a ski-in/ski-out, full service hotel located adjacent to the Telluride Ski & Golf Club. The hotel features 177 guest rooms, a 42,000 square foot, 32 treatment rooms spa, indoor and outdoor swimming pools with a waterslide and 9,100 square feet of indoor and outdoor meeting space. The spa itself is the largest in Colorado in terms of square footage and offers a variety of treatments as well as fitness and wellness programming.

Biomechanics Camp: Biomechanics Camp will teach people of all ages to ski efficiently and in a way that minimizes stress on the body. Dr. Kim Hewson, orthopedic surgeon, former Director of Sports Medicine at the University of Arizona, and a lead Telluride Ski School instructor, has refined a scientific-based biomechanics approach that will be taught at this camp. Camp dates are January 15th – 18th Making Friends with Moguls: This two-day camp will help skiers develop confidence in the bumps while skiing in a small group setting with like-minded and ability skiers. The camp will start out slowly
with proven exercises and progressions to help skiers reach their goals. Making Friends with Moguls Camp dates are January 20th – 21st and February 29th – March 1st Silver Skiers Program: For the 2015-16 season, the Telluride Ski and Snowboard School is offering a special program for skiers 50 years young and up. Two sessions consisting of four Thursdays each will match coaches from the senior ski school staff with smaller groups and will make skiing fun, relaxed and enjoyable for fellow seniors. The program is designed for novice through advanced/hard-core skiers and is meant to focus on the camaraderie formed through skiing with people of similar skill level and with similar interests. The Silver Skiers Program has sessions January 7th – January 28th and February 4th – March 3rd (*Please note there will be no session on February 18, President’s Week*)

New Grooming Equipment: The resort has added a new Snowcat PistenBully 600 to the fleet,. The fuel-efficient PB600’s wider track and tiller allows Mountain Operations to increase the number of acres that can be accessed in a shorter amount of time, helping the resort better prepare for opening and increase grooming times throughout the season.
Snowmaking Enhancements: To bring more snow to Hoot Brown Terrain Park, TSG is installing Tower Mounts that enable easy relocation of snow guns from other areas of the mountain. Additionally, a new variable frequency drive panel will be installed at Misty Pump House, making it easier for the snowmaking pros to adjust water flow to pumps. TSG is also working with the town of Mountain Village to replace an old water line that is the key supply line for snowmaking.
Sunshine Express (Lift 10): A new gear box has been implemented to improve overall reliability of lift performance and new pulleys have been installed.
Telluride is like no other place with all of this and much more, making it unique, authentic and inspiring. Come experience everything this destination has to offer and discover why Telluride is the most Colorado place on earth.
For further information, or to book a trip, visit

Family pool at Esperanza, An Auberge Resort, Cabo

October 26, 2015 by  
Filed under Blogs, Parents' Place, Travel Blog

Fun for All Ages


Travelers of all ages love Esperanza. For families, the Villas are the place to be featuring full kitchens and private plunge pools. Your family will love the largest pool in Cabo with beach entry and swim up bars. The Villas offer partial ownership opportunities and The Residences at Esperanza offer full and partial ownership – for those of you who want to own a piece of this beautiful seaside town.

Grande Lakes Orlando

September 29, 2015 by  
Filed under Blogs, Travel Blog

Orlando you glad to see me?

Avoid Mickey Mouse crowds. Enjoy Grande Lakes

By Laurette Veres

As a life-long Marriott rewards devotee, I’ve logged a lot of nights at hotels under this flag throughout the globe. My friend Bobby and I often text each other our view withIMG_7486 the question where am I? On a recent trip to Orlando Grande Lakes, I texted him my view. His reply: Maui. That’s how beautiful this 500-acre Orlando resort is. Our balcony had a view of the sprawling golf coursOrlando_Grande_Lakes_Golf_Coursee, beautiful lakes and most of Orlando’s famed parks in the distance. Heading to Orlando? Avoid Mickey Mouse crowds. Enjoy Grande Lakes comprised of The Ritz-Carlton and JW Marriott Orlando. Guests at both hotels can enjoy all the facilities and services at Grande Lakes Orlando, including the 18-hole championship golf course, designed by Greg Norman, the 40,000-square-foot Ritz-Carlton Spa with total-wellness treatments and a rooftop eco-space. The lush grounds offer walking trails, nature installations and two grand pools, splash pads, and winding river.


Highball & Harvest 

Grande Lakes has been dedicated to farm-to-fork dining for over ten years. Guests can view fresh herbs, vegetables and more in the Primo Garden, and taste them in their food at award-winning Chef Melissa Kelly’s Primo restaurant. The property also bakes all their bread in house and raises chickens at the Whisper Creek Farm coop. We met with Chef de Cuisine Mark Jeffers after the recent opening of Highball & Harvest. Having grown up on the water, the Daytona, Florida native pulls his culinary inspiration from his home state. H&H’s signature dishes: Pig-n-Potatoes, an all-day breakfast dish of poached egg, potato hash, and tender pork cheeks with sweet peppers, caramelized onions, H&H Hot Sauce, and hollandaise sauce. Smoked Lamb Brisket, Raw Oyster Bar with signature house-made H&H Hot Sauce. “The dishes we create at Highball & Harvest are designed to give restaurant-goers a sense of nostalgia while enjoying southern classics infused with regional flavors,” says the chef.

Whisper Creek Farm: The Kitchen

Showcasing a rustic yet polished design, The Kitchen has the vibe of eating in your family’s kitchen, with a variety of communal, high-top, sofa, outdoor, and bar seating. Menu items at The Kitchen feature seasonal ingredients from the 7,000-square-foot on-site garden at Whisper Creek Farm as well as fresh eggs daily from the farm’s chicken coop. The Kitchen’s sausages and charcuterie, prepared by the JW Marriott butcher, pair perfectly with The Brewery’s hops-laden creations.

Whisper Creek Farm: The Brewery

The first Marriott property to launch a nano-brewery, Grande Lakes has brought in a local Cicerone-certified brewmaster to lead The Brewery. The Brewery produces 28 gallons of beer weekly including five styles of beer created each season—Dark, Wheat/Light, Amber, IPA and a Special Brew (a seasonal made from the freshest farm ingredients). Signature Special Brew varieties will include the Maple Bacon Stout, Soup of the Day IPA, and Ghost Pepper Wheat.

Grande_Lakes_Spa_PoolThe secluded lush gardens at the Spanish-Moorish style The Ritz-Carlton Spa Orlando create a relaxing environment. They surround over 40,000 square feet of spa facilities, including 40 treatment rooms. Unique to the Ritz are treatments in the outdoor Rooftop Eco-Space and herb garden. The Eco-Hammock Massage combines “zero gravity” and massage techniques including Thai stretching, deep tissue and Cranial Sacral (balancing the central nervous system through neck massage). Allow yourself to melt into the hammock as it rocks in a soothing, rhythmic motion. The therapist lies under the hammock and digs into your shoulders with her heels. Fitness classes include Yoga Stretch, ZUMBA, Tai Chi Qi Gong, INSANITY, Spinning and Cardio Kickboxing.

Orlando_Grande_Lakes_PoolThe grounds at Grande Lakes property are reason enough to visit. We spent hours walking and along the way, learned about local flora and fauna, butterflies and more. Perfect for families, or couples, there is something for everyone here. And yes, they’ll shuttle you to Disney World.

Mark’s American Cuisine assisted Children from Families-in-Need

September 4, 2015 by  
Filed under Blogs, Dining, Events

SAY: The Stuttering Association for the Young, benefited from Mark’s American Cuisine’s generosity as they helped raise funds and awareness.

Proceeds Benefiting SAY: The Stuttering Association for the Young

During the month of August, Mark’s American Cuisine offered a specially-priced Prix Fixe 3-course lunch menu for $29 and a 6-course dinner Chef’s Tasting menu for $75. In addition to enjoying an epicurean adventure at Mark’s, guests supported children from families-in-need with every purchase. Mark’s donated $5 from each Prix Fixe lunch, and $10 from each Chef’s Tasting dinner .

“Mark’s is thrilled to offer our guests a culinary experience that will not only satisfy their appetites but that will feed their hearts as well,” said Cox.

Cox was inspired to give back to SAY after Houston Astros George Springer hosted the Inaugural All-Star Bowling Benefit in Houston recently. The overwhelming success and momentum created from the event, with SAY supporters, Springer, his fellow Astros and celebrity friends lead Cox to open up his heart and help send young people who stutter to a life changing summer camp.

Editor’s note: I attended experienced some of Mark’s food recently. Yes, you are looking at Frozen Foie Gras.

Innovative new dessert from Mark's American Cuisine

Innovative new dessert from Mark’s American Cuisine

Oysters in Dune from Mark's American Cuisine

Oysters in Dune from Mark’s American Cuisine





Holiday in July at JW in San Antonio

July 21, 2015 by  
Filed under Blogs, Travel Blog



Santa Claus Soaks in Some Sun at the Popular Hill Country Resort

Swim with Santa at the JW Marriott San Antonio

Swim with Santa at the JW Marriott San Antonio

SAN ANTONIO – July 21, 2015JW Marriott San Antonio Hill Country Resort & Spa welcomes Santa Claus as he takes some time to kick back and enjoy the Hill Country scenery and laid back pace.  The resort will host Santa on Saturday, July 25 from 4 7 p.m. and will celebrate his arrival with a 72-hour room sale open to everyone for booking select days at 55%-60% off regular high season rates.  Room rates are for arrival stays November 22-29, 2015 and December 6, 2015 – January 3, 2016, some blackout days apply.  In recognition of Santa’s summer vacation and a “Christmas in July” spirit, the 72-hour sale will begin July 24 and end July 26.


The 72-hour sale rates are $149 per night for a resort room and $169 for a resort room with a view. No booking codes needed and reservations may be made at or or by calling 210.276.2500.  Rates are per room, per night; taxes and resort fees are additional.


With six-acres of water slides, pools and lounge areas, Santa will enjoy acting like a kid again while soaking up some sun and fun with resort guests.  Wearing his resort attire, guests will be able to spot Santa splashing in the pools, floating down the lazy river and climbing the stairs to the tower slides during the late morning.  Along with his elves, the jolly guy looks forward to talking with kids and their parents before he begins working long days at the North Pole making his lists and checking them twice.  Holiday-themed activities and offerings will be featured for resort guests that day to celebrate Santa’s visit.

“The JW Marriott San Antonio Hill Country Resort & Spa is delighted to welcome Santa Claus as he rests and restores for his busy season.   We are excited that our guests can interact with him giving them another delightful memory to take home from their experiences at the resort,” said Mary Jo Ferrazza, director of experience, JW Marriott San Antonio.


The resort will add some surprise twists to the day with holiday themed activities such as temporary tattoos, holiday cookie decorating, roasting peppermint chocolate s’mores and more.  Elves will be seen roaming about the interior and exterior of the hotel passing out treats to those caught being kind to others. Young travelers will have the opportunity to float, swim and slide with Santa Claus for a few hours that morning before he sneaks away for some time in the resort’s spa and sharpening his golf game on one of the TPC San Antonio’s two PGA TOUR courses.






Florida’s Emerald Waters Entice Houston Travelers: Visit Destin Now

June 29, 2015 by  
Filed under Blogs, Travel Blog


Florida’s Emerald Waters Entice Houston Travelers

by Laurette M. Veres

ND_Beach3Once a sleepy fishing village, Destin Fl. has grown into a world-class vacation destination. Tourists were initially drawn to the pristine beaches and crystal clear waters. In the mid 1980s condo towers began popping up along the beach to house the visitors, with housing came more visitors, restaurants, shopping, excursions and all the trimmings of a resort city.

The Gulfarium Marine Adventure Park just completed a $4 million dollar renovation. The beachside park features up close experiences with sea lions, otters, sharks and other marine life and entertains the whole family. The dolphins are the stars here and you can spend hours looking through the portals of their giant pavilion watching them swim. Sometimes they swim over and watch you!

Newman-Dailey offers the perfect Destin rental properties

Newman-Daily offers the perfect Destin rental properties

You can also look for dolphins in the wild. The 73 foot Sea Blaster heads out most evenings for a sunset cruise. The entertaining crew knows where the dolphins hang out and soon they’ll be swimming all around the boat. After watching dolphins at the Gulfarium, even the youngest kids can spot them in the open ocean.


Life in Destin revolves around gorgeous emerald green waters, sugar white beaches and sunshine.  To truly enjoy your stay, you want a place by the water. Resorts, high-rise condo rentals and immaculate water front homes dot the beach; quaint neighborhoods of beachy homes are nearby. Find your dream vacation rental through Newman-Dailey Resort Properties. The Royal Bahamian is a cute cottage in Crystal Beach. Just off the beach, it’s an easy walk down to the water. One block away is Camille’s, a casual and comfortable eatery.

Destin is family friendly and full of activities, dining and views. You can fly in to Fort Walton Beach airport, or make the eight-nine hour drive from Houston. Once you’re there, stay awhile- it’s time to relax.



To: Members of the Texas State Guard

From: Gov. Greg Abbott

Subject: Defending Texas!!!


My fellow patriots, Washington is once again trying to take over our beloved Lone Star State. It wasn’t enough that those Godless bureaucrats bought us off with bribes like the Houston Ship Channel, NASA, Medicare and Social Security. Now they are overtly invading Texas. There are reliable reports that “President” Obama will declare martial law as a prelude to a federal move to seize our personal weapons. They say 1,200 elite service members from four branches of the U.S. military, including Navy SEALS and Army Green Berets, will be coming here to stage “exercises” and “training.” Only 1,200? We can’t believe this administration. Just remember: “If you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor,” and, “I am not a Muslim.” I suspect more like a million will come.

That is why I am calling on you, members of the Texas State Guard, to monitor these troops. Defend our land with your walkers, canes and, if necessary, your AARP cards. As I wrote to Maj. Gen. Gerald Betty of the Texas State Guard, “During the training operation, it is important that Texans know their safety, constitutional rights, private property rights and civil liberties will not be infringed.” Incidentally, some of you are confusing the Texas Guard and the Texas National Guard. The latter is “National,” i.e. “Washington.” Need I say more?

Here are a few suggestions to carry out your monitoring: You must keep an eye out for their positions, command structure, weapons and officers’ clubs. Report back to me on everything you see. Use this code term: Governor’s Office. It has been reported by my agents that the U.S. military already has slipped several units into Texas. Some 45.000 soldiers are already bivouacked at a secret spot code named Fort Hood. More are said to have gathered at a desolate desert oasis they call Fort Bliss. San Antonio may have thousands of members of the Air Force who have surreptitiously slipped in. We are looking into these rumors.

What to investigate and report? Any gathering of more than ten (10) men and women is disguise. They can be spotted by their phony American-flag shoulder patches. (They stole the idea from Russian troops invading the Ukraine pretending to be peasants driving armored tractors.) Listen to these invaders. If they say things like “youse guys,” “fugetaboutit” and “Hillary for President” take pictures.

This invasion has been labeled Operation Jade Helm 15. And who is this Jade Helm 15? Maybe Gen. Jade Helm? My codebreakers are working on it. If captured, remember Nathan Hale’s famous quote; “Redcoats? Are you sure? I’m color blind.” Patriots in Bastrop, where some “training” is scheduled, have questioned a military spokesman in a two-hour sometimes raucous meeting. The Bastropians have every right to be suspicious since the huge Bastrop fires of 2011 were reportedly caused by Agent Orange dropped by black helicopters, or perhaps Agent Black dropped by orange helicopters. We have conflicting reports.

There is information from the federal government that Bastrop is not the only part of Texas to be terrorized by paratroopers, tanks and probably the First Marine Division invading Galveston. Some 16 other areas are scheduled to be “visited” by these invaders. Texas State Guards in Amarillo, guard the Pantex plant that supposedly is dissembling our nuclear bombs. How do we know they are not secretly assembling them? Check to see if any workers speak Arabic, or look Muslim, or even sound swarthy. My fellow patriots in Houston, we are told the Astrodome is empty. Really? A perfect place to hide a battalion of SEALS. We think we have intercepted a radio message from their headquarters: “Osama today – Channelview tomorrow.” Baytownians, is the USS Texas really out of service? Note that its 16-inch guns have been turned on Montrose. Sailors aboard the battleship are receiving information from scouts placed atop the San Jacinto Monument. Look for flashes from mirrors.

Some left-wingers have questioned my authority to call up armed forces. Our state constitution specifically reads: “He shall have power to call forth the militia to execute the laws of the State, to suppress insurrections, and to repel invasions.” Note “to repel invasions.” Alas, in 1999 the governor lost a key command that goes with the job: ordering out the militia to suppress Indian raids and Mexican bandits. In light of the Dream Act, I plan to ask the Legislature to

restore that power. If the Texas Rangers can’t handle an invasion, I am empowered to call out the National Guard. If more troops are required, then I use the State Guard. Also, I have at my disposal the Salvation Army and the Sons of Confederate Veterans License Plate Brigade.

It is asked why I would oppose federal troops coming to Texas to train when I have asked for several thousand of them to guard our borders. The difference is simple: too many Oklahomans are sneaking in. Other commie-symps say my call to arms shows deep paranoia. I don’t think so and neither does my shrink, Dr. Shrunk, if that really is his name. He finds it not unusual that I attend his sessions while I lie underneath his couch. You can’t be too careful. There is also the charge that I am simply pandering to the lunatic fringe of the Republican Party. Nonsense. I don’t think so and neither does Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick (and we know that’s not his name).

Operation Jade Helm 15 is not the only Washington grab going on here. State Sen. Donna Campbell, Republican of New Braunfels, notes the Alamo has been nominated as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. That is obviously a first step towards an outright seizure. Sen. Campbell has introduced a bill to prevent this theft. Good for her. Wherever these invaders go, whatever skullduggery they perform, they will be watched. Remember Washington, the spies of Texas are upon you!

Ashby is hiding at



Bayou City Art Festival Memorial Park

March 28, 2015 by  
Filed under Blogs, Events

One more day Houston! SUNDAY 10AM – 6PM. The weather is perfect. This is why we live in Houston.

450 Artists working in 19 different mediums, Non-Profits, Music, Food, Beverages, Creative Zones – and you!


March 26, 2015 by  
Filed under Beauty & Fashion, Blogs

Online Shopping Extravaganza is one of the web’s fastest growing jewelry destinations. You can find many of your favorite brands here; from Alex and Ani, Dogeared, Gorjana, Ettika & Shashi and Chan Luu. As I browsed the site, I couldn’t deny my love for Kendra Scott. A new pair of stylish earrings arrived the next day. Our readers receive 15% off use the code htexas15.

It's fun shopping with

It’s fun shopping with

Green Eggs and Kale – Eat for a cause

February 8, 2015 by  
Filed under Blogs, Dining, Foodie Events

Liberty Kitchen

Green Eggs and Kale from Liberty Kitchen


Kale, the super food, is all the rage.

Now you can enjoy kale for a cause. A great local promotion, Green Valentine celebrates artists, restaurants, nonprofits and businesses that are helping Houstonians live healthier lives.

Eleven restaurants from across the city are running Green Eggs &Kale dishes on their menus, with 20-percent of proceeds going to benefit local food organization Urban Harvest. They include all of the Creek Group restaurants (Onion, Dry, Cedar, Canyon and Lowbrow), Main Kitchen at the JW Marriott, Pondicheri, Sparrow, Canopy, Cottonwood and Liberty Kitchen on Studewood. 

“I’ve been growing kale for years,” says Jeff Shell of It made perfect sense to combine eggs with this super food. At a preview event, we saw some of the available dishes from Lowbrow, Onion Creek, Canopy, Sparrow and Liberty Kitchen.

So go out at eat! This promotion runs through February 15th.

Main Kitchen at JW Marriott

Green Eggs and Kale from Main Kitchen at the JW Marriott


The Inn at Dos Brisas Now Offers an All-Inclusive Experience

February 3, 2015 by  
Filed under Blogs, Travel Blog

WASHINGTON, Tex., Feb. 2, 2015 – The Inn at Dos Brisas, a Relais & Châteaux ranch resort located in the eastern foothills of the Texas Hill Country, has become an all-inclusive property, offering distinctive, customized experiences and unlimited access to a wide range of amenities.


“We are delighted to announce this new pricing structure,” states Managing Director Steve Shotsberger. “This gives us the freedom to elevate the exceptional service we provide for our 28 guests. For example, the Inn’s culinary team liaises with each visitor prior to arrival to discuss creative private dining capabilities and preferences.”

Available now, The Inn at Dos Brisas’ all-inclusive rates begin at $1,069 per night, based on double occupancy, for 750-sq.-ft. casita accommodations and $1,399 per night, based on double occupancy, for 1,795-sq.-ft. hacienda accommodations. Rates include all meals, culinary experiences such as cooking/baking classes and farm tours, and resort activities including horseback riding lessons and clay shooting. Wine tastings, mixology classes and spa services are available for an additional fee.

A list of detailed inclusions is below:

  • Welcome amenity
  • Full breakfast made-to-order and delivered to guests’ accommodations
  • Sunday brunch in the Inn’s Forbes Travel Guide Five-star restaurant
  • Lunch in the lounge, on the patio, in guests’ accommodations or picnic-style anywhere on the property
  • Dinner in the restaurant’s dining room or guests’ accommodations
  • Sundown Social, featuring a wine and cheese reception each afternoon
  • All activities including fishing, clay shooting, horseback riding lessons, trail rides, hayrides, horse-drawn carriage rides, tennis, swimming, cycling, basketball, yoga, cooking classes, baking classes, organic farming classes, archery, Frisbee golf, birthplace of Texas geo-caching tour and stargazing
  • Unlimited use of fishing equipment, tennis equipment, bicycles, croquet, badminton, horseshoes, movies, board games and access to fantastic trails for hiking or touring with guests’ golf cart
  • Wet bar fully stocked with locally made non-alcoholic beverages
  • Assortment of The Inn at Dos Brisas’ signature coffees and teas
  • Sweet treat delivered to guests’ accommodations each evening
  • High speed wireless internet throughout the property
  • Unlimited local calls
  • Daily housekeeping
  • Nightly turndown service
  • Access to the resort’s private helicopter pad
  • Exclusive of alcohol, taxes and resort fees

For more information or reservations, please visit or call 979-277-7750.


Global aviation leader increases capacity on its Houston-Dubai nonstop service to meet demand

December 5, 2014 by  
Filed under Blogs, Travel Blog


Alexander Houston

Emirates Regional Sales Director Central USA, Alexander Houston, right, tours the A380 with Emirates’ Cabin Crew at George Bush Intercontinental Airport on Wednesday, Dec. 3, 2014, in Houston. (Aaron M. Sprecher/AP Images for Emirates)

Emirates, a global connector of people, places and economies, landed its first A380 at Houston’s George Bush Intercontinental Airport, with the introduction of its flagship Airbus A380 aircraft to the route. Houston is Emirates’ fifth U.S. gateway serviced by an A380.

Emirates launched its Houston-Dubai service in 2007 and the route has generated strong and sustained passenger demand since its inception. The airline has transported over 1.2 million passengers between the two cities to date. The A380 up-gauge provides 137 more seats on every flight – a 38 percent increase in overall capacity and one which has been driven by consumer demand. In addition to increasing connectivity with Dubai – Emirates’ home, the up-gauge will enable more Houston-based travelers to access Emirates’ global network including 10 passenger destinations in India, 20 points in Africa and 16 in the Far East.
“Commencing A380 service to Houston will enable Emirates to grow alongside the city, which is experiencing strong economic development and the highest employment growth rate in the country,” said Hubert Frach, Emirates’ Divisional Senior Vice President, Commercial Operations West – Americas, Africa, Europe and Russian Federation. “The Houston Airport System and the University of Houston have calculated that the current contribution to the Houston economy of Emirates’ operations is $257 million. This increase in capacity will help support an even stronger contribution.”

Cargo is also an important contributor, and in the past 12 months Emirates SkyCargo has transported 10,878 US tons (9,868 metric tons) of cargo from Houston. Exports on the route include: Oil Field Equipment and Parts, Cell Phones, Drilling Mud, Air Conditioner Parts, Steel Pipes, Helicopter Blades and Chemicals.

“The City of Houston welcomes this upgrade in service from our partners at Emirates,” said Houston Mayor Annise Parker. “It’s important for the ‘Energy Capital of the World’ to enjoy a strong level of connectivity with Dubai, and the presence of this Texas-sized aircraft ensures that Houston is well positioned in that regard.”

“The arrival of this aircraft is a testament to the strength of Emirates’ route between Houston and Dubai,” said Houston Aviation Director Mario C. Diaz. “Travel between Houston and the Middle East has more than doubled within the past five years alone, and Emirates has placed itself in excellent position to capitalize on this dynamic area of growth.”

The Emirates A380 is a wide-bodied, double-decker aircraft seating 491 passengers, including 14 First Class Private Suites, 76 Business Class lie-flat beds and 401 spacious Economy Class seats. While aboard the 15-hour-and-40-minute flight from Houston to Dubai, Emirates passengers in all cabin classes will enjoy renowned service provided by a multilingual crew representing more than 130 nationalities, savor regionally inspired gourmet cuisine, stay connected via on-board Wi-Fi, and immerse themselves in the award-winning in-flight entertainment system – ice Digital Widescreen – that offers more than 1,800 channels of movies, TV programs, music and podcasts.

Emirates’ First and Business Class cabins have earned some of the most prestigious recognitions in the aviation industry for service quality and unique amenities – including Saveur Magazine’s Culinary Travel Award for Best In-Flight Dining: First Class & Business Class in 2013 and 2014. First Class passengers travel in Private Suites and can refresh in Emirates’ unique Shower Spas while in flight. First Class and Business Class passengers can also access the Emirates signature Onboard Lounge and socialize over fine wines, cocktails and hors d’oeuvres prepared by five-star chefs; travel to and from the airport via Emirates complimentary Chauffeur-drive; and relax in 37 exclusive airport lounges worldwide.

Emirates’ daily flight EK211 to Houston departs Dubai at 9:30 a.m. and arrives at 4:05 p.m. The return flight, EK212, takes off from George Bush Intercontinental Airport at 6:25 p.m. and lands in Dubai at 7:05 p.m. the next day.

(courtesy Emirates)


You could dance with the Rockettes

November 12, 2014 by  
Filed under Blogs, Entertainment, Events




Aspiring Dancers Will Have The Opportunity To Learn The Rockettes Signature Precision Technique From The Stars of The Radio City Christmas Spectacular

December 7 and 14, 2014 @ 8AM

Houston Metropolitan Dance Center

HOUSTON, TX (November 10, 2014) – MSG Entertainment announced today “Rockettes Experience – On The Road” will come to the Houston Metropolitan Dance Center on December 7 and 14, 2014. The Rockettes Experience offers a chance for aspiring dancers to learn the iconic eye high kicks and signature precision technique of the legendary dance company. The Rockettes Experience will be open to intermediate and advanced dancers ages 10 and up.

The Rockettes Experience is a unique two hour educational dance class in which the Rockettes will teach students the fine art of precision dance and expose aspiring dance students to the world of the Rockettes. At The Rockettes Experience, students will learn two numbers from the Radio City Christmas Spectacular, running December 5 through December 30 at the Hobby Center in Houston.  The workshop will also feature a mock audition for the budding professional dancers, complete with a Rockettes Q&A at the end of the session. All dancers interested in the Rockettes Experience can register online at

In addition, aspiring dancers in Houston will have the opportunity to audition for the Rockettes Summer Intensive training program in New York City on December 21, 2014 at the Houston Metropolitan Dance Center. The Rockettes Summer Intensive offers aspiring dancers the unique opportunity to train under Julie Branam, the director and choreographer of the Radio City Christmas Spectacular and the Rockettes to learn the signature precision technique of the iconic dance company.  Acceptance into the Rockettes Summer Intensive is a crucial stepping stone for Rockettes hopefuls who aspire to one day kick alongside the Rockettes.

The Rockettes are a legendary dance company and have been a part of the fabric of New York City for more than 85 years. Since their debut in the Radio City Christmas Spectacular in 1933, the Rockettes have danced into the hearts of millions and spread Christmas cheer to people of all ages. Their technique continues to be both deceivingly complex and entirely glamorous and their talent and athleticism is unrivaled.



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Houston: America’s New Sweetheart City

October 13, 2014 by  
Filed under Blogs, Travel Blog

From the Houston Convention and Visitor’s Burea

For the first time ever this year, Houston ranked among the top five places in the nation on Travel + Leisure’s list of America’s Favorite Cities-one of the most-watched lists among destinations and a barometer of what’s top-of-mind among traveling Americans. Museum experience

As a destination, Houston has tremendous strides in recent years, with a robust arts and culture scene and ever-expanding culinary landscape. Now, the city has ranked No. 2 on the T+L list, which tallies more than 50,000 votes from readers and ranks 38 cities in dozens of categories. Houston scored among the top five for the first time in categories such as arts scene, theater, stylishness, shopping and more.

“We could not be more excited about this ranking, which we see as further proof that Houston’s story is being told and the city recognized as a destination on the national and international stages,” says Sonia Garza-Monarchi, board chair of the Greater Houston Convention and Visitors Bureau. “To be named a top U.S. city by the readers of one of the world’s most respected travel publications honors the work our team does on a daily basis to promote the city to conventions and tourists. That said, the real credit goes to the individual businesses and organizations in all of these sectors-from restaurants and museums to art galleries and hotels-that provide an amazing experience to those who come to our city.”

Indeed, Houston ranked high in a number of key areas, often well above where the city fell on last year’s list:

Top City Overall: 2

Galleries: 2 – 12 in 2013
Museums: 3 – 12 in 2013
Theater: 3 – 18 in 2013
Free Attractions: 4 – 26 in 2013
Art Scene: 5
Concerts: 5 – 26 in 2013

Home Décor/Design Stores: 1
Boutiques: 1 – 18 in 2013
Specialty Food Markets/Food Halls: 1
Bookstores: 2
Antiques Stores: 3 – 9 in 2013
Flea Markets: 3 – 19 in 2013
Luxury Stores: 3 – 29 in 2013

Intelligent: 2 – 20 in 2013
Stylish: 4 – 26 in 2013
Affordability: 5 – 5 in 2013
Wine Bars: 1
Cocktail Bars: 2
Singles Scene: 2

Hamburgers: 1 – 4 in 2013
Brunch: 1
Bakeries: 2
Wine Scene: 3
Barbecue: 4 – 5 in 2013
Sandwiches: 4 – 21 in 2013
Bars: 4
Coffee: 5 – 26 in 2013
Craft Beer: 5 – 22 in 2013

Visitors to the Houston region spent more than $16 billion in 2013, up from $15.5 billion the year before, according to the latest figures from the Texas Office of Economic Development and Tourism. The travel and tourism industry also supported more than 128,000 jobs in 2013, a 4.5 percent increase over 2012, the report shows.The data covers the 10-county Houston region.

Meanwhile, more than $1.5 billion in infrastructure investment is coming to the Downtown area alone in the next two years. Eight new hotels are planned, including the city’s second convention center hotel, a 1000-room Marriott Marquis. Other major changes are also planned for the George R. Brown Convention Center and the convention district, including a new pedestrian promenade, ground-level retail and restaurants and more.


Travel to Atlantic City

September 29, 2014 by  
Filed under Blogs, Travel Blog

Here is a sneak peak of my recent trip to Atlantic City.  Look for the full article in our upcoming print edition.


Turkish Airlines Expands Business Class Seating

August 25, 2014 by  
Filed under Blogs, Travel Blog

Turkish Airlines, voted Europe’s Best Airline for the fourth year in a row, announced the expansion of its Business Class seating capacity from 28 to 49 seats, providing more Houstonians access to Turkish Airlines’ unparalleled in-flight service and award-winning cuisine. The expansion also coincides with the upgrade to Boeing 777 planes from Houston, which features free Wi-Fi for Business Class passengers.

Houston, one of Turkish Airlines’ six U.S. gateways, continues to thrive in the highly competitive travel industry. One of the world’s fastest growing airlines, Turkish Airlines currently flies to 260 destinations in 108 countries, making it number one in terms of countries an airline flies to. Moreover, in the first five months of 2014, Turkish Airlines experienced an 18 percent increase in passenger numbers from 18.1 million to 21.3 million compared with the same period last year. At the helm of this gateway is Adem Ekmekci, General Manager, Turkish Airlines, Houston.

Houston Business Class travelers will also be delighted to know that the airline recently revamped its Turkish Corporate Club Premium (TCCP) Program, which provides companies, organizations and business travelers a convenient and unique travel experience with countless advantages, including discounted flights, rebooking/rerouting flexibility, and exclusive baggage allowances. The program is designed to adapt to and exceed every company’s distinct needs when it comes to traveling.

Turkish Airlines is also offering the opportunity to explore Istanbul starting at $699* this fall! This beautiful Turkish city was named the number one destination worldwide in TripAdvisor’s 2014 Travelers’ Choice Awards. The airline is offering this special roundtrip flight deal from Houston to Istanbul with a purchasing period until September 15, and a travel period between October 12 and December 12, 2014.





The Latest and Greatest Extensions

July 13, 2014 by  
Filed under Beauty & Fashion, Blogs

Do you crave long, voluptuous locks? Look no further than Houston’s own Mario Romero. He is a master trainer for the Balmain Hair line and the first stylist in Houston to carry their newest offering: the luxurious System Volume line of extensions.

This is the hair extension gun that is used to apply the Volumizers.

This is the hair extension gun that is used to apply the Volumizers.

Many extensions take forever to install; they’re heavy and cause your natural hair to break. The Volumizer is lightweight and bonds to your hair (via infrared light) in 35 seconds. (If you’ve had extensions before, you understand…. This is a big deal!) The system spreads the hair evenly, and makes sure that each bond is unique so it blends perfectly with your natural hair. Thanks to Système Volume from Balmain Hair you can have a natural voluminous look in an instant, and it lasts three to four months. You can find Mario at  the lab hair Studio, 3000 Sage; Ste 1157, Houston TX.

Or call him at 713-965-0025.

Hair extensions being placed in cartridge.

Hair extensions being placed in cartridge.

Here is how my hair extensions look.

Here is how my hair extensions look.

Here is a picture of how my extensions looked on the first day. On this blog, I’ll chronicle the three months and see how the Volumizer holds up.

Five days later at the Mission of Yahweh Mission Incredible event.

Five days later at the Mission of Yahweh Mission Incredible event.

Five days later: I waited as long as possible to wash the extensions. I’m very gentle when I do so. Mario said not to be alarmed, some of the extensions will fall out. None have fallen out yet. You use a special brush to tame these manes. When drying your hair, you can use a round brush on your tips. Here is a picture of my hair when I blow-dry it myself. Never, never as good as Mario, but not bad!

Week Two: So far so good. Extensions are holding up and I still really can’t even feel them. They are lighter than expected. Mario said they expand when they are shampooed, so I thought they might feel a little heavier. They don’t.

Kim Padgett and I at the Symphony Ball.

Kim Padgett and I at the Symphony Ball.

Week Three: Still going strong and looking good. I felt fabulous at the Centennial Symphony Ball!

Week Seven: This morning when blow-drying my hair, one strand came out.  Seriously, after seven weeks… I’m astonished!!!

Week Eleven: I returned to have my color touched up.  I love returning to the salon for a blow dry.  It always looks the best when done by a professional. The next day, after attending a wedding, the second strip of hair fell out.  For those of you who have had extensions before, you know this is incredible staying power!!!!!

Week Fourteen: The third strand came out.



Bridal Extravaganza Two weeks away!!!

July 7, 2014 by  
Filed under Blogs, Events

Houston’s Most Established Bridal Show Returns

with More Extravagance Than Ever and new educational seminars


Saturday & Sunday, July 19-20, 2014


WHAT:                    The Bridal Extravaganza Show, Houston’s only two-day bridal event, returns to the George R. Brown Convention Center this year with hundreds of bridal vendors and prizes, including several major giveaways, 11 formal fashion shows, special guest Randy Fenoli, and new educational seminars.

Over 17,000 expected brides, grooms, friends and family members will peruse the aisles and meet face-to-face with bridal vendors in over 40 categories and 700 displays. No matter what style or budget wedding, attendees will find a wide range of available wedding service options.

New this year, the Bridal Extravaganza Show offers wedding planning seminars by top trusted wedding planning sources. Our esteemed speakers are: Kristin Adcock, Invitation Solutions, Alex Stergiou, Elegant Beginnings, Clara Hough, Over the Top Linen, Katy Hoch, Over the Top Linen, Anthony Dinh, Composure Studios, Mike Turner, MD Turner Photography, Deb Turner, MD Turner Photography, Jamie Purpera, Crystal Ballroom, Krista Borchard, Event Identity, LLC, Jessie Lopez, Edible Designs by Jessie, Chris Nguyen, Café Natalie, Lewis Grell, LG Entertainment, John Graves, Darryl & Co., Rebekah Cunningham, Dream Bouquet

General admission tickets and VIP passes can be purchased online at General admission tickets may also be purchased for $15 cash at the door.

For more information, visit

WHEN:                    Saturday, July 19, 2014

10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

11 a.m. to 5 p.m. (doors open at 9:30 a.m. for VIP ticket holders)

WHERE:    George R. Brown Convention Center

1001 Avenida de las Americas

Houston, TX 77010


About Bridal Extravaganza Show

Since 1983, the Bridal Extravaganza Show has been bringing brides and bridal businesses together.  Founder and creator Linda Miller set the standard for bridal events in the US and beyond.  Today, the Bridal Extravaganza carries out her vision – introducing the best bridal vendors to Southeast Texas brides.   Catering exclusively to brides, grooms, and their families; the Bridal Extravaganza Show is a one-stop-shop bringing Houston’s top wedding vendors together in one location.  Brides have more options, more choices and can make decisions and get down to the business of wedding planning.



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