June 1, 2017 by  
Filed under Blogs, Travel Blog

Head to Healdsburg for a day of wine tasting

Healdsburg, California, is a picturesque escape for newlyweds. This authentic farming town— with its winding roads and rolling vineyards— is located north of San Francisco, a little over an hour from the Golden Gate Bridge. Healdsburg features top of the line wine tasting rooms, authentic cuisines, and exciting outdoor activities.

Located one block from Healdsburg’s Historic Town Square, is Hotel Le Mars. Dedicated to the tradition of old-world luxury and European service, the hotel offers complimentary French breakfast every morning as well as wine and cheese tastings in the evenings. Each guest room is beautifully fitted with antique furnishings, which includes a hand-carved four-poster bead, and a fireplace.


This charming hotel is a luxurious and traditional getaway for couples seeking a scenic escape or a romantic honeymoon. Whatever you might be looking for, the hotel promises a stay that you’ll never forget and never want to leave.


If you’re looking to take in some of Sonoma’s breathtaking scenery, a trip down the Russian River might be for you. Russian River Adventures offers full-day or half-day rafting trips down the river. What could be better than paddling down the Russian River through Sonoma’s vineyards and redwoods? Bring a cooler along and stop for a picnic on the banks of the river.


If pedaling through Sonoma’s rolling hills and quiet country roads sounds more like your pace, take a trip around town with Wine Country Bikes to taste the great wine that Healdsburg has to offer. This 17 mile trek includes pit stops at four different local vineyards and wineries. The one-day tour includes a tour guide and a fresh made, locally grown lunch.


Or take a hike with Jordan Winery as you learn the history of Sonoma’s wine culture, which boasts the freshest wine closest only to that of Tuscany. Sonoma County has over four-hundred vineyards, so try some for yourself and you can be the judge. We recommend Roth, located in the Chalk Hill region. They, along with their sister company Lancaster, pride themselves on crafting full-flavored wine and superb wine-pairings.


If craft beer is more your style, visit one of Healdsburg’s own beer companies: Bear Republic. Located in the heart of Healdsburg’s wine country, Bear Republic is one of the top craft brewing companies in the nation.They feature a wide variety of beers (over 90 in total) ranging from their “Big Bear Black Stout” to their “Hop Rod Rye.” They also offer tours of the brewery, which will give you a glimpse of how their delicious beer is produced. Bear Republic’s goal is to bring you fresh, never-filtered, hand-crafted beer.


After all of that wine and beer, be sure to stop at one of Healdsburg’s staples, Mateos Cocina Latina. They specialize in Yucatan food, from chilaquiles to huevos rancheros (rancher’s egg). And with namesake chef Mateo Granados at the helm, you know you’re in for a delicious meal. He has created a signature menu that showcases the local Sonoma ingredients combined with the flavors of his culture. Locals recommend the margaritas. I had a salad tossed in eel sauce alongside a strawberry margarita.


However, if you are looking for something fun and unique to do with your bridal party, then Relish Culinary Adventures might be up your alley. Learn how to prepare and create one-of-a-kind authentic food while pairing it with more wine and homemade peach drinks. Most classes don’t require any prior cooking knowledge, but they do offer classes for those with more advanced culinary skills. Learn to make chicken breast with quinoa, for instance, and top it off with some grilled peaches and ricotta cheese for dessert. Relish is sure to be a perfect compliment to your wine country experience.

Awe Inspiring Aspen

April 1, 2017 by  
Filed under Blogs, Travel Blog


By Marissa Greteman


Nestled among the Rocky Mountains’ Sawatch Range and the Elk Mountains is Aspen, Colorado; the ideal spot for a destination wedding. No matter the season, your budget or the size of your guest list, Aspen has something for you. Hotels in Aspen include The Little Nell, The Limelight, The St. Regis and Hotel Jerome, which are all centrally located in the heart of Aspen. Removed from the hustle and bustle of downtown are The Gant and Aspen Meadows Resort. Each property offers unique event spaces and amenities perfect for a rehearsal, ceremony or reception.


The Limelight property includes several outdoor event spaces, great for couples who are looking to highlight the beauty of Aspen on their big day. Guests can also enjoy good company, live music and light Italian fare in the lounge before retiring to their spacious, luxurious rooms. The versatile Fountain Courtyard at The St. Regis provides remarkable views of Aspen Mountain, while the St. Regis Ballroom incorporates the sophisticated, enchanting design style that is seen throughout the hotel. The St. Regis is also home to the award-winning Remède Spa, a fantastic place to relax before (or after) the big day. Known as the “crown jewel” of Aspen, Hotel Jerome is rich in history and features Aspen’s only aboveground ballroom. The Grand Ballroom is a luxurious, neutral-toned space that is fit for any wedding. Stop by the J-Bar for a famous “Aspen Crud”, a spiked milkshake drink created during the prohibition days. Situated on 40 acres of beautiful Colorado land between the Roaring Fork River and Castle Creek is Aspen Meadows Resort. The entire property reflects classic Bauhaus style and features countless works of art by Herbert Bayer, designer of the hotel. Bayer also created Anderson Park, a serene space with magnificent views, where many couples have said “I Do”. The Gant is a condominium style resort that also offers services typically found in luxury hotel. Located in a quiet residential area at the base of Aspen Mountain, The Gant offers impeccable views and a break from the commotion surrounding downtown.


The Little Nell is another property located right at the base of Aspen Mountain. In addition to the exquisite dining options and event space available on property, they offer exclusive access to the Sundeck and the Aspen Mountain Club. Both are located at the top of the mountain, and accessible by gondola. The Sundeck is made up of 10,000 square feet of indoor and outdoor space. An open floor plan allows for plenty of flexibility when it comes to transforming the space. The Aspen Mountain Club is a 4,400 square foot private club that strikes harmony between European and cozy mountain lodge design styles. Adjacent to the Aspen Mountain Club is the Wedding Deck, an outdoor ceremony space with unbeatable views of the Elk Mountains and highland bowl. These views serve as the perfect backdrop for a wedding, regardless of the season.


Some of the best food in Aspen can be found at the Caribou Club. Chef Miles’ passion for food is evident in each of his creations. Whether you host an intimate rehearsal dinner at the club or take advantage of their full service catering option, your dining experience with the Caribou Club will be one you never forget.











Caribbean Karisma

March 10, 2017 by  
Filed under Blogs, Travel Blog

By Bianca Vertil

Located in the Mexican jungle in Riviera Maya, Cancun, lies a series of Karisma Hotels & Resorts. Karisma Hotels & Resorts, an award-winning luxury hotel collection, owns and manages properties in Latin America, the Caribbean and Europe. Karisma is comprised of an impressive selection including El Dorado Spa Resorts & Hotels, Generations Resorts, Azul Hotels & Villas, and Allure Hotels. Karisma properties have been honored with the industry’s top accolades and have received worldwide recognition for its creative approach to hospitality management and product innovations.


El Dorado Spa Resorts & Hotels is a premier, adults-only property located in the jungles of Riviera Maya, Mexico. Upon your arrival, you are welcomed with a champagne toast and introduced to your personal concierge. There is a sense of calm, casual luxury at the 450 room resort. Whether you choose to stay in a swim-up suite or private beachfront villa, all guests have all-suite accommodations, pool and beach butler service, hammock amenities, and 24-hour room service. El Dorado received AAA’s “Four Diamond Award” for its outstanding environmentally sustainable services.

There are many fun activities couples are encouraged to take full advantage of during their stay ranging from snorkeling in the sea, zip-lining through the jungle, horseback riding, and more. Some complimentary services include a tequila tasting, morning yoga, bike tour, Spanish class, cooking class, shuttle, and more. The resort also has evening entertainment every day located at Guacamayas Bar. At 6 p.m. a new movie is played, live music at 8:30 p.m., some sort of entertainment performance (for example, a circus show, fire performance, karaoke, etc.) at 10 p.m., then dancing and a DJ until 2 a.m. There is something for everyone to enjoy at El Dorado.


Say “I Do” by the Sea

Create memorable moments with El Dorado, and plan your private events at the resort. Whether you are newly engaged, planning a honeymoon, celebrating your anniversary, or just need a romantic getaway, Karisma will create the most memorable details to make your event special. Gourmet Inclusive Wedding Events by Karisma Hotels & Resorts strives to help you enjoy a truly special destination wedding. There is an assortment of signature wedding packages as well as venues to choose from. Whether it is a beachfront chapel, private beach, pier gazebo, or beautiful sky location, Karisma’s signature wedding designers and staff will diligently take care of every aspect of event coordination. Chapels typically hold 40-50 people, gazebos, seat around 20-30 people, and the most popular choice, the sky venues, hold up to 120 people. If any of your guests need to bring their children along, nanny services are offered at Little Eko, a kids center, at the neighboring Generations Resort location. Although walking distance, there are 24-hour shuttles running through the resorts.


Celebrate Your Big Day in Luxury

Pamper yourself at the Mayan inspired Naay Spa. You can choose to receive a relaxing spa treatment on the beach, inside the comfortable Naay Spa, alone, or with a loved one. Guests who are celebrating a special event during their stay are offered the complimentary Memorable Moments Spa Package. There are six bridal suites located in the spa building. The third floor can be turned into a private party for brides. At these private parties, 10-15 people are welcome to get wedding ready at $25 per person. There is also a groom room, where men are welcome to get ready for the big day. To make this spa truly unique, guests are invited to experience Temazcal, a traditional Mayan experience performed by a shaman.


Eat and Drink in Style

El Dorado has partnered with Jackson Family Wines to create The Jackson Family Wines Culinary Series by Karisma. The exclusive event is carefully catered to guests that prefer quality over quantity and a must for wine-lovers and connoisseurs. At a cost of $300, guests are enticed with a week of hands-on epicurean experiences, vertical tastings, educational classes with sommeliers and winemakers, cooking courses, special pairings, elaborate meals and an exclusive Guest Chef and Winemaster’s Dinner. A la cart rates for wines and ad hoc wine and culinary experiences start at $35. The program which takes place the first week of each month, spotlights distinguished chefs, restauranteurs, winemakers and sommeliers. The 2016 lineup includes culinary visionaries such as Mark Stark of Stark Restaurants and Food & Wine Best New Chef Sue Zemanick from New Orleans’ Gautreau’s Restaurant as well as an impressive roster of other prominent chefs.

There is a wide variety of restaurants at El Dorado Resorts. Whether you are in the mood for Italian, Mediterranean, Caribbean, Asian, Mexican, or American food, there is an inclusive, gourmet restaurant to satisfy your craving. If you want to start off the day with a well-balanced breakfast, you can visit Cocotal, La Isla, Jojo’s, Spot, or Sante Fe Grill. Lunch is served at Jojo’s, Kampai, La Isla, and Rincon Mexicano. Finally, set the mood with a romantic dinner preapared at D’Italia Villas, D’Italia Casitas, Cocotal, La Isla, Kampai, Jojo’s Rincon Mexicano, Sante Fe, and Fuentes. There is an extensive room service menu, and gourmet corner restaurants (La Cabana Pizzeria, Health Bar, Bar 31 (Las Olas), and Kick) that are conveniently accessible as well. Each restaurant includes a Wine Spectator award-winning wine list, sommelier, and premium liquor.

A unique dining experience is provided at these resorts; while there are no buffets, the restaurants display an open, farm-to-table, food concept. Guests can see how food is prepared, giving them an experience with amazing details. Be sure to stop by Fuentes culinary theatre to watch a chef showcase while enjoying your meal. The food served at the resorts come from Karisma’s own green house. Tours of the state-of-the-art, hydroponic greenhouse are a complimentary service.


Courtesy photo


Soaking in Sarasota

February 20, 2017 by  
Filed under Blogs, Travel Blog

By Stephanie DiCiro

Courtesy photos


Once known to be the winter home of the Ringling Brothers Circus, today Sarasota is rich in culture, art, attractions, and breathtaking beaches. Both Lido Beach Resort and The Resort at Longboat Key Club are a part of the Ocean Properties Hotels Resorts & Affiliates, they provide a perfect paradise to stay in while nestling your toes in the sand.


Lido Beach Resort is perfectly located in the middle of all the excitement of downtown with the shops and local restaurants at St. Armand’s Circle. This resort is perfect for family getaways and romantic weekends with 223 deluxe guest rooms and suites, two heated pools, three Jacuzzis, and a beachside Tiki bar. Lido Beach Resort recently revamped 112 suites in the south tower. With square footage ranging from 595 to 1,000 in size, these rooms are decorated with sleek modern, sophisticated nautical décor made to satisfy every customer’s needs.


Lido Beach Grille holds up to their reputation with an astounding view of the beach and coastline. After taking a dip in the pool, Café Lido and the Tiki Bar are the perfect places to grab a bite to eat. They have Happy Hour specials every day from 5:00pm to 7:00pm with a menu that is so enticing from the tropical cocktails to their delectable appetizers, you won’t be disappointed when you find a seat here!


Just a 10-minute drive north is The Resort at Longboat Key Club spread across five resort buildings while encompassing 410 acres of incredible beachfront views and has earned the Four-Diamond AAA Award for 32 consecutive years. This resort has 223 extravagantly decorated rooms and suites with eight onsite restaurants, fitness center and Mind and Motion studio, 20 tennis courts, 45 holes of golf, 9,000 square foot Island House Spa, and the largest marina on Florida’s west coast. The rooms have private, secluded balconies overlooking the incredible resort or beach with completely renovated suites to make all the guests feel at home.


From healthy smoothies by the tennis courts to incredible Northern Italian home cooking by the marina, the eight different restaurants on location will sure satisfy anyone’s appetite. The fairways are ranked by Golf Digest as one of the “Best Places to Play” with two PGA-approved golf courses that have incredible views along the Sarasota Bay. The Tennis Gardens have hosted the annual USTA Sarasota Open Men’s Invitational since 2009 and provide numerous courts to play day or night! Need a massage to unwind, the Spa provides more than 50 distinctive personalized treatments from reflexology to a hydro-lifting facial. Mind & Motion Studio provides a wonderful array of classes for yoga, spinning, and even interval training; with a remarkable view of the golf course, guests won’t even feel like they are working out!


Both resorts offer the most breathtaking sunset views, but saying “I do” to your soul mate while your toes are nestled in the sand is just the icing on top of a perfect getaway. From bridal showers to honeymoon packages, their attentive staff will be there to cater to the needs of the couple to be.


The Resort at Longboat Key Club and Lido Beach Resort are surrounded by a number of attractions with temperatures year round about 75 degrees, these two resorts offer such a unique experience while soaking up the sun in Sarasota!





The Magical Island of Fano

July 26, 2015 by  
Filed under Blogs, Travel Blog

by Dick Dace

When Barbara invited me to join her family holiday on Fano, an island where her family has vacationed for more than forty years, I was thrilled. When she told me the houses were built by hobbits, the beaches were covered in jewels, and dragons flew in the sky, I said, Absolutely!

Fano is a small, picture-perfect barrier island in the North Sea. People from all over northern Europe flock to the island, not just for the sun or plethora of seashells, but for the ruby-red, blood-orange, and daffodil-yellow amber, the fossilized tree sap from the Jurassic period. This gorgeous garnet brings people from around the world and to their knees to dig through the flotsam and jetsam pushed ashore by southwestern storms.

They arrive promptly at 10 am, in any weather, rain or shine, and flock like birds to one of the widest and deepest beachs in the world. The beaches were broadened by the north sea’s currents that have moved thousands of tons of Moroccan sand from Sylt, its neighboring island.

“I found one!” Barbara screamed, to no one in particular. Did she really jump up and down?

I confess I wanted to know the size and color, but instead I said nothing, and doubled my efforts.

Fano is only accessible by a twenty-minute ferry ride from Esbjerg, Denmark, a vibrant port city with regularly scheduled service to Iceland and Norway. This tiny paradise is a summer and winter playground for anyone looking for the perfect beach getaway with beautiful scenery and adorable wild animals, which reminded me: Where are those dragons?

While no Game of Thrones-worthy winged reptile yet, by day two, I had checked off gem-covered beaches and now, hobbit-built homesteads. Slung low, close to the ground, their roofs made from local reeds, the homes remarkably resemble Bilbo Baggins’ cottage in the Shire. And Fano’s answer to the Shire is every bit as magical. Practical too, especially for tourists, as more than 300 homes on the island are for rent, many with a pool or sauna, and able to comfortably accommodate 6, 8, even 12 people.

Originally, Fano was a center for shipbuilding and whale hunting. After the invention of the steamship, Fano reinvented itself as a place for those seeking a seaside cure. People still come to Fano for what ails them to this day, enjoying its sea breezes and its sun. And those dragons!

Whether they pushed the pronunciation a little bit, or I was guilty of magical hearing, I eventually discovered that my friends were actually saying Drachens, the Germany word for kites. Some days, the Fano sky is so filled with kites there isn’t a lot of room for dragons. Some kites are so large, people use them to surf the sand, or to pull their three-wheeled buggies back and forth along the beach. The display is vibrant, constantly moving, with geometric shapes in rainbow colors zipping, swooping, curving, and diving against a brilliant blue background. No surprise Fano is home to several national kite flying clubs.

But not all the charming sights of Fano are overhead. In fact, one of the many perks of waking up early on Fano is watching the local inhabitants begin their day. Standing in the kitchen one morning, I spied a white tail, four-point buck, crossing the road in front of our house near the beach. His mother must have loved him very much, because he looked both ways before crossing. Within seconds, a large jack rabbit just flat out ran (pun intended) and leaped across the street with a hop and a jump.

After lunch one day, Barbara’s brother Hansjoerg and I took a bicycle tour of the island, which at its longest point, is about five miles long. Scattered across the island are more than 300 monolithic concrete anti-aircraft above-ground bunkers that the Germans built during World War II to protect the it from an Allied invasion. The largest, now mostly buried by the dunes, has only two turrets and one entrance visible. They’ve all seem to have been forgotten except one, located near the beach, and noticeable by the “Free Love” emblazoned on its side by a local graphic artist. Today, its more practical use is as a marker for where to park one’s car.

Another afternoon, we went on safari, which, granted, sounds a bit out of the ordinary for a placid island getaway. But it was extraordinary because it was an oyster safari. No pith helmet required.

Apparently, cargo ships have entered port with several hundred stowaway Gulf Oysters on board. When the ship flushed its bilge water, the oysters were deposited directly into the delicate ecosystem of Fano. These oysters filter a gallon of water an hour. The local clams filter only a gallon of water a day. Making oyster safaris a very valuable ecological tool to try to keep this invasive species in check. Our guide, Thomas, took us to the port side of the harbor, and with buckets in-hand, we walked out into the water. And walked. And walked. It took my fellow safari mates and I nearly an hour at steady pace—45 minutes to be exact—before the waters began to rise above our ankles. I started to wonder if Sylt had any beaches left. At that point, all we had to do was simply reach down and within five minutes, pull up a bucketful of three-to four-year-old oysters.

Thomas showed us several ways to eat our harvest. He started a charcoal fire, and roasted the oysters in their own juices for several few minutes, before opening and adding different toppings to the oysters, including strawberries, pico de gallo and Italian dressing. We decided that the ones we liked best were the oysters served raw, straight from the shell.

Soon, our week on Fano was over. However, renting a shire-style bungalow is as easy as it is convenient, and instead of sad goodbyes, conversation quickly turned to planning our return. We comforted ourselves with the knowledge that within a year, we would all be back, in a cottage complete with a furnished kitchen and all the other amenities of home, affording us the opportunity to meet locals and other travelers, and actually “live” this island life. While it’s great fun to take turns cooking, if we decided not to, we had a more than generous selection of restaurants on the island, everyone serving the freshest fish. If you prefer a less do-it-your-self type of vacation, there are a few hotels and guest houses available.  But no matter where you decide to stay, you’re sure to find, as I did, that Fano is the perfect place to find a truly magical adventure—dragons, or drachens, included.





Food & Wine Restaurant Reveiw

October 30, 2013 by  
Filed under Features


CRISP in The Heights, with its homey entrées and foodie-friendly pizza, garners rave reviews.

by Tom Flynn


Tucked away in a Shady Acres neighborhood, CRISP has brought new life to an old grocery store.

The renovation to the abandoned supermarket is extensive: the dining room has tremendous ambiance, with brick walls, large murals, dark woods, old stone and wine barrels. Outside is a 5,000-square-foot patio nestled among the townhomes towering over it. Plenty of seating and a central location make CRISP popular at lunch and happy hour; it’s a great gathering place.

Come prepared to relax—the friendly staff is in no hurry to serve. I’ve had several business meetings here and usually find lunch is over before it’s served. Plan on a 45-minute wait for your entrée, but an impressive selection of wines and craft brews will keep you entertained until food arrives.

At first glance, the food appears expensive: beer can chicken, $18; braised short ribs, $24; beef tenderloin, $30. But the portions are massive and can easily be split into two meals. Pizzas are the signature dish. The stone deck–fired, hand-tossed pies come in an array of designer combinations, including Cluck you BBQ, featuring beer can chicken, smoked Gouda, pickled jalapeños, grilled red onions and a Dr. Pepper barbecue sauce. Pies feed two and run from $14–$17.

Sunday brunch is a hit at CRISP. Short rib hash is the star of the menu and mimosas flow freely. Brunch entrées are $10–$12.


2220 Bevis

Houston, TX 77008




October 30, 2013 by  
Filed under Features


S is for Snow

A Chilling Adventure in Canada

by Andrea Stroh

He shouted, “Gee” and “Haw,” to the dogs as he guided them through the Canadian Rockies; riding the sledlike, century-old, prospectors trekking through mountains searching for gold. The Canadian Rockies seem bigger, better and less traveled than Colorado’s Rocky Mountain Range, a must see for sportsmen and nature lovers. In the Banff/Lake Louise area, you’ll find an unexpected confluence of frontier and modern activities.

The Canadian alpine adventure begins at Bush Intercontinental Airport with a direct flight to Calgary, followed by an hour-long drive to the heart of Banff National Park. Our first “camp” is Deer Lodge, a historic, hand-hewn log lodge built in the 1920s as a teahouse. Its rambling layout and scattering of parlors and antique furniture mirror the character of the national park surrounding it.

Wayward travelers used to stop by Deer Lodge for a good meal in the 1920s; they still serve some of the best food in the area. Charcuterie trays with smoked and air-dried buffalo, peppered duck breast, game paté and elk salami, served with exquisite homemade mustard-melon pickles. Entrées include grilled buffalo rib eye, maple seared pork belly with roasted pepper spaetzle and slow-braised bison short ribs with blueberry port reduction and couscous. The culinary experience alone makes the trip worthwhile.


We are in rough, beautiful country; you can die seeing the sights, and many have. In the early twentieth century, the Chateau Lake Louise hired Swiss guides to help their guests safely enjoy the Canadian Rockies. The hotel closed during winters, but the guides stayed and soon introduced locals to skiing and ice climbing. By 1917, the Banff Ski Club was formed and the Banff/Lake Louise area became a year-round destination. The Chateau has continued the tradition and resident-guides take guests cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, hiking, ice-skating on the lake and stargazing.

Our resident Mountain Heritage Activities guide is Bruce. He is leading our small group on a snowshoeing expedition. It starts with an interesting and enjoyable tutorial on the origins of the snowshoe and how First Nations tribes shaped and sized them. We practice walking and turning. The biggest beginner mistakes are trying to walk bow-legged, or alter your gait. As long as you focus on keeping your center of gravity over the center of the shoes and keep the tips out of the snow, you will quickly become a snowshoe maven.

We venture through the trees, and along the lake’s edge. Under our snowshoes is 12 feet of snow, and yet there is never a feeling of falling through or losing your footing. Extraordinary views of the glacier, the Chateau and surrounding mountains greet us at every turn. Sounds of an avalanche reverberate through the valley, and we turn just in time to see the snow careening off the glacier’s face. Snowshoeing is excellent exercise and a magical way to experience pristine snowfall in the forest.

After our expedition, we enjoy a proper English tea in The Lakeview Lounge of the Chateau. Over sparkling wine and fruit salads drizzled with Cointreau, we choose from a dizzying array of teas and enjoy the extraordinary views of the frozen lake and glacier out of the mile-high windows.

Another form of frontier transportation is the dog sled. We hook up with the only dog sledding operator allowed within the Banff National Park, Kingmik Mushers. We opt for the Great Divide tour along a 16-kilometer trail through some of the park’s most stunning scenery to the Continental Divide and back.

These are not the fluffy dog teams of Disney movies; these are the real, working, Alaskan huskies of Iditarod and Yukon Quest fame. When we arrive, the dogs are having lunch, resting and rehydrating from their morning trek. We’re encouraged to interact with
them and the crew; we learn about the sport and the fascinating animals that are bred to pull sleds. When it’s time to go, our musher, Cody, buckles us in the sled and harnesses the team. The dogs bark, howl and downright squeal with delight. They hop straight into the air and strain against their tethers in anticipation of their turn to be harnessed. The dogs are so excited, it would be cruel to make them miss the trek.

When Cody releases the brake, the dogs spring forward at a full run. The barking ceases as they concentrate on keeping up and doing their part. The trip is eerily quiet except for the swishing of the sled rails and Cody’s succinct commands. We glide through the snow-covered forest amid mountain peaks, taking in the scenery all the way to the Great Divide. On the way back, we take turns riding on the back of the sled and controlling the dogs. It is the thrill of a lifetime.

For our next adventure, guides
from Discover Banff Tours hand out
ice spikes for our Johnston Canyon ice
walk. The path through the forest and along the rivers leads us past six Johnston Canyon waterfalls, which have frozen into magical formations. The trek is not for the faint of heart. Walking on sheer ice would be near impossible without the ice spikes, but the reward is 100-feet-tall, frozen waterfalls and a good dose of local lore from the guides. For a similar experience at an easier pace, the Columbia Icefield tour uses a specially designed bus they drive on the ice.


Lake Louise is a world-class ski resort. With snow from November to May, it has 8,650-foot peaks, 4,200 acres of skiing area over four mountain faces, 139 marked trails and countless bowls. The longest run is five staggering miles long. My Ski Friend is Rob. (Ski Friends is the first volunteer, host program in North America; it provides free, guided, ski tours for skiers of all abilities.) Rob has been skiing these trails for years, which means I never had to dig out my trail map. He’s able to gauge my ability and guide me through trails matching my skill level. There are so many lifts and trails, there’s rarely a wait at the lift, ever. Our last stop is après ski in The Lodge of Ten Peaks, an imposing log cabin full of stuffed bears, cold beer and charming Ski Friends.

Sunshine Village was the area’s first downhill ski resort. You don’t see ski trails until you take the scenic gondola ride to a valley formed by three mountains. Here, trails run in every direction. It’s higher than Lake Louise at 9,300 feet and 12 lifts lead to more than 3,358 acres of skiable terrain. You can ski all day and not see the same run twice. In fact, you can go half a day and not run into another skier.

Sunshine Village has unique accommodations at the top of the gondola. If you are staying at the Sunshine Mountain Lodge ($150 per night also buys you two complimentary lift tickets), you check in at the parking lot, drop your luggage with the concierge, grab your ski gear and spend the day on the slopes. At the end of the day, you’ll find your luggage in your room and après ski by the stone-covered fireplace in the lodge. You’ll find reasonably priced, exceptionally good food and beverages in the saloon, sports bar and their fine-dining option. You can also stay at Buffalo Mountain Lodge, world-class ski lodge, set atop piles of snow from November to May—it has nine acres on Tunnel Mountain at the edge of Banff. Our room has a modern bathroom with a fabulous clawfoot tub and slate shower, a well-stocked fireplace and a breathtaking view of the mountains.

Mount Norquay is the closest ski resort to Banff and one of the oldest, established in 1926. The Cliff House at the peak of the mountain was built in the ‘50s; the beams had to be hoisted up one at a time on the chairlift. Along with the ski trails, Mount Norquay has a snow tubing park. Sliding down the mountain at shockingly quick speeds will get you in touch with your inner child!

I’ve never experienced one place that had so much to offer; the winter entertainment options are endless. Sleigh rides, skiing, ice climbing, snowmobiling, helicopter tours and the new sport of snowkiting are just some of the activities. Pack warmly, plan for adventure and don’t forget “gee” means right and “haw” means left.

A Part of Your Community

October 30, 2013 by  
Filed under Features

Loves Conquers All

An Ly and her fiancé Hiep Nguyen find love.

by Laurette M. Veres


An Ly never gave up on love. She met Hiep Nguyen at the gym and it took him a while to get the courage to speak to her. She knew he was the one on their very first date.

On their second date things turned sad. Hiep found out both of his kidneys had been damaged by disease and he needed a transplant. The 26 year old luckily had a sister ready and willing to donate a kidney. Even luckier, the organ was a 100 percent match for Hiep.

An was impressed with his positive attitude and how he grew as an individual as he dealt with the fate he was given. “I fell in love with him during this time,” she says. “After five strong years of learning, growing, maturing and loving, we knew we were ready to take our life and relationship to the next level.”

An is a fan of the creative graffiti walls in Austin. Hiep used the public art she loved as a canvas for his proposal. Her cousin helped him set the stage. As she walked toward the wall, she saw pictures of she and Hiep; he got down on one knee, and the rest is history.

QSCZPV_LZCc7ZLUTqtXCbpvA1Mg3AZjRwHVJWv_QznoAmid tones of ivory, green and coral, she will walk down the aisle at the Heaven on Earth event facility in her Mori Lee gown from Ventura’s Bridal this April 12. Following the service, An will host a traditional tea ceremony in her home. Symbolically and culturally, this is where the couple’s union becomes official—they will then be able to call each other’s parents “mom” and “dad.” She will wear traditional Chinese red and gold at this event, then change back into her wedding gown for the reception at Ocean Palace. One final change will bring back the red and the couple will visit each table, personally thanking their 400 guests for attending.

The bride-to-be is a graduate of Cypress Ridge High School and the University of Houston. She works as a project coordinator at Weatherford. Hiep is in new home sales at Cinco Ranch.

An is the latest real bride-to-be selected by the Bridal Extravaganza Show to appear on billboards citywide. “I would love to showcase to the world what true love and happiness are all about,” she says. “Being the Billboard Bride proves true love does exist and anyone can turn their dreams and fantasies into reality through hard work and commitment.”



To Africa with LOVE

Houstonian Ida Franklin re-visits an African orphanage with a local church.

by Laurette M. Veres


How would you spend a million of your hard-earned frequent flyer miles? Houstonian Ida Franklin spent her company’s to transport friends to Africa to lend a hand at a local orphanage.

Franklin, the owner of Venus Construction, spends her days roofing houses, finishing granite island kitchens and any other number of construction projects. However, this summer, she visited Bulembu, Swaziland, with Katy’s Creekside Community Church to help more than 300 orphaned children living with AIDS.

This is the group’s second trip to this area; on a previous trip, they built a playground. “We finished our first playground just as the children came home from school,” says Franklin. “They ran to the swings and started playing. After a few minutes, they all stopped, turned to face us, and sang to us as a thank you,” she recalls fondly. Franklin and her friends’ efforts this summer were to enhance the playgrounds they built in 2009.

Tim Douglas, pastor at Creekside Community Church, says Franklin’s heart is pure gold when it comes to helping others. “She’s a very giving and loving person. She’s been a great driving force for us by donating her time and money. She always goes above and beyond. Ida’s amazing,” he shared.


To help with Franklin’s efforts, donations can be made at www.TheCreekside.org.


Person | Provenance: Impression Group Show at Esperson Gallery Features Houston Cinema Arts Fest Film Producer’s Still Photographic Art

October 30, 2013 by  
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Group exhibit will showcase photography by criminal defense attorney Kent Schaffer, forensic scientist-artist Jennifer Hannaford, and new work by Houstonian Kelley Devine

Houston, TX— The Esperson Gallery, located in Downtown Houston’s Mellie Esperson Building (815 Walker Street, Suite 125, at the corner of Travis and Walker Streets), will exhibit “Person | Provenance:  Impression,” from November 1 – December 4, 2013.  The group show will feature photographic work by Houston criminal defense attorney Kent Schaffer, impressionist “police blotter” works on paper by New Yorker Jennifer Hannaford, and charcoal and painted pieces on literature and canvas by Houstonian Kelley Devine.

The nearly all black and white works are grouped to allow the viewer to observe and analyze both close-up and from afar the perceptions created both at first glance and upon more extensive analysis.  The artists’ works help the viewer to evaluate surface reaction versus deeper discernment about the subjects, timing, and circumstances.

Schaffer’s photographic works, which include silver gelatin prints, giclées, and direct aluminum prints, display persons and places that may seem easily identifiable, but in some cases have back-stories that reveal more.  Hannaford, who has for nearly two decades analyzed latent finger prints for crime labs in California, Massachusetts and Texas, creates impressionist works on paper and canvas.  Hannaford utilizes only her fingerprints and black ink to reveal stories of persons who, in many cases, were arrested for standing up for personal beliefs.  Devine creates striking, detailed images of faces, in charcoal, atop literature that ranges from Daniel Yergin’s “The Prize” to more personal documents.

“The images were captured in various countries, and some were shot here in Texas,” said Kent Schaffer.  “They are single moments, or, a grouping of many moments, and the conditions that surround each person or place remain open to interpretation by the viewer.”

Schaffer was also an Executive Producer of, An Unreal Dream: The Michael Morton Story; (directed by Al Reinert) about Texan Michael Morton who was exonerated after serving 22 years in prison for the murder of his wife.  The film, a SXSW 2013 Audience Award winner, will air in 2013-14 on CNN and Discovery Channel, but will first show at the November 2013 Houston Cinema Arts Festival at a separate, Cinema Arts Fest-managed venue during Schaffer’s Esperson Gallery exhibition.

“Kent’s work brings a unique twist to the Esperson show,” said Jennifer Hannaford.  “As for the work I’ll present, each ‘mug shot’ creates its own story of passion and purpose – whether it’s Rosa Parks who stood up for herself and human rights, or on a much lighter side, Jim Morrison, who stood for free speech.  The experiences gained from my work in fingerprint analysis units across the country definitely spurred interest in the motivations of different characters – some heroes, and some classic bad guys.”

Artist Kelley Devine has created new work that will complement the group exhibition via her collection of charcoal-based, intensely detailed faces drawn on literature that has been secured to canvas.

“You can expect some fun pieces to show up on serious works of literature, and some rather intense faces to stare out from fairly lighthearted prose,” said Kelley Devine.  “This is a good preparation for a solo show we’re having in December.”

The artists will attend the opening show – open to the public –on November 1, 2013, at Esperson Gallery.  Schaffer will present a producer’s talk about the film, An Unreal Dream, on a date during the exhibition (to be announced).  To learn more about exhibit or for more information, please visit the Esperson Gallery facebook page or email info@espersongallery.com.

Gallery Hours and Information:

Monday and Friday: 11a.m. – 2p.m.

Tuesday – Thursday: 11a.m. – 6p.m.

And by appointment.

Special Saturday and Sunday hours will be held during the Houston Cinema Arts Festival.  Check Facebook for details.




The Esperson Gallery, in Downtown Houston’s Mellie Esperson Building, is located at Walker and Travis Streets.

Westchase District Farmers Market About to Sprout

October 22, 2013 by  
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imageDebuts Oct. 24, will run every Thursday, 3 to 6 p.m., one block west of Beltway 8

Westchase District, St. Cyril of Alexandria Catholic Church, the United States Department
of Agriculture and more than a dozen local producers have teamed up to launch the Westchase District Farmers

Vendors will offer fresh, locally-grown produce, beef, lamb, pork and cheeses, as well as prepared food and
value-added products such as jams and jellies, honey, soaps and bread.

The year-round, weekly market will be open Thursdays from 3 to 6 p.m., in the parking lot of
St. Cyril, 10503 Westheimer Road (at Rogerdale Road, one block west of Beltway 8).

The Alief area just south of Westchase District is considered by the USDA to be a “food desert,” where
affordable healthy food is difficult to obtain. Westchase District is surrounded by great neighborhoods and
hundreds of thousands of area residents. While these consumers will still shop grocery stores for staples, many
have said they welcome the opportunity to buy locally-grown food in a farmers market environment that creates
a unique gathering location for the community.

The Westchase District Farmers Market is made possible by a $65,000 grant through the USDA’s Farmers
Market Promotion Program. The FMPP supports efforts to improve and expand domestic farmers markets and
other community-supported agriculture programs.

AIDS Foundation Houston’s 13th Annual World AIDS Day Luncheon

October 22, 2013 by  
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Presented by CHEVRON
Monday, December 2nd, 2013
The Westin-Galleria Houston – Galleria Ballroom
Co-Chairs:  Frank Billingsley
Travis Torrence
Honorary Chair: Jessica Rossman
11:00AM – Champagne Welcome Reception | 12:00PM – Luncheon

As always, thank you for your support!

Orpha M. Palomares
Client Services Assistant
AIDS Foundation Houston, Inc.

3202 Weslayan I Houston, Texas 77027
T:  713.623.6796 I F:  713.623.4029
palomareso@afhouston.org I www.aidshelp.org 

Frank Billingsley
Travis Torrence
Honorary Chair:
Jessica Rossman
Keynote Speaker:
Phill Wilson, President & CEO of Black AIDS Institute
Tickets: www.aidshelp.org  

12th Annual Rockets Run

October 22, 2013 by  
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rr13_logo_webThe 12th annual Rockets Run presented by Bowen, Miclette and Britt

The Houston Rockets are committed to promoting community fitness for the entire family while raising money for a great organization. For every participant $3 will be donated directly to the Lone Star Veterans Association. We are also encouraging participants to make additional donations to this wonderful cause. You may make an additional donation during the online registration process. The Lone Star Veterans Association is focused on helping returning veterans who have served after September 11th, 2001. With multiple deployments into combat zones and missions around the world, the newest generations of veterans faces unique challenges when coming home. Their mission is to give every veteran a chance to succeed.

Race Hotline: 713-758-7701
Email us: rocketsrun@rocketball.com


Northeast Houston families invited to Family Health and Wellness Festival Oct. 19

October 18, 2013 by  
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flier_101813Northeast Houston families invited to Family Health and Wellness Festival Oct. 19           
Highlights include free health screenings, nutrition workshops, crafts

Families in northeast Houston are invited to a Health and Wellness FestivalOct. 19 from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. sponsored by Harris County Department of Education Head Start and the Houston Department of Health and Human Services at the Northeast Multi-Service Center, 9720 Spaulding.

Services at the festival include free health screenings for general health, including dental and eye screenings. Free flu shots are also provided. Health-and-nutrition workshops are scheduled throughout the event to promote healthy lifestyles.

The event includes age-appropriate activities which include face painting, moon walks, obstacle courses and nutrition-minded snacks and drinks. Free books and school supplies will be distributed to the families.

“We are really excited to be partnering with the City of Houston and other community partners to highlight the important connection of good health habits to school readiness,” HCDE Head Start Director Venetia Peacock said. “Our activities are specifically aimed at promoting healthy family lifestyles, and the event highlights a variety of family resources and services available to enhance quality of life.”

Sponsors for the event include the following:
United HealthCare; Recycle, Engage and Donate your Books (READ) for Houston; Mutual of Omaha; Lakeshore Learning; HEB; Kroger’s; Culligan; Molina Health Care; and Glazier Foods.

About Harris County Department of Education’s Head Start Area I: Harris County Department of Education Head Start Area I serves families residing in east and northeast Harris County, providing 14 area centers for over 1,100 children and their families. Head Start is a federally funded program that prepares children ages 3-5 for school. It also supports and promotes strong families through parent participation and training. Low-income families and families of children with special needs benefit from services. For more information, call (713) 672-9343www.hcde-texas.org .

About HCDE:  Harris County Department of Education provides education services to the general public and 25 school districts throughout Harris County and beyond. Services include adult education, programs to promote safe schools, after-school programs, therapy services, professional development for educators, special schools, alternative certification for principals and teachers, Early Childhood Intervention and Head Start programs. We offer purchasing procurement, grant development, program research and evaluation, records management, and school finance support. Since 1889, our services continue to evolve to meet the needs of our education public. Visit us at www.hcde-texas.org.

Quit smoking with acupuncture – for free!

October 16, 2013 by  
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Quit-SmokingThe Great American Smokeout is coming on the third Thursday of November (Nov. 21). To promote healthy living and to give a boost to people who are ready to make the commitment to quit, Houston Acupuncture & Wellness, in St. Joseph Medical Plaza (Midtown) is offering free acupuncture treatments for smoking cessation for the entire week!

“Nobody has to be told that smoking is bad for their health,” says Kevin Leonard, L.Ac., HA&W’s founder and principle acupuncturist, “we all know that. But that doesn’t make dealing with nicotine withdrawal any easier. That is where acupuncture can really help.”

In the mid 1970’s, Medical Doctor Michael Smith, from Lincoln Hospital in the South Bronx, developed a simplified protocol of ear acupuncture using just five points to give recovering addicts an option other than methadone to break their withdrawal symptoms. The method proved to be extremely effective in treating all manner of addictions, so in 1985, Smith founded the National Acupuncture Detox Association to spread the information. The treatment became known as the NADA protocol. It is this protocol that HA&W is offering for free during the third week of November.

“The thing is,” says Leonard, “acupuncture is not going to make you want to quit smoking. You’ve got to want that strongly enough for yourself. But once you quit, acupuncture can ease, or even eliminate the anxiety and stress that follows.”

Leonard recommends picking your quitting day and having your last cigarette no later than the night before. Have an appointment scheduled (required), and do not smoke that day. It is best if you throw away all of your remaining cigarettes to remove the temptation, and plan to avoid your biggest smoking triggers for the following days, like drinking alcohol and maybe even coffee.

But is one treatment enough? “Probably not,” Leonard warns. “But we offer follow-up sessions for just $10, not much more than the average cost of a pack of cigarettes in Houston.”

Houston Acupuncture & Wellness (www.HOUacu.com) is a “community acupuncture” clinic, where multiple people receive treatments in one large room. This enables HA&W to provide acupuncture much more affordably than the standard rates in Houston. The normal cost is a little higher than if you are just quitting smoking, but not by much. All manner of disorders, from musculo-skeletal pain, nerve pain and migraines, to digestive difficulties, insomnia, gynecological problems and even infertility, and many other problems, have all been shown to benefit from acupuncture and Chinese medicine.

Kevin Leonard is a Licensed Acupuncturist in Texas, holds a Master’s degree in Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine, and is nationally board certified with the National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine.

Contact:  Kevin Leonard, 2101 Crawford St., Ste. 320 – Houston, TX  77098 – (832) 477-7887

THE MENIL COLLECTION invites you to a preview of the exhibition

September 24, 2013 by  
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Luc Tuymans

  Thursday September 26, 2013 7:00-9:00 p.m. The Menil Collection 1533 Sul Ross StreetHouston   

Exhibition dates: September 27, 2013 January 5, 2014
  This exhibition is generously supported by Louisa Stude Sarofim; The Brown Foundation, Inc.; Houston Endowment, Inc.; The John R. Eckel, Jr. Foundation; Marilyn Oshman; Mark Wawro and Melanie Gray; The George and Mary Josephine Hamman Foundation; Baker Botts L.L.P.; Bank of America; Clare Casademont and Michael Metz; Government of Flanders through Flanders House New York; Paul and Janet Hobby; Gensler; Russell Reynolds Associates; Lea Weingarten; and the City of Houston.   Curated by Josef Helfenstein and Toby Kamps

A Conversation
Friday, September 27, 7:00 p.m.
Director Josef Helfenstein and Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art
Toby Kamps are joined by Luc Tuymans in a discussion of the exhibition.

Luc Tuymans, Fingers, 1995. Oil on canvas, 14 3/4 x 13 inches (37.5 x 33 cm). Musée des Beaux-Arts de Nantes, France. © 2013 Studio Luc Tuymans.  Image courtesy of Studio Luc Tuymans. Photo: Felix Tirry
The Menil Collection 1533 Sul Ross Houston, Texas 77006
Phone: 713.525.9400  |  Email: info@menil.org <mailto:membership@menil.org>
Privacy Policy   |  Email Preferences

  Copyright 2013 Menil Foundation

Greater Houston Restaurant Association hosts 6th Annual Cookout

September 24, 2013 by  
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Houston, TX  (September 24, 2013) – The Greater Houston Restaurant Association (GHRA) will be holding its sixth annual cookout sponsored by Glazier Foods Company on Thursday, October 3rd. The proceeds from this, and every, GHRA event benefit our scholarships, Pro-Start high school culinary programs, advocacy efforts and GHRA activities.

We will also be hosting a Pumpkin Carving Contest for an entry fee of only $25. Bring a display: carved pumpkin and any photos or handouts about your company or restaurant. Event attendees will have the opportunity to vote for their favorite throughout the evening for the chance to win a prize.

Sponsored by Glazier Foods Company, Mission Burrito, Sysco Houston Inc., U.S. Foods, Coca-Cola Refreshments, Heartland Payment Systems, and Ben E Keith. The GHRA fall cookout is the perfect way to celebrate the end of summer with friends, family, and industry leaders. Guests will get to enjoy tasty Mexican food and ice-cold beverages, while mingling with friends at one of the hottest bars in Houston, Hughes Hanger.


WHEN: Thursday, October 3, 2013

4:00pm –7:00 pm

WHERE: Hughes Hanger

2811 Washington Ave.

Houston, TX 77007

COST: $20 for TRA Members, $30 for Non-Members and $40 at the door

Ticket includes dinner, live entertainment, and drink tickets


Register at www.ghra.com/cookouts


About The Greater Houston Restaurant Association

The Greater Houston Restaurant Association (GHRA) serves as a valuable foundation for restaurants to successfully establish and maintain their businesses. Our mission is to ensure the health of the GHRA and promote the growth of our industry through education, public awareness and governmental affairs. For more information regarding membership with the GHRA or TRA, visit www.GHRA.com or www.Restaurantville.com.


September 17, 2013 by  
Filed under Events

Photo-Credit-Alejandro-MontoyaWHAT:  More than 30,000 Houstonians will participate in the Heart & Stroke Walk this November in support of the American Heart Association’s fight against heart disease and stroke. Bigger than ever before, the Heart & Stroke Walk will take place again at Houston’s premier venue,Reliant Park.  The walk will feature family fun and physical fitness to promote walking as a part of a healthy lifestyle while raising funds to support cardiovascular research and educational programs for the American Heart Association.

The Heart & Stroke Walk is part of the Association’s My Heart. My Life. national platform, sponsored nationally by Subway and Jenny, and locally by ConocoPhillips, Halliburton, Memorial Hermann Healthcare System and FMC Technologies.

WHEN:  Saturday, November 16, 2013
Opening ceremonies at 9 a.m.; Walk begins at 9:30 a.m.

WHERE:  Reliant Park – Opening Ceremony and Walk Festivities in Yellow Parking Lot 1 Reliant Park
Houston, TX 77054

WHY:  Heart disease and stroke — the nation’s No. 1 and No. 4 killers — and all other cardiovascular diseases, claim more than 870,000 American lives a year.  The American Heart Association’s goal is $2.8 million for the 2013 Houston Heart & Stroke Walk. Research funded by the American Heart Association has yielded or contributed to many important innovations such as CPR, life-extending drugs (including clot-busters), pacemakers, bypass surgery, the heart-lung machine and surgical techniques to repair heart defects.

  To participate in the annual event, walkers can register online by visiting www.houstonheartwalk.org or by calling 713-610-5033. There is no registration fee, but donations are appreciated. Fundraisers who secure a minimum of $100 will receive a free event T-shirt. Walk as part of a company team or form your own team with family and friends.


September 13, 2013 by  
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Houston, TX (June 25, 2013) – Off the Wall Gallery (www.offthewallgallery.com), Houston’s most prestigious fine art gallery is proud to announce its presentation of Salvador Dali: The Argillet Collection. The collection is on exhibition and available for acquisition at the gallery beginning Saturday, September 21, 2013.

The exhibition is a rare opportunity to meet Madame Christine Argillet, daughter of Dali’s legendary publisher and confidante Pierre Argillet, during two scheduled special appearances by Madame Argillet for the public: Saturday, September 28 from 6:00 – 8:00 pm and Sunday, September 29 from 2:00 – 4:00 pm.  All appearances are complimentary to the public, and RSVP’s are required.

LIVE B-ROLL LINK:  Salvador Dali & Madame Argillet   http://vimeo.com/54993068
Password: CAG 27

Meet Madame Argillet
Saturday, September 28, 2013
6:00 pm – 8:00 pm

Sunday, September 29, 2013
2:00 – 4:00 pm

Off the Wall Gallery
Galleria Houston (Adjacent to Neiman Marcus – Entrance through valet)
5015 Westheimer, Suite #2208
Houston, TX 77056

RSVP REQUIRED:  713.871.0940   Admission is Complimentary
For additional information about this exhibition, contact the gallery via email: mimi@offthewallgallery.com or visit www.offthewallgallery.com

Salvador Dali’s publisher, Pierre Argillet (1910-2001) and Dali enjoyed a collaboration and a friendship that spanned five decades; and produced what art historians have termed “the finest bodies of the Master’s Art”.  This collection made available by the Argillet Estate is…truly. A privilege and an opportunity for the collector to own a prominent piece of Dali’s legacy.

Pierre Argillet’s body of Dali’s etchings, original works and books appear in museums throughout the world, and have enjoyed a home at the Museum of Surrealism in Melun, France (Pierre Argillet’s former home “Chateau Vaux-le-Penil” and former museum) as well as in the Dali Museum in St. Petersburg, Florida.  The collection is also housed at the prestigious Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA).  Together, Argillet & Dali created remarkable editions of original prints, lived the true “Surrealists” life, and developed images that are prized by collectors today.

This exhibition and collection opportunity offers works from Dali’s Suites, including Mythologie, Les Hippies, Goethe’s Faust, and the incomparable Poemes Secrets d’Apollinaire. Madame Argillet has also graciously included the rare titles, Etchings and Watercolors from 1934 to the late 1960’s.

Piola hosts Robert Lanzini art exhibit Sept. 25

September 12, 2013 by  
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PT_AIP_RobertLanzini_59x29_5_HOU_HIHouston, TX – Sept. 10, 2013 – Houston artist Robert Lanzini will soon be hanging his art on the walls of Piola, a popular Midtown spot for contemporary Italian cuisine.

An opening reception for the show entitled “Ricominciare” will be held from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 25.  The restaurant is located at 3201 Louisiana St, Suite 103.

Lanzini has created art for as long as he can remember. Mainly self-taught, he is influenced by nature and travel, which serves as inspiration for his abstract creations.

“Robert’s zest for life is evident in the bold colors and energetic paintings,” Piola spokesman Bruno Cencini said. “We look forward to displaying his new work at the restaurant.”

Lanzini is a prolific artist who likes a challenge. He enjoys pushing himself to try a new medium, learn a new technique or dedicate himself to a subject. Anything can become a creative opportunity for Lanzini – whether painting his own walls at home, photographing his vacation or capturing an emotion on canvas.

He starts with one idea in his mind and lets the piece evolve as he works.RobertLanzini

“My art tells me where it’s going,” he said.

For more information about Robert Lanzini, visit his web site www.robertlanzini-art.com.

Lanzini is represented by creative consulting and public relations firm Cadence Enterprise. For more information, visit www.cadenceenterprise.com.

The Countdown Begins: Engines Rev for a 3-Day Festival of Speed

September 9, 2013 by  
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Shell and Pennzoil Grand Prix of Houston presented by the Greater Houston Honda Dealers

Oct. 4-6, 2013

HOUSTON – In just 30 days Reliant Park will be transformed into MD Anderson Cancer Center Speedway for the Shell and Pennzoil Grand Prix of Houston presented by the Greater Houston Honda Dealers, October 4-6, 2103. Approximately 150,000 race fans are expected to attend the Grand Prix’s twelve races and “Three-Day Festival of Speed,” which also includes IZOD IndyCar double-header races, live music, a huge entertainment zone and fan engagement at every level including pit and paddock access.

The two-point counting, “H-town Doubles Down,” double-header IZOD IndyCar Series races headline the Grand Prix Saturday and Sunday featuring returning Houston winners Dario Franchitti and Sebastian Bourdais. 2013 winner(s) will receive the distinguished AJ Foyt Championship Trophy presented by the event’s grand marshal, racing legend, AJ Foyt himself. Additional races throughout the weekend include four sports car races – two races from the Pirelli World Challenge Championships and one each from the Mazda MX-5 and Champions Race for Charity. The event also includes all three rungs of IndyCar’s developmental ladder, the “Mazda Road to Indy” – the Cooper Tires USF2000 Powered by Mazda, the Pro Mazda Championship Presented by Cooper Tires and Firestone Indy Lights.

“We are thrilled to have such a packed race schedule for the Grand Prix,” said Austin Crossley, managing director of the Grand Prix. “But, the Grand Prix is much more than its races; it is an unrivaled experience with concerts, a fan fun zone and expo areas. Plus, seeing the stars of the IZOD IndyCar Series driving around the Reliant Astrodome and Reliant Stadium will be a thrill for motorsports fans and non-fans alike.”

A variety of family-friendly activities will complement the Grand Prix’s world-class racing throughout the weekend, including a Grand Prix-mere Showcase presented by Myplates.com, Fiesta Family Fun Zone and go karting provided by MSR Houston. Other free additions near the track include dozens of interactive and educational displays, including a experiential area presented by Shell located inside Reliant Arena.

“Shell and Pennzoil have a long history with the IZOD IndyCar Series; and with our lubricants in the IndyCars, we view the racetrack as today’s laboratory for tomorrow’s road cars,” said Shell Oil Company President Marvin Odum. “There are few better places to show that off than at a Grand Prix in our own backyard.”

The twelve races will take place on a 1.7-mile track, built in 96 hours around Reliant Park, where drivers will move up to 180 miles per hour around the 10-turn course. Following Friday’s daytime qualifying races, ticket holders will have access to a free concert by Creedence Clearwater Revisited. More live music, interactive exhibits and beer gardens will be open to the public throughout the weekend.

Shell Oil Company holds the title sponsorship for the Grand Prix and the Greater Houston Honda DealersAssociation, a group of 14 local dealers, serves as the presenting sponsor. The Grand Prix has additional sponsorship agreements with 22 associate sponsors: ABI Digital Solutions, ACE Hardware, Aztec Tents & Events, Bud Light, Champions Race for Charity, Courtyard by Marriott – Houston/Medical Center, Fast Trac Transportation, Fiesta, Fronterra Geosciences, Fuzzy’s Ultra Premium Vodka, Hewlett-Packard, Houston Chronicle, Hyatt Place Bush Intercontinental Airport, Hyatt Regency Houston, MD Anderson Cancer Center, MSR Houston, MyPlates.com, Redstone Golf Course, the SpringHill Suites by Marriott, Strike Zone, Houston Medical Center/Reliant Park and Verizon.

A variety of ticket options are available, from grounds admission and reserved grandstand tickets as single-day or three-day tickets, to pit and suite passes. Reserved grandstand tickets offer fans a guaranteed seat for the races as well as the best view of the action at key locations around the track. The best offer available is the “three-day SuperTicket,” which gives the ticket holder a premium seat in Grandstand 1 as well as a three-day pit pass.

Grounds Admissions  

      Friday only       $10
Saturday or Sunday only       $25
Three-day pass       $40      

Reserved Grandstand

Grandstand Saturday or Sunday only       $40-65
Grandstand three-day pass       $85
Three-day SuperTicket with pit pass       $155      

Tickets are available at all Ticketmaster outlets, online at grandprixofhouston.com, by phone at 1-800-745-3000, or in person at the Reliant Stadium South ticket windows inside Budweiser Plaza.

Visit www.grandprixofhouston.com for more information and to join the Checkered Flag Club, providing the latest news and offerings from the Grand Prix.

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