Monday, May 25, 2015

10 Shades of Success

I am so honored to be included in one of the most amazing groups of women - and we'll be celebrating this week at the 10 Shades of Success gala. 10 Shades of Success presents a mission to bring forth influential, empowering, and successful women by acknowledging their involvement in the community and excellence in specific areas of expertise. I am so grateful to be included in this year's event.

Yesterday we had our group photo shoot and I did something I've NEVER done before - bring my kids! Lucky for me, I did. Bryn grabbed her iPod touch and started snapping behind-the-scenes pics - she caught this gem. I'm looking forward to seeing the rest of the shots!
























The event is this Thursday and will be emceed by K104's DeDe Maguire. There will be a seated dinner and silent auction. Here's the info from the official press release and more information about purchasing tickets!

Dallas, TX- Thursday, May 28, 2015 : 10 Shades of Success debuts its 2nd annual event in support of 10 Notable and Influential women in Dallas to celebrate their achievements while donating to Trend Next-What’s Now, What’s New, What’s Next on Thursday, May 28, 2015 at The Space venue located at 2516 Florence, St., Dallas, Texas 75204 at 6:30 p.m 
 
This year's event takes on a special meaning and notoriety as past honoree DeDe McGuire of DeDe in the Morning returns to emcee the celebration of women and charity. Southern is the theme, Chef Richard of Catering by Chef Richard and celebrity Chef Meshelle will serve a surprise  platted meal and a special guest bakery with delectable desserts. Guests can expect a special cocktail hour for photo opportunities with all 10 Honorees and Founder/President, Karen Michelle. “It is my personal and business goal to bring successful women in one room to recognize their achievement’s and to also have all of us join for one common success story of supporting Trend Next," said Karen Michelle. “The idea is to create an atmosphere of leading ladies that will continue to carry their career efforts outside of this event and share the message of being an advocate for charitable causes.” 

10 Shades of Success has an active mission to bring forth influential, empowering, and successful women; utilizing their involvement in the community to generate awareness towards charitable initiatives. The vision is to become one of the most successful, leading example women organizations within the Dallas sector to raise a generous amount of funds to donate to a non-profit organization and impact the message of charity.  
 
“Trend Next”- What’s Now, What’s New, What’s Next’s founder Shamequia Cason said, “It is both humbling and exciting to serve among such an elite group of women and having Trend Next as the recipient organization, to see the recognition of our cause placed on the forefront, serves as a for sure sign that we are going in the right direction with organ donation and transplantation awareness.” Trend Next recently partnered with Donate Life Texas, the national organ donation registry to incorporate their presence with all events to raise the number of registered donors. Trend Next also supports the Baylor Health Care System Foundation where the goal is to give back to an organization that so graciously invested in Shamequia’s life story via printed materials, commercials, billboards, and an aggressive ad campaign to expose the gift of organ transplantation.  
 
Several local influencers from last year’s honorees included DeDe Mcguire, Natalie Tastle, Porsha Kimble, Susy Solis, Veronica Torres Hazley, Meko King, Tiffiny Luong, LeeAnne Locken, and T-sha LeTitia Owens. When over 200 guests filled the room at the Rosewood Crescent Club, Karen knew this would be one of greatest platforms bridging the community together and gaining support for non-profit organizations.  

This year packs a power house of women with a social favorite being Cheryl Action Jackson founder of Minnie’s food pantry, which recently received a visit from recording artist and award winning Rhianna. A Beauty Bar will be in place for guest to enjoy beauty tips, demonstrations sample products and takeaway luxury gift bags. Guests will have the private pleasure of registering to become organ donors with Donate Life Texas. 
 
In 2008, Karen Michelle created a foundation that enabled her to work within creativity an ongoing pursuit and involvement in Fashion. It wasn’t until 2013, when Karen decided that fashion could actually be geared towards something effective and hopeful and charitable.  
 
Tickets: www.10shadesofsuccess.org Media inquiries: Media is invited to attend 6:00pm -6:30pm for photo and interview opportunities featuring the women and charity.  For more information, please direct media inquiries to Karen Michelle, info@fhmpr.com, 972.795.9626.


 


Sunday, May 24, 2015

Wanderlust

Maybe it's the epic Noah-esque floods we've been having in Texas... maybe a little cabin fever... probably a little bit of seeing everyone's vay-cay pics on Facebook... but I'm ready to get out of dodge. I need some R & R so bad I even Googled travel times from Dallas to Phuket, Thailand (yes, it's a real place... and yes, it seems like it's too far unless one is sitting in first class). And naturally, when someone has wanderlust and is trying to figure out which waterfront travel location to check off her bucket list, she has to make sure she has the proper wardrobe. So... swimsuits.
 
I noticed an interesting trend in swimwear this year that has me confused... I've spent decades trying to find the perfect bandeau tops with removable or tuck-able straps so I can avoid crazy tan lines (*Soapbox moment: tanning is bad; wear sunscreen. Carry on). But this year the trend seems to be all about crazy, wacky straps sure to leave one with THE most awkward tan lines... ever. Exhibits A, B, C, D, etc. come straight from one of my go-to swimsuit suppliers - Victoria's Secret (some of you won't read this blog... and you won't have any problem with the straps... dudes).
 






 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
So clearly chicks buy suits like these to be seen - but when they get home from their 48-hour trip to Vegas where they consumed bottomless Mai Tais, does the awkward sunburnedness phase them? Do they then spend more hours in the sun trying to correct the tan lines? Those tan lines peeking out of a business suit at the office... hot? And they do realize these pics are photoshopped, right? I'm thinking muffin top would be an issue in these suits. What about all of our curves trying to force their way out of all those straps? I shudder at the thought.
 
So what do you think about this trend?
 
And of course, my search for the perfect bandeau this year continues because the Victoria's Secret suits seem to get smaller and smaller every year (or my butt keeps getting bigger - probably a combination of the two?). Then I came across this other website... where one actually has to choose between regular "triangles" and the "perky triangles." Decisions, decisions.
 
 
 


Saturday, May 16, 2015

Bryn's First Slumber Party

Little mama was very specific about her birthday plans this year... Chuck E. Cheese's and a slumber party with her closest friends. Either option is daunting... I mean, Chuck's house on a Friday night with kids constantly playing Whack-A-Mole is enough to give you a headache. Throw in five adorable and exuberant 6-and-7-year olds and one might think I was trying to commit parental suicide. But nope... not me... bring it!
 
The first task was to pick a theme. Bryn is all into cats these days... anything "kitten" in this house is a good thing. So when she said she was "cool" with "Hello Kitty," game on. A little embossed glitter and a lot of bling later, these bad boys were ready for the mail!
 
 
It was party time last night. We made our way to Chuck E. Cheese's in Plano and I was pleasantly surprised - the hardest part about this first phase of the party was getting there in rush hour traffic. The party started at 5:30 and we had a wonderful party host who took care of everything. The kids had an absolute blast and it wasn't very crowded at all (surprisingly). The price was right, the kids were full and everyone got prizes! Winning!




Found the perfect icing-rich cake at Target!


 
I had a fun night planned for the girls when we got home...
 
First up - KARAOKE! When I told the girls they'd be able to jam to their favorite tunes from the Frozen soundtrack and Taylor Swift, everyone was excited!!!
After our jam session, we'd have a dance party complete with glow sticks! I mean... is it ever really a party without glow sticks?


 
Finally, they girls would unroll their new Hello Kitty slumber bags and chillax in the media room watching a favorite chick flick before dozing off to sleep. Had it all planned out...





Yeah, right... the birthday girl got hit in the mouth with the karaoke microphone - we were done after the first song; there was a huge fight over the glow sticks - who had more, who had what color... the dance party lasted about two songs; and after the movie, the girls decided the floor in the media room was too hard, so...
 
After a yummy pancake-and-bacon breakfast, we sent all the sleepy-eyed princesses home. Bryn was so sad to see her friends go (they really were great - things sort of went how they should with a bunch of little friends having their first sleepover - they were just over-the-moon excited). We made some memories last night... and that's what it's all about.
 
(P.S. Thank goodness birthdays are only once a year.)

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Happy birthday baby girl...

Bryn's seven. I can't believe it... seems like it happened so fast. The main event is going down tomorrow night - her first sleepover. Lord, help me.
 




Sunday, May 10, 2015

Happy Mother's Day 2015


We've been dodging thunderstorms and tornadoes here in Texas the past couple of days... but that didn't keep us from enjoying an incredible Mother's Day. Our go-to mom's day brunch spot is Wolfgang Puck's Five Sixty restaurant in Reunion Tower downtown. I was worried that the cloudy skies would make for a so-so view of the skyline but it was perfect!
 
The food at the restaurant is great too - the brunch-staple omelet bar kept everyone happy as waiters bring appetizers directly to your table. We had everything for pork bao tacos to shrimp wantons. Oh... and we can't forget the mimosas!
 
I hope everyone had an awesome day.
 

 


Our view of the infamous Dealey Plaza...

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Phoenix House Triumph For Teens Luncheon

Ryan and I had a wonderful time at a luncheon at the downtown Omni featuring actress/director Robin Wright. I love Robin Wright. I have ever since I watched the Princess Bride for the first time. And then Forrest Gump???  I was a captive audience. Robin shared an inspiring chat with WFAA morning anchor Ron Corning. She talked about the magic that happens when you get over the fear of failing (I'm still working on that) and while her career as an actor is her passion, she's discovered a new passion - directing! She joked that it's probably because she likes to be in control.

Mostly though, I appreciated her brief comments about why we were there today. She talked about her relationship with her kids and the conversations they have. They trust their mom. They are open with her. They communicate. Which is good, because she wants to know what's going on with them to keep them safe and steer them clear of alcohol and narcotics. It sounds like she's doing a great job.

The beneficiary of today's luncheon is the Phoenix House - a nonprofit that provides short and long term care options for people struggling with addiction. It was my first time hearing about the organization but one I felt an immediate connection to. I was around a lot of alcohol growing up. I was drunk for the first time at 12 years old. I can see how problems can come out of nowhere when no one's watching. So I appreciate the work Phoenix House is doing and I'm looking forward to supporting them in the future.

For more information about Phoenix House, click here.




Wednesday, April 29, 2015

I'm Unemployed... and I'm Totally Okay With It!

"What are you up to these days?"

"What's next?"

"Any plans?"

I've been asked some variation of these questions at least once a day since The Broadcast was abruptly pulled from the air last month. And I get it. People care. They are curious. They want to know when I'm going to be back on TV (soon would be awesome) or if I've gone back to practicing law (always an option). Naturally when someone loses a job, they have to find another one. I get it.

But here's the thing...

I'm totally cool with being unemployed. It's been a long time since I've been able to sleep in and do nothing all day if I so choose. I spent about 4 hours making six homemade invites for Bryn's upcoming 7th birthday extravaganza - and I liked it. Now that the sun has finally decided to come out in Dallas, I'm planning on laying out by the pool reading a magazine and sipping on a frosty cold beverage... because I can. The end of the school year is quickly approaching and I'm looking forward to enjoying the summer with the kids - museums, zoos, splash parks, Six Flags. Finally... after a very long time... I can do nothing at all. Or any and everything. And it's awesome.

I'm fortunate and blessed to not have to rush back into work right now. What a God send because Lord knows I needed the break. But being in this position is going to allow me to FINALLY work on a book that's been writing itself in my head for the past five years. Football, autism, reality TV, life AFTER football and everything in between... so many stories to tell. And it's time to tell them.

So that's what's next. Get the book done. Spend some quality time with my kids. Sleep in... hell, sleep at all. Do nothing. Or everything.

And that's awesome. 


Monday, April 27, 2015

A Walk In Paris

The scene was set last week at the Fairmont Hotel in Dallas for the first annual Roundup for Autism fashion show and luncheon benefiting the Autism Treatment Center. Some of Dallas's local celebrities and movers and shakers took to the runway in gowns designed by my friends Andre and Luis at Binzario Couture. I was THRILLED to participate in the event - we've supported the ATC for a couple of years now and it was a pleasure to work the catwalk.

The ATC provides services to children and adults on the autism spectrum. While there are a handful of national organizations that seem to get all of the attention during autism awareness month, I think it's insanely important to support grassroots local organizations like the ATC who are having a direct impact of families dealing with autism in our communities.

Enjoy the pics! 

A little champagne toast before the show!

Photo: Thomas Garza Photography

Photo: Thomas Garza Photography

Photo: Thomas Garza Photography

Photo: Thomas Garza Photography

Photo: Thomas Garza Photography

Photo: Thomas Garza Photography

Photo: Stephen Duffy

Photo: Bella Bokeh Photography

Photo: Thomas Garza Photography

Waiting backstage

Photo: Thomas Garza Photography - my friend Jamie rocked my favorite
look of the afternoon.

Sunday, April 26, 2015

7th Time's the Charm?!?

Last weekend, 48 beautiful women took the stage in Corsicana to compete for the Mrs. Texas America title. It was my 7th... yes, 7th... time to compete in the pageant and as with any year, my mission was to bring home the crown. Unfortunately, that just wasn't in the cards this year. And it was disappointing.

This year's competition was a little different because of the number of contestants we had. I think the most I'd competed with before was around 36. Because of the numbers, we had to compete in prelims so the schedule was a bit different than we're used to.

DAY ONE - Rehearsals

My roll-dawg Vanessa and I rolled into Corsicana around 11:15 am on the 16th. We had just enough time to check into the hotel before racing over to the Palace Theater in downtown. We posed for our contestant pics while practicing for the following night's prelims. Good thing we got our pics in early because the skies opened up over Corsicana that evening and there were beauty queens running to their cars after rehearsals trying to stay dry.


More on this pic in a bit...















































My soaking wet contestant number...

























DAY ONE - COCKTAIL PARTY

After I tamed my hair extensions and threw on a little makeup, I made my way through the soggy streets to the Corsicana Country Club for dinner and dancing. Ryan couldn't make it to the party this year so I was officially a part of the single ladies club at the party.



























There was some wobbling going on during the party...

DAY TWO - MORE REHEARSALS/PRELIMS

We were back at the theater the next morning for rehearsals in preparation of the evening's prelims. As I mentioned before, we had to compete in a preliminary because of the number of contestants this year. It was insane having to compete two nights in a row - lots of pressure and stress, but fun! It was pretty awesome to get the first night over.

Rehearsals

Prelim Introductions

Backstage after prelims.

With my girls Lynne and Vanessa.
















































































I rushed home to get ready for interviews and tried to get some sleep!

DAY THREE - INTERVIEWS, REHEARSALS, FINALS

I was up bright and early the next morning for my interview. My call time was 8:50 and I was ready to go. Thank goodness my pageant makeup sponsor Bonnie Benavidez decided to spend the night - she glammed me up for both prelims, interviews and finals. I tell her this every year, but I really couldn't do this without her. Her Avasiare cosmetics are the best!

























Finals were tough. We did our amazing opening number dance then the field of 48 was immediately narrowed down to 20. ACK! They called the first group of ten and dismissed them from the stage then began calling the next ten. 11th... not me... 12th... not me. Then 13 - WOOHOO! That was me! I thought it was a sign! It was my 7th year competing and I was the 13th named called - well, my birthday is July 13th. I figured this was it.

The top 20 competed in swimsuit and evening gown again, then we were narrowed down to the top 10. I honestly didn't know if I was going to make the cut. I was very, very grateful I did.

My Jovani gown from Tres Jolie in Edmond, OK was amazing!

I was the first name to be called for the top 10.

Top 10

















































After the top 10 lined up in the pic right above, the judges took a look at us and narrowed it down to 6. I thought I had a pretty good chance of making it into the next group. While I was disappointed I didn't , I was not surprised about the ladies who did. I went and sat backstage and watched the outgoing Mrs. Texas Whitney take her final walk - it was such a bittersweet moment.

At the end of the night, Melissa Pocza took home the title. She'll be a great Mrs. Texas - she's done it before and knows the ropes. She represents the crown well. I was super-pumped about my top 10 finish but somewhat bummed... there were no plaques this year... no real recognition of months of sacrifice and hard work. But that's okay - sometimes it just happens that way. And I won regardless... let me explain why...

1. On day two of rehearsals, our opening number choreographer extraordinaire Edrienne Edwards reminded us why we put ourselves through this every year. It's not just about the crown - it's about being positive role models for our families and using the platform to spread awareness for the causes we champion. During intermission on finals night, I walked out into the crowd to see my family and friends. Will, completely unprompted, told me I was beautiful. As I wiped away tears, I remembered Edrienne's words and understood in that moment that the crown is important, but there is a bigger purpose being on that stage.

2. I shared this on Facebook after the pageant. I know it inspired other people... and I'm glad it did. THIS is why posting that bathing suit pic earlier is a big deal for me. It's not perfect (at least in my eyes), but a wonderful reminder of what I accomplished to get ready for the pageant.

Four months ago I walked onto the scale at a doctor's office and saw a number I hadn't seen since I was almost full term with Bryn. I was being treated for hyperthyroidism and the thyroid suppression meds devastated my metabolism. Luckily my thyroid levels were finally normal and I was taken off all of my meds.
Four months later with clean eating help from Snap Kitchen and Nanolean I got from Naila Malik, I walked across a stage in a bathing suit 20 lbs lighter; wore a size 2 evening gown; and placed in the top 10 at Mrs. Texas.
This post isn't about the weight loss. It's about reclaiming my health. I fought doctors for six months before my thyroid diagnosis... my instinct told me something was wrong. Doctors told me it was stress. After a year on meds after my diagnosis my instinct told me I didn't need the suppression meds anymore even though my doctor said I did. A second opinion confirmed that my instinct was right.
I hope this post inspires someone to take control of their health. Trust your instinct, eat well, and YOLO... because I will be tearing up some Mexican food tonight! (Everything in moderation)
























All in all, it was an awesome weekend as usual. It was so awesome, I'm actually considering breaking my one-pageant-a-year rule and might compete in another pageant in a couple of weeks. We shall see...


























Mrs. Texas Top 10







































Sending a special shout out to my family and my friends Venture, Stuart and Chad for coming out to support on pageant night. And a huge thank you to my sponsors!!! And I have to share some love with my pageant director Tracy Crist - she did a great job this year. Our official pageant photo Larry Wright always makes us look good too!

Dr. Naila Malik (www.nailamalikmdskin.com)
Bonnie Benavidez – Avasiare Professional Skincare & Cosmetics (www.avasiare.com)
Katie Tellor – Katie Tellor Hair (www.katietellor.com)
Klix Hair Extensions (www.klixhair.com)
Snap Kitchen (www.snapkitchen.com)
Daniel Magoon – Snap Kitchen
Kameisha Getum – Spa La La (www.spalaladallas.com)