Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Thanksgiving 2014: Why I Am Thankful For Failure (Among Other Things)

paris, paris with kids, travel with kids
Wednesday at the Trocadero

Thanksgiving is such a wonderful holiday. It is one in which we pause for a moment to celebrate and reflect on what it is we appreciate and love in our lives.

We are spending Thanksgiving week in Paris. I am writing this from a tiny, stereotypically Parisian apartment we rented on the Ile St. Louis. We will be spending the actual holiday in Reims, starting with a 10am champagne tasting at Ruinart. Believe me: I am incredibly thankful for this experience.

On this day of reflection, I am sharing what else I am grateful for this year. I would love for you to share what it is you're grateful for in 2014. Please post in the comments section

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Diet & Fitness News You Can Use For The Holidays

how to avoid holiday weight gain

That indulgent season is here, friends. I'm trying to fight the good food fight, too, and keep my waistline in check while still enjoying wonderful meals over the next few weeks.

To help you (and me!) stay focused and not put on extra pounds here are few things to keep in mind during the holidays:

You Can't Outrun The Fork
Sorry, but you can't exercise away a bad diet. I gained weight while training for marathons because I would eat three cookies a day.

Chipotle Burrito Nutrition, Chipotle nutrition
Information via
A relatively "healthy" Chipotle burrito with chicken, brown rice has 700 calories. That's more than what you can burn in most hour-long workouts. Exercise can help you diminish the damage done by an indulgent meal but it doesn't negate it. (Tweet this). Read more here.

Sugar Is The Diet Devil 
Australian filmmaker Damon Gameau adopted a diet of low-fat and supposedly "healthy" food. You know, the prepackaged low-fat, high-sugar stuff that was so popular in the 90's? Within three weeks he went to the doctor after feeling sluggish. Turns out he was beginning to develop fatty liver disease.

Gameau claimed he had "no soft drink, chocolate, ice cream or confectionery." Low-fat foods like yogurts, muesli bars, cereals, fruit juices and sports drinks made up the bulk of his diet.

That's kind of scary. I lived on that stuff in college. This story will shock you. Read more here.

The Med Is Best
If you know anything about me, you know I love the Mediterranean approach to eating for it's practicality and deliciousness. Turns out adopting this way of eating can help you lose some pounds before Thanksgiving. Try adopting principles of the Mediterranean diet the week before Thanksgiving. Think plant-based food and incorporate fish, olive oils, nuts, wine and chocolate (fo realz!). By starting NOW you could drop a couple pounds before the holiday. Learn more about this here.

I say eat this way all year round. You love it!

The LeBron Diet
Remember how LeBron James lost all that weight?

A photo posted by LeBron James (@kingjames) on

He ate fish, meat, fruit and vegetables (not starchy ones) and avoided booze, processed food and dairy for 67 days. Nothing groundbreaking here. Sounds sort of Paleo-light. Some folks in the Cleveland area tried it. Here's how they fared. 

Diets That Don't Make You Hungry
I remember when the Atkins Diet craze had everyone saying "I'm never hungry!" Yeah, because you're stuffing yourself with meat.

Anyway, there are some weight loss diets that can help you drop pounds without starving. Turns out one of them is...wait for it....the Atkins Diet. Others include "low energy diets". Read all about this here.


How To Travel In Style

How to travel in style, Travel style tips, yoga pants

Traveling in style is tough. You're likely going to be on the move for a few hours (meaning your clothes will get wrinkled and dirty) but you want to be comfortable. I would love nothing more than to wear fatgirl yoga pants on every flight but that's not the smartest or most sanitary way to go. Think about that for a minute.

Moving on.

For much of my career, I was the queen of the long travel day. When covering Texas Rangers spring training, for example, I had to hop on a 6am plane to Arizona, hit the ground running once we arrived in Phoenix and be on television at 10pm that night in the same clothes I wore that morning. Yeah, no time to change, much less reapply my makeup. To that end, I have been able to adopt a travel-ready wardrobe that works. 

With most of us gearing up for a holiday trip, it's the perfect time to rethink your travel style.

How to travel without looking like a slob, how to travel in style
Click on any item to learn more about it. 

KISS - Keep It Simple, Sister
I am a believer in wearing simple, smart yet stylish clothes on flights. Adopt a minimalist approach to dressing for the plane, with dark colors being key. You don't want to be wearing white pants, with a Diet Coke on your tray when turbulence hits. 

In the summer, I like a maxi dress with a scarf. In the winter its leggings or skinny jeans with a sweater or cardigan. I usually wear boots or Yosi Samra's genius ballet flats and ALWAYS bring socks for the plane. 

TIP: If you're bringing a pair of boots on your trip, wear them on the plane so they don't take up too much room in your bag. 

Learn To Love Layers 
I swear, no matter hot it is outside, planes are always freezing. Bring a warm scarf or cardigan with you for the flight. You do NOT want to use those nasty airline blankets. Yuck. I have a Gucci shawl I bought at an outlet store that I take with me on every trip.

Leave The Big Bling At Home
Don't wear a ton of jewelry on the plane. You will have to remove every piece of it when you go through security. I would definitely wear a watch, though. You don't want to lose track of time and miss your flight. Check out my tips on packing jewelry for a trip HERE.

Something Chic To Carry Your Crap
Your raggedy duffel bag isn't the way to go. A chic tote or shoulder bag to carry your work essentials, makeup, wallet, etc. goes a long way in pulling together your travel look. From Tory Burch's York Buckle Tote and GiGi New York's Hobo bag to Gucci's Swing Leather Tote (my current carryall) and C. Wonder's affordable finds, there are so many wonderful bags to choose from in a range of price points. 

What Do You Think? 
Am I hitting or missing the mark? Let me know in the comments section. What's your go-to travel outfit? If you have a travel look you love, please share it and tag me on Instagram or Twitter.

Shop This Story 


Monday, November 17, 2014

The New York Times & Wall Street Journal Spotlight Texas Travel

texas travel, texas travel guide
Texas is having a travel moment. Our fair state got a cover spread recently in the New York Times travel section with Robert Draper's "Texas, 3 Ways" profiling Houston, El Paso and Dallas. The state capital earned the spotlight in the Wall Street Journal's  "Austin, the Best New Barbecue Destination".

"Texas, 3 Ways"

Klyde Warren Park, Dallas, Texas travel
Yoga in Klyde Warren Park/Image via Klyde Warren Park
Klyde Warren Park gets the marquee treatment, describing the park over Woodall Rogers Freeway as an "eco-friendly shredder of stereotypes" with its weekend yoga, food trucks, free books and pet adoptions.

Is the big-haired, plasticity that is my home town gone? Hardly. I am living proof of that (yes, the hair is big but, no, I haven't gone under the knife). Dallas, though, has grown both literally and figuratively in a way that anyone who lived here in the 80's might not recognize.

TIP: You can always find out what's going on at Klyde Warren Park here.

I love that Draper chose to focus on Houston's thriving Asian community. Having gone to college at University of Houston, I discovered the wonderful Vietnamese community the Bayou City had to offer, mainly in food form. I lived on Kim Son's delicious cuisine before it was a chain and scouted tiny Vietnamese holes-in-the-wall downtown.

Draper is more interested in the unique spots on Bellaire Boulevard which are, undoubtedly, worth a visit, especially the Hong Kong City Mall. I would make the argument that Houston's Asian community is SO much more than one stretch of Bellaire Boulevard.

El Paso
I have only flown through El Paso and have never experienced the city. Given it's Mexican influences, I would love it.

"Austin, the Best New Barbecue Destination"

Texas BBQ, Austin, Texas travel
Salt Lick BBQ/Image via

I joke that Austin is the Brooklyn of Texas. This piece doesn't introduce those who know Austin to anything, food-wise, that's earth shattering. Author Adam Graham hit Salt Lick BBQ and Franklin's BBQ. Meat Craft is a relative newcomer to the mix that is worth a visit.

He does mention a hotel I haven't had the pleasure of visiting: Hotel Ella, an historic property dating back to 1900 that opened as a hotel in 2013.

Your Turn: Share Your Favorite Texas Travel Spot

Bahlmorhea State Park, Texas travel
Bahlmorhea State Park/Image via Texas Parks & Wildlife

Do you have a favorite Texas vacation destination? I love that whole Big Bend area, Balmorhea State Park, Marfa or a good trip to the Hill Country. What am I missing? Please share your favorite Texas travel stops in the comments section.

Do you have a Texas lover on your holiday wish list? From t-shirts and jewelry to BBQ sauce and brisket, you can make his or her holiday with any of the Texas-themed gifts featured below. Check out my Texas style board on Pinterest.

Texas Holiday Gift Guide


Sunday, November 16, 2014

Stylish Dallas Mavericks Game Gear

mavs apparel, stylish mavericks clothing, mavericks women's clothing, dallas mavericks dancers
Dallas Mavs Dancers Sequel, Bonnie, Your Truly, Kathryn (those Lucchese boots!) and Kassandra 

Mavericks games are a stylish affair. You can dress to the nines for them and no one will blink an eye. In my eight years of doing pre- and post-game shows and 15 years of covering the team, I saw fans as well as players and coaches wives sport the latest runway looks.

It's easy to dress up for Mavs games because, many times, fans are coming from work. If you're looking for something stylish with a Mavs logo on it, that had been a challenge in the past. I lamented as much earlier this year when I blogged about my inability to find something stylish to wear to the Mavs/Celtics game. I found Nets, Lakers, Heat, even Spurs and Celtics gear but nothing that was fashion-forward or something I would actually want to wear that had a Mavs logo on it.  

The Mavericks have made an outstanding effort to change that. 

"Women had been forgotten about in the sporting industry," Mavericks Director of Merchandising Alison Panasik told me.

"I wanted to push the envelope and search for those brands that I would wear but tweak it and make it Mavericks-related in a subtle way."

It has worked. 

The team partnered with the Stars to open The Hangar, a co-branded retail space that offers fashion-forward lines which are incredibly versatile. You'll see Peace Love World, Lucchese, SportiqeGameday Couture and more. The Hangar also carries accessories such hair ties, scarves and shoes. 

dallas mavericks women's clothing, dallas mavericks women's apparel, dallas mavericks gear

I love everything about this look. Most of us could wear it to work and then straight to the game. It's the perfect way to support the Mavs in style at work and at a game or watching party. 

Dallas Mavericks shirt, dallas mavericks apparel, dallas mavericks women's clothing

dallas mavericks women's raglan t-shirt, dallas mavericks women's clothing

Both of these Rubee Couture tops feature Alexander McQueen-esque skull detailing. You could wear either of these looks to a game or out afterwards. They're also great for a casual day of running errands. 

Dallas Mavericks women's turtleneck, dallas mavericks women's clothing

This is Sportiqe hooded tunic is fabulous paired with Mavs leggings and is ideal for cooler weather. 

Rubee Couture T-Shirt, Dallas Mavericks Women's Apparel

This Rubee Couture t-shirt works well with the Mavericks cardigan which is a perfect accessory for cold offices. 

The Hanger Victory Park is open 10am-6pm, Monday through Saturday and Sundays 12-5pm during the season. The Hangar North, located in the northwest corner of the American Airlines Center, is only open on game nights starting two hours before tip-off and one hour after the game ends.

Shop Mavs Gear


Thursday, November 13, 2014

Don't Fear The Decorator! Try Online Interior Design Services

Interior design, online interior design consultation
A photo of my funky seating area, taken with my crappy iPhone camera I sent to Liz.

I have a confession to make: interior decorators scare me. I have marched into locker rooms, delivered commencement addresses, covered shuttle crashes and jostled former NFL players to get a post-game interview but I fear the decorator.

I know I can benefit from their expertise but I am intimidated by them. Why? A few reasons actually. I worry that the process will take months and will cost an arm and a leg before I even walk in the door. I fear they will try to eliminate everything I have worked hard to piece together in my home while charging me a fortune for furniture that should cost a third of the price. Perhaps more than anything, I fear they'll try to make my home something it's not.

I might have found a solution.

interior design, interior decorator, lexington interior decorator
Liz Toombs of Polka Dots and Rosebuds Interiors and creator of Out Of The Box Room Design

Kentucky-based interior decorator Liz Toombs created a phenomenal concept called Out Of The Box Room Design. It's an online consultation service where she works within your budget and your taste to make suggestions based on your preferences. It's kind of genius.

My actual Out of the Box questionnaire

I struggle with my living room. It's a funky layout and, admittedly, our furniture isn't best suited for the space. I filled out her comprehensive online questionnaire and talked to her on the phone. I had to send her pictures of the room as well as some key measurements.

Within about a week, Liz delivered a comprehensive design proposal featuring photos of pieces that would work, instructions and an exact shopping guide. I was blown away.

outside of the box room design lexington kentucky
Liz's instructions and shopping guide

I love this concept. Liz made smart suggestions that were incredibly affordable based on my taste. But to that point, I can use her recommendations as a guideline for reimagining my living room. I can also incorporate them on my own timeline. If I want to add pillows now, great. If I want to do it in three months when they're on sale, even better.

Product suggestions Liz made for my house
This service is outstanding for anyone who shares my decorator phobia and is on a limited budget. I also think it's ideal for someone who lives in a rural area or has a second home in the middle of nowhere. My parents, for example, have ranch in Mineola which is about 80 miles east of Dallas. It's not practical for them to bring a decorator out there from Dallas or try to find one in Tyler. But for them to exchange a few emails and some phone calls? No problem.

Liz's service is incredibly affordable, ranging from $225 for a foyer or hallway to $600 for a kitchen. She also does nurseries. (Where was she when we were designing Jordan's room!). Click here for more information on Out Of The Box Room Design services.

*Design consultation was provide for review purposes. All opinions expressed are mine. 


Monday, November 10, 2014

Stylish Dallas Stars Women's Apparel

Dallas Stars Style, Dallas Stars Ice Girls, Dallas Stars gear
With Dallas Stars Ice Girl Emma
If you're a female Stars fan looking to support your favorite hockey team in style, you're no longer relegated to wearing an oversized jersey or borrowing your boyfriend's t-shirt.

The Stars now carry a slew of fashion-forward women's lines like Rinky, All Sport Couture and '47 Brand at The Hangar, a space it operates in conjunction with the Dallas Mavericks.

"We wanted to be able to give ladies stuff they hadn’t seen in the past," Dallas Stars Director of Merchandising Kristopher Smith told me.

"The response has been really good. They're able to get something to wear to the game and something to wear on the town."

If you know anything about me, you know I'm all about getting bang for your gameday style buck and these looks totally fit the bill.

 Dallas Stars Sweater, Dallas Stars women's gear, Dallas Stars ladies apparel, Dallas Stars Ice Girl Emma Sculley

I love the athletic look of this sweater. It's perfect for cold Stars games but is cute enough to be worn anywhere. Think The Rustic on cool Saturday afternoon. Done.

Dallas Stars ladies apparel, dallas stars tank top, dallas stars ice girl
This tank top is professional enough to be worn underneath a cardigan or blazer at work and then can be worn alone if you're heading to a game and paired with a scarf to keep you warm.

Dallas Stars Hoodie, Dallas Stars Running Shorts, Dallas Stars Workout gear

The athletic gear is fabulous. I love these running shorts with the Stars hoodie. It's a great look for the gym but can also be worn all over town if you're running errands after your workout.

Dallas Stars T-Shirt for Kids, Dallas Stars T-shirt for boys, Dallas Stars T-Shirts for GIrls

There's also a great selection of children's clothing if you need something for the youngest Stars fan in your family. I got the the "Silly Boys, Hockey's for Girls" shirt for my daughter.

Always ones to keep their sense of humor, though, the Stars holiday season wouldn't be complete without...wait for ugly sweater. And a toboggan to boot.

Dallas Stars ugly sweater, Dallas Stars Toboggan, Dallas Stars Knit Pom Hat

Somehow Emma the Ice Girl manages to look amazing in an ugly sweater and toboggan. Me? Not so much.

The Hangar inside the AAC is open 90 minutes before each game. The AT&T Plaza location is open 10am-6pm Monday through Saturday and noon-5pm on Sundays during the season.

Score Dallas Stars Gear

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