Showing posts with label dallas. Show all posts
Showing posts with label dallas. Show all posts
Sunday, April 12, 2015

The Story Behind Where Is Pidge?

Where Is Pidge?, Michelle Staubach Grimes, Roger Staubach
Click here to learn more about Where Is Pidge? 
Any parent understands the turn of events that happened right before I snapped this grainy photo. My three year-old was in toddler purgatory: tired and cranky yet too tired to settle down and go to bed. Jordan had one of those days in which she had been blowing and going since 8am: school, an after-school visit to the grandparents house (which is usually filled with too many sweets) and a late dinner.

I told her we were going to relax and read a book. She stopped her fussy/cranky/tired crying and picked up Where Is Pidge?the story of middle child Pidge Hoobler who feels lonely, somewhat overlooked and decides to run away but gets stuck in her family's laundry chute.

As soon as Jordan opened the book, she settled. She studied the first few pages and simply said, "Mommy, read this book."

Done. It was the calm after the storm.

Since then it has become a book we revisit three to four times a week. Out of the blue, Jordan will ask "Where is Pidge?", "Why was Pidge crying?" or even better "Pidge is happy?".

Ultimately Pidge realizes she's not forgotten, instead she is loved and appreciated by her family. A message that resonates not only with my daughter but with just about anyone.
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

Monday, May 26, 2014

5 Iconic Dallas Food Items

One of the best ways to learn about a culture, city or country is through its food.  Sunday's New York Times took it one step further and produced a virtual French lesson through classic French dishes native to particular regions.  It's a must-read for any Francophile foodie.

Cassoulet/image via Ptyx, Wikimedia
France is easy to tackle because each region has so many iconic dishes.  Bring it stateside and you can say the same about certain cities and states: New Orleans and jambalaya (or beignets or po boys or étouffée, I could go on), deep dish pizza and Chicago, green chiles and New Mexico.  You get the idea.

What dish evokes Dallas?  In the past, I struggled to find a singular item (a la the NYC metro card or Las Vegas casino token) to represent the city.  What about food?

Image via Flickr/Jack Keene
To me enchiladas, watermelon (a Texas summer staple), Snuffer's Cheese Fries, a Mambo Taxi (which I no longer drink because of the calories) and barbecue scream "DALLAS!".

I'm missing something here, aren't I?  Tortilla soup from the Mansion?  What food item characterizes our city?

Interested in keeping up with my pursuit of Texas chic? Hang with me on Pinterest, won't you?
Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Details on the 2014 Taste of the NFL: The Ultimate Tailgate Pary

Gourmet food, football and raising money for a good cause are three of my favorite things.  So why don't you join me at the 10th annual Taste of the NFL: The Ultimate Tailgate Party THIS Sunday night at the Gaylord Texan in Grapevine.

Tracy Kornet, former Cowboy Preston Pearson and me at the 2012 party
The event has raised more than $1.34 million dollars to help hungry North Texas children during its run.

As always, there is a tempting array of delicious food and signature cocktails designed by DFW's best chefs and bartenders.  There will also be some phenomenal silent and live auction items you can bid on to help support NTFB.

There will be a great mix of former Cowboys players, as well as a few current faces you'll recognize.  Abacus executive chef and proprietor Kent Rathbun is the culinary all-star who helps make this event a touchdown year after year.  I'll be emceeing along with JACK-FM's JT.

For more information on Sunday's party and ticket information, click here.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Jason Witten Believes Tony Romo Will Come Back "Better Than Ever"

Cowboys tight end Jason Witten believes Tony Romo will come back "better than ever" from his second back surgery in two years.  Witten shared his thoughts on the Cowboys quarterback, the 2014 schedule and more Thursday at Albertsons in Fort Worth.
Rowdy, Fort Worth Mayor Betsy Price, Fort Worth Police Chief Jeff Halstead and Jason Witten
Witten made the appearance (which I emceed) to work with six junior youth finalists from the Boys & Girls Club of Fort Worth.  The kids partnered with him, Fort Worth Mayor Betsy Price and Fort Worth Police Chief Jeff Halstead in a healthy recipe competition.

Chief Halstead's team won but the big winner was Jason Witten's SCORE Foundation which received a $75,000 donation courtesy of Albertsons.

On Tony Romo
Witten had high praise for Tony Romo who had surgery to repair a herniated disk in his back in December and missed the final game of the regular season against the Eagles.  Romo was cleared for workouts that began on April 21st, which also happened to be his 34th birthday.

"He looks great and I'm excited to see where he is," Witten said with a smile.

"People don't realize the will and kind of toughness he has. I think somewhere it got lost because we were playing Philadelphia but he played most the that game (the Washington game) with the back injury and won the game for us."

 "He looks good.  I see him running out there.  It's always good to have him out there.  I think he's gonna be better than ever and I'm excited for this season."

Witten on the 2014 Schedule
With the Cowboys schedule coming out this week, Witten admits he looks at it and says it's "tough" starting right away with the San Francisco 49ers in the opener on September 7th.

What's Crucial for Late Season Success
While it's easy to downplay the impact these offseason workouts have, Witten warns against that.

"Winning in December and January, a big part of this is how the training camp goes and our offseason work," he said after the event.  "I think it's critical in our development as a football team."

On the Draft
He also admits he's not a draft geek.  While Witten is a college football fan, he's not watching the mock draft or waiting with bated breath to see who the Cowboys select.  He's happy to find out with the rest of us.

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Tuesday, March 11, 2014

iFly Dallas Indoor Skydiving Review

Have you had the urge to skydive but are too scared to jump out of a perfectly good airplane?  Then iFly Indoor Skydiving might just be your speed.

I had the chance to experience indoor skydiving with Cowboys players Jeff Heath and Gavin Escobar for a story. Shooting the story at iFly in Frisco was actually Jeff's idea and it was a brilliant one.

Candidly, I had no clue what to expect and I thought I might lose my lunch.  Turns out the experience was the most fun four minutes I have had in a long time.

What Exactly is iFly?
The iFly concept delivers true free fall conditions in a huge wind tunnel which is similar to the ones members of military and professional skydivers use for training.

You fly in an enclosed flight chamber which has fans that generate wind speeds in excess of 175 miles per hour and let you experience true weightlessness.
The iFly Dallas Experience 
Before you can fly, you have to go through a thorough, yet simple training session.  None of it is too complicated. Our instructor was engaging and made sure everyone in our training session, which included a child under 10, understood the hand signals and correct body positioning required for our flights.

It shocked me to learn that people as young as three years old can participate.

Jeff Heath, me and Gavin Escobar in "uniform"
Once we gear up in what I must admit are uniforms that do a body no favors, our "class" entered the wind tunnel seating area.  The wind tunnel is quite loud.  You really can't hear anyone if you try to talk.

Jeff Heath flying
Each of us received a flying session with our instructor that lasted about 90 seconds to two minutes.  During the first session, our instructor guided us the entire time.

After everyone flies once, we go again.  Each of us paid for the "high-fly" package which allowed us to fly high up into the tunnel.  In the second go-round we were able to fly unassisted, lying horizontal similar to Superman.

Our photographer, Daniel Royas, flying
We weren't able to do any crazy, acrobatic maneuvers that the flight instructors are capable of performing.  We were just lucky to remain horizontal and not run into the wall.

What It's Like 
In short: it's amazing.  I could not stop smiling the entire time while in flight.  Both Gavin and Jeff thought it was awesome, too.  I never once felt queasy.  It's truly that free feeling of flying with a cool wind blowing in your face. Just spectacular.

The instructor indicated we might be sore the next day because we were using back and abdominal muscles we typically don't engage.  While the flight is a workout, there was no soreness at all.  I felt fine.

The only downside is that the actually flying time is pretty short, roughly less than five minutes. Everyone in my group was a first-timer, so we participated in the First Time Flyer package which included the training session and gear rental. There are also Return Flyer and Experienced Flyer packages.  You can purchase up to one continuous hour of flying time.

The Cost 
Because we were shooting a story, the team at iFly was nice enough to give us a complimentary session.  A First Time Flyer family package for five people (the one we had) is $269.95.  The same package for a single person is $59.95.

I would do this on my own in a heartbeat.  It was the experience of a lifetime that I can't wait to try again.

The Details 
iFly Indoor Skyding is located at 8380 SH 121 in Frisco.  It's right off 121.  You can't miss it.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

What Says 'Dallas' to You?

The New York Times recently published a great series offering "The History of New York in 50 Objects" inspired by the BBC's radio series "A History of the World in 100 Objects."  The idea was to feature tangible things that capture the essence and history of a city.  New York items such as the ubiquitous MetroCard, the AIDS button, the Greek coffee cup and a bagel all immediately come to mind.

New Orleans Water Meter
New Orleans has things like the fabulous water meter lids.  Las Vegas has casino tokens.  Chicago has pizza.  You get the idea.

What about Dallas?  What captures the essence of our town?

Reunion Tower

Reunion Tower?  That's a building.  Pegasus?  The new Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge?  Sure, they come to mind but they don't quite fit the bill.

A large can of hair spray?  A Neiman Marcus credit card?  Big diamonds?  A Mambo Taxi?  Lee Harvey Oswald's bullet?   

Those pop into my head immediately.  But I struggle to think of something so iconic that truly screams DALLAS.  Can you?

Is it because our city has a branding problem?  Does Dallas have an identity?  You can say it's one of commerce.   Dallas is a relatively friendly environment in which to do business.  I say this coming from a long line of self-made entrepreneurs.  My grandfather was an early real estate developer in  Oak Cliff.  My stepfather had a gallery in Caruth Plaza for years.  My mother still has her boutique residential real estate firm headquartered in Lakewood.  My biological father started and sold an oil and natural gas company in the 70's before the big 1980's Dallas payday that had everyone building ranches in downtown Dallas or buying diamonds by the ton.  You can make a lot of things happen in this town.

But can you name something, a simple tangible object that says "Dallas"?  If you could tell the story of this city through items that represent it, what would be on the list?  A State Fair of Texas food coupon?  A Tolltag?  Help me.
Monday, January 31, 2011

Super Bowl XLV Parties, Already Half Off

It was like a late Christmas this morning when I logged on to my computer and found my email inbox sprinkled with offers from Groupon and Seize the Deal touting half off the Dallas SuperBash 2011, hosted by Pamela Anderson, and the Aces & Angels bash, hosted by Gene Simmons and wife Shannon Tweed.


Monday, January 24, 2011

YES! You Can Get Super Bowl XLV Tickets AND Help Two Worthy Causes

The days leading up to Super Bowl XLV will feature parties galore, celebrities arriving in droves and opportunities to do things you might have never before imagined.

What have been tough to come by are tickets but here are few chances to score some with options at two price points.  One will only cost you a Benjamin while the other is quite a bit more but offers a once-in-a-lifetime Super Bowl XLV experience.

The Nancy Lieberman Foundation is raffling off two suite tickets to the game.  Raffle tickets only cost $100 and must be purchased by February 1st.  A portion of the proceeds from the raffle benefit the foundation.  Click here for details.  Considering the astronomical numbers I've heard people are willing to pay for nosebleed tickets, this is the best bargain out there.

St. Jude Children's Research Hospital is auctioning what it calls the Ultimate Gameday Package.  It's a simple auction that benefits the research hospital and its mission to erase pediatric cancer. While the high bid is currently $60,000, the prize package is pretty impressive.  Hurry, though, bidding closes Wednesday, January 26 at 3:30pm Central time.

If you are the winning bidder, you get the following:
  • Four Super Bowl XLV tickets in a luxury suite at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas
  • One private Cessna CJ3 jet available round-trip to and from Dallas/Fort Worth for four passengers
  • Five-night luxury accommodations in downtown/uptown Dallas from Wednesday, February 2 through Monday, February 7, 2011
  • Chauffeured car service Wednesday, February 2 through Monday, February 7, 2011, including the Super Bowl on February 6
  • Luxury automobile from Park Place Dealerships for personal use during length of stay
  • Four seats to the Legends for Charity dinner presenting The Pat Summerall Award to the NFL on FOX broadcast team including Troy Aikman, Terry Bradshaw, Joe Buck, Jay Glazer, Jimmy Johnson, Howie Long, Curt Menefee, Pam Oliver and Michael Strahan on Thursday, February 3
  • Four seats to the Off the Field Players' Wives Association Fashion Show on Friday, February 4 joining current and past NFL players while enjoying fashions by designer Abi Ferrin
  • Four seats to one of the largest private events: The NFL-sanctioned 2011 Super Bowl Breakfast on February 5, featuring the Athletes in Action/Bart Starr Award
  • Full day of spa treatments for four at the Halcyon Days Salon & Spa at Neiman Marcus NorthPark
  • Dining for four at Al Biernat's, Sevy's Grill and Rugerri's Restaurant
Good Luck!!!!
Monday, January 3, 2011

Super Bowl 45: Be Ready to Pay to Play

Few things Super Bowl related are a bargain.  And if you want to experience Super Bowl 45 to its fullest, be ready to hand over some cash (or high-interest rate plastic).  Email offering Super Bowl 45 "packages" is filling my inbox and it continues to amaze me how many people are buyers. is a site that bills itself as "a private online community that provides members with insider access, expert knowledge, and exclusive deals on the world's greatest vacations."  I've bought one or two hotel stays on the site as it offers relatively decent bargains at good properties. 

Jetsetter is offering five Super Bowl 45 packages ranging in price from $8300 to more than $23,000.  Each package offers game tickets, a three-night stay at the Intercontinental Hotel in Addison, a bus ride to the game from the hotel and two tickets to the open-bar ESPN Game Day Super Party VIP Lounge.

The price for the Premium Package starts at $12,000 and offers two 100-200 level tickets in a corner and two tickets to the Pepsi Musica Super Bowl Fiesta at Nokia Live on February 4th.  There is a $14,000 Player Package that offers 100-300 level tickets between the end zone and 15 yard line and also comes with passes to the Leather & Laces party at Hotel Zaza (which I've also heard a certain musically-gifted celebrity couple is renting ....more on that later).

If you really want to break the bank, go for the MVP Package.  It features 100-200 Club level game tickets between the 15 and 25 yard lines, two VIP passes to the MAXIM Super Bowl Party, airport transfers, and an upgrade to a 750 square foot executive suite at the Intercontinental Hotel. 

How much will all this fabulocity set you back? $23,000.  Yeah.

Are you interested?

How much cash would you drop for a "Super Bowl Experience"?
Sunday, March 14, 2010

Ain't No Party Like a Ping Pong Party

And what a party it was. 

Ok, maybe I'm exaggerating but the first-ever Pancreatic Cancer Network's Purple Ping Pong bash at SMU's Moody Coliseum was a blast.  Mavericks head coach Rick Carlisle is a ping pong fanatic and hosted the event.  He recruited Dirk Nowitzki, JJ Barea, Matt Carroll, Derek Harper, former Ranger Jeff Russell, Olympians Nastia Luikin and Carly Patterson, SMU men's basketball coach Matt Dougherty, Texas running back Tre Newton, Popeye Jones, Mark Followill, Emily Jones, Bob Ortegel, Chuck Cooperstein, yours truly and many more. 

Honestly, when Carlisle called to ask me to play, I thought I was in trouble for something I said.  No joke.  It took me a while to call him back and he texted me telling me to check my voice mail.  "UH-OH!" I thought.  Turns out, it was a gracious invitation to be a part of the event and I was so honored he thought of to me.

Needless to say, I stunk.  Completely totally sucked.  Dirk Nowitzki killed me. I joked with him that the MVP was going down today.  Not so much.  The Big German is ping pong master and has a table in his living room.  He event went to playing with an arm behind his back to give at least me a fighting chance.  Not so much.

My team consisted of Popeye Jones, who was fabulous, Caron Butler, who didn't play because of a tight lower back, the fabulous Emily Jones and a pancreatic cancer survivor.  We lost in double elimination.  No worries.  It was worth the embarassment.

JJ Barea and Dirk were the two best Mavs ping-pongers.  Jeff Russell, Bob Ortegel and Derek Harper were also incredibly good.  I think people who have offseasons are much better ping pong players than those who have full-time jobs. One Mavs player, who will remain nameless, told me he was much better at beer pong than ping pong. Touche.

Roger and Marianne Staubach were so generous, once again, to be one of the event's sponsors.  Roger's mother died of pancreatic cancer.  He never ceases to amaze me.  I was chatting with him when a representative from the Pancreatic Cancer Network thanked him for his support.  He told her to call his office on Monday because he wanted to send them more money.  So impressive.

My takeaway: 1) I suck at ping pong but want to get better.  It's nice little workout and great for hand-eye coordination (in fact Mark McLemore told me would start playing in January to get ready for Spring Training).  2) I want to be in the position to be as philanthropic as Roger and Marianne Staubach.  Not a bad position to be in.

***Special double, triple, quintuple thanks to Kerry Randel for taking some FABULOUS pics of the tournament today!***