FOUR SEASONS RESORT PUNTA MITA PHOTOGRAPHY ADVENTURE OCT. 31 – NOV. 4

August 8, 2016 by  
Filed under Blogs, Travel Blog

image001Award-winning Beachfront Oasis Invites Photography Lovers to Experience Punta Mita through the Lens of Renowned Professional Photographers, Robert Caplin and Peter Lockley

Four Seasons Resort Punta Mita will welcome photographers of all skill levels to the picturesque landscape of the Riviera Nayarit October 31 – November 4. The AAA Five Diamond property will offer a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to learn from American photographer Robert Caplin and American sports and portrait photographer Peter Lockley, in one of the most naturally beautiful beachfront destinations in Mexico.

Guests can participate in guided workshops, on-location shoots, one-on-one editing and constructive critique, as well as instructor demonstrations, all while enjoying the breathtaking scenery that Four Seasons Resort Punta Mita has to offer. In between photography excursions, participants can bask in the luxury of their own spacious Mexican-style casitas, complete with tranquil views of the turquoise waters and white sand beaches. Additionally, guests are invited to indulge in an array of invigorating culinary experiences available at the resort, including custom tequila blending and new indigenous outdoor cooking classes.
“We are delighted to partner with such renowned photographers Robert Caplin and Peter Lockley to offer guests the chance to embark on a visual journey throughout the stunning and diverse landscape of Punta Mita and the Riviera Nayarit,” said John O’Sullivan, General Manager Four Seasons Resort Punta Mita. “The workshop is created for photography enthusiasts of all skill levels to fuel their passion for finding beauty and magnificence through the lens of their camera, and we are positive they will find that here as they discover the wonders of Punta Mita.”
Professional photographers, Robert Caplin and Peter Lockley – known for their contributions to leading publications including New York Times, National Geographic, The Washington Times and ESPN the Magazine – will offer their guidance during daily photography adventures through Punta Mita’s most scenic natural settings. They will lead outings to charmed places including the vibrant town of Sayulita, the incredible nature preserves of San Blas, the energetic fish markets of La Cruz, and Punta Mita’s best secret surf spots, all while lending their combined expertise in editorial, commercial, and portrait photography. These outings will present a variety of unique shooting situations; from landscapes to portraits, to stories, utilizing natural and artificial light in order to help refine and develop participant’s skills. Throughout the week Caplin and Lockley will lead inspiring lectures and hands-on gear demonstrations, offering personalized, engaging feedback and analysis to further develop and refine participant’s abilities and leave them refreshed and eager to continue their personal photographic journey.
While polishing their photography skills and harnessing their creativity, guests are able to fully take advantage of all the resort has to offer, including unrivaled service, pristine white sand beaches, spectacular fine dining options, and new immersive culinary experiences. Photographers can trade in their cameras for mixing spoons and learn historically-inspired indigenous cooking techniques in the Iku Garden outdoor kitchen, try their hand at customizing their own tequila during a hands-on tasting and blending experience, or simply indulge in a seasonally flavored Mexican gelato or popsicles at the resort’s new beach front Gelateria.
Pricing for the workshop starts at USD $4,999.00 for a single participant, which includes all workshop fees, daily breakfast and Four Seasons Resort Punta Mita luxury accommodations in a Garden View Double Room. Ocean view and beachfront rooms are available for an additional cost. Participants will also enjoy a hosted cocktail reception upon arrival and gourmet farewell dinner at the close of the program. It is recommended that participants bring their own camera; however cameras and additional equipment will be available to check-out and purchase before, during or after the workshop. Reservations will be handled by Four Seasons Resort Punta Mita through http://www.fourseasonsworkshop.com/.

National Ceviche Day

June 25, 2016 by  
Filed under Blogs, Dining, Travel Blog

While most people think of Ceviche as a dish made with ocean seafood, this recipe demonstrates the cultural diversity of the dish. Peruvians incorporate potatoes and corn – two major staples of the Peruvian diet – as well as lake trout. The result is delicious. And there is no better place to enjoy it than at the foot of the world’s #1 landmark: Machu Picchu

A Ceviche and Pisco Sour class is included, complimentary, for all guests at Sumaq Machu Picchu Hotel (www.sumaqhotelperu.com).

Recipe for 1 portion of ceviche

Ingredients:
-6 oz. trout
-3 tablespoons lime juice
-3 tablespoons morrón pepper sauce
-1/2 teaspoon ground garlic
-1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
-1/teaspoon chopped cilantro
-1/4 red onion sliced julienne
-1/4 Peruvian corn
-1/4 yam
-Salt & Pepper to taste
Garnish: lettuce, corn, limo hot pepper rings, yam strings.

Preparation:
Cook the corn with some anise seeds, brown sugar, and lemon juice. Cook the sweet potatoes, then peel them and cut them into matchsticks. Marinate the trout in lemon, salt, pepper,
cilantro, garlic, ginger, and onion. After two minutes, marinate again adding the pepper. Add ice cubes to the preparation to preserve freshness and lower the marinade’s acidity. Remove ice. Garnish with lettuce, onion, hot chili peppers cut into rings and crispy yam strings.

Pristine Bay, Honduras

June 24, 2016 by  
Filed under Blogs, Travel Blog

Rockport Beach offers a free admission day -April 3rd

March 10, 2016 by  
Filed under Blogs, Travel Blog

FREE day at the Beach

Rockport-Fulton Texas (March 8, 2015) – SundayApril 3, 2016 has been designated by the Aransas County Navigation District as a “ Free Beach day” for all to enjoy. Visitors and locals alike are invited to take advantage of this free offering. After all who doesn’t love to get something for free?
Rockport Beach was labeled Texas first Blue Wave Beach and remains one of only three in the state. The beach has something to offer the entire family. Visitors will, get the opportunity bask in the sun, stroll along the beachfront and splash in the clear water of the bay.

For the youngsters, the beach offers shallow water without strong waves and children’s play areas with playground equipment. For the sports minded,  a volleyball net and walking track are available  for land-lubbers, but the opportunities for watersports are endless from water-skiing to fishing and everything in between. The entire family will enjoy the beach palapas, the covered picnic cabanas and the clean restrooms with indoor showers. For those who wish to swim, there is a saltwater lagoon at the far end of the beach, with beautiful views of the Key Allegro community.

Rockport Beach has two pavilions that can be rented for business meetings, reunions or other special occasions: The Beach Pavilion with indoor and outdoor meeting space or the Saltwater Pavilion.

Pets are not allowed on the beach, but there is a special section just outside the beach area for pets to play in the water. Admission to the beach is normally $5 (per vehicle) daily, a yearly beach pass can be purchased for $20.

For more information on Rockport Beach www.rockportbeach-texas.com .For information about Places to Stay visit www.rockport-fulton.org or call 1 –800 242-0071 or email tourism@1rockport.org.

Directions from San Antonio and Houston

If you are traveling from San Antonio take IH-37 south to Corpus Christi, and then take U. S. Highway 181 to Gregory; at Gregory take State Highway 35 into Rockport.

From Houston, take U. S. Highway 59 to Victoria, take U. S. Highway south to State Highway 239, and then, south to Tivoli, and at Tivoli, take State Highway 35 to Rockport.

 

 

 

 

PERRO DE MAYO FUNDRAISER PLANNED TO BENEFIT BARRIO DOGS

March 9, 2016 by  
Filed under Blogs, Events

Volunteers are busy planning the 2nd Annual Perro de Mayo fundraiser that will take place Sunday, May 15, 2016, from 3:00 to 7:00 PM at the Continental Club, 3700 Main, Houston, TX. The event will benefit Barrio Dogs and is open to the public. It will feature live music, food and a silent auction fundraiser. Tickets are $15 and can be purchased at the door or in advance on Eventbrite.

This year’s host will be Rick Heysquierdo of KPFT’s Lone Star Jukebox. The musical lineup includes Zenteno Spirit, Gal Holiday & the Honky Tonk Review and Mike & the Moonpies. DJ Jason will spin classic vinyl and local artist Carlos Hernandez is creating more unique Perro de Mayo merchandise. Original artwork and other items will be sold via silent auction and a delicious barrio dinner will be available for purchase.

 

Barrio Dogs is a community-based nonprofit that has been working in Houston’s East End since 2010 to educate and empower residents to improve conditions for the animals in their community. Stray and roaming animals are a big problem in the area with 61% of residents citing it as their biggest public health concern.1 Contributing to the situation are owners who do not spay or neuter their pets and allow them to roam the streets and breed, creating more unwanted animals.

 

Founder Gloria Medina Zenteno is grateful for the support from Perro de Mayo. “We rely heavily on our friends and volunteers. Their support is invaluable to us and helps us continue our work in the community, where much remains to be done”, said Zenteno. “Sadly, despite our best efforts, you see still dogs roaming the streets, pregnant mamas, chained dogs. More than ever, we believe education is the best solution to the problem and with everyone’s help, we’ll continue trying to make a difference.”

 

Barrio Dogs focuses on community and educational outreach at schools, businesses, neighborhood centers and civic association meetings where volunteers make presentations and distribute literature on topics like low cost spay neuter options, proper pet care and reporting animal abuse and neglect. At community outreach days at East End parks, pets belonging to nearby residents are signed up for free spay and neuter. To date, Barrio Dogs has fixed, vaccinated and vetted over 2,000 animals, all paid for with private funds raised at events like Perro de Mayo.

 

The organization began when native Houstonian Zenteno returned to the East End after years away and was horrified to see so many homeless, neglected and mistreated animals. Zenteno first worked with rescue groups but realized that the community lacked a humane solution addressing the root of the problem. With that belief, Barrio Dogs was born with the message that: 1) pets are a lifelong commitment and must receive proper care and treatment, 2) education and spay neuter are the most humane and effective methods of controlling animal overpopulation, and 3) zero tolerance for animal mistreatment and neglect will create safer, healthier, higher property value communities.

 

Barrio Dogs is a proud partner with community leaders and residents in their East End community. Despite popular belief, Barrio Dogs does not have a physical location nor a full-time staff; the core team is comprised of a handful of volunteers, most of them concerned residents with full-time jobs, who dedicate their free time to the organization. To learn more, visit Barrio Dogs at www.barriodogs.org or email inquiries to info@barriodogs.org

¹ Health of Houston survey 2010, sph.uth.tmc.edu/research/centers/ihp/health-of-houston-survey-2010

SINGAPORE AIRLINES LAUNCHES BOOK THE COOK SERVICE

March 9, 2016 by  
Filed under Blogs, Travel Blog

Singapore Airlines has launched Book the Cook service in Houston, offering First and Business Class passengers flying from George Bush Intercontinental Airport (IAH) the convenience and control of pre-ordering their meal before they fly, and introducing local flavors to their inflight dining experience.

Part of Singapore Airlines’ prestigious culinary program, Book the Cook gives passengers the flexibility to select their choice of main course online or through the reservations office up to 24 hours before flight departure. Book the Cook menus include dishes featuring innovative international fare, as well as signature dishes with regional influences comprising its World Gourmet Cuisine.

The new menu was designed specifically with Houston travelers in mind, incorporating local favorites such as BBQ Beef Brisket with Spanish Rice, alongside SIA traditions such as the popular Lobster Thermidor. Book the Cook is now available in each of SIA’s four U.S. gateways: New York (JFK), Los Angeles, San Francisco and Houston.

First Class passengers also enjoy their choice of Dom Perignon or Krug Grande Cuvee Champagne, while Business Class passengers are served Taittinger Prelude Grand Crus—in addition to Singapore Airlines’ international wine list carefully selected by a roster of expert sommeliers.

Singapore Airlines serves the Houston area with flights five times a week from IAH to Moscow (DME) and Singapore aboard the B777-300ER. For more information, visit Singaporeair.com for more details. Join us on Facebook, www.facebook.com/singaporeair and follow us on Twitter, www.twitter.com/singaporeair.

 

 

Seared lamb loin with jus served with crushed pea with mint, leek and olive oil mashed potatoes. Designed by Singapore Airlines International Culinary Panel Chef Alfred Portale.

 

A high resolution version of this image can be downloaded here.

 

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St. Regis Punta Mita

February 15, 2016 by  
Filed under Blogs, Travel Blog

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

 

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

www.stregis.com/puntamita

 

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

February 1, 2016 by  
Filed under Blogs, Travel Blog

Indigenous Reef Provides Perfect Backdrop for 

One-Of-A-Kind Newlywed Experience

 

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

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

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

 

The “Splash and Snorkel the Dress” package starts from US$413* per night, including accommodations, a bottle of champagne, hors d’oeuvres, two-hour photography session and complimentary snorkeling equipment rental for two. Photo prints and video, as well as underwater pictures, are available for purchase for an additional cost. To book the package, please visit https://goo.gl/ex9Le9. For more weddings information at The Condado Plaza Hilton, please visit www.condadoplaza.com or call +1 787-721-1000.

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

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Telluride, my favorite ski town

November 2, 2015 by  
Filed under Blogs, Travel Blog

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Family pool at Esperanza, An Auberge Resort, Cabo

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

Fun for All Ages

FamilyPool

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

Esperanzaresort.com

Grande Lakes Orlando

September 29, 2015 by  
Filed under Blogs, Travel Blog

Orlando you glad to see me?

Avoid Mickey Mouse crowds. Enjoy Grande Lakes

By Laurette Veres

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

Dine

Highball & Harvest 

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

Whisper Creek Farm: The Kitchen

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

Whisper Creek Farm: The Brewery

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

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

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

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

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

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

Proceeds Benefiting SAY: The Stuttering Association for the Young

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

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

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

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

Innovative new dessert from Mark's American Cuisine

Innovative new dessert from Mark’s American Cuisine

Oysters in Dune from Mark's American Cuisine

Oysters in Dune from Mark’s American Cuisine

 

 

 

 

Holiday in July at JW in San Antonio

July 21, 2015 by  
Filed under Blogs, Travel Blog

SAVINGS, FUN & SUN WITH SANTA AT

JW MARRIOTT SAN ANTONIO HILL COUNTRY RESORT AND SPA

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

Swim with Santa at the JW Marriott San Antonio

Swim with Santa at the JW Marriott San Antonio

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

 

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

 

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

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

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

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

June 29, 2015 by  
Filed under Blogs, Travel Blog

Destin

Florida’s Emerald Waters Entice Houston Travelers

by Laurette M. Veres

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

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

Newman-Dailey offers the perfect Destin rental properties

Newman-Daily offers the perfect Destin rental properties

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

 

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

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

 

WHO’S ON FIRST, ABBOTT?

To: Members of the Texas State Guard

From: Gov. Greg Abbott

Subject: Defending Texas!!!

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ashby is hiding at ashby2@comcst.net

 

 

Bayou City Art Festival Memorial Park

March 28, 2015 by  
Filed under Blogs, Events

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

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

HoustonArtFest

ZeeBerry.com

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

Online Shopping Extravaganza

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

Zeeberry.com

It's fun shopping with ZeeBerry.com

It’s fun shopping with ZeeBerry.com

Green Eggs and Kale – Eat for a cause

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

Liberty Kitchen

Green Eggs and Kale from Liberty Kitchen

 

Kale, the super food, is all the rage.

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

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

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

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

Main Kitchen at JW Marriott

Green Eggs and Kale from Main Kitchen at the JW Marriott

 

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

February 3, 2015 by  
Filed under Blogs, Travel Blog

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

 

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

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

A list of detailed inclusions is below:

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

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

 

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

December 5, 2014 by  
Filed under Blogs, Travel Blog

 

Alexander Houston

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(courtesy Emirates)

 

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