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PHPB Book Club: The Power of Thinking Big Review

Some books circle around how to become successful but leave the details you need on how to make it happen flying in the wind.  This book The Magic of Thinking Big by David Scwartz reinvents this big picture approach to success with tasks to help you get there.  The approach as it works more like cookbook showing you that you already have (or can easily get) everything you need for success and gives you steps to follow in order to make it happen.  Within the book you step in quickly to the idea that the key to success isn’t the best education or the background, it is just YOU and your attitude about life.  Once you start with a great attitude the other things that are needed such are power and skill are energized up to do the work. The book served as a great reminder to me that what I need first and foremost is the belief I will be successful.  By tapping into this belief regularly and making sure that I am dreaming as big as I expect to succeed I am starting my journey off on t
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Dinner Lab Houston – a culinary extravaganza

Dining is almost religious here in Texas.  Houston is a city full of great restaurants and chefs with a range of cuisine to fit any palette.  You can get lost in the mix of the amazing food options and oversized plates, however, it can be easy to miss some more adventurous dining and side instead with old favorites that are a sure fire win.  With the descent of Dinner Lab to Houston there is a movement to change the traditional approach to food and replace it with an adventurous walk with a local expert that seeks to redefine eating as an experience. Dinner lab was born out of the desire to ignite a passion for all things new when it comes to eating.  Instead the typical restaurant, Dinner Lab brings together eaters who like to stride on the wild side with equally progressive chefs in a pop up restaurant.  The result is an experience where everything is new.  You come in to a group environment were much of the night is a mystery, and only one thing is for sure you will be surrou
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Making a bold statement with Josie Natori

A minimal look is a quick way for an easy win when it comes to fashion and staying cool in the hot Houston summers.  The sophistication a clean LBD or white blouse and jeans can provide you with an opportunity to kick it up a notch and add a pop to change your look from memorable to unforgettable.  When looking for a great balance between modern and sleek apparel paired with bold accessories look no further than Josie Natori.
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Learning how to not be the emotional band aid in your relationship

Relationships with a damaged person can feel like a constant process of fix it as a way to keep someone else above water.  Often once we are in it the situation, it becomes one of dread, but when we are honest with ourselves we saw trouble coming from a mile away and still invited ourselves in.  We see the baggage, the damage from the ex or their family or just their own self-image and instead of turning around and running or encouraging them to jump start their own improvement, we hop feet first in to a mess feeling like the world’s best handyman up for the challenge of a rundown house.  So what is it that makes us believe that we can be the band aid to someone else’s problems and come out on top in a successful relationship? There are a lot of band aids we can try to apply to stop the bleeding of a damaged person.  Once you care and you want to help you get involved in a deeply personal process that really must come from that person’s own desire.  Nonetheless we get sucke
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The PHPB Met Gala Best Dressed List

On a night celebrating fashion, Play Hard Playbook has pulled out some of the best looks of the night that ensured fashion was front page news.  Here is our list of those who dared to Dress to Impress and won. Best Risk Taker: Using the Met Gala as a way to step out on a limb is a great way to express individuality and encourage both fans and designers to do the same.  Solange definite came prepared to take a risk with her fan dress, whose galaxy them I thought was perfection on a day celebrating Star Wars but another young starlet ultimately got my vote.  Zendaya has been pushing boundaries of fashion recently and I thought her high low dress this year was both fun and made her stand out in a crowd of beautiful faces. Honorable mention goes out to FKA Twigs who took an artsy twist on a gown that seemed to honor the beautiful museum hosting the affair. Best of the Trends: Sheer was clearly a topic pic at this year’s Met Gala.  I honestly believe a night celebrating fashion shoul
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Perfect Picks for Mother’s Day gifts

In a little over a week the annual celebration of all things mom will begin!  For the years of pain, struggle, laughter and tears, on May 10th you get a chance to reward that special lady in your life who can never be replaced.  But with the fun of the celebration comes the dread of trying to find a present that really celebrates all that your mom does for you and all that she means to you.  I am not a big fan of the money present as I think personal presents are the best at embodying the emotions of motherly love.  That being said it can be a really challenge to find a great present for someone who either has everything or doesn’t ask for anything.  Here are some tips to finding a gift that is sure to put a smile on her face. Pay Attention: Every mom is different so there is no list in the world that will give you a perfect answer for every situation.  There is great news though, you can get the perfect fit for your mom straight from the source just by paying attention.  The
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The benefits of walking: mind, body and soul

In today’s fitness arena the newest is almost always thought to be the best.  I definitely like to feel the burn to know I am getting the job done and this has taken me to everything from barre classes to Pilates to interval workouts all around town.  While there will always be a place for these exercises when you are looking to lose weight or work specifically on certain strengths or body parts, sometimes you need something a little lower impact but packed with other benefits.  An injury after a cycling class forced me to resort back to my old go-to…Walking. In my mind walking was something done by people just getting back in a workout state of mind.  While some of the low impact benefits do make walking appealing to those who want to take it easy on their knees or hips, I fell in love with some of the other benefits of walking. With high impact exercise off my menu for a while any exercise is definitely better than no exercise.  As many jobs have us sitting all day it is a
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Pop of Color with Yves St. Laurent new glossy stain

If I had to list the things I don’t leave home without, lip gloss would be at the top of the list.  For a makeup minimalist gloss is a great fix to give my face some color plus hydrate my lips through the mystery that we call Houston weather.  My love of gloss has given me a mini obsession with different brands over the years but one of my tried and true favorites is Yves St. Laurent. My love for Yves St. Laurent glosses began with a pop.  Well a pop of color that is.  With a palette that ranges from nudes to deep reds and everything in between I can always find a fit from casual to dress to impress.  What sealed the deal on my obsession, however, was their focus on glitter and shine.  Their glosses are great alone or over a more permanent lipstick to add some shimmer that makes your lips stare worthy.  Now they have stepped up their game once again with a combination of long wear and shine that gives you the best of both worlds on lip color. The Vernis A Levres Pop Water Glo
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Coastal Mexican Cuisine with Caracol

Houston has more than its fair share of Mexican restaurants and I think we can claim some of the best in the country.  The finesse of Mexican cuisine can be lost, however, in the sizzle of the fajitas or the oozing cheese we have come to expect when we think Mexican.  The creator of some great restaurants including the Backstreet Café and Hugo’s have put together an awesome alternative to that perception of Mexican food with the coastal Mexican cuisine found at Caracol.  With a focus on fresh seafood the restaurant brings together fresh flavors with unique spins on more traditional dishes and the results are remarkable. The restaurant itself is an ode to the coastal Mexican colors, decorated in bright hues of blue and white.  One a sunny day the patio presents a perfect place to be transported to a beautiful coastal village, while in the heart of the Galleria, as you drift away with every bite of the delicious food.  The menu is separated into sections so you can focus on your
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Summer fashions for all white affairs

With summer fast approaching, the weight, coverage and colors of winter fashions are melting away making room for the brightness and vibrancy of summer colors.  As a perfect combination of all the colors white is busting back on the scene with the clean lines and fresh approach that can be worked into almost any wardrobe selection.  Although everyone dabbles with white, the idea of all white is equally loved and feared and can easily take a wrong turn with its attraction to stains and sheer challenges it presents.  With the Hamptons in Houston All White Party on deck for the weekend as the ultimate party for a purpose I decided to take a look at what fashion has in store for the color white this season. Ethereal: White naturally provides a play on common pictures of the heavens and with the flowy fabrics popular this season it is a great chance to play a heavenly creature.  Not only is the airiness great to beat the heat, it goes a long way to showcase your shape without clinging
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Starting at the end: Writing your own obituary to figure out the maze of life

I recently read a story of a mom who wrote her own obituary after a long struggle with cancer and was able to share it with her family before reaching her end.  Within the obituary she told her story and as she shared it with her family she was able to feel the summation of her life better than any words could ever describe it.  She loved and loved hard and loved sincerely.  The tears and laughter that came with the reading filled in all the blanks and provided all the emotions that without the words would just fall flat without.  In thinking about the story it dawned on me how motivating it is to live, and live well, when you accept that it all can come to an end that dawns most likely without your notice or approval. Thinking of your obituary is considered to be a pretty morbid thought.  Why think about the announcement of your death when you are still in the midst of your life??  Well the period at the end of life comes for all of us and often if we can see it approaching the
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Fusing fashion, music, and motivation at the Tanqueray Trunk Show

Getting together innovators, movers and shakers, and influencers throughout a city all together in a celebration of the spirit of following your passion is no small feat. Last weekend, however, this feat was successfully dynamically produced with the Tanqueray Trunk Show at the stunning Astoria by the forces at Tanqueray USA and Team Epiphany.  This invite only event not only featured some on the move designers and a ground breaking hip hop artist, it gave some real insight on the challenges and benefits of entrepreneurship through the creators perspective and with their end products on hand. With an introduction like the Astoria as your event space, how can you go wrong?  This new premier event space was born out of the ingenuity of repurposing warehouse space off of the Washington corridor.  The space, with its dramatic setting, various bar areas, and spotlight stage, showcases the elevation of the Houston event scene.  Tanqueray added the polish to the space with a Tanqueray d
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Learning when to cut the cord of friendship

As a kid we are taught “make new friends, but keep the old ones”.  Sometimes, though, new or old it becomes time to kick some people off the love train and let the friendship die down.  When the season of that friendship dies, instead of being something that gives you life it becomes draining putting your peace in chaos.  As with all relationships though, ending a friendship is tough and the difficulty involved can lead you to dragging a friendship along half dead for way too long.  So when do you finally say enough is enough when it comes to friends??  Here are some things to consider when you are deciding if the friendship is still the loving and nurturing relationship that you need it to be. Start with you: Without questions ending some friendships should be a no brainer but more often than not you can sum up the situation with “it’s complicated”.  Perhaps you feel used or that you are not growing in the same direction, but if you put all the blame on the friend you
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Allowing time to wash away the pain of old wounds

The old phrase that time heals old wounds, although true, can be painfully misleading.  It gives the message that if you wait long enough some of the injustices done to you by others will slowly wear away like sand on a beach.  Although time is a great conduit to healing, the truth is that the mental battle to forgiveness still exists, time or no time.  Forgiveness from our hearts often starts in our minds.  This is where the memory lives and it is all too easy to fall in to the trap of letting the negatives distort the offense and make it bigger and badder than it ever was.  With every negative association we add to the wrong we build up a fortress to prevent times healing power from washing in.  In this case time can in fact make the wound fester instead of heal.  Full of the puss of anger or injustice or neglect that allows us to carry it with us and have a negative impact on other parts of our lives as well. Time can heal wounds, but it is up to us to open the door to allow
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Lighting the fire to your personal success with Hip Hop Preacher Eric Thomas

Hip Hop Preacher Eric Thomas and founder of Universal Elite Aerospace Kenneth Morris Success in life is not truly measured in just achieving a goal, it is in the daily push you make to take the small steps closer and closer to your goal.  Without question this a tedious process, and the daily grind and setbacks is one of the major reasons small detours can become permanent stopping places for those working towards success.  In order to get back on track or light a fire to make you run, not walk, towards the future you feel destined for it is good to seek out those whose moving works and uplifting spirits can remind you of the prize and the sacrifices you must make to get there.  One of the most vibrant voices in this spirit is Hip Hop Preacher Eric Thomas with his inspiring message to push towards your dreams and to not accept no as an answer. I had an opportunity to feel the powerful message myself in Eric Thomas’s private engagement at the Universal Elite Aerospace program.  T
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Amping up the fun for Mother’s Day with the Pleasure Pier

Mother’s Day is a day filled with flowers, cards and hopefully appreciation of everything that mom’s do to make your life special.   As I found out this year though, as much as we try to fight it as mothers part of our joy is seeing our kids happy and having fun and building memories together.  On a day where others show their appreciation, it is a great time to reflect on the how much we appreciate not just the kids we have but the sacrifices made by the mother before us.  So as I began to plan my weekend, making memories with the kids that I appreciate was definitely part of my plan.  Good for me, Galveston is just a hop away and like that I whisked the kids to Galveston and set off for some adrenaline packed fun at Pleasure Pier. Pleasure Pier does a great job at combining an old school carnival feel with some action packed rides.  Without question the best things about a carnival is the food and with such great options is something that mom is sure to enjoy.  With funne
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Cinco De Mayo celebrating the PHPB Way!

It’s Cinco de Mayo and for me the day has always been a great celebration of food and fun.  Admittedly in my college days the fun was more how much tequila could I take on challenge, but to this day it is always a day of celebrating the wonderful Mexican culture and heritage.  Before I’m off to cook one of my favorite Mexican dishes I thought I would share the recipes for the food and drinks that really make this day memorable for me. Chicken Enchiada Suizas: I can be a little reluctant on Rachel Ray recipes as I like my food spicy and it is usually something she steers clear of.  This dish takes on some of the spice of jalapenos and poblano peppers and mellows it out with layers of cheese and tomatillos sauce that leaves a mark.  It became an instant classic in my house in no time.  The prep work on this dish is no joke as you are essentially making a Mexican lasagna with sauce from scratch but in the end you can feed a lot of people with one pan.  As an extra bonus once yo
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PHPB Book Club: “The Go-Giver” a great way to realign your success strategy

Sometimes it pays to have super smart friends!  In mentioning I set off to read two books a month to help my self-development this year to a good friend and the challenges that came in keeping up with such a heavy reading schedule.  Luck for me she recommended her current read, “The Go Giver” by Bob Burg and John David Mann and how powerful the lessons of the book had been in her life.  After reading some pretty heavy, and lengthy books this year this was a welcome change of pace that delivered a really powerful message really succinctly.  It is the perfect book for someone looking for a new perspective on becoming prosperous but isn’t’ a big reader or wants to avoid some of the typical formulas of motivational book. One of the most exciting components of the book for me was the format.  It is clear that the authors are true storytellers and accordingly they present five gems in their message using the story of a man that may read pretty familiar to many of those who pick
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PHPB Book Club: The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People Review

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R. Covey has always struck my interest because in my world being able to do more with the amount of time I have is high on my priority list.  The book does give some clear instruction on structuring your life to find more time for the most important things, but the biggest and best surprise of the book was how it reframes how you look at life, starting with you and moving to impact the family, relationships, and businesses around you.  It is no wonder why this book is a classic as it empowers a way to think about the solutions of life instead of the problems that are sure to come.  Within the seven habits described of the book are practical examples as well as instructions on how to get started in actually appalling the habits to your own life.  As a basis covers the root of the problem and explores how it can be addressed through developing the habits focused on in the book Paradigms: In this section you begin to rethink problems
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Think you are taking care of business? Take 15 minute challenge to find out

If you are a busy professional it is easy to spend a whole day working hard and to assume that all of your hard work means that you are taking care of business.  As the days and weeks go by, however, and your to-do list has some frequent visitors the question moves from if you are doing things, to if you are doing the things that help you reach your overall goals.  In what started as a simple exercise in the “12 Habits of Highly Effective People”, I took a week to break down my day until 15 minute intervals to see exactly how I was spending my days that prevented me from knocking out some the most important items of the things I needed to get done. The challenge seems simple enough, in a spreadsheet or in a notebook write down what you do any given day in 15 minute intervals. In doing so try to be as detailed on the tasks as possible.  It is very tempting to write down “work” if you are at the office, but the truth is that being at work does not mean you are working or shin
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Preparing for the summer season with by putting your best face forward with Freeman Masks

Spring is in bloom and summer time is right around the corner.  Many think of getting their body right for the upcoming seasons, but with the chances pretty high you will be a lot more active in activities than the summer months it is also a great time to set up a good facial routine too!  I had a chance to get a small sampling of the many masks offered from Freeman.  I have a notorious oily face so many times my focus is solely on things to help me get a handle on oil production.  I learned with my tour of 5 Freeman masks that balancing hydration with more oil absorbing products gives me a great balance great for a clean palette when applying makeup or for a ready to wear look that is fresh and fast. Here are my favs: Avocado & Oatmeal Clay Mask: This oil absorbing mask is the kind I typically gravitate to with my oil production on 10.  I prefer it best as an overnight mask so when you wake you are ready to go.  For even more protection try spreading a thin layer under makeup s
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Dining in Sydney: Delicious finds in the Outback

The international food scene can be tricky.  Honestly its partially because as Americans we have been spoiled on the have it your way philosophy.  While at home it is our expectation that if we see something on the menu that we don’t like or is not perfectly suited for us then we can just request a change and voila, we have the perfect customized meal for us.  I found out on my first trip to Paris that philosophy can be lost in different countries.  On the bright side when traveling to Sydney, there are a lot of food parallels between American cuisine and that of Sydney.  While there are certainly many safe roads you can take on your cuisine tour of the country, there are also ample possibilities to try something new and things that are regional to the Australia area. One of the biggest surprises I found when eating around in Sydney is the large Italian influence in the country.  My tour guide informed me that Italians were the second largest ethnic group in the country.  I s
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Travel Review: The Intercontinental Sydney

As with many historical cities, there are many parts of Sydney that are a throwback to a historical era long pasted.  Although located in the Circular Quay and surrounded by historical foundations of the city such as the Botanical Gardens and the Rocks area, the Intercontinental Sydney is not one of those throwbacks.  Instead the hotel is a modern perspective of the future of the city focused on the innovation and comfort that comes from a blend of old and new. With the hotel being just a block away from the Circular Quay you can easily take advantage of being in one of the most transportation parts of the city.  A short walk to the Central Business District puts you within a short strech to the train system and for the more scenic route a block away from the entrance of the several water ports of the city’s ferry system.  Although I love mobility my favorite feature of the location is actually its closeness to the Botanical Gardens.  The Gardens is a huge park wonderland with
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Touring the Blue Mountains for the nature side of Sydney

One thing I knew in deciding to take a trip as far as Australia, I wanted to get in everything I could during my visit so of course seeing the Outback was high on my to do list.  Although not exactly the Outback I envisioned from growing up watching Crocodile Dundee, I was able to dive into some of the culture, history and natural beauty of more developed portions of Australia by Touring the Blue Mountains. The Blue Mountains are a beautiful part of Australia that provides the chance to take on the challenge of exploring the great outdoors.  From state forests to botanical gardens and even waterfalls the area offers a more unchanged vision of Australia.  The Blue Mountains are located about an hour away from Sydney by car so we decided to make the trek using a touring service.  Given the popularity of the destination there are a lot of tours offering the service so you can go with the best price or best amenities.  For us we wanted something a little smaller and with included fea
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Food Nirvana at the Sugar Land Wine & Food Affair

In an effortless combination of the best of the best that food and wine has to offer the Sugar Land Wine & Food Affair once again swept in town bringing good times, good people, and great spirits along with it.  The Sugar Land Wine & Food Affair is an annual celebration of all things culinary paired with the perfect spirit to match any occasion and paired perfectly with the cuisine.  The four day affair not only benefits a great cause with proceeds benefiting the Conrad N. Hilton College of Hotel and Restaurant Management.  The event is a great way to expand what you like or thought you liked in the food, wine and spirits arena.  Armed with a pen or even easier your camera phone to record your favorites, your ticket to the events buys you access to check out some old favorites but a lot of new favorites and event restaurants and wines on your wish list to try. The weekend celebration starts off in a day celebrating the spirits with the On the Rocks Challenge.  From the best of th
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