Tag - Houston

Getting “Pleaty” at River Oaks District
Shop. Taste. Empower. Holiday Event @ The Cottage Shop
TOMO Mags – Not Your Average Magazine Stand
The ‘World’s Largest’ and Philanthropic Closet of Theresa Roemer
Shop. Taste. Empower. VIP Blogger Preview Party – Holiday Edition
Houston’s Retail Market Goes Global with Souk Chic

Getting “Pleaty” at River Oaks District

** Photos by Sofia T. (@dydesigner) **

(Vintage Mary McFadden Pants- Eado Vintage, Vintage Crop Blouse- Deja Vu Fashions, Vintage Shoes- thrifted, Vintage Dior Sunglasses- estate sale find, Vintage Loup Necklace- Arbor Antiques estate sale find, Vintage Tooled Clutch- Cheeky Vintage, Vintage Bracelets- thrifted)

As soon as I purchased the vintage 1980s Mary McFadden pants from one of my fave Houston vintage shops- Eado Vintage, I knew they had to be photographed. I met up with one of my photographer friends -Sofia (definitely check her out on instagram- @dydesigner) at posh River Oaks District– Houston’s newest upscale open-air shopping mecca and we “photo’d” away!

Mary McFadden was known for her signature pleating (which sort of mimics the Fortuny pleating) and Grecian-inspired gowns. Her pieces are highly sought-after by vintage collectors. So it was no surprise that the wide-legged pants have a great fit and flow beautifully. For the shoot, I wanted to let the pants make the statement, so I went minimal on accessories and opted for a vintage white cropped blouse (even though the blouse and tooled clutch have their own unique characteristics as well). The RODistrict was the perfect backdrop for the shoot that day, as it wasn’t too crowded, being a Sunday and later in the day and all.


** Photos by Sofia T. (@dydesigner) **

(#BeSomebody tee- c/o #BeSomebody , Vintage Necklace- ATRS, Skirt- c/o Choies, Heels- c/o Nine West, Headband- DIY by me, Vintage Sunglasses- thrifted, Kassidy Crossbody – c/o Elaine Turner, Earpiece c/o Debra Rapoport.)

The #BeSomebody concept was created in 2009 by Kash Shaikh- who just tweeted a simple tweet. Since then, the #BeSomebody motivational movement has grown and the hashtag has reached over 5 million people in over 180 countries. I was first introduced to the app #BeSomebody last month, when it launched in Houston. The app was first beta tested in Austin, TX and it wasn’t until October, when it launched in Houston. It is the world’s first mobile social app that connects people who share similar passions. The best and quite frankly, the most important feature of the app is the ‘Experience Marketplace,’ where users can connect with “Passionaries”- teachers and coaches who are making a living doing what they love, all while helping others to reach their highest potential. I highly recommend going HERE to get more insight into the movement and app.

To download the app, go HERE.

Shop. Taste. Empower. Holiday Event @ The Cottage Shop

The Cottage Shop recently held their Shop. Taste. Empower event in celebration of the upcoming holidays. Guests enjoyed shopping gently used clothing (men, women and children’s) and home goods; as well as newer clothing, accessories and gifts that have been generously donated (thank you Francesca’s and Tres Chic), at incredible deals. For guests who wanted some tips on holiday (or general) styling, they could turn to vintage style expert Dawn Bell, Houston Chronicle‘s Joy Sewing or fashion designer Becky Hollands. Yummy treats were provided by Jodycakes, Paulie’s and Whole Foods Montrose, while sips were provided by Greenway Coffee and Topo Chico. Guests also had the opportunity to bid on a Happy Hour for 8 at Boheme, Barista 101 class for 15 guests taught by David Buehrer of Greenway Coffee, jewelry from Burdlife, plus much more.

I had a photo shoot after the event, so luckily, a complimentary beauty bar and its’ Holiday Glam Squad were on-site to give shoppers a makeover, while hairstylists demonstrated quick holiday up-dos. Beauty blogger Nicole Kestenbaum used LUSH Fresh Handmade Cosmetics and gave my lips and eye lids a fresh start, while Dani- makeup artist for By Terry Cosmetics finished off the look. The other makeup artists on hand were: Lydia Lutz (Artistry by Lyd), Justine Hernandez and Kenya Hunt (Makeup by Kenya). Special thanks goes to The Make-Up Artist Project and Shany Cosmetics for also helping to sponsor the Beauty Bar.

I ended up making a beeline for the vintage section (obvs) and picked out an adorable pastel green with lace and bows on side nightgown (thanks Dawn!) and a two-piece floral duster and long nightgown lingerie set…all for under $20. Not only do I LOVE thrifting, but knowing that my money goes for such a great cause really made the experience more worthwhile.

Next time you are in the Montrose neighborhood of Houston, definitely check out The Cottage Shop!

TOMO Mags – Not Your Average Magazine Stand

When you think of a magazine or news stand, you instantly think of either a small corner store- esque structure or a modest stand-alone hutch off the street (like in NYC). Well, the guys at TOMO Mags decided to take the millennial magazine stand to the next level. TOMO Mags is housed in a blue repurposed school bus and parks at various locations throughout Houston. I finally had the chance to visit the bus during one of their Sundays parked outside of Tout Suite.

Meet Vico Puentes and Keiwing Chong. Puentes has been dabbling in various markets throughout the fashion industry for about ten years. He’s done everything from buying, marketing to styling and is currently doing art direction for a major retailer. Chong is a graphic designer and loves paper and being technical. The guys wanted to combine projects that they’ve worked on and turn it into one business. They thought that the magazine industry was a really natural way of bringing their dream to fruition.

They chose to repurpose a small scale school bus, due to less overhead than an actual brick-n-mortar (and why not go to where the people are). They chose the name TOMO because “we really think of this project as one of our other “kids” (they have two dogs named Keito and Toshi) so we thought, ‘let’s name it something similar and in the same sense as a Japanese name.’ So while researching, we came across TOMO, which means ‘knowledgable friend’ in both old and new Japanese. In Latin, it means ‘volume’ as in book or issue. It can also mean ‘to take in’ in Spanish. So for us, it means ‘a knowledgable friend that you take in information from.'”

The shelves inside the bus are filled with publications with what seems like every subject imaginable; from architecture, design, LGBT, to fashion and children’s. I even spied paper goods, buttons and journals. Puentes further explains, “A lot of times, when we look at what we want to carry as far as a publication is concerned, I look at it more from an emotional standpoint. I flip through it (magazines) and ‘oh it makes me happy or it makes me think’…That’s sort of my mind set. For Keiwing, it’s more like that he pays attention to the paper or the technical aspect, which I think is a good balance. But we definitely keep an open mind to make sure we’re not just buying for ourselves. We allow different points-of-view to be available so that people can find something that interests them. Ultimately we want to make sure that everyone can walk in and find something, as there is a little bit of something for everyone. We want something that makes people interested to want to pick up and read and feel like they can take it with them. We look for architecture, design, opinion, fashion…We don’t have a set criteria. We don’t want to be known for one thing. We want to be known for having a variety. There is a set of expectations with the quality of the publication: great art direction, great color, design, the material has to be high-quality. We’re still open minded. Ultimately as long as it’s a publication itself that has a strong opinion whatever the subject is, is worth it for us.”

They officially launched on October 11th of this year. It’s been a good start, but they’ve had to deal with the weather as well.”We have great partnerships with retailers from boutiques to coffee shops that allow us to park and then either set up inside because of we have to be really careful of the humidity (it is Houston after all). If it’s way too humid or if it’s raining; even though we’re protected, the paper starts warping.”

They dedicate Sunday mornings, usually from 10am to 2pm(ish) to #techrehab – a chance to disconnect from technology and hang out or read a magazine while sipping on coffee from Tout Suite on another local coffee shop of their choosing.

Once their website launches, they plan on selling the magazines there as well. They want to help promote Houston publications like Sugar and Rice and Gulf Coast Journal. “Those are publications that we feel Houston is aware of and we are happy to carry them even though they are carried in a lot of places.”

In the meantime, check out their FACEBOOK and INSTAGRAM to see where they are on Sundays and other local happenings!

The ‘World’s Largest’ and Philanthropic Closet of Theresa Roemer

One of Houston’s most notable entrepreneurs- Theresa Roemer– opened the doors of her 3,000 square foot closet to me on a recent Saturday afternoon so I could get a glimpse of the ultimate ‘she cave.’

The thick glass doors opened and I was ushered in, all while being in total awe at the enormity of the famed closet. Crisp white and lighted shelving that spanned from floor to ceiling held a rainbow of Hermes Birkins, Dior, Prada, Louis Vuitton, Chanel… a collection that has been amassed for over 30 years. “It’s not like I just went out last year and bought everything and stocked it. I have my very first Louis Vuitton purse that I was finally able to purchase when I was 19. I go on trips to Italy or Germany and I find cute little purses and things that are by well known designers in that country, but not necessarily in the United States. I fall in love with it and have to have it. So it becomes a part of my collection. It’s no different than a man who collects cars.”

We walk up the spiral staircase to the 2nd floor or “family room of the house.” Theresa points out her large shoe collection, many of which are Louboutins and have been signed by the designer (she mentions that the signed shoes do tend to generate more money after giving away to charity). She then pulls out a narrow drawer, where several scarves hang neatly. There is also a small champagne bar, where bottles of champagne are readily available for when her friends come over. The other side of the room boasted a personal make-up station, a mannequin where an Oscar de la Renta dress rests sweetly on it. A row of glass doors reveal her clothing, while shelves above display more handbags and Louis Vuitton luggage. A trip up another spiral staircase takes us to a small alcove, which houses her seasonal items, such as furs, hats and leathers.

We move over to the champagne bar, taking a seat at the cozy bar stools, and she continues her story on the dream closet.

Theresa’s concept of having a physically appealing closet started years ago. Every time she moved, her closet would get bigger and bigger. “It didn’t necessarily mean that I always had a big closet, it meant that what closet space I did have was beautiful. Every time I would have a function (whether it be a fundraiser or an event with people gathering), as soon as the girls would walk in the door (even with their husbands), the first thing the girls would say after we’d get a glass of champagne was ‘can we go see the closet?’ So we’d go off and go in the closet and we’d all just sit in there, giggle and admire all the pretty things.”

When the Roemers’ got ready to renovate their current home, a gorgeous home located in The Woodlands, she thought, “You know what, all you do is spend time in your closet. When it comes to events, all the girls want to do is hang out in the closet. I need to build a closet so big that I can hold the fundraisers and charity events actually IN the closet, because that’s where the girls want to be anyway.”

Once her closet was blogged via Neiman Marcus, news spread quickly throughout Houston and eventually all over the world. Almost 30% of her fan are from Germany, so in February, she will be going on a media tour throughout Germany.

When asked about the size of the closet… all 3,000 square feet in the three-story space… “I’ve got the space, I’ve got the height, why not go up with it? Wy not make it my dream closet? The closet that every girl dreams that she had. and make it so big and fun that events are held in the closet and girls can hang out in the closet. It’s the same as a man cave. It’s like a ‘she cave’. If men can have a place where they can play pool, drink beer and watch sports, why can’t a woman have her space where she collects her items ..why can’t girls sit in a ‘cave’ like that where they just enjoy girl things…and talk about girl things and drink their champagne…and have fun?”

The three story closet took about a year and a half to complete. Theresa has it strategically organized so that the 2nd floor is like the family room of a house, “It’s where everything happens. It’s where a lot of the entertaining happens, it’s where I can sit and get my hair and make-up done. We positioned the mirror perfectly where I can look in the mirror and see my clothes (while I’m sitting there getting my hair an make-up done). So a lot of times I’m looking in the mirror seeing the clothes and trying to visualize what I want and visually put an outfit together. By the time I get out of the chair, I know exactly what I want to wear. Then from there I walk over and pick out the right shoe to go with the outfit. If it’s winter time, I go up to the 3rd floor to get a fur or whatever. Then I finally walk downstairs and now it’s time to pick out the purse and jewelry. I take one last look in the mirror and then it’s time to go. It’s laid out so that it’s organized and I’m not wasting time,” she further explains.

On being judged for ‘being a show-off’…. “I get criticized for it all the time. People are always like ‘What’s she doing? Showing off all this.’ I’m no different than a man that shows off his man cave to his buddies. The thing that most people don’t know about me and this closet is that everything in the closet is mine (it is a working closet after all), but everything eventually gets rotated out to a charity. Recently, for The Women’s Home and their Renew and Redeux Fashion Show, I donated 40,000 worth of stuff. I gave them a 10,000 Oscar de la Renta gown, a couple Prada and Louis Vuitton purses, a Versace dress, some Michael Kors dresses … So what people don’t understand about it is that everything is mine now but eventually it gets rotated out and gets given to charity and it helps charity raise money. Then if I want to replace it I can. Most men, with their man caves, don’t give up their memorabilia. They hang onto their signed jersey by JJ Watt or whatnot because it becomes more valuable as time goes on. The same thing with purses, the longer you hang onto it, (especially a collector’s item) the more money it’s worth. But I don’t want to keep that money. What good’s it going to do me? Maybe when I die, they sell off my estate, well ok…but why not enjoy giving it away while I’m alive. So I don’t want to wait until I’m dead to have to see people enjoy the monies that my items raise. I hold charity events in the closet, because people want to come see it. People will pay good money to come see the closet…which goes directly to the foundations featured that night. We just got done with Fashion Woodlands and 200 people showed up that night from Houston and The Woodlands to partake in the event because it was a fundraising event that gave the monies to the Joe Niekro Foundation. Niekro used to be an Astro who died of a brain aneurysm. As well as Child Legacy International, where I sit on the board of Directors. CLI drills water wells and provides a sustainable life for people in Malawi, Africa. So, they paid a lot of money to come to the event. They were blown away by nine designers showcasing their lines, they got to see the closet, they had a fun time and once again, the monies go to the charities.”

The closet is also like her safe. The doors have thick glass and lock and alarms. When they were robbed last year, the house had been under re-construction for eighteen months. When it happened, the closet was in the middle of being painted. “You can’t put the alarms and glass up yet until the walls are painted. Plus, it’s my house and we live in a gated community, so why should I have to feel like I have to have the doors locked?” Essentially, the robbery has not deterred Theresa from going about her daily routine and hosting functions.

We walk downstairs and she takes out the Louis Vuitton handbag that she bought years ago. It looks like she had bought it this year, as the leather and hardware looked flawless. The power of a dust bag is quite something! She says she will never give up the bag, “To me it represents a little poor girl growing up on a ranch that always wore hand-me-downs. It also represents ‘Wow, I finally made enough money on my own that I can afford to buy what I want. When I was finally able to get a real job. (She had always worked on the ranch throughout her childhood.) I was bussing tables, I was waitressing and the money became bigger. Then I started lifeguarding in the summer and working at a department store. Now that’s when I start making some ‘money money.’ It’s a bag I don’t use. Though I’ve probably used it maybe five times since I was 19.”

Parting words and why I became motivated to re-organize my small closet… “A closet is also a representation of a woman. I don’t care if you’ve got a 4 ft by 6ft closet or a closet with bi-fold doors. The minute you open those bi-fold doors, you should just see pretty. It should just represent you. They say a car sometimes represent a man.. I kinda feel that way with closets. I think that regardless of what space you have it should just be pretty, organized and it should be a reflection of you.”

STAY TUNED! She’s got a new book coming out in January called “Naked in 30 Days.” It’s all about a woman being the best that she can be and reveal herself in 30 days naked. That can be naked in a physical sense (because she’s never felt good enough to finally present herself naked to her partner) or mentally and emotionally naked (she’s ready to reveal her deepest, darkest secrets).

Shop. Taste. Empower. VIP Blogger Preview Party – Holiday Edition

The Cottage Shop in Montrose invited local bloggers to attend their Shop. Taste. Empower. VIP Blogger Preview Party- Holiday Edition last night to shop the store and check out the newest arrivals before their big Shop. Taste. Empower. event on November 15th. Guests enjoyed sweets provided by Phoenicia Foods and sips provided by Topo Chico. A make-up artist was on hand demonstrating the By Terry cosmetics line. Francesca’s also generously donated items that we were able to pick 3 (necklace, bracelet or earrings, scarf or accessory) pieces as gifts, while the rest was available for purchase.

We enjoyed discounts on top of the already generous prices:

50% off regular clothing and shoes (Monday)
25% off vintage and boutique clothing
25% off jewelry and accessories

We mixed, mingled and of course… shopped. Proceeds from The Cottage Shop go to benefit The Women’s Home.

If you are local to Houston and would like to check out their actual Shop. Taste. Empower. event on Sunday November 15th from 1- 4pm, go HERE to register for tickets. The free event gives shoppers an opportunity to find incredible gifts, receive styling advice from Houston’s fashion experts- Dawn Bell, Becky Hollands and Joy Sewing and nosh on sweet refreshments provided by: Greenway Coffee Company, JodyCakes, Paulie’s, Topo Chico and Whole Foods. Most importantly, donate women’s winter clothing to those in need.

** The first 250 guests to bring a clothing donation to the event will receive a free swag bag! **

The Cottage Shop first opened its doors in 1971 and has been a gem in the Montrose area. It provides job training for the residents and generates 20% of The Women’s Home’s operating income. Since it’s most recent renovation, it now sells new and gently used clothing, accessories, furniture and household goods. There is also a designer and vintage boutique within the shopping area. The Cottage Shop is located at: 811 Westheimer Rd., Houston, TX 77006.

The Women’s Home was established in Houston in 1957 and built around the mission to help women in crisis to regain their self-esteem and dignity and empower them to return to society as productive individuals. Their programs are targeted to women in the Houston area who are homeless or on the verge of homelessness, with many residents suffering from addiction or mental illness, or both. With nearly 60 years of service, they have helped countless women through their long-term residential treatment program in Montrose and their permanent supportive housing program in Spring Branch. Both programs offer a solution to women who seek a safe, sober and drug-free community where they can recognize and reach their unique potential for success. For more information, please visit their WEBSITE.

HUGE thanks to Nikki, Bethany, Tina, Cherie, Chau and the The Cottage Shop for hosting us!!

Houston’s Retail Market Goes Global with Souk Chic

While Ashley Srouji was living and studying in Lebanon, she was amazed by all the local designers and brands there; most of which were not available in the U.S. These designers and brands were typically inspired by their surroundings and not by mass fashion. The concept of bringing pieces from abroad came to her and it wasn’t until after she returned and settled in Houston, that she decided to move forward with that concept.

Ashley officially launched Souk Chic May 2015 and has since held numerous pop-up shops at local businesses, as well as in her home. Think of Souk Chic as an international market, but in a more personalized setting (and without the hefty plane fare). Ashley has a keen eye for choosing styles for her inventory, which include divine Moroccan rug clutches, handbags by Lebanese-based Sarah’s Bag (including the ‘Tawleh’ style, which has been seen with Amal Clooney), Ukrainian vyshyvankas by Foberini, cheeky straw totes and hats by Caren Lola, Middle-Eastern inspired caftans by Biba & Marmise, handmade book clutches by p.s. Besitos, sandals from Greece and Spain and evil eye bracelets from Mono and Me.

Other brands include:

Aelia – Grecian handmade sandals.

BLTRX (Bellatrix) – leather handbags designed by Tamar Friedman. Each handcrafted bag is based on a take of a triangular shape, mixing 3 kinds of materials or textures, leathers and textiles.

Mola Sasa – clutches made with the traditional print by Kuna (indigenous communities of Colombia and Panama) women artisans.

KinaMania – founded by Kristina Zouein. The sandals are handcrafted in Spain and are based on the traditional Spanish sandal, the albarca.

The Souk Chic website is coming soon, but in the meantime, check out the FACEBOOK and INSTAGRAM to shop and get more information!

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