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5 Dec

Brunch, Bubbly, and Balenciaga in Black at The Kimbell Art Museum

A Behind the Seams Look into the World of Art, Fashion and Fort Worth Society

I recently attended a very special brunch held in the Renzo Piano Pavilion at the Kimbell Art Museum, highlighting the museum’s latest exhibit Balenciaga in Black, from the Palais Galliera, Paris’ distinguished Fashion Museum, and the Balenciaga Archives, also in Paris.

Renzo Piano Pavilion SoFortWorthIt Kimbell
Kimbell Balenciaga SoFortWorthIt
Kimbell Balenciaga Ken Downing Niemand Marcus SoFortWorthIt

This event not only highlighted the work of one of the most influential fashion designers in history, Cristobal Balenciaga and the museum’s latest exhibit, Balenciaga in Black, but also allowed VIP guests to partake in an exclusive tour led by the exhibition’s organizing curator, Jennifer Casler Price.

Kimbell Ken Downing Niemand Marcus Balenciaga Jennifer Casler Price
Kimbell Ken Downing Niemand Marcus Balenciaga Jennifer Casler Price Robin Arena Anne Paup Linda Christie
Kimbell Ken Downing Niemand Marcus Balenciaga Jennifer Casler Price

The Kimbell Art Museum in partnership with Neiman Marcus Fort Worth, hosted the event to celebrate the new exhibit. The HeART of Neiman Marcus Foundation supports the Kimbell Kids program through a four year commitment of $100,000.

Watching Ken Downing, the famed Neiman Marcus fashion director and senior vice president, and the Kimbell’s deputy director, George Shackelford, discuss Balenciaga’s impressive career and enduring influence on fashion was pretty awesome to say the least. Fort Worth LOVES Ken and his bigger than life personality.

Ken Downing Kimbell Niemand Marcus SoFortWorthIt
Ken Downing Kimbell Niemand Marcus SoFortWorthIt
Ken Downing Kimbell Niemand Marcus SoFortWorthIt
Ken Downing Kimbell Niemand Marcus SoFortWorthIt Candice Hansen
Ken Downing Kimbell Niemand Marcus SoFortWorthIt Cami Goff
Ken Downing Kimbell Niemand Marcus SoFortWorthIt
Ken Downing Kimbell Niemand Marcus SoFortWorthIt
Ken Downing Kimbell Niemand Marcus SoFortWorthIt Julie Kleberg

At Neiman’s, Ken Downing determines the taste, trends, attitudes and ideas that the luxury department store embraces each season. In fact, Ken advised on every detail of this event from the flowers, stage backdrop and furniture to the table linens and menu, which was a lovely Balenciaga-inspired brunch catered by City Club of Fort Worth.

Kimbell Ken Downing Niemand Marcus Balenciaga
Kimbell Ken Downing Niemand Marcus Balenciaga
Kimbell Ken Downing Niemand Marcus Balenciaga
Kimbell Ken Downing Niemand Marcus Balenciaga
Kimbell Ken Downing Niemand Marcus Balenciaga City Club Catering
Kimbell Ken Downing Niemand Marcus Balenciaga City Club Catering
Kimbell Ken Downing Niemand Marcus Balenciaga City View Catering

These unique, intimate touches sparked a newfound interest in my appreciation for art and fashion. I soaked in the beauty and magnificence of the works on display, on top of the opportunity to ask personalized questions during the event.

Who is Cristobal Balenciaga?

Cristobal Balenciaga (1895-1972) was known as “the couturier’s couturier,” the designer most admired by other fashion designers. He was born in Basque Spain, a fishing village, and learned how to sew from his mother.

Kimbell Ken Downing Neiman Marcus Balenciaga SoFortWorthIt

Black you ask? The folklore and traditions of his Spanish childhood were the sources and inspirations for this collection of more than one hundred garments and accessories. And black because it reveals the impressive silhouettes and simple cuts favored by the artist.

Kimbell Ken Downing Neiman Marcus Balenciaga SoFortWorthIt
Kimbell Ken Downing Neiman Marcus Balenciaga SoFortWorthIt

He trained as a tailor and began his career as the head of ladies tailoring at a department store in Spain. This background helped Balenciaga become an expert in cutting fabric with attention to contour and shape, and meticulous construction.

Kimbell Ken Downing Neiman Marcus Balenciaga SoFortWorthIt
Kimbell Ken Downing Neiman Marcus Balenciaga SoFortWorthIt

Balenciaga used infinite types of fabric in varying shades of black, each carefully selected to emphasize the shapes, volumes and silhouettes of his unique creations, which were often adorned with lace, embroidery, silk, satin, fringes, beads, sequins and fur.

Kimbell Ken Downing Neiman Marcus Balenciaga SoFortWorthIt
Kimbell Ken Downing Neiman Marcus Balenciaga SoFortWorthIt
Kimbell Ken Downing Neiman Marcus Balenciaga SoFortWorthIt

Goya in Black and White

I mean, if you’re going to see the Balenciaga exhibit, you might as well take a hot minute and pop over to the Goya in Black and White exhibit just 20 feet away. Francisco de Goya just so happens to be my very favorite Spanish printmaker, an appreciation I formed while studying Art History at SMU.

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In the Goya exhibition you really get to see the folklore and history of Balenciaga’s birthplace graphically illustrated. I even spotted a few garments that may have inspired him, such as the lace dress the seated woman is wearing in this printed title, Pretty Advice.

And this one, ironically titled What a Tailor Can Do, where the ruching in the cape almost looks like the ruching in this dress Balenciaga created in 1956.

The Kimbell Art Museum is one of the cities best treasures.

From Monet and Renoir to Balenciaga and Goya, the Kimbell Art Museum continually debuts unparalleled, special exhibitions with loans from some of the world’s most prestigious collections.

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The museum’s architecture is unrivaled. The original Louis Kahn-designed building is regarded as one of the “outstanding achievements of the modern era.” Even Kanye West can attest to this as he visited the Kimbell on November 3rd! However, what’s most impressive, is what’s on display in their galleries.

With a permanent collection that includes world-famous European masterworks and rare pieces from Africa, Asia, and the Ancient Americas, the Kimbell Art Museum will leave you with a sense of wonder and heightened, if not a newfound sense of cultural appreciation.

Member Perks at the Kimbell

My family and I have participated in the museum’s membership program for many years and reaped the benefits of their unrivaled art experiences. I always look forward to member events at the Kimbell, as I know they are nothing short of fabulous. And I especially enjoy The Red Party, an ultra-trendy event which benefits Kimbell Kids Education Programs.

Christy Dunaway Smith The Red Party Kimbell Art Museum Balenciaga in Black

If you are not currently taking advantage of the bountiful benefits of a Kimbell Art Museum membership, I would highly consider it for a number of reasons. For starters, a visit to the Kimbell will ignite your senses and transport your mind. SO, get out there and flex your cultural muscle and find some art to appreciate.

Also, it’s always free to view their permanent collection but membership gets you free admission to the special exhibitions all year! And I just heard that Monet’s Waterlilies will be here next summer in their Monet: The Later Year’s exhibit so get your membership now to be among the first to see it.

And with Christmas right around the corner, you can give you friends and family a whole year of experiences for as little as $75. Now that’s what I call the gift that keeps on giving!

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Photography  credit  Laura McCarthy & Kimbell 

SoFortWorthIt GIVEAWAY

Y’all, I am sooo excited about this giveaway, I can hardly stand it! The Kimbell has given me permission to give away as many tickets as I want for the Balenciaga exhibit. Wow! Holy cow, right? (follow me on IG and FB for more chances to win tickets)

So here is the scoop, to celebrate this super cool giveaway, not only am I giving away a 4 pack of tickets, but I am tossing in lunch for 4 at the Kimbell Buffet too. Wahoooooo!

Please read the OFFICIAL TERMS & CONDITIONS located in the Rafflecopter link below.

4 May

B&B Butchers & Restaurant launches Brunch with SoFortWorthIt

When B&B Butchers & Restaurant’s PR team reached out to help launch their new weekend brunch, I couldn’t have been more thrilled to collaborate with the hottest new restaurant in town.

Over the course of eight weeks, we hammered out all the fun details for me to host an over-the-top influencers event for gals who were in the media, who were social media savvy and of course, I had to sprinkle in a few of my favorite philanthropist and socialites too.

I reached out to some of the best in the industry to make sure this event would wow! I’m a huge fan of floral, and Cityview Florist, aka Flowersnobs, went all out. We coordinated the blooms to match the colors in the SoFortWorthIt and B&B logos.

Big Ass Balloons made quite the statement for the Sunday Funday launch harmonizing the same color palette as the floral and logos.

Besides curating the Bubbles Brunch & Banter event to be a fabulous experience for an exclusive group of digital experts, my favorite part was sitting down with owner Ben Berg, his managing partner and GM, Darren McDonald, and private events coordinator, Angela Kell, to create the perfect tasting menu.

And let me tell you, we were not going to disappoint! In fact, B&B’s Executive Chef John Piccolino and Berg Hospitality Group’s Chief Executive Chef Tommy Elbashary, pulled out all the stops on food offerings.

Photo credit: Felix Sanchez

Have you ever seen so many precious micro versions of breakfast? These passed appetizers were pared down nibbles from actual dishes they serve off their brunch menu. Barbie-sized pancakes? Yes, please!!!

My mom was so impressed by the flavors, portion size and food presentation, she practically accosted Darren to cater their next private event.

Darren serving bite size stacks of pancakes.
Chef Tommy's Bacon
Mini Quiche
Lox & Bagels
Chicken & Waffle Cones

Brunch started out with a viral BANG as guests grabbed an aperitif and made their way over to the social media backdrop to let the world know that B&B’s Bubbles Brunch & Banter had begun and was here to stay.

B&B Butcher Brunch

Squeezebox Bandits played TexMex Zydeco, similar to Cajun Jazz, as we mingled and visited for about an hour.

After grazing on five different appetizers, it was time to sit down and work our way through the next round of food. By this point, I was already regretting not wearing my Spanx.

Thanks to JOY Macarons, each person found their assigned seat with a tasty personalized treat with B&B and SFWI logos on them. A little insider info? Liz, the owner of JOY, was in carpool with me growing up, when we attended All Saints together.

Once everyone took their seats, Darren introduced and thanked me for hosting the launch of B&B’s weekend brunch. In return, I thanked him, the restaurant, all the guests who attended and the local businesses who helped to make this event just perfect.

As the music resumed, more food came out from the kitchen. And more food, and more food. I seriously thought I was going to blow a gasket, but I couldn’t help but try a bite of everything.

Savory bread, sweet pastries and Nutella breakfast pizza with sliced strawberries and bananas! Holy Big Balls of Cowtown, I was about to founder.

I ordered as light as possible for my main entrée, which was the Power Up breakfast consisting of scrambled egg whites, whole wheat avocado toast, and salsa roja. Need I say more.

And then there was dessert. Ripieni Sorbetto’s, the most lovely, frozen citrus fruits filled with sorbet. The only thing missing was the Amalfi Coast. They were absolutely decadent.

And the family recipe, Gramma June’s mini Monkey Bread was pure crack. It was impossible to have just one bite.

As brunch came to an end, guests took home a B&B bag filled with the restaurant’s signature wine glasses, a custom monogrammed bottle opener, a treat from Cityview Florist and an Elaine Turner gift card to the brand’s store in The Shops of Clearfork.

As a bonus, the ever-fabulous Neiman Marcus provided additional gift bags filled with a full-sized beauty product too.

After the event was all said and done, the one thing I’ve been thinking about over and over was the graciousness and hospitality we received during brunch.

I’ve dined at B&B more times than I can count on both hands and EVERY, SINGLE, TIME, service has been above and beyond, like butlers recruited from Daddy Warbucks’s mansion. Berg Hospitality Group does not disappoint.

Hey, when you’re only one of 10 restaurants in the United States who qualifies to serve authentic Kobe beef from purebred Japanese cattle, you can expect the best.

B&B Butchers and Restaurant is a valuable addition to our community. They offer presentation, atmosphere, and good food all in a way that’s fresh to Fort Worth.

Located in the coolest new land development, The Shops at Clearfork. Southern hospitality and impeccable tasting food, what more could you ask?

B&B Butchers & Restaurant GIVEAWAY!!!

*All event photos courtesy of Laura McCarthy of Elusive Images Photography* 

15 Feb

SoFortWorthIt Gets a Sweet Treat with Eleni’s Cookies

Hey friends! You must be shocked to see two posts from me in one week. I know it’s been a little while since I’ve busted out some content on SoFortWorthIt, but I promise you, it was worth the wait.

If you follow me on social media, then you’ve probably heard me mention the words, Academy Awards or Oscars a few times. Well, let me fill you in on the goods! It’s true, Sweet Hubs and I are beyond thrilled to attend the 90th Academy Awards in just a few weeks.

You can check out the nitty gritty of who, what and how in the world we get the opportunity to check this off our bucket-list HERE. In the meantime, I’m kicking off the first of several articles about this once in a lifetime weekend, starting with these sweet treats. We’re not just talking about any sweet treat, we are talking about the uber-famous Eleni’s New York cookies and cupcakes.

Eleni's New York Logo

What I love most about these slightly crisp, not too sweet and intricately hand-decorated confections? They make the perfect dessert to either give or serve for every occasion. Speaking of occasions, every year Eleni’s celebrates the Oscars with her Signature Illustration Hollywood Cookies honoring Best Actor and Actress Nominees.

This year’s Academy Award gift sets pay homage to Meryl Streep, Saoirse Ronan, Margot Robbie, Frances McDormand, Sally Hawkins, Timothee Chalarmet, Daniel Day-Lewis, Daniel Kaluuya, Gary Oldman and Denzel Washington.

SoFortWorthIt and Eleni’s New York are Long Time BFF’s

I tasted my very first Eleni’s cookie way back in the late 90’s when my parents gave us one of the coolest Christmas gifts. It was an Advent-like green Christmas tree from the Neiman Marcus Christmas catalog, and Eleni’s Christmas cookies hung from ribbon on these long wooden dowels. It was magnificent, and I’ve been hooked ever since.

And, In the mid-2000’s, I hosted a book signing for the ever fabulous Kimberly Schlegel Whitman with a breathtakingly delicious dessert-themed tablescape. This event was so yummy, the calories were even swinging from the chandeliers. I sourced desserts locally and nationwide. I knew this event wouldn’t be complete without Eleni’s playfully unique cookies and I couldn’t resist adding these fashion staples to the buffet. 

Kimberly Schlegel Whitman and Eleni's Cookies at book signing
Kimberly Schlegel Whitman and Eleni's Cookies at book signing
Kimberly Schlegel Whitman and Eleni's Cookies at book signing

Plus, Eleni’s came to the rescue when we needed the perfect thank you gifts for my husband’s overseas clients. We sent high-res files of each company’s logo. In return, they produced the best gift for Jason to honor their business relationship. A set of cookies with the MSmith Exporting logo were placed next to the client’s logo-cookies in a box tied with a big red bow to signify luck.

Thanks to Eleni, we scored big in gift-giving etiquette with the Chinese. Below is a picture of the MSmith cookie and us in the airport hauling huge boxes of cookie gifts.

Eleni's gift-etiquette perfect for business trip to China

The sky’s the limit with corporate or special occasion cookies from Eleni’s.

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Below are some of my favorite sets. I’ve ordered these summer cookies to take to the lake, and I’m going to order these ski cookies to take with us on spring break.

Eleni's Lake Cookie Set
Eleni's Ski Cookie Set

Wouldn’t these make the perfect thank you gift for that special friend hosting you in their luxury sports box or to watch the big game in their home?

Eleni's Cowboy Cookie Sets
Eleni's Play Ball Cookie Set

We all know the flu is running rampant. This gift set would get someone well real quick, I’m almost sure of it! You know what they say, a spoon full of sugar helps the medicine go down.

Eleni's Get Well Cookie Set

Giveaways Galore!

Here’s the yummiest part of it all! Eleni’s New York is giving away their signature Academy Award set which includes Best Actor and Best Actress cookies valued at $100. These will be the hit of any Oscar-themed party.

Eleni’s is also extending a 10% discount to all SoFortWorthIt followers. Enter promo code SFWI10 at check out. Good through February 2019.

Head on over to my Instagram for a chance to win this signature New York, New York Gift Set valued at $46! Drawing a lucky winner on March 2, 2018.

NYNYEleni's