Saturday, April 28, 2012

Mom and Dad in Dubai: Part Deux

Its been a month since Mom and Dad were visiting us in Dubai and it still feels like just yesterday - hence my tardy posting of their vacation highlights - Dubai has a way of moving time forward unlike any place I've ever lived.  You've seen them at the World Cup and at Chocol'art but that wasn't the only fun that we got up to during their visit to the desert destination, there were all kinds of new experiences that beckoned.

Taking a stroll around the neighborhood is a great way to get oriented, it changes every time they visit!
The pros and cons of living on Burj Park, you've got front row seats to every event!  Whether you like it - or not.
I think Mom had to lay on the ground to get the whole Burj in this shot.
The Mohawk Building aka Address Hotel Downtown
After a quick jaunt around the neighborhood we went to the Dubai Offshore Sailing Club with  friends Karen and Bruce.  There we ran into our buddy Khalifa who took quite a liking to Mom.  I personally think she is great third wife material. 

Just when you think you are far from home...
A hazy day in Dubai, no surprise there!  But we managed to get most of the downtown skyline in view from the Jumeirah 1 beach.

No snow storms here, but we've lived through a sandstorm or two.  On my birthday Mom and I headed to the spa while Matt and Dad went to conquer the desert - I think I chose the better half of that equation.  The weather turned worse and worse as they drove out into the sandy abyss.
Undeterred, Dad suited up and got ready for battle.
Matt captained the dune buggy while Dad and he were blasted with sand - looks like we both were getting exfoliated!
But when he finally reached the top of the dunes, he was King of the World!
We also decided to try out the new segeway tours on offer in our 'hood.  Having been on a segeway tour before I was really game.  They are awesome.  However, wearing a helmet not so awesome.  No matter how much I love wearing a hat I don't think I can work the cannonball-head look.

Ride 'em cowboy!  Dad encounters a little resistance on the segeway his first time around, but he gets the hang of it pretty quickly!
It doesn't matter how nerdy you look, because once you are gliding along you don't have a care in the world!

The city of the future?  Maybe.  But I won't be wearing a helmet!

Saturday, April 21, 2012

The Birthday Bash

Abraham Lincoln famously said that “...In the end, it's not the years in your life that count. It's the life in your years."  Well said sir, and if I have anything to say about it I'm going to cram a lot of life into these years!  Lucky for me I'm surrounded by people who are willing to help me stuff a lot of life into each minute, and my birthday was no exception. 

For the grand occasion of easing my transition into the next decade I was feted by friends and family and showered with lots of love - and chocolate - you guys know me too well!  The festivities started with the arrival of an edible arrangement from Lisa and Basile, and moved to Refletts for the creme de la creme of dining experiences.  Not only did I cram a lot of life in, but also a lot of delicious food!

The following day it was time to party down and we enjoyed the atmosphere at Horizon Bar until the wee hours of the morning.  It was great to have so many friends there, and super special to have my parents there for the event.  It was a nice reminder that we are connected to so many wonderful people on both sides of the pond!  Another year older, another year wiser, and another year happier.  Here's to always making sure there's plenty of life in each year!

A beautiful arrangement to start the festivities.  I'm partial the fruit with chocolate on it, naturally.
On our way to Refletts
At the top French restaurant in Dubai and Dad tried everything - it's a birthday miracle!
"Katie" would have been just fine?
Party animal, Wade Shaver.
With great friends Gemma and Maurice.
One of the many perks of being a birthday girl, an official cake feeder.
Two of my very favorite ladies!
Lucky number 7.  The 7th birthday Matt and I have celebrated together!
Great showing from the LivingSocial team!
My love of chocolate may only be second to my love of flowers - life is good!
Hey Mom, did you think 30 years ago you'd be celebrating my birthday in Dubai?!

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Chocol'art: Charity and Chocolate a Sweet Combination

There are some combinations that are just made for each other: cookies and milk, peanut butter and jelly, and pretzels and ice cream (is the last one just me?), but we had a new sweet combo added to the palette with the introduction of charity and chocolate through the Chocol'art event held at the Emirates Towers last week.  

From the same social entrepreneurs that brought Dubai Nutella Nights (see our posts from 2008 and 2009) and combined Nutella consumption with a silent auction to benefit various charities, comes Chocol'art, a socially conscious event that supports local artists while supporting the Make a Wish Foundation. 

At the intersection of the sweet addiction inspired by cocoa, the warm fulfillment of charity work, and the radiant promise held in innocent children comes a new concept in a socially-responsible excuses to party…Chocol’art!!

Galleries, artists and designers across Dubai were invited to create spontaneous and unique works during the event, all inspired by and related to the theme of chocolate. 

We enjoyed a beautiful night at the Emirates Towers with Mom and Dad while Matt spent the night manning his table for the silent auction.  Knot Standard generously donated two custom made suits for the evening's events!  The night featured a movie star theme and loads of chocolate of course!

Matt with Knot Standard's biggest investors...(of love).
It was a wonderful night for the open air venue, and this well dressed lady was my hot date!
Crepes for dinner?  Yes please.
Even giants love chocolate.
BMW featured a live drive in movie theatre on the promenade, you were welcome to pop into the cars and enjoy the movie.
I'll take them!  8.5 please.
The Knot Standard booth had a great location - you couldn't miss it!
Dad got photo bombed by Marilyn Monroe and friends.
Morgan Freeman?
The art I was most interested in - alas none came home, I was out bid!

Hardest working guy in the bespoke business.

 Matt also got pulled from the crowd to speak on stage about Knot Standard!

Monday, April 9, 2012

Hats Off to the World Cup!

It was a banner year at the World Cup this year it was the 5th year that we attended the event (wow, have we been here that long?) but it was still filled with firsts!  It was the first time that my Mom and Dad ever attended a horse race, the first time I attended in my "thirties"(more on Mom and Dad's visit and my 30th birthday bash in another post) and the first time that I won Best Hat!

For the past four years I've had the delight of working with milliner Karen Hamilton to help make some wonderful creations to prance around in for the day.  Any reason to play dress up is a-ok for me!  If you love fashion and love playing dress up - working with a milliner like Karen is a total addictive indulgence.  I think that millinery is a last bastion of fantasy in fashion and it couldn't be more fun - who doesn't love a good hat?

After selecting the dress, Karen mulled over it for a few days and then presented our plan.  I wasn't so sure at first, but then again I never am, so I decided to trust Karen and just begged her not to make me look like swamp thing.  With the colors chosen, it was time to put in the order for the suit - note to self it really helps if your husband owns a bespoke menswear company (woot,!

But wait, there's more!  I had my own Barbie and Ken (aka Mom and Dad) flying in and I'll be damned if I wasn't going to dress them up to the nines for the special occasion.  On the morning of the races I laid their outfits out on their bed, the way my Mom used to when I was little.  The tables had turned - and I was responsible for their fashionable debut to the world of racing.  The pressure!

I need not be worried because Mom and Dad nailed it!

Some of the other fun looks of the day included a Burj Khalifa and a horse head made out of hair extensions.  Who's that guy in the hat, their escort?

It was a fantastic day all around and after hours of playing hat model to Karen's creations, let's just say my heart was racing when I made the final cut for the Best Dressed Lady.  With about 400 contestants registering this year, it's always a great feeling to be recognized as a stylish lady.  As I crossed the stage for the final judging a few of the event staff whispered "good luck, welcome back..."  Back?  Apparently Matt and I's win as the Best Dressed Couple had more longevity then I thought!

It was easy to smile big with my parents watching in the crowd, never in a million years did I think I would be at Dubai, during a horse race, competing in millinery and fashion competition with my parents watching - I mean...

So needless to say it was all butterflies when they announced that I had won the Best Hat of the day.  I was do delighted that they chose to recognize Karen's great work and that her art got the credit it deserved.

Second only to the feeling of hanging out with my Mom at the races while Dad sourced a bottle of champagne from the bar (I honestly think it was the only bottle of champagne he bought in his life)!

And we had lots to celebrate - a great day with great friends, and of course - hats!