Kind is the New Cool

We’ve heard about wearing your heart on your sleeve, but what about proudly displaying your kindness?

“Kindness” is one of the five values you’ll find at the core of Unitee, a kid’s T-shirt brand launched by Judy Le, a local leader and co-founder of the company, Take Root, and Ericka Graham, founder of the non-profit, Project 88.

I recently interviewed both women about their values-based clothing line for kid’s. Why so much focus on values?

The duo says the T-shirts are about highlighting the great things that come naturally and already live inside kids, such as friendship and the ability to reach out to others or getting back up and trying again, even after you fail. In addition, values are things we can all agree on.

“We don’t want to be a T-shirt company that is trying to tell parents how to parent,” Graham says. “We feel like the point of Unitee is to become aware and realize when kids are being kind because they already are or when your kid takes off the training wheels, you realize that as being courageous.”

To find out what inspired Le and Graham to launch the line, read the full story on CultureMap.

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English Elegance: Gala Channels Downton Abbey at Hotel Zaza

English elegance came to Hotel Zaza in the form of Devereux Advanced Behavior Health’s gala. This year’s event featured a Downton Abbey theme that was echoed not only in the decor but right down to the music (the show’s theme song played in the ballroom).

The gala raises money to help fund the group’s services. One of the parts I think event-goers (and jewelry fanatics!) really enjoyed was the Kendra Scott mystery pull. They had a similar pull at the TUTS gala and I must admit, I was a willing participant in both. There’s just something about a surprise jewelry box I find really exciting! Ha!

Suzi Hanks from Houston’s Eagle radio station was the emcee. Overall, the event never lost sight of its true mission to bring awareness to issues some are too afraid to talk about such as abuse or neglect. I appreciated that the focus remained on the goal of helping others.

Another element I loved: many items were up for auction and among them – a painting created by Devereux’s therapy dog, Stevee.

You can see that in the pictures below. You can read the full story here. It’s also in its entirety under the photo gallery.

From CultureMap:

Ladies and lords turned out in their finest attire for the Downton Abbey-inspired Savor the Hope Gala at Hotel Zaza benefiting Devereux Advanced Behavioral Health. Now in its eighth year, the event raises money to help sustain the programs and services at Devereux, a nationwide organization that helps children and adults overcome several challenges including intellectual and developmental disabilities. It has two Texas campuses in League City and Victoria.

Many in the crowd of 300 wore the Downton Abbey theme well, donning gowns, tiaras and feather and rhinestone hairpieces that echoed the 1920s style seen later in the series. The feeling of aristocracy trickled into the ballroom, from the show’s theme song lightly playing in the background to the décor, which featured large floral and white plume centerpieces donated by Kroger.

But just because the setting was posh doesn’t mean that the atmosphere was stuffy. “Dean and Rog” Morning Show co-cost Suzi Hanks from Houston’s Eagle radio station opened dinner with jokes and kept the room rocking as she emceed through the night.

The gala honored Austin-based jewelry designer and philanthropist Kendra Scott with the Emy Award, which recognizes leaders or organizations in the community for their charitable giving. Scott was unable to attend, but according to a member of her team accepting the award on her behalf, the designer has worked with Devereux to raise more than $5,000 for that organization alone since partnering with them last year.

Even though fashion was a way to bring everyone together, Devereux executive director Pamela Reed reminded everyone of the real reason for the soirée: raising awareness about the issues affecting children that many people are too afraid to talk about, such as neglect or abuse. The evening was also about celebrating the ways partygoers could become involved with the group’s mission.

A live auction emceed by lifestyle and fashion blogger Sheree Frede opened the floor to anyone looking to get away, whether it was a staycation at Hotel Zaza or a trip of English elegance to The Savoy hotel in London. Frede’s husband, Norman Frede, who owns a dealership in the Clear Lake area, came through with the biggest win of the night in the live auction  — bidding $10,000 for a trip to the Canyon Ranch Spa in Tucson.

In a separate room housing the silent auction items, there was another star of the show – a half Labrador, half Dachshund named Stevee. He’s Devereux’s therapy dog and he offered his own artwork of colorful dog paws. At one point, he slipped away from Devereux behavioral analyst Rose Filteau and ran into the arms of guests who were delighted to have him. An autographed Houston Texans Jadeveon Clowney jersey and diamond level Houston Astros tickets were some of the other items up for grabs.

Seen in the crowd were radio personality Sarah Pepper, gala chairs Jon Halvorsen and Pamela O’Brien, Devereux director of development Joni Roberston, Roy Green, Lisa Dimond Vasquez, Aliza Dutt, Larry Strader, Amy and John Mallett, Elizabeth and Charles Spillar, and members of the Deacons of Deadwood Motorcycle Club.

Between guests sampling Argentinean empanadas and sausage hors d’oeuvres from Patagonia Grill and Café, taking snapshots at the Stardust Photobooth and dancing to live music by The Gentle Lamb Experience, the gala proved that having fun and giving back never goes out of style.

 

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Name That VP Candidate

Do you know the names of the vice presidential candidates? If you watched Tuesday night’s debate, Mike Pence and Tim Kaine are probably familiar to you. And if you turned on the news the next morning or went online, you might have seen their faces more than you normally did in the months leading up to their only debate.

An ABC News poll published earlier this week found that almost half of Americans can’t name the candidates.

I hit the streets of Houston to test that theory considering these are the men who would be next in line to lead the country should something happen to the person elected president. So just in case you’re wondering (or wanted more confirmation since, of course, you already know!), Governor Mike Pence (R) is Donald Trump’s running mate and Senator Tim Kaine (D) is Hillary Clinton’s running mate. It was interesting to hear the different responses.

Check them out below!

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In the Booth

The last month and a half or so, I’ve been looking at television from another angle – the producer’s chair. Around the end of March/beginning of April, I started filling in as the 4:30 a.m. producer for KHOU’s morning newscast.  Up until that point, I’d only produced the show in emergency situations. Thankfully, I was given the opportunity to produce it on a regular basis, and it’s been quite the ride!
In the short time, (although sometimes it feels long!) that I’ve been producing the first half-hour of the newscast, I’ve taken live reporters, put together my first hour-long show for extended weather coverage and handled breaking news events.
I had experience producing in my previous position at Houston Community College in terms of writing the scripts, booking guests and putting together segments — similar to what I do now only this time the show is live and typically has to be turned around and ready for air within a few hours. Of course, even though the rundown is all set, anyone in news will tell you it can get thrown out very quickly.
For the time being, I’ll be producing the 4:30 a.m. every Monday but other days might be added on an as-needed basis.
If you’re up that early, tune in! Just make sure you stick around until 7 a.m. when the newscast ends — or even better keep it on Ch.11 all day! 😉 Yes, I just put a plug in there!
You can see a short clip from the show below. I look forward to adding this and many more to my demo reel!