Photo courtesy of Couture Gawds

Couture with Cause serves as the second annual charity event supporting the human trafficking awareness initiative. The event will feature comedy, vocalists, dancers, and couture fashion worn by models for Evida Agency. The show will display three designers creative work and allow guest to shop with vendors and enjoy cocktails and live music.

Photo courtesy of Hari Mari

Texas flip-flop brand Hari Mari steps into brave new world of women's boots

Kicking it up

Texas footwear brand Hari Mari has arrived to help women transition the closet from flip-flop season to boot season.

The premium, Dallas-based brand known for its comfy, celeb-favorite flops has just launched its first ever women's boot. Called the Hari Mari "Midland," it's described as "a versatile women’s Chelsea boot constructed with premium suede, soft-squeeze foam midsoles, and generous goring to allow for easy slip-on, slip-off access."

The boots also include dual-density memory foam inserts that provide the "immediate, out-of-the-box comfort" that Hari Mari prides itself on.

“Our female sandal customer asked and we listened,” says Hari Mari Founder, Lila Stewart, in a release. “Over the years, we’ve been perfecting our sandals, which customers love for the immediate comfort and durability, so we decided it was about time we brought these same product characteristics to women’s boots.

The Midland is offered in three colors — autumn, black and taupe — and sells for $170 , in Hari Mari’s Dallas Flagship store, on HariMari.com, and select retailers across the country.

It's a bold step into the already crowded world of boots, especially in Texas. But the brand promises that the comfort level will set them apart.

"This beautiful, classic boot will allow our female customers to wear Hari Mari footwear through cold and warm months alike, experiencing the brand’s fanatical commitment to comfort whether it’s 80 degrees out or snowing," Stewart says. "And, believe us, they will feel the difference. It’s Hari Mari’s calling card and we’re excited to be able to offer year-round footwear to all of our customers."

Since it was founded in 2012, Hari Mari has built its reputation not only on quality, fashion-forward flip-flops (and other kinds of shoes and apparel), but also on its sustainability and philanthropic efforts, which are a part of the company’s DNA. Hari Mari gives 1 percent of sales to support kids battling cancer through its called Flops Fighting Cancer initiative.

Photo courtesy of The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston and Houston Community College

The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston and Houston Community College present Fashion Fusion

Modern art meets contemporary couture in Fashion Fusion, the seventh edition of the annual fashion competition inspired by contemporary works in the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston.

Open to aspiring designers in the award-winning Fashion Design program at Houston Community College, Fashion Fusion challenges students to create original garments as responses to examples on display in the museum’s collection. This year, Fashion Fusion’s designers will present works inspired by modern and contemporary art in the Nancy and Rich Kinder Building. These designs fall into four categories – light and reflection, abstraction and expressionism, architecture and geometry, and reimagined and sustainable.

Presented by the MFAH and HCC Central, Fashion Fusion culminates in a professional fashion show and awards presentation. Twenty garments created by HCC’s emerging designers will be featured. A distinguished panel of judges - Sydney Dao, Kim Lai, Sarah Horne, John Dunwoody - will assess the students’ work based on theme, construction, and overall presentation, and announce the top three winners. Winning garments will be displayed at The Galleria.

Courtesy of Kendra Scott

Texas jewelry icon Kendra Scott marks 20-year milestone with very exclusive collection

Great Scott

Texas entrepreneur, designer, Shark Tank guest shark, philanthropist, and author Kendra Scott is reaching a big milestone this year. After starting her jewelry business from home with just $500, the female founder marks two decades in business in 2022, and she's releasing a special collection to celebrate.

Nowadays, Austin-based Kendra Scott is a household name, and customers of every age deem her chic, affordable accessories to be essential wardrobe staples. The hashtag #KendraScott trends every year during rush season for Greek societies at colleges across the country, with 131.3 million views to date.

Scott also just released a telling — and best-selling — book, Born to Shine: Do Good, Find Your Joy, and Build a Life You Love, which chronicles her two-decade journey from hopeful jeweler to nationally prominent businesswoman. (Read our interview with Scott here.)

”I am so proud of what my team and I have been able to create over the past 20 years at Kendra Scott," she tells CultureMap via email. "It’s incredible to see an idea that started in my spare bedroom turn into a fashion brand with over 2,600 employees and 130 stores nationwide. As a company comprised primarily of women, our core values of Family, Fashion, and Philanthropy are at the forefront of everything we do and have played a huge role in our success today."

Even 20 years later, Scott stays true to those core values of family, fashion, and philanthropy, giving back to local, national, and international organizations every year. To date, she has donated over $50 million in philanthropic efforts; partnered with over 10,000 local causes through the Kendra Gives Back program, virtually and in-person; funded over 6,000+ research hours dedicated to improving treatment and prevention of metastatic breast cancer; and raised over $475,000 to support families touched by tragedy in national and local disasters.

As part of celebrating 20 years in business, Scott is releasing a limited edition 20th Anniversary Collection for the holidays.

Kendra Scott 20th Anniversary CollectionThe extremely limited collection launches Friday, October 14.Courtesy of Kendra Scott

With just three styles, the special collection features a Dira gold diamond 38mm watch in ivory and mother-of-pearl ($8,995); the elegant Ellen 14K yellow gold drop earrings in white diamond ($4,500); and a delicate Dira 14K gold cushion pendant necklace with yellow lab-grown diamonds ($4,000). The extremely limited collection launched Friday, October 14, and will only have 20 pieces of each style available for purchase.

"I cannot wait for the next 20 years," Scott shared, "to continue to show up for our customers, support our communities, and create beautiful, timeless jewelry for all.”

Photo courtesy of National Pediatric Cancer Foundation

National Pediatric Cancer Foundation presents Fashion Funds the Cure

National Pediatric Cancer Foundation presents Fashion Funds the Cure

For almost two decades National Pediatric Cancer Foundation has been delighting audiences and giving children battling cancer the experience of a lifetime on the runway while raising critical funds and awareness for pediatric cancer research through Fashion Funds the Cure. This nationwide runway tour shares the stories of local children battling cancer and weaves their dreams for the future into a high-fashion, upscale event.

Including live entertainment, the latest fashion designs, bites and beverages, and community leaders, Fashion Funds the Cure is an event to remember. The afterparty will be hosted by Fig & Olive.

Photo courtesy of Fashion Haus

Fashion Haus presents The Met Gala: Art In Vigor

Fashion Haus presents The Met Gala: Art In Vigor

Fashion Haus will bring the Met Gala to Houston with some of Houston's best designers debuting their new fall collections exclusively shown at the Art in Vigor fashion show.

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Houston's Stages spotlights Broadway hits and world premiers in new season

On stage

Exploring human connection through storytelling has always been a hallmark of Stages ethos as a Houston arts organization. Its 2023 - 2024 arts season highlights that mission, with a slate of plays that include Broadway hits, world premieres, and fan favorites.

The organization's 46th season begins with an encore of Always...Patsy Cline by Ted Swindley, which premiered at Stages 35 years ago. It's been delighting audiences ever since, telling the story of the groundbreaking country music superstar's life and incorporating 27 of her songs including "Crazy" and "I Fall to Pieces." Previews begin July 21 and the show runs through October 29.

When POTUS: Or, Behind Every Great Dumbass Are Seven Women Trying to Keep Him Alive played on Broadway in 2022, Variety called it a "delicious feminist farce." It's the story of how seven women on the president's staff step up to save his reputation — and the world — when his PR nightmare becomes a global crisis. Stages brings the comedy to the Bayou City with previews beginning September 1. The play will run through October 8.

Up nest comes the psychological thriller Switzerland by Joanna Murray-Smith. Stages favorite Sally Edmunson plays Texas-born murder mystery writer Patricia Highsmith, living out her days in solitude in her home in the remote Swiss Alps. Then, a young emissary turns up, encouraging the writer to continue her Tom Ripley series, and it begins to be clear that things are about to get sinister. Previews begin October 6 and Switzerland runs through November 12.

For the holidays, Stages teams up with TEATRX for the world premiere of Panto Alicia in Wonderland, giving the Lewis Carroll classic a decidedly Houston spin. Alice (not Alicia) is about to make her quinceañera, and finds herself rejecting her culture. When she falls down the rabbit hole, however, she enters a world that celebrates all that makes her Alicia. Expect Ricky Martin and Selena parodies in this rollicking edition of Stages' panto tradition. Previews begin December 1 and the show runs through December 31.

2024 opens with Sister’s Irish Catechism: Saints, Snakes, and Green Milkshakes!, the latest iteration of Stages' popular Sister's Catechism series and another of the season's world premieres. The irrepressible Sister, played by Denise Fennell,gets back in the habit for a show that turns the theater into a classroom and the audience into her students. Laughs and improvisation are on the lesson plan. Sister's Irish Catechism begins previews on January 26, 2024 and plays through March 17. Of course.

Othello: The Remix features a book and music by the Q Brothers and was a New York Times critic's pick. This reimagining of Shakespeare's classic tale of love, jealousy, suspicion, and tragedy is a high-energy adaptation, with an overlay of unforgettable beats. Previews begin May 3, with the show running through June 9, 2024.

Stages' seventh series of Sin Muros: A Latinx Theater Festival is May 23 through 26, featuring a weekend of readings and workshops celebrating Latinx artists and creators.

The 2023 - 2024 season closes with A Case for the Existence of God by Samuel D. Hunter, which explores the unlikely friendship formed by two men sharing an office cubicle, as they navigating banking, parenthood, and human connection. Previews begin May 24, 2024 and the show runs through June 30.

“I think of this season as gentle, with shows that explore connection and ask probing questions about human nature,” said artistic director Kenn McLaughlin in a statement. "The shows move through complex meditations on love, life, family, traditions, notions of power, and history — there are so many ideas packed into very intimate stories. I love the juxtaposition of these concepts, and this is the kind of storytelling that our audiences love as well — intimate and epic all at once.”

Season subscriptions are currently on sale, beginning at $150. Details can be found at www.stageshouston.com.

Where to find the most iconic — and best — meals in all of Texas

Hit the Road

Texans don't need much of a reason to hit the open road. Our state is brimming with natural beauty and charming small towns, but nothing motivates us to fill up the tank like a bonanza of regional foods.

There are renowned Texas flavors to be found throughout the entire state, from small towns like Round Top to the far west end in El Paso. And with meals ranging from Tex-Mex and barbecue to Frito Pie and kolaches, the Lone Star State is known for some of the most iconic foods in America.

When you hit the open road to explore (and taste) it all, know that a Hilton Hotel is nearby for a good night's rest. Whether you're traveling with family, friends, or as a couple, the right room is waiting with a warm welcome.

Hope you're hungry, because here is but a small slice of some of the best.

Goldee's BBQ, Fort Worth
Few barbecue joints in Texas can make a name without serving the holy trinity of brisket, sausage, and ribs. Still, the young chefs and pitmasters at this Fort Worth stop one-up the competition with unexpected sides like chicken rice and collard greens and crowd-pleasers like fish and chips.

Chicken Fried Steak
Babe's Chicken Dinner House, Carrollton
All Texans take their chicken fried steak with some degree of seriousness. We dare say this eatery — which originated in Carrollton and has locations all over North Texas — takes it the most seriously of all, with plenty of family-style sides to round out the table.

La Cocina, McAllen
Former oil worker Evin Garcia combines tradition and innovation at this McAllen haunt. Enjoy everything from birria tacos dipped in a luscious consommé to an octopus version served with traditional al pastor fixings like onion, cilantro, and grilled pineapple.

Elotes Fanny, Austin + North Texas
With locations in Austin, Fort Worth, and Garland, this snack shop mini-chain knows everything about corn. Get it by the cob or in a cup, and make sure to douse it in the fiery homemade Atomic Salsa.

Fried Chicken
Dolli's Diner, Nacogdoches
This diner does just about everything right, but the crowning jewel of the menu is undoubtedly the chicken fried chicken. It's served with mashed potatoes, gravy, and fresh veggies for color and is best enjoyed with funnel cake fries for dessert.

Frito Pie
RD's Burger, Cibolo
This casual stop does its namesake dish with aplomb, but found pure magic in its Frito Pie. It's served with no muss or fuss and occasionally on the insanely delicious burger.

Slovacek’s, West
When it comes to kolaches, any bakery in West will serve the real deal. Relative newcomer Slovacek's gets the vote for its dozens of fruit flavors and creative klobasnek (the meaty cousin of kolaches) filled with boudin, pepperoni, or kraut.

Royer's Round Top Cafe, Round Top
No trip to Round Top's famous antique fair is complete without a stop at this darling cafe. "Pie Man" Bud Royer makes every visit sweet with pies like buttermilk, pecan, and the multi-fruit Troy's Junk Berry.

L & J Cafe, El Paso
This El Paso tradition is by a graveyard, sure, but don't let that deter you from enjoying its queso. The miraculous concoction made with roasted green chile, tomatoes, and onions is served with just-fried tostadas.

Leal's Tamale Factory, Lubbock
A Lubbock classic, this mainstay doesn't go for newfangled tamale flavors like sweet potato. Order pork, chicken, or cheese and rediscover the fundamentals.

Viet-Cajun crawfish boils
Crawfish & Noodles, Houston
Who knows what James Beard-nominated chef Trong Nguyen puts in his secret sauce. What we do know is that it's one of the most intensely flavorful experiences in all of Houston.

Texas knows no bounds when it comes to to where you can go (and eat). No matter where your next foodie adventure takes you, a Hilton hotel is waiting for you.

With over 550 Hilton hotels spanning across the state of Texas, the possibilities to earn more while exploring the Lone Star State are endless.

Shiner Beer crafts new barbecue joint at iconic Texas brewery

Road trip time

Lewis and Clark, Sonny and Cher, SpongeBob and Patrick. Duos float in and out of pop culture at hummingbird speed. But few have quite as much staying power as beer and barbecue. So, it’s only natural that one of Texas’ most iconic breweries would want to break out the smoker.

According to a release, Shiner Beer is untapping a new market with the April 1 grand opening of K. Spoetzl BBQ Co. Housed at the newly expanded Spoetzl Brewery, the eatery will welcome carnivores seven days a week.

Pitmaster Tommy Schuette, the former proprietor of the Shiner Barbeque Co., will lead the charge with the state’s holy trinity of smoked meats, including brisket, sausage, and ribs. Other favorites like pulled pork and chicken will be served alongside a meaty assortment of salads, loaded potatoes, and sandwiches.

Of course, no Texas barbecue joint can get away with skimping on the sides. Potato salad and pinto beans are served throughout the week, but weekend guests get a little extra. Diners can also opt for green beans, coleslaw, creamed corn, and giblet rice from Thursday through Saturday.

In celebration of K. Spoetzl BBQ’s debut, samples will be passed out between 10:30 am-6 pm on April 1. QR codes will also be scattered across the grounds giving visitors a chance to win gift cards, shirts, hats, and more. Diners will also be given a free beer token for every $25 spent at the restaurant that day.

In addition, budding influencers can post a picture of Schuette to social media to get a coupon for 10 percent off. (As a rule, pitmasters do not need a yassify filter.)

After the grand opening celebration, K. Spoetzl BBQ will be open daily. Hours are 10 am-4 pm, so plan accordingly.