Tomorrow is the last day of April, but things are already starting to feel like summer. The days are longer, warmer, maybe even a little better, knowing that May is right around the corner. But no matter how high the temperatures soar, here are three things that keep things cool in H-town:
1. The Mommie Series–Houston
The summer edition of this excellent lecture series is tomorrow, and personally, I can’t wait. The first time I went, I had won a ticket from a woman who is a force of nature, even though her passion is art. The inimitable Sarah Gish, art car aficionado, marketing maven, and inspiration engineer, who is the go-to person for being in the know about cultural events and awesome activities for kids, (and kids of all ages), had told me I was the lucky winner of a ticket. The evening was wonderful, having lectures on fashion, health, finance, and family. Although it is called “The Mommie Series,” the event is really good for anyone with a pulse who wants to improve in any of these categories. Yes, there are treats and fashion too, but the lectures are a great mix of the practical and the entertaining–a perfect cocktail for motivating yourself right into the next season, whether you are a “Mommie” or not.
The CEO and founder of The Mommie Series-Houston is the beautiful and gracious Misti Pace-Krahl, who puts together these series with style and always includes a worthy charity as part of the evening. For instance, tomorrow she will support “Lemonade Day,” which is an organization that supports entrepreneurship for youth. The last time I attended, I also met Nancy Bui, CFO of the amazing Green Plate Foods, which specializes in both the healthy and the delicious. We were just chatting away, talking about our kids, and she mentioned she was with Green Plate Foods, one of the sponsors of The Mommie Series. She was so modest, I had to pull it out of her that she was the CFO and had an MBA. But coincidentally enough, she is also a graduate of Houston Baptist University, where she studied as an undergraduate, and where, COINCIDENTALLY ENOUGH, I also teach. Since I blog for the School of Humanities at HBU, this was pretty much blogging gold to meet such a charming and successful HBU graduate, who was making raising three small children and running a company look astonishingly easy, although I know it is not. She was making the Huskies look good, and it was a pleasure to meet her along with the others attending this series.
I can’t wait for tomorrow for the Summer Edition of this series, and if you can’t make it, don’t worry, Misti Pace-Krahl has it every quarter, and her speakers are always experts, but charming and accessible. Houston’s own Deborah Duncan was the emcee last time, and the next edition looks like it has much to offer everyone, no matter if your favorite topics are fashion or finance.
2. The Summer Book Online
A few summers ago, I bought a summer guide to camps at Barnes and Noble which was by Sarah Gish–yes the same Sarah that gave me the ticket to The Mommie Series. My son Christopher is an only child, and so I was trying to make sure he wasn’t bored to death during the long, hot, long, humid, long, hot, Houston summer, and this guide looked like it might save the summer as well as my sanity. Not only did I find great camps in it, I eventually met Sarah and am constantly astonished by her relentless energy. This is a woman who drove across the country last summer in her Art Car on an “Ignite Your Life” tour spreading inspiration about art and asking people during her journey how they “ignited” their lives. She only stopped when her car literally ignited from some sort of excessive excitement on the road and so there were reports about the car being on fire, and there is no way in the world I could make up the fact that the car on the Ignite Your Life Tour IGNITED. But in a way, that is perfect, because whenever I am reading about cultural events or a post from Sarah Gish, I feel on fire, super excited, and ready to create the next big thing. Positive people like Sarah are like that–their creativity is contagious.
Now, her listing of summer camps, which is of interest not only to Houston parents, but to my many college students who work at camps during the summer, is all online, and it is so cool, and really, indispensable if you want your summer to sizzle. Sarah is also an expert writer on film, and hey, I don’t know how she does it, but she also lists cultural events for kids and families EVERY week on her “Gish Picks” site. Check it out–it is cool.
3. The Art Car Museum
Speaking of Sarah Gish driving all the way out west in an Art Car, which, I capitalize because I can, and, if you are paying attention, is one of many you can see driving around Houston. And, to the best of my knowledge, we have something that few other American cities have: a museum dedicated to cars that have been transformed from boring vehicles designed to get you from A to B into moving works of art. Plus, there are the annual Art Car Parades, which bring out throngs of Houstonians each year.
As Director Noah Edmundson explains on the Art Car Museum website,
“Often considered the ‘Art Car Capital’, Houston has the largest number of art cars of any city. Art cars are fine art essentially free of the conventions and contradictions of the marketplace and the art world. The Museum’s distinctive scrap metal and chrome exterior was created by car artist David Best and provides an imaginative indication of the extraordinary constructions to be found inside.”
Like The Mommie Series-Houston, Sarah Gish’s “picks”–ranging from film to culture to camps, and Houston’s Art Car Museum and culture are all cool because they point to the creativity which makes Houston the coolest town in Texas. We can stand the heat, and that’s because there is always something new on the H-town horizon. All you have to do is look.