32nd Annual Mistletoe & Magic

mistletoeandmagicUnwrap the Magic

The Junior League of Tyler’s annual Mistletoe & Magic holiday fundraiser brings holiday cheer, unique shopping, and the spirit of community service to Tyler each November, and this year’s event was no exception.

The event takes place at Harvey Hall which completely transforms into a holiday themed shopping wonderland.   Anyone familiar with Harvey Hall knows what a challenge it can be to make the venue look decent, much less good, but during Mistletoe & Magic the event is undeniably and unexpectedly beautiful.   Obviously, this is no easy task and the credit goes to the many Junior League members who donate their time and money to the cause, putting hundreds of hours into the half-week long event, making sure no detail is overlooked.

Mistletoe & MagicEach year Mistletoe & Magic begins with the Preview Party, where admission gets you access to view the vendors’ merchandise before doors open to the public, along with unlimited food, drinks, and front row seats to some of the best people watching Tyler has to offer.  After the Preview Party, it’s open range and every man (or woman) for himself as people scramble to purchase everything from jewelry to toffee to home decor to childrens’ toys.   I like to think of Mistletoe & Magic as high-end Canton.  Amidst all the shopping, there was a fashion show, pajama party breakfast, and a raffle drawing for a Rolex watch and a Volkswagen Bug.

Mistletoe & MagicMistletoe & Magic 2010 is over and done, but I am already looking forward to next year.  The event truly is one of Tyler’s finest, put on by amazing people for a wonderful cause.  I better see everyone there come M&M 2011!

Harvey Convention Center
2000 West Front Street
Tyler, TX 75702-6854
(903) 531-1349

Mix 93.1 KTYL

Five for FightingWhat a week I’ve had!  Shaping up at Emily’s Baby Bootcamp, winding down with some amazing yoga at Windhorse, a fantastic dinner of fresh off the hook seared tuna at Bernard’s, spending time with Saudi Arabian royalty, meeting PRESIDENT BUSH (very nice guy!), and last but not least, attending an intimate, VIP acoustic performance by John Ondrasik of Five for Fighting hosted by the wonderful people at Townsquare media and Mix 93.1, my favorite radio station.   The people who say there’s nothing to do in Tyler need to hang out with me for a few days!

Mix 93.1 KTYL
3810 Brookside Dr.
Tyler, TX, 75701
(903) 581-0606

Brookshire’s Firefighter Combat Challenge

Scott Firefighter Combat ChallengeLadies and gentlemen (but especially ladies), get ready to witness greatness at the Brookshire’s Firefighter Combat Challenge beginning next Friday, September 24th! The activities begin at 5:00PM and last throughout the weekend as firefighters compete to win one of three coveted spots per category. The first category is made of first time challenge competitors and the second category consists of volunteer firefighters only. The challenge travels around the country each year. For 2010, the event has already made stops in Charleston, Tuscon, and Vail.

The Brookshire’s Firefighter Combat Challenge, also known as the SCOTT Firefighter Combat Challenge, has been around for years, the last twelve of which have been televised on ESPN then Versus. Hundreds of fire departments from all over the United States and Canada compete each year at the events’ 25 nation-wide stops. The event continues to generate more and more international attention, and recently has announced plans to add several Challenge tour stops around the globe, including stops in Germany, Chile, and New Zealand.

The purpose of the Firefighters Combat Challenge, aside from the fun of a good physical competition, is to raise public awareness of the physical demands firefighters must be prepared to handle as a part of their day-to-day job duties. The challenge courses are to be completed wearing full fire-fighting gear, including a SCOTT Air-Pak breathing apparatus, which I assume has something to do with SCOTT being the main national sponsor for the event, not to mention its namesake. Wearing the full gear and SCOTT masks, the competitors race through an obstackle course which includes chopping, pulling hoses, climbing a five story wall, and even rescuing a 175 pound dummy victim.

This year, the Brookshire’s Firefighter Combat Challenge course will be set up on the south side of the Broadway Square Mall parking lot. There will be fun for the whole family, so come on out and support these competitors. At the Challenge they’ll be racing against the clock to win the competition, but you never know if one day they’ll be racing against the clock to save your life.

23rd Annual Tyler Cattle Barons’ Gala

Cattle Barons' GalaPickups and Pearlsnaps

I attended my first Cattle Barons’ Saturday night.  I’d planned a trip for the weekend to float the river, but the strong storms across East Texas last week severely flooded the Guadalupe to the extent that no river floating will be happening for awhile.  I’ve wanted to attend the gala ever since I had moved to Tyler nine years ago and this year I was finally able to go.

The event was held at The Park of East Texas between Hwy 31 and Hwy 64.  After making our way down the dusty trail we parked and entered the party.  It was set up much like a carnival.  I am not sure what I was expecting, but this wasn’t really it.  The Horseshoe Casino had a gaming tent with blackjack, roulette, a football throwing game and a wine toss.  Oh, and a mechanical bull.  Across from the Horseshoe tent was the auction tent which housed the numerous things up for silent auction and there was food and drinks a plenty.

A decent distance from the tents stood the stage where Lee Ann Womack would perform later in the evening.  After making our rounds and taking in the sights we got in line for some food.  The food turned out to be my favorite thing about the whole ordeal.  There were pork sliders, burger sliders, avocado halves, barbeque ribs, brisket, sausage, potato salad, fried mushrooms, sweet potato fries, enchiladas, tamales, ice cream, strawberry cobbler plus much more.  Everything I ate was fantastic.  The food was provided by Eddie Dean’s catering, and those guys did an amazing job.  I seriously went back for more food maybe four times.  Yikes, so much for my summer diet!

Once it was time for Lee Ann to take the stage many people began wandering over to that area.  She sounded incredible and put on a good show.  By the time she was done it was about time to wrap things up and head home.  I think it was around 11:30 at this point which is way past my bed time.  Overall my first Cattle Barons’ experience was a great one.  I saw lots of good friends, ate lots of good food, and finally got to see firsthand what all the fuss is about surrounding the event.

The Park of East Texas
2112 W. Front Street
Tyler, TX 75702
(903) 597-2501

3rd Annual Cause For The Paws

Miranda LambertI was not only beyond flattered but also super excited when Tony Boykin of That’s What I’ll Do (T.W.I.D.) invited the Tylerites to be his guests at Miranda Lambert’s Cause for the Paws concert at the Villa di Felicita.  Cause for the Paws is the major fundraiser for the Humane Society of East Texas.  Last year the event raised $125,000, and this year the goal was $150,000.  Since the HSOET relies so heavily on donations, the generosity of East Texans is what keeps this fantastic organization afloat. The HSOET has recently become a no kill animal sanctuary.  Therefore, they are no longer the recipient of animal sheltering contracts.  Unfortunately, the ethical decision to become a no kill facility was also a costly one, so every dollar, bag of food, carton of laundry detergent and gallon of bleach donated are vitally important to the employees, volunteers, and animals residing at the sanctuary.

Miranda LambertThough good food and plentiful wine are typically all it takes for me to have a good time, throw a few native East Texan celebrities in there and you’ve got a surefire recipe for a great evening.  Miranda Lambert deserves so much credit for all she does to help the HSOET.  She lends her name, her money, her time and her talent to the event, and it’s touching to know that despite her fame and success she is willing to come home and support this worthwhile cause.  Before Miranda took the stage, both the Whiskey Myers band and Kacey Musgraves put on great performances, then Mark Scirto traded his meteorologist’s hat for his auctioneer’s hat and engaged the entire audience while the dollars rolled in.   The food was provided by Villa Montez, and the wine was provided by Kiepersol Estates and Red 55 Winery.

Miranda LambertWhen the time for Miranda to come on stage rolled around, everyone had taken their seat or camped up front in the standing room only area, and all eyes were on her as she delivered a thoroughly awesome show.  As ending time neared, she warned those who were leaving early that they really should stick around…  Even though we should have seen it coming, it was such an exciting surprise when Miranda’s new fiance’, Blake Shelton, joined her on stage for a couple of songs.

Miranda Lambert and Blake SheltonIt was getting late, and though I was sad to see Miranda and Blake call it a night, I was more upset that this fabulous night was almost over.  We hiked back to the truck and headed for home.  I still smile when I think about what a fantastic time I had last weekend, and am excited about the wonderful friends I met while I was there.  Only 51 weeks to go until next year’s Cause for the Paws!


Only Prettier
Famous in a Small Town
Dead Flowers
Dry Town
More Like Her
Time to Get a Gun
Heart Like Mine
Guilty in Here
Maintain the Pain
You’re the Reason God Made Oklahoma (Rick Lambert)
Crazy Ex-Girlfriend
Love Letters
New Strings
Stay With Me
The House That Built Me
Sin for a Sin
Travelin’ Band
White Liar
That’s the Way the World Goes ‘Round
Gunpowder and Lead
Home  (Blake Shelton)
Hillbilly Bone (Blake Shelton)

videos credit: KNUE 101.5

Villa Di Felicita
7891 State Highway 110 N
Tyler, TX 75704-4927
(903) 597-0002

Patriot Million Dollar Hole in One

Patriot Million Dollar Hole in OneI had the opportunity to work a shift at the Patriot Million Dollar Hole in One on Monday.  This fundraiser brings money directly into the community, which goes to scholarships for University of Texas at Tyler students.  Anyone who has ever received a scholarship at UTT likely was a benefactor of this fantastic event.

Though the winds were high and the sun was hot on Monday, a few undeterred golfers showed up, eager to show their support.  Basically, balls cost $1 each, and there is no limit to the number of balls golfers can purchase.  Players coming closest to the hole are qualified to compete in the final round on Sunday at the Cascades, where a hole in one can win $1,000,000.

Schedule of Events

Friday, May 7, 11:00 am  Press Conference and Media Contest

Saturday, May 8, 10:00 am – 7:00 pm Hole in One Contest

Sunday, May 9, 2:00 pm – 7:00 pm Hole in One Contest

Monday, May 10, 10:00 am – 7:00 pm Ladies Day @ the Hole in One

Tuesday, May 11, 10:00 am – 7:00 pm Hole in One Contest

Wednesday, May 12, 10:00 am – 7:00 pm Seniors Day @ Hole in One

Thursday, May 13, 10:00 am – 7:00 pm UT Tyler Day @ Hole-In-One

Friday, May 14, 10:00 am – 7:00 pm Hole in One Contest, 7:00 pm – 11:00 pm Friday Night Lights Out

Saturday, May 15, 10:00 am – 6:00 pm Hole in One Contest, 6:30 pm Finalist Photos

Sunday, May 16, 1:30 pm Hole in One Finals at the Cascades

Patriot Million Dollar Hole in One

Komen Tyler Race for the Cure

Komen Tyler Race for the CureKomen Tyler Race for the Cure5K Leaders

1. Warren Brown 15:46
2. Reuben Cowan 16:41
3. Joncary Faubion 17:10
4. Bob Hepler 17:54
5. Jeffrey Watson 18:08
6. Mikkel Keasler 18:25
7. Eric Heasley 18:31
8. Troy Hayden 18:32
9. Danny Hayden 18:38
10. Alvin Estacio 19:19

1. Sarah Deller 20:07
2. Haylee Abbe 20:51
3. Rebecca Smith 20:56
4. Lori Green 20:56
5. Daisy Hargraves 22:20
6. Angel Earley 22:28
7. Anna Hayden 23:01
8. Chaynee Atwood 23:01
9. Katie Haugland 23:10
10. Kristi Hollingsworth 23:13

Largest Teams

Brookshire’s Best, Team Captain: Carolyn Langston, 611 members
Trinity Mother Frances Pink Partners, Team Captain: Mike Hines,  332 members
ETMC, Team Captain: Todd Sigmon,  253 members
All Saints Episcopal School, Team Captain: Julie Roseberry,  124 members
Nancy P’s Team, Team Captain: Nancy Patterson,  65 members
Tyler Hematology Oncology, PA, Team Captain: Kim Rogers, 65 members
Marvin MOPS & Friends, Team Captain: Amanda Black, 53 members
Team CB&I, Team Captain: Erica Hardy, 46 members

Bergfeld Park
1510 South College
Tyler, TX 75703

Tyler Azalea 10k

Tyler Azalea 10kWatch out runners, I’m ba-ack!  Well, not quite, but I’m getting there.  The 2010 Tyler Azalea 10k was this past weekend, and despite the lack of blooming azaleas, the turnout was quite good.  The race, hosted by Mellew Productions, is my favorite race and will always have a soft spot in my heart.  This is the third consecutive year I’ve participated in the event, and happy thoughts always come to mind when I reminisce of past years’ Azalea 10ks.  In 2008 the race marked my first 10k race ever, and it just so happened that the same day I bought a new car!  Come 2009 my running had progressed from hobby-jogging to running with a slight touch of speed and competitive confidence.  Consequently, I ended up winning my first ever age group placement and was nearly brought to tears by the joy of that sense of athletic accomplishment.  This year the 2010 Azalea 10k marked the end of my bitter battle with a lingering knee injury.

Tyler Azalea 10kThe weather, a chilly 51 degrees, promised great things as 50 degrees is what I consider to be my optimal running temperature.  I awoke strangely calm, dressed and headed to Bergfeld park to join the other runners.  Though I hadn’t even planned on participating this year, as soon as I arrived at the event I was very happy to be there.  Smiling face after smiling face offered warm hellos, and running buddies of months past welcomed me back as though we hadn’t missed a stride.  Before I knew it, we were off.  The race went by quickly, and moments of strength were followed by moments of burning pain.  Though I went into the race telling myself I was there only to participate, I had a goal time in mind that I was not letting out of grasp.  At times all I wanted to do was throw in the towel and hang my head in shame on the side of the road and hope someone would come looking for me after the race, but pride would never let me do something like that. I crossed the finish line in under an hour, and felt pretty dang good about it.  Had I been one of the top three to place in my age group (or any age group in this case) I might not have been so happy, as quite a few unusual and slightly suspect changes were made to the results after they were posted.  Alterations were made to several age groups, a bit unfair, but tolerable for a small 10k.  Now, if we’re talking a Boston Qualifying marathon come October, I’m not sure if the Tyler runners will extend the same tolerance for disorganization.  Either way, I won’t be bothered by this elitist nonsense…  I’m just happy to be running again.

Bergfeld Park
1510 South College
Tyler, TX 75703

Sweet Discoveries

Sweet DiscoveriesSave the date

Monday, April 5th, the Tyler Discovery Science Place is holding the Sweet Discoveries Fundraising Event.  The event, located at Jakes Tyler, will feature wine tastings from across the United States paired with dessert creations courtesy of Jakes.  Tickets for the event are $100 a person, and proceeds directly benefit the Discovery Science Place.  Activities for the evening will include a silent action, a Cole & Co. gem pull featuring a 1 carat sapphire, entertainment, and more!

The Discovery Science Place, named one of the Top 25 Science Centers in the Nation, is a hands-on family science museum that provides cool and exciting educational experiences for kids of all ages.  I think the place is super cool, and I don’t even have kids!  Sweet Discoveries is the major fundraiser for the science center, so as many people as possible are needed to come together for this great cause.  If the tickets are a little steep for your budget but you still want to help, volunteers are always needed at the Discovery Science Place.  More info on that, where to purchase tickets, and other DSP related info can be found on their website,  http://www.discoveryscienceplace.org.

The Discovery Science Place

Jakes Tyler
111 East Erwin Street
Tyler, TX 75702
(903) 526-0225

Tyler Rose Marathon

Tyler Rose marathonThis year, for the first time ever, Tyler will have its very own full length marathon, courtesy of Mellew Productions!  Though it is still a few months away, I am just too excited about this to keep quiet about it any longer.  Plus, training for a marathon is no easy feat, so the earlier you can start training, the better.

In addition to the full marathon, scheduled for Sunday, October 10th (10-10-10, how cool is that?), there will also be a Tyler Rose half marathon and 5k.  Formerly known as the Tyler Half, this is the new and improved 2010 version complete with a new name, new course, and new full length marathon, the first full length marathon in the history of Tyler.  But wait there’s more…  The courses will all be USATF certified, and the marathon will be a Boston qualifier!

The courses have been mapped and will be finalized once they have been measured and certified by the USATF.  The marathon course will start in downtown Tyler, head west on Hwy 31, loop behind Tyler Pounds airport and head back east on Hwy 64.  The course then runs back in to Tyler through some of the Azalea District and finishes at Ferguson and College.  There will be 18 aid stations along the course.

Anyone who can participate definitely should.  Even if you are unable to run in the race, offering support and encouragement from the sidelines is a great way to get involved in this really cool event.  For those of you who are interested in running, more information can be found at www.tylermarathon.com.  Also, don’t forget that the Azalea 10k is coming up at the end of March, and it is a great race on a beautiful course through the Azalea District during the peak of azalea season.  You don’t want to miss it!

Heart of Tyler
117 E Erwin
Tyler, TX 75701

30th Annual TABA Home Products Show

Home Products ShowThe weather could not have been better Saturday, February 27th for Tylerites to come out to Harvey Hall and check out the Home Products Show held by the Tyler Area Builder’s Association.  We arrived this morning and saw the event had already drawn quite a crowd.  Area vendors displayed the best of the best light fixtures, hardware, wrought iron doors, and georgeous slabs of granite counter tops, all of which were intended to get the ideas flowing in and the money flowing out.

Nearly every vendors’ booth offered cool swag, and there were lots and lots of opportunities to enter for drawings for this or for that.  I’m keeping my fingers crossed on that zero-turn mower drawing I entered.  I don’t think the man believed me when I told him I do all the mowing in my household while my husband does the cooking.  Just in case the new lawn mower doesn’t work out, I made sure to get my ticket stamped at each major sponsor’s booth so I could enter the Blue Print for Prize drawing for a gift certificate for any one of the vendors who participated in the show.  What a wonderful dilemma that would be to have to pick just one of so many great vendors.

For me, the highlights of the show were the light fixture made of antlers, the wrought iron doors, and of course, the self-closing drawer hinges.  I thought those things only existed on HGTV.  Another really cool thing I saw were the sinks shaped like the state of Texas and one shaped like a martini glass.  The martini glass sink’s faucet was controlled by an olive adorned handle.  So cute yet so impractical!  Still, maybe in my next house I’ll be able to come up with a place to put one of those.

The 2010 Home Products Show was a lot of fun, and it certainly got me excited about the 2010 Parade of Homes coming up June 5-13.  For more information on the Tyler Area Builders Association, the Home Products Show, and the Parade of Homes please see their website at www.tylerareabuilders.com.

Extreme Makeover Home Edition

tylerextrememakeoverhomeeditionHundreds of Tylerites came out this morning to show their support and enthusiasm for the Extreme Makeover Home Edition crew and their decision to help a deserving family from right here in Tyler, Texas.  Neal McCoy debuted his new song ‘A New Mountain to Climb’, and Gary Bayless of Bayless Custom Homes spoke about his involvement as the builder selected in this very special project.

The lucky family won’t be revealed until February 25th when they will get a much anticipated knock on the door from Ty Pennington and the design team.

Volunteers are still needed for all shifts, especially the overnight crews.  Construction will begin late this month and crews and volunteers will work around the clock until the home is completed.  In the show’s over 100 home history, Extreme Makeover Home Edition has never missed a deadline.

nealmccoyFor more info or to sign up to volunteer go to their website:  http://www.tylerextrememakeover.com