Girl, let’s #NamaSlay with Trap Yoga Bae!

By Ciara Rouege

I’m about as flexible as a No. 2 pencil, but where ever there is trap music— it’s sort of my mission to try and be there. Or at the absolute least, I’m accepting the Facebook invite.

Trap-themed events have been popping up like corn in a paper bag the past year. I doubt 2018 will be any different. Paint…and trap music. Fashion…and trap music. Brunch…and guest what? Trap music. Not that I’m complaining— I plan on catching all that shit!

Girl Houston Trap Yoga Ciara Rouege

After clicking ‘going’ a dozen times on Facebook — and one unused $22 Silent Trap Party ticket later — I finally made it to a trap event with some close girlfriends in December.

It was my first event, so I tried to keep it clachet with some trap yoga. We signed up for a class at Boyer with the hella fine and fabulous Trap Yoga Bae. She hails from Oakland and became a certified yoga instructor in Rishikesh, India.

She legit, girl! She cute, too.

First thought walking in: Please, ladies! When are we going to stop treating our boyfriends like girlfriends and stop bring them to girls night out?

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Second thought: Girl, Trap Yoga Bae is funny!

No, this is not your mother’s YMCA yoga class— expect to hear ALL the curse words and a bit of sexual humor. No jokes: 18 and up!

“I need you to stand strong at the top of your mat with legs about waist-length apart— about as open as they would be if your man’s head was between them,” Trap Yoga Bae said to to the class.

Don’t forget, it is TRAP yoga!

Girl Houston Trap Yoga Ciara Rouege Trap Yoga Bae

The classes—  unless otherwise stated — are beginner friendly with easier and advance alternatives for all the poses. I attended a class were we did traditional movements including the child’s pose,  downward facing dog, the basic warrior stances, tree stance and many others.

There will be some twerking (or fast hip rotating— depending on your background), a DJ for all your spirit’s musical needs, some anti-fuck boy affirmations and lots of cheerful group participation.

The workout is a bit challenging, but the music and hilarious instruction keep you fairly distracted. Nothing frees the spirit more than light fun and good humor, so I’d recommend trap yoga to both one-timers and hardcore yogis.

Now, will I be adding “ass, I command you to grow” to my daily meditation routine. Well, mostly likely not.

Is it real yoga? I’m told it’s 100% certified, black girl on a rock mediating in India bonafide yoga. But hey, no more questions from me! Grab your own mat and trap yoga it up at the next class, girl!

PHOTOS: Rain couldn’t stop the turn up at Houston Fajita Festival 2017

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By Ciara Rouege

HOUSTON — The Houston Fajita Festival returned for its second year over the weekend. And while friends and families showed out in light numbers due to scattered showers, the spirit of the festival was still hot and heavy.

HTX Sports Creek — a venue in Houston’s East End — welcomed attendees into its gates Saturday afternoon with live Spanish music, loaded fajita tacos, refreshing drinks and a chance to indulge in some of the city’s spiciest hot sauces and salsas. Visitors also ventured into several tents that offered artwork, jewelry, clothing and other trinkets.

Several well-known Houston restaurants brought the heat and sweets at their stations— severing up everything from loaded funnel cakes, grilled corn on-the-cob, giant margaritas and, of course, fajita tacos! Vendors included Grandma’s Boys LemonadeLos Cocos Mexican RestaurantFajita Pete’sBullritosiBurnMi Picante Homemade Hot Sauce and many others.

There’s a lot we can say about this upcoming festival, but we think social media captured it best!

Can’t wait ’til next year!

This article was originally post on the CW39 website on July 24, 2017.

So jealous! Cosplayers flaunt jaw-dropping costumes for Anime Matsuri

By Ciara Rouege

One experience I haven’t been able to check on my secret bucket list is going to an anime convention dressed in costume. I’ve been to the gaming portion of SXSW in Austin, which features a bit of cosplay, but the sub-conference doesn’t come close to being immersed in anime culture.

The 2017 Anime Matsuri Japanese Culture Convention  attracted hundreds of cosplayers and anime admires to Houston for the weekend — some from as far away as Hungary, and of course, Japan!

Flaunting unique costumes, elaborate props and colorful wigs, attendees flooded the George R. Brown Convention Center to experience the event’s 250,000 square-foot showroom featuring popular manga comic books, anime-themed video games, figurines, trading cards, Japanese fashions and also decorated cars.

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A friend and I was able to catch up with a few Anime Matsuri guest and ask them about their costumes and props, most of which are do-it-yourself projects. One cosplayer we talked to spent nearly four days crafting a giant — and we mean HUGE — syringe for her costume, and another showed us how his costume spits fire whenever he snaps his fingers.

The convention attracts both professionals and amateurs, and most said Anime Matsuri is one of their favorite annual anime events and one of the largest they’ve ever been too.

The attractions offer more than pop-up tents and vendors. Anime Matsuri also includes photography sets, arcade gaming, Live Action Role Playing, special guest and a fashion show the latest in Japanese fashion.

While popular anime and American cartoon characters were abundant, some guest rocked their own designs and characters names.

I was covering an event at the Marriott Marquise, which is connected to the GRB, and was able to take pictures crossing over to the convention center via the crosswalk. Hopefully, I’ll be to join in the fun firsthand next year.

Buckle up, ladies! 2017 Houston Auto Show isn’t just for the boys!

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By Ciara Rouege

There’s a reason  why cars are described as being women. They’re sexy, sleek, beautiful — and let’s not forget smart and powerful!

The 2017 Houston Auto Show, the largest car show in the south, pulled into NRG Stadium earlier in the week for after bringing the city top-notch vehicle presentation for 34 seasons.

I have gone to the more gritty, outdoor engine-crazed car shows in the past, but the opening Preview Night Gala was all about glitz and glam.

Plus, it was educational — you won’t believe how many options you have out there!

The event featured nearly 40 manufactures including Ashton Martin, Lamborghini, Chrysler, Alfa Romeo, Jaguar, Land Rover, Mercedes Benz, Maserati, Porsche, Nissan, Honda, Hyundai, Toyota, Infiniti, Buick and several others.

In a showroom featuring hundreds of cars, there is multiple vehicle options for all stages of life and lifestyles. The floor has presentations for luxurious sedans, sports models, minivans, off-road vehicles, eco-friendly cars, muscle cars, powerful trucks and even classics!

Outside of car gazing, I was able to test out several cars including an exciting Jeep off-road course and other vehicle demonstrations.

Tickets are available online or at the door April 5 – 9 for only $12 for adults and $5 for children.

National Black Film Festival emerges in Houston amid black TV, film revival

By Ciara Rouege

Influencers of the black film and television industries are embarking on the golden road to long-awaited recognition, and “Moonlight’s” three major 2017 Oscar wins aren’t the only bricks on the path.

The commercial success of projects like “Blackish,” “Luke Cage,” “Atlanta,” “Insecure,” “How to Get Away with Murder” and several others reflect the American audience’s revived interest in black narratives. It’s also the “Golden Age of Black Television,” but this time around African-Americans are shaping the narrative.

The National Black Film Festival, which takes place April 5 – 9 at the Marriott Marquis Houston, comes to shine a light on the diverse contributions of the African-American cinema community while acting as a light for black aspiring filmmakers.

It’s the festival’s first year, but the appeal is built on generations of passionate African-American film producers, writers, directors, actors, cinematographers — and even ‘the mic guy’ — working toward storytelling greatness.

Professionals and amateurs within the television, digital and film industries will participate in several workshops and panel discussions focused on elements such as acting, screenwriting and even marketing. The panels and workshops are led by an impressive lineup of influencers including Lee Daniels Entertainment writer Nina Gloster, actor Yohance Myles and millennial marketing genius Everette Taylor.

In between sessions, festival goers have the option of delighting in dozens of independent film showings — “Behind Closed Doors,” “Candy,” “Ball is Life,” “A Cut Above” and “The Closet” just to name a few. The submissions range from shorts to feature films to documentaries, all selected with the purpose of giving filmmakers a place to groom their creative mindset and perfect their skills, organizers said.

But it isn’t all work and sitting in dark rooms, there will also be plenty of opportunities to make a connection. The festival opens with a meet-and-greet at The Flat and closes with a breakout session at Axelrad Beer Garden.

To take in the full breadth of this experience and all its perks, the Golden Pass is selling for $175.

If your pockets are a bit tight, show admission is only $10 a feature. Plus, there are tickets available for the individual workshops at prices ranging from $35 to $45.

Click here for the full schedule and registration.

This article was originally published on CW39.com

‘Finding Ashley Stewart’ pageant struts into Houston with curvaceous fits, empowerment

By Ciara Rouege

Confidence in curves: it’s what’s Ashley Stewart is all about!

The 2017 #FindingAshleyStewart tour made a stylish strut to the Houston Ashley Stewart location on Kirby Drive over the weekend.

Outside of the fabulous fashions, the atmosphere was live with music curated by DJ 4.0, barbecue cuisine catered by O Taste And See Catering and desserts by Forever Yours Creations.

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The in-store competition, which was hosted by Ashley Stewart’s Marketing Specialist and Style Expert Tamara Ivey, kicked-off Friday night with an audition, where judges picked the top 12 favorites out of nearly 100 women. Judges included Kristen Gaskins, President and CMO of Ashley Stewart; Nakia Cooper, Digital Executive Producer of CW39.com; Nail guru “Naja” of reality television’s “LA Hair”; Andrea Richardson, Hilton Hotel & Properties; ShaKera, The Sample Size Blogger; Stacy Alauf and Alesha Walker, DFS.

On Saturday afternoon, the ladies had a chance to rip the runway again with a fashion show, showcasing Ashley Stewart’s spring line.  Contestants and attendees also posed on the pink carpet in the social media lounge, which was hosted by Totally Randie of Houston Style Magazine.

Judges selected Ashley Walker, Nicole Rhocherlyn Grady and Shadawn McCants to move on to the next round of competition. Photos of the semi-finalists from each city will be added to the Ashley Stewart website so fans can vote, and from there, the top finalists from that will be flown to New York in September for the first ever Miss Ashley Stewart Pageant.

The models were given special looks by stylists with LAMIK Cosmetics & Franklin Institute.

The women who came out were met with gift bags sponsored by Mary Kay Cosmetics, Babydoll Brushes, Camellia Alise Skin Care and Taylor’s Shae Butter.

This article was originally posted on CW39.com.

The Woodlands gets cheese and wine shop

The two things I love most about eating: cheese and wine (…and okay, chocolate is a close runner up.) We’ve all saved more than a meal or two with adding cheese, and wine is — Jesus drank wine guys! Enough said.

This summer The Cheese Course debuted its first Texas location in The Woodland’s Waterway Square, and I was ecstatic! In line with anything I’m excited about, I didn’t get a chance to visit until months later.

  • The Cheese Course is a  Florida-based shop that serves European-style cheeses paired with various wines, beers, spreads, meats and fruit.
  • Cheeses come in six main varieties: bloomy grind, washed grind, fresh, blue, hard and semi-hard.
  • The menu also includes breakfast items, salads, soups and sandwiches.
  • Catering and delivery services are available.

You should try the Manchego and get accompaniments!

I tried the Fromager d’Affinois and Manchego, which were both delicious! I paired it with black olive tapenade and salmon, which was a very salty combination. Luckily, they gave me honey and raspberry-cranberry relish to balance it out. (I’m assuming he was) the owner let us sample a 10-year old sharp cheddar from Britain. I can’t remember the name, but it was deeply flavorful while pungent.

Cheese is the focus, but I’m going to be nit-picky.

I was a little disappointed in the house wine selection and expected more quality options. It is the the Woodlands; they could upgrade to the 20-something dollar range. A diverse selection of premium wines were available, but we went with a bottle of St. M Riesling.

Craft beer and house wine are only $3 a glass Thursday nights.

When I get the chance, I’m going to check out their happy hour with a group of girlfriends. The shop has a comfortable, causal atmosphere that is just perfect for long chats. I’ve also heard great things about their various cheese making and cheese pairing classes.

PARKING AND OTHER INSIGHTS

Parking shouldn’t be a problem at all. There is ample street parking available and a free parking garage across the street. Should push come to shove, there is also a paid-parking garage next door.

The Cheese Course is located between BurgerFi and the Fiat dealership. The Cinemark Tinseltown 17 movie theater is across the street — great, if you want to make it wine and a movie!


Location: 1501 Lake Robbins Drive, Suite 110, The Woodlands, Texas 77380

Phone:  832-246-8884

Store Hours: Mon. – Wed. 7 a.m. – 9 p.m., Thu. – Fri. 7 a.m. – 10 p.m., Sat. 10 a.m. – 10 p.m., Sun. 10 a.m. – 8 p.m.

*serving breakfast from 7- 11 am Monday-Friday and brunch from 10 am- 2 pm Saturday and Sunday