Hello Houston! Part 1

Houston Did you know that Houstonians eat out more than residents of any other city?  With more than 11,000 restaurants to choose from, you are sure to find something that suits your palate during our 2013 Annual Conference!

Last December, Sara Tantillo, AAFCS professional development manager, and I travelled to Houston to check out all that Houston has to offer and report back to you why the 2013 Annual Conference in Houston, TX is a can’t miss event!  In a whirlwind trip that totaled less than 48 hours, we visited this gracious city, met with our incredible hotel staff at the Hyatt Regency Houston, and went to each excursion site to learn first-hand what Houston has in store for you this summer!

The first stop . . . food of course!  To start our day right, we enjoyed breakfast at Einstein’s Bagels, located right in the lobby of our hotel!  With a plethora of options to choose from including sandwiches, soups and coffees, Einstein’s is sure to be your go-to resource for a quick bite to eat or when on the run to your next exciting professional development session.

TunnelIn addition to Einstein’s Bagels there is also an easy to navigate tunnel system that is accessible through the hotel lobby.  This system gives you access to numerous restaurants, shops, and other amenities without ever having to step outside the hotel!  There are even areas set aside to sit down, eat, network with peers, and prepare for your day.  The tunnels are well-lit and have signs at every turn so you can easily find your way around and back to the hotel!

CNCOur first stop of the day was the Children’s Nutrition Research Center (CNRC).  The Children’s Nutrition Research Center is one of six federally funded human nutrition research centers in the nation and the first to conduct scientific investigations into the role of maternal, infant, and child nutrition in optimal health, development, and growth.  AAFCS is offering two educational excursions that will visit the CNRC, where attendees will tour the labs and research rooms, and learn exactly what goes into their research studies.  Sara and I met with Perry Rainosek, who is very excited to meet each of you in June!

BootSince we will be in Texas, you may feel pressured to bring your boots and cowboy hat.  If you find yourself lacking in the Western Wear department, never fear, Kegg’s Candies has got you covered!  And best of all, this western wear is made of 100% chocolate!  We had the distinct pleasure of meeting with Mike Holes,  general manager and vice-president.   Mike  is a recent addition to the Kegg’s family and his goal is to grow the business and educate consumers and distributors on the benefits of chocolate and why it is important to buy from a local provider.  Attendees on this excursion can see the chocolate making process first hand in the Kegg’s factory and learn about the business practices of establishing a local, family brand.

DCD  DCD JewelryLights, Camera, Action!  Welcome to the exciting world of Project Runway Season 2 winner Chloe Dao!  On the day we visited with Chloe and her sister, Sydney, they were right in the middle of a fashion shoot for Smithsonian Magazine!  Chloe and Sydney are highly involved in the fashion world – not only as designers but also in furthering the educational pursuits of up and coming designers.  Sydney  is the ambassador director for the Houston branch of the Fashion Group International,  and might make a surprise appearance at our own AAFCS ATD Showcase!  In addition to Chloe’s design studio, there are a myriad of other shops and studios within a short radius and Sydney will be happy to discuss these with you while Chloe offers personal advice and tips for any excursion attendees who are looking to break into the cut-throat fashion world!

Speaking of up and coming designers, the Houston Community College (HCC) has an incredible program for students majoring in fashion design, apparel construction, men’s tailoring, patternmaking, fashion merchandising, and more.  The program at HCC is very successful and can boast having Chloe Dao as a former student! You can see Chloe’s take on the students’ final fashion shows in 2011 here. Excursion attendees will tour the facility, visit with students creating their designs, and get an in-depth tour of AAFCS member Elizabeth S. Brown’s extensive collection of historical artifacts.

Be sure to tune in next Monday for Part 2 of Hello Houston!

Daila Boufford
AAFCS Director of Professional Development and Market Research

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