Archive | September, 2013

How Sweet the Sound 2013 – Verizon Theater Grand Prairie

26 Sep

Verizon’s “How Sweet the Sound” is back and in search of the 2013 Best Gospel Choir in America. In its  6th year the Dallas regional will feature a gospel grudge match! That’s right, it’s a rematch of epic proportions as some of the greatest choirs from across the Southwest take the stage at the Verizon Theatre in Grand Prairie. How Sweet the Sound Dallas is not only a celebration of gospel choirs, it’s a celebration of the directors whose musical arrangements and animated directives are a show within themselves.

HSTS Dallas is held at the Verizon Theater in Grand Prairie

HSTS Dallas will be held 9/28 at the Verizon Theater in Grand Prairie

How Sweet the Sound is your opportunity to see and hear some of the nation’s greatest choirs. The audience will be replete gospel connoisseurs, church family and even some gospel artists. The judging panel for this year’s event will include local gospel chart topper, Tamela Mann; rising star Vashawn Mitchell and unrivaled choir master Bishop Hezekiah Walker. The event’s hosts return in the personage of gospel legends Yolanda Adams and famed choir director Donald Lawrence who is also celebrating a milestone with his latest release.

Hosts: Yolanda Adams & Donald Lawrence

Hosts: Yolanda Adams & Donald Lawrence

Surely there are no grudges in Christ, but as with all competitions there are winners and losers. And with a returning cast from last year’s competition, you can expect the timbre of their joyful noise to reach fever ‘pitch’. Come lift your voice as the diaconate of doxology duke it out!

Last year's judges in worship mod

Last year’s judges in worship mod

Last year’s competition was so tight that the tension to decide a winner was palpable even backstage. The St. Mark Sanctuary Choir was crowned champion and closed out the HSTS 2012 season as National Runner-Up. This awesome choir will return to defend their regional crown. Last year’s “People’s Choice”, the St. John Church Music Ministry will also return to try and capture their prized place on the winners’ platform. The St. John Church Music Ministry won the Dallas regional in 2011, held at the American Airlines Center.

IMG_7928Marquinn Middleton and the Miracle Chorale returns this year to try and win the elusive top prize. Middleton and his phenomenal group got the crowd on its feet with their innovative harmonies and the stunning arrangement of the hymn “Great is Thy Faithfulness”. Even without taking home a single prize, Middleton and the Miracle Chorale earned the prize of crowd favorite and most anticipated performance at HSTS Dallas.

Rounding out the list of metroplex praise pugilists and worshipping warriors, the United Voices from God’s Tabernacle of Deliverance return with expectancy. Each performance is critiqued and The United Voices have taken notes and return prepared to build upon their impressive performance at the 2012 Dallas regional.

Throwing their hats in the ring with these choir contenders are the 2009 Houston regional “People’s Choice” and Verizon Hopeline award winner, the Royalwood Sanctuary Choir as well as Montrae Tisdale-Johnson and the Friends Chorale from Oklahoma.

Get ready for a night of praise and worship you won’t soon forget. Since last year each of the choirs have grown impressively. Most notably, The St. John Church Music Ministry was featured on Bishop Richard “Mr. Clean” White’s release: “I’m Glad”. Marquinn Middleton and The Miracle Chorale have been featured across the country now have an increasing presence locally. Of course the St. Mark Sanctuary Choir finished the season as runner up and has reaped the benefits of such a lofty achievement.

There’s so much to see and hear at this year’s “How Sweet the Sound” Dallas Regional, you still have time to get tickets to one of the hottest gospel events to hit the metroplex. For ticket info, click here . Tickets are going fast so get yours today! We will see you there!

The National winner is awarded a recording contract. Click here to sample and buy Dexter Walker and Zion Movement’s new release on the eOne music label.


Gospel Music writer for the Examiner, Win Willis, is a musician and sound engineer from Fort Worth, Texas. Win Willis is a lover of all styles of music and loves to share and discuss music with other avid music lovers.

2013 Preview of the Chinese Lantern Festival – Dallas Fair Park

26 Sep

The Chinese Lantern Festival: Light A New Dream is back in Dallas!! Here’s a sneak peek at some of what’s going on behind those walls at Fair Park! The State Fair of Texas opens on September 27th and you can enjoy the Chinese Lantern Festival located within Fair Park’s fairgrounds as a special paid attraction all throughout fair season and beyond!

Tickets to the Chinese Lantern Festival are
$14 for Adults and $9 for kids (ages 4-12).

Hours during the State Fair:
10:00 A.M. – 10:00 P.M.

Hours after the State Fair ends:
October 24 – December 8
Evenings – 5:30 P.M. – 10:30 P.M.

Hours during the Holidays:
December 5 – January 12
5:30 P.M. – 10:30 P.M.

Tickets during the Holiday Season are
$22 for Adults and $14 for Kids.

Mavstoberfest 2013

24 Sep


The 2011 NBA Champs are back! They’ve been training, gearing up for the 2013-14 season, and now it’s time for you to join them in ringing in the new year! On Friday, October 4th, come to the American Airlines Center in Dallas for Mavstoberfest – one of the few “Octoberfests” actually in October. There’s plenty for a MFFL (Mavs Fan For Life) to do at 2013 Mavstoberfest! Select your seats, attend an autograph session, enjoy games on the court and watch a live scrimmage!

Admission is FREE and Parking is FREE!

Mavstoberfest is presented by ESPN Dallas 103.3 and ESPN DePortes!

The first half of the day is devoted to Select-A-Seat event which begins at 9:00am.

Select your seats for the 2013-14 season

Select your seats for the 2013-14 season

Mavstoberfest 2013 Schedule

    9:00AM – Doors Open for Select-A-Seat. Choose your seats for the 2013-14 season!*
    Plans available on all levels. Full, Half and Mini plans available.
    4:00PM – Doors Open – Special appearance by the one and only FLULA! DJ Whiz will help him out with Mavs Music!
    4:30PM – Doors Open for Platinum Level for Autograph Pass Winners! Must have a pass for entry! Listen to ESPN Dallas 103.3 to win!
    5:00PM – Autograph Session Begins on Platinum Level
    6:00PM – Autograph Session Ends
    6:00PM – Chris Arnold Welcomes Crowd With Flula. Arrive early our Dr Pepper Hoop Troop will be looking for True MFFL’s to play some fun games on court!
    6:15PM – Your Mav’s hit the court!
    6:30PM – Scrimmage Begins

Click here for more info on Mavstoberfest at the AAC on Friday, Oct 4th!


Click here to view the 2013-14 Dallas Mavericks season.

Taste of the Fair 2013 at Pegasus Plaza Dallas

24 Sep

Are you more excited about Big Tex’s successful cosmetic surgery or the food that will be served below him? If you fall into the second group and will be in downtown Dallas this Friday, get an early sampling of the fair food at the Taste of the Fair starting at 11am. September 27th is opening day for the State Fair of Texas, but for your pre-game fair hopping this fall, stop by Pegasus Plaza downtown for nachos, corn dogs, funnel cake, live music and more! If you work downtown, it’ll make for a great lunch break….smoke break…. 3:00pm break….and afternoon walk.. break? Besides it’s Friday.

Here are some pics from last year’s Taste of the State Fair:

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Admission is Free! Which works since you’re just roaming the plaza.

Pegasus Plaza | 1500 Main Street, Dallas 75202

2013 Greek Food Festival of Dallas

24 Sep

This coming weekend you’ll find ‘nothing bundt Greek’! (Watch the video snippet to get the joke..) The 2013 Greek Festival of Dallas is September 27, 28 & 29 hosted by and held at Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church in Dallas. A couple weekends ago it was Oprah. This time it’s “OPAAAAA”!!!

At the Greek Food Festival of Dallas you’ll find cooking demos, music and dancing, a Greek marketplace, art gallery and most importantly, Greek FOOD.

The Dallas Greek Festival is one of the FEW places where you can go smash plates at your own leisure and not get in trouble for it. The only consequence will come if you decide not to wear shoes that day. Other than that you’ll just move on to the cooking demos, tavern-style music offered by a live band and traditional Greek folk dancing. Just imagine a “Big Fat Greek Wedding” without the bride, the groom and the nuptials.

Witness the Holy Trinity Hellenic Dancers shake their “Golos“. The Greek dance group plays a big role in preserving the traditional Greek dance customs so you’re sure to learn some moves and witness a part of history, as traditional dance moves are passed down from one generation to the next.

gyro-topThe Agora has everything you would like to find in an international marketplace. The Pantopolion (festival grocery store) has everything you’ll need to get that Greek flavor in your food, including cookbooks. To keep the food thing rolling, locate all your decadent sweet temptations in the pastry shop!

By the end of the day you’ll be breakin’ dishes, but not for the same reason as Rihanna! It would’ve been the lively and spontaneous culture infused into your head (and belly).

ADMISSION: $6.00 Adults | FREE for Kids 12 and Under


PARKING: Free parking and Shuttle service is available by Brinker International and Commerce Plaza on the other size of LBJ Freeway. Self Parking is available for $5 at Temple Shalom, and On-site valet is $10 per vehicle.

FRI: 9.27 4PM-11PM | SAT 9.28: 11AM-6PM | SUN 9.29: 11AM – 6PM

Host of the Greek Food Festival Dallas

Host of the Greek Food Festival Dallas

Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church | 13555 Hillcrest Road, Dallas 75240

Burger Fest Dallas 2013 – Deep Ellum

17 Sep

burgerfestSink your teeth into not just one juicy burger, but two! In fact, let’s make it a BurgerFest this Saturday in Deep Ellum! True Texans know how to make or better yet, EAT a big flavorful burger, whether it’s made of beef or beats. (We definitely have some vegetarians and vegans who know how to work in the kitchen and have given beef-only burger bars a run for their money!) Whether you’re after the cow flesh or the farmed alternative they can all be found at the 2013 Burger Festival in Deep Ellum of Dallas. If it comes between two buns with lettuce, cheese, tomatoes, onions, pickles, ..then it’s available. Anything BURGER-related, minus the “King”, is festival friendly on this day.

The 2013 BurgerFest is brought to you by the same genius foodies of the first ever North Texas Taco Festival which took place back in April 2013! (Shout out to Entree Dallas and Taco Trail.) Some of the vendors who will be at BurgerFest in Deep Ellum on Saturday, September 21st include:

Maple & Motor, Ten Bells Tavern, Rodeo Goat and Whiskey Cake just to name a few. While bite size burgers are the focus of this festival, dessert and ice cream vendors will also be on location along with a beer garden, “VIP lounge” and live music. You can find the “Festival of Burgers” event right along the Deep Ellum Outdoor Market on Main Street in Deep Ellum.

BurgerFest is this Saturday, 9/21 from 11am to 5pm at 2800 Main Street, Dallas!

After you’ve stuffed your face with some burgers, walk it off in the Deep Ellum Fall Gallery Walk also taking place this Saturday between noon and 8pm. Click here to see the map for Galleries.

National Guacamole Day at Uncle Julio’s – September 16

10 Sep

We love guacamole! Yes we do! We love guacamole! How bout you?? If you haven’t noticed already, some legendary foodie in America (or just some coalition within the restaurant industry) is somewhere coming up with all these “national holidays” that honor almost every single food item. You’ve got every day from Apple Pie Day, Ice Cream Day, Chilli Dog Day and Fried Chicken Day to GUACAMOLE DAY! This year, on Monday, the 16th day of September, all avocado eaters will rejoice in the next “made up holiday” that promotes a favorite dip of all kindreds and tongues.

Photo from

Photo from

If you’ve heard of good Mexican food in Dallas, then you’ve heard of Uncle Julio’s. Now HERE is a place you want to celebrate Guacamole in all its zestiness. September 16th is also Mexican Independence Day, the anniversary of the Grito de Dolores (“Cry of Dolores”). In celebration of Guacamole Day, Uncle Julios will be serving up its special house guacamole (along with chips and salsa) for only $2! This guacamole is made FRESH with Haas avocados and quality ingredients. That day the ‘ritas will be only $4 all day long!

According to The Produce News, over 1.5 billion pounds of avocados were consumed by Americans in 2012, and I’m sure a major part of them were North Texans! I know one of them for sure, was me. We could eat sliced avocado with dinner – steak & rice, breakfast meals, sandwiches, etc. Then mash it up when you want to eat it with chips. In fact, Uncle Julio’s has been kind enough to provide us with a delicious recipe. Stop by Uncle Julio’s Monday, 9/16 or, if you live to far from the restaurant, take advantage of the exclusive recipes found below and the saying “Holy Guacamole” will take on a whole new meaning:

Recipe Yields 6 cups

• 6 avocados
• ¼ tbsp olive oil
• 2 lemons, juiced
• 1 tsp salt, to taste
• ½ cup chopped tomato
• ¼ cup chopped white onion

AvacadoChrisStock Directions:
1. Halve and pit the avocados. With a tablespoon, scoop out the flesh into a bowl.
Using the same bowl, mash the avocados using either a fork or potato masher, leaving them a bit chunky.
2. Stir olive oil into avocado.
3. Add remaining ingredients and mix well. Salt to taste. Serve with tortilla chips.


Uptown Dallas | 4125 Lemmon Avenueunclejulios
North Dallas | 16150 Dallas Parkway
Fort Worth | 5301 Camp Bowie Blvd.
Grapevine | 1301 William D Tate Avenue
Allen | 190 East Stacy Road, Building 3400

For hours, please visit

Now dip, baby dip!!

DFW Happenings Spa Experience at Massage Envy Cedar Hill

8 Sep

It was a sunny Sunday afternoon in September…

I had a 4:00pm appointment with Shannon at the Massage Envy that just opened on August 1st, 2013 in Uptown Village at Cedar Hill. IMG_9152For those of you living in Southwest Dallas you can probably appreciate a nearby massage location and with services at an affordable price in case you need a last minute fix. Located next to Black Eyed Peas, Massage Envy Spa Cedar Hill has very inviting entrance where the therapists/front desk will greet you with a smile. The greeters as well as the therapists make it a point to ask what brings you in and understand your needs.

Upon arrival I filled out a form that one of the therapists sat down and explained to me. This sheet is to help the Massage Envy therapists get a full glimpse at the client’s needs and note any important health information or medical issues. Laura was quite helpful in walking me through it. Once that was all filled out I was taken into the relaxation room and in no time was headed to my massage room! They ask that you arrive 15 minutes prior to your appointment because of this (the paperwork).

305 W. FM 1382, Suite 110, Cedar Hill 75104

305 W. FM 1382, Suite 110, Cedar Hill 75104

My friendly therapist, Shannon, whom I highly recommend, was very warm and sweet. She walked me back to the room where we’d be for the next 50 minutes, talked to me about my massage needs and went over my form. Then I was left to strip down to my “birthday suit” or what I was “most comfortable with”. (The massage beds are heated, by the way.)

I got all comfy under the cover with my face situated in the cushioned face cradle and laid there until the specialist came back in. A couple of knocks at the door and we were ready to begin! I won’t say the entire experience was painless, but that’s all a part of working out the kinks, and boy did I have some kinks! Shannon did a very good job at working out all the knots and pressure points in my neck and back where most of the tension was, and where it is for most women. I never realize just how much stress my body is carrying up and down I-20 until I go get a massage. Deep tissue methods, massage oils, heated beds, some water to sip on, dimmed lights and relaxing music is all you need to set the tone. IMG_9140Oh, and of course a great massager! You’ll have the chance when making your appointment to give your preference if you want a male or female – I wasn’t partial to either. With just the right kneading and rubbing done to the muscles you won’t be either. Aside from the pressure points (emphasis on pressure), while I laid in that room covered in a very calming dark lilac paint, I quickly went from passing the neighborhoods of Pleasant Run to a mellow “Japanese Oasis”. The music helps take you there.

At one point – about midway through – I may have come close to falling asleep, but I’m a light sleeper AND this was a full body massage. Not to mention, I had knots, and I could tell that Shannon had already made it her goal to get those suckers broken up! It’s not always the easiest road but well worth it in the end. Intense is one way to describe it, if you’re in similar shape as I was. My therapist’s arm became the rolling pin and my muscles were the dough. She was very attentive and communicated with me exactly how I was feeling and whether or not to ease up. She covered the back, neck, arms, legs, hands, shoulders…just about anywhere you have muscle. By 4:59pm right on the dot she finished me up and gave me a time to gather myself and switch out any “birthday suits” for public Sunday afternoon attire. As I stepped out of the room, my therapist was there patiently waiting for me and encouraged me to drink plenty of water.

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Following my 50 minutes of massage ministry, the young ladies at the front ask how it all went and then review your therapist’s recommendations with you. They sent me home with a little booklet the goes over what was done in today’s visit, what is recommended and then your therapist’s schedule and other contact information for the spa.IMG_9143

If you don’t like to drive far and are on a budget, but would like to have monthly massages or facials to enhance your body’s health and wellness, consider Massage Envy for the most affordable and thorough treatments this side of the Trinity. It may not be the ritziest of Dallas spa’s and you can’t get $10 champagne, but you’re paying for mostly for the medical services more than the luxurious ambiance at America’s favorite spa chain. Get the attention your body needs and at a cost your bank account want! For $49 you can get a 1-hour introductory massage session or an introductory 1-hour Murad Health Skin facial session for just $10 more ($59). On top of that I was informed that, once you have membership, for only $10 extra your friend or family member can use your account to go get a massage or facial one month in your place.

To set up your appointment at the newly opened Massage Envy Spa in Cedar Hill call 469-272-3689.

IMG_9142It was no secret that Massage Envy’s nationwide event, Healing Hands for Arthritis benefiting the Arthritis Foundation, was coming up on September 18th. The balloons, signage and flyers posted in the lobby reminded clients of the 3rd annual one-day event to build awareness and raise funds to fight arthritis. All of the 32 DFW Massage Envy spas will donate $10 from every one hour massage or facial to the Arthritis Foundation.

2013 Celina Balloon Festival – Sept 13-15

8 Sep


There’s only one direction to look when attending this year’s Celina Balloon Festival – UP. Besides just balloons, the 8th Annual Celina Balloon Festival is a fun family event packed with lots of activities like bumper boats, zip lines, helicopter rides and more. Special guests, the Emerald City Band will provide live upbeat music – including some of your favorite pop songs. Some of the most colorful balloons will fill the sky, floating across Celina at 5pm Friday, 7am and 5pm on Saturday and 7am on Sunday – pending weather conditions.

The top featured balloons can be seen here. For those of you looking forward to the Balloon Glow, a number of balloons will light up the night at sunset on both Friday and Saturday night .

Performing LIVE

Performing LIVE

TICKETS: A single ticket to the Celina Balloon Festival 2013 is just $5.00 and can be purchased here. Check out the family packs also!

To enjoy a Balloon Tether ride you only have to pay $20 for adults and $15 for kids. Balloon flights are $200 per passenger and occur in the morning and afternoon. You must arrive no later than 6:30am on Saturday/Sunday and 4:30pm on Friday/Saturday. Click here for more info on Balloon Rides.

On Saturday, the Faith and Family entertainers will hit the stage featuring the Celina High School Choir, hundreds of choir singers from across Collin County and the Relevant Life band! Sunrise service, sponsored by Lifeway Church, will take place on Sunday morning in the Balloon Fields.

Here are a few other family activities at Celina Balloon Festival 2013:

  • Inflatable insanity
  • Carnival
  • Zip line
  • Classic car show
  • Ponies and pals petting zoo
  • Coconut Climb
  • Helicopter rides
  • Adoption Alley
  • Hamster Balls
  • Bumper Boats
  • Kite Expo from DAKO
  • Home Depot Kids Pavilion
  • Baseball Tournament

Parking is available at $5 (cash only) at the Old Celina Park


Friday 9/13…………..5pm – 10pm
Saturday 9/14…………7am – 11pm
Sunday 9/15………….7am – 5pm

Click here if you’d like volunteer information for the 8th Annual Celina Balloon Festival.

Old Celina Park | 12670 FM 428, Celina TX 75009

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