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Tickets Now Available to Ballet Arkansas' Turning Pointe Gala

Image by Jason Masters

Professional company members of Ballet Arkansas include Laura Horak, Toby Lewellen, Katchiri Tillman, Paul Tillman, Leslie Dodge, Sean Porter and Anna Kirkes.


Ladies and gentlemen, take your first position and join Ballet Arkansas for its annual spring gala, Turning Pointe, at 6 p.m. Friday, March 20. 

As the company’s largest fundraiser, Turning Pointe offers a night of fine dining and dance. Guests will enjoy cocktails, live and silent auctions and entertainment provided by both the Ballet Arkansas Youth Division and company members.

Get a look at what the upcoming season has in store, including a special preview of the upcoming spring show "Who Cares?," and end your night with sweets, coffee and the sounds of Dizzy 7

To learn more about Ballet Arkansas, check out our feature on Artistic Director Michael Bearden from the February issue of Soirée.

Turning Pointe will take place at the Albert Pike Memorial Temple at 712 Scott St. Tickets are now available by calling (501) 223-5150 or by clicking here.

Year of the Goat/Sheep: Chinese New Year Begins Feb. 19

Image by Kobby Dagan /

A dragon dance at San Francisco's annual Chinese New Year Parade.


Chinese New Year, China's largest national holiday, begins this Thursday, Feb. 19! The holiday marks the Lunar New Year with feasts, fireworks, parades and many celebrations. This year is the Year of the Goat or Sheep, and many Chinese festivals are already under way.

While Little Rock doesn't have its own Chinese New Year parade like many larger North American cities, here are three alternative ways you can celebrate the holiday and learn about Chinese traditions!

1. Go to the Library

Visit your local library and ask the librarian or children's librarian for a book recommendation--then, read the Chinese New Year-themed storybooks with your child! You can also ask if regular storytimes or art workshops will be themed for the holiday. At CALS Main Library, teens ages 12-19 can ring in the Lunar New Year by learning how to write new year's greetings in Chinese characters (4:30 p.m. Feb. 19). For more info, visit For information on Laman Library's upcoming events, visit

2. Get Crafty

You may not have a festive dragon parade to attend, but your family can craft up some fun at home. The Shopping Mama blog explains the basics of the holiday and outlines four easy crafts that youngsters can make, including paper lanterns made from construction paper, Chinese drums from paper plates and a dragon puppet, too. Click here to see the full blog post.

3. Cook the Cuisine

Of course, food is a major part of the celebration, as well. If your family enjoys trying new recipes, browse these 16 Lunar and Chinese New Year recipes compiled by Jeanette's Healthy Living. You'll learn what certain foods symbolize and why they are eaten during the holiday. Plus, find the recipes for delicious dishes like Stir-Fry Noodles with Chicken, Mushrooms and Chinese Veggies; Spicy Kung-Pao Chicken; and Shrimp Fried Rice. And for dessert, don't miss out on the Coconut Sticky Rice Cake, which is considered good luck for Chinese New Year and symbolic of family cohesiveness.

Or, stop by Three Fold Noodles & Dumpling Co. in downtown Little Rock to nosh on traditional Chinese dumplings, noodle dishes and steamed buns. The family-owned restaurant will be celebrating the holiday as well as their official Grand Opening! Three Fold had its soft opening back in December--read our mini review here.

Happy New Year!

The Rep Hosting Saints and Sinners Firesale on Auction Items


Above are some of the items from the original Saints and Sinners auction lineup.


The Arkansas Repertory Theatre’s annual Saints and Sinners gala was quite the site to behold. Between the entertainment, the food and the fashion, the event definitely lived up to its reputation as being one of the metro’s most fun affairs.

If you couldn’t make it to Saints and Sinners this year, you weren’t able to take part in the onsite silent and live auctions, which included items like diamonds and pearls from Sissy's Log Cabin and a trip to New York.

But all is not lost, readers! There are still a few items up for grabs in the Saints and Sinners Firesale. You have until 9 p.m. Feb. 21 to bid on some of the fabulous items, such as a seven-night stay at the Grand Mayan in Playa del Carmen, Mexico.

These winnings are going fast, so make your move now. To claim yours, click here

3 Ways To Avoid Birthday Party Breakdowns (Without Ditching Your DIY Dreams)


If you are a parent of anyone under 12, you’ve been to one, probably several: The Pinterest Party. The Pinterest Party has taken some children’s birthday parties from a simple cake-and-balloon affair to an extravaganza of epic proportions, where homes are all but remodeled to accommodate a 6-year-old’s current obsession with super heroes. The trend has taken moms’ anxiety levels exploding along with it.

To be fair, it’s easy to get sucked into the social media bookmarking site. It has more than 70 million users in the US. Eighty percent of those are women.

I currently have 13 Pinterest boards dedicated to parties I’m planning, have planned or wish I could plan. In my mind, these affairs begin as Gatsby-esque in scope. In reality, I’m a middle-class mom with limited time and money. And it’s in this brutal intersection of day dreams and reality where unnecessary money is spent, oceans of tears are shed and lots of wine is consumed.

You don’t have to look hard to find articles on whether children actually need or want some of these elaborate parties. Any child rearing expert worth their salt will tell you that simple celebrations of a child’s life each year can be quite memorable and meaningful without a high price tag or a nervous breakdown. They would be entirely right.

However, the extraordinary popularity of Pinterest, along with DIY party blogs, points to a desire on some level for modern moms to create a little homespun happiness. So we’ve consulted some of our favorite party people to help avoid some of the most common Pinterest party pitfalls and create happier birthday parties with a personal touch.

Pitfall: All the Things

The thing about Pinterest is that there really is no end to it. You want to have a Lego party? Pinterest can suggest thousands of ideas in hundreds of suggested categories from food to games to décor. Suddenly, EVERYTHING is possible. But just because you can do something, doesn’t mean you should.

Smart Planning: Pick One (maybe two)

Christen Byrd, Director of Camp Lovely, a crafting community based in Central Arkansas, says: “Instead of decorating my entire house in ‘princess rainbow pony cotton candy,’ I focus on one party table or display. Narrow down the theme (princess OR rainbow OR pony OR cotton candy) and 2-3 main colors. Decorate that table up and have your focus and photos there.”


Kelli Marks, owner of Sweet Love bakery, says: “Pick a few elements and ditch the rest. If your kid really likes cake and sweets, spend the time and money on a dessert table. If he or she really likes to play elaborate games, then turn the back yard into a Nerf gun war playground. Pick the thing that your child will enjoy the most.”

Pitfall: Martha Stewart Syndrome

The perfect craft or cake you dream of probably doesn’t exist in real life. Just like Martha Stewart is actually a whole team of people, not just a crafty lady from Connecticut, photos for pins are often staged. The fake children have been drugged or bribed to sit still and look beautiful for the camera. Adjusting real life expectations accordingly avoids so much disappointment.

Kelli says, “Most people have no idea what the background is on the photo they pin. It could be a cake dummy (made of Styrofoam), a cake that has never traveled farther than from the kitchen to the living room, or it could have been worked on for months. A photo of a cake I made went viral on Pinterest. I designed it with a friend who happens to be a professional photographer. The birthday party was basically a photo shoot. They had a blast styling and plating the cake and then provided me with a professional photo.”

Smart Planning: No party exists in a vacuum. Borrow and reuse.

Christen: Make and keep things that are easily reusable. I have a collection of big tissue paper poms I keep on a hanger in a closet. Just keep using them until they fall apart. They are easy to make, good space fillers and are super cheap. Last summer I used the same ones for a family reunion, a superhero party and a little girl outdoor picnic party. I made it work. I do the same thing with banners and buntings.”


Pitfall: Unqualified Labor

Everyone is not a baker, crafter and graphic designer. It doesn’t matter what the well-intentioned bloggers say. Pinterest Fail websites would not be overflowing with hilarious photos if everyone could do everything.

Smart Planning: Know your strengths. Outsource the rest.

Christen: “I know I’m good at decorating. I hate dealing with the food, but my sister loves it. She likes coming up with fun little food for the kids. And they are not going to eat a full meal at a birthday party. Don’t waste your money. Keep it simple.”


Kelli: “Pinterest is a great place for inspiration, but just like anything in life: you are not a model; you are not a celebrity; don’t try to hold yourself to an impossible standard.”

How to Host an Awesome Oscar Watch Party



The 87th Academy Awards show is coming up Sunday (Feb. 22) and even though we won't be walking the red carpet, we can still have a good time watching from home with our own fashion choices.

With the help of, we rustled up some tips on how to create your very own Hollywood-style watch party at home.

If you want to impress the bow ties off of your guests, you can build a themed menu based on your favorite nominated movie to serve before or during the show. However, if you want to make things a little simpler in the kitchen, you can whip up some of these recipes:

Pair up these already fabulous dishes with a classic bowl of popcorn during the show to create a movie theater atmosphere. The microwave stuff isn't really your style? Try this Buffalo Ranch Popcorn to spice things up. 

A night with this kind of glamour calls for pulling out all the stops. Bring out the good china and uncork a bottle of champagne. Dress up your home with gold or other metallic objects for some of that silver screen sparkle. 

To really get your movie mojo going, you need to look the part. If your ball gown or tux are at the cleaner's, turn to costumes instead. Go as your favorite character from "Into the Woods" or "The Grand Budapest Hotel."

Think you know the winning films? Download ballots with all the nominees from When the party's over, give a prize to the guest who picked the most award-winners. Stick with the theater theme and give away a basket of your favorite candies or movie tickets!

Even after all of these great ideas, we know there will be some of you who still feel like this is a lot of work. We get it. Instead, you can always attend the Wolfe Street Center's annual Academy Awards Gala fundraiser, Lights, Camera, Action!, an Oscars watch party sanctioned by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. It takes place at 5:30 p.m. at the Chenal Country Club. 

Still too much work? Click here to find out how you can support the Wolfe Street endeavors in your pajamas from your couch by being a virtual attendee.

Learn more about the Wolfe Street Center and the annual gala by reading our February feature on founding committee member Kathy Swanson

Arkansas Bride: Kelly Magee of Conway

Gallery by Drew Cason Photography

Kelly Magee + Zach Cates

January 3, 2015

Photography: Drew Cason Photography

Gown: Low's Bridal and Formal

Hair: Laura Catherine Hart

Venue: Two Rivers Park

Our favorite part of this wedding aside from the glowing bride? The fact that this couple totally paid homage to one of our favorite TV shows of all time with their killer wedding hashtag: #LongLiveZachandKelly. What's not to love?





And we even threw in an engagement shot for good measure. Congrats, Zach and Kelly!


Registration Open for Clinton McDonald Youth Cheer and Football Camp

Image by Shutterstock

This children's cheer and football camp featuring Arkansas' own Super Bowl Champion Clinton McDonald returns for its third year on April 4. Held in Jacksonville, the Arkansas Iron Sharpen Iron Youth Cheer and Football Camp teaches the value of community, family, self-discipline and teamwork to athletes ages 6-17.

According to the website for McDonald And Associates Collective Collaborations – Light Into Darkness (MACC-LID), the athletic organization is "based on serving and assisting the betterment and uplifting the underprivileged communities and communities across the country by using the spirit of the Lord to be a light unto our darken paths. By using the fundamentals in sports and real life testimonies, we aid in introducing principles that will impact and remain with individuals within the community for a lifetime!"

Players will be split into two age groups: ages 6-13 and ages 14-17. The older age group will participate in a college seminar in addition to the athletic camp. Both camps will be held at the Jacksonville High School (2400 Linda Lane, Jacksonville), and lunch will be provided for campers.

Early sign-up is $40 for the football camp and $30 for cheer/dance; late registration is $45 football and $35 cheer. Early registration is recommended, and sign-ups are limited to a first-come, first-serve basis. Online registration is now open at

Contest: Win Four Tickets to Mary Poppins at The Rep

Happy snow day! We're celebrating with a "supercalifragilisticexpialidocious" giveaway--that's right, we're giving away a family four pack to see "Mary Poppins" at the Arkansas Repertory Theatre!

The stage musical, adapted from the classic 1964 Disney film, will hit The Rep's stage March 4-April 12. Just like the movie, the stage version is about a whimsical nanny who breezes into 17 Cherry Tree Lane, London, to bring some order (and fun) to the chaotic Banks family household. The musical features the same popular songs: "A Spoonful of Sugar," "Step in Time," "Chim-Chim Cher-ee," "Jolly Holiday" and more.

To enter Little Rock Family's giveaway, simply visit and follow the instructions. The deadline to enter is 3 p.m. TODAY (February 16). The winner will be announced at 4 p.m. on our Facebook page.

Don't forget to pop by The Rep's Facebook page today, too. They've named the five finalists in their "Mary Poppins"-inspired ice cream naming contest, and voting is now open to the public. The special ice cream flavor, crafted by Loblolly Creamery, is sweet cream with brownie pieces. For more info, click here.

"Mary Poppins" will play at the Arkansas Repertory Theatre March 4-April 12. Plus, Little Rock Family will host a free party before the special matinee performance on March 7! Join us in the lobby one hour before the show and you can pose for a photo, sign up for giveaways and make kite crafts inspired by the show. All activities are free with a ticket to the March 7 matinee performance. To purchase tickets to see Mary Poppins, visit

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About The Author
What’s new in shopping, the arts, music, travel, fun parties and delicious food in Arkansas? Let Lauren James of be your guide. An avid shopper, traveler and lover of everything-arts-related, she will show you the best of what Arkansas has to offer. Make your go-to spot every day to learn the latest in entertainment, dining, attractions, activities and more.
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For this special Reader's Choice edition, we wanted to put a fun little spin on the traditional Editor Favorites feature. Instead of simply showcasing the editorial team's favorite bridal portraits and couple shots, we added décor, ideas and more into this mix. We hope these inspire you to create something fresh, unique or simply gorgeous for your weddings.

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