Let’s see the world together, comment to win Houston iFest tickets!

Houston International Festival 2011 dancers

Want to win tickets to Houston International Festival’s Silk Road Journey?

The Schipul headquarters (in our beloved Houston, TX) is one of the greatest melting pot cities in the United States.   This multi-cultural experience is only amplified by (client) Houston iFest‘s annual event that highlights a different geographic location every year.

Houston iFest dancers with flags

This year’s iFest theme is The Silk Road: Journey Across Asia which brings a rainbow of traditional garb, delicious food vendors, international musicians and dance troupes.

Leave a comment on your favorite travel destination to win!

This year’s Houston iFest festivities continue to run this weekend (May 7th – May 8th) and we want to send YOU!

Leave a comment on this blog post telling us about your favorite (or dream) travel destination for a chance to win!

We’ll pick 2 random winners that will each receive iFest passport – good for 4 tickets and parking for the iFest on Friday (May 6th) 12pm CDT.   Bon voyage!

Congrats to winners Denise and Sara – enjoy the iFest magic!

Houston iFest photos by Ed Schipul – check out his full set on Facebook here!

Schipul Flocks to The Houston Zoo’s Beastly Brunch

A Wonderful, Wild Sunday

Cocktails?   Brunch?   A live DJ? Awesome animals?   Yes, please!   This was the set-up for the Houston Zoo’s Beastly Brunch held on Sunday and it was marvelous.   The Beastly Brunch and other such events at the Zoo are held by Flock – The Houston Zoo’s Young Supporters Group who do their best to promote public awareness and interest in The Houston Zoo with events such as this one.

Houston Zoo Beastly Brunch Food

Party Animals

The   DJ and the reflection pool created a perfect atmosphere for a Sunday brunch and the weather was superb!   Cocktail bars, coffee and Sprinkles cupcakes were set up and down the length of the reflection pool with tasty buffet of bruchy eats at the end for everyone to enjoy.   My coffee was followed by a bloody mary, a mimosa, croissants, various quiches, fruit and cupcakes… that’s right; cupcakes and mimosas at the zoo with a herd of Houston’s animal lovers.     Bliss.

Houston Zoo Beastly Brunch DJ

Cuddly Critters!

Not only did The Houston Zoo provide an amazing morning of mingling and gnarly nibbles, but they also brought out some adorable critters!   I got to meet a chinchilla and a very tiny owl.     I’m a sucker for fuzzy and tiny creatures and these guys were just too much cute to handle.

Schipul At The Houston Zoo

It was a great day…

The Beastly Brunch lasted from 12pm-2pm; so afterward we walked off all the deliciousness with a stroll through the zoo, which is always a delight, waved goodbye to our new animal friends and headed home (sleepy, but excited for the next event at The Houston Zoo).

Houston Zoo Beastly Brunch Owl

Kudos to Flock!   Want to Join them?

Flock is a group of 21 and up professionals who devote themselves to the growth and success of The Houston Zoo with unique, exciting and educational events throughout the year.   It’s easy to join Flock and a membership carries with it awesome privileges including entry to some fantastic shin-digs and exclusive volunteer opportunities.

Thanks, Sponsors!

Also, thank you to the sponsors of The Houston Zoo’s Beastly Brunch!   Food, atmosphere and beverages were also provided by the following:

St Arnolds BrewerySprinkles Cupcakes

Yelp HoustonMomentum Audi

All photos taken by our own Katrina Esco.

Houston Zoo Beastly Brunch Yelp

The Children’s Museum of Houston is #1 in the Nation!

Really!   It’s official!   This month, Parent’s Magazine announced that The Children’s Museum of Houston was voted No. 1 in the United States!   Way to go and CONGRATULATIONS,   Houston Children’s Museum – Everyone is so happy for you all and for Houston.   We can’t wait to check out Spring Break at the Museum this year too!

Why The Children’s Museum of Houston is so awesome-

Many Houstonians, the young and the young at heart alike, already know why The Children’s Museum of Houston is such a fun place to learn, interact and play.   Founded in 1980, the Museum’s mission is to transform communities through innovative, child-centered learning.   The Children’s Museum of Houston is also packed with exhibits bursting with whimsy and fun that engage kids in the ultimate learning experience…plus they just have tons of cool stuff!

Want to Visit The Children’s Museum?   You totally Should!

In 2005, with the addition o f another building, The Children’s Museum of Houston added 39,000 square feet of exhibition space and have continued to amaze and wow Houston with cutting-edge displays, child-based learning methods and design and one of the best family experiences any city has to offer.   See what The Children’s Museum has going on right now and find out why it’s the best Museum for Children in the entire Nation!

  • Museum Exhibits -Over 14 galleries of action-packed exhibits and experiences!
  • Spring Break with The Children’s Museum of Houston“Rock the Block” 2011 Kicks off   March 12.
  • Mr. O – The Science Guru! – We love Mr. O! He’s got the coolest science projects ever and a really rad blog!
  • Free Family Nights – Thursdays are free at The Children’s Museum of Houston.

Check out The Children’s Museum of Houston’s own Mr. O!

Static Cling from Children’s Museum of Houston on Vimeo.

Remember – Next time you visit The Children’s Museum of Houston, give everyone a High-Five and a hug for being the best there is at what they do!

AVANCE Houston, Inc. Mangum Education Center Ribbon Cutting

This week we launched the new website for AVANCE-Houston, Inc. at www.avancehouston.org!

Founded in Texas, AVANCE works with poor and marginalized communities to promote better parenting, school readiness, literacy, health and personal development. AVANCE provides programs that strengthen families in at-risk communities through effective parent education and support programs.

See more at www.avancehouston.org

Also, we were privileged to attend the Ribbon Cutting Ceremony of AVANCE Houston’s new Mangum Education center.

AVANCE Mangum Center ribbon cutting
AVANCE Mangum Center ribbon cutting

The Mangum Education Center is a 48,000 square ft. facility housing AVANCE education and support programs and Southwest Schools Charter Schools, K -5th grade. The facility is a former boarded up and vacated retail center.

Students from Southwest school singing at AVANCE Mangum Ribbon cutting
Students from Southwest school singing at AVANCE Mangum Ribbon cutting

The ribbon cutting ceremony featured speakers Mayor Annise Parker, Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee, and Houston City Council Member Melissa Noriega – along with AVANCE Inc. CEO Rick Noriega, AVANCE-Houston, Inc. Executive Director Jose Villareal, and Superintendent of Southwest Schools Janelle James.

Also, students from the Southwest School performed songs and poems for the crowd.

Annise Parker at the AVANCE Mangum Center Ribbon Cutting
Annise Parker at the AVANCE Mangum Center Ribbon Cutting

The ribbon cutting was a great event and was a great showcase of all the hard work the AVANCE team has put in to get this major project accomplished! We are so thrilled to get to work with this fantastic Houston nonprofit!

AVANCE Mangum Education Center ribbon cutting
AVANCE Mangum Education Center ribbon cutting

Friday Fun Post: And That’s Why IKEA Totally Rocks!

Shipulites pose for the mock IKEA catalog at the IKEA 2011 Catalog preview party

Special thanks to photographer Annie Ray for the wonderful photo! To see more of her work or more photos from the event visit her site: www.AnnieRay.net

*Sigh* I love you IKEA.

Long before it was a Schipul client and I was Schipulite, IKEA was my home goods haven.

I’m a neat freak. Let’s just get that out of the way.

Also, it’s pronounced /ee-KAY-uh/. I promise. Let’s get that out of the way, too.

Yesterday I Went on a Field Trip to IKEA’s Cafeteria

*Faints*Food at Ikea is reasonably priced.

It was exciting. And that’s when the magic of it all hit me, and I realized how much I love this place.

The menu is decent. The food is good. The view isn’t bad. So what’s the magic you ask?

For me, it’s the same magic most sane people feel when they open the catalog and start imagining the room they’ll build with the furniture they’re eyeballing.

Eating in IKEA’s cafeteria is like eating in IKEA’s catalog.

And I’m not afraid to admit it:   I’d love to live in the IKEA catalog. (The photos that Annie Ray took at the IKEA 2011 Catalog Preview Party prove that most people would!)

Some of the menu items include their famous Swedish meatballs, organic pasta and Princess Cake. Also, shoppers can purchase some of the goods in the Swedish Food Market section of the store and take the yummy goodness home. (It’s near the Bistro/Exit Cafe‘, which is a whole other blog post).

I’m Still A Neat Freak

The best part of the experience came with putting away my tray.   There’s a pretty blue wall, and in front it looks like a condiment station. But be not fooled! The hind side of the wall holds a shelving system just for trays. It’s the most efficient, DIY, tray taking system I’ve ever seen. I shed a tear (@happykatie saw it…maybe).

I encourage you to visit the restaurant. No. You’re not gonna get a five-star, Zagat-rated meal. But you’ll get good food in a pretty place. And who wouldn’t want that?

Iron Bartender victory for (client) Brennan’s of Houston!

Masters of Mixology ContesWe would like to congratulate Alexander Gregg from our client Brennan’s restaurant for winning the first annual Iron Bartender Masters of Mixology contest!

The event was held Sunday night inside the San Luis Resort Spa & Conference center, where 70 contestants battled it out in front of a wild crowd. Gregg snatched the title of Master Mixer by creating a frozen rum drink with avocado. This concoction captured the attention of the judges and ultimately led to his award of an all-expense-paid trip to Las Vegas, as well as cash prizes. You can find more about this contest here!

You can follow Brennan’s restaurant online at:
• Twitter: https://twitter.com/brennanshouston
• Flickr: https://www.flickr.com/photos/brennansofhouston/
• Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/BrennansofHouston

Join our Schipul Get Satisfaction community!

This week the Schipul team launched our new Get Satisfaction client community:   www.getsatisfaction.com/schipul

Think opposite the Rolling Stones song, we are ALL about finding new ways to get you satisfaction (and we try… and we try!!!).

While you hear from US all the time, we want to hear more from YOU!!   and, even more importantly, want to provide a space to contribute your own ideas and requests – as well as connect and collaborate with other Schipul clients.

Our Schipul Get Satisfaction community provides you with an extra spot to stay connected to software updates (and a place to provide feedback on them), a handy FAQ section and other goodies.

This will not replace our Support service (support AT schipul DOT com), but WILL provide you an additional spot to pose + answer questions for each other, share best practices and find like-minded organizations that (we think, at least) are pretty AMAZING.

Want to ease into the process a bit?   No problem.   You can always visit our www.schipul.com/ideas page and submit your ideas.   Think big – anything we should be thinking about, offering client training on or building into our service offerings?   We’re all ears!