Writer and enthusiast of all things Beauty, Fashion, travel and healthy living-related, our Beautify contributor Ana Bribiesca is currently working in the higher education non-profit sector and in launching AnaBribs.com, a lifestyle blog where she plans to share her passions, experiences, tips and sneak peeks inside her life hoping to share large doses of inspiration.
Torquil Dewar is the founder of October Custom Publishing. Originally from Scotland, he can claim to be the world’s first time traveler after moving from London, England in 2001 to Peoria, Illinois in 1978 (at least that’s what it felt like). As an art director for a wide variety of magazines and books, he also publishes a current events magazine for the Austin area called The Austinite. His long-time colleague Shelley Lai is the only reason deadlines are actually met on time.
DION “BLEU” DRAKE
Dion “Bleu” Drake is a fashion stylist with almost a decade of experience working in celebrity, editorial, advertising and personal styling. Over the years he has honed his skill by working with celebrities, athletes, and with publications such as Elle and Italian Vogue. Originally from Detroit, moving to the East Coast afforded Bleu to be infused with fashion and culture from a very young age. He proclaims his inspiration for his keen style aesthetic is anything edgy and glam, allowing Bleu to create dynamic images that will forever be cemented in editorial history…as in this month’s fashion cover feature, Hidden Talents.
Certified professional life coach and branding expert by day, social commentator by night and author of his new book Being In The Room (available at Amazon.com), Senior Social Editor Rob Giardinelli is a man of many interests. What may appear seamless actually takes hours of research, interviews, and photo gathering to accurately chronicle the state’s charitable event stories. Giardinelli himself is involved several philanthropies and loves sharing how Texans so generously and passionately give back to the community they love, while he weaves interesting social commentary that showcases the many who work tirelessly to raise awareness toward important issues in the state.
LAURA VILLAGRAN-JOHNSON AND KEVIN SMOTHERS
If there is an event or gala to attend in Texas, count on Laura Villagran-Johnson and Kevin Smothers to be on the scene. As the founders of the social guide and online calendar at AustinSocialPlanner.com, Austin’s definitive online source for society events, they know where to go, when to be there and how to dial in to the particular charity behind it. The founders have a combined an events background of almost 30 years across Texas, New York and Los Angeles. Photography by Stacey Harrell.
Our Indulge column contributor and The Society Diaries TV co-creator and co-host, Tori Johnson is the owner of sTORIbook Public Relations and is a fashion and lifestyle blogger of ThesTORIbook.com. She is also a successful commercial and editorial stylist. In 2015 and 2016, Johnson was voted San Antonio Fashion Blogger of the Year and has worked with a bevy of top names including Neiman Marcus, Nordstrom, Lancôme, Armani Exchange, and many more.
Weiss Kelly, pmafa is a Certified Professional Astrologer and syndicated columnist. She is on the Board of Directors of the American Federation Of Astrologers and also serves as their Secretary. Kelly is best known for her work in business astrology, advising business owners and professionals throughout the U.S. She is one of the few astrologers to have her own segments with TV’s PM Magazine and later her own weekly cable show that ran over six years and can be reached for readings at email@example.com.
Our Digital Director at the helm of TheSocietyDiaries.com, The Style Setters special feature, and all associated video and social media platforms, Eleanora Morrison has been a writer and editor since the magazine’s first issue, covering events, culture, weddings and travel. Morrison is also the creator, editor and digital personality behind the popular media site OhEleanora.com and its associated platforms, with a mission to empower women to create lives they love. Through artistic, authentic storytelling and candid, compelling conversation, Oh, Eleanora celebrates the beauty of leading life as a strong, modern woman.
Our feature photographer for this issue’s Hidden Talents fashion editorial cover story is Los Angeles-based Mark Oberlin. Oberlin has also photographed the collections of many of the West Coast’s top fashion designers. He is an acclaimed painter, as well, and has exhibited his paintings in Los Angeles, New York City and San Francisco galleries. More of his work can be found at MarkOberlinPhotography.com
Josie Rees is our Savor column contributor and is a freelance food photographer based in San Antonio. She is a two-time recipient of Foodelia’s International Food Photography Awards and documents her culinary journey on her blog, JosieRees.com which showcases some of her favorite recipes and spots around town.
Associate Editor Jennifer Roosth is a Houston-based writer who never ceases to be amazed by the wonderfully generous spirit of the Houston philanthropic community. “It’s nice to live in a city where so many are excited about giving back,” she says, “In the process, they throw some mighty fine parties.”
Sharon Schweitzer, J.D., is a cross-cultural trainer and modern manners expert. In addition to her accreditation in intercultural management from the HOFSTEDE Centre, she serves as a Chinese Ceremonial Dining Etiquette Specialist in the documentary series Confucius was a Foodie, on Nat Geo People. She is the resident etiquette expert on two popular lifestyle shows: ABC Tampa Bay’s Morning Blend and CBS Austin’s We Are Austin. Her Amazon #1 Best Selling book in International Business, Access to Asia: Your Multicultural Business Guide, now in its third printing, was named to Kirkus Reviews’ Best Books of 2015. She’s a winner of the British Airways International Trade Award at the 2016 Greater Austin Business Awards.
A partner at Gangway Advertising, Cynthia Smoot creates buzz for some of Dallas’ hottest brands through interactive social media strategies and public relations for the firm’s lifestyle clients. She is the go-to resource for what’s happening and who you need to know in Dallas. Through her popular lifestyle blog OhSoCynthia.com readers get the latest scoop and inside information on fashion, food, philanthropy, events, celebrity and reality TV news. Smoot describes her blog as “a love letter to the city of Dallas” and enjoys taking readers along for the ride as she experiences all that the city has to offer.
Jonathan Spindel is a native Austinite with a global appetite for arts and culture. When he’s not searching the world for the best trends to share with our readers, he can be found at local art galleries, music venues, and hip happenings around the capital city. He reports on all that makes us proud to be part of Texas society and is inspired by the unique individuals and organizations he engages as an Associate Editor, highlighting the happenings that bring the best to, and make the most of, our great state.
Inspired by the idea that beautiful storytelling should be effortless, Robin of Verry Robin & Co. works with tastemakers and brands to bring their stories to life. Based in Charlottesville, Virginia, Robin works with artists and businesses internationally by weaving elegant stories together from everyday inspirations. Guided by her clients’ visions, Robin designs beautifully styled photography for web, catalogs, lookbooks, editorial and social media. She is happiest working away in her studio surrounded by gorgeous props, blooms, and pretty product, or on set collaborating with an amazing team. Before founding Verry Robin & Co., Robin refined her creative processes and established a reputation for classic, elevated style as the prop stylist and photographer at a national magazine.
MIRANDA F. WALICHOWSKI
Miranda F. Walichowski, Ph.D. is a certified professional life coach and docent at Texas A&M University in the Department of Educational Psychology, helping her clients achieve measurable results when it comes to professional and personal growth in her role as coach and principal of MiraNous Coaching & Consulting, LLC (MiraNous.com). Dr. Miranda has developed a coaching process based on how the brain works to help individuals develop self-awareness, self-mastery, and self-actualization. She has co-founded a once-in-a-lifetime, transformational experience, the New You Journey (NewYouJourney.com), an intensive six-month coaching program that culminates in a 1,200-year-old pilgrimage from the foothills of the Pyrenees mountains in France to Santiago de Campostela, Spain.