Online home decor retailer Ballard Designs to open Houston store

Ballard Designs, a catalog and online retailer of furniture and home decor, will open a store in the Houston market in Rivers Oaks Shopping Center.

The Atlanta-based omnichannel retailer will take over the 10,000-square-foot space previously occupied by Gap Stores in February, the company announced.

Ballard Designs joins other design and furniture stores in Weingarten Realty Investors’ renovated River Oaks center as it continues its brick-and-mortar expansion. The Houston store will be the chain’s 16th since first opening stores 2007.

“We’ve been serving Houston designers and homeowners for 35 years through our catalog, so we already have a large following here,” Dominic Milanese, senior director of retail for Ballard Designs, said in an announcement.

RELATED: In Marie Flanigan’s new design book, there’s beauty in every home

Ballard is targeting a soft opening in early 2021. Social distancing protocols will be in place.

“Shopping is one of the Top 10 things to do in Houston,” Milanese said. “And at Ballard, we have such a robust assortment, we expect people to love our upholstery and larger furniture pieces, but also to stop in for smaller accessories as well.”

The location on West Gray Street near Shepherd Drive is close to the affluent River Oaks and Montrose neighborhoods, a couple of miles west of downtown. Weingarten Realty is developing the 30-story Driscoll at River Oaks apartment tower in the center, with opening planned in mid 2021.

Ballard Designs also has stores in Fort Worth and Dallas. The company is part of Qurate Retail Group, which also includes QVC, HSN, Zulily, Frontgate, Garnett Hill, Grandin Road and Ryllace.

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White House worried about Republican opposition to Trump controversial Fed pick

The White House is worried about opposition from Senate Republicans to Judy Shelton, President Trump’s nominee for a spot on the Federal Reserve’s Board of Governors, according to people familiar with the matter.

“Her nomination is imperiled right now,” said Stephen Moore, an outside economic adviser to Trump.

“The White House is really not sure they have the 50 votes in the Senate to confirm her,” Moore told the Washington Examiner. Moore met with Trump and multiple senior White House officials on Wednesday.

Shelton is not expected to get support from any of the 47 senators who are Democrats or independents. Now, there are concerns that she does not have enough support from Republicans to garner the 51 votes necessary for confirmation.

Sen. John Thune of South Dakota, the Republican whip, told reporters Tuesday that Shelton doesn’t have the votes needed for confirmation. Yet Trump’s National Economic Council director, Larry Kudlow, said Thursday at an event hosted by the Economic Club of New York that Trump remains firmly behind her nomination. Kudlow added that he thinks the White House can get the 50 Senate votes for her confirmation.

Republican Sens. Susan Collins, from Maine, and Mitt Romney from Utah said they would vote against her nomination in July. Moore said the White House is worried about other Republicans also voting against her, including Colorado’s Cory Gardner, who is up for reelection this year, and Alaska’s Lisa Murkowski.

Gardner and Murkowski did not respond to requests for comment.

An individual familiar with the matter said that Kudlow has been key in keeping Shelton’s nomination afloat.

“I was told she’s toast and the White House has to find somebody else to nominate,” a former senior administration official said. “But then, later in the day, she wasn’t toast anymore. Kudlow is her biggest supporter, and he will fight for her to the death.”

Shelton has generated opposition for her pointed criticisms of the Fed and her advocacy for a return to the gold standard as a monetary system.

In the past few months, her nomination faced several challenges after multiple Republicans and Democrats on the Senate Banking Committee indicated her views made her unsuitable for a seat on the Fed’s board of governors.

She has raised concerns on both sides of the aisle for her view that the Fed should have less power and independent discretion and instead have closer ties to the White House.

Nevertheless, the Senate Banking Committee narrowly approved her nomination in a 13-12 party-line vote in July. Her nomination has now moved on to the full Senate. Trump formally nominated Shelton to the post in January of this year.

Moore, who is also an Washington Examiner opinion columnist, said the new opposition to Shelton is due to Democrats putting pressure on Republicans such as Gardner and Murkowski.

“The Left is really out to get her. They don’t want any independent thinkers on the Fed who are going to challenge the way the empire does business,” Moore said.


Select Interior Concepts appoints new CTO (NASDAQ:SIC)

Select Interior Concepts (NASDAQ:SIC) has appointed Satish Kalalaas Chief Technology Officer, reporting to Nadeem Moiz, Chief Financial Officer of SIC.

Mr. Kalala previously served as Founder and Managing Partner of A5 Ventures, a growth advisory and tech ventures incubation firm.

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Cleveland Play House announces series of virtual events for 105th season

CLEVELAND, Ohio — Cleveland Play House is returning to the stage in the fall for a series of virtual performances, programs and special events.

“Since the pandemic began, we have been wrestling with the safety and economic challenges posed by this crisis. We are committed to meeting this moment with creativity, resilience, and compassion for the wellness of our community. We will resume in-person programming when it is safe and possible to do so,” says the regional theatre’s artistic director Laura Kepley in a release.

Related: Live theater at 15% capacity? What DeWine’s reopening guidelines mean for performing arts venues

The lineup, she says, will include a number of “unique, interactive stories, events, and experiences.”

? Theatre Thursday, held on the third Thursday of each month through April, is a live interactive virtual program that allows fans to connect with theatre-makers and learn about the work of Cleveland Play House.

? A series of “One Night Only!” special events kicks off October 10 with “CLUEbaret,” where the cast of CPH’s hit production of “Clue” reunites to perform their favorite Broadway musical numbers.

? The virtual season will continue into the spring with the New Ground Theatre Festival 2021, the company’s annual celebration of new works featuring five Cleveland-inspired plays.

“CPH has faced many challenges in its 105 years, always rising to the occasion with innovation and resilience. Our virtual 105th season is the latest example of our dedication to building a better community through theatre,” says managing director Kevin Moore.

Tickets for individual events range from $5-$50, while subscriptions start at $150. Patrons who already registered for the 2020-21 CPH Subscription Series will automatically have their account applied to the first six in-person productions that are able to be produced at the theatre’s venues at Playhouse Square.

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Ambitious Hawaiian ‘plate lunch’ restaurant opens ghost kitchen in Garland

Hawaiian Bros Island Grill, an Oregon-born restaurant company, just opened a new location in Garland. The founders and brothers Cameron and Tyler McNie own and operate nine different locations all across the Midwest.

They were first introduced to Hawaiian food when their family bought a Hawaiian restaurant in Oregon in 2003. After working at the restaurant for over a decade, the duo decided to start their own concept in the Midwest and they opened their first location in Belton, Mo., in 2018.

“We didn’t know what to expect. We didn’t know if we were going to see 20 customers or if we were going to see 500 customers,” Cameron says. “The first day we opened we saw more customers than we could’ve possibly imagined. I think we served around 600-700 plates that first day.”

The brothers said there was more of a presence of Hawaiian-style food back in Oregon. So, when they decided to open a restaurant in completely new territory, they weren’t sure that their new customer base would be as receptive.

“Belton, Missouri, is kind of a small, rural town in the Midwest,” Tyler said. “And bringing a Hawaiian plate lunch restaurant there, we had responses from people thinking we were crazy opening it out there.”

Cameron says Hawaiian Bros is a unique option.

“We serve a specific niche of Hawaiian food in the plate lunch,” he says. “Poke places are really popular and there is a lot of competition among those. But while that’s definitely another niche of Hawaiian food, it’s significantly different from what we’re doing.”

A standard Hawaiian plate lunch consists of a portion of white rice, macaroni salad, and an entrée/protein. Hawaiian Bros works within this framework, offering different variations of entrées and proteins, from teriyaki chicken (Huli Huli Chicken) to pulled pork (Luau Pig).

The restaurant’s dessert, Dole Whip, is one of its most popular items on the menu.

“People think of Dole Whip and think of Disneyland or Disney World,” Cameron says. “But we’re also selling it and it seems to be a perfect top-off dessert to our plates.”

With a strong set of menu offerings, Hawaiian Bros have successfully opened nine locations in Kansas City, Chicago, Austin, and now Garland. Five of these are brick and mortar restaurants in the Kansas City metroplex, and the Garland location is one of the other four ghost kitchens, which is delivery and takeout only.

The idea of a ghost kitchen appealed to the McNie brothers because of the low cost of entry and lower level of commitment compared to a dine-in restaurant.

“We’re just trying to get some people used to the food and see how the reception in Dallas is,” Cameron says. “But it’s kind of level 1 to what we’re really trying to do in Dallas, which is open 15-20 brick and mortars in the next 18 months.”

Although they haven’t signed any leases for future brick and mortar spots in Dallas yet, they have been touring dozens of sites across

San Franciscans keep legendary Red’s Java House alive

There may be no building still standing in San Francisco that embodies the city’s working class roots more than Red’s Java House.

The beloved shack perched on the corner of Pier 30 has served the city its famous sourdough cheeseburgers and cheap beer since 1955, and despite all the chaos of 2020, it’s not stopping anytime soon.

“San Franciscans own Red’s,” owner Tiffany Pisoni tells me, as we sit out back in the shadow of the Bay Bridge. “It’s an institution. I may have purchased it 11 years ago, but it belongs to the city.”

That back patio feels like an oasis of normality from another era right now. Situated between the looming bridge and a giant COVID-19 testing center that looks like it’s dropped in from a disaster movie, Red’s is somehow weathering the storm.

“I thought: We’re going to survive this, we’re going to show San Franciscans that we’re not going anywhere. No matter what.” Pisoni says. “It’s been an amazing feeling knowing that people are coming out and want to keep this place going.”

The tiny diner that veteran Chronicle writer Carl Nolte once called “the Chartres Cathedral of cheap eats” remained open even through the darkest days of the pandemic, that has seen over one hundred S.F. restaurants permanently close.

Red’s shifted to take-out through April and May, but now diners can order inside and take their $10.47 hamburger and beer lunch combo to the tables on the back deck over the water.

The restaurant gets its name from the pair of seafaring redheaded brothers who bought the place in 1955. Pisoni became the third owner, after taking over the restaurant in 2009.

“My father, an engineer, was working on Pier One at the time, and he said ‘I heard buzz that Red’s may be for sale, just go check it out,'” she says. “So I did … and I walked away. A month later he convinced me to check it out again.”

Red's Java House owner Tiffany Pisoni outside her restaurant in San Francisco, California on Sept. 10, 2020. Photo: Douglas Zimmerman/SFGATE / SFGATE

Photo: Douglas Zimmerman/SFGATE

Red’s Java House owner Tiffany Pisoni outside her restaurant in San Francisco, California on Sept. 10, 2020.

Pisoni was finally persuaded to invest in the historic spot.

“My thought was I could come in and change it, not the menu, but clean it up, and put my own touch on it,” she says.

“And did you?” I ask.

“I did not.” She laughs. “Within the first month I realized I wouldn’t be changing Red’s.

Thailand’s upcoming ‘Meteor Garden’ remake starring BrightWin polarizes

Thailand’s upcoming ‘Meteor Garden’ remake starring BrightWin polarizes

Ratziel San Juan ( – September 18, 2020 – 7:07pm

MANILA, Philippines — Thailand will now have their own version of the hit Taiwanese drama “Meteor Garden.” 

“2Gether: The Series” stars Bright Vachirawit and Win Metawin will be playing the role of Thyme (Dao Ming Si’s counterpart) and Kavin, respectively.

GMMTV, which will produce the remake, said that BrightWin will star alongside actress Tu Tontawan Tantivejakul, and actors Nani Hirunkit Changkham and Dew Jirawat Sutivanisak.

GMMTV posted a teaser video of the show on their official Facebook account showing the cast. 

“The wait is over. #F4Thailandt,” GMMTV captioned the post. 

F4 Thailand, set to air in 2021, is the latest GMMTV project of BrightWin since the success of their BL series “2gether: The Series” and “Still 2gether.”

“Meteor Garden” also had adaptations in several countries, including Japan (“Hana Yori Dango,” 2005), South Korea (“Boys Over Flowers,” 2009), and China (“Meteor Garden,” 2018). 

The show tells the story of a poor girl who stands up for herself against the members of F4, the richest and most popular guys from her school, while also getting caught in a love triangle between two of its members.

F4 Thailand garnered understandably mixed reactions from fans, since BrightWin just came fresh from being an on-screen couple in “Still 2gether.”

Some fans took a hit at the show’s casting, with some explaining that they have not moved on from the Tine and Sarawat ship.



Meanwhile, other fans have shown support for the show, defending that the cast was carefully selected by the show’s director. They also asserted Bright and Win’s individual autonomy as actors to play other roles.


House Democrats’ resolution condemns harassment of Asian Americans

House Democrats passed a resolution Thursday condemning the harassment of Asian Americans and directly blamed President Trump amid reports of an uptick in such incidents nationwide.

The resolution, which passed 243-164 with 14 Republicans joining Democrats, is tangled in the larger debate around how the U.S. should address China’s role in the global pandemic.

Rep. Grace Meng, the resolution’s sponsor, said in a tweet that Mr. Trump’s use of the terms “China virus” and “Kung Flu” were making scapegoats of Asian Americans.

“This is wrong & dangerous,” she wrote. “Passing [the resolution] sends a unified message that such bigotry, hatred and xenophobia will not be tolerated.”

Ms. Meng, New York Democrat, voted for her bill via proxy.

The resolution doesn’t carry the weight of law but does express consensus of the House.

“Sadly this bigotry is being fueled by some in Washington, and you would think, I thought this would be almost unanimous consent to condemn violence against Asian Americans. Even from the White House itself, which uses dangerous, false and offensive terms to describe the coronavirus,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, California Democrat, said on the floor.

Republican leaders denounced the resolution, accusing Democrats of pushing it through to score political points and shying away from penalizing China.

“Did the virus start in China? Yes. Did it start in Wuhan, China? Yes. Did China lie to the United States about the severity and origins of this virus? Yes,” said Rep. Jim Jordan, Ohio Republican.

House Minority Whip Steve Scalise deflected criticism of Mr. Trump by highlighting the fact that the Democratic chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee held a hearing in February titled “The Wuhan Coronavirus.”

They said the vote wasted time that could’ve been spent working on stalled coronavirus relief to get aid out to the American public.

Mr. Trump has doubled down on blaming China while insisting that the blame is not directed at Asian Americans.

While Democrats made it clear the resolution was aimed at Mr. Trump, the text didn’t name the president and called on all officials to condemn “any and all anti-Asian sentiment in any form.”

It also requests federal law enforcement to aid state and local efforts to collect data on harassment and hate crimes against Asian Americans.

The Asian Pacific Policy and Planning Council and Chinese for Affirmative Action launched a website in March where people can report such incidents.

Stop AAPI Hate, a coalition of groups tracking these reports, found that more than 2,500 incidents — ranging from physical attacks to verbal accosts to discrimination — have been submitted as of August. The vast majority of these anecdotal reports show Asian Americans being blamed for spreading the virus.

Data from Pew Research gathered in July found that Asian Americans were the most likely — compared to White, Black and Hispanic Americans — to report negative reactions from others because of their ethnicity since the outbreak began. Nearly 40% of Americans said it was more common to direct racist views at Asian

Ebbsfleet Garden City bosses seek clarity over Ebbsfleet International’s use as lorry park for Brexit

Garden city bosses have called for greater clarity over the proposed use of Ebbsfleet International station for Brexit after its sudden closure as a Coronavirus test centre.

Boris Johnson’s Government has earmarked it as a potential customs check point in the event the UK leaves without a deal, it is understood.

Vehicles queue to enter the Coronavirus testing centre set up in one of the car parks at Ebbsfleet International. Picture: Chris Davey
Vehicles queue to enter the Coronavirus testing centre set up in one of the car parks at Ebbsfleet International. Picture: Chris Davey

It comes after a Kent County Council letter was leaked showing that the Ebbsfleet Covid testing centre closed two weeks ago because it would be needed for HMRC for “inland border facilities” .

Precise use has not been confirmed but it is believed that one of Ebbsfleet station’s car parks would hold up to 80 lorries at a time and a booking system implemented for slots.

The decision has prompted fears locally that HGVs and lorries could be “stacked out” on the highway as a result.

Ebbsfleet Development Corporation (EDC), the planning authority tasked with delivering 15,000 homes at the UK’s newest Garden City, met to discuss these concerns on Wednesday.

Its chief executive, Ian Piper told planning members, including Dartford and Gravesham council leaders, “swim lanes” had been proposed to hold vehicles queuing to use the facility.

Ebbsfleet International car park D has been earmarked for the government's Brexit plans. Picture: Chris Dave
Ebbsfleet International car park D has been earmarked for the government’s Brexit plans. Picture: Chris Dave

Garden city bosses have been informed this new design would help prevent major blockages on surrounding roads entering the site, which is a short distance off the A2.

But Mr Piper said: “I think until the facility becomes operational and they are actually clearer how many vehicles are arriving and departing then I don’t think they can be totally sure whether the amount of ‘swim lane’ capacity they have put in will solve the problem.

“What it will do is it will hold capacity within the facility of those queuing rather than them being stacked out on the local highway”.

He added: “We have been pushing for a lot more detail about the operational aspects of the site.”

Dartford Council leader Jeremy Kite sought assurances these developments would be monitored closely, adding it was “extremely important for local people”.

A new special development order (SDO) was issued by the government on September 3.

Ebbsfleet Development Corporation's chief executive Ian Piper has sought further clarity over the car park's intended use
Ebbsfleet Development Corporation’s chief executive Ian Piper has sought further clarity over the car park’s intended use

This grants temporary planning permission to border departments for the development of inland border facilities and associated infrastructure across “specified local authorities”, of which Kent is one.

However, the Housing Secretary, who must sign off approval, has not yet received any submissions – although it is understood one is likely to be made for car park D at Ebbsfleet Central.

Ebbsfleet station had been used as a Covid testing site between April and September, but earlier this month testing staff were told “out of the blue” that the site would be closing.

The nearest testing facility is now in Medway , off Curtis

How To Create a Kitchen With a Soul, According to Home Design Experts

Of all the rooms in the house, the kitchen may evoke the warmest emotions. After all, it’s here that people gather with family and friends, to share food and good company. It’s no wonder the kitchen is often called the heart of the home—and that it’s a key selling point, promising a great lifestyle.

But kitchens also run the risk of being cold and soulless. What’s the point in having top-notch appliances if no one actually wants to hang out and use them? Like food, a kitchen needs to have a certain depth—let’s call it soul.

“A kitchen with a soul is a unique space that provides comfort, warmth, and a sense of peace,” says Ron Woodson of Woodson & Rummerfield’s House of Design in Los Angeles. “These are spaces that honor one’s personal style or the original time period in which a home was built.”

A few personal touches that both move you and reflect how you live are key to achieving this effect. These design elements can really allow the kitchen’s soul to shine, and to make its effects felt throughout your home. To bring out the soul of your kitchen, try the following tips.

Use materials to tell a story

Photo by Davenport Designs

Every kitchen has a story to tell. Woodson recommends mixing different textures and patterns that complement the existing color scheme.

“We associate natural stone, wood, and other materials found in nature with soul—they add warmth and bring life to a space,” Woodson says. “Luckily, you can still get the same look of natural stone with ultradurable alternatives. For countertops and flooring, I love Dekton Laurent by Cosentino. It makes such a bold design statement, yet it’s ultradurable and impervious to heat, scratches, and stains.”

If you’re not in the market for a full kitchen remodel, add warmth and character to your space by displaying a collection of cutting boards crafted from different material like wood ($138, etúHOME), marble ($89, CB2), or slate.

Laurie March, home design expert and host of The House Counselor on, says this is one of her favorite budget-friendly tricks.

“They double as functional art when leaned against, or hung on, the wall, and truly step up your hosting game when presenting a beautiful spread for your guests,” she says.

Respect the bones of the space

Photo by KitchenLab Interiors

A soulful kitchen will always emphasize the room’s good bones, or unique architectural touches.

“I always research the era the home was built in and try to pay homage to it in some way, whether through paint colors or decor style,” says Woodson, who co-founded the nonprofit organization Save Iconic Architecture.

March says for spaces craving more architectural detail, add faux ceiling beams, which can quickly and affordably transform the look of a space.

“They can also give you the