Page 1


4 th Annual R EADERS' CHOICE

Favori 2016

Classic Chevrolet Sugar Land & Fort Bend: A Winning Team



Frederic Sage Watermelon Tourmaline Earrings with Loggins Custom Collection Pieces.


Photos by Larry Fagala Photography.

The Holiday Season at

One-of-a-kind Frederic Sage Watermelon Tourmaline Earrings and Pendant with Loggins Custom Collection Pieces.

T Lower Hand: Untreated Naturally Occurring Burmese Ruby Ring set in 18K White Gold. Upper Hand: Diamond Band and Rubellite Ring. Ruby and Diamond Pendant, Earrings and Bracelets from Loggins Ruby Collection.

Loggins Jewelers


he holiday season can be stressful for shoppers looking to find the perfect gift with both splendor and significance, but Loggins Jewelers can make their experience pleasureable. With its reputation of unbeatable customer service and its relaxing and attentive atmosphere, Loggins Jewelers can offer customers control and peace of mind when looking for the perfect piece. “Truly, there is something for every shopper,” owner Susan Sanders said. With bracelets being the hot choice for the holidays, mixing metals, messages and stacking different textures is easy with entry prices starting at $125. Designed by Frederick Sage, unique tri-color tourmaline necklaces, rings and earrings not only will accessorize a multitude of outfits, a woman is assured no one else will be wearing the same jewels. “Old fashioned lines at cold department stores can’t offer that to their patrons!” Sanders said.

14015 Southwest Freeway


Sugar Land, TX 77478

Frederic Sage In addition to his bridal line, Frederic Sage’s collections include natural shell, diamond and precious gemstone pieces and are a refreshing departure from typical designs.

Rina Limor Limor continues to find inspiration for her unique designs in the sensual glamour of the Italian culture.

Jude Frances Jude Frances’ gold and precious stone necklaces, bracelets and rings wear alone or stack for any occasion. Combine the versatile line’s diamond hoop earrings with any number of earring charms and frames for limitless possibilities.

Charles Krypell Charles Krypell designs cater to a broader clientele who may want all of the beauty of color at an affordable price. Krypell’s line is noticeably wide and diverse with something for everyone at every age.

Charles Garnier Charles Garnier creates unique, distinguished jewelry in both sterling silver as well as gold mixed with semi-precious stones in a wide range of price points.

H. Weiss Brushed hammered gold with gemstones of the Desert Gold line add chic to any wardrobe, while the Diamond Twisties line is right on trend.


Curate your style, own your color and leave a lasting impression. We invite you to preview our latest collections of kaleidoscope gems and exquisite diamond designs.

Loggins Emerald Collection featuring Frederic Sage Hand-Carved Jade and Diamond Earrings and Frederic Sage Tsovorite Garnet and Diamond Necklace. Both Frederic Sage pieces are custom, one-of-a-kind designs exclusively at Loggins Jewelers.



Loggins Jewelers customers who bring any new, unwrapped toy will receive a 15 percent discount on in-stock items (excluding estate consignment).

BALANCE Put your

Hormones l Nutrition l Aesthetics in the hands of the expert.

Thank you Fort Bend for another successful year! I wish you and your loved ones a wonderful holiday season and a happy, healthy and prosperous new year!

Call TODAY for a FREE Consultation! “Dr. Shel” 281.313.7435 Shelena C. Lalji, M.D. Houston’s Leading Health and Vitality Expert

1437 Hwy 6, Suite 100, Sugar Land, TX



From diagnosis to rehabilitation to surgery, we’re here to help. It might surprise you to know that thousands of men and one third of all women experience a pelvic floor disorder.* Which is why we’ve assembled a multidisciplinary team of affiliated colorectal surgeons, OB/GYNs, urologists, gastroenterologists, urogynecologists, physical therapists and more. Every day, they’re tailoring plans for patients wanting to overcome incontinence, sexual dysfunction, pelvic pain, prolapse and the many issues brought on by weakened pelvic floors. MEMORIAL CITY SUGAR LAND TEXAS MEDICAL CENTER

Get to know more about treatment options at or by calling 713.242.4PFD (4733)

* Source: American Urogynecologic Society

Ask These 10 Questions To Make Sure Your Dentist Stacks Up 1


2 7 3

8 4 9 5 10

Tim Cashion, DDS

Teresa Cody, DDS A $25.00 flat fee for an x-ray & consultation A $74.00 value Low cost way to find out what’s wrong (Does not include cleaning)

Formerly Cashion & Cody Family Dentistry and Orthodontics

17003 SW Freeway, Suite 100, Sugar Land, TX 77479

Call us now! 281-377-3402

Merry ! Christmas

Whether you are shopping for a single

J & L Distributors 707 Avenue E Stafford, TX 77477 M-F: 9:00 am - 6:00 pm Sat: 10:00 am - 4:00 pm Evenings by Appointment 281-403-6733

window treatment, redecorating your entire home or seeking a solution to a complex design challenge, we have the knowledge and expertise to help you put it all together. Call or contact Mary at for your design consultation!

TO ADVERTISE: 281.690.4242 or www.fortbend

Mary O’Connor

.com • December 2016


Primary Care

Where you go makes a differenCe

Adelola Ashaye, MD Family Medicine

Nader Ayub, DO Primary Care Sports Medicine

Kerry Laursen, MD Family Medicine


Jessen Rajan, MD Family Medicine Malayalam & Spanish

Sienna Plantation 8330 Hwy. 6, Suite 110 | Missouri City, TX 77459

Vandana Khera, MD Internal Medicine Hindi & Punjabi

Deepshikha Sharda, DO Family Medicine Hindi

Riverstone 18717 S. University Blvd., Suite 105 Sugar Land, TX 77479

Remilekun Dosumu Agbe-Davies, MD Internal Medicine

Adrianne Scruggs, MD Internal Medicine

Sweetwater 4660 Sweetwater Blvd., Suite 210 Sugar Land, TX 77479

Houston Methodist Primary Care Group is dedicated to providing high quality and compassionate care to the Fort Bend community. Our physicians have extensive training and experience in diagnosing and treating patients with a caring, hands-on, family-oriented approach. • Online scheduling • Same day appointments • Convenient locations

• Patient portal for secure communication with your care team

• Accepts most major insurance plans

Easily schedule online at or call 713.394.6638.



website to take an online survey to tell us who their Fort Bend favorites are in eight different categories. See who won this year’s Fort Bend Focus Favs Readers’ Choice Awards!



Last September, a delegation visited the Italian region of Umbria to create a political and cultural friendship program promoting the region to Fort Bend, and in 2017, plans are for Sugar Land to host a world-class festival.

40 PIERCE BUILT HOMES: GIVING OLD SUGAR LAND A NEW LOOK With restoration projects and new builds Jeff Sebastian, Ray Aguilar and Brandon Sine.

through their company, the Pierce family continues to define the charm and character of The Hill, Sugar Land’s first neighborhood.

52 FOCUS ON WORSHIP Focus on the reason

Photo by Nesossi Studios.


for the season at nearby churches.


Within Classic Chevrolet Sugar Land’s slogan – “Relax and enjoy the difference” – is a commitment to the customers and community it serves, from the products it sells to the faces behind the dealership. With two new members to the dealership’s family – General Manager Jeff Sebastian and General Sales Manger Brandon Sine – Classic Chevrolet Sugar Land has major plans to build on the dealership’s already established platform with the community and to develop more relationships with individuals and organizations.


TO ADVERTISE: 281.690.4242 or www.fortbend

.com • December 2016

The annual holiday shopping extravaganza benefits Fort Bend County charities.









With My Old 401(k)?

34 HIGH SCHOOL HOT SHOT Meet Michael Pozzi 36 HOMETOWN HEROES: Ben and Grant Mize 42 KIDS’ CORNER Dealing with Loss


66 COMMUNITY CULTURE Chicago’s Cultural Vibrance

and the Feast of Seven Fishes

Dishes up to End Childhood Hunger

Patrick Biron Birons Youth Sports Center Page 42


The Emerald City Awaits!

Amitha Verma Village Antiques Page 56




Welcomes New Board Members


Opens Pre-School in Sugar Land

Myles Mellor Contributor Page 57

Jason Smith Cultris Security Systems Page 58



Adds New Cardiologist


Physical Therapy Residency Program Achieves National Milestone

Leslie Little Contributor Page 59


absolutely! AUTO REVIEW




Wakeful and Enlightened


Joan Frances Contributor Pages 34 & 36


80 LIVING THE SWEET LIFE: Walking into the New Year,



46 OFF TO OZ . . .

Debi Beauregard Special Correspondent Page 30

for December 9th and 10th


Laurie Harvey Contributor Page 60

74 2016 MAZDA CX-9



Zeenat Kassam Mitha Cultural Correspondent Page 66



Steve Kursar Auto Enthusiast Page 74

74 Alisa Murray Alisa Murray Photography Page 80

76 AMATEUR PHOTO CONTEST ON THE COVER: Ray Aguilar, Jeff Sebastian and Brandon Sine. Photo by Nesossi Studios.


TO ADVERTISE: 281.690.4242 or www.fortbend

.com • December 2016

Keith Borgfeldt Spartan Wealth Management, LLC Page 16




Vol. 13 No. 2 December 2016

The Reason for the Season It’s the most wonderful time of the year! Not only is it the time of year we celebrate our Lord and Savior, but it’s also the time of year when another favorite event of mine happens: our Readers’ Choice Awards. This Pete and Nancy Olson, Ron and Claire Brandani and Patti and year, we conducted Readers’ Tim Kaminski at Heart of Fort Bend benefiting AccessHealth. Choice polls in four of our community magazines, and boy did our Fort Bend Focus readers represent! Check out the 12 pages of our readers’ favs while you are getting your home spruced up for those holiday guests or while doing your Christmas shopping this year. We at Fort Bend Focus have so much to celebrate and be thankful for this holiday season. First and foremost, our team and our amazing families who support us during our hectic deadlines of multiple magazines, community events and general monthly mayhem. Our advertisers, readers and subscribers are the reason we are able to do what we do: bring you the people, places and happenings in our community. For their support, we are eternally grateful. Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.” – Luke 2: 13-14 Above all, we are blessed, and we know where our blessings come from. We wish you blessings, love and peace this most holy of seasons.

o l ut el y ! A n abs

4655 TECHNIPLEX DR. STE 700 STAFFORD, TX 77477 281-690-4242


PUBLISHER Patti Parish-Kaminski A S S O C IAT E P U B L I S H E R Jessica Kij M A NA G I N G E D I T O R Sarah Bearden AC C O U N T E X E C U T I V E S Nancy Dunbar Jennifer Elliott Molly Ellis Kay Garrett Andrea Rigamonti Suzanne Stiles A RT D I R E C T O R Grace Belleza GRAPHIC DESIGNER Marinela Taylor WEB DESIGNER Joey Belleza PHOTOGRAPHY Nesossi Studios CONTRIBUTORS M.G. Angulo Debi Beauregard Patrick Biron Keith Borgfeldt Joan Frances Laurie Harvey Steve Kursar Leslie Little Myles Mellor Zeenat Kassam Mitha Alisa Murray Jason Smith Amitha Verma

Merry Christmas

O F F I C E A D M I N I S T R AT O R Alexa Goldstein

to You!

INQUIRIES 281-690-4242

Stay focused,


Published by

Subscription requests are free to all Fort Bend addresses. Annual paid subscription of $25 required outside the Fort Bend area.

TO ADVERTISE: 281.690.4242 or www.fortbend

.com • December 2016


Fort Bend FocusTM Magazine is published by absolutely! focus media, 4655 Techniplex Dr., Ste. 700, Stafford, TX 77477. Copyright© 2016 by absolutely! focus media. All rights reserved. Reproduction without permission is strictly prohibited. Fort Bend FocusTM Magazine does not knowingly accept false or misleading advertising or editorial, nor do the publishers assume responsibility should such advertising or editorial appear. Fort Bend FocusTM Magazine welcomes editorial submissions from its readers.

6706 Laguna Trace Street





Sima Dalvandi

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The Real Estate Company of Choice


Hal Elrod

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1650 HIGHWAY 6, SUITE 350 SUGAR LAND, TX 77478


Ray Aguilar, Brandon Sine and Jeff Sebastian.



Fort Bend:

m e a T g n i n i n AW

lassic Chevrolet Sugar Land’s slogan – “Relax and enjoy the difference” – far surpasses a catchy phrase that rolls well off the tongue. Within that expression is Classic Chevrolet’s commitment to the customers and community it serves, from the products it sells to the faces behind the dealership. And those faces might seem new to some as Classic Chevrolet announced two new members to the dealership’s family: General Manager Jeff Sebastian and General Sales Manager Brandon Sine – two gentlemen who are eager to continue the longtime bond between the dealership and its surrounding community.

COVER STORY By M.G. Angulo Photos by Nesossi Studios TO ADVERTISE: 281.690.4242 or www.fortbend

“Business As Usual” With Jeff Sebastian

“We want the community to know at Classic Chevrolet Sugar Land, it’s business as usual,” said Sebastian, who has 20 years experience in the field, including time at Classic Chevrolet Grapevine, which was named the number one dealership in the world nine out of the past 10 years. We plan on continuing on the path of providing the best customer service along with the highest level of community support, and in fact, our plan is to make it even better.” To date, Classic Chevrolet Sugar Land has the highest customer satisfaction in and around Houston per General Motors based on their customer satisfaction surveys, which Sebastian proudly noted as “a huge accomplishment because it’s based on how we treat our customers.” To further strengthen his tie with the community, Sebastian, his wife Tiffany and their three children plan to move to Fort Bend County in the new year. “We’ve loved living in The Woodlands, but the people of Fort Bend are different – more .com • December 2016


plan,” he added. “It puts a smile on my face to give back to the community.”

The Classic Chevrolet Vision

Arica, Grayson, Tiffany, Jeff and Alivia Sebastian.

family and community oriented,” said Sebastian, noting that “the selflessness” and “the people” were the strongest motivators in the family’s move. “I’m very proud to work in a community and for a company that’s given so much back to the less fortunate.”

Brandon Sine’s Take on the Right Attitude “The environment at Classic Chevrolet Sugar Land is a whole lot more like family here,” said Sine, who was with Toyota for a decade before coming to Classic Chevrolet Sugar Land. “People are amazingly friendly. You get a warm, very positive feeling from Fort Bend.” Sine and his wife Amber live in Katy with their two sons. Prior to entering into the auto industry, Sine was a high school teacher and football coach, and what he brings to the Classic Chevrolet table is his competitive nature. If you ask him, community devotion and competitiveness go hand-in-hand and only works when a team has a positive attitude. “We want to win the day,” said Sine. “I always strive to be the best and get the most out of everyone. “When you win every day, you’re going to have a great month. We don’t want to be number one in Fort Bend; we want to be number one in all of Texas, and we will get there. We have to help people in Fort Bend, and the more cars we sell, the more we can help people. “Giving back – it’s part of our game

With the new year fast approaching, Classic Chevrolet has major plans, including building on the dealership’s already established platform with the community and to develop more relationships with individuals and organizations. “Our slogan is ‘Relax and enjoy the difference,’” Sebastian said. “From the outside looking in, I never knew what that meant. Now that I’m here, I know what that is. Doing business with Classic is a very unique experience in the automotive industry. It really is different. It’s better, and that’s exactly what our customers tell us. Customer interaction is one of the most important aspects of Sebastian’s job, and his immediate goal is “to meet more people in the community. I’m here for advice, to get to know them and to get to know the community whether they want to buy a vehicle from me or not.” Sebastian even offered a sneak peek of what 2017 will bring to Classic Chevrolet Sugar Land, which he summed up as a revitalized look at Chevys, like the new Equinox and the five-door Cruze. According to Sebastian, customers need to know that the Chevrolet quality is better than it’s ever been.

The environment at Classic Chevrolet Sugar Land is a whole lot more like family here. – Brandon Sine magazine • December 2016


Saturday, December 10th from 6 to 9 pm, Classic Chevrolet Sugar Land, located at 13115 Southwest Freeway in Sugar Land, is hosting its inaugural Classic Chevrolet Extravaganza Car Show benefiting Fort Bend Seniors Meals on Wheels. This free, familyfriendly event will feature a live band, Chevrolets of various models and ages, Santa Claus, a moonwalk, hot dogs, popcorn and cotton candy. Those in attendance are encouraged to bring items that will be donated to Fort Bend Seniors Meals on Wheels.

Items Needed Include: • Gift Cards to help seniors pay for prescriptions and utility bills • Liquid nutritional supplements (such as Ensure or Boost) • Bath towels and other bath linens • Pillows, sheets, blankets and other linens • Socks, gloves and slippers to keep warm • Dog and cat food for seniors’ companion animals • Toiletries such as shampoo, deodorant, shaving cream and lotion “We are excited that Classic Chevrolet Sugar Land is doing this for us,” said Fort Bend Seniors Meals on Wheels CEO Manuela Arroyos. “Classic Chevrolet has always been a great partner of ours throughout the years, and we greatly appreciate their support. We are looking forward to continuing our partnership with them because they always help bring a smile to our seniors.” Aguilar, who refers to senior citizens as “the greatest generation that has ever lived,” said Classic Chevrolet’s mission is to serve and protect seniors as long as they are here. “The one thing about this generation is they have sacrificed for our freedom and have earned our respect.”

Sterling, Amber, Jackson and Brandon Sine.

fort bend

Extravaganza Car Show


“People who haven’t bought a Chevrolet in decades are buying and saying it’s the best vehicle they’ve ever had,” Sebastian said. “If you haven’t driven a domestic product lately, I invite you to come out and drive one of our products.”

The Classic Chevrolet Difference Sine said it is his goal to make the dealership known “not only as number one in the area, but as the spectacular dealership in Fort Bend – the one you want to visit.” “We tell our sales team: When our customers leave here, we want them to say that is the best experience they’ve ever had at a dealership,” Sebastian said, adding that while Classic Chevrolet Sugar Land is rated number one in the scores, part of the dealership’s vision this year is to improve those scores. “Our scores range in mid-90s – our competitors in the mid-70s. It’s because of the way we negotiate transactions,” Sebastian explained. “Our customers only deal with their salesman, who doesn’t run back and forth to a manager behind a glass wall. Customers love that they can deal one-on-one with one individual. Plus, our customers know if they need to talk to the general manager or general sales manager, we are accessible. We are right here, and want to talk with them.” Classic Chevrolet Business Development and Community Relations Manger Ray Aguilar added that the way the dealership does business is always in the best interest of the customer. “We’re not just going to sell you a car. We’re going to help you do what’s right for you.” Aguilar shared the story of a Rosenberg customer who learned this first-hand when he wanted to trade in his Tahoe for a new one. He was told by the Classic Chevrolet sales team that his vehicle did not have enough equity for a good trade, so the customer was advised to keep his vehicle for another year before to trading it in. Disappointed, he went to another dealership, and it was ready to do the trade, but

Jeff Sebastian, Brandon Sine and Ray Aguilar.

When our customers leave here, we want them to say that is the best experience they’ve ever had at a dealership. – Jeff Sebastian

the customer said no, because he realized after consulting with his family it was a bad deal. He ultimately ended up writing a note to Classic Chevrolet essentially thanking them for their honesty. That, Aguilar said, is the Classic Chevrolet Sugar Land difference.

Continued Community Commitment Those honest dealings extend beyond the dealership’s walls. Sebastian

TO ADVERTISE: 281.690.4242 or www.fortbend

.com • December 2016


said Classic Chevrolet’s focus remains on operating and contributing to the community, calling the effort “the most important” task of the dealership. “Classic Chevrolet is not going to change course,” he said. Classic Chevrolet will remain engaged by continuing monthly involvement in all aspects of the Fort Bend community and by keeping Aguilar involved. “Ray plays a large role in our community involvement, participating in activities, volunteering, the list goes on and on,” Sebastian said. “We really haven’t curtailed our community outreach. In fact, we’ve gotten more involved.” Aguilar said community support is not just about writing a check. It is about the dealership’s devotion to helping, like its role in the Brazos River Flood relief. Aguilar, who is still delivering furniture to flood victims, personally participated in nearly 40 house clean ups during the countywide tragedy. “The mold was shoulder high,” Aguilar recalled. “Anything that was on the

ground, we took it out and put it on the trailer. We did that for days, and we didn’t stop. Those people needed help. Seniors were out there sitting on cots where they were sleeping. At times you were so dead tired, you would get emotional. I’m so glad we were able to help.” The dealership is also a proud supporter of law enforcement and will host its annual signature Chili Cook-off for the seventh year in 2017. It also recently hosted a Facebook campaign for the Fort Bend County Women’s Center and helped the Fort Bend Symphony move equipment. “Jeff and Brandon put their money — and their support — where their mouth is,” Aguilar said. “Brandon will call and tell me about a situation where we just couldn’t give money but there was a need we could fill.”


Alexis, Ray, Sara and Diana Aguilar.

Aguilar said he is thrilled Sebastian and Sine have joined the Classic Chevrolet family. “I respect him. I trust him. He can call me at any time,” Aguilar said of Sine. “Brandon has a smile on his face all of the time. His positivity is infectious. “And not one time has Jeff said no. He always says, ‘How can we help them?’ It’s our job to be the best community resource we can be, and we take that responsibility seriously.” Visit www.classicchevysugarland. com or call 281-491-9000 for more information about Classic Chevrolet Sugar Land. fort bend

magazine • December 2016



By Keith Borgfeldt


FINANCE What Should I Do With My Old 401(k)?


ne of the common threads of a mobile workforce is that many individuals who leave their job are faced with a decision about what to do with their 401(k) account. Individuals have three basic choices with the 401(k) account they accrued at a previous employer.

Choice 1: Leave It with Your Previous Employer You may choose to do nothing and leave your account in your previous employer’s 401(k) plan. However, if your account balance is under a certain amount, be aware that your ex-employer may elect to distribute the funds to you. While inertia is one of the primary reasons for not moving a 401(k), there may be reasons to keep it there – such as investments that are low cost or have limited availability outside of the plan. Other reasons are to maintain certain creditor protections that are unique to qualified retirement plans or to retain the ability to borrow from it if the plan allows for such loans to ex-employees. The primary downside is that individuals can become disconnected from the old account and pay less attention to the ongoing management of its investments.

Choice 2: Transfer to Your New Employer’s 401(k) Plan Provided your current employer’s 401(k) accepts the transfer of assets from a pre-existing 401(k), you may want to

• Tax Mitigation • Long-Term Care • 401(k) Rollovers

consider moving these assets to your new plan. The primary benefits to transferring are the convenience of consolidating your assets, retaining their strong creditor protections and keeping them accessible via the plan’s loan feature. Provided their new plan has a competitive investment menu, many individuals prefer to transfer their account and make a full break with their former employer.

Choice 3: Roll Over Assets to a Traditional Individual Retirement Account (IRA) The last choice is to roll assets over into a new or existing traditional IRA. A traditional IRA may provide a wider range of investment choices than what may exist in your new 401(k) plan. The drawback to this approach may be less creditor protection and the loss of access to these funds via a 401(k) loan feature. Remember, don’t feel rushed into making a decision. You have time to consider your choices and may want to seek professional guidance to answer any questions you may have. For more information on 401(k) rollovers or any other financial questions, feel free to call Spartan Wealth Management at 281-494-1600.

Keith Borgfeldt is president and owner of Spartan Wealth Management, LLC. Securities and investment advisory services offered through NEXT Financial Group, Inc., Member FINRA and SIPC. Spartan Wealth Management, LLC is not an affiliate of NEXT Financial Group.

• Retirement Income • Wealth Protection • Charitable Giving

• Education Planning • Estate Planning • Wealth Transfer

Ask about our 2nd opinion service! 281-494-1600 4690 Sweetwater Blvd., Suite 280 Sugar Land, TX 77479

Private Wealth Management for Select Individuals Keith Borgfeldt

President and Owner

Securities and investment advisory services offered through NEXT Financial Group, Inc., Member FINRA and SIPC. Spartan Wealth Management, LLC is not an affiliate of NEXT Financial Group, Inc. Spartan Wealth Management, LLC 4690 Sweetwater Blvd. Ste 280, Sugar Land, TX 77479

TO ADVERTISE: 281.690.4242 or www.fortbend

.com • December 2016


In August and September, we invited readers to our website to take an online survey to tell us who their favorites are in Fort Bend in eight different categories:

FOOD SHOPPING ENTERTAINMENT PROFESSIONAL SERVICES PET SERVICES AUTO SERVICES CARE SERVICES HOME IMPROVEMENT And boy, did they come through! With 1,843 votes, readers voiced their opinion on their favorites. Take a look and see who won this year’s Fort Bend Focus Favs Readers’ Choice Awards!

4 Annual th

Voting for the 2016 Fort Bend Focus Favs Readers’ Choice Awards was conducted online at from August 1 to September 30, 2016. The results were collected and tabulated using In the event of a tie, both winners are listed.

Our Readers Voted for Their Focus Favs in Fort Bend


Local foodies spoke up load and clear voting for their favorite eateries – yum!

Fort Bend Fascinating Facts Established in 2015, Vino & Vinyl is a wine bar, lounge and record store that supports local art. On the first Friday of each month, Vino & Vinyl showcases a new local artist, and the pieces that are on display are for sale the remainder of that month.

Favorite Brunch: Black Walnut Café 16535 Southwest Freeway Sugar Land, TX 77479

Favorite Wine Bar:

Favorite Margarita:

3340 FM 1092 Road #150 Missouri City, TX 77459

Vino & Vinyl

Berryhill Baja Grill 13703 Southwest Freeway Sugar Land, TX 77478

Favorite Pub: Flying Saucer 15929 City Walk Sugar Land, TX 77479 Favorite Happy Hour: Berryhill Baja Grill

Thank you Fort Bend for Voting us Favorite Margarita, Happy Hour & Mexican Food!

13703 Southwest Freeway Sugar Land, TX 77478 Favorite Martini: Perry’s Steakhouse & Grille

Daily Happy Hour 2-8 pm

2115 Town Square Place Sugar Land, TX 77479

Book one of our private rooms, taco truck or delivery catering for your next event!

Favorite Pizza: Grimaldi’s Coal Brick-Oven Pizzeria 16535 Southwest Freeway #2500 Sugar Land, TX 77479

Choose one of our “street” baja tacos complimentary with a $4 food purchase.

Favorite Burger:

Dine-in only. Expires 12.31.2016


Sugar Creek Shopping Center

2623 Town Center Boulevard Sugar Land, TX 77479

13703 Southwest Freeway, Sugar Land, TX 77478

281-313-8226 | TO ADVERTISE: 281.690.4242 or www.fortbend

.com • December 2016


Our Readers Voted for Their Focus Favs in Fort Bend

Favorite Frozen Treats: Marble Slab Creamery 5 Locations in Fort Bend Favorite Bakery: Nothing Bundt Cakes 1531 Highway 6, Suite 125 Sugar Land, TX 77478 Favorite Country Club: Redneck Country Club 11110 West Airport Boulevard Stafford, TX 77477 Favorite Specialty Restaurant: Jambeto’s Bakery and Café 609 Dulles Avenue, Suite 750 Stafford, TX 77477

Favorite Steakhouse: Tradicao Brazilian Steakhouse 12000 Southwest Freeway Stafford, TX 77477

2335 Highway 6 Sugar Land, TX 77478

Empanadas Noodles Eggrolls Wings Baked Goods & Philippine Treats

Favorite BBQ:

Thank You Fort Bend!

Favorite Italian Restaurant: Carrabba’s Italian Grill

Vasos Bar-B-Q 9920 Highyway 90A #D120 Sugar Land, TX 77478

First time customers can enjoy a free bundt cake slice when presenting this ad!

Favorite Mexican Food:

Order Pickup & Catering Available

Berryhill Baja Grill

Call 281.201.2477

Located across Dulles High School 609 Dulles Avenue #750 • Stafford

13703 Southwest Freeway Sugar Land, TX 77478 fort bend

magazine • December 2016


Our Readers Voted for Their Focus Favs in Fort Bend


‘Tis the season to shop ‘til you drop! Check out these favorite shopping spots.

Favorite Holiday Shopping: First Colony Mall 16535 Southwest Freeway Sugar Land, TX 77479

Fort Bend Fascinating Facts First Colony Mall opened on March 14, 1996 as the first regional shopping mall in Fort Bend County. The mall was built with a single-level format that was positioned as being “family-friendly” with carpeted walkways and skylights. Original anchors were Foley’s, Dillard’s, JCPenney and Mervyn’s, along with over 100 stores and a food court dubbed the Sugar Land Cafes. Owned by General Growth Properties, First Colony Mall now has 150 stores and services and encompasses 1,132,964 square feet of retail.

Favorite Bargain Shopping: HomeGoods 2545 Town Center Boulevard North Sugar Land, TX 77479 Favorite Grocery Store: H-E-B 5 Locations in Fort Bend Favorite Wine Selection: Spec’s 7 Locations in Fort Bend Favorite Shoe Store: DSW 2745 Town Center Boulevard Sugar Land, TX 77479 Favorite Jewelry Store: James Avery 16535 Southwest Freeway #T2008 Sugar Land, TX 77479

TO ADVERTISE: 281.690.4242 or www.fortbend

.com • December 2016


Our Readers Voted for Their Focus Favs in Fort Bend


Favorite Live Entertainment: Sugar Land Town Square Highway 6 and U.S. 59 Frontage Road Sugar Land, TX 77478 Favorite Man Cave: The Flying Saucer

From theatres to outdoor recreation, readers got serious about voting for their favorite entertainment!

15929 City Walk Sugar Land, TX 77479 Favorite Sports Recreation:

Favorite Movie Theatre:

Fort Bend Family YMCA

AMC First Colony

4433 Cartwright Road Missouri City, TX 77459

3301 Town Center Boulevard South Sugar Land, TX 77479 Favorite Kid’s Entertainment: Houston Museum of Natural Science at Sugar Land

13016 University Boulevard Sugar Land, TX 77479


meets st yle

Want to spread holiday cheer? Town Square gift cards are here!

Fort Bend Fascinating Facts The Central State Prison Farm was the first industrialized prison farm in the state of Texas, providing goods and supplies for the prison system and other state agencies. The former dormitory of the Central State Prison Farm, Camp Two, is now the Houston Museum of Natural Science at Sugar Land, which opened on October 3, 2009 and boasts nearly 100,000 visitors each year.

fort bend

Accepted by all Town Square merchants. Purchase your gift card online at or drop by 15958 City Walk, Suite 250 during regular business hours.

magazine • December 2016


Our Readers Voted for Their Focus Favs in Fort Bend


Fort Bend Fascinating Facts Fort Bend County is 556,160 acres and contains several master-planned communities, 20,870 acres of which are Johnson Development communities.

Whether it’s building a home or ordering flowers, leave it to these favorite professionals!

Favorite Real Estate Agent: Terri Kurkjian RE/MAX Fine Properties

Favorite Real Estate Company:

4500 Highway 6 Sugar Land, TX 77478

The Johnson Development Corp. 5777 Sienna Parkway, Suite 100 Missouri City, TX 77459

Terri Kurkjian

Favorite Bank/Credit Union:


Wells Fargo

Fine Properties

15 Locations in Fort Bend

“Your Fine Home Specialist”

Favorite Attorney/Law Firm: Roberts Markel Weinberg Butler Hailey PC


2277 Plaza Drive, Suite 290 Sugar Land, TX 77479


713-582-7911 TO ADVERTISE: 281.690.4242 or www.fortbend

.com • December 2016


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magazine • December 2016


Our Readers Voted for Their Focus Favs in Fort Bend

Favorite Custom Home Builder: Darling Homes 74 Quiet Park Sugar Land, TX 77498 Favorite Financial Services: Merrill Lynch 13135 South Dairy Ashford, Suite 450 Sugar Land, TX 77478 Favorite Insurance Agency: Jeremy Adams State Farm Insurance Agency 9722 US 90A, Suite 103 Sugar Land, TX 77478

Free agent with every policy. Jeremy Adams, Agent 9722 US 90A Suite 103 Sugar Land, TX 77478 Bus: 281-494-0533 8:30-6:00 M-F 10:00-2:00 Sat After hours by appointment


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.com • December 2016


Our Readers Voted for Their Focus Favs in Fort Bend

Favorite Grooming:


PetSmart 2 Locations in Fort Bend Favorite Veterinarian: Critter Care Animal Hospital 13040 Dairy Ashford Road Sugar Land, TX 77478

With the holidays around the corner, have your four-legged friends taken care of at Fort Bend’s finest!

Favorite Day Care/Boarding Services: Lone Star Pet Lodges 3207 Williamsburg Lane Missouri City, TX 77459


Fort Bend Fascinating Facts Fort Bend County is home to five animal shelters – Fort Bend County Animal Services, Missouri City Animal Control, Rosenberg Animal Control, Sugar Land Animal Services and City of Stafford Animal Control – providing care and housing for animals.

When it comes to auto services, car enthusiasts aren’t shy about voting for their favorites. Favorite Auto Dealer: Classic Chevrolet Sugar Land 13115 Southwest Freeway Sugar Land, TX 77478

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magazine • December 2016


Our Readers Voted for Their Focus Favs in Fort Bend

Favorite College:


TIE University of Houston – Sugar Land 14000 University Boulevard Sugar Land, TX 77478 AND

Our readers don’t trust their kids to just anyone. From preschool to college, check out their favorite child care services.

Houston Community College – Stafford Campus 10041 Cash Road Stafford, TX 77477

Favorite Private School:

Favorite Day Care:

Fort Bend Christian Academy

W.I.D.E. School

1250 Seventh Street Sugar Land, TX 77478

2777 Dulles Avenue Missouri City, TX 77459

Open House for Prospective Students Grades PreK-12 February 12 | 2 - 4 pm 281-263-9105 | 281-263-9175 | 1250 Seventh Street, Sugar Land, TX 77478

believe. achieve. lead. TO ADVERTISE: 281.690.4242 or www.fortbend

.com • December 2016


Our Readers Voted for Their Focus Favs in Fort Bend


Where Children Learn and Grow

Thank You to Our Families and Friends for Supporting Our New Location Programs include Infants to Pre-K, After-School and Summer Camps

From appliances and flooring to landscaping and design, check out readers’ go-to services for making their homes beautiful.

Sign up Now for Our Spring and Summer Programs

Favorite Florist: House of Blooms 16180 City Walk Sugar Land, TX 77479

Contact Tim Kaminski for a tour at

Gingerbread Kids’ Academy 814 FM 2977 Richmond, TX 77469

• Special Occasions • Anniversaries • Corporate

We would like to thank the community for another Wonderful Year and wish everyone a Joyous Holiday Season!

281-242-1555 16180 City Walk Sugar Land

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magazine • December 2016


Events • Weddings • Just Because

Favorite Learning Center:

Holidays • Home Décor • Birthdays

814 FM 2977 281-239-2110 Richmond 77469

Our Readers Voted for Their Focus Favs in Fort Bend

Favorite Appliance Store: Lowe’s 3 Locations in Fort Bend Favorite Flooring Store: Lone Star Floors 10009 Highway 6 South Sugar Land, TX 77498 Favorite Garden/Landscaping Company: Texas Apache Fence Co., LLC 10818 Hidden Lake Lane Richmond, TX 77406 Favorite Home Improvement: Miracle Method Surface Refinishing 603 Murphy Road Stafford, TX 77477

Favorite Pool Services: Anthony & Sylvan Pools 1424 West Sam Houston Parkway North #180 Houston, TX 77043 Favorite Plumbers: Sugar Land Plumbing 12806 East Bournewood Drive Sugar Land, TX 77478 Favorite Heating/Air Conditioning Services: Jackson Air & Heat P.O. Box 1486 Sugar Land, TX 77487 Favorite Home Designer: The Design Firm 13013 Southwest Freeway Stafford, TX 77477

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.com • December 2016




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A view of Palazzo del Podesta as seen from the roof of the Palazzo dei Consoli (Town Hall) in Gubbio, Italy.

By Debi Beauregard


ast September, a delegation including Sugar Land Mayor Joe R. Zimmerman, Sugar Land Cultural Arts Manager Lindsay Davis and President and CEO of the Fort Bend Chamber of Commerce Keri Schmidt were invited by the Joe Zimmerman presents a crystal Italian region of Umbria star with the logo of Sugar Land to to visit the area to create a Spello Mayor Moreno Landrini. political and cultural friendship program to promote the region to the people of Sugar Land and the Fort Bend area. The trip was generously underwritten by the region of Umbria. For four days, the group met with City leaders, mayors, tourism, marketing and chambers of commerce in the anticipation of business exchanges between the two regions. “The delegation, whose mission is to enhance mutual understanding and friendship, reached an agreement, through friendly consultation, to strengthen the communication and collaboration in economy, education, cultural exchange and other areas where we have mutual interests,” said Schmidt. In addition to the educational tour, Donatella Cocchini, founder and president of the Festival del Cinema Città di Spello e dei Borghi Umbri, a celebration of professionals, craftsmen and artists, who work behind the scenes of the film machine, wanted to bring this festival to the United TO ADVERTISE: 281.690.4242 or www.fortbend

States. She shared her idea with her longtime friend Manuela Tentoni, who has a special bond with Umbria, since she married a native from Perugia, and with Texas, where she lives with her family and works for the Consulate General of Italy in Houston. Tentoni knew that Texas would be an optimal place to bring the festival and had the perfect person for the project: her friend Tiziana Triolo, a Sugar Land resident who is very involved with the Italian community. Triolo, the public relations, communication consultant and manager for the Houston locations of Lombardi Family Concepts, was appointed Director of Project for USA in 2015, leading since then this cultural initiative. Triolo went straight to one of Fort Bend’s leading cultural resources, Owner and Curator of the KCAM Contemporary Art Museum of Fort Bend Ana Villaronga-Roman,

Joseph Cohen, Lindsay Davis, Mai Pham, Vania Rulli Gabbiani, Paul Schmidt, Francesco Mastrorilli, Keri Schmidt and Nancy and Joe Zimmerman touring Asissi, Italy.

.com • December 2016


The Turin Café in Perugia, Italy specializes in chocolates and pastries. Tables on the terrace allow visitors to watch the activity in the city center.

whose connections with the local community is strong due to her years of buying and selling art internationally. Villaronga-Roman was nominated Business Development Coordinator of the project. Triolo and Villaronga-Roman felt that Sugar Land was the perfect fit with its rich cultural diversity. “Remembering the day that Tiziana Triolo met with me at KCAM to introduce the idea to me, she said, ‘The festival director wants to bring it to Texas. Where do you suggest?’ It took me literally seconds to say Sugar Land!” said Villaronga-Roman. “And Tiziana’s beautiful eyes lit up and her smile appeared. She said, ‘That’s where I live! I love it!’” The City of Sugar Land was eager to create a joint program with the City of Spello and the Region of Umbria. Additionally, the City of Sugar Land recently hired a cultural arts manager and has a new performing arts center scheduled to open in 2017 in addition to galleries and performance venues. Triolo and Villaronga-Roman felt that the city was the perfect match to bring an event that would incorporate, food, fashion and art, as well as the films, to the area.

One of the many beautiful buildings in a well-preserved medieval village with its impossibly steep and narrow streets.

creating this partnership with the Region of Umbria and Spello, we bring a world-class film festival and Italian wine, food and internationally-renowned hospitality. It is an exciting opportunity for Sugar Land.” Plans are for the Festival del Cinema Città di Spello e dei Borghi Umbri to debut in Sugar Land in 2017 with screenings of films at the historic Sugar Land Auditorium. Events will be planned around the city to promote Italian arts and culture. “I’m ecstatic about the City officials, the City management and the economic development council understanding the great value this festival will bring to our area. The county is thrilled as well,” said Villaronga-Roman. “Now we’ve had the first official visit to Sugar Land’s partner city Spello and Fort Bend’s partner region Umbria, and the story is just beginning to unfold. These are exciting times indeed!”

Sugar Land Mayor Joe Zimmerman presented the Umbrian delegation a custom-made key of pecan wood in a case made of pecan and mesquite wood. At the presentation were Donatella Cocchini, Keri Schmidt, Lindsay Davis, Donatella Porzi, Fabio Paparelli and Zimmerman.

Zimmerman, who traveled with the group as the official ambassador of Sugar Land, presented the Umbrian delegation with a custom-made key as a welcome. “The City of Sugar Land is delighted to have the opportunity to host a cultural event of this magnitude,” said Zimmerman. “By fort bend

French oak barrels in the cellar of Tenuta San Rocco Winery in Todi, Italy.

magazine • December 2016



25th Annual Child Advocates of Fort Bend Christmas Home Tour Set for December 9th and 10th

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Gearing up for the 25th Annual Home Tour: Fred and Mabel R. Parks Foundation’s Jim McClellan and Child Advocates of Fort Bend’s Ruthanne Mefford.

There is no better way to get into the holiday spirit than attending the Child Advocates of Fort Bend (CAFB) Christmas Home Tour, which has become a Fort Bend holiday tradition. The event runs Friday, December 9th and Saturday, December 10th from 10 am to 4 pm with a special candlelight tour on Friday night from 6 to 9 pm. The 2016 Tour will feature five distinctive homes in Sugar Creek, Telfair, Riverstone and the Belknap Brookside neighborhood beautifully decorated for the holidays with the help of professional decorators and designers. This is the first time homes in Telfair and Belknap Brookside have been on the Home Tour. Guests will be treated to a rare glimpse

of these lovely homes and enjoy festive entertainment, beautiful holiday decorations, tasty homemade cookies and refreshments. “We added a wreath raffle to the Tour two years ago and teamed with Johnson Development last year to expand it at their December Frost Fest. Our partnership with Johnson Development was so successful that we’ve decided to work together again this year,” stated Lisa Moore, marketing specialist for CAFB. A number of talented individuals have generously created beautiful wreaths to be raffled. The wreaths can be viewed at the Sienna Plantation HomeFinder Center and at They will also be featured in several model homes during Sienna Plantation’s Frost Fest on Saturday, December 3rd. Guests will be able to purchase raffle tickets for a chance to win the wreath of their choice. The Christmas Home Tour is one of CAFB’s largest fundraisers. There is no easier way to help abused and neglected children than by purchasing a Home Tour ticket. Tickets make great gifts for family, friends and co-workers. The Tour Underwriter is Fred and Mabel R. Parks Foundation. Pamela Printing has joined as the Program Sponsor. OCuSOFT, Inc. is a Children’s Godparent. Sponsorship opportunities from $100 to $10,000 are still available. Tickets are $25, and one ticket provides admission to all five homes and can be used at any time during the tour. For more information or to purchase a ticket, visit or contact Moore at 281-344-5108.

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By Joan Frances Photos by Bruce Morrissey.

High School HOT SHOT Meet Michael Pozzi


ichael Pozzi is a senior at Fort Bend Christian Academy (FBCA) who has attained a highly qualified resume of accomplishments during his high school career. Academics are a top priority for Michael, but his talent for sports and extracurricular activities are equally notable. His achievements have gained the respect of his teachers and peers, and his future is one of unprecedented success. Academically, Michael ranks 1st in his senior class. He has taken Advanced Placement (AP) and honors classes all four years. He has earned Honor Roll status and has received academic awards for AP U.S. History, Honors Pre-Calculus, Honors Biology, Bible, French, Theater and Honors Algebra II. He is a member of the National Honor Society, the National English Honor Society and Mu Alpha Theta. Michael has a passion for history and is president of the Rho Kappa Club, a National Social Studies Honor Society that analyzes historical events.


Michael’s favorite teacher was Mr. Claude Boutin. “Mr. Boutin was my French teacher who passed away this past October,” said Michael. “He was the sweetest and kindest man in the world. He would always be there for you no matter what, and he would always cheer you up with his wonderful smile no matter how your day was going. He will forever be a role model for me in how I should live every moment of my life.” In addition to his academic commitment, Michael is engaged in several sports. He has established and recruited students to join the Rock Climbing club. He is the president of the club and also works at the rock climbing gym at Lifetime Fitness, where he teaches students about various forms of rock climbing, gear, safety and climbing techniques. As captain of the FBCA swim team, he leads daily practices and manages a team of 14 swimmers. “I am heavily involved in the running of the swim team on a daily basis. I have always been a natural coach, as I’ve always enjoyed

teaching others, so to be captain is just an extension of that. The ability to lead in a sport that I love, especially with new swimmers every year, is a great experience.” Michael received the Swim Leadership Award last year and the Scholar Athlete Award. He also coaches summer swim for the Sugar Creek Gators and received the Golden Gator Award twice over the past four years. Besides his phenomenal talent in sports, Michael is president of the International Thespian Society. He is an actor, has been in seven plays, works sound and lighting, as well as manages backstage crews during the shows. He won the award for best performance at the All Star Cast One Act Competition. He was given the State Narrative Film Award for a best fictional film of the year titled Scenes from a Memory. Michael has an optimistic view of life. “I have to take life as it comes to me. I know bad times will come eventually, and when they do, I will deal with them in the best possible way.” One thing he treasures the most about his high school experience is “definitely the friends I’ve made. They have been by my side from the beginning of high school, and I cannot imagine what I would do without them.” Michael aspires to attend the University of Southern California and to major in electrical engineering with a minor in cinematic arts. Congratulations on your incredible accomplishments and leadership skills Michael, and we look forward to watching you make an impact on society in your future.

“I have to take life as it comes to me. I know bad times will come eventually, and when they do, I will deal with them in the best possible way.” – Michael Pozzi TO ADVERTISE: 281.690.4242 or www.fortbend

.com • December 2016


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magazine • December 2016


By Joan Frances

Hometown Heroes:

Ben and Grant Mize


hree words objectify what it takes to be a hometown hero: generosity, compassion and commitment. Fort Bend County is blessed to have many altruistic residents who donate their time and money to the community. Age is not a requirement when it comes to assisting people in need, and brothers Ben and Grant Mize are two of Fort Bend’s heroes who deserve recognition for a job well done. Ben, now age 11 and in fifth grade, started his business when he was eight years old and in second grade. He came home with the idea to mix soap and lotion to help with his dry, cracked hands. Thus, Grant and Ben Mize. Soshen – soap plus lotion – was born. When Ben’s friend Caleb was fighting leukemia, Ben had an another great idea. Ben recalled, “We learned that Caleb was dealing with dry cracked hands too. He had to constantly wash them, because when a person is undergoing chemo, their immune system is totally destroyed and they cannot fight off germs. I decided that I needed to make a bottle for the family. Then I thought maybe I could make Soshen, sell it and donate $2 of each bottle to Texas Children’s Hospital for cancer research for kids.” So far, Ben has raised and donated $3,000 to Texas Children’s Hospital in honor of his two friends, Caleb and Peyton, who are both battling leukemia. He hopes to raise $2,000 this month, when his friend Caleb will ring the victory bell over leukemia. Grant started his company, Sweetwater Candle Company, in fifth grade when he decided to do his science fair experiment on the burn rate of candles to determine if there was a difference in soy, beeswax or paraffin – manmade – wax. “I had so much fun making candles, I asked if I could start making and selling them,” Grant said. “But I did not just want to have a candle company; Peyton Richardson, Ben Mize, Caleb Cook I wanted a way to give and Dr. ZoAnn Dreyer with Ben’s donation to Texas Children’s Cancer Center. back to our community. TO ADVERTISE: 281.690.4242 or www.fortbend

I am so thankful for the sacrifices that our military men and women make for our country, so I donate 20 percent of the proceeds to charities that support our military.” So far, Grant, who is now 12 and in seventh grade, has raised and donated over $1,200 to the Wounded Warrior Project. This year, Grant is raising money for Freedom Service Dogs of America. They rescue dogs from shelters and then train them to become service dogs for the veterans when they come back from their military assignments. “Freedom Service Dogs of America really spoke to me, because it incorporated two things I am passionate about: our military and rescue dogs,” Grant said.  Grant himself rescued Dixie with his own money when he was nine years old with the $150 he had in his wallet. Not only did Grant pay for her then, but he continues to pay for her dog food and understands that adopting a pet is a big commitment. Knowing that he rescued her and could give her a good life means a lot to him.

Grant with his rescue dog Dixie.

In addition to their busy commitment to helping their community, the Mize brothers attend school at Cornerstone Christian Academy, where both boys maintain an A average. Grant is an avid hunter, and Ben is an ardent fisherman. They enjoy spending time outdoors with their family. Thank you to this incredible team of brothers for your generosity, and we look forward to watching you impact the world in the future. For more information about Sweetwater Candle Company, visit For more information about Soshen, visit

.com • December 2016



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magazine • December 2016



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.com • December 2016


Kaminga has served as an AccessHealth volunteer for years having worked on all three of AccessHealth’s fundraising events and the Community Engagement Council. She leverages all assets at her disposal to help make connections and open doors for AccessHealth. She brings to the board over 15 years of marketing and event management experience, and she leads by example, demonstrating a heart for service. Khan brings years of experience establishing, accrediting and operating pharmacies, which makes him a good fit to help lead AccessHealth. As a Federally Qualified Health Center, AccessHealth provides low-cost prescription medications for its patients with pharmacies onsite at each of its clinics. Khan is equipped to help guide the board regarding pharmacy procedures and best practices.

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Brenda Patton.

Patton is the Community Relations Manager for Fort Bend County Precinct 2. In her role with the County and in her 21 years as a Fort Bend County resident, she has witnessed firsthand the benefits of providing quality, affordable health care for all. She has served on the planning committees for AccessHealth’s health fairs and fundraising events, as well as the Community Engagement Council. “Kaminga, Khan and Patton are welcome additions to the AccessHealth board,” said AccessHealth CEO Carol Edwards. “We are grateful for their leadership and look forward to what we will accomplish together!” AccessHealth provides integrated health care services without regard to income or circumstance to improve the quality of life in Fort Bend County. AccessHealth is a United Way agency, and the main center in Richmond is recognized as a Patient-Centered Medical Home by the National Committee for Quality Assurance. For more information about AccessHealth’s board of directors or integrated health services, please contact Cindy Reaves at 281-633-3169 or


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Let this Christmas season fill your home with joy, your heart with love and your life with laughter May the New Year bring you Goodwill, happiness and joyful memories to treasure

Arlene R. Rolsen, CRS

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“Selling Fort Bend’s Finest Homes Since 1985” fort bend


magazine • December 2016


Pierce Built Homes:

Giving Old Sugar Land a New Look

The Pierce Family: Staci, Ashton, Parker and Jason.


he roots in The Hill, Sugar Land’s first neighborhood, run deep with generations of families continuing to call it home and preserve the integrity of the neighborhood. It is home to the Pierce family, and through their company, Pierce Built Homes’ restoration projects and new builds continue to define the charm and character of The Hill. Jason Pierce grew up in The Hill in an original Imperial Sugar home, and his parents still reside in the home. After many years in residential and commercial construction, Jason and his wife, Staci, launched Pierce Built Homes, opening an office in another Imperial Sugar home in the mixed use zoning on Brooks Street. With more than 30 years of office experience, his mother, Teresa Pierce, came on board as the officer manager and bookkeeper. Staci brings her expertise in design, floor plans and selections. Jason and Staci Pierce bought their first home on 4th Street in The Hill, a 1905 Imperial Sugar brick bungalow. They completely remodeled the home and incorporated today’s energy efficient standards, as well as styles, while preserving the character. They revived the claw foot tub, hardwoods and other elements. As their family grew, they realized they needed more space and built their dream home on 5th Street. They wanted to raise their sons in a small town atmosphere. They built a beautiful 4,000 square-foot Craftsman style home with a large front porch, starting a new price point trend that has become contagious. TO ADVERTISE: 281.690.4242 or www.fortbend

Currently, Pierce Built Homes has a major remodel and addition on 2nd Street, a tear down and new construction for a client on 6th Street and a new build spec home in the works on 6th Street. Pierce Built Homes just closed – at the highest price per square foot – their first remodel on 6th Street. They took it down to the frame and reconfigured the floor plan to open concept and again revived the original claw foot tub and incorporated ship lap original to the home into the fireplace and kitchen bar. Then, they sparkled the home with gorgeous deco selections. The home never made it to the market. It sold before it was completed. “We love the old is new concept, and our main focus is keeping the historical and architectural style as close to original Imperial Sugar homes but modify to the quality and standard of living of the present,” Pierce said. “We recently tore down a home that we could not renovate due to condition and plan to build a new spec home, which will be Craftsman front porch style and approximately 2,600 square feet. We are very excited about this project and encourage you to drive through The Hill and see all of the improvement happening in The Hill. We are in walking distance to the Imperial redevelopment, and that has certainly driven our neighborhood to continue to be a popular place to live.” Pierce Built Homes’ reputation as a quality builder has projects all over the greater Houston area, and their portfolio includes luxury homes including a recently completed, custom, waterfront home in Venetian Estates. To learn more, visit or call 281201-8711.

Pierce Built Homes recently completed construction on this custom home in Venetian Estates.

.com • December 2016


Kristin Lytle, Broker Associate, Hometown America, Inc.


On Their Sweet Success in Old Sugar Land


here is no greater reward in this business than to watch a neighborhood boy grow up to become a successful builder in a community you both love. The Pierce family and I were neighbors in The Hill for many years. Jason Pierce grew up in an Imperial Sugar home built in the 1920s. Jason Pierce, Kristin Lytle and Staci Pierce. His company Pierce Built Homes is making a great impact in The Hill with remodels and new construction, while keeping the character and charm of the first neighborhood of Sugar Land. “As founder of Friends of Old Sugar Land, a 25 year-old neighborhood organization for The Hill, I am thrilled Jason followed his heart and roots with integrity and passion and thrives to keep the integrity of The Hill. His wife, Staci, perfectly complements their business with her design expertise and selections! They built their dream home in The Hill and are now raising their children in The Hill near their grandparents’ home as generations of families before them did. Sweet success for a wonderful Sugar Land family!” - Kristin Lytle

fort bend

magazine • December 2016



r e n or n

C Bir ’ rick t s a id By P


Dealing with Loss


he most unfortunate reality of working with so many kids each week is that we inevitably become aware of – and involved in – the saddest and hardest part of some of their lives. Inevitably each year, one of our students loses a parent. No parent, coach, teacher or friend ever wants to consider such a worse case scenario, but if you or someone you know is going through a loss, here are some general guidelines for each age group.

Infants It’s hard enough to know why your baby is crying on a good day and console them, so a loss of a parent makes this even harder. Sleep patterns may change, colic may arise, and the child may have bouts of incontrollable crying. When dealing with the loss yourself, the situation is often overwhelming. The best thing for the infant is to have others help either with chores or to take turns caring for the child. By taking care of the day-to-day needs of the baby, it will help them – and you – immensely.

Preschool While three to five-year-olds can finally speak about their feelings, certain concepts still elude them. “Never” is not a concept they can grasp, and when combined with their propensity to ask questions, be prepared to explain and discuss what happened many times. This generally goes away with time. Depending upon the advice of your doctor and child’s psychologist, talking about the loss can be important, as it helps them remember and conceptualize their identity and prevent feelings of loss or exclusion from their peers as they age. Don’t be worried if the child appears

“fine,” as this is usually a symptom of their naivety of the situation.

Elementary Around the age of six, a child can finally begin to grasp that a loved one is not going to come back. This can lead to major trust issues, as well as intense separation anxiety from the parent. The important thing is not to rush the child unnecessarily. They also will begin to ask concrete, biological questions about the lost loved one. They may be concerned about the same thing happening to you. Group play is also extremely helpful for children of this age, so get them involved in school or sports.

Middle School The early onset of puberty compounds the sense of vulnerability and insecurity that children feel after a loss. Expect grades to be affected, and make sure you are actively communicating with your child’s teachers and coaches about what is going on. Most likely, the child will also express their grief by acting out physically, and proactively giving the other adults in their life the information about the loss will allow them to discipline and redirect most appropriately.

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High School Teenagers deal with loss internally with their emotions and externally with their actions. For most teens, by hiding their emotions and not talking about the situation, they are showing that they are old enough and independent enough to handle it. In truth, they may feel more comfortable being vulnerable about the loss with a friend, mentor or coach. This is why informing those adults is so important. Finally, the likelihood that the teen will engage in high-risk behavior increases after a loss. Talking to them about how you are dealing with emotions yourself and what you are tempted to do out of anger, guilt or sadness, is a great step. One of the most important points for children of any age is to inform as many adults in the child’s life as you are comfortable with about the loss. This will help those caregivers reassure and redirect the child. Second, stick as much as possible to habits and routines. Any change or lack of control will be hard for the child, not to mention for you. Finally, seek help yourself! You are not alone, nor should you be. Sometimes it takes a village to help an adult as well.

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magazine • December 2016


Seen on the Scene


Patchwork of Life Benefiting OakBend Medical Center’s Jackson Street Emergency Care Center October 13, 2016 • Safari Texas Ranch

2nd Annual



Dishes up to End Childhood Hunger Taste of Fort Bend, generously underwritten by Briscoe Manor, will be dishing up for a cause on January 12, 2017 beginning at 7 pm. All proceeds will benefit Lunches of Love in support of their commitment to end childhood hunger in Fort Bend County. Guests will delight their taste buds with creations from many of Fort Bend’s favorite food establishments. From appetizers to entrées, desserts and drinks, there will be something for everyone! To date, restaurants and food vendors plating up include Behind the Bash, Dekker’s Mesquite Grill, Edible Moments, Gringo’s, Lomonte’s, Pier 36, The Rouxpour, Saltgrass Steakhouse, The Sweet Tooth, The Swinging Door and Tradicao Brazilian Steakhouse. In addition to these delicious delights, guests can bid on live and silent auction items while enjoying festive musical entertainment. Included in the live auction this year is a two-day, all-inclusive, guided Rio Grande turkey hunt in south Texas by El Rancho Arenosa and a oneweek stay in South Padre Island at Marlin Cottage. Other auction items include clay shooting for four, a crawfish boil at The Old Trading Post, a skydive tandem jump, sports memorabilia and more. Sponsorship opportunities range from $500 feeding 667 children to $10,000 feeding 13,333 children. Many different levels of sponsorships are available with exciting benefits associated with each level. Already on board are Briscoe Manor, Jonathan Powell, DDS, Next Level Urgent Care, Hartmann Properties and Miranda and Kevin Rodrigues. Tickets are on sale now with an early bird special of $65 per ticket through December 11th. Prices will increase to $75 beginning December 12th. For more information, visit or call 281-342-8321.


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Rene Lamb & Vicky Tonn Todd & Barbara Bailey Ann Davis, Kathy Kubelka, Evalyn Moore, Barbara Bleil & Joann Anderson Jonika & Alan Sandersen with Lisa Wilson Jeff & Ann Council Eileen Akerson & May Tape Lea Gibson, Flora Perez & Kay Garrett Lance Green & Tim McCarty

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Seen on the Scene


The 2nd Annual Sugar Shindig Benefiting the Fort Bend Education Foundation October 21, 2016 • Safari Texas Ranch

Off to Oz . . . The Emerald City Awaits!

The Gala Lollipop Guild: Giulia Hattan, Cheryl White, Cindy Cheng, Liz Furman, Terri Wang, Jamie Fairchild, Robin Gill, Renu Narang, Carol Scott, Fran Steele, Shirley Lee, Shefali Jhaveri, Lina Sabouni, Jessica Kij, Carrie Diaz, Wen Wing, Syndee Howgate, Pam Hubenak, Jenni Leonetti, Brenna Cosby, Nappinnai Natarajan, Lisa Kulhanek, Becky Walker, Mary Favre, Kay James, Diana Miller, Sapana Patel, Sonal Bhuchar, Sue Chiang, Lynn Halford, Peggy Jackson, Seeju Dupre, Stacy Bynes, Carol Evans, Noreen Covey and Shirley Brown.

The Fort Bend Education Foundation’s 24th Annual Gala is set for March 4th, 2017 at the Sugar Land Marriott Town Square. Gala co-chairs Giulia Hattan and Lisa Kulhanek are thrilled with this year’s theme, “Off to Oz . . . The Emerald City Awaits!” presented by Perdue Brandon Collins & Mott, L.L.P. Remember and relive those bewitching, beguiling and magical moments on the road to Oz as attendees celebrate the success of the Fort Bend Education Foundation and thank the community for its generous support. Lions and tigers and bears, oh my! Let the evening begin with a wave of the Good Witch’s wand. After enjoying a marvelous meal, click your heels together and dance the night away to the music of Password. Then, use your brains, be courageous and have a heart as you bid generously on the silent auction items or go for the live auction items offered by Commissioner James Patterson. Feel the joy, feel the rapture knowing you have contributed to yet another successful Fort Bend Education Foundation Gala! The Fort Bend Education Foundation touches every school in Fort Bend ISD. Its mission is to enrich and enhance the quality of education for all Fort Bend ISD students through its grants to teachers and school programs. Planning is now in progress. Information regarding sponsorships, auction donations and individual tickets is available at

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Charles & Seeju Dupre Juanita Staten Nancy Hummel, Deb Leiden & Amy DeMarco Larry & Lucia Street Charles & Lisa Kulhanek Kevin & Becky Walker with Lisa Odegard Marcela Garza, Melanie Shelton & Lily Monroe Jennifer & Matthew Lober Jake Messinger & Cynthia Lauer 9

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magazine • December 2016


Seen on the Scene Heart of Fort Bend Benefiting AccessHealth October 27, 2016 • Safari Texas Ranch

Montessori Kids Universe Opens Pre-School in Sugar Land Montessori Kids Universe, an authentic Montessori pre-school offering programs for children ages six months to six years, opened its doors on November 7th. Led by Head of School Dr. Rebecca Deurlein and a team of educators experienced in childcare and Rebecca Deurlein. trained in Montessori, the school introduced its Montessori curriculum enhanced by its one-of-a-kind Reggio Emilia science and art enrichment program to Sugar Land. Following a Fort Bend Chamber ribbon cutting attended by City Council members Himesh Gandhi and Harish Jajoo, Montessori-certified teachers shared the unique curriculum with parents, including the DaVinci Kids program, which introduces STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art and math) and focused language arts study to pre-school children. “The parents in Fort Bend take their children’s education seriously, and we have tremendous respect for them,” said Deurlein. “The most important support we can give parents is to help their children discover the joy of learning, to inspire them, to encourage them and to teach them at a young age that learning is an adventure. If we don’t capture children when they’re young, we could lose them forever, so we take our responsibility very seriously.” Deurlein is a 22 year veteran educator who has served in schools across the nation as both a teacher and administrator. She is the author of the parenting book Teenagers 101 and is a frequent speaker to parenting organizations and schools. She holds a doctorate in Educational Leadership and has attended the Harvard Principal Center for continuing studies. “Regardless of their age, children deserve a top-notch instructional environment where they never doubt for a minute that their teachers care.” Montessori Kids Universe is located at 2600 Cordes Drive off Lexington and Highway 6. For more information or to schedule a tour, call 281-299-5187 or visit

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Kyle Dawson, Ann Smith & Betty Baitland with Pete & Nancy Olson Holly Kaminga & Carol Edwards Diana Collins, Maggy Horgan & Tracy Walker Shireen Azeemudin, Tariq Zafar, Mike Dotson, Jaqueline Stump & Jonathan Pursh Debbie Hanson, Mike Harvey & Brandon Arns Susan Fotorny & Gary Pearson Patti Parish-Kaminski & Cindy Reaves

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Tracy Osina & Jack Soape Barbara Benes & Marylin Long CeeCee & David Parker with Debbie Holmes Farrah & Himesh Gandhi Carol & Drew DeFoor Larry & Jackie Lorino with Ed Byrnes Shireen Azeemudin, Richard Sedillo & Heather Hernandez Cherie Vasquez & Shirley Jackson Lauren Eckhardt & Eric Junker Shelby Campbell, Gloria Kopycinski & Kim Beustring Kay Garrett & Tiffany Pace

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magazine • December 2016


Seen on the Scene


9th Annual Mad Hatter Steampunk Adventure Benefiting Fort Bend Seniors Meals on Wheels October 28, 2016 • Safari Texas Ranch

OakBend Medical Group Adds New Cardiologist

Dr. Long Cao.

Dr. Long Cao is the newest doctor to join the OakBend Medical Group family of physicians. Born in Vietnam and raised in Houston, Cao joins the team of cardiologists in the OakBend Medical Group. He is board certified in internal medicine and cardiovascular disease in addition to echocardiography, nuclear cardiology and vascular interpretation. Cao graduated magna cum laude at Baylor University and is a medical graduate of the University of Texas. Cao completed his residency training at Baylor College of Medicine and his Cardiology Fellowship in North Carolina. According to Cao, he always wanted to be a physician. “When I was growing up, my strict parents only gave me the option of being a doctor, a lawyer or a Catholic priest. And if I were to be a lawyer, I could only defend and I could never lie. I knew quickly my options were limited. The two things I was most drawn to were science and caring for people. This led me to medicine. No other profession combines the two,” said Cao. Cao’s parents were his early supporters and encouraged his goals. “Both my mother and father were 100 percent supportive of anything that had to do with helping people and making the most of the American dream,” commented Cao. “Now, I have my wife and nine-month-old girl to be my cheerleaders.” Cao enjoys spending time with family and friends, exploring the outdoors, traveling and painting. He speaks English, Vietnamese and Spanish. Cao practices at 1601 Main Street, Suite 502 in Richmond. For more information, call 281-633-4925.

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Al Gallo & Diana Collins Lucy & Ron Hudson Larissa Plunto & Cyndia Rodriguez Amy Cummins & Ray Fears Marsha Wicks, Whitney Baker & Karis Nunley Kelly Walleck & Lois Gremminger William & Teresa Cox Reading Melissa & James Ives Angela & Hector Vasquez

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.com • December 2016


eds! w y l ew ion N

t At t e n Coming January 2017

Here Comes the Bride









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Submit your info today and have your wedding details and photos published in print and online in our magazine. If you or your children have recently married and you would like to enter for a chance to be featured in our Here Comes the Bride, all you need is at least ten high-resolution photos of the ceremony and/or reception. It doesn’t matter where the wedding took place, as long as it was in the last year and you or your parent/s reside in Fort Bend area. Photographers are also welcome to submit photos.


Keir & Heather Halewood Tracey & Jim Shaw Vanessa Buentello, Patricia Redavid, Mary Anne Salazar & Laura Flores Cyndee Kanabel & Brenda Mainwaring Michael Garfield & James Patterson Catherine Byrnes, Chessa Rapp & Vanessa Vara Steve Holmes & Tom Shirley Hannah Paul & Olivia Blas Catherine Padilla & Teri Barnhill Eric Robins & Manuela Arroyos 19 fort bend

Contact: or visit

magazine • December 2016



Focus on Worship

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Advent – A Season of Longing It’s the question that most every child is asked this time of year: “So, what do you want for Christmas?” Oddly enough, however, it’s an inquiry that many who are older might also be pondering. For the celebration of Christ’s birth is indeed a time of reflection about not just what people think they might need but what may be actually missing in their lives – those non-quantifiables that won’t be available online or at any store such as hope, peace, fulfillment and genuine joy. It’s a time of searching for many, just as it was for those who experienced that first Christmas so long ago, from Joseph and Mary to the shepherds in the fields to those mysterious Magi who came from far away in the East. Those who are likewise looking for something more this Christmas are invited to join Christ Church Sugar Land each week to look together at “Advent – A Season of Longing” and the opportunities it presents to find the one true desire of the heart, the gift that only God can grant. It won’t be under the tree, but it just might indeed be right under your nose, and Christ Church would love to help you find it. For more information about Christ Church Sugar Land, visit

.com • December 2016


St. Catherine of Sienna Welcomes You St. Catherine of Sienna Episcopal Church, located at 4747 Sienna Parkway in Sienna Plantation, is a reflection of the Sienna community both in its diversity and in the age of its members. They have 19 nationalities represented in their congregation. The church has been blessed with the gift of hospitality. They gather often for fellowship and work very hard to make their guests – and members – feel as welcome as they possibly can. St. Catherine’s takes its formation very seriously. Their small group ministry allows them to engage in regular study and discussion about the “things of the faith.” They offer formation and fellowship for their children on a regular basis as well. Their life together revolves around an intentional path. Everything they do helps them to connect with God and one another, to grow in a relationship with Christ and one another and by serving Christ through service to others. This, they believe, can transform all into the living, breathing disciples that all hope to become! All are welcome for Sunday worship services at 8 am and 10:30 am and Sunday School at 10:15 am. Nursery care is available. St. Catherine’s will have a Children’s Christmas Service on Christmas Eve at 5 pm, an Evening Christmas Service at 9 pm on Christmas Eve and a Christmas Morning Service at 10:30 am on Christmas Day. To learn more about St. Catherine’s specific ministries and the many opportunities for spiritual growth, fellowship and service, visit www.siennachurch. org or call 281-778-2046.

fort bend

magazine • December 2016



Houston Methodist Sugar Land Hospital Physical Therapy Residency Program Achieves National Milestone

Mathew Vilangattuseril MOT, OTR/L; Kyle Belski PT, DPT, SCS; Toko Nguyen PT, DPT, OCS, SCS, FAAOMPT, CSCS; Michael Parkinson MOT, OTR, CHT; Stephanie Kerwin PT, MPT, OCS, FAAOMPT; Regina Bautista PT, DPT, FAAOMPT; Peggy Boineau MOT, OTR, BCPR, CHT; Kristen Booher MOT, OTR, CHT; Marie Potter PT, DPT, OCS, SCS, FAAOMPT, ATC, LAT; Adeeb Khalfe PT, DPT, OCS, FAAOMPT, CSCS and Christina Gomez PT, DPT, OCS, SCS, FAAOMPT, CSCS.

The board certified physical and occupational therapists at Houston Methodist Sugar Land Hospital do more than help patients improve mobility and return to active lifestyles. They are also training the next generation of specialized therapists in areas such as orthopedic physical therapy, sports physical therapy, athletic training and occupational therapy with a specialty in hand rehabilitation. Each year, the hospital’s post professional residency programs give licensed therapists and athletic trainers the opportunity to further their education. Residents are able to work alongside leading therapists who provide one-on-one education and mentoring in both clinical and classroom settings. Residents also work directly with some of the area’s leading surgeons and orthopedic and sports medicine specialists to develop, implement and measure patient outcomes. Each of the individual residency tracts is specially designed to provide unique experiences. For example, the sports and athletic training residencies participate in live, on-field activities with local high school, college and professional teams, and athletic training residents serve as assistant athletic trainers at area high schools. Houston Methodist Sugar Land is the only facility in the United States with fully accredited orthopedic physical therapy, sports physical therapy and athletic training programs in one TO ADVERTISE: 281.690.4242 or www.fortbend

location. The hospital’s athletic training residency program is one of just five programs accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Athletic Training Education (CAATE) in the country. The occupational therapy residency in hand rehabilitation is the third in the nation to achieve candidacy status from the American Occupational Therapy Association. “Our faculty sets us apart from other residency programs,” said Toko Nguyen, physical therapy residency manager at Houston Methodist Sugar Land Hospital. “No one else can offer the same caliber of instructors all under one roof. All of our faculty members are experienced and knowledgeable, having all completed residency or fellowship training themselves. They enjoy teaching our residents how to provide better, more effective therapy services to patients.” The fast-paced environment at Houston Methodist Sugar Land and Houston Methodist Orthopedics & Sports Medicine ensures that residents see a broad range of patients and conditions throughout the 12 month program. Improving clinical reasoning skills and treatment approaches are key elements; residents are typically ready to sit for their certified specialist exam upon completion of the program. “Our residents learn from a full range of clinical cases – from patients recovering from injury to those with long-term physical ailments or conditions,” said board certified occupational therapist Peggy Boineau, who leads the hand therapy residency. “Through detailed classroom learning and work with patients, our residents master the latest and most sophisticated therapies in their chosen specialty. They leave here ready to make a difference in patients’ lives.” Houston Methodist Sugar Land has been offering physical therapy specialty residencies since 2011, and over the years, the program has grown significantly. That growth is reflective of a national trend toward specialized physical therapy, with residencies and fellowships providing additional training and expertise in specific areas of study. “Young therapists today recognize the importance of focusing on a specialty,” said Nguyen. “Our program helps therapists further their studies and gain a deeper understanding of their chosen field. They leave here with excellent clinical reasoning skills along with the most advanced treatment techniques.” Today, physical therapists from around the country seek the opportunity to come to Houston Methodist Sugar Land, and the competition for acceptance into the program becomes more intense each year. “Graduates of our residency programs are highly sought after in the job market,” said Nguyen. “We have been developing top-notch clinicians for several years now, and our reputation is a real benefit to our residents.” Visit or call 281274-0123 for more information.

.com • December 2016


Holiday Focus The Most Wonder ful Time of the Year

F E AT U R I N G 5 Steps to a Picture-Perfect Mantel Christmas Conundrum Protect Your Shipped Packages from Theft Holiday Books for Kids Holiday Cocktail Recipes Holiday Gift Guide

fort bend

magazine • December 2016


Holiday Focus

By Amitha Verma

Steps to a

Picture-Perfect Mantel


ne of the best, yet mostly overlooked places to start is the fireplace mantle. All it takes is a few strategically placed décor pieces to make a big impact. And the best part is the designer “look” can be effortlessly achieved using objects already in your home. Not sure if you can pull it off? Follow these five simple steps to create a picture-perfect mantel in two hours or less.



Ground Your Design


Add Fabric

To make your mantel stand out, add earthy garlanding like fir, pine, flocked, evergreen, eucalyptus or any other plant you love. This year, I used beautiful magnolia leaves. Securing garlanding in place is easy. Simply attach it to a few clear hooks and enjoy a festive look that lasts from the fall all the way into the holidays!

Makeover Your Mantel

Don’t love your mantel? Give it an instant facelift with chalk finish paint. I radically transformed this aged, dingylooking mantel into a gorgeous designer piece in less than 20 minutes – no sanding, stripping or priming required.


To freshen up décor from year to year, lace a wide ribbon throughout garland. Have fun by mixing up the color of the ribbon to match your home or holiday décor.

After TO ADVERTISE: 281.690.4242 or www.fortbend

.com • December 2016


Holiday Focus


Create a Dramatic Cluster

Christmas Conundrum

Whether you opt for a simple pair of candlesticks or a more intricate design, there’s no right or wrong way to style your mantel. These charming chicken wire covered glass containers filled with a blend of holiday stems and gorgeous hydrangeas will be gracing the top of my mantel this year:

Don’t forget the most important tip of all: Let your inspiration guide you. Trust your innate design gifts to shine! Have faith that you can make your design vision a reality.

By Myles Mellor


Style the Top Like a Pro

Across 1 Period for enjoying festivities 8 Diamond for example 10 Ludwig’s middle name, Morrison’s first 11 Sleigh light? (2 words) 12 Santa Claus feature 13 Stan who created Spider-Man 14 Present carrier 17 Turkey or chicken, for example 19 Columbia locale 21 Pick up 23 21st century communication technology, for short 24 Adding beauty to 26 Ring material 29 “Love Story” star, first name 30 Brit. record label 32 Tree decorations 33 Bach piece 34 Deck 36 Christmas time 38 Shirt accessory

40 43 44 46 48 50 51 53 54 55 56 57

Velvet Underground singer Company Holiday drink Radiant Skywards Not available, for short Miscalculated Old record Historic leader? Harry and David container Present from Santa Picnic buster

Down 1 Christmas songs 2 There were nine of them in the partridge song (2 words) 3 Presents for the studious? 4 Goes with Maria 5 Teacher’s Assistant, for short 6 Wild about 7 Christmas tree, often 8 “Love Actually” star

9 15 16 17 18 20 22 23 25 26 27 28 31 35 37 38 39 41 42 43 45 46 47 49 52 54

Steak order Where Santa comes into the house Barbie’s partner Bojangle beginning Way back when Bubbly drink Forever and a day Vital card Icy coating Present Christmas illumination Santa’s real helpers? Enchant Goes for the gold? Kind of fire Present for Dad, maybe Driving move Stopper Shrek for one Backup Gossip NFL time out play Singer, Sayer Honeybunch 1982 blockbuster Loudspeaker system

See answers on page 60. fort bend

magazine • December 2016



The secret to creating the “wow” factor and making your mantel pop is to add a cluster of exquisite and unusual ornaments where your garlanding meets the top of the mantel. Here are a few pro tips to selecting the right ornaments: • Be bold with oversized round ornaments, and only use traditional four-inch diameter ornaments to fill in empty spaces if needed. • Be unexpected with unusual shapes like crowns and more! • Opt for an eclectic mix of shapes including finials, pear and more. • Use florist wire to group ornaments together.

Holiday Focus By Jason Smith

front door that is somewhat hidden from the street, even behind furniture or a big potted plant, ask that packages be left out of sight whenever possible.

Increase Lighting Another helpful tip to discourage package theft is to increase the lighting around your home. Thieves may target homes that are poorly lit, using the darkness as a source of concealment. A motion-sensing floodlight, however, can illuminate your porch anytime someone approaches. Even if you are not home, a neighbor might notice the light turning on and investigate.

Video Surveillance

Protect Your Shipped Packages from Theft


is frustrating when you order a product but never receive it. You may spend hours on the phone trying to determine what happened to it. But when you check the tracking, you notice the status says “delivered,” leaving you to believe that it was stolen. Unfortunately, incidents such as this are all too common, especially around the holidays. An estimated 23 million Americans have had packages stolen, but the good news is that shipped goods can be protected from theft by following some simple steps.

Specify a Delivery Date and Time Many online retailers allow customers to specify a date and time to have their package delivered. Rather than choosing the soonest date and time possible, choose a time when either you or a member of your family will be home. By receiving the package in person, there is a much lower risk of it being stolen.

Don’t Leave Packages Sitting Outside The longer a package sits on your front entry area, the greater the risk of it being stolen. Some thieves will even follow shipping trucks, and once they drop off a package, they will immediately steal it from the customer’s doorstep. Some retailers and shippers allow patrons to enter special instructions for the driver. If you have an area near your TO ADVERTISE: 281.690.4242 or www.fortbend

If your front entry area is being recorded by video cameras, thieves may think twice before stealing your package. Video doorbell systems allow you to see and speak to anyone who enters the camera view or presses your doorbell. Combined with access control systems such as a locked gate, video surveillance is a highly effective way to protect against package theft.

Reroute Packages to Your Local Post Office You might be surprised to learn that all of the major shipping service providers allow customers to have their packages rerouted to a local mail office. So, instead of having a package shipped to your home, you can ship it directly to your local post office. In addition to offering greater security, opting for package rerouting may offer other benefits, such as email or text notification when your package arrives. Contact your local post office for more information about this service. Another option is to have packages shipped to your office.

File a Mail Theft Complaint If the stolen package was shipped via the United States Postal Service (USPS), you can file a mail theft complaint on their website or by calling 1-800-ASK-USPS (1-800-2758777). The Postal Inspection Service will conduct its own internal investigation into the matter, contacting you only if more information is needed. Other shippers such as UPS and FedEx offer similar services.

.com • December 2016


Holiday Focus

Holiday Books for Kids ‘Tis the season for Christmas trees, gingerbread and holiday reads. Ho, ho, ho!

Artie: The First Artificial Christmas Tree by Dee Maner Endorsed by Santa Claus himself, Artie will quickly become a holiday favorite for everyone who loves Christmas. This heartwarming story tells about Artie, who although different from the other evergreen Christmas trees, learns what really matters is what comes from the heart. The beautiful watercolor illustrations capture the sparkling magic of the season and will inspire readers to spread the Christmas spirit everywhere they go.

The Magic Gingerbread House by Pam Franks Inspired by true events and a family tradition spanning over 30 years, this is a sweet Christmas story of five of Santa’s elves on break from the North Pole who come to live in the family’s gingerbread house. At night, the elves come out to play and leave encouraging notes for the children. Young and old alike will be inspired by this book about the power of hope and the magic of Christmas.

Santa’s Underwear by Marty Rhodes Figley What kid doesn’t giggle about underwear? And when Santa’s entire underwear collection is previewed, the Christmas chuckles can’t be contained! It’s Christmas Eve, and all Santa wants to do is find his long, red, wooly, faded and saggy undies, but they are nowhere to be found. He enlists a few mischievous elves who try to help, but they can only make jokes and giggle. When Santa opens his closet to finally put on his red suit, you won’t believe who left him a special holiday surprise!

fort bend

magazine • December 2016


By Leslie Little

Holiday Focus

By Laurie Harvey Photos by Julie Soefer.

Holiday Cocktail Recipes


his holiday season is the perfect time to perfect hosting

Fig Manhattan

an old-fashioned cocktail party. Whip up these drinks to please all of your guests.

2 oz. Black Mission Fig infused rye whiskey 1 oz. Cocchi Torino vermouth 2 Dashes orange bitters 2 Dashes Angostura bitters Combine all ingredients in a glass and stir with ice. Strain into a coup or martini glass. Garnish with a Luxardo soaked fig.

Cranberry Surprise 2 oz. Deep Eddy Cranberry Vodka 1 oz. Cranberry Cordial .5 oz. Canton Ginger 1 oz. Water for dilution Combine all ingredients in a blender with ice and blend until smooth.

Christmas Conundrum

Apple A Day 2 oz. Honeycrisp infused vodka .75 oz. Fresh lemon juice .75 oz. Simple syrup Combine all ingredients in a shaker filled with ice. Shake vigorously and strain into a coupe or martini glass. Garnish with star anise. Answers to the puzzle on page 57

TO ADVERTISE: 281.690.4242 or www.fortbend

.com • December 2016


Debuting 2017


Food, Fashion FITNESS


Weighing In: Making Cents Out of Diet DOLLAR$

Get Gorgeous Tips for Looking YOUR BEST

PROFILES: Fabulous Fifties & SASSY SIXTIES The ABC’s of Fitness


To advertise, call 281.690.4242


ZO SKIN HEALTH LEVEL 2 ANTI-AGING PROGRAM Help reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, promote a more even-looking skin tone and finer pore appearance, preserve and maintain a more youthful-looking complexion and help prevent future skin damage with this anti-aging program. Sugar Land Face & Body Plastic Surgery, 16926 Southwest Freeway in Sugar Land. Call 281-313-0555;

GIFTS OF CARE Give gifts of care this season for a sense of renewal, happiness, balance and comfort featuring Candrina – a limited edition aroma – only for the season. Salon Eben & Day Spa, 15510 Lexington Boulevard, Suite G in Sugar Land. Call 281-980-5160;

RIDE IN STYLE Get a hot new ride this holiday season from With thousands of vehicles in stock, you’re sure to find a ride that you will love! Texas Direct Auto, 12053 Southwest Freeway in Stafford. Call 281-499-8200;

TO ADVERTISE: 281.690.4242 or www.fortbend

.com • December 2016


DAZZLING DIAMONDS These cool front and back diamond earrings featuring 156 diamonds and trendy 14K pear shape diamond drop necklace with 50 diamonds are right on trend this season and pair perfectly together. Loggins Jewelers, 14015 Southwest Freeway in Sugar Land. Call 281-242-2900;

INTENSIVE ANTI-AGING MICRO•FIRM NECK & DÉCOLLETÉ Micro-Firm Neck is a targeted cream containing a concentrated blend of ingredients precisely formulated to combat visible signs of aging. Help your loved one look younger by purchasing Micro-Firm Neck for 15% off plus a free gift bag! � Sugar Land Plastic Surgery. Call 281-980-8000;

PERFECT FOR THE PILOT The Pilot Shop at Anson Aviation is loaded with great ideas for your favorite pilot! Visit Anson Aviation at Sugar Land Regional Airport. Anson Aviation. Call 281-242-2555;

DR. SHEL MD VITAMIN C SERUM This brightening and hydrating vitamin C serum delivers skin enhancing benefits of pure, stabilized L-ascorbic acid and tetrahexyldecyl ascorbate in combination with vitamins A and E, arbutin, bearberry, emblica and ubiquinone to achieve improved skin texture and tone. Dr. Shel Wellness and Medical Spa, 1437 Highway 6, Suite 100 in Sugar Land. Call 281-313-7435;

fort bend

A BEAUTIFUL HOLIDAY CENTERPIECE Enhance your holiday festivities by ordering a unique holiday arrangement today! House of Blooms is now accepting pre-orders. Space is limited. House of Blooms, 16180 City Walk in Sugar Land Town Square. Call 281-242-1555; magazine • December 2016


Fort Bend Junior Service League and Memorial Hermann Preview Night Thursday, November 3rd Stafford Centre

TO ADVERTISE: 281.690.4242 or www.fortbend

Proud Media Sponsor

.com • December 2016


fort bend

magazine • December 2016


Cloud Gate, also known as The Bean, is the centerpiece of AT&T Plaza in Chicago.

By Zeenat Kassam Mitha




Chicago’s Cultural Vibrance and the Feast of Seven Fishes


ith its diverse culture, astounding architecture and so many places to see and visit, Chicago during the holidays is a picturesque scene out of a postcard. The city is filled with cultural holiday celebrations, décor, music, people and delicious food! Chicago is known for all kinds of wonderful cuisine, one of the most popular of which is Italian. A very traditional Italian celebration is a grand meal known as the Feast of the Seven Fishes. For many Italians, Christmas Eve is traditionally a day of fasting from red meat, so a rich quantity of seafood is part of the spread of Christmas Day. The meal consists of seven different seafood dishes that can include fish, shrimp, calamari, tuna, crab, oysters and lobster. The most popular of the fishes is salt cod with tomatoes and capers known as Baccalà alla Vesuviana. This feast originated in Southern Italy, where it is known simply as The Vigil (La Vigilia). There are many hypotheses for what the number seven represents in the feast. One popular theory is that the number represents completion as shown in Genesis 2:2: “By the seventh day God completed the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day he rested from all his work.” “Food is a big part of people coming together,” said Ron Brandani of Missouri City’s Brandanis Restaurant and Wine Bar. “Everyone is in the kitchen together celebrating family, especially during the holidays.” Fort Bend has many connections with Italy and Chicago, and Brandani began his own restaurant with several recipes from his grandmother and Italian father. “Italian food is a staple in Chicago,” said Julie LaBarge TO ADVERTISE: 281.690.4242 or www.fortbend

Simmons, a Fort Bend resident from Chicago. While in Chicago, consider trying the deep-dish pizza at Lou Malnati’s. It is one of the best, and they deliver nationwide! Al’s Italian Beef Sandwiches should also be on the list. For authentic Italian food, there are fabulous eateries at different price points, including Eataly, Rosebud and Harry Caray’s Italian Steakhouse. Each meal features a distinct flavor with Italian herbs and seasoning and is tantalizing to the palate.

A deep-dish pizza from Lou Malnati’s Pizzeria.

Some of the top places to visit while in Chicago are The Art Institite, Millennium Park, Navy Pier, Wrigley Field, The John Hancock Center and the Wendella Lake and River Tour through Chicago River and Lake Michigan. Things to do are limitless in this cosmopolitan city for art lovers. The Art Institute of Chicago is a world-class museum. As an art

.com • December 2016


lover, The Institute was my go-to place. allows visitors to walk from one end to It is known for its collection of Impresthe other with beautiful views. Millensionist and Post-Impressionist paintnium Park is another visitors’ hotspot ings including Renoir’s 1879 Acrobats at that includes the Jay Pritzker Pavilthe Cirque Fernando, Georges Seurat’s ion, an outdoor concert venue; the in1884 A Sunday Afternoon on La Grand teractive Crown Fountain; Lurie GarJatte and several paintings by Chagall, den and the Cloud Gate sculpture on Picasso and Claude Monet. the AT&T Plaza also known as The “I recently moved to Chicago to be Bean, created by Indian born British closer to family,” said Sheri Hammonds, artist Anish Kapoor. Another attraca former Fort Bend resident for over 13 tion is Navy Pier, which is 50 acres years. “Chicago has so much to offer, of gardens, amusement park attracincluding the beautiful lakefront, gor- Sheri Hammonds and Zeenat Mitha visiting The Art tions, shops, restaurants and concert geous beaches, culture, endless things to Institute of Chicago. venues. Wrigley Field, home to the do, fabulous food and the Chicago Cubs!” Chicago Cubs, was built in 1914 and The Wendella boat tour navigates around the 26 mile skyis the second oldest ballpark in the majors. Chicago attracts line and invites guests into the history of groundbreaking all kinds of sports lovers, with the Chicago Bears in football, architecture. The Chicago Fire of 1871 burned for two days the Chicago White Sox and Cubs in baseball and the Chiand destroyed thousands of buildings. Thereafter, architects cago Bulls in basketball. Chicago, in every way, is a beautiful from around the world came to build the city. Chicago has a travel experience! global reputation as a focal point of 20th century architecAs the holidays approach, whether you are around the ture and art, with prominent architects such as Louis Sulbend or any part of the world, I wish each of you a safe and livan and Frank Lloyd Wright. blessed holiday season. May your celebrations be filled with The Chicago Riverwalk area, which was finished recently, love, delicious food, merriment and peace!

Salt Cod with Tomatoes and Capers (Baccalà alla Vesuviana)

Baccalà alla Vesuviana is a traditional Italian meal served as part of the Feast of the Seven Fishes.

Makes 6 appetizer or 4 main-course servings 2 2 7 1 4 1/2 1 1 1/4 1/4

Pounds center-cut skinless boneless salt cod Tablespoons salt-packed capers Tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil Medium onion, finely diced (about 1 1/2 cups) Teaspoons red pepper flakes Can whole San Marzano tomatoes in juice (28 ounce) Teaspoon kosher or coarse sea salt Cup fresh flat-leaf parsley, coarsely chopped Cup plus 1 tablespoon fresh mint, coarsely chopped fort bend

In large bowl, combine cod with water to cover by 2 inches. Cover and refrigerate, changing water 3 times a day, 1 to 3 days (see chef’s note below). Refrigerate until ready to use. In small bowl, combine capers with water to cover by 1 inch. Cover and refrigerate 1 day, changing water 3 times. Drain and rinse capers, then squeeze dry. Drain cod and pat dry, then cut into 4 by 2-inch pieces. In heavy 6 to 8-quart pot over moderate heat, heat 3 tablespoons oil until hot but not smoking. Add onion and sauté until softened and golden, 3 to 4 minutes. Add red pepper flakes, capers, tomatoes and juice, and salt. Using wooden spoon, gently crush tomatoes. Bring to simmer, then carefully add cod. Add parsley and 1/4 cup mint and gently spoon some of sauce over cod. Simmer, uncovered, until cod is tender and heated through, about 5 minutes. Using slotted spatula, transfer cod to serving platter. Remove pot from heat and stir in 3 tablespoons olive oil. Spoon sauce over fish, then sprinkle with remaining 1 tablespoon mint and 1 tablespoon olive oil. Serve warm or at room temperature. Chef’s note: Brands of cod differ in their degree of saltiness. A less salty one may need only one day of soaking, while another could require up to three. To test it, simply taste a small piece after one day. You want it to be pleasantly salty but not overwhelming. Source: magazine • December 2016



Memorial Hermann Sugar Land Hospital recently donated $5,000 to Lunches of Love. The donation helped to provide more than 6,000 lunches to children in need throughout Fort Bend County.



Representing Memorial Hermann Sugar Land Hospital and Lunches of Love were Jatoun Brown, Cathy Clark, Tracy Gallimore, Greg Haralson, Malisha Patel, Kate Willis, Jennifer Cox, Kathryn Johnson and Courtney Diepraam.

Photo by Jim Lockwood.

During Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Awareness Month in October, the Exchange Club of Sugar Land presented a check for $10,000 to the Fort Bend County Women’s Center.

Middle School students in Jessica Gunter’s Social Studies class at St. Laurence Catholic School in Sugar Land recently participated in a studentrun mock presidential debate. Students researched pressing political matters and debated constitutional matters. The non-partisan activity engaged critical thinking skills and proved these students are informed voters in the making!

Vita Goodell and Carlos Perez. Adrian Pomer, Abigail Malish, Oliver Kennedy, Lilianna Garcia, Peyton Rohrig, Sophia Haller, Veronica Offner, Taylor Tran, Kent Knowles, Jessica Gunter, Erin Fuchs, Kody Smith, Christopher Demoor and Margaret Riebe.

TO ADVERTISE: 281.690.4242 or www.fortbend

.com • December 2016


Fort Bend Young Republicans hosted an Election Night Watch Party on November 8th with music, food, fun and live election coverage. Held at Insperity Club at Constellation Field, the event was sponsored by Congressman Pete Olson, Vincent Morales for Precinct 1 Commissioner, Texas Comptroller Glenn Hegar, Senator Lois Kolkhorst, Representatives John Zerwas, Rick Miller and Phil Stephenson, Commissioner Andy Meyers and Judges Bob Hebert, David Newell, Chad Bridges and Maggie Jaramillo. Patti Parish-Kaminski and Ann Smith.

Robert and Olga Gracia.

Justin and Mary Joyce.

Chris and Regina Morales.

Maggy and Cynthia Horgan.

Pete Olson and Phil Stephenson.

Maggie Jaramillo and Monica Auffant.

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DENISE MCLARTY 713.876.0233 1650 Highway 6, Sugar Land, TX 77478

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Wishing You and Your Family a Happy Holiday Season! fort bend

magazine • December 2016



OF THE BEND The staff at Sugar Land OB/GYN Associates wished patient Lillian Randle a Happy 100th Birthday on October 27th. Celebrating were Wykima Anderson, Kesha Bryant, Nerissa Armstrong, Annika Sneathern, Linda Reed, Claudia Casa, Lillian Randle, Yeimi Izcano, Margie Morales, Nelia Moultry, Shannon Roberts, Patricia Herrera, Susan Soto, Lara Cherry, Janeth Anzaldua, Tracy Barth, Imelda Valdez, Maribel Ramirez and Catalina Perez.

Smart Financial Centre at Sugar Land illuminated the building signage for the first time, bringing the entertainment venue one step closer to its January 2017 opening. The venue’s title sponsor – Smart Financial Credit Union – hosted the ceremonial lighting event with a commemorative lighting ceremony at dusk. Venue sponsors and community members attended this milestone moment.

Tama Lindquist with Gary, Norelle, Brian and Allen Becker and Diana Brackman.

Sugar land native Barbara Nassimbwa recently returned to the United States from an overseas deployment with the largest amphibious warship in the Navy. As a hospital corpsman, Nassimbwa is responsible for collecting and analyzing specimens and reporting back the results to the provider in order to diagnose and treat patients.

Jane Silva and Dottie Gardner.

TO ADVERTISE: 281.690.4242 or www.fortbend

.com • December 2016


Gary Becker, Joe Zimmerman and Larry Seidl.

Samina Ghafoor and Umar Sayeed.

Alex Martinez and Alisa Haider.

Mohammed Ali and Habiba Dhanani.

Salma Siddiqui, Maha Rasheed Saeed Khan, Wajid Mirza, Mona Khan, Huma Nawab, Ayesha Mahmood, Aquila Chawdhary, Neelofur Ahmad and Khurram Ibrahim.

FRIENDS of Child Advocates of Fort Bend hosted Coffee, Mission & Mimosas at the Sugar Land home of Zeenat Mitha. The annual membership coffee provided an opportunity for guests to learn more about FRIENDS and enjoy a presentation on fall and holiday decorating.

Zeenat Mitha and Pat Sommers.

Linda Day and Kelly Funderburk.

Ruthanne Mefford and Carol Holton.

fort bend

magazine • December 2016

Lisa Moore and Lynn Halford.

Peggy Jackson and Sue Lockwood.


Photos by Morteza Safataj Photography and Quy Tran Photography.

Fort Bend residents supported the soldout Development in Literacy (DIL) Hollywood Nights Gala at the Omni Hotel. Renowned clothing designer Umar Sayeed showcased his spectacular designs on the runway as the highlight of the event.


Fort Bend Christian Academy hosted its annual Tackling a Cure varsity football game and Pink Out pep rally for breast cancer awareness. The cheerleaders sported pink pom poms and hair ribbons, and the football players wore pink wristbands. Pink Out shirts were sold prior to the event, with a portion of the proceeds benefiting The Rose, a non-profit breast cancer organization in the Houston area. A check for $500 was presented to The Rose and two breast cancer survivors were honored during halftime.



Cheering for breast cancer awareness were Kendall Matthews, Annie Matthews, Cory Bruns, Georgia Scott, Melinda Warren, Peyton Kotch, Sydney Hendershot, Shea Slovak, Giselle Warren, Maci Winters, Manoella Giovanaz and Maggie Carpenter.

TO ADVERTISE: 281.690.4242 or www.fortbend

.com • December 2016




F irst, there were the

Joyous, Extraordinary Women Enriching Lives

absolutely! AUTO REVIEW By Steve Kursar

2016 MAZDA CX-9 T

he all-new 2016 Mazda CX-9 is the answer for a soccer Mom – or Dad – who needs the seating and the space to get the team to practice but can’t see themselves driving a minivan. This vehicle both looks and drives smaller than it is. The small but peppy engine also makes it more fuel efficient than others in its segment. This 2016 model is only the second generation CX-9 that Mazda produced. The first generation appeared in 2006, and because Mazda was partially owned by Ford Motor Company at the time, the original CX-9 ended up sharing a platform with its Ford cousins, the Edge and Fusion. In 2008, Ford started to shed most of its interest in Mazda, and now, the Japanese company develops its own vehicles. The new CX-9 is built on a Mazda developed platform that is both longer and lighter. With a base MSRP of $31,520, the Mazda CX-9 is only offered with one engine, the SKYACTIV-G 227 hp, 2.5 liter turbocharged four cylinder powerplant that is mated to a six-speed automatic transmission. This engine is smaller than ones in competitive vehicles, which translates into some of the better fuel economy in its segment. EPA fuel economy estimates are 22 mpg in the city and 28 mpg on the highway.

TO ADVERTISE: 281.690.4242 or www.fortbend

The CX-9’s exterior is sleek and stylish with the large Mazda grill, giving it a distinctive look. The interior is remarkably roomier than it looks from the outside and is designed to envelop the passengers so the dashboard wraps around to the rear seats. There is a third row, but it’s really only fit for small children. The fit and finish is spectacular, and the upscale Signature trim puts the CX-9 into the near-luxury category with Nappa leather and rosewood trim. There is an optional heads-up display that projects speed and navigation direction directly onto the windshield, allowing the driver no need to look away from the road. New Mazda vehicles are definitely looking to attract buyers who want to drive a refined and stylish vehicle but aren’t willing to spend the premium to move up to a luxury brand, and the all-new CX-9 is an example of just that direction Mazda is taking. If you’re looking for a family hauler that will get you noticed in the carpool lane, then this one must be on your new car shopping list. Follow Steve Kursar at

.com • December 2016




N ext, came the

Generous, Enthusiastic Men Serving




















December 2016 Winner “Belém Tower in Lisbon, Portugual” By Felicia Smith Congratulations Felicia, you’ve earned a $50 gift certificate to a restaurant! ENTER TO WIN Fort Bend Focus Magazine is looking for great amateur photos. Any subject matter will be considered, black and white or color, special effects and/or edited are not necessary. The entry must not have previously appeared in any publication. A WINNER EVERY MONTH Each month’s winner receives a $50 gift certificate to a restaurant and the winning photo will be published in our magazine. To claim your prize, e-mail Alexa at alexa@absolutelyfocusmedia. com or call 281-690-4242.

Please make sure to send some basic information about every photo you submit such as: who, where, when, a title, your name and daytime phone number. By submitting an entry, the photographer gives Fort Bend Focus Magazine the right to use and publish their photograph. There is no contest deadline.

NO LIMIT TO ENTRIES To submit a digital photo, e-mail the jpeg file to Grace@ Digital photos must be 300 dpi HIGH RESOLUTION at size of at least 10” wide.

TO ADVERTISE: 281.690.4242 or www.fortbend

.com • December 2016




Coming October 2017


Sugar Land Holiday Lights 2015.

All Month Sugar Land Holiday Lights The third annual Sugar Land Holiday Lights returns to Constellation Field through January 8th! The nightly showcase of lights will feature over 100 walkthrough displays and 2.5 million lights throughout the park. This year will also feature Texas’ largest inflatable snow globe and Santa Claus each night through December 23rd. Sugar Land Holiday Lights features affordable fun for the whole family this holiday season! Call 281-240-4487 or visit

December 3rd, 7:30 am Snowfest Shuffle Fun Run and Parade

December 3rd, 2 pm Zumba for Kids

Runners of all ages are invited to participate in this year’s event! Bring an unwrapped toy for the Missouri City Police Department Blue Santa Toy Drive. Check-in begins at 7:30 am at the Missouri City Recreation and Tennis Center located at 2701 Cypress Point Drive. Visit or call 281-403-8637.

The Sugar Land Branch Library will present an introductory demonstration in the meeting room of the library located at 550 Eldridge in Sugar Land. Children attending the program will learn basic Zumba movements and how to stay physically fit with regular exercise. Call 281-238-2140.

December 3rd, 11 am – 4 pm Sienna Frost Fest Come out to Sienna Village of Sawmill Lake located at 9815 Cameron Way in Missouri City. This annual event brings in 50,000 pounds of snow! Take a ride on a sled, have a snowball fight and make snow angels. The Fort Bend County Animal Shelter will have adoptable pets. Visit

December 3rd, 2 and 7 pm The Houston Tidelanders’ Christmas Show

December 2nd, 5:30 – 9 pm Snowfest Festival Get in the holiday spirit with Missouri City’s 33rd Annual Snowfest at the City Hall Complex located at 1522 Texas Parkway. This celebrated tradition will kick off with pre-festival entertainment and will follow the tree lighting ceremony and fireworks! The Missouri City Police Department will collect unwrapped toys for the Blue Santa Toy Drive. Visit or call 281-403-8637.

December 3rd, 1 – 3 pm Learn How to Recycle Old Books Learn how to recycle old books and turn them into holiday décor at the Sienna Branch Library located at 8411 Sienna Springs Boulevard in Missouri City. Call 281-238-2900.

ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECH Water Treatment Specialists

Every Saturday, 9:00 am to 1:00 pm, rain or shine 198 Kempner St. at Imperial Sugar Land

.com • December 2016

December 4th, 2 pm Deck the Halls with the Fort Bend Symphony Orchestra Joyfully usher in the magical season with the most popular concert of the year at the Stafford Centre located at 1050 Cash Road. The concert will feature the City of Stafford Mayor Leonard Scarcella as the narrator and the Fort Bend Symphony Orchestra Chorus. Visit

Presented By:

TO ADVERTISE: 281.690.4242 or www.fortbend

The Houston Tidelanders, a male acappella, four-part barbershop harmony chorus, will present its Christmas Shows at Sugar Land Baptist Church, 16755 Southwest Freeway in Sugar Land. Come and enjoy the sounds of the holiday with songs sung in the close harmony style. Tickets are $20 and $35. Parking is free. For tickets, call 713-223-8433 or visit


December 8th, 5 – 7 pm Senior Holiday Party Enjoy a delicious meal, a musical performance and raffle prizes at the Community Center Auditorium located at 1522 Texas Parkway in Missouri City. For tickets, call 281-403-8637.

EVENTS December 15th, 11:30 am – 1 pm Sounds of the Season

December 8th, 7 pm Holiday Origami Demonstration


Join the Fort Bend Chamber of Commerce for a holiday luncheon at Sweetwater Country Club, located at 4400 Palm Royale Boulevard in Sugar Land, featuring guest speaker Libby Spears. To register, call 281-491-0800 or visit

Library staff member Jessica Williams will demonstrate how to make ornaments using paper! This will take place at the University Branch Library located at 14010 University Boulevard in Sugar Land. For more information, call 281-633-5100.

CALENDAR OF EVENTS Call 281.313.SLTS 14th Annual Christmas Tree Lighting Event Thursday, December 1st 5 – 8 pm

Holidays in the Plaza Friday, December 2nd 6:30 – 8:30 pm

Holidays in the Plaza December 10th, 9 am – Noon Fort Bend Boys Choir Open Auditions

Saturday, December 3rd 6:30 – 8:30 pm

Young boys need to sing and put a “voice” to that great musical talent! Boys ages eight and older with unchanged voices are invited to audition. Previous singing experience is not necessary. Open auditions will be held at the First United Methodist Church Missouri City located at 3900 Lexington Boulevard. Special appointments can be made if a boy is not available for the open audition date. Call 281-240-3800 to schedule an audition.

Photos with Santa

Sunday, December 4th 1 – 5 pm

December 17th, 10 – 11 am Intro to Robot Programming

Holidays in the Plaza

The Mamie George Branch Library, located at 320 Dulles Avenue in Stafford, will host a demonstration on how to use programming tools such as Scratch or Blockly to program a robot. While some robots require more advanced skills, others are simple enough for a young child to program. Guests will learn how to use tangible programming, which places physical objects, such as blocks, to represent programming elements. Call 281-238-2880.

Friday, December 9th 6 – 8 pm

Holiday Dance Showcase Saturday, December 10th 11 – 4 pm

Movie Under the Moon Saturday, December 10th 7 – 9 pm

Fort Bend Kia 30K

Sunday, December 11th 6:30 – 11 am

Photos with Santa

Past Tour Choirboy Nathan Smith.

Sunday, December 11th 1 – 5 pm

December 12th, 6:30 – 8:30 pm Adult Coloring Hour

Holidays in the Plaza Friday, December 16th 6 – 8 pm

The Sugar Land Branch Library, located at 550 Eldridge in Sugar Land, will host an adult coloring hour as a way to relax and relieve some stress. Call 281-238-2140.

Holidays in the Plaza Saturday, December 17th 6 – 8 pm

Photos with Santa

SUBMIT YOUR EVENTS E-mail Include the event date, time, location and a short description of the event.

fort bend

magazine • December 2016


Sunday, December 18th 1 – 5 pm

Giant Menorah Lighting Celebration Monday, December 26th 5:30 – 8 pm

By Alisa Murray Nationally recognized portrait artist and awardwinning columnist.

Living the Sweet Life:

Walking into the New Year, Wakeful and Enlightened


ooking for a really cool way to end this year and start out on the right foot so to speak? Have you ever heard of taking a “Muir Trek?” Apparently it’s a thing. I ran across it during my usual digestion of literature and discovered that the concept was created by an American non-profit organization called the Institute for Earth Education and meant to get everyone more in tune with nature. You can find out where they offer these and turn it into a family vacation, which might be cool if you have a while to trek around and be “one” with nature. Those that I found are available for as little as a day and as long as a month! There’s no better place to get your mind off and down to what’s real than by walking in the mountains of North Carolina amongst the Blue Ridge Parkway. It’s quiet and beautiful there, and I am instantly brought back to my Grandfather Big Daddy and our nature walks I took each summer as a child. These days when I find myself there, I cannot help but photograph everything I see almost like I am a little itsy bitsy spider! The purpose of the “trek” is to have no place to be, let the day unfold and try to soak in all of the sights and sounds of nature. My camera and I are transported, and I can literally stay there for hours searching for the next big discovery. Time is supposed to not be kept. You rise when you rise, eat when you are hungry, take a nap when you are tired, and all of this is done outdoors. It sounds relaxing – provided there has been some planning prior to this journey like a picnic lunch including all of the amenities for a pleasant gathering. You know, wine and cheese and blankets and ice. It reminds me of my treehouse I had as a child, where left to my own devices, I would gather books, dolls, art supplies and food and spend the entire day alone and outside. Well, until Elizabeth or Walter David found me. This “Muir Trek” appears to involve lots of walking around and not really knowing where you are going, because the “knowing where you are going” is what they are trying to get you to stop wondering or worrying about depending on your nature. It sounds like an opportunity for my mind to dream up another business to create or a book to write, hence the camera gripped firmly in my hands – which by the way is against the rules! Alas, the concept is quite intriguing. I think a modified, well-planned version would work better for an old soul like mine.

TO ADVERTISE: 281.690.4242 or www.fortbend

John Muir said, “Between every two pine trees, there is a door leading to a new way of life.” Perhaps with a good bottle of wine and an Uber designated to safely move me from said point in the forest back to my home, I would confirm my suspicions that time is really non-existent, and the flow of life is one great continuum! I think I’ll try it . . . You never know what might happen. I might even try it – though almost surely regrettably – without my camera companion. You probably should too. I think it would do both of us some good to begin fresh for the new year! Take Care of YOU!

North Carolinian woods.

.com • December 2016


FINDING UNCOMMON SOLUTIONS FOR ONE OF THE MOST COMMON CANCERS. At Houston Methodist Sugar Land, we take an aggressive approach to fighting breast cancer. From accelerating highpotential research to creating unique treatments based on a tumor’s genetics, we offer more innovative options to fight breast cancer at every stage. Our breast cancer specialists are here to help with • Mammography, using the most advanced imaging technology • Specialized programs for high-risk patients and aggressive forms of breast cancer • Surgery and the latest options for breast reconstruction • Support services including patient navigators and spiritual care • Clinical trials and innovative research focused on prevention and survivorship To schedule your mammogram, call 281.242.PINK(7465). Visit to learn more about our breast cancer services, or call our breast care navigator at 281.276.8989.

16655 Southwest Frwy.


Sugar Land, TX 77479

December 2016 - Fort Bend Focus Magazine - People • Places • Happenings  

Fort Bend Focus Magazine is an award-winning publication that features People, Places and Happenings around Fort Bend and Katy areas.  Direc...