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Photo Credit: Patricia Hudson























Intown magazine is published bi-monthly by SNS Media. Articles are welcome and will be given careful consideration for possible publication. Intown magazine does not assume any responsibility for unsolicited materials. Materials submitted will be returned if accompanied by a stamped, self-addressed envelope to Box 980757 Houston, TX 77098. You can also e-mail Copyright 2018 by Intown magazine. All rights reserved. Content may not be reprinted or reproduced without permission from Intown magazine.



For many Houstonians, 2017 will be the year that the Houston Astros finally brought the first World Series title to our great state of Texas. It feels so good to lord this fete over Dallas. For many others, it will be a year not quickly forgotten due to the ravages of Mother Nature's Hurricane Harvey. Houston’s spirit shines more brightly than ever before. Not surprising to many of us was the benevolence displayed by the ubiquitous Gallery Furniture owner Jim McIngvale, “Mattress Mac.” His thoughtfulness, kindness, and unwavering dedication in helping those in need during Hurricane Harvey far exceeded even his ordinary generosities. His culmination of good deeds and accomplishments many times over through the years deserves recognition. Thus, we have bestowed Intown's 2017 Person of The Year honor rightfully to Jim McIngvale, "Mattress Mac." Known for his unique advertising and generous involvement in Houston’s rodeo, among other charities, he has built up tremendous goodwill. So, while it may be a culmination of his generosity that earned this distinction, let’s not forget what kind of leadership he showed during Harvey’s worst days. His quicktimed welcoming of victims in his stores to shelter and sleep in his showrooms showed unbridled compassion that far exceeds most of our expectations of what is good and right. Although low oil prices were a drag on Houston’s economy, it still managed healthy growth with new jobs in alternative energy such as wind and in solar. As of this writing, there were 59 solar energy jobs posted on Indeed’s website. Manufacturing, health services, education, and business services showed the most growth. Workers at all companies in most industries continue to experience a paradigm shift in how things get done in the infancy of digital age. Seems strange. Kinda like 2017.

Mariana Saldana Broker, CIPS Uptown Real Estate Group, Inc. (713) 629-7771

Val Arbona REALTOR, CLHMS, CRS RE/MAX Vintage (713) 562-4903

Paula Hagerman ABR, Realtor, GHLHC RE/MAX Vintage (713) 306-3557

James Brodnax CLHMS, ABR, GRI, CPA Realty ONE Group (713) 822-3423

Sima Dalvandi Realtor Keller Williams Southwest (832) 630-7605

Wendy Cline CLHMS, SRES, ABR, CPRES Wendy Cline Properties Keller Williams Memorial (281) 858-3451

Members and affiliates of the Institute for Luxury Home Marketing


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Beverly Smith CLHMS, Lake Conroe Specialist Coldwell Banker United, Realtors (713) 569-2113

Bree Knodel Business Development Officer Stewart Title - Kirby (281) 201-7261

Dionelle (Don) Davis Designated Broker Don Davis Luxe Realty (936) 494-5500

Weldon Rigby CRS, ABR Founding Member KW Luxury Keller Williams Realty Metropolitan (713) 621-2555

370 Promenade | Bentwater

143 August Lakes | Old Towne Katy

List Price $619,000 | MLS# 80869744

List Price $1,699,000 | MLS# 44243014

Exceptional Mediterranean Style custom home located in a private enclave in the Estates of Bentwater. A huge foyer will lead your guests to sophisticated living & dining areas. Updated kitchen is a chef ’s delight for preparing & serving meals. e outside living space says “Fun In e Sun” with a large covered deck area with heated pool/spa, screened in porch with outside kitchen. e lush landscaping in front and back makes a statement of resort living at it finest.

Hill country flair united with magnificent August Lakes. Built by SSH Custom Homes, this sprawling jewel has banks of windows providing serene vistas of the spectacular pool, patio and lake. Every room has a view of the alluring outdoors. Limestone floors, soaring stone-clad fireplace, gourmet kitchen w/benedittine cabinetry, massive quartz island & Caesarstone countertops, game room features a wet bar and wine cellar. Viewfilled master with fireplace has access to pool and patio.

Beverly Smith | Coldwell Banker United Realtors | Phone: 713-569-2113

Dionelle (Don)Davis | Don Davis Luxe Realty Group | Phone: 936-494-5500

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intown 6

Real Estate Professionals Serving the Greater Houston Luxury Home Community

2147 University Blvd. | Southgate $4,388,000 | MLS# 46411800 Right across from Rice University and fronting 130 feet along of Houston's legendary and familiar oak arched strip, sits this rare and exquisite so European-styled estate on a 16,133 S.F. LOT! (130’ x 124’) Spacious Yard and AMAZING POOL. 5-6 Bedrooms, flanked with elegantly styled bathrooms, balconies and BRILLIANT VIEWS. A massive island kitchen with honed granite and Wolf appliances; formal living/dining adjoined by a 1000 bottle wine room. Attention to detail. e Med-Center is a blink away!

David Michael Young | John Daugherty, Realtors | Phone: 713-320-6453

David Michael Young BROKER, CNE, CLHMS, GREEN John Daugherty, Realtors (713) 320-6453

Morad Fiki, MBA BROKER, CLHMS, TRLP, SMP Keller Williams Memorial (832) 610-4290 14331 Belle River Lane | Lakes of Parkway List Price $1,875,000 | MLS# 37968154 Exceptional Kickerillo custom home on prime lake front lot in guard-gated Lakes of Parkway. Resort like backyard with pool, spa, outdoor kitchen, expansive covered terrace, and many palm trees. 19x27 Living Room with 2-story ceiling, huge picture windows to backyard & lake, open to kitchen, breakfast, and foyer. Master has 2-story ceiling, 2 huge walk-ins with custom build outs, study and bonus room attached. Two bedrooms down, 4 bedrooms up + game room and fully finished out media room.

David Michael Young | John Daugherty, Realtors | Phone: 713-320-6453

Ken Jacobson CMPS NMLS# 215044 Vice President/Sr. Mortgage Planner Hometrust Mortgage Company (713) 369-4040 NMLS# 149932

Marilyn Arendt Broker - Owner Marilyn Arendt Properties (281) 433-9113

2904 Suffolk Drive | Highland Village List Price $1,949,500 | MLS# 84049354 HIGH and DRY! Home DID NOT FLOOD!! Absolutely GORGEOUS contemporary modern home with unique architecture make this home '”one-of-a-kind!” 3 stories with nice stone and stucco exterior. Kitchen Aid Stainless Steel Appliance package that includes a French double door refrigerator, double oven, built in microwave, dishwasher, 36 gas cooktop, wine cooler, Ice maker. Coyote 36 stainless steel BBQ grill and a separate two burner unit with a stainless steel sink at the rear 2nd floor balcony

Morad Fiki | Keller Williams Memorial | Phone: 832-610-4290

Members and affiliates of the Institute for Luxury Home Marketing


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23-25 European Tour Preview Concert: Hilary Hahn Celebrates Bernstein






BEER AND BRASS Jan. 4, 2018 - St Arnold Brewing PETER AND THE WOLF Jan. 14, 2018 - Houston Zoo

BEST OF ENEMIES Opens Jan. 12 through Feb.4, 2018 ALLEY THEATER THE GREAT SOCIETY Opens Jan. 26 through Feb. 18, 2018

LEGENDARY LOVE Feb. 10, 2018 - St. John The Divine


ROCO BRASS QUINTET Feb. 18, 2018 - Midtown Arts & Theatre Center

FETCH CLAY, MAKE MAN Opens Jan. 25 through Feb. 25, 2018 JONES HALL

Pear, Iran, 19th century, steel, inlaid with gold, Bestowing Beauty: Masterpieces from Persian Lands, MFAH

KINKY BOOTS Open Jan. 19 through Jan. 21, 2018 HOBBY CENTER BROADWAY AT THE HOBBY CENTER THE COLOR PURPLE Opens Jan. 9 through Jan. 14, 2018

SCHOOL OF ROCK Opens Jan. 30 through Feb. 4, 2018 THEATRE UNDER THE STARS MEMPHIS Opens Feb. 20 through Mar. 4, 2018 STAGES REPERTORY THEATRE SISTER STRIKES AGAIN: LATE NITE CATECHISM 2 Opens Jan. 2 through Jan. 14, 2018


ALMA EN VENTA (SOUL ON SALE) Opens Jan. 24 through Feb.11, 2018



SIN MUROS: A LATINA/ O THEATRE FESTIVAL Opens Feb.1 through Feb. 4, 2018





ANN Opens Feb 14 through Apr. 8, 2018


WORTHAM CENTER (alternate venues) THE NUTCRACKER Ongoing through Jan. 6 - Hobby Ctr








RYDE FOR A REASON The Third Annual RYDE for a Reason fundraising campaign netted just over $40,550 for the 2017 beneficiary, The Houston and Southeast Texas Chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association. Spearheaded by RYDE indoor cycling cofounders Andrew Pappas and Ashley Gooch and co-owner Lisi Garcia, this year’s festivities were held in honor of the late Brooke Elaine Burger Gibbs, who was a passionate fundraiser for the Alzheimer’s Association prior to her untimely passing. RYDE for a Reason kicked off with a cocktail party, drawing more than 250 stylish guests at The Dunlavy. With Austin’s acclaimed Nightowls band inside, a DJ spinning on the patio and signature cocktails the silent auction bids quickly spiked for items ranging from a 10-carat custom diamond and amethyst ring designed by Marla’s Gem Creations and two courtside Rockets seats to group dinners at Ibiza and a’Bouzy. After a day of recuperation, a number of party-goers along with another contingent of supporters hit the bikes at RYDE–River Oaks for an all-day team cycling drive, further adding to the coffer. Photo Credits: Obi Grant

Top: Ashley Gangnuss, Amanda Grove, Brian McCollum, Andrew Pappas, Olivia Swartz, Jenny Price Bottom: Lisi Garcia, Ashley Gooch, Nikki Murphy, Jessica Feist

Amy De Ven, Amanda Grove, Shannon Cacho-Negrete Caroline Aycock , Quinita LaPorte Christie Weiss, Lauren Ware Ashley Gangnuss, Nikki Murphy

Isabelle Swartz, Brian McCollum

RYDE partners Ashley Gooch, Andrew Pappas, Lisi Garcia

Kate Robart, Chris Robart, Jennifer Price Shannon Cacho-Negrete, Derek de Ven, Amy de Ven

Hanna Bautista, Amy de Ven, Ashley Gangnuss, Shannon Cacho-Negrete, Melissa Ballantyne, Madeline Wilson

Lane Urbanczyk, Kat Kennedy

Ashley Gooch, Jessica Raab, Kate Robart, Jenny Price

For Houston Restaurants


by Marene Gustin

it was a very bad (and good) year Levi Goode


etween rising rents inside the Loop and the flooding and loss of income from Hurricane Harvey, Houston lost quite a few restaurants in 2017. But the hurricane also showed what kind of spirit the Houston food industry has as many restaurants opened their doors to feed first responders and evacuees for free while others took their meals on the road serving hot food at shelters and outdoor staging sites for first responders and later debris and recovery teams. We’re talking tens of thousands of meals served for free.

There were also fundraisers for kitchen and front of house staff who 12

Sam Governale photo by Julie Soefer

chef Dimitri Voutsianas. Hurricane Harvey delayed the December opening at the former Teala’s spot, but the eleventh-hour entrance lets Emmaline rank as one of the best new restaurants of 2017.

Pop in for lunch, dinner, afternoon tea or weekend brunch and you won’t be disappointed. Pizzas, pastas, salads and sandwiches — made mostly with fresh, local ingredients — co-exist with hearty entrées like a delicious lemony roasted chicken or an omelette stuffed with pancetta, goat cheese, asparagus and wild mushrooms that comes with a side the chef’s special fries.

lost homes, cars and wages for days, weeks and sometimes even months, like the Southern Smoke Foundation that raised $501,000 for 139 industry workers. But as the year wound down, many restaurants returned to normal, or a new normal, and Houston even welcomed a few new favorites post-Harvey.


From restaurateur Sam Governale, comes this charming Montrose neighborhood eatery that boasts picture perfect patios, a wonderful terrace and divine Europeaninspired American fare by

Beer and wine are served along with classic cocktails and the dessert menu is decadent but one standout is the toasted coconut so-called Backyard Wedding Cake.


Also a December baby, Nancy’s Hustle has a name that gives a nod to a diner in Mad Max, but a menu that mixes European and American flavors. It’s as eclectic as the décor here where a polished concrete floor vies with bar made from a bowling lane.

It’s dinner only at this EaDo spot but that’s okay as you’ll need some sleep

after eating here. Start with the housemade bread and butter with radishes and flake salt. The lamb tartare with green olives is the next logical choice or maybe the lipsmacking chicken liver mousse. There’s a burger on a brioche English muffin that is a standout as well as a roasted snapper and a succulent leg of rabbit confit and bacon-wrapped rabbit loin. Don’t forget the full bar and the sweet items like the sweet and slightly savory Parmesan cheesecake drenched in black pepper honey.

die for and Victor dishes up a sinful chocolate cake and delicate profiteroles topped with housemade vanilla ice cream and chocolate sauce.

Emmaline’s Marscarpone Pancakes (above) and Agnolotti (below) photos by Julie Soefer


In late November chef Manuel Pucha, formerly of La Table, opened his own French bistro in the Heights. Maison Pucha Bistro also includes Pucha’s brothers: Victor, a pastry chef, and Christina, a sommelier. Open for lunch, dinner and weekend brunch, the menu features such French classics as salad Niçoise with

Do start your meal with the bouillabaisse with broth poured tableside or the Akaushi beef tartare. There are already a few nods to the brothers homeland of Ecuador, such as the chocolate and strong coffee but expect more to come as the restaurant develops. But already it is a fine addition to the Heights blooming dining scene.


Texas Gulf Coast yellowfin tuna, steak frites featuring Wagyu hanger steak and a true coq au vin. Brunch offers salads, soups and quiches to

Houston’s iconic Goode Co. opened its first new concept last year, Kitchen & Cantina, in The Woodlands, and, just three months later in December, a second location opened in Memorial City. The décor is a little more vibrant than the other


Texas quail served up with charra beans as well as catches l i k e Redfish on the half shell and grilled red snapper. The tequila flows freely here but the spot is also kid friendly, with a special menu for the little ones a n d some desserts including Blue Bell ice cream and the company’s famous Brazos Bottom pecan pie. Maison Pucha Bistro Bouillabaisse

concepts in town. Here the brick walls are white washed, the tables are of 100-year-old reclaimed wood and there are comfy leather chairs and twinkling Mexican light fixtures.

The food is also sort of a combination of the other restaurants in the company: Tex-Mex and fresh Gulf seafood. Expect delicious made-to-order guacamole, nachos and platters of mesquite-grilled fajitas. And there are also grilled



And now for something completely different, Goodnight Charlie’s, opened in late December, brings back boot scootin’ to the InnerLoop. No, it’s not Blanco’s, nothing ever could be, but this new Montrose area honky tonk has live music, dancing,

strong drinks and Texas beers as well as some excellent tacos and TexMex.

The name is a nod to legendary Panhandle cattle rancher Charles Goodnight and sits in a newly built barn-like structure right behind the Buffalo Exchange off Westheimer Road. Two-step your way on over here and enjoy a shot of Whiskey and an elote, the traditional Mexican street corn on a cob dressed with crema, cotija, Old Bay seasoning and lime. There are nachos and chicken fried s t e a k w i t h q u e s o p l u s t h e aforementioned tacos: spicy fried chicken, pork, grilled Gulf Coast fish and a chicken mole taco to tweak your taste buds.

There’s also a five leches funnel cake for your sweet tooth and the late night menu includes breakfast tacos to fuel your dancing fun and soak up some of the bar drinks. twitter: @marenegustin

Board President Liz Vittor, Honoree Linda Brown, Executive Director Rick Byrd

65th ANNUAL THETA DESIGN WEEKEND KICKOFF George Brown Convention Center was filled with Houston design lovers, generous underwriters, exhibitors, speakers, friends, and more at the annual Preview Party that launched the revamped 65th annual Theta Design Weekend. Houston’s premiere party band, Commercial Art, greeted guests as they perused over 80 exhibitors showing off their wares across the show floor space. Exhibitors traveled from around the globe to showcase a broad range of offerings, including projects in the realms of art, architecture, landscaping, decor, lighting, and textiles.

Photo Credits: Bonner Rhoden

Since inception, the event has raised millions of dollars for charitable organizations that support educational endeavors, medical research, community assistance, and cultural arts. Theta Design Weekend will Rebecca Brown, continue its core mission Jordan Amis, Brian Amis of raising funds for deserving Texas charities by donating all ticket sale proceeds from the 3-day shopping extravaganza. Charity and John Todd

Pat and Kylie Cooney

Alexandra and Michael Golemi Peggy Kruckemeyer, Meredith Cocke

Mark and Pam Carmain Kellie and Randy Johnson William Hagans, Deandrea Dillard

Amber Bretches, Jen Morrill

Andrea Bishop

Honorees Bob and Linda Brown, Board President Liz Vittor, Chairs Charity and John Todd, Amber and Clay Bretches






[the Game]



by Philip Berquist, Honorary Consul of Croatia to Texas

hese days, there is a lot of debate as to which of the major sports can truly claim to be the “National Pastime.” For me it has always been baseball. Since the baseball season has recently been a hot topic here in Houston, I have gone down my personal memory lane of some unique baseball games that I have attended that gave me incredible highs, and bottomless lows. Let me state one rule for the following narratives - these are games that I saw in person.

Growing up in Grand Rapids, Michigan in the fifties, one was a Detroit Tiger fan, and I was. My love affair with the Chicago Cubs and Wrigley Field, (INTOWN MAGAZINE July 2017) would come later. I loved the American League Tigers, hated the Yankees, Red Sox, White Sox, Senators, Indians, Twins........ In 1962, I decided that I really needed to follow a National League team. A new expansion team was put together in Houston, Texas, a place that I had never been. I certainly had no idea that eight years later I would move there for the rest of my life. The fact that the Colt 45’s were going to build the first inside baseball stadium was all it took to make me a Houston fan.


With a long drive of 3 hours to get to the corner of Michigan and Trumble, site of Tiger Stadium, my parents and I took regular advantage of the then-fashionable Sunday doubleheader’s, two games for the price of one. There would be several each year and we made the trek at least once a year, often taking in the Saturday game the day before. One time I was the first person at the ballpark, eventually a sell out of nearly 54,000, and there I was alone, smelling the stale Stroh’s beer from the night before and gazing at the beautiful green field with a big smile on my face.

I vividly recall seeing a 1964 Yankees doubleheader with Mantle, Maris, Skowron, Ford, Berra, Blanchard, Howard, Richardson, Tresh, Boyer - I was in heaven. Also the Red Sox with Yastrzemski, Hawk Harrellson, Lonborg, Petrocelli. Like I said, I hated ‘em but I sure loved seeing em!

Nolan Ryan after a No-Hitter

Tigers. But 1967 was also a very dark time in the country for race relations.

On Sunday, July 23, my parents, my girlfriend and I were in Detroit to see a double header against the Yankees. A good crowd, nearly 35,000, saw the Yankees win the opener, 4-2, with Mel Stottlemeyer outpitching Mickey Lolich. In the second game, the Tigers won, 74. Any actual memories of the plays that day have been forgotten due to what was happening that day in Detroit. I recall the PA announcer saying quite often, “Do not take Grand River Avenue west when leaving Tiger Stadium.” Over and over this message was repeated - never with a reason given. Well, to drive home from Tiger Stadium you got on Grand River Avenue and drove - WEST! Detroit Free Press reporting on the riots Once in our car we realized what the message was about - it was the first day of the Detroit Race Riots, one of over 150 riots that summer across the US. As we crept along Grand River at a snail’s pace, we would naturally stop for red lights. When we did so the looters would take their stolen bounty and cross Grand River Avenue in front of us. When we got a green light, they crossed parallel with us. Where we were there were no police or firefighters to be seen. It was a long snake of traffic, fire alarms, flames, smoke, and chaos. There were also snipers.


1967 was an unusual year - the American League season would go down to the last day with four teams in contention for the pennant - Red Sox, White Sox, Twins and 18

Detroit during the riots

I was driving and our Chevy was being rocked by the mob at stop lights. Whiskey bottles were being thrown on our hood. Buildings were on fire. I will never forget seeing a miles-long convoy of National Guard vehicles, some flatbed trucks with tanks on them (they would soon be patrolling the streets)! Over 1,000 injured, 7,000 arrests and 43 dead. Those were my last baseball

Gates Brown baseball card

games of the 1967 season.

I only saw two games in 1968 - a World Series championship year. It was another double header, this time against the Red Sox, the defending American League champs. In the first game, the Red Sox hit two homers and led 4-0 and the Tigers had not even come to bat. The Tigers battled back to a 4 - 4, then, in the bottom of the 14th inning Tiger pinch hitter, Gates Brown, a pardoned felon who the Tigers recruited from prison hit a two-out home run to right field for a walk off homer and a 5-4 win. The old stadium literally shook.

was brought down in 2009 and a lonely diamond and home plate only remain at Michigan and Trumbull. Now it was time (1970) to move to Houston and follow my other team, the Houston Astros.

Among the best games that I saw in the Astrodome were the no-hitters by Nolan Ryan in 1981 and by Mike Scott in 1986. Also the playoff game that the Astros lost to the Mets in 1986, a 16 inning game that went on for nearly 6 hours. For Minute Maid, the first game that stands

out was the 18 inning playoff game victory against the Braves in 2005. There were two grand slam home runs, one for each team, the one by Lance Berkman in the bottom of the eighth brought the Astros to trail only by a 6-5 margin. In the bottom of the ninth, with two outs and two strikes, Brad Ausmus hit a homer to left center that barely cleared the yellow line to send the game to extra innings. The game would go until the bottom of the 18th knotted at 6 apiece, and included several innings of clutch relief by Roger Clemens, when sub Chris Burke hit a line

The second game also did not disappoint. The Red Sox finally broke a scoreless game with two runs in the seventh. The Tigers tied it with two in the bottom of the eighth. That set up a monumental ninth inning. The Red Sox scored three to lead 5-2. In the bottom of the ninth, the Tigers got a walk and consecutive singles by Bill Freehan, Dick McAullife, Mickey Stanley making the score 5-4. Future Hall of Famer Al Kaline came to the plate and blooped a single to right and McAullife scored - 5-5. Future All Star Sparky Lyle came in to pitch for the Red Sox, and guess who was at the plate? Gates Brown, whose single to right field plated Stanley and the final was 6-5. Those were my only games in 1968, a year in which the Tigers beat the Cardinals 4 games to 3 in the World Series.


I loved that stadium. I even marched on the field with my Ferris State University marching band as a freshman in 1966 when the Lions played the 49er’s. The old lady

Brown being celebrated by teammates after the 14th inning homer


drive into the Crawford boxes and win the game, eliminated the Braves from the playoffs.

I also was fortunate to see Craig Biggio’s final hit, his 3,060th, which would bring him eventually into the Hall of Fame.


In 1980, my buddies Billy Gaffey and Mike Herrmann and I had season tickets and we promised ourselves a road trip. As the season wore on we decided that we would take our trip to Los Angeles for the last three games of the season IF the divisionleading Astros had not clinched first place. As luck, fate, or whatever would have it the ‘Stros’ had a 3 game lead over the hated Dodgers with three games to play. Our trip was on.

On Friday, October 3rd, Joe Ferguson hit a homerun in the bottom of the tenth to lead the Dodgers to a 3-2 win. Two game lead, two games remain. On Saturday, the Astors lost another one run game, 2-1. One game lead, one game to go. After the Saturday game the announcement was made that tickets for a possible playoff game for Monday were on sale. We ran to the box office. It was a good thing since the Dodgers also won the Sunday game by one run, 4-3. Tied after the regular season. You cannot make this stuff up! On Monday, order was restored to the universe as we saw Joe Niekro win his 20th game of the season as the Astros won by a score of 7-1. I vowed never to again sit in Dodger Stadium - way too much pressure!


Back to the recently concluded World Series. I have been blessed to witness in person three World Series games, the Detroit Tigers in 2006 and 2012 at their new home, Comerica Park, and the Astros at Minute Maid in 2005. Each game was a loss. I was fortunate to get a great seat for game 6 against the Yankees in the ALCS and saw Verlander and the Astros prevail, 7-1. I was offered comp seats for the final two games in Dodger Stadium but remembering the vow made 37 years earlier I declined and opted for the tube. I could not be prouder of our 2017 Houston Astros. Can’t wait for 2018!

Is there really a debate about which sport is the National Pastime. I don’t think so and I think a lot of Astros fans would agree. 20

Small Steps co-chairs Merritt Marinelli and Jennifer Laporte welcomed keynote speaker Wanda Durant at their annual Nurture & Nourish Luncheon held at River Oaks Country Club. Merritt’s mother Linda McReynolds also provided critical support as did Houston Texans’ Whitney Mercilus and Chester Pitts who is retired.

SMALL STEPS Jennifer Laporte, Elise Joseph

Aimee Snoots, Robin Davis

Chris and Christine Transier

Photo Credits: Michelle Watson

Sushma Yalamanchili, Julie Boone, Jane Cabes

Ana Schick, Chester Pitts

Durant is the mother of two sons, businessman Anthony (Tony) Durant and NBA star Kevin Durant of the Golden State Warriors. At the age of 21, Wanda became a single mother and inspired by her young sons and “knowing God would lead their family,” she dedicated her life to her children’s formative years, ultimately sacrificing her own aspirations to ensure a solid foundation for her sons’ future success. Wanda’s passion is for others to realize that hope is alive inside of them, encourage them to dream, and help them to truly believe they can achieve the future they desire. Her story that so closely mirrors the dedication and love of many Small Steps parents. Small Steps Nurturing Center is a faith-based, early childhood education program committed to serving economically at-risk children living in Houston’s inner-city. The event welcomed approximately 450 guests and raised more than $247,000 for Small Steps. Guests included Small Steps Board President Chris Transier and several of the school’s Board members; and Robin Davis, mom of Houston’s Miami Heat player Justise Winslow.

Lisa Malosky, Wanda Durant

Linda McReynolds, Carolyn Young

Small Steps Nurturing Center provides a high-quality education, social and emotional support, a nurturing Christian environment, transportation, and nutritious meals to children ages two through six living in poverty. Through operating two preschools in the First and Fifth Wards of Houston, Small Steps invests in the lives of their students by intervening early, and working to provide a path with greater opportunities.

ABOUT SMALL STEPS Small Steps’ mission is to provide an exemplary early childhood program to instill and foster the social, the emotional, physical, intellectual, and spiritual growth of economically atrisk children and their families. Small Steps does not receive government funds and is funded solely through private contributions. Jon and Merritt Marinelli, Jennifer and Chris Laporte

For more information, please visit


5 TIPS FROM A PROFESSIONAL FOR TODAY’S LUXURY HOMES Planning your estate Home! By Deborah Healon, A.I.B.D., W.C.R.,G.H.L.H.C. Luxury Interior Designer For good reason, large homes are popular in Houston. Expansive acreage from which to choose makes creative design and amenities easy. Large homes cost more and take longer to build, but come with grand opportunities. Consider engaging your interior designer and architect in all phases in an effort to utilize sustainable products such as solar energy, windows, etc. Many design plans include a second kitchen, a movie theater, indoor bowling alley, or a wine room. Outside, you may choose a tennis court, basketball court, swimming pool, or outdoor kitchen. 22

Here are five tips to keep in mind as you plan your paradise estate: 1. Match your house to the project site. First, make sure your plan and building site are compatible. A house on a small lot limits landscaping or may overstep building code limitations. Determine restrictions before you commit to location or agree on a blueprint. Plan room locations around sun exposure, as natural light keeps us psychologically happy and saves on electrical bills.

2. Specialize space/get organized. Large scale home plans incorporate dream spaces, i.e., media rooms, great rooms, a home office, a spice kitchen, or a dirty kitchen, leaving the main kitchen for entertaining. 3. Invite your friends to paradise by using individual entertainment areas. Design your entry large enough to welcome arriving guests. First impressions are lasting ones; visitors form their opinion immediately. Because guests often congregate in the kitchen, provide ample space to mingle without hindering food preparation. A good interior designer can help. Consider two islands or round counter designs instead of rectangle and choose from edges like ogee, bull nose, and a straight edge. With glamorous overhead lighting, islands can make an attractive focal point. Overnight guests always appreciate a private suite with a full attached bath. Many new building ideas include cabanas or casitas to congregate around the pool. Media rooms are always an important part of a luxury home and furniture styles are evolving from theatre chairs to lounge type couches. In a sprawling home, it may make sense to have

a second stairway to eliminate time consuming steps.

5. Create synergy between architecture and interior design.

4. Architectural elements make a difference.

Consult with experts to interpret your living needs and plan spaces intelligently. Remember to enhance the environment and achieve comfort where your family and guests spend the most time. Look for inspiration in magazines and online for your projects, which helps when making decisions critical to the design success. Finally, visit model homes for ideas, remembering that those are done on the builder's budget and will not replicate to a lived-in home. Your best bet is to hire a professional, which will save you time and money!

Details add personality, which is extremely important in defining any large home. Fine handcrafted architectural elements are details that distinguish the highest quality custom-designed built luxury homes and the want to bes. These elements lend richness and elegance, infusing a home with character and originality. Cabinetry, moldings, ceiling medallions, chair rails, staircases, mirrors, and mantels in an empty room speaks volumes of personal taste and style of homeowners. Depending on how you and your designer plan the scope of your project, large scale rooms can be cavernous or cozy. A good designer maintains scale, balance, rhythm, unity, and emphasis. Choose focal points in more than one room. Creative window designs properly scale a room. Certainly, having a properly balanced scale of furniture to a room can make or break it. By utilizing different linings such as blackout or interlining, custom drapes provide color and control lighting and temperature.

Healon has taught interior design and architecture at the University of Houston’s Interior Design Dept. Her degree is in interior design with a minor in architecture from the University of Southern Illinois. With over 25 years in her business, Healon has designed interiors for multi-cultural homes buyers and remodeled residential and commercial properties in Houston, Chicago, Dallas, Los Angeles, Mexico, and Saudi Arabia, among others.



JIM “MATTRESS MACK” McINGVALE Houston’s Wonder Man Has Heart Of Gold by Minnie Payne Photos Courtesy Love Advertising


t is said that in many cases some people have a heart of gold and certainly, Houstonians, and otherwise, will agree that 66-year-old Jim McIngvale, “Mattress Mack,” fits this description many times over. To quote the Irish proverb “No 24

good deed goes unpunished.” by writer Oscar Wilde , if McIngvale doesn’t receive enough gratification from his good deeds on Earth, he will undoubtedly be rewarded in the hereafter.

James “Jim” McIngvale, also known as Mattress Mack, was born on Feb. 11, 1951, in Starkville, Mississippi. He is the second son of six children. His father, George McIngvale, was a business owner, and his mother, Angela McIngvale, was a stay at home mother. He is married to Linda McIngvale, and they have three children, daughters Elizabeth McIngvale and Laura McIngvale Brown, and son James McIngvale, Jr.

Jim and Linda at their daughter, Laura’s wedding

McIngvale grew up in Dallas, graduating from Bishop Lynch High School. The University of Texas and the University of North Texas, where he participated in football, added to his education, but he became disenchanted and dropped out of college. As with many dropouts, he found himself in a $3-an-hour menial labor convenience store job without a future. As McIngvale often relates, his boss did him a huge favor by firing him. But McIngvale is not one to sit on his haunches, and as anyone in his shoes would experience, he was bored and feeling sorry for himself. TV evangelist Oral Roberts changed that, though, when one Sunday morning, McIngvale turned on the TV to hear Roberts say, “Get up, go to work and make something of your life.” McIngvale relates, “I can remember that like it was yesterday. I felt like he was talking to me straight through the television.” The following Monday, he got a job at a Dallas furniture store 40 miles from his parents’ home; with no car, he rode the bus two hours both ways every day (Which days of the week?) for 18 months. He learned his trade well.

Jim with Marcus Lutrell

At age 32, the entrepreneur bug bit and he decided he wanted to start his own furniture store, so he called his real estate brother George in Houston who found the original store location at 6006 I-45 North Freeway. His then-girlfriend Linda told him that she would come with him, if he agreed to marry her. In 1981, with $5,000 in the bank and a will to succeed, he and Linda started business in an abandoned, un-heated/un-air conditioned model home park, formerly occupied by a buildon-your-own-lot home building company. Luck was with them that same year, in that a boom in the auto, oil, and steel industries caused an influx of people from all over the country to the Houston area. Families needed furniture, and Gallery Furniture’s then-value-priced furniture fit the bill. Profits were reinvested and put back into the store by purchasing more furniture. But just as their business had peaked, they started experiencing a decline. Reaching for a solution, McIngvale decided to change his advertising tactics of nailed signs to telephone poles and doorto-door flyers. With his last $5,000, he purchased advertisement time on an independent station, channel 26. After many attempts, McIngvale had one final take left for his commercial. Out of desperation and with time running out, he rapidly spoke about Gallery Furniture, reached into his back pocket and pulled out a wad of money, then shouted his nowfamous pitch: “Gallery Furniture will Save You Money.” Mcingvale opened his stores for first responders such as these Texas National Guards


PERSON OF THE YEAR His strategy was successful, and Gallery Furniture shifted from a valley to a peak, making it possible to sell high-end furniture to a new set of customers to whom he still promises, “If you buy it today, we’ll deliver it today.” You might compare McIngvale to the energizer bunny, and he expects the same from his employees. He thinks big and expects those who help him to think

big. He says that sometimes it isn’t easy to work for him, admitting, “I do have a volatile temper and I tend to be too harsh.” His philosophy is “Late to bed and early to rise, work like hell, and advertise.” Gallery Furniture is open daily from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m., and McIngvale works seven days a week. He maintains that he doesn’t ask his employees to do anything that he wouldn’t do and often lifts furniture around the store with his

employees. A perk for his employees is three free meals a day, but you have to eat while working – no sitting down. McIngvale shows his gratefulness to Houstonians, and otherwise, through a giving heart, exemplifying that generosity goes hand in hand with gratefulness. His generosity is too vast to list, but tens of thousands of Houstonians attest to it. At Christmastime, 30 needy Houston families receive households of furniture. The Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo receives contributions directly towards college scholarships. The city of Houston is grateful for much, including his attending the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta, using his own money to campaign for Houston’s bid for the 2008 games. He donated money to the BushClinton Tsunami Relief Fund. In 2009, Gallery Furniture committed to providing new furniture to various USO centers around the world. The first Mobile Stroke Unit in the USA for patients in Houston is one of his special projects. Because his younger daughter, Elizabeth McIngvale, struggles with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD), he is a strong supporter for the cause of mental illness. On Thanksgiving in 1992, 20,000 homeless Houstonians ate three tons of turkey, 3,000 pounds of dressing, 600 gallons of gravy and 12,000 pounds or sides – all provided by McIngvale. Catholicism is his faith, and in 1999, he took his family to Rome where he is said to have had a religious awakening, prompting him to pay more than $500,000 to send 300 students and teachers from each of the GalvestonHouston diocese’s 60 schools. In 2014, he predicted that the Houston Astros wouldn’t win 63 games. They won 70, and to promote his 63rd birthday, he gave back more than $4 million to customers. Earlier that year, he refunded about $8 million, after he predicted the Denver Broncos would beat the Seattle Seahawks in Super Bowl XLVIII. The Broncos lost.




In December 2017, McIngvale gave back more than $10 million when he rebated fans who spent more than $3,000 on mattresses and beds because the Astros won the World Series.

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In August 2017, Hurricane Harvey came with a vengeance to the Houston area, and through his love for Houstonians, McIngvale opened two of his stores, allowing the afflicted to live and sleep on brand new mattresses and furniture. His company’s moving trucks rescued trapped people from their homes or stranded on highways. His comment to TIME Magazine was “We’re just trying to supplement where we can.” He predicts emotional issues for those affected by Harvey, in that it will take years of cleanup and recovery efforts. “The flooding is over and the hard part has just begun,” he remarked. Also, in 2005, during Hurricane Katrina, he opened two of his stores to 400 misplaced New Orleans residents.


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Jim with one of the many families he aided during Harvey

As a reward to Hurricane Harvey first responders, military veterans, and devoted fans, he treated about 80 passengers to a chartered 737 allexpenses-paid plane trip to the World Series. To sum up James “Jim” “Mattress Mack” McIngvale in a nutshell, one of his quotes says it all – “Why work so hard if you can’t do something positive with what you earn.” 27

by Ken Jacobson, CMPS

[Real Estate] those negative stock market returns are going to occur.

Home ROI? Home Ownership vs. Market Investing


here has been a great deal of speculation and comparison between real estate investing and stock market investing. Recently there have been some pundits that have advocated renting because it is cheaper than buying and, therefore, invest your money in other investments. According to the “Motley Fool” article written by Bill Barker and published 04/22/2016 the nominal rate of return in the stock market has been 9.69% for dollars invested over the past 50 years.

But, let’s not forget about inflation. According to his article the Annualized Real Return (Adjusted for inflation) is actually 5.38% Now we all know that the stock market has been on a tear the last few years. We also know, or should know, that a correction and/or bear market may be on the horizon. According to Dana Anspach in her article negative stock market returns occur, on average, one out of every four years. You will see the positive years far outweigh the negative years. No one knows ahead of time when

I defer to your financial advisor and/or CPA to help you determine how and what you should invest in. My purpose is to show you another aspect of how to evaluate a home purchase. Let’s talk about the Greater Houston (Houston) 1-4 family residential market. The appreciation in Houston has averaged approximately 3.23% historically. The most recent year over year return ending October 2017 for Houston was an increase of 3.1% according to CoreLogic. That placed Houston 10th in the nation on home price appreciation. Since 1990 there has been a downturn in prices from 1993 to 1994, 1994 to 1995 and once again from 2008 to 2009. The variables are many including price ranges of houses sold (low end, high end, location, etc.), but this is the most recent information that I’ve found available. It comes from The Texas A&M Real Estate Center. So, based on this information from A&M,


EXPERIENCE & KNOWLEDGE It’s Your Move. We’re here to make make it smooth. 28

Ken Jacobson has been delivering excellent service for over 20 years.

Ken Jacobson, CMPS NMLS #: 215044 Vice President and Senior Mortgage Planner Hometrust Mortgage, NMLS: 149932 Executive Lending Division 5353 W. Alabama, #500, Houston, TX 77056


over the last 26 years we’ve only experienced 3 down years – not bad. Most of the media say that the price increase, being 3.10% or 3.23% equates to your return. But most people, when they make an investment evaluate their return based on a cash invested basis – what kind of return did my (say $50K) make me. Let’s take the same $50K we were investing in another investment (stock market, etc.) and buy a home and see what our return on dollars invested reveals Purchase price of $500,000, down payment 10% and closing costs of $3,700. I used a 9 year evaluation period.

This information is deemed reliable, but is not guaranteed. It is intended as an example only. All figures are estimates and are subject to change without notice. Not all applicants will qualify. Not all programs available for all scenarios. Hometrust is an equal opportunity lender. Chart states Houston, but it covers the Houston MSA; Custom 3.1% from Corelogic’s appreciation rate from chart above; Historical 3.23% also from Corelogic;

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Enchanted Holiday

Amanda, Zachary, and Adam Dinitz

Houston Symphony’s youngest supporters and their families joined Chairs Ting and John Bresnahan and Erin and James Stewart at The Briar Club for the Houston Symphony’s 2017 Magical Musical Morning: Enchanted Holiday. Nearly 270 guests enjoyed music by pianist, Mary Box, while they indulged in a family-friendly buffet of breakfast tacos, fruit, seasonal green salad, savory cheddar shortbread biscuits, doughnuts and more, all prepared by the Briar Club. The music filled morning was a flurry of crafts and activities for the children as they bounced between cookie decorating, holiday crafts, watching magic tricks and visiting the Symphony’s everpopular Instrument Petting Zoo. The longest line in the room was for pictures with none other than Santa Claus! This year’s Magical Musical Morning raised more than $53,000 benefiting the Houston Symphony’s Education and Community Programming.

Betty Tutor, Beth Wolff

Ford and Lauren Mills

Erin, Connor and Chris Sweet

Photo Credits: Anthony Rathbun

Amy and Chevy Hefley, Hayden and Deacon Hefley

Ting Bresnahan, Erin Stewart, Viviana Denechaud

Ben, Jennifer and Josh Gravenor

Courtney and Bill Toomey, Callie, Hayes and Billy Toomey

Pianist Mary Box, Liam Stewart

Kusum, Krishna and K.Cody Patel

Int 2018 0102 web (2)  

Houston Intown's Person of The Year

Int 2018 0102 web (2)  

Houston Intown's Person of The Year