Memorial, TX April 2023

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Celebrating 10 Years with the Barbara Bush Literacy Foundation

F O O D + B E V E R AG E

E XPLO RE YOU R APPETITE FO R ADVENTU RE AT TH REE H OUSTO N RESTAU RANTS TR AV E L

PARADISE FOU N D AT HOTEL LU LU I N ROU N D TO P AUTO + M A R I N E

H IT TH E ROAD I N TH E GM C HU M M ER EV

A P R I L 2 02 3



ELEVATED LIVING above the green.

808 Crawford Street Houston, Texas 77010 844-964-1968 WWW.PARKSIDEATDG.COM


An excellent real estate team offering a tailored real estate experience.

Michelle Miller

Sarah Brooks Stokes

Broker Associate 713.870.8098 mmiller@compass.com

REALTOR® 281.455.3970 sarah.brooksstokes@compass.com

[Agent] is a real estate agent affiliated with Compass. Compass is a licensed brokerage that abides by all federal, state and local laws. Equal Housing Opportunity.



April 2023 PUBLISHER

Suzanne Schakett | suzanne.schakett@citylifestyle.com EDITOR

LIFESTYLE LETTER

Gabi De la Rosa | gabi.delarosa@citylifestyle.com

Always Choose Adventure As we navigate life, it's easy to fall into the trap of routine and familiarity. We stick to what we know, avoid taking risks, and remain within our comfort zones. However, as the saying goes, "life begins at the end of your comfort zone." And to lead a happy and fulfilled life, trying new things and exploring the world around us is essential. Taking risks can mean different things to different people. It could be as simple as trying a new cuisine, visiting a new place, or trying a new hobby. It could also mean stepping out of your career comfort zone, taking on a new challenge, or pushing yourself to try something you've always been afraid of. I recently went to Italy with my family of five. We explored several cities and enjoyed many "firsts" throughout our journey. As a family, we stepped out of our comfort zone and experienced the trip of a lifetime (the photo is my husband and I enjoying our last sunset in Venice). I encourage you to do the same thing. It doesn't have to be a trip across the world; exploring something new in Houston can be just as exciting. The April issue is dedicated to adventure. We explore several new flavors at three excellent Houston restaurants in this issue. One look at the stunning photography from Money Cat, Navy Blue, and Musaafer makes you want a reservation of your own. Also, if you are looking for a quick getaway close to Houston, Hotel Lulu in Round Top delivers the best-of-the-best in authentic Texas luxury. While considering a road trip, why not look into a new car like the GMC Hummer EV - read more about how it delivers on sustainability and style. Lastly, I hope you enjoy the article about the Barbara Bush Literacy Foundation. The organization is celebrating its tenth anniversary and its significant impact on literacy rates in Houston. As an avid reader since childhood, I can attest that reading is the ultimate adventure, and I applaud everything the foundation does to make reading accessible to everyone. We hope that this issue encourages you to make room for exploration. Prioritize time away from the regular schedule of life and to lose yourself on a trail or in a book.

GABI DE L A ROSA , EDITOR @MEMORIALLIFESTYLE

Scan QR code to visit our Instagram CIT YLIFEST YLE.COM/MEMORIAL |

SALES DIR ECTOR

Suzanne Schakett | suzanne.schakett@citylifestyle.com PUBLISHER ASSISTANT

Kayla Shutts | kayla.shutts@citylifestyle.com SALES SUPPORT COOR DINATOR

Savannah Schakett

Corporate Team CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER Steven Schowengerdt CHIEF SALES OFFICER Matthew Perry CHIEF FINANCIAL OFFICER DeLand Shore DIRECTOR OF SOCIAL MEDIA Mindy Hargesheimer ART DIRECTOR Sara Minor OPERATIONS DIRECTOR Janeane Thompson WEB APPLICATIONS Michael O’Connell AD DESIGNER Rachel Chrisman LAYOUT DESIGNER Antanette Ray

Learn how to start your own publication at: citylifestyle.com//franchise Proverbs 3:5-6 Memorial Lifestyle™ is published monthly by Lifestyle Publications LLC. It is distributed via the US Postal Service to some of the Memorial area’s most affluent neighborhoods. Articles and advertisements do not necessarily reflect Lifestyle Publications’ opinions. No portion of this magazine may be reproduced in any form without written consent. Lifestyle Publications does not assume responsibility for statements made by advertisers or editorial contributors. Information in Memorial Lifestyle™ is gathered from sources considered to be reliable, but the

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accuracy of all information cannot be guaranteed.


Experience Matters When buying or selling Real Estate, experience does matter. As the founder of Energy Realty, Sherry Campbell has been guiding clients with one of their largest assets for more than 19 years.

Energy Realty is local born and bred and knows the Houston market. Whether you are looking to buy or sell a home in Houston, hire a local professional. Check us out online and see what our clients say about us, and scan the QR code to follow Sherry’s monthly Market Update. energy-realty.com | 281.679.6266 | sherry@energy-realty.com 1111 Eldridge Parkway Houston, Texas 77077

#OrangeIsTheNewSold


APRIL 2023

inside the issue The Explore Issue

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42

36

26

F E ATU R E D

D E PA RTM E NTS

20 Wide Open Spaces

6

Lifestyle Letter

10

City Scene

14

Business Monthly

20

Auto Club AU TO + MA R I NE

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Culinary Creations FO O D + B E V E R AG E

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Road Trip T R AV EL

36

Local Limelight EDU CAT I O N

42

Travel Journal T R AV EL

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Hot Spot T R AV EL

The GMC Hummer EV is a road trip ready electric truck.

26 Appetite for Adventure

Spice up the restaurant rotation with three Houston restaurants that make it easy to explore new flavors.

36 A Novel Approach

The Barbara Bush Literacy Foundation is celebrating ten years of making a positive impact on Houston’s literacy.

42 Paradise Found

Less than two hours from Houston, Hotel Lulu is the perfect spot to spend a few blissful days.

O N T H E C OV E R

Photography: Courtesy of the Barbara Bush Literacy Foundation Jenna Hager Bush and Barbara Pierce Bush. The duo were the 2022 key note speakers at the annual Celebration of Reading Gala.

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LIBR A

UNIVERSA L BA L A NCE

Bathing In Luxury & Wellness

©BEONE LIBRA 6632 © 4639

7 13.465.4800 |

AC E R O B E L L A

| AC E R O B E L L A .CO M

- BY APPOINTMENT -


APRIL 2023

city scene

Where neighbors can see and be seen. PRISCILLA DICKSON

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WILSON PARISH

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WILSON PARISH

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7 WILSON PARISH

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JACOB POWERS

WILSON PARISH

COURTESY PHOTO

1: Amanda Boffone and Bethany Buchanan at the Junior League of Houston Shines Bright Charity Ball. 2: Krishna Surapaneni, Divya Reddy, Nicole and Rob Thornton at the Junior League’s 75th Annual Charity Ball. 3: Guests at the AHA ‘Heart Ball’ celebrated the $1.2 million charity-fueled evening. 4: Casey Brand at the American Heart Association ‘Heart Ball’ held at The Post Oak Hotel. 5: Richard Flowers and Lynn Wyatt at the Houston Ballet Ball. 6: Aoi Fujiwara, Ryo Kato and Yumiko Fukuda at the Houston Ballet Ball. 7: Camp for All gala honorees Buzz & Martha White and Patrick Samuels.

Want to be seen in the magazine? Tag your Instagram photos with @MemorialLifestyle

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C I T Y SC E N E


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Is there someone special who deserves to be celebrated in the Limelight?

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Share special news with your community. Reserve a one-time LIMELIGHT placement in an upcoming issue. Multiple sizes are available to fit any budget, and we can help you design your LIMELIGHT too! Contact Suzanne Schakett at 832.655.4670 or via email Suzanne.Schakett@citylifestyle.com for details.

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APRIL 2023

business monthly A round-up of exciting news from local businesses.

The Orange Show's 36th Annual Houston Art Car Festival & Parade Following a record year in 2022, the oldest and largest celebration of art cars in the world will take over the city of Houston from April 6 – 16 – with the big parade being held on Saturday, April 15th – showcasing more than 250 mobile masterpieces from across the country, including nearly 100 new, never-been-seen creations, while engaging the public with over 10 days of opportunities to express their personal artistic vision. Photography Morris Malakoff

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Houston Debuts the World's First Two-Screen Rooftop Movie Theater Rooftop Cinema Club reveals Houston to be the first-ever city globally to debut a two-screen rooftop movie theater. Screen 2 debuted at Rooftop Cinema Club Uptown in March for Houstonians to enjoy alongside the beloved existing cinema area, now dubbed Screen 1. While Screen 1 operates as a vibrant LED screen, Screen 2 will debut movies via a state-of-theart DCP projector, and films on this screen will start after sundown.

Former Memorial High School Student Debuts Novel Whitney Cubbison, an alumni of Memorial High School, debuted her first novel about an ex-pat woman’s journey of self-discovery through a string of disastrous dates, relationships forged in a deep cultural divide, world travels, and — well — a lot of wine. The book, which is available on Amazon, is inspired by Cubbison’s own dating misadventures as an expat American divorcée living and working in Paris. Available on amazon.com

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B U S I N E S S M O N T H LY C O N T I N U E D

Low Tide Kitchen & Bar Takes Home "Best Bites" Award Low Tide Kitchen & Bar took home top honors at the Houston Livestock Show & Rodeo's culinary competition. The Spring Branch restaurant known for its Carolina-inspired seafood won the Trailblazer Appetizer Award for its Ceviche with Cilantro Citrus Sauce on Corn Tortilla Chip. This is Low Tide's first time competing in the Rodeo Uncorked Awards.

WE ARE THANKFUL FOR OUR CUSTOMERS.

Photography Low Tide Kitchen & Bar

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The Post Oak Hotel at Uptown Receives Forbes Travel Guide Five-Star Rating Tilman Fertitta’s Post Oak Hotel at Uptown Houston earned the prestigious Forbes Travel Guide (“FTG”) 2023


Five-Star rating for the third consecutive year – remaining Texas’ only Double Five-Star rated hotel and spa and the only Forbes Five-Star rated spa in the state for the fifth year in a row. This is Houston’s only FTG Five-Star hotel and one of only 30 Double Five-Star Hotels & Spas in the nation.

2022 TOP PRODUCER

Photography Courtesy of Fertitta Entertainment

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Hyatt Regency Hill Country Recognizes 30th Anniversary with $50 Million Renovation Hyatt Regency Hill Country Resort and Spa, located on 300 acres in San Antonio, recognizes its 30-year anniversary this year. In honor of the milestone, the resort is in the process of finalizing a $50 million renovation to its guestrooms and meeting spaces, expected to be completed this spring. Renovated guestrooms will include LG 65-inch class 4K smart ultra-high-definition televisions, and an overhaul of bathrooms, new artwork and oversized double beds.

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Memorial Green Office

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12505 Memorial Drive Houston, TX 77024 ©2022 Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate LLC. Better Homes and Gardens® is a registered trademark of Meredith Corporation licensed to Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate LLC. Equal Opportunity Company. Equal Housing Opportunity. Each Franchise is Independently Owned and Operated.

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WIDE OPEN SPACES THE GMC HUMMER EV IS A ROAD TRIP READY ELECTRIC TRUCK.

ARTICLE BY GABI DE LA ROSA PHOTOGRAPHY COURTESY OF GMC

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AU TO CLU B | AU TO + M ARI NE

Electric vehicles are becoming increasingly popular as the world shifts toward more sustainable transportation options. One electric vehicle that stands out from the crowd is the GMC Hummer EV, a sizable electric pickup truck that has garnered a lot of attention since its announcement. The Hummer EV is not just any electric vehicle; it is a pickup truck designed to handle the most challenging conditions while still being eco-friendly. Long road trips are worry-free because of the truck's 200KWh battery pack, which provides a range of approximately 329 miles. The Hummer EV is not just designed for long-range travel; it is also built to accommodate up to five passengers and their cargo comfortably. The interior


is spacious and well-appointed, with various premium features, including leather upholstery and a Bose audio system. The front seats are heated and cooled, while the rear seats are heated, providing all passengers with a comfortable ride. There is ample headroom and legroom for all passengers, and the rear seats can be folded down to create a massive cargo area. All these features and more make the Hummer EV perfect for families or groups of friends who want to travel together. Drivers will appreciate the Hummer EV’s cutting-edge technology that includes Super Cruise, GM’s driver assistance technology that allows hands-free driving and automatic lane changing, making road trips even more enjoyable. The truck also has a high-resolution infotainment system with a 12.3-inch touchscreen display and a 14-speaker sound system. The infotainment system also includes Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility, making it easy to access music, maps, and apps while on the road. One of the unique features of the Hummer EV is its "crab walk" mode, which allows the vehicle to move diagonally at low speeds. This feature is handy for off-road driving and makes it easy to navigate through tight spaces or tricky terrain. The truck also comes equipped with underbody armor and rock sliders, which provide additional protection when off-roading. In terms of performance, the Hummer EV does not disappoint. The vehicle has a power output of up to 1,000 horsepower and can accelerate from 0 to 60 mph in just three seconds. CONTINUED >

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This means that the Hummer EV is not just a practical vehicle for road trips but also a fun vehicle to drive. The Hummer EV's fast charging capabilities make it easy for drivers to recharge the vehicle while on the go. The truck can charge at a rate of up to 350 kW, so drivers can get back on the road quickly after a short stop to recharge. With its spacious interior, powerful performance, cutting-edge technology, and impressive range, the Hummer EV is the ideal choice for anyone looking to embark on a long road trip. So, pack your bags, gather your friends and family, and hit the road in style.

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AU TO CLU B | AU TO + M ARI NE

GMC HUMMER EV MSRP: $108,700 Range: EPA estimated 329+ Transmission: 1-speed direct drive Horsepower: 1,000 Seating: 5


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APPETITE FOR ADVENTURE Spice up the restaurant rotation with three Houston restaurants that make it easy to explore new flavors.

ARTICLE BY GABI DE LA ROSA

Autumn Bonsai. Photo credit Sabrina Miskelly

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C ULIN A RY C R E AT ION S | F OOD + BE VE RAGE

Houston's thriving food scene reflects the city's diverse cultural landscape. Diners can tap into their adventurous side and explore a wide range of cuisines from around the world, each with its own unique flavors and cooking techniques. The city's culinary offerings go beyond traditional dishes, with many chefs putting their distinct spin on classic recipes while bringing exceptional perspectives and styles to the table. The area's diverse population is also reflected in the types of ingredients and flavors used in many of the dishes. This includes locally sourced produce, meat, and seafood, as well as a variety of spices and herbs. With a wide choice of restaurants, food trucks, and farmers' markets, Houston's food scene has something for everyone. Here we explore the unique flavors of three Houston restaurants.


Honey Vanilla Milk Buns. Photo credit Sabrina Miskelly

Hotate Chawanmushi. Photo credit Jenn Duncan

Fans of Tobiuo Sushi & Bar will be equally enamored of Sherman Yeung’s newest concept, Money Cat. Chef de cuisine, Jio Dingayan, head sushi chef Steve Nguyen and chef-owner Yeung spent serious time behind the scenes doing extensive research to experiment with new techniques and ingredients for the restaurant’s menu of New Japanese cuisine and a Japanese influenced beverage program. The result is an out-of-this-world menu full of exotic flavors and delightful presentations. The Money Cat team presents a balanced menu of traditional Japanese flavors influenced by regional American food. Menu highlights include the Hotate Chawanmushi (steamed egg custard with corn and chive taiyaki), Honey Vanilla Milk Buns with cultured butter and trout roe, Maitake Karaage (an homage to the chefs’ love of buffalo wings), the Katsu Sando (an extensively tested Yeung creation) and Chutoro Toast (squid ink milk bread, burnt honey cream cheese, cured chutoro, dill). “We didn’t want to offer straight, traditional Japanese food,” says Yeung. “First, that’s not who we are. We’re part of a new age

of restaurants. We’re young and want to do something new that pays tribute to and builds upon tradition. We want to create a dialogue with guests and build relationships, educate them about preparations and share our passion.” In addition to delicious cocktails, Money Cat serves exclusively Japanese beers and a large selection of sake, plum wine, and Japanese spirits. The restaurant also offers tea service with blends sourced from Rare Tea Cellar. Located in Houston’s Upper Kirby neighborhood, the restaurant offers a refreshing minimalist vibe. Diners can enjoy a semiopen kitchen, high-top sushi bar, and take in the intricate work on display at the open pastry station.

MONEY CAT LOCATION: 2925 Richmond Ave. Suite 140, Houston, TX 77098 WEBSITE: MONEYCATHTX.COM PHONE: (281) 974-3735 CONTINUED > AP R I L 2 0 2 3 | C I TYL I FE STYL E . C OM / M E M O R I A L

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Spaghetti Vongole. Photo Credit Caroline Fontenot

Mussel Bisque. Photo credit Caroline Fontenot

Aaron Bludorn’s newest restaurant, Navy Blue, opened its doors in November to rave reviews. The seafood restaurant emphasizes an upscale but casual vibe with a seafood themed menu. Executive chef Jerrod Zifchak of Café Boulud fame is at the helm in the kitchen where he and Bludorn curate a menu of delicious dishes. Diners can enjoy dishes like Swordfish Au Poivre with Green Peppercorn sauce; Blackened Red Snapper with Ahi Amarillo; and Whole Dover Sole prepared Almondine, Oscar, or Provencal. Seafood will continue to shine through pasta with modern twists on Linguini Vongole, Seafood Risotto, and Lobster Ravioli. “We wanted to create a menu with plenty of options and the same kind of approachability that guests love at Bludorn,” said the restaurateur. He added, “What oysters are to Bludorn, which are done 3 ways – fried, baked, and raw – clams, shrimp, and Dover Sole are to Navy Blue. We’ll also have a running rotation of fresh fish with preparation suggestions, but guests can swap it out

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C ULIN A RY C R E AT ION S | F OOD + BE VE RAGE

however they want. We are nothing if not flexible when it comes to putting our guests’ tastes first – that’s why we are here, and we love what we do.” Darryl Chan and Molly Austad put together a fantastic beverage program with an extensive wine list from around the world. The cocktail menu is fun and tasty. Cocktails are named after often misheard lyrics such as “Hold Me Closer, Tony Danza” and “Chasing Penguins.” Navy Blue launched their lunch service in January and guests will find many dinner favorites on the menu. Caesar Salad, the Grouper Sandwich, an entrée sized Crab Cake and Chicken Milanese will all make an appearance. Lunch is available Tuesday through Saturday from 11:30am to 2pm.

NAVY BLUE LOCATION: 2445 Times Blvd, Houston, TX 77005 WEBSITE: NAVYBLUERESTAURANT.COM PHONE: (713) 347-7727


Tandoori Octopus. Photo credit Mayank Istwal

Dum Ki Ribs. Photo Credit Raydon Creative

Nestled in Houston's bustling Galleria area lies Musaafer, a contemporary Indian restaurant that has been delighting the palates of diners since its opening in 2020. Owned by Mithu and Shammi Malik with executive chef Mayank Istwal in the kitchen, Musaafer offers a unique dining experience that seamlessly blends traditional Indian cuisine with modern culinary techniques. The restaurant's interior, designed by Chromed Design Studio, is nothing short of a masterpiece, featuring ornate chandeliers, plush seating, and exquisite details that pay homage to India's rich cultural heritage. From the moment guests enter the restaurant, they are transported to a world of opulence and elegance. The menu at Musaafer is equally impressive, boasting an array of dishes that showcase the depth and diversity of Indian cuisine. Some must-try dishes include Palack Chicken, Butter Chicken Experience, and Lentil Coconut Soup. For those seeking a more immersive culinary experience, Musaafer offers a Chef's Tasting Menu that features an array of carefully curated dishes that take guests on a seasonal gastronomic journey through India.

Musaafer's attentive and knowledgeable staff adds to the exceptional dining experience, with impeccable service and recommendations for both food and drink. The restaurant's beverage program, curated by renowned mixologist Taha Ismail, features a selection of cocktails that complement the flavors of the food and showcase traditional Indian ingredients. In addition to its exceptional food and service, Musaafer is also a great place to unwind and enjoy a cocktail or two. The restaurant's bar menu features a range of innovative cocktails, including the signature Spiced Margarita, that are expertly crafted and perfectly complement the restaurant's cuisine.

MUSAAFER LOCATION: The Galleria at 5115 Westheimer Road, Suite 3500, Houston, TX 77056 WEBSITE: MUSAAFERHOUSTON.COM PHONE: (713)-242-8087

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Insider’s Guide

Andrea Schutter Riebeling, a real estate agent in Round Top, shares her favorite things about the quaint Texas town.

ARTICLE BY MEMORIAL LIFESTYLE STAFF Round Top, Texas, is widely known for its antique shows that attract thousands of visitors annually. However, there’s much more to this charming small town that makes it a destination worth exploring beyond the markets. Andrea Schutter Riebeling, a real estate agent with Champions Farm/Ranch REHS Group, moved from Houston to Round Top 11 years ago and hasn’t looked back. “Round Top is not a country town – there is a lot to see and do here. So many friends I grew up with in Houston visit regularly.” For nature enthusiasts, Round Top is home to several parks and nature reserves with hiking and biking trails, picnic areas, and scenic views. The quaint downtown area offers a variety of locally owned shops, art galleries, and restaurants. Visitors can also explore the town’s history through its historic buildings, some of which date back to 1885. “Of course, people visit for the antique shows, but there are several other annual events, including the Chili Cook-Off, Christmas parade, 4th of July parade, and the Round Top Wine Walk,” says Riebeling. “Festival Hill also hosts amazing concerts that are a big draw for people from all over Texas.” Riebeling shares her top three must-try restaurants when visiting Round Top.

Duo Modern: The Restaurant at Market Hill

WHERE: 1542 Hwy 237, Round Top, TX 78954 WHAT: Houston chefs Nate Pineda and Gino Llanes curate ever-changing seasonal menus at Duo Modern: The Restaurant at Market Hill. The chefs aren’t beholden to a particular style or cuisine but let the season’s ingredients inspire them. CONTACT: markethillroundtop.com | 800-732-3722

Round Top Smokehouse

WHERE: 185 Henkel Circle, Round Top, TX 78954 WHAT: The late Houston restaurateur Lee Ellis, pitmaster Gilbert Arismendez and Cat Huynh partnered up to open Round Top Smokehouse. The trio serves up an eclectic menu of Central Texas-style barbecue, including brisket and pork spare ribs. The rotating sides include coleslaw, garlic noodles, and more. CONTACT: roundtopsmokehouse.com | 832-245-3545

JW’s Steakhouse

WHERE: 122 S. Hauptstrasse Street., Carmine, TX 78932 WHAT: JW’s Steakhouse is located just down the street from Round Top in the small town of Carmine. The relaxed restaurant serves traditional southern-style food, including certified Angus beef steaks, chicken fried steak, and an assortment of burgers, sandwiches, and seafood. CONTACT: jw-steakhouse.com | 979-278-4240

Andrea Schutter Riebeling Andrea Schutter Riebeling, a real estate agent with Champions Farm/ Ranch REHS Group is a native Houstonian and Round Top transplant. She has over seven years of real estate experience in the Round Top and Chapel Hill areas. Contact her at (832) 816-1000.

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T O P : JW’s Steakhouse R I G H T: Round Top Smokehouse L E F T: Duo Modern: The Restaurant at Market Hill

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Barbara Bush Literacy Foundation, Camp Adventure. Photo courtesy of Barbara Bush Literacy Foundation

A Novel Approach The Barbara Bush Literacy Foundation is celebrating ten years of making a positive impact on Houston’s literacy. ARTICLE BY GABI DE LA ROSA PHOTOGRAPHY COURTESY OF THE BARBARA BUSH LITERACY FOUNDATION The Barbara Bush Literacy Foundation is a nonprofit organization founded in 2013 by Neil and Maria Bush to promote literacy for children and adults in Houston, Texas. Former First Lady, Barbara Bush had a strong passion for reading and believed that everyone, regardless of their background or circumstances, should have access to books and the opportunity to learn how to read. Her legacy inspires the foundation's mission to improve literacy rates and promote a love of reading.

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The foundation will celebrate its tenth anniversary this year, a significant milestone marked by continuing to honor Mrs. Bush's legacy and launching a new website that will tell the foundation's story. "People will be able to hear stories and voices of students, adults, families, and community-based partners that we have been working with over the last decade to be able to raise literacy rates in Houston," says Julie Baker Finck, Ph.D., President of the Barbara Bush Literacy Foundation. CONTINUED >


Neil Bush, Maria Bush, Jenna Hager Bush, Barbara Pierce Bush, Sarahbeth Bush, Pierce Bush. Photo credit Michelle Watson, CatchLight Group

Ladies for Literacy Volunteer.

Neil and Maria Bush will be the 2023 Celebration of Reading Key Note Speakers. Photo credit Priscilla Dixon AP R I L 2 0 2 3 | C I TYL I FE STYL E . C OM / M E M O R I A L

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“It has been incredible to see how the community has stepped up and recognized that literacy in our city is a problem, but they have also stepped up to be a part of the solution. I am proud of our work, but there is still quite a bit more work to do to realize Mrs. Bush’s vision of literacy for all here in Houston,” says Julie Baker Finck, Ph.D., President of the Barbara Bush Literacy Foundation.

In addition to its tenth anniversary, the foundation will celebrate another important accomplishment through its My Home Library Program. The program, which anyone in the community can sponsor, provides thousands of children in low-income neighborhoods with their own books to keep and read at home. "We are on track to distribute our one-millionth book in December of this year," says Finck. "We feel like that will be the exclamation point on our ten-year anniversary celebration." One of the foundation's signature events, the Celebration of Reading Gala, takes place annually in Houston and brings authors, celebrities, and supporters together to raise awareness and funds for literacy initiatives. Over nearly three decades, the event has raised millions of dollars and helped bring attention to the literacy issues in Houston. This year, Neil and Maria Bush are the keynote speakers and authors, including Isabel Wilkerson, Tom Papa, Tess Gerritsen, and Nelson DeMille will be in attendance. Community engagement is a core tenant of the foundation. The foundation's women's auxiliary group, Ladies for Literacy, and a Young Professional Group volunteer and promote the foundation's literacy mission in the community. The foundation also partners with businesses and organizations to provide corporate

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volunteer opportunities and support for literacy initiatives. The University of Houston and its Cougar Reading Tutors have joined the foundation to help children in five Third Ward schools improve their reading skills. Six years and 10,000 hours of tutoring have made a demonstrable difference in the reading levels of the participating children. According to Finck, four out of the five participating schools moved up in their Texas Education Agency accountability ratings. Although the foundation has many programs for children, adults are also a large part of its programming. Many don't realize that one in three adults in Harris County is functionally illiterate. Because of that startling statistic, the Barbara Bush Literacy Foundation partnered with the Mayor's Office for Adult Literacy to create Houston's Literacy Blueprint in 2021. It is the first-ever city-wide plan to empower more adults with literacy skills. "The foundation has really been a champion for elevating literacy in Houston. It has been incredible to see how the community has stepped up and recognized that literacy in our city is a problem, but they have also stepped up to be a part of the solution. I am proud of our work, but there is still quite a bit more work to do to realize Mrs. Bush's vision of literacy for all here in Houston."


Cutting the Ribbon For Barbara's Book Boxes in the Fifth Ward Community.

Barbara Bush Literacy Foundation Curiosity Cruiser - a library on wheels.

My Home Library volunteer and recipient.

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Hotel Lulu's swimming pool. Photo credit Pär Bengtsson

Paradise Found LESS THAN TWO HOURS FROM HOUSTON, HOTEL LULU IS THE PERFECT SPOT TO SPEND A FEW BLISSFUL DAYS.

ARTICLE BY GABI DE LA ROSA

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Hotel Lulu in Round Top. Photo credit Pär Bengtsson

HOTEL LULU

Nestled in the heart of downtown Round Top, Hotel Lulu is the perfect escape for road-trippers interested in a well-mixed cocktail after a day spent shopping in the picturesque town. Good for couples or friends traveling together, the atmosphere is quiet and luxurious – the perfect place for relaxation. In 1978, long before Chip and Joanna Gaines and the biannual antique markets made Round Top into a shopping mecca, Houston restaurateurs Armando and Cinda Palacios bought a property in the small rural town. After watching Round Top swell from 90 permanent residents to hundreds of thousands twice per year, the duo realized the town needed more lodging and decided to transform historic Bybee Square into Hotel Lulu. A 15-month renovation restored the property to its Gilded-age glory,

adding modern comforts, stunning art, and opulent design touches. Hotel Lulu boasts Round Top's only pool, an herb garden, a formal garden, the hotel's restaurant, Lulu's, and a cocktail bar, Il Cuculo. Shaded by stunning oldgrowth oaks and ensconced by a wall of jasmine, there are fourteen rooms spread across six bungalows on the one-acre property. Guests will find themselves meandering on the property's crushed granite paths with a drink in hand, surrounded by details from the 1800s. Much of the footprint of the original Bybee Square was left intact. Although there is plenty to do in Round Top, Hotel Lulu is the kind of place where doing nothing is enough. Visitors can relax in their sumptuous beds, rock on a porch swing, or lounge by the pool to decompress from the flurry of city life.

CONTINUED >

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THE DETAILS

Art, texture, and textiles play a significant role in the hotel's ambiance. The team at Hotel Lulu partnered with artists from all over the world to bring the culture and vibrancy of the property to life. Each room is outfitted with a blanket handmade by Houston-based Studio Imli. The owner, Sanna Sahi, works with artisans in the Cholistan desert of Pakistan to bring the blankets (available for purchase) to Hotel Lulu. The accent pillows and shams found in the rooms are from Tribute Goods, whose owner, Karen Pulaski, collaborates with linen purveyors and graphic designers in Italy to create colorful themes for her pieces. Much of the abstract art found in the rooms are from Benjamin Edmiston, whose geometric paintings add an unexpected touch to the style of the hotel. And, in the hotel's bar, Il Cuculo (the Italian word for the Cuckoo bird), the wallpaper is a reproduction of the oldest painted panels in the world.

Lulu's dinnertime spread. Photo Credit Kirsten Gilliam

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Il Cuculo at Hotel Lulu. Photo credit Pär Bengtsson

EAT Lulu’s restaurant serves classic Italian dishes like bolognese made with slowbraised beef tips, meatballs over polenta, grilled Caesar salad, and decadent lobster ravioli. The bread service, which consists of freshly baked focaccia slices and mini loaves served with whipped honey and olive oil spread, is a must. Lulu’s signature dessert, bomboloni, is served with a sweet dipping sauce – the perfect way to end a meal.

DRINK Il Cuculo, Hotel Lulu’s intimate bar, is legitimately stunning. Guests are greeted by a whimsical hand-painted mural, bright colors, a glass-backed bar, and plenty of delicious cocktails. The bar’s signature drinks, the Negroni and Aperol Spritz, add to the Italian ambiance. The VIP area of Il Cuculo transports visitors to a dimly lit bar in Italy – the details and decor are exquisite.

STAY There are so many reasons to stay at Hotel Lulu. On-property food and drinks leave little reason to leave, but if exploring is a must, its location makes walking to many top attractions in Round Top quick and easy. Each room offers top-of-the-line amenities like Le Labo toiletries, flatscreen televisions with streaming capabilities, luxury linens, complimentary WiFi, plush robes, and slippers – all with Texassized views of Round Top. hotellulutx.com

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ARTICLE BY GABI DE LA ROSA PHOTOGRAPHY BY COURTESY OF LAGOON DEVELOPMENT COMPANY Escape to a white sandy beach just minutes from Houston. Lagoonfest Beach Club & Aqua Adventure Park is a luxury beach experience on a 12-acre crystal-clear lagoon, offering countless waterfront activities and a lineup of musical entertainment throughout the season. Activities include a 185foot five-story waterslide, single and tandem kayaks, stand-up paddle boards, aqua cycle crafts, and sailboats. Lagoonfest also boasts the most extensive floating obstacle course on a lagoon in the U.S., located next to a dedicated bumper boat zone.

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