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Tulsa december 2013











Familiar Favorites, Uncommon Generosity, and Lasting Memories


“ LO G A N L I K E S


200 MILES P E R H O U R .” “I love my school because you can learn more and learn fast,” says Logan, a Holland Hall Primary School student. “There’s always something more to learn.” Logan’s favorite subject is weather, especially tornadoes. He plans to be a meteorologist. “Every Friday in third grade we do an experiment, and if it’s about weather, I look forward to Friday all week!” he says.

Let your little tornado learn as fast as he – or she – can go. Contact Olivia Martin, Director of Admission, at (918) 481-1111.

– Logan, Holland Hall Third Grader


Home for

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Editor’s Letter

like tape on a wrapped gift


could see it from my place on the top bunk. Our bedroom looked into the living room of our home.

My younger brother and I shared a room growing up. We also shared the same giddy anticipation on Christmas morning.  An hour or two before “Santa and Mrs. Claus” were awakened we could see the soft glow of Christmas tree lights glistening from the wrapping paper surrounding our gifts. Holiday traditions linger in our minds. They stick to our memories like tape on a wrapped gift box. 

december 2013 publisher & sales director

Tricia Gonzales | 918.688.2792


Eddie Stephens |

executive assistant Lindsey Schackleton |

contributing writers Julie Chin, Debra Laizure, Megan Miers Stacey Schifferdecker, Amanda Simcoe

contributing photographers Michael Hassan, Don Kreutzwiser

Traditions are what drive us to the mall. And they’re what keep us grounded to the deeper seasonal significance. Behind most holiday traditions are gifts. Generosity, love or a combination of both is the motivation. We’re persistent people. And however you celebrate the holidays it’s tradition that binds us together.

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corporate team chief executive officer | Steven Schowengerdt president | Matthew Perry

There’s something at the soul of it all. Maybe it’s a gift.

chief financial officer | DeLand Shore

Or perhaps it’s the spirit of giving. Could it be a common meal shared among family and good friends? Maybe it’s a familiar carol or an instrumental tune. Or perhaps it’s a movie or musical that never grows old (no matter how many times you’ve seen it).

national editor | Lisa Cooke Harrison director of marketing | Brad Broockerd national art director | Carrie Julian advertising director | Mike Baugher production coordinator | Christina Sandberg

We joyfully say “it’s-the-most-wonderful-time-of-the-year.” And the reasons it is are personal to each of us. Reflect on where you’ve been - a New Year waits. Dust off your memories of Christmas holidays past - this year’s experiences become the memories you’ll treasure. Keep it all in perspective. Time flies.

graphic designers | Sara Minor, Cyndi Vreeland executive assistant | Lori Cunningham senior web developer | Lynn Owens it director | Randy Aufderheide

May the giddy-anticipation-in-all-of-us keep holiday tradition alive...and our hearts full of hope.

by Community ™

Eddie Stephens, Editor join us

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Tulsa Lifestyle™ Magazine is published monthly by Kingdom Holdings LLC. It is distributed via the US Postal Service to some of Tulsa’s most affluent neighborhoods. Articles and advertisements do not necessarily reflect Kingdom Holding’s opinions. No portion of this magazine may be reproduced in any form without written consent. Kingdom Holdings does not assume responsibility for statements made by advertisers or editorial contributors. Information in Tulsa Lifestyle™ is gathered from sources considered to be reliable, but the accuracy of all information cannot be guaranteed.

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December 2013

Departments 8

Good Times


Around Town


Star Student


Hot Spot


Locally Owned


Lifestyle Calendar


Parting Thoughts

16 Nutcracker “Sweet”

Glitzy 1920s Paris is setting for Tulsa Ballet’s version of the holiday classic

18 The Gift of Wine


Decades of Persistence Flavors the Girouard Vines Tulsa Deco Label



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December 2013 | Tulsa Lifestyle 7

Good Times

2013 Champions of Health Gala The Champions of Health Gala took place on October 8 at the Cox Business Center in downtown Tulsa. Television personality, Regis Philbin, keynoted the event that benefits The Oklahoma Caring Foundation.

Dr. Gary Trennepohl, Sandra Trennepohl, Karen Gomez, Nico Gomez, Regis Philbin, Dr. Terry Cline, Shiela Haynes, Ted Haynes

Dr. Gary and Sandra Trennepohl, Regis Philbin

8 Tulsa Lifestyle | December 2013

Regis Philbin delivering keynote speech

2013 Champions of Health Gala Keynote Speaker Regis Philbin tours an Oklahoma Caring Van with (L) Dr. Terry Cline, Oklahoma Commissioner of Health and Secretary of Heath and Human Services and (R) Ted Haynes, President of Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Oklahoma and Chairman of the Oklahoma Caring Foundation Board.

Ron King, Dr. Gary Trennepohl

KWTV’s Alex Cameron and KOTV’s LeAnne Taylor emcee the event

Tulsa Lifestyle Business Mixer

Tulsa Lifestyle magazine hosted a business mixer at Blu in downtown Tulsa on October 29. More than 75 guests enjoyed food catered by Infuzion Ultra Lounge & Bistro and wine from Tulsa’s Girouard Vines.Â

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Around Town Fall Season Colors Maple Ridge Tour The Maple Ridge Home and Garden Tour took place on Sunday, October 13. Five homes were showcased - including The Skelly Mansion (2101 S. Madison). Maple Ridge is home to many of Tulsa’s historic and unique homes. The Maple Ridge Neighborhood Association thanks The University of Tulsa and sponsors: Westlake ACE Hardware, Phoenix Cleaners, Southwoods, Jane Butts Interiors, Old Village Wine and Spirits, Tom’s Lawn, Airco, and the Meshri Family Foundation. Tour proceeds benefit street island maintenance and neighborhood beautification projects.

Travel Capacity Increases 50% The Creek Turnpike expansion is complete. Mayor Dewey Bartlett spoke at the expansion opening ceremony on October 17. The eight mile expansion project adds 50% travel capacity to the turnpike between US 75 and Memorial in Tulsa.

Nearly 10,000 Participants and Over 400 Volunteers The 36th annual Tulsa Federal Credit Union Tulsa Run filled the streets on October 26. For the second year the run was produced by the Tulsa Sports Commission. The Community Food Bank of Eastern Oklahoma was this year’s primary beneficiary. The Tulsa Sports Commission awarded the food bank a check for $25,000. Ten other charities will receive contributions from participant’s registration fees.

Tulsa Chamber Awarded The Oklahoma Quality Foundation presented the Tulsa Regional Chamber its “Oklahoma Quality Award for Commitment” on November 8 in Oklahoma City. The award program focuses on organizational self-assessment and self-improvement. It’s designed to increase company and organizational competitiveness in the marketplace. The award has affiliation with the prestigious Malcolm Baldrige Nation-

al Quality Award administered by the U.S. Department of Commerce. Oklahoma’s Quality Award is noted as one of the most rigorous Baldrige programs in the country. The program helps for-profit businesses and not-for-profit organizations identify strengths, opportunities for improvement, and increased efficiencies. Heather Griswold, executive director of the Oklahoma Quality Foundation says, “Quality organizations create quality jobs, and these (winners) have created thousands of jobs in Oklahoma.”

Pearls Support Girl Scouts The Girl Scouts’ holiday pearl sale took place November 23. Fleming’s Restaurant in Utica Square hosted the event that supports the Girl Scouts. Pearls were available for purchase. Prices ranged from $10 to $10,000. Thirty percent of every purchase supports local Girl Scout programs.

New Non-Stop Service from Tulsa International Airport Allegiant Air made its inaugural flight between Tulsa and Orlando, Florida on October 25. The airline now offers non-stop jet service between Tulsa and Orlando via Orlando-Sanford International Airport. Twice weekly flights are available. Tulsa joins nearly 100 U.S. cities served by Allegiant’s low-cost service.

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December 2013 | Tulsa Lifestyle 11

Star Student

Simply the “Best� Clark Theater Presents a Christmas Pageant to Remember Words by Stacey Schifferdecker


n 1986, we celebrated Martin Luther King Jr. Day for the first time. Chernobyl and the Challenger space shuttle disasters occurred. The Oprah Winfrey Show premiered, and Pixar Animation Studios opened. Top Gun was the highest-grossing film, Out of Africa won Best Picture at the Academy Awards, and The Cosby Show was the top television show. Oh, and Clark Theater, a Tulsa Parks program that provides Tulsa-area youth opportunities to express themselves through the arts, performed The Best Christmas Pageant Ever for the first time.

12 Tulsa Lifestyle | December 2013

Twenty-seven years later, space shuttles have been retired, Oprah has moved on to run her network and magazine, and The Cosby Show isn’t even available on Nick at Nite anymore. But Clark Theater is still performing this classic play about a family of six delinquent children, the Herdmans, who take over the annual church Christmas pageant and end up helping everyone see Christmas in a new way. In fact, according to Artistic Director and Park Manager Julie Tattershall, children and grandchildren of some of the original performers are now returning to perform in the play themselves. “It’s fun for Tulsa to have such a long-standing Christmas tradition, and it’s fun for us to be a part of it,” Julie explains. “A lot of people come to see the play every year.” Fourteen-year-old Jenna Sumpter, who plays the pivotal role of the mother, Grace, in this year’s production, agrees that it is fun to be part of a Tulsa tradition – so fun that this is her second time to be part of the cast. She played Beverly when she was 7 years old, the year that, she recalls with a laugh, “the scenery fell over.” And this year, Jenna even brought her younger sisters along, with Megan performing as Maxine and Kaleigh as part of the angel choir. “I really like the message of this play,” says Jenna. “I like the way the Christmas story becomes real to the Herdmans and to the other kids.” Jenna attends rehearsal four days a week and also takes a Meisner acting techniques class at the Henthorne Performing Arts Center building, Clark Theater’s home. But this home-schooled student doesn’t mind the busy schedule. “If you want to do some-

thing, you find time for it,” she explains. Unlike Jenna, 10-year-old Cassidy Rowe is performing in The Best Christmas Pageant Ever for the first time, playing the role of David. In fact, this is the Carnegie Elementary fourth-grader’s first play with Clark Theater. However, he has taken creative dramatics and improv classes through the theater group and also attended one of its weeklong summer camps. Cassidy, who has wanted to be an actor for as long as he can remember, is enjoying “getting to make his character into a real person.” He also points out that, even though Clark Theater performs The Best Christmas Pageant Ever every year, it’s a little different every year. For example, children are never allowed to play the same role twice, the play is often set in different eras such as the 1950s, and different directors take turns at the reins. “They told us they have different directors each year, so something is always different. It’s cool that different people get to do it so it isn’t the same old thing every year,” Cassidy says. This year’s director is Genie Reiman. She first directed The Best Christmas Pageant Ever 10 years ago, and she is excited to get the opportunity to do it again. Genie is adding a new element that she does not think has been done in Tulsa before. The Best Christmas Pageant Ever is narrated by Beth, who is one of the children in the story. This year, Genie has cast two Beth characters, one an adult looking back on her childhood and telling the story, and the other a child in the family and church scenes. “I was trying to think of a way to honor the book’s author, Barcontinued >

December 2013 | Tulsa Lifestyle 13

Star Student

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bara Robinson, who died last summer, and this idea just came to me,” explains Genie.“We are also setting the play in the 1970s, because that is when the book first came out.” Another adult returning to the play is Stage Manager Tabitha Littlefield. Tabitha performed in The Best Christmas Pageant Ever three times as a child, as Gladys, Alice, and Beth. Her first time, as Gladys, the youngest Herdman, was also the year Genie directed the play for the first time. Now a member of Tulsa Playhouse, Tabitha has returned to help with props, lighting, technical stuff, and anything else Genie needs. “I always enjoyed being part of the show,” Tabitha explains. “And I remember this theater as being my second home when I was growing up, so it is fun to be back.” Many of the youth who participate in Clark Theater do feel it is their second home – a place to belong, says Julie. That is the lesson the Herdmans teach in this play, that “everyone, insiders and outsiders, has a place.” And that is the message Julie hopes Clark Theater sends to all the young people who come through the door. She feels

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that because theater allows children to try out another person’s character, it offers them tools for learning empathy and appreciating each other’s uniqueness. “Theater is a cooperative art form. You have to support each other on stage -- you are not out there wishing anyone else to fail.” As Clark Theater prepares for its 27th showing of The Best Christmas Pageant Ever, Genie and Tabitha are enjoying working with all 28 kids in the cast. “Working with children requires a different kind of patience,” Genie says. “But we have a really good, strong cast. They are all so enthusiastic and they want to be here. They learn their lines quickly and are accepting of everyone and help each other.” Reflecting on the play’s important line, “There are no small parts, only small actors,” Genie points out that is what Clark Theater is all about. “Everyone adds to the story.” Clark Theater will present The Best Christmas Pageant Ever at 7:30 on Dec. 6, 7, 13, and 14, and at 2:00 on Dec. 8 and 15. Tickets are $10 and reservations are strongly encouraged; call 918-746-5056 to reserve your seats.


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Nutcracker “Sweet” Glitzy 1920s Paris is setting for Tulsa Ballet’s version of the holiday classic Words by Megan Miers


winkly lights, Christmas trees, candy canes, parties with friends and family – some holiday traditions never go out of style. For many Tulsans, the holiday season wouldn’t be complete without a trip to see Tulsa Ballet’s annual production of “The Nutcracker.” Based on a novel by E.T.A. Hoffman, featuring choreography by artistic director Marcello Angelini, lavish costumes by Luisa Spinatelli and Pyotr Tchaikovsky’s famed score, Tulsa Ballet’s version of the beloved holiday classic tells the tale of Marie, a young ballerina-in-training at the renowned Paris Opera School of Ballet. Set in glamorous 1920s Paris, the ballet follows Marie as she becomes captivated by a Christmas Eve gift of a magical 16 Tulsa Lifestyle | December 2013

Nutcracker doll that comes to life and leads her on a fantastical journey. That evening, Marie and her Nutcracker Prince embark on an adventure in which they do battle with a fierce Mouse King and his evil associates , dance their way through the snowy gardens at Versailles and, surrounded by dancers from all over the world, marry at an enchanted castle. For the second year in a row, eighth graders Stasia Boren, 14, and Courtney Skalnik, 13, will be sharing the role of young Marie in Tulsa Ballet’s production of “The Nutcracker.” The adult version of Marie will be danced by Tulsa Ballet company professionals. For Boren and Skalnik, who are students in the pre-professional

program at Tulsa Ballet’s Center for Dance Education, the opportunity to play such a plum role is a-dream-come-true. Both girls auditioned with dozens of other hopefuls for to play Marie, a part that requires a combination of technical skill and youthful appearance, as well as many hours of dedication to the art of ballet. Boren, who has been studying ballet for eight years, and Skalnik, who has 10 years of ballet training under her belt, have both danced in Tulsa Ballet’s “Nutcracker” before in the roles of a soldier, mouse and party guest, as well as performed in the company’s other ballets, such as its recent production of “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.” “It was really exciting – I couldn’t believe it was happening,” Skalnik says of her first “Nutcracker” performance as Marie last year. “You don’t feel like yourself when you’re up there on stage.” Some people might think that having years of training and having already performed a role would mean a dancer doesn’t get pre-performance jitters. Not so, says Boren. “I always get so nervous before I go on,” she says. “But then I get into the character and the story and I’m not nervous. I love the acting and playing a character.” In addition to their regular school schedule, both girls maintain a grueling, six-days-per-week schedule of ballet classes plus several hours of “Nutcracker” rehearsals every Saturday and Sunday. Such a tight schedule leaves them little time for other activities, something their non-dancer friends don’t always understand. “Most kids take ballet lessons when they’re little,” Skalnik explains, adding that the level of discipline and dedication involved

for someone on a professional track is much different than that of someone who only dances on a recreational basis. “Some of our friends don’t understand why we like ballet. They don’t realize that it takes up your whole life. It’s a lot of hard work, but it’s also a lot of fun” Boren and Skalnik say the long hours are worth it because they both aspire to become professional ballerinas someday and tackle roles in other famous ballets such as Giselle, Coppelia and La Bayadere. “People will be like, ‘You want to come over?’ and I say, ‘I can’t. I have ballet.’” Boren says. “It’s almost like going to (regular) school. But when you’re here, you’re dancing and you’re happy.”

Tulsa Ballet’s performances of “The Nutcracker” will be held at the Tulsa Performing Arts Center’s Chapman Music Hall, 110 E. 2nd St., on the following dates: December 14, 15, 21, 22 at 2 p.m. December 13, 20, 21, 22 at 7 p.m. For ticket information, visit or call 918.749.6407

December 2013 | Tulsa Lifestyle 17



ARTICLE Eddie Stephens

Decades of Persistence Flavors the Girouard Vines Tulsa Deco Label


e think gifts during the holidays. Imagine a gift in the making for 50 years. Chris Girouard feels that way. The downtown winery he owns and operates with his wife, Jan, is wrapped in his dad, George Girouard’s, decades of persistence. “My dad was persistent. He labored in grape breeding and cross pollination for 45 years. There was no promise of success during the first 25 years when cross pollinating indigenous wild vines with traditional European varietals. Even so, he stayed at it and produced the George Girouard Hybrids. We started the winery to continue dad’s legacy.” Girouard Vines experienced its first commercial harvest last year of the George Girouard hybrids. And they anticipate their first commercial wine release of those hybrids in about a year. “We’re currently aging wine from the hybrids that was barreled a year ago,” says Chris Girouard. The waiting deepens the wine’s quality. “We’re all about producing high quality wine consistently.” He anticipates that 2013 will be a good year. From Tulsa to California and back

The Tulsa winery has local and California roots. Featured grape varieties grow in south Tulsa County and in the growing regions of northern California at Clarksburg. George Girouard bred four grape hybrids over a 45 year period. He wanted a new grape varietal that would adapt to Oklahoma.  The elder Girouard’s persistence has influenced Chris Girouard to commercially attempt to produce wine from the George Gir18 Tulsa Lifestyle | December 2013

ouard hybrids. The winery produces the Tulsa Deco wine brand to carry on the winery’s commercial wine production. Girouard Vines now offers seven varietals under the Tulsa Deco label. Westhope, Napa Valley, NV, Cabernet Sauvignon

The label features the Westhope residence. The home was designed by architect, Frank Lloyd Wright for Richard Lloyd Jones, founder of the Tulsa Tribune. The Westhope Cabernet Sauvignon presents a lively aroma of red and black cherries, blackberries, plums, and red licorice. It has a clean, fruit driven taste with a medium body and acidity that’s easy to drink. It was awarded the 2012 Silver Award by the San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition.

Warehouse Market, 2009 California Sauvignon Blanc

The label honors Tulsa’s Warehouse Market. The market was the main supplier of Tulsa’s groceries in 1929. The wine has aromas of lemon peel, lime, and ruby red grapefruit. It has hints of baked apple and pear too. It received the Bronze Award from the 2012 Finger Lake International Wine Competition and the 2012 San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition Bronze Award. Streamline, 2009 Cabernet Franc

It’s the sixth wine to join the Tulsa Deco label. The label honors the streamline movement of the Tulsa Deco era and the Boulder on the Park building, the 1937 facility of Holland Hall High School. This wine has the aroma and flavor of red raspberries, red and black cherries, and red currants. You’ll notice a spicy flavor of clove and nutmeg too. Spotlight, 2010 Merlot

This wine is named after Tulsa’s historic Spotlight Theatre. It’s the fifth wine in the Tulsa Deco series. You’ll taste the red and black fruit flavors of currants, cherries, and plums. The wine is easy to drink and has a hint of black pepper. Spotlight received the Gold Medal in 2011 from the San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition. And it was awarded the Silver Award from the 2012 Finger Lakes International Wine Competition. Fire Alarm Red, 2010 Petite Sirah

Tulsa’s historic Fire Alarm Building inspired this label. It was the first of Girouard Vine’s Tulsa Deco label. The wine is produced from California grapes. Its aromas are intense. There are flavors of jammy-roasted black cherries, blackberries, black currants, licorice, cedar, and black pepper. It was awarded the Gold Award at the 2012 Finger Lakes International Wine Competition. And it received the Silver Award from the 2012 San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition. Bliss, 2009 Late Harvest Chardonnay

This is the seventh and most recent wine from the Tulsa Deco label. It honors the now demolished Bliss Hotel. Bliss is a dessert wine from Clarksburg, California. It’s a sweet wine with a golden color. The wine gets is color from botrytis, the “Noble Rot.” This is responsible for the production of the best sweet wines in the world. It has a deep, golden brown color. There are taste-notes of burnt oranges, apricots, raisins, dates, figs, toffee, butterscotch, and caramel.  Bliss pairs well with custard-like desserts. Also enjoy it with peach, apple, pear, pineapple, and pumpkin desserts. 

Atlas Life, 2010 Russian River Chardonnay

The label shows the iconic, downtown Tulsa landmark, the Atlas Life Building. It’s the fourth Tulsa Deco labeled wine. It has pronounced flavors of baked apple, pineapple, mango, ripe Bosch pear. The flavors are buttery and slightly smoky. The wine received the 2012 Bronze Award from the Finger Lake International Wine Competition and the 2012 San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition Bronze Award. Regional recognition too

Girouard Vines harvested a collection of state wine awards recently. The 2013 Watonga Cheese and Wine Festival recognized the winery’s label in the non-Oklahoma grape category. Fire Alarm Red, 2010 Petite Sirah won best-of-show for red. The Warehouse Market, 2009 California Sauvignon Blanc earned bestof-show in the white grape category. Atlas Life, 2010 Russian River Chardonnay won a Silver Award. The Westhope, Napa Valley, NV, Cabernet Sauvignon, Spotlight, 2010 Merlot, and Streamline, 2009 Cabernet Franc were each awardcontinued >

December 2013 | Tulsa Lifestyle 19

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The Gift of wine


ed a Gold medal. And the George Hybrid Blend earned its first competitive Gold as well. The new Tannat grape blend earned silver alongside the Gold won by the Bliss, 2009 Late Harvest Chardonnay. Judges ranked the winning wines by combined scores rather than according to the number of competitors in the category. Holiday perfection

The holiday season is perfect for wine. Pair a Tulsa Deco label wine with your main dish or select the featured dessert wine. Visit Girouard Vines during the holiday season too. Tastings take place on Thursdays, from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. Reserve their indoor facility or their spacious, picturesque courtyard for private parties and events too. Girouard Vines and their Tulsa Deco wine label are a gift of persistence in wine making. Get a taste of their unique Tulsa character when you visit the winery at 817 E. 3rd Street in downtown Tulsa. Learn more about their wine making history, their weekly tasting events, the Tulsa Deco wine label selections, and their facilities at or by phoning Jan Girouard at 918.231.4592.

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December 2013 | Tulsa Lifestyle 21 10/17/13 8:13 PM

Hot Spot

The Polo Grill A Tulsa tradition thirty years in the making Words by Amanda Simcoe Photography by Don Kreutzwiser, Ballyhoo Creative Group


hen contemplating holiday traditions, childhood memories are often the first things to come to mind. Each year I fondly recall getting dressed up to go see The Nutcracker, walking around Philbrook to see the Festival of Trees, and watching the holiday skaters put on their show at the Williams Center Forum. The first memory that comes to mind however is of walking around in front of the shops at Utica Square to see the Nutcracker Vignettes, and sipping hot chocolate while waiting to see Santa in his home in the square. Wandering through the lights (which are turned on each Thanksgiving in a 40 year old ceremony) and window shopping is still one of my favorite things to do after a holiday season dinner at one of my longtime Tulsa favorites. The Polo Gill, now in their 30th year, is one of my first Tulsa favorites. While many wonderful restaurants have come and gone, Chef Robert Merrifield continues to impress diners with the same level of excellence that put the Polo Grill on the map when they first opened in 1983. From the Tomato Bisque that hooked me as a small child, to the stoneground jalapeno cheese grits that forever cemented me in the “pro-grit” camp years ago, two generations of Tulsans now have their favorites from Chef Merrifield. Throughout the years this Tulsa tradition has played host to countless memorable moments. Birthdays, anniversaries, engagements and holiday parties have taken place in one of the Polo Grill’s many private dining rooms. Impeccable service, custom menu options, and Tulsa’s most expansive wine list have brought families and businesses back time and again. 22 Tulsa Lifestyle | December 2013

Though there will always be classic Polo Grill favorites, new and seasonal items have been added regularly by Chef Merrifield, as well as by the talented up-and-coming chefs who have started and built their careers in his kitchen. Notable Tulsa Chefs Justin Thompson, Michelle Donaldson, and Grant Vespasian all worked under his guidance, and now he has welcomed a new culinary talent. Newly named Executive Chef Justin Donaldson joined the restaurant this past summer, after spending time in some very well-renowned kitchens in Chicago, New York, and Dallas. He was offered a position at the prestigious French Laundry in Napa, before ultimately opting to return to his home state instead. Donaldson brings with him a fresh approach to fine dining, as well as the classic culinary training that has made the Polo Grill a success throughout the past three decades. Among the dishes added for the season are the Broken Arrow Ranch Venison, and the Mediterranean Sea Bass, which shows Chef Donaldson’s playful side with a balsamic brown butter that has been transformed into a powder. He has also been creating special tasting menus for the winemaker dinners they host in a private room just off the bar. The next scheduled wine dinner will be held on January 17th with wines from Tamber Bey. One other notable change for this Tulsa tradition in recent years has been their hours. Sundays, a day they used to be closed, now offer a brunch menu. Menu items range from sweet to savory, and can be paired with one of many classic brunch cocktails.

For reservations, or to book your private event call 918.744.4280 HOURS OF OPERATION: Monday - Thursday: 11am - 10pm Friday: 11am - 11pm Saturday 10:30am - 11pm Sunday: 10:30am - 9pm Polo Grill is closed when observing Labor Day, Memorial Day, Fourth of July, Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day, and New Year’s Day.


Amanda Simcoe is a Chef and food journalist. Also known as The Cheese Wench, she is passionate about culinary education, craft beer and all things dairy. She co-hosts OKfoodie on KRMG, and hosts Feed Tulsa Now on the TulsaFeed YouTube channel.





Family Holiday Recipe

For as long as I can remember, my Mother’s eggnog recipe has been a favorite around our house during the holidays. Rich and decadent meets light and fluffy, this recipe is like drinkable custard. Perhaps one day, after several cups, I will tell you the tale of how she got the recipe, and why we call it “Mother’s Blackmail Eggnog”. Until then, enjoy it with your own family. Cheers! Mother Wench’s “Blackmail Eggnog” 1 dozen eggs 2 C sugar 1 C Brandy (optional) 2 Quarts Heavy Whipping Cream ¾ C powdered sugar 3 mixing bowls Directions: Separate eggs. In the largest bowl whisk the egg yolks, brandy and granulated sugar until pale in color. Be sure to mix immediately upon adding ingredients as to prevent scorching of the yolks by the sugar and alcohol. In the second bowl, beat the whipping cream until foamy (not stiff). Gently fold into the first bowl. In the third bowl, combine powdered sugar and egg whites and beat until soft peaks form. Gently fold into previous mixture. Add grated nutmeg to individual servings.

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A Lesson in “Cuff Love” Re-gifting & Rustic Cuff

Words by Julie Chin


or one Tulsan, a guest appearance on “The Oprah Winfrey Show” about re-gifting, would turn into a gift that keeps on giving. She just didn’t know it at the time. “Oprah was looking for guests, and I come from a family of re-gifters. So, I wrote a really funny letter, and the producers called and asked me to be on the show. I was so excited,” says Jill Donovan, Tulsa mom and Rustic Cuff creator. Donovan planned to wow Oprah’s viewers with humor, but instead left humiliated. “There I was on the couch with Oprah and before I had a chance to be funny, the etiquette experts told me I was rude and tacky for re-gifting. I was devastated to be called out in front of 20 million people,” says Donovan. After the show, she cried, cleaned out her re-gifting closet and donated everything. “I just kept thinking, as bad as this feels, this is going to have a greater good,” says Donovan. And it would. Three years later, Donovan decided it was time to fill that closet back up again, but this time with her own designs.

24 Tulsa Lifestyle | December 2013

“I’ve always had an obsession with cuffs, and I thought, why not make my own cuffs?” says Donovan. So, over the next year with the help of the Internet, she spent many sleepless nights awake in her guest bedroom learning how to make cuffs long after her family went to sleep. It was there Rustic Cuff was born. “A Rustic Cuff is something that you can wear both day and night. We have something for any day of the week and any outfit,” says Donovan. The bracelets are made of exotic skins, brass, stainless steel, sterling silver, leather, and Lucite. “About 30% are custom. Monograms are really popular, and I love doing cuffs that are reminders of a special moment in a person’s life,” says Donovan. Donovan’s personal touch landed Rustic Cuff on the red carpet. “In the beginning, I picked out celebrities who were on my TV late at night while I was learning to make the cuffs. I researched their likes, custom made five cuffs for each and mailed them. The next thing I knew I would turn on the TV or

open a magazine and they would be wearing them,” says Donovan. Miranda Lambert, Kathy Lee Gifford and Giuliana Rancic are among many often spotted sporting the chic wrist wear. The cuffs have also been featured on “Good Morning America”, “The View” and in numerous magazines, including People, InStyle and Seventeen. Those late nights have now turned into long days for the busy mom. Donovan still designs the cuffs, but she now has a staff of nine to help her run the worldwide business in her expanding Tulsa showroom. With orders coming in from Australia to Alva, Oklahoma, they’re a busy bunch. The cuffs are sold in 125 boutiques around the country, four here in Tulsa. “And just in time for the holidays, we’re going to be in all of Dillard’s 282 stores with a big Christmas Box set,” says Donovan. The whole collection is also online at In two short years Donovan has grown Rustic Cuff into a million dollar business. However despite her success, and Oprah’s experts, she’s still a re-gifter. In fact, re-gifting is part of her business plan. “At Rustic Cuff, if there’s a mistake or the wrong cuff is shipped, then we tell the customer to keep it, and re-gift it, and we’ll send them the right one. So, yes, I still re-gift, just through other people.”

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Lifestyle Calendar

December that mixes holiday songs and fan favorites including “Paper Roses,” “Puppy Love,” and “It Takes Two.” December 1.

December 5 Jimmy Buffett Downtown

Local Parrotheads won’t want to miss this chance to enjoy the full Margaritaville experience as Jimmy Buffett and the Coral Reefer Band return to Tulsa as part of Jimmy Buffett’s “Songs From St. Somewhere” Tour 2013. The show features songs from Jimmy’s newest album, “Songs From St. Somewhere,” as well older favorites. December 5.

December 5-8 Tulsa! A Radio Christmas Spectacular Downtown

It’s Christmas Eve 1949, and KMOK, Tulsa’s fourth-most-popular radio station, is preparing its annual “Radio Christmas Spectacular.” If the show doesn’t bring in more listeners, the station will close on New Year’s Eve. But when the famous Broadway actress who is supposed to headline the show becomes incapacitated, the KMOK staff has to pull off a Christmas miracle. December 5-8.

November 26-December 15

December 5-8 Holiday Market

Festival of Trees

Expo Square


Holiday shopping has begun! Find something for everyone on your list at Tulsa’s Junior League Holiday Market. Special events this year include Christmas and Croissants Brunch, Cookies with the Clauses, free entry for military families on Pearl Harbor Day, and a Gift Card Pull. There is even a “Man Cave” tired men can retreat to and enjoy some football while more dedicated shoppers continue to visit the various vendors. December 5-8.

Celebrate the holiday season during the 29th Annual Philbrook Festival of Trees. Help Philbrook celebrate its 75th anniversary as you tour the beautifully decorated gardens and museum and enjoy the artwork, trees, and gingerbread houses created by local artists and school children. November 26-December 15.

November 29-January 5 Winterfest

December 6-8



After welcoming more than 140,000 visitors last year, Winterfest returns to downtown Tulsa for a sixth straight year. Come and enjoy outdoor ice skating beneath Tulsa’s skyline while watching free entertainment on the outdoor stage. November 29-January 5.


December 1 Donny and Marie: Christmas in Tulsa Downtown

“A Little Bit Rock n’ Roll” Donny and “A Little Bit Country” Marie take a nostalgic book back at their careers in this this dynamic stage show 28 Tulsa Lifestyle | December 2013

Cities and towns throughout Germany feature Christkindlmarkt, outdoor markets opened in December and decked out in seasonal splendor. The German-American Society of Tulsa brings this custom to our town as crafters and vendors display their wares, including imported ornaments, nutcrackers, and Germany’s famous Christmas stollen. The Christkindl and St. Nikolaus walk among the booths, greeting the youngest shoppers, who can also enjoy the “Spielstube” – a special area where children can listen to Christmas stories and enjoy hands-on activities and goodies. December 6-8. continued >

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Lifestyle Calendar

December 6-8, 13-15

December 8

The Best Christmas Pageant Ever

Jingle Bell Run/Walk



The talented Clark Youth Theatre present their annual show of this classic Christmas play about a family of children who never go to church but end up with the lead roles in the Christmas play. Chance, intimidation, and a little Christmas magic help bring this family, as well as the rest of the town, to a new understanding of the holiday season. December 6-8, 13-14.

Join with thousands of other runners and walkers to kick off your holidays by helping to fight arthritis, our nation’s most common cause of disability. Don your jingle bells and holiday costume as part of the Arthritis Foundation’s Jingle Bell Run/Walk for Arthritis®. December 8.

December 7

December 8 Cascia Christmas Walk

Ugly Sweater 5K


Mohawk Park

The annual Cascia Christmas Walk includes a tour of four beautifully decorated homes and a Holiday Boutique featuring over 60 vendors with special and unique gift offerings. In addition, the Cascia Bistro will feature tasty treats and festive lunches. December 8.

Who doesn’t love a truly ugly Christmas sweater? Sign up for the Ugly Sweater 5k and receive a run shirt with a Christmas sweater design! This event also features a Christmas sweater contest with categories such as most creative, prettiest, and ugliest/tackiest. December 7.

December 10 A Vintage Holiday: Remembering Aunt Chick

December 7


Carols and Crumpets Midtown

The Tulsa Herb Society hosts their annual herb craft fair featuring distinguished artists and crafters from a four-state area. Shoppers will find holiday greenery, fresh and dried herbs, unique gifts and decorations, and more. December 7.

Join Megan Bryan, granddaughter of cookie maven Nettie McBirney a.k.a. “Aunt Chick” as she discusses the famed cutters and offers tips for holiday cookie decorating. Called her generation’s Martha Stewart, Aunt Chick wrote a cooking column for the Tulsa World from the 1930s to the 1950s and also designed cooking products (including her famous, patented cookie cutters) and wrote cookbooks. December 10.

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December 12-23

ing bands, drill teams, gigantic helium balloons, and even a visit from You-Know-Who! December 14.

A Christmas Carol Downtown

Snow falls on Victorian London as three holiday ghosts, a deceased former partner, and one loving family expose Scrooge’s greed and help him discover the joy that comes with generosity and compassion. The large, multi-generational cast adorned in period costumes provides plenty of old-fashioned seasonal cheer. December 12-13.

December 13-22 Tulsa Ballet: The Nutcracker Downtown

Tulsa Ballet presents this beloved holiday classic following the adventures of Clara, a young girl who falls asleep after a Christmas Eve party at her home and dreams herself into a fantastic world where toys become larger than life. Her beloved Nutcracker comes to life to defend her from the Mouse King, and then turns into a Prince and joins Clara on her visit to the beautiful Land of Sweets. December 13-22.

December 14 Tulsa Downtown Parade of Lights

December 19 Trans-Siberian Orchestra Downtown

It’s your last chance to see the Trans-Siberian Orchestra perform their multi-platinum rock opera, “The Lost Christmas Eve.” The orchestra is celebrating their 15 years of touring with an encore and final performance of this modern Charles Dickens-like classic. “The Lost Christmas Eve,” performed in its entirety for the final time, will feature the hit single “Wizards in Winter” as well as longtime crowd favorites “Christmas Nights in Blue” and “Siberian Sleigh Ride.” December 19.

December 26-27 Winter Workshop Gilcrease Museum of Art

Winter Workshop offers families a variety of wintertime art activities reflecting different cultures and time periods. Visitors create works of art at different creation stations as they enjoy Gilcrease Museum during the holiday season.


Welcome the holiday season with one of Tulsa’s great traditions: the Tulsa Downtown Parade of Lights! The festive interfaith celebration starts at 6 p.m. at 4th and Elgin and features spectacular floats, march-

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Parting Thoughts

Magic Santa Snow and Other Holiday Traditions Words Debra Laizure


he air is crisp and the holidays are in full swing. This is the perfect time of year to build lifelong memories with your family. Holiday traditions give a wink to the past and create bonds with loved ones, friends, and neighbors. I love learning about other families’ traditions. Food is usually the topic of discussion. Recipes handed down over the years connect us with our heritage. Simply looking through stained and torn recipe cards can bring back a flood of childhood memories to pass down to younger generations. My family has plenty of recipes, and we love to cook and share the goodies with friends. New England meat pies, grandpa’s butter crunch brittle, and my father’s jalapeño cheese dip are holiday staples. Like many families, we make the rounds of holiday light displays, watch It’s a Wonderful Life, and attend midnight church service on Christmas Eve. Ice skating at Winterfest is becoming a new fun activity and it wouldn’t be Christmas without our marathon gingerbread house decorating session. And each day, we move the felt snowman forward on the advent calendar my mother made for us years ago. Speaking of homemade gifts, I encourage you to create a new family tradition by making some gifts this year. One year, our family decided to forgo gifts from the store and make our own. We

34 Tulsa Lifestyle | December 2013

framed handwritten letters about the qualities we admired in each other. Each of us received a priceless gift which we can keep forever. My children still say this was the best gift they have ever received. However, some traditions aren’t as pleasant. When I was a child, my parents made me eat breakfast before opening any presents. I now understand it was a strategic move so I wouldn’t have an upset stomach from the candy in my stocking. My complaint wasn’t about delaying the ‘gift opening’ as much as what was served—oatmeal. Yes, it is healthy and filling, and I still hate it to this day. My favorite tradition is a fairly recent one. When we moved from Brookside to south Tulsa, our new home had a beautiful fireplace. Our first Christmas in the house was very special as we carefully hung our stockings from the mantle. And what did we find on Christmas morning among the half eaten cookies for Santa? Big snowy footprints on the hearth from Santa’s boots! And the snow didn’t melt—because it was magic snow from the North Pole. We talked about it for months. Sadly, the magic snow (suspiciously similar to baking soda) is swept away each year as we put away the decorations, but we look forward to next year for more magic snow and other family traditions. What’s your favorite holiday tradition? What will you add to the list?

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Tulsa Lifestyle December 2013  
Tulsa Lifestyle December 2013  

December 2013 Issue of Tulsa Lifestyle