PRIME Living 2013 March/April Issue

Page 1

The Luxury Lifestyle Magazine of Texas

daring From springtime soirees to curating an artful home, discover the designer in you

World of Wonders Journey to destinations where modern design reigns

Off to the Races Top off the season with a Derby themed garden party

Air Up There Check off your bucket list with a trio of sky-high adventures

On April 20th, it’s all about you! Most women postpone a personal focus on their health and well being. Come enjoy a fun morning, plus discover the latest in living well & aging well!

Celebrate a little Me time!



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7 communities . 84 model homes 327 available homes . 20,001 decorating ideas

free admission WeeKends in aPril onlY!


family affair

Strength in family is the foundation for this builder’s blueprint to success


life of the party

Get the skinny on the latest tips and trends for spring entertaining



modern marvels

Travel the globe to see mesmerizing architectural wonders of the world

march/april • 2013


alsoinside 11 • cocktails & conversation • Where to Go, What to Do Buzz • Rustic Charm • My Life • Age of Aquarius Flights of Fancy • The Curated Home


Publisher & Editor-in-Chief Karyn Dean

Publisher Terry Dean

37 • connoisseur • PL’s Guide to Discerning Taste Table Talk • Hawthorn Beckons • Waffles Made Over Southern Sipping • Day at the Derby

Managing Editor Michelle Jacoby

49 • the gentlemen’s room • For the man who commands the very best Just Add Water • Sedan de Thrill • Fostering Entrepreneurship Tech Trends • One Way Oar Another

Art Direction & Design LuckyYou! Creative Erin Loukili Misty Voitovski

66 • escape • Greetings from destinations near and far Enlightened Explorer • Granbury 71 • live well • Feel Good, Look Good Eye to Eye • Health News • ABCs of Beauty A Room of His Own • No Bones About It



Contact 311 Julie Rivers Drive Sugar Land, Texas 77498 281.277.2333 Editorial Inquiries


Advertising Inquiries subscribe AT

79 The Luxury




ders design reigns of Wonwhere Worlddestinat modern ions Journey to Off to the Races garden party with a Derby themed

There with a trio of sky-high adventures Air Up your bucket list Check off


©2013 Prime Living Magazine is a publication of SRG Services, Inc., published bi-monthly. Copies are mailed and hand-delivered to households and businesses throughout the greater Houston area. This publication may not be reproduced, in whole or in part, without the express prior written permission of the publisher. The publisher assumes no responsibility to any party for the content of any advertisement in this publication. The opinions expressed herein do not necessarily reflect the position of the publication.

of Texas

time From spring ing an soirees to curat discover artful home, you the designer in

Top off the season

American Heart Association's Heart Ball


director of marketing Jennifer Dean Circulation/ Distribution Brian Stavert

78 • prime list • Events, Galas and Fundraisers


on the cover Dallas event planner Todd Fiscus sure knows how to turn the ordinary into the extraordinary. For an event in he planned in Sonoma, Calif. Fiscus transformed a barn into a gorgeous setting for a dinner party, complete with hydrangeas and crystal chandeliers. Photography by Rebecca Lorraine Robertson.

RiveR Oaks 2034-A West Gray Houston, Texas 77019

cominG To

sugaR Land April 2013 1531 S. Highway 6, Suite 200 Sugar land, Texas 77478

BooK YoUr AppoinTmEnT ToDAY!


publisher’s note

There’s no getting

around that I'm drawnto

brighT, vibrant colors

coming up Ever dream of living in James Bond's shoes? If so, don't miss our upcoming Jet Set Travel Issue, where we'll take you to exciting destinations 007 himself would love.

code decoded Throughout Prime Living, you’ll find QR codes, designed to heighten your reading experience. Here’s how to use them: 1. From your mobile phone, download any free QR code scanning app. 2. Scan codes, like the one below, for fun surprises and special offers. Happy Scanning!



karyn dean Publisher & Editor-in-Chief

here’s no getting around that I’m drawn to bright, vibrant colors—which is why our profile on event planner extraordinaire Todd Fiscus is one of my favorites in this issue. In “Life of the Party” (page 29), Todd shares his inspiration and insider tips on his events, including one I’m planning myself. I’ve found a kindred color seeker in him! I also have great news to share about Todd: He’s expanded his business to cover all of Texas. Congrats to Todd, Josh and the entire team! Looking for more party inspiration? “Day at the Derby” (page 46) gives you great ideas, for your Kentucky Derby party. We took our love for the derby one step further by giving you a bit o’history on the traditional drink of the race, the mint julep. Whip up your own creation with the handy recipe in “Southern Sipping” (page 44). Special thanks to Teresa Menéndez Myers, Mark Wagner, Sarah Nguyen and Jorge Raptis for the recipe! One of our new departments, Bragging Bites is turning out to be one of our favorites because it incorporates two things Texans love: food and bragging about our food. To prove it, we bring you some of Texas’ best breakfast food in “Waffles Made Over” (page 42). And for the record, Bistro Alex’s chicken waffle is definitely worth bragging about. As huge fans of Animal Planet’s hit TV show “Tanked,” we were thrilled that Brett and Wade assisted us with “Just Add Water” (page 50). Texas is home to one of their all-time top 5 custom fish tanks (check out the video by scanning the QR code page 51). I’m firmly convinced that there isn’t a room anywhere (man cave or otherwise) that wouldn’t be vastly improved with an awesome fish tank. And just think of the conversation value! Our bucket list recommendations in “Flights of Fancy” (page 20) provide three experiences you may not have considered yet for your list. Not sure I can muster the courage for free falling, but I’m definitely adding hot air ballooning to my list. Although I was familiar with the term, I didn’t really know what a “curated” home was… until Alton LaDay of the Houston Design Center explained it. So, with his assistance, we share advice from six leading local designers in “The Curated Home (page 22). They share the “whys” and “how-tos” on creating your own curated space. A big “thank you” to Roseann Rogers with John Daugherty, Susie Goff with The Johnston Development Corp., and Haunani Shipper with Total PR for assisting us with our list of upcoming home tours. Get your calendar and pencil ready to mark these spring dates listed in “Homes On Parade” (page 12). On a personal note, it is with great sadness that I share the loss of Thia McKaan, Texas’s only certified Tea Master. Thia was featured in the January/February 2013 issue. She was a joy to work with and our deepest sympathy goes out to her family and friends. Consider adding something today to your bucket list and make it a great day. YOLO!







G R E AT S O U T H W E S T E Q U E S T R I A N C E N T E R , K AT Y, T E X A S G R E AT S O U T H W E S T E Q U E S T R I A N C E N T E R , K AT Y, T E X A S

MARCH 20 - MARCH 30, 2013 MARCH 20 - MARCH 30, 2013



Sugar Land’s leading designers working together again to beautify every home. Sherry Renfrow Moore is not new to Sugar Land, but new to The Design Source. She is bringing with her over 40 years of experience. Combining the talents of Jeanne Garland, who built The Design Source into an exceptional established business, they are a driving force in first class interior design.

The Design Source, with a full staff of creative Interior Designers, is sure to inspire the perfect design for any style. Sherry Renfrow Moore

Jeanne Garland

Complete Interior Design Services



Master Planning


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THE DESIGN SOURCE 3644 Highway 6 South | Sugar Land, TX 77478 | 281.242.3336 Visit us at or on Facebook


cocktails & conversation

cocktails & conversation the prime living guide to what's happening now

inside: Soft Surroundings

12 16 17 18 20 22

• • • • • •

The Buzz | What's New Point of Interest | Rustic Charm My LIfe | Treasure Seeker Nostalgia | Age of Aquarius Bucket List | Flights of Fancy Design | The Curated Home

march/april • 2013


cocktails & conversation


>> for the home tourist

homes on parade ’


is the season for spring home tours and thankfully, Houston does not disappoint. First up is the 31st Annual Bellaire Home Tour featuring six unique homes and is set for March 23-24. “We have been eager to showcase some of the marvelous landscaping in and around Bellaire, and this year we are able to do just that,” says chair Betty Bellomy. texas home tours New to the lineup this year are demonstrations and seminars by chefs, interior decorators and other Modern Home Tour (Dallas) Turtle Creek home experts. Proceeds benefit the Nature Discovery March 2 Home Tour (Dallas) Center, a free community resource offering April 21 on nature and science activities and programs. Houston’s Largest Home Tour ASID Show Home Tour Another tour of six wonderful homes awaits you the Weekends in April (Riverstone – Fort Bend County) weekend of April 6-7 at the 2013 Houston Heights May 11-27 Association Home & Garden Tour. This year’s theme is “Then & Now” and will give guests an opportunity Prestige Builders Nantucket Showcase (Tanglewood) to tour a variety of old, new and eclectic residences April 12-13 throughout the neighborhood. The weekend also includes the Candlelight Dinner & Auction, held at the Fiesta located at 1407 Studewood.

>> for the book lover

Thomas Jefferson: The Art of Power

jon meacham


Random House | TK Images | Brian Tafelmeyer


magine this: a nation still young, but tipping in dangerous directions, divided by hate-filled partisan politics to the point of inaction and near-hopelessness. A news media that support either party so blatantly that very little actual news gets through. A population that seems as likely to race to the gun rack as to the voting booth—and that, in its stupidest moments, even imagines leaving the nation. Sound familiar? It certainly would if you happened to be Thomas Jefferson. Jon Meacham’s dazzling new political biography, “Thomas Jefferson: The Art of Power” (Random House, $35), never once draws a specific parallel between the times endured by the nation’s third president and our own. It doesn’t need to. You can read the book after turning off the evening news, and not always know which is which. Whether it’s the life-and-death struggle for America’s soul between Federalists like Alexander Hamilton and John Adams or the so-called Democratic Republicans gathering around Jefferson, or perhaps the scandalous and personal attacks of newspapers aligned with either party, there is way too much in Meacham’s book to make us feel at home. Whatever your politics today, the impressively fresh interpretation here is Jefferson’s mastery of the political game. Too often, it seems, biographers have taken the author of our Declaration of Independence at his own word: that he was a dreamer, an impractical idealist, a guy who wanted to stay home at Monticello and plant things. Meacham calls this self-assessment into question and ultimately disproves it with historical fact. While never an inspiring orator, Jefferson was gifted in using the political process he helped invent (yes, his era’s version of the smoke-filled room) to achieve his agenda for the nation. Hmm, imagine that. – John DeMers

sweet escape U


cocktails & conversation

>> for the spa seeker

rban Retreat Day Spa, Salon & Skin Center will open a new location on April 1 in Sugar Land. The new center will offer hair, nail, skincare, as well as massage. (Sugar Land clients interested in laser services will be referred to the River Oaks location.) “We looked for a location that would match the stellar reputation of Urban Retreat River Oaks,” says president of development Mike Butte. “Because Sugar Land is consistently ranked as one of the most affluent

and fastest growing cities in the nation, it was a perfect choice for a second location.” Urban Retreat’s philosophy is to pamper clients while providing the industry’s leading beauty solutions. “Our goal is to provide service with an experience,” says Saira Ali, Urban Retreat president. “We offer Houstonians a true luxury spa experience. We want our clients to not only love their services, but the whole experience from start to finish.” 1531 S. Highway 6, Sugar Land.

>> for those sweet on design

madmacarons for

>> for the home body


Soft Surroundings

n the world of pastries, the French are in a league of their own. And why not? With such delights as croissants, éclairs and tarts, they’ve cornered the market in all things delectable. But it’s the macaron, the lovely bitesized cookie, that has people singing the praises of French pastry making. Just ask the owners of Macaron by Patisse, a new boutique bakery in the heart of River Oaks. Upon entering, you’ll feel as if you’ve just walked in from a Paris city street into a charmingly posh space bedecked with chandeliers, mirrored walls and chevron floors amidst tinges of teal and yellow accents. Beyond the beautiful décor, of course, is a sumptuous array of macarons, cake pops and cupcakes, which you can enjoy as you lounge on luxury bar seating. Designed by Nina Magon and the staff at Contour Interior Design ( in Houston, Macaron by Patisse is the perfect example of delicious design. 2033 W. Gray. 713-965-7359

surround Yourself


ttention, home décor enthusiasts—you have a new place to feed your obsession. With its newest location in The Woodlands, Soft Surroundings has an inspired offering of home furnishings and accents, including its newest line, the Retreat Collection. Inspired by the design team’s trip to France, the collection is filled with French-inspired furniture, bedding, decorative accessories and rugs. But for something truly unique, the Brocante line of antiques is made up of signature pieces that reflect the style of southern France. From the Boulevard Marceau accent table to the Rosace ceiling medallion, these pieces will bring a touch of France to your surroundings. The store also offers clothing, jewelry, shoes, gifts, and beauty and fragrance products. The Woodlands store is located at The Woodlands Mall, 1201 Lake Woodlands Dr. 832-585-5109,

march/april • 2013


cocktails & conversation


prime finds

go Green!

The latest and greatest on the season’s fashion front


his spring, chances are you will go green like never before. That’s because Pantone, the world’s leading source on color, has unveiled Emerald Green as their official color of 2013. From boots and bags to bobbles and beads, it’s not just for St. Patrick’s Day anymore!

in style

Get in step with the latest looks at these upcoming trunk shows

Neiman Marcus, houston Galleria March 1-2 Linda Bergman

April 6 MCL Trunk Show

March 9 Jude Frances

April 10 Ippolita

March 13 Giorgio Armani

April 11 David Yurman

March 19 Edward Wilkerson, Lafayette 148

April 12 Lagos April 13 John Hardy

April 1 Dominique Cohen

Tootsies (Houston) March 2 JBrand Trunk Show with Oscar Adames March 7-8 Robert Rodriguez


n March 2, acclaimed boot designer Pedro Muñoz will make an appearance at Pinto Ranch to showcase his latest collection of handmade boots. As owner of the El Paso-based Stallion Boots, Muñoz hand selects exotic leathers and the finest materials for his high-fashion collection of handmade boots. He will be available for custom-fittings. In addition, Ticklebutton Jewels from Corpus Christi will be on-hand to display their collection of handmade jewelry. All pieces are one-of-a-kind and made from sterling silver, turquoise, unique gemstones and unusual minerals. 1717 Post Oak Blvd. 713-333-7900,

janie, get your gun G

one are the days of holsters, ladies! The Janie bag is unique and stylish. But what makes it a perfect choice for the Texas woman is its hidden, two-sided pocket—perfect for, you guessed it, your gun (licensed, of course). It also offers an attached key fob for your keys and is finished with antique brass fittings. Custom bags are also available. Roseann Rogers Known as Houston’s "Buzz Lady" for her years on TV, Roseann Rogers has been on top of the Houston fashion, social and entertainment scene for 17 years. She is a regular contributor to Prime Living, a public relations and business development director, licensed real estate agent and active philanthropist.


April 4-5 Ranjana Khan

Tootsies (Dallas) April 5-6 Paule Ka Trunk Show

Elizabeth Anthony | Esther Wolf March 6-7 Liancarlo March 20-21 Fotini March 27-28 Armani April 10-11 Escada

April 10-12 Francoise Elizee April 18-19 Lourdes Chavez April 25-26 Lena Lange

Cotton Club March 1-2 Todd Reed

April 15-20 Isda

March 22-23 Sara Weinstock

April 19-20 Atelier Minyon

Events subject to change.

Piperlime | Coldwater Creek | Tara Neighbors, TLN Photography | Pinto Ranch

BOOTS untamed

April 4-5 Naeem Khan

point of interest

rusticcharm Story | Holly Beretto


riving along Highway 281 between Stephenville and Mineral Wells, you’ll eventually come across Texas Hill Country Furniture and Mercantile, a rambling barn of a place where owners Larry and Sherry Dennis offer handcrafted furniture


and items for the home. For the last 11 years, their signature style has been to showcase the best in Texas design. “Larry was in construction before we opened this place, but he started making cabinets when he was 18,” says Sherry. The couple has about 18 to 20 people working with them, and the shop has its own sawmill, where they cut and kiln the wood they use. Larry says a lot of the cedar, mesquite and pecan he uses is reclaimed, whether from trees pulled up by storm damage or killed by drought. In the mercantile, you’ll find dining room sets, bedroom sets, chairs, desks, bookcases and all manner of décor. It’s also home to the “Star of Texas Rocker,” the Guinness Book of World Records holder for the World’s Largest Rocking Chair. Measuring more than 25 feet high, it weighs in at more than 5,000 pounds.

In addition to the work the Dennises create on the premises, Larry says they’re proud of the mercantile building itself. “It’s made from cedar going back to 1885 and throughout the place, we have pieces that have a history,” he says. “There was an old school house that an old gentleman bought, and we have the doors from it on the south wall of the store. And its ceiling is on the back wall.” The couple agrees that their style is rustic elegance, and Larry loves working with Texas woods. “There’s real character to them,” he says.

texas hill country furniture 19280 s. highway 281, lipan 254-646-3376

Wood tones Pecan

“I think pecan can blend with anything,” Larry says. “It has so much color in it.” He uses it to craft much of his dining room and bedroom pieces, including a stunning headboard and footboard set with tremendous texture and artistry.

Mountain Cedar

Larry uses cedar for many things, but he loves making doors with mountain cedar. “It’s a really hard wood, and it makes for a pretty style door,” he says. When he’s not using it for doors, he crafts cedar chests for you to store your keepsakes.


People might think of mesquite as a wood for Texas barbeque, but Larry makes all manner of things with it. “We did a bath tub,” he says, a take on the claw-foot porcelain tubs. His is made of mesquite, and instead of claw feet, he made a horse-foot base.

Texas Hill Country Furniture

cocktails & conversation

my life

cocktails & conversation



lori verderame Story | holly beretto

Masterpiece Technologies Inc.


see history as the study of people and the stuff they made,” says the effervescent Lori Verderame, a familiar face to anyone who watches the Discovery Channel’s “Auction Kings,” which opens its fourth season this spring. The antiques appraiser, known simply as Dr. Lori, says she loves meeting people from all over the country and learning the stories behind their furniture and objects d’art, but she mostly sees herself as a teacher, showing viewers and readers of her columns what to look for when they’re collecting, and what kinds of trends are happening within the world of antiques. With her Ph.D. in art history from Pennsylvania State University, she’s something of an anomaly among antiques appraisers. Many appraisers are solely dealers, while Verderame has been a professor and held positions in numerous art museums, including the Allentown Art Museum and the Palmer Museum of Art at Penn State. She’s carved a niche for herself, combining her education and her love of art into a career filled with TV appearances, writing a nationally syndicated column and lecturing. Calling herself a “surprise child,” she was born to older parents and admits to growing up around “old stuff,” no doubt one of the things that planted the seed for her love of antiques. She began her TV career at the CBS affiliate in Philadelphia, talking about the value of antiques. That’s when she was invited to audition for “Auction Kings,” and she says that being part of the show, with its tremendous crew and her fellow appraisers, has been a fantastic experience. “I’ve met America several times over,” she says. “And it’s exciting. You never know what will walk in the door.”

i see history as the study of People and the stuff they made. march/april • 2013


cocktails & conversation


age of Aquarius Story | Bruce Farr

There was a certain period of time in the 1960s, during my early teenage years, when I became hyper-focused on wood paneling. As it happened, my parents were then remodeling our windy old Victorian clapboard house, and I was attempting to steer them in a design direction that I thought was “hip” and tasteful. And wood paneling was decidedly “in.”


was crazy for the stuff. By my lights, nothing seemed more stylish than covering our old wallpaper with thin sheets of fake laminate that, when I now think about it, didn’t look like real wood at all. Today, wood paneling and some of the other equally arcane design trends of the


period are having a revival of sorts, due in part to the enormous popularity of 1960s-era movies and TV shows like “Mad Men.” As we can clearly observe in the painstakingly researched “Mad Men” sets, the ’60s commanded their own distinct decorating style, a blurry mish-mash of old and new, retro and modern. The era itself was turbulent, rebellious— and so was the decorating it inspired. Flower Power reigned. Movements such as Modernism and Abstract Expressionism were making their mark on design.

Did you know? Most of us can describe what “pop art” is as a major influence on 1960s design trends, but how about its similarly influential cousin, “op art”? The term is a shortening of optical art, a method of painting different sized shapes in black and white that creates optical illusions and the appearance of movement. The phrase was first coined in 1963, and the style went on to become largely identified with 1960s design styles.

Tie-dye, paisley and floral fabrics were popular. Chairs designed in sinuous S-shapes and space-age pods were all the rage. Furniture made from molded plastics was coming into its own, as were “mod” and pop art wall-hangings inspired by Andy Warhol and other contemporary artists of the day. Sleek, wood-grained Danish modern furniture pieces adorned with bright, luminous coverings somehow found their way into American dens and basement “rumpus rooms.” The ’60s gave rise to such eclectic classics as shag carpeting, which—in its super-popular green shade—resembled nothing so much as a summer lawn in need of a good mowing. There also was a gaggle of curious accents like Day-Glo lava lamps, black-light posters and intricately woven macramé plant-holders. Toward the end of the decade, when the “psychedelic” period had us in its hazy spell, wooden doors gave way to Indianbeaded strands, and sofa coverings and bedspreads were replaced with shimmering, paisley-patterned tapestries. It was a heady time. And looking back on it makes us wonder if the status quo of today’s accepted design styles will one day be thought of as outlandishly as we now regard design trends from the 1960s. Somehow, I doubt it!


cocktails & conversation

60's Design



What’s the name of the 1960s design trend that was characterized by whiplash lines and stylized flower shapes which then metamorphosed into “psychedelia.” A. Art deco B. Art nouveau C. Abstract expressionism


Name the British designer who, in 1964, opened his now famous contemporary furniture household goods design store Habitat. A. Terence Conran B. Verner Panton C. Jed Johnson



In 1963, a British inventor named Edward Craven-Walker designed one of the most famous accent pieces ever to be associated with the 1960s. Which one was it? A. Fiber optics lamp B. Strobe lights C. Lava lamp

Transistor radio

Teflon pan

Halogen lamp

Mr. Potato Head game


Diet soda

Permanent press fabric

Microwave oven


Silly Putty

Cabbage Patch Kids doll

60's Design Trivia Answers: 1. B. Art nouveau. 2. A. Terence Conran. 3. C. Polypropylene. 4. A. Paisley. 5. C. Lava Lamp


Name the Scottish village at the center of Scotland’s weaving industry, which is the birthplace and namesake of one of the most popular clothing and fabric patterns of the 1960s. A. Paisley B. Chevron C. Ombre

Mother of Invention

Of the following common household items, only four of them were actually invented in the 1960s. Can you identify them?

Mother of Invention Answers: Halogen lamp (1960); audio cassette (1962); permanent press fabric (1964); Astroturf (1965)

Which “new” moldable, synthetic used for furniture and other products was arguably the most popular of the 1960s? A. Vinyl B. Lucite C. Polypropylene

march/april • 2013


cocktails & conversation

bucket list

flights of Story | Jake Poinier


Whether it’s defying gravity over California’s wine country or something simpler, like spending more time with your family, the essence of any good bucket list is experiencing the phenomenal things life offers. Life is all about perspective—and these three activities offer plenty of it. YOLO (you only live once)!


he Original Glider Rides has been riding the updrafts of Oahu, Hawaii’s North Shore, since 1970, earning a reputation as one of the best attractions on the island. “Thanks to Mother Nature, you could stay in the air for 10 hours for about half the year, and we only have about 20 unflyable days a year,” says owner-operator Bill Star, known as “Mr. Bill” on the island. Of course, being up that long wouldn’t be comfortable for anyone but the most experienced glider pilot. After being towed to about 700 feet by a small airplane, most glider flights last 10 to 60 minutes, with the


most popular (and easiest on your inner ear) being a 20-minute tour within a 5- to 6-mile radius along the coast. For those looking for an adrenaline rush, the aerobatic rides include pulling Gs, weightlessness, loop-dloops and a hammerhead stall followed by a vertical dive. From November to March, the scenic thrills also include seeing whales. “Two or three times a season, we’ll spot them in a birthing pool in a shallow area, and you might even see calving,” says Star. “We come in low enough on the final approach to see it incredibly close.”

before you go Space is a bit tighter in a glider than the commercial jet you’ll take to cross the Pacific Ocean. Maximum weight for a one-passenger scenic flight is 270 lbs, with a maximum height of 6-foot-5. A twopassenger scenic tour maxes out at 340 pounds total, and it’s more comfortable seating if they’re of somewhat comparable size.

Napa Valley Balloons | Honolulu Soaring

Look, Ma, no engine!

bucket list

Free fallin’


hat better place to take your first skydive than over Florida’s Space Coast, where countless astronauts have headed into orbit? While you wouldn’t want to jump from a rocket, the Skydive Space Center Beechcraft King Air is the fastest plane to altitude available. At 18,000 feet, it’s the highest tandem jump in the world. During the eight and a half minute ascent, you fly directly over the space shuttle launch pads, main assembly building and landing runway.

And on the way down? “You can expect one of the most amazing experiences of your life," said Christine Novak, Florida Tandem/ AFF Coordinator. “The view was always awesome, now it is spectacular, because the end of the shuttle program means we can dive over the ocean in what was once restricted NASA airspace.” If you choose the most-popular 18,000foot tandem jump, you’ll free-fall with an instructor for about one and a half minutes— reaching speeds as high as 120 mph—and

cocktails & conversation

have an 8- to 10-minute parachute ride. Plan on a total time commitment of three hours to take the leap, including training. Skydivers receive a diploma for making a 15,000- or 18,000-foot jump. Skydive Space Center also has a cameraperson freefall with you, capturing still photos and closeup video to commemorate the experience.

before you go Jumpsuits are available upon request, but you’ll want to wear closed-toe shoes that tie or fasten securely, a collarless T-shirt or sweatshirt, and shorts or pants, depending on the temperature. No jewelry such as rings, necklaces, earrings, watches—basically, anything valuable that you wouldn’t want to lose!

Up, up and away

Skydive Space Center | Honolulu Soaring | Napa Valley Balloons


ith the country’s tastiest grapes and a laid-back vibe, California wine country offers a bounty of sensory pleasures. But the big-picture view from a hot-air balloon ride with Napa Valley Balloons, you can truly say you’ve seen it all. The company offers several different packages—from group tours with 16 passengers to intimate two-passenger VIP flights—and can be combined with a variety of winery and bike tours. The adventure begins as early as 6:30 a.m. with preflight coffee and pastries on the driving range of the Vintner’s Golf Club, often with several other crews headed aloft. “It’s an absolutely unique experience and floating sensation, and it’s an unbeatable view,” says Gabe Gundling, the company’s marketing and media director. “The private flights are popular for engagements, while the groups are a great way to meet people from all over

before you go the world—and everybody takes turns shooting video cameras for each other.” Although flight duration is dependent on the weather, it generally lasts about an hour. Guests should plan on a total time of four to five hours, including a post-trip champagne breakfast at Domaine Chandon Winery. Post-flight, you can purchase photos taken from 30 feet above the basket as well as commemorative champagne flutes.

Hot-air ballooning is more peaceful than strenuous, but there are a few restrictions to keep in mind, including the fact you’ll be standing for about an hour. The minimum age is 5 and minimum height is 48 inches, tall enough to see over the railing and strong enough to hold onto the safety bar.

march/april • 2013


cocktails & conversation


the curated When it comes to decorating your home with art in mind, Houston interior design experts weigh in on the principles of good design. Lea Weingarten Principal, Weingarten Art Group


What is a wellcurated home? The well-curated home is the home in which carefully chosen fine art pieces cohabitate with personal treasures: a stunning Louise Bourgeois drawing exists with your child’s kindergarten self-portrait; a sublime Brancusi sculpture placed near a sentimental family heirloom; an Ansel Adams photograph complemented by a collection of your favorite personal images.


What advice would you give homeowners for creating a balance of art and design in their interiors? The amount of resources that most people devote to their design decisions dwarfs the resources they devote to selecting art objects. If you do not have the time or inclination to make the right art choices, hire an expert to assist you. The expertise will pay off exponentially. If a homeowner had the budget for one splurge item this year, what should it be? An art weekend in New York City strolling the galleries in Chelsea in search of the perfect art treasure for your home (with a knowledgeable art advisor, of course!). That said, my splurge artworks this year are a Guiseppe Penone wall sculpture, a Louise Bourgeois fabric work, anything by Vija Celmins, a Forrest Bess painting, an Antony Gormley figure, a Francis Alys diptych, a Dario Robleto sculpture, or a John McCracken bubblegum pink cube work. It’s impossible to pick just one!


Lucinda Loya Interior designer, Lucinda Loya Interiors


What is a well-curated home? Editing is key to a well-curated collection. Be ruthless about what you choose to keep. Choose every single item—especially art—super carefully. Make sure you really love everything that makes the final cut.


What advice would you give homeowners for creating a balance of art and design in their interiors? Keep things flowing by color, texture and mood. If a piece of art or furniture can float or dance from room to room, you’ve achieved balance. Use scale to create drama—a miniature piece of art over a large headboard can be quite surprising! Use antiques in a modern setting to create contrast. A modern painting over an antique is always interesting.


If a homeowner had the budget for one splurge item this year, what should it be? Any of these would add wow-factor to your space: Clean-lined sofa (every home should have one); gigantic piece of art (it sets the tone); something unexpected, like a weird chair (this will surely up the eclectic factor); or an awesome lamp.


Weingarten Art Grouop | Lucinda Loya Interiors



Kristen Johnson Allied ASID, STG Design

Wade Wilson Gallerist, Wade Wilson Art


What is a well-curated home? The well-curated home marries thoughtful design and passionate collecting. It feels like the piece of modern art and the antique French console were made to be together and tells the homeowner’s story through the furniture, lighting, artwork and accessories.


What advice would you give homeowners for creating a balance of art and design in their interiors? A balanced interior should echo a beautiful piece of music. The most harmonious sounds are created when subtle background notes are mixed in with a rich melody. Allow some of your pieces to anchor the space and set the tone. Pull in supplemental selections that will support the overall feel and add to the richness and depth of the space.


If a homeowner had the budget for one splurge item this year, what should it be? Find a pair of vintage Milo Baughman club chairs with chrome frames. Reupholster them in luxurious Knoll mohair or velvet, in whatever color speaks to you. The chairs are timeless and make a gorgeous statement in any interior.

Rusty Arena Textile designer, Arena Design


What is a well-curated home? A well-curated home is a home that reflects the owner’s personality. It provides comfort, whether literally or visually, preferably both with a bit of luck! Great balance between fine art and fine design usually is so well executed in the well-curated home it seems effortless.

STG Design | Arena Design | Wede Wilson Art | Gensler


What advice would you give homeowners for creating a balance of art and design in their interiors? It varies. If you’re fortunate enough to have an environment that features spectacular vistas, a balance may be achieved quite differently than one lacking “natural” or architectural strengths. In a home that is overly decorated, a shipwreck can more easily occur; yet the feeling of being adrift at sea can occur if the space is overly “museum” like in nature. Fine art always provides a reliable anchor in either circumstance.


If a homeowner had the budget for one splurge item this year, what should it be? Fabulous, high-quality art—whether a local unknown or a blue chip investment piece. Interior trends come and go, fine items of quality never go out of style and art is in the eye of the beholder.

cocktails & conversation


What is a well-curated home? A well-curated home reflects the taste and imagination of its owner resulting in a lively blend of interior design and works of art.


What advice would you give homeowners for creating a balance of art and design in their interiors? Always choose things you like. Decide on a style and furnishings that accommodate the way you live, whether your home serves as a place for entertaining or as a personal respite from your profession. Once you’ve determined this, then the gathering and collecting of furnishings and art can take flight.


If a homeowner had the budget for one splurge item this year, what should it be? Buy the very best furniture you can afford, even if it grows by only one piece a year. My collection of mid-century modern furniture happened over nearly 30 years and it gives me continuous pleasure.

Jennifer Traina-Dorge Assoc. AIA, LEED AP BD+C, Gensler


What is a well-curated home? To me, a well-curated home tells a personal story about the art collector. The quality of the story depends on how well the art is integrated with the design of their home through strategic placement of the artwork, an effective lighting system, and coordination of the aesthetic elements including colors, finishes and composition. This can be successfully accomplished with the expertise and collaboration of an art advisor, architect and/ or interior designer, a lighting consultant, and possibly a structural engineer depending upon the scale of the artwork.


What advice would you give homeowners for creating a balance of art and design in their interiors? I absolutely love fine art and it is a significant part of my life. However, my position when it comes to displaying art is minimal. Placing artwork in strategic places around your home has the potential to make a profound impact and will keep the relationship between art and design well balanced.


If a homeowner had the budget for one splurge item this year, what should it be? The Snooze Chair and Stool by Ochre ( This chair is, hands down, one of the most comfortable and sophisticated pieces of furniture that I have ever experienced.

march/april • 2013


Frankel Building Group

family affair Story | Bruce Farr

Behind the Frankel Building Group’s success is a fascinating story about strength in families. march/april • 2013



verybody loves a family business success story, a real-life saga about how fathers and sons, mothers and daughters, roll up their collective sleeves and, with grit and determination, build something from the ground up—from scratch. The idea of it speaks to our national sense of character, to the notion that the “American dream” of working hard to achieve success is still alive and well. That’s just how it was with the Frankel Building Group (FBG) and its founding family. Theirs is a story about how hard work and initiative through several decades have forged a thriving family enterprise, and how that success has, in turn, made the greater Houston community a better place to live.

Jim serves as CEO, Scott has gravitated toward construction and operations management, while Kevin—who holds an MBA and a real estate broker’s license—has taken on the sales and financial aspects of FBG. It moves like clockwork, Scott says. “As the business has grown, and Kevin and I have grown as businesspeople, all three of us sort of complement each other quite a bit," Scott says. "We never worry about what the others are doing, but we all just try and help the one who happens to need help the most at any given time.”

Unique Niche

The company—which currently has home development projects in several greater Houston neighborhoods, including Bellaire, Bunker Hill Village, Tanglewood, West University, Hunters Creek, Cinco One-Man Show Ranch and The Woodlands—has carved out its own niche based on a Native Houstonian Jim Frankel, the “pater familias” of the Frankel couple of exacting business standards. family of six, founded the family business in 1988. “One is our focus on ‘design-build,’ which means we do the “When we got started, it was a one-man show, and I did designs in-house and are more accountable for making sure that our everything,” Jim recalls. “We started out building three houses, and customers’ original dream is executed from cradle to grave,” says then six, and then as many as 10 in a year. But I simply couldn’t Kevin. “Secondly, we’re focused on green building, and have attained manage any more volume.” Enter Jim’s sons, Scott and Kevin. At first, Jim couldn’t fathom how third-party endorsement of our green building program.” To the latter point, FBG has achieved Certified Green Builder the business could absorb his sons joining him; it just didn’t seem like status by the National Association of Home Builders, and the there was enough to go around. company follows strict Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design “I couldn’t see it,” Jim admits. “I saw myself as a niche builder, exploiting these little niches in the market, and I just couldn’t visualize (LEED) standards in all its building projects. “Every home we do is done with LEED energy efficiency and how such a business could support three families.” sustainable products,” Kevin explains. “It’s something we believe in, and, What ultimately changed Jim’s mind on this account says as much initially, we were on the cutting edge of doing it on multiple houses.” about him as anything might. Another key factor of their success is that FBG strives to control costs “I went from being a young guy who was a builder to being on a custom level, meaning that they’re able to command and pass on an older guy who was a builder, and somewhere in there, I began thinking about my own mortality,” he says, reflectively. “I also started volume savings on labor and materials to drive down those typically high costs. On average, Kevin says, FBG currently builds around 28 thinking about the fact that I had two sons who were extraordinarily homes per year, but that number may increase to 40 next year. bright guys, but they were young and they had so much to learn. It “It gives us a bit of leverage to help lower costs,” he says. became clear to me that what I really wanted more than anything was to have them learn what I had learned as quickly as they could, so that if something happened to me, they would all know enough to be able The Technology Edge to fend for themselves.” Another way that FBG has distinguished itself is through its use of Today, FBG is one of Houston’s premier custom home building cutting-edge software tools to, as Kevin describes it, “communicate companies, leading the local industry by constructing first-rate custom with our clients more effectively, to give them a better understanding homes that are also highly energy-efficient. Jim and his sons each of the home that FBG is building for them.” led their own facets of their business, with the pieces fitting together One such program is a builder’s database designed to organize nicely into one successful whole. plans and selections, change orders, schedules and other construction


details. The other is an architectural design software called Revit, which provides a novel, 3-D view of home design. “When you show [potential clients] a plan in Revit, it’s so threedimensional and it demonstrates to them what their house will actually ‘live like,’ ” Jim explains. “It’s a whole generation forward from what we used to do. I used to sell from a two-dimensional plan—first floor, second floor, elevation and site plan—and I’d be waving my arms to try and demonstrate what it would look like!”

Giving Back

Peer recognition in the community is one measure of what kind of corporate citizen FBG has been. While the list of their accolades is an exceedingly long one, a couple of standouts include the prestigious Greater Houston Builder’s Association Custom Builder of the Year award, which FBG received in 2010, and Houston’s Best, Grand Award Winner – Custom Builder award the same year. Another measure of their devotion to the community is the pure pleasure that the Frankels derive from giving back to Houston. As such, each of the Frankels has his own charitable organizations that he actively supports. As an example, Home Aid, which provides housing for the country’s temporary homeless, received a boost last year when FBG did a remodel on one of the organization’s homeless shelters. Some years ago, Jim had the honor of being the first chairman of the Developmental Council of Texas Children’s Hospital. And Kevin and his wife are particularly focused on work for the Houston Zoo. But, in the true spirit of a family business, it’s telling that one of the most meaningful honors they’ve received was won not by themselves, but by an employee. Brian Adams, a senior project manager for FBG, won the 2012 Star Award for Project Manager of the Year for the state of Texas. “He’s worked for me for almost 10 years, and is a stellar guy—a great family man,” says Jim. “He’s like a family member—like a son— to me, and we’re all immensely proud of him. To see him recognized like that just means the world to us.” It brings us back full circle to the importance and meaning of “family” in a family business, a meaning that the Frankels have clearly taken to heart.

march/april • 2013


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Life of the


Stephen Karlisch | Steve Wrubel

Story | Elizabeth Exline

Dallas event expert Todd Fiscus likes tension. Not the kind where you have to separate dueling mothers-in-law with 10 tables and a dance floor, but the exciting kind where guests don’t know what to expect. march/april • 2013



e work for a client base that’s been everywhere and seen everything,” Todd Fiscus explains. “So it’s our job to give them a new environment.” Luckily for his clients, Fiscus is a master of soiree suspense. From destination weddings to birthday parties in barns, his eponymous company, Todd Events, specializes in the heretofore undone. And Houston is about to experience this first-hand. Fiscus’ impending nuptials with a Houstonian have been the push he needed to open an office here this year. But even Fiscus, with his easy Texas drawl and infectious laugh, knows that sometimes you don’t need an event planner. Sometimes you can put on your own party and actually have a good time doing it. (This, he says, is the

litmus test for knowing when to hire someone. If you can’t be a guest at your own event, you need a pro.) And the best thing you can do for your party is to avoid the mundane. “I call it standard operating procedure,” Fiscus says. “You walk in, say hi, get a drink and do the same thing over and over again.” The best way to steer clear of such banality is to establish what Fiscus calls the emotional integrity of an event from day one. This essentially means figuring out how you want your fete to feel. Do you want a romantic rehearsal dinner? A sexy birthday party? A sentimental anniversary gathering? Settling on an emotion will help you decide everything else, from stationery, to decor, to even food.

Stephen Karlisch and Steve Wrubel


march/april • 2013


Stephen Karlisch and Steve Wrubel

cohesiveness from start to finish, Fiscus says, is a magic you can feel—even if you can’t always articulate it. An event’s emotional integrity will also help you to determine what the “fireworks” will be. “You want to find little moments of fireworks throughout the night that celebrate that person,” Fiscus says. That might mean using blank birthday cards as place cards for your husband’s birthday, so guests can write him personal congratulations. Or it might mean building flatbed carts with hay-bale banquettes, which, with the help of a few Clydesdales, will transport your guests from the house to the birthday party in the barn.

Stephen Karlisch

For example, at a rehearsal dinner Fiscus planned in Sonoma, Calif., he carefully infused everything with a soft, earthy romance. The location—an herb and flower farm—embodied that feeling with hydrangeas spilling over stone ruins and an antique barn that hosted dinner. The food was appropriately simple and savory (think burratastuffed tomatoes), and the barn wore an air of bygone elegance with arrangements featuring the farm’s hydrangeas and chandeliers fashioned out of vintage French wine casks. As everyone sat down on iron chairs, some noticed how the chairs’ medallions were the very same as the ones that had appeared on the invitations. This


march/april • 2013


Rebecca Lorraine Robertson

of the three-day weekend. These gifts were at once thoughtful— customized boxes of whoopee pies from a locally famous source—and extravagant, like the $100 blankets embroidered with hydrangeas. “What we’re trying to get is an emotional response for happiness,” he explains, noting that both the guests and the host count in that equation. Of course, entertaining isn’t for everyone. And if writing place cards and filling drinks simply doesn’t suit, well, Fiscus will have a Houston area code soon enough.

Jason Wynn

The last of these really happened. And if the hayride led anyone to think he was in for a barbecue, Fiscus set the record straight inside the barn where a formal dining table was set with blue-and-white Chinese porcelain and Louis XVI-style silverware. Fiscus is ever one for surprises. Whatever the personal touches end up being, every host should extend a few to the guests. One destination wedding in Kennebunkport, Maine, for instance, saw Fiscus at his finest as he doled out a new guest amenity every night


TODD'S TOP 10 Want the skinny on how to party? Planning pro Todd Fiscus of Todd Events shares his tips for getting it right. 1. Always keep candles and linens in black, white and ivory on hand, as well as liquor, wine and cheese. 2. Decide on the event’s emotional integrity first. 3. If you’re hosting outside, do a 10-year review online of the weather patterns. If more than six days around your intended date have inclement weather, reschedule. 4. Understand who you are entertaining. The demographic determines the party! 5. Plan the event so you’re a guest and not a waitress. 6. Write a schedule that includes time for you to sit down for 10 minutes before anyone arrives, so you’ll appear calm. 7. Don’t ever have a party in your house without at least one person other than yourself cleaning the kitchen. 8. Plan alcohol consumption responsibly and, when necessary, hire cars with drivers.

Stephen Karlisch

9. Create something within the night that makes people laugh. It takes the edge off, and people immediately relax. 10. Always welcome your guests in some formal way, either during cocktails to say, “Thank you for being here,” or at the table with a toast.

march/april • 2013



Brenlee McKnight

the prime living guide to discerning taste

inside: House-made gelato, Hawthorn

38 40 42 44 46

• • • • •

Table Talk | Dining News Main Dish | Hawthorn Beckons Bragging Bites | Waffles Made Over Uncorked | Southern Sipping Entertain | Day at the Derby

march/april • 2013


connoisseur table talk

>> For the meat up

Del Frisco's Grille debuts


more casual modern offshoot of the glitzy upscale Del Frisco’s Steakhouse will soon take the striking upstairs space in West Ave that was once Alto Pizzeria. Del Frisco’s Grille, which has been highly successful in other markets like Dallas, Phoenix and Atlanta, sports a more approachable, affordable menu with something for everyone. Think big bodacious double burgers and fries (left), ahi tuna tacos (right), pesto chicken flatbread, steakhouse salad or Red Bird Farms chicken Caesar, and prime steaks. You can also channel your inner mixologist with a build-your-own Bloody Mary bar (bottom right). Expect a modern American atmosphere with a large energetic bar area, vibrant furnishings with designer touches, and that same awesome wall of windows overlooking Kirby Drive. 2800 Kirby Drive. >> For the dough lover

pizza! Pizza!

>> For the trend-seeker

california chicken


cclaimed California chef and restaurateur Bradley Ogden will introduce two new restaurant concepts to Houston this spring, both in the same strip mall in the Heights area. The first concept to open will be Ogden’s first fast-casual concept ever called Funky Chicken, a café showcasing Ogden’s famous roasted and fried chicken recipes. The second concept will be called B.F.D. (Bradley’s First Diner), which will feature the best of Ogden’s food in a casual atmosphere. “The chef prides himself on being one of the pioneers in farm-to-table, responsible cooking, and seasonal dining so both menus will reflect this approach,” says managing partner Anthony Angotti. The award-winning Ogden is the culinary mastermind behind over a dozen national restaurant concepts including The Lark Creek Inn in Larkspur, One Market San Francisco, and Bradley Ogden at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas. Funky Chicken, 181-191 Heights Blvd.


>> For the seafood purist

chill thrills


new restaurant within a restaurant? It’s true. Cove Cold Bar has bowed inside the vast upper Kirby area Haven restaurant and is a trendy perch for sampling creative international seafood prepared right before your eyes. Chef Phillippe Gaston, formerly of Kata Robata and Soma Sushi, is at the helm of the 30-seat bar and is enthusiastic about sharing his knowledge of raw food preparations from Kilawin, Ika Mata, the Pacific region, Europe, and the Americas. Expect a trio of oyster shooters; quick-cured salmon in lemonlime zest; hamachi with basil and caper berry; mackerel with squash blossoms, brown sugar and olive oil; or maybe even Italian lamb carpaccio. Check out the chalkboard for daily selections, which will vary depending on availability. 2502 Algerian Way. 713-581-6101,

Del Frisco's Grille | Volare Original Pizzeria | Jeremy Ball | Cove Cold Bar


he legendary inner-loop Hot Bagel Shop has a new neighbor in Volare Original Pizzeria. Owner Cara Cox describes the refurbished pint-sized interiors as “urban distressed” with rustic reclaimed wood, galvanized zinc, and black iron commissioned photos by Texasbased Marshall Bishop. Volare is dishing out classy artisan pizzas from a brick oven—a cross between Neapolitan- and New York-style—and proffering seasonal paninis, crostinis, soups and salads. Enjoy the outdoor beer garden with local craft beers and a pizza-friendly wine list by notable sommelier Antonio Gianola, formerly with Catalan. 2017 S. Shepherd Dr. 713-933-2600,

connoisseur table talk

>> For the adult sweet tooth

just for fun


he Counter, the custom-built burger joint known for its variety of toppings and more than 300,000 possible burger combos, now has Wine Shakes. This twist on boozy ice cream and spiked milk shakes starts like a thick, creamy classic shake and finishes with wine. Choose from three flavors, all with a vanilla ice cream base: Pinot Noir with cherries and chocolate; sweet peach with white wine and peach nectar; or mimosa with a splash of sparkling wine and orange juice. 4601 Washington Ave. 713-966-6123,

rather warm Up?


Hello & Goodbye

The latest restaurants to join and leave the Houston dining scene

The Counter | OKRA Charity Bar | Austin Food & Wine Festival | Yao Ming Family Vineyards


• Aura, Sugar Land • Ambrosia • Eatsie Boys • Tradicao Brazilian Steakhouse, Sugar Land • Brooklyn Athletic Club

Closings • Doneraki (on Fulton) • Alto Pizzeria • Maggie Rita’s (on Kirby) • Tinto’s Spanish Restaurant

onsider the new Chocolate Bar Happy Hour at the Four Seasons Houston. The downtown hotel continues its rooftop poolside Thursday happy hours with a new adult Chocolate Bar. The heavenly hot chocolate bar supplies extra large mugs for filling with rich Callebaut Belgian chocolate and toppings like marshmallows, chocolate shavings, pistachios, chopped candy bars and syrups, including peppermint, caramel and espresso. Spike it with your choice of Whipped Vodka, Patron XO Café, Navan Vanilla, Wild Turkey 101 or Meyers dark rum. To nibble on, there are s’mores to be made fireside. Sweet! 1300 Lamar St. 713650-1300,

>> For the philanthropist

charity case


KRA Charity Bar has opened in downtown Houston by the Organized Kollaboration on Restaurant Affairs, a community group established by independent bar and restaurant-owning friends eager to give back to the city. The cutting-edge concept is the first of its kind anywhere: Each month, 100 percent of the profits will be donated to different Houston-based nonprofit groups. For every drink purchased, patrons will get a chip to cast in a ballot box of local nonprofits being considered as the beneficiary for the following month. The cool downtown bar set in a historical building that once housed Red Cat Jazz

Café, has a lounge-y feel with exposed brick walls and a dramatic pitched section of glass roofing. Expect classic cocktails, craft beers and a collaborative snacks menu. OKRA is helmed by some of Houston’s young trendsetters including Bobby Heugel of Anvil Bar and Refuge, Brad Moore of Grand Prize and more. 924 Congress St. robin barr sussman Robin Barr Sussman is a Houston-based freelance writer who specializes in food, wine and travel. Her work has appeared in Texas Monthly, My Table, and Private Clubs magazine.

Side Sips Wine events you won’t want to miss It’s time again for the Austin Food & Wine Festival sponsored by Food & Wine magazine. From April 26-28, indulge in a mix of food and wine tastings, Texas and international celebrity chef appearances, hands-on grilling demos, live music performances, wine and cocktail seminars, parties and wine dinners in various locations around Austin. Check out the rising stars and some local Houston talent including chef Jamie Zelko of Zelko’s Bistro and chef Chris Shepherd of Underbelly. The annual event is always a boon for Austin (and Texas) as a top culinary and viticulture destination.

Former Houston Rockets superstar Yao Ming recently entered the Texas market with his Yao Ming Family Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon wines. With the help of esteemed winemaker Thomas Hinde, Ming now has his name on two Napa Valley cult cabs: the 2009 Yao Ming and the 2009 Yao Ming Family Reserve. Both are winners and if you’re lucky, you can snag some of the boutique collection at The Houston Wine Merchant, Morton’s or Pappas Brothers Steakhouse. Cheers!

march/april • 2013


connoisseur main dish


Beckons Story | Holly Beretto Photography | Brenlee McKnight

The first thing that strikes you about Hawthorn, which recently took over the spot on Kirby where the Dessert Gallery once was, is how clubby and intimate it feels. From the rich wood on the walls, to the paisley patterned wallpaper, this is an experience that says, “Stay a while. Eat good food.”


And, indeed, it is a place to sink into a plush leather chair or banquette, and order up a Moscow Mule or a Sidecar from the decidedly old-school cocktail list. Anyone seeking a little modern twist will certainly find one on the drink menu, but my money’s on the Sidecar, which is a perfect rendering of this classic. Begin with the beef tartare. It’s a stunning plating of beef with measured amounts of red onion, parsley, mustard, pepper, salt and capers. Mix it up for an explosion of flavor that will leave you saying, “If this is this good, what’s next?” The char-grilled baby octopus, for one. This appetizer, with its tomato, garlic, basil and fresh lemon, is not only a gorgeous display of textures, it’s also a tasty treat for anyone who loves calamari, but seeks out something with more flavor and punch. The spring risotto arrives with English peas and Prince Edward Island mussels. I love the placement of these flavors, brought together with olive oil and saffron. The peas offer a springy, satisfying snap, while the mussels bring an earthy depth. The salmon was a wonder, with its accompaniments of farrel and kale. “I’m a believer in kale,” says chef and partner Ricardo Palazzo-Giorgio. “It’s savory, and just a little salty, so it’s a great background.” Palazzo-Giorgio’s dropped hints of Italian influence throughout the menu, including pairing dandelion greens with a particularly amazing lamb chop. Dandelion greens are light and typically bitter, but he’s tricked

them out with a pickled shallot vinaigrette that breaks through the bitterness for a simply wonderful flavor. The lamb is a standout, tender and a terrific springtime dish. Meat lovers will also be thrilled by the huge pork chop, rendered in its own fat, giving it the tenderness of veal, and the ever-necessary beef filet, with its seemingly decadent Gruyere potato stack. End on a high note with house-made gelato. The flavors change daily, but the sweet beauty of tastes of honey, butter pecan and chocolate chipotle will seem indulgent to the extreme. You’ll also enjoy the tiramisu: rich, layered, wonderful. If it all seems a lot like kicked up comfort food, there’s a reason for it. Palazzo-Giorgio learned cooking from his mother, and he noticed early on that she was happy when she cooked for people—and they were happy when they ate her food. That lesson wasn’t lost on her son and at Hawthorn, he and operating partner Cory Graff have created a space where exceptional food is created from simple, fresh ingredients, and paired lovingly with a wine list featuring boutique wines. “I’m happy. I love what I do,” Palazzo-Giorgio says. “I love making people happy with food. I get such a rush—seeing them enjoy themselves.”

hawthorn 3200 kirby dr. 713-523-3200

connoisseur main dish

Risotto with English Peas and Mussels 4 cups chicken stock, light 3 tbsp. olive oil 1½ cups white wine Pinch of saffron 1 tbsp. butter 1 small onion, finely chopped 1 cup Arborio rice 1 clove garlic, chopped 1 cup fresh English peas, shelled 20 to 25 fresh mussels, scrubbed and beard removed

Heat a saucepan very hot. Add the mussels, wine and garlic, and cover immediately. Allow to steam until they open. Remove from heat and remove meat from shell. Add the butter to the pan and reserve the liquid.

Beef tartare

In a 6-quart saucepan, heat chicken stock to a simmer over medium high heat. Add the olive oil, then the onions; sauté until translucent. Add the rice and stir until the rice is well coated and hot. Add one cup of chicken stock and continue to stir. Add the saffron and reduce heat to medium. As the stock is absorbed, add another cup and continue to stir until absorbed. Add more stock and continue cooking and stirring and adding stock as needed until the rice is al dente with structure to each grain. Add the reserved mussel pan juices, the fresh peas and the mussels, and stir. Serve with a chilled Soave or Friulano. Char-grilled baby octopus

Pork chop

march/april • 2013


connoisseur Bragging Bites

waffles made over Story | Robin Barr Sussman

Spring is in the air and the patios are calling for alfresco brunch. We went waffling around Texas and discovered some uniquely savory waffles and some oh-so-sweet, but all worth waking up for!


connoisseur Bragging Bites

whopping waffles

Sure, we’ve heard of chicken and waffles, but Bistro Alex in the cool Hotel Sorella serves a masterpiece fit for a linebacker—or perhaps the indecisive diner who can’t choose just one entree. Chicken and waffles on the jazz-style Sunday brunch menu starts with two slightly sweet, plushy waffles stacked with two massive cornflake-crusted boneless chicken breasts that are seasoned and quickly fried to perfection. The chicken manages to be tender, juicy and completely crispy thanks to the brilliant cornflake coating. It’s drizzled with not syrup, but a rich and zippy andouille sausage cream sauce laced with bits of jalapeno. The crowning jewel is a perfectly cooked sunny side up egg, which oozes when pierced with a fork. Please pass the mimosas, king brunch is served. Bistro Alex • 800 W. Sam Houston Pkwy. 713-827-3545 •

Southern Sophistication

Breakfast and brunch are all about the bacon…and now waffles…and quail. New Orleans celeb-chef John Besh pulls his epic waffle creation together in posh style at Lüke, San Antonio. It starts with large round homemade waffles that are golden and crispy-edged from the waffle iron. Those are topped with moist and flavorful half bone-in Texas quail that has been deep-fried to a crackly crunch with a buttermilk batter. Smoky bacon and mushroom gravy kissed with sage and scallions warms up the quail side of the dish. The warm waffle cubbyholes get doused in fruity local peach syrup and a pop of powdered sugar. Savory, fruity, crunchy and soft… this dish fires on all cylinders. Lüke • 125 East Houston St., San Antonio 210-227-5853 •

Brenlee McKnight | Kit Whol | Driskill Hotel

Lone star charmer

Happen to be Texas proud and have a sweet tooth? Here’s your waffle dish…shaped like the Lone Star State. The Texas pecan waffle at the 1886 Café Bakery in the Driskill Hotel is a menu favorite hailing from the early ‘70s when the hotel was almost demolished and the Heritage Society took over the bakery to serve its sweets. Generous and puffy, the bronzed edged waffle topped with toasted Texas pecans, fresh bananas, blueberries or strawberries will brighten up any morning with its scrumptious flavors and homespun shape. The plate dazzles with intense blackberry jam coulis and a sprinkling of powdered sugar. Don’t mess with Texas, waffles that is! 1886 Café Bakery • 604 Brazos St., Austin 512-391-7066 •

march/april • 2013


connoisseur uncorked

Southern SIPPING Story | John DeMers



he mint julep may very well be the finest mixed drink in the world,” I remember Bill Samuels saying some years back, before he retired as head (and definitely head salesman) of his family’s Kentucky bourbon whisky called Maker’s Mark. “But hardly anyone has ever tasted a good one.” Especially at this time of year, with all due respect to Mr. Samuels and his signature bottles dipped in red wax, there will be a lot of people around Churchill Downs in Louisville (and indeed around Houston) who will disagree. Southerners can sip mint juleps on their respective verandas whenever the weather turns warm. But the annual “run for the roses” is enough to make zealous Southerners of us all. According to Samuels, whose whisky from the fabled Bourbon County joins others each year (Jim Beam, Jack Daniels, I. W. Harper, etc.) to make the racing season magical, people make three major mistakes with their mint juleps. They select what he calls an “overbearing” bourbon, use so much mint that it covers up said bourbon, and then pour on too much sugar to make the whole thing go down without a fight. As with other classic American cocktails (including what may have been the first actual cocktail, the Sazerac in New Orleans), the mint julep’s origins are shrouded in mystery. We do know that a book published in London (of all places) in 1803 mentions the drink, describing it as a “dram of spirituous liquor that has mint steeped in it, taken by Virginians of a morning.”

Virginians? Morning? Whatever and wherever the drink’s birth in the 1700s, perhaps the profound connection to Kentucky was born in the next century, the day that state’s Sen. Henry Clay introduced it at the iconic Round Robin Bar of the Willard Hotel in Washington. (You know the Willard?

the original mint julep 1.25 oz BULLEIT® Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey 1.5 tbsp. granulated sugar .5 oz water .5 leaf mint Muddle together the sugar, mint and water in a julep or whisky glass. Add crushed ice to fill. Pour over the top the BULLEIT® Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey. Garnish with a mint sprig. Makes 1 serving. Recipe Courtesy of Diageo through Glazer’s

Where the guys who tried to influence lawmakers by pestering them in the lobby became known as “lobbyists”?) As for the name, a “julep” borrows from the Persian golab, meaning rosewater and therefore referring to a sweet drink. At the beginning, juleps were sometimes made with gin, but bourbon soon carried the

day. You might say, therefore, that Clay was something of a lobbyist himself. The official relationship between the mint julep and the Kentucky Derby goes back to 1938, with an assist from a contract between Churchill Downs and the BrownForman Corp., which promotes its Early Times rendition as “the official mint julep.” During the two-day race event, something like 120,000 of the things are served at the track, most at a premium price in collectible souvenir glasses. And since Early Times is a Kentucky “whisky,” upscale sister brand Woodford Reserve can be the “official bourbon” of the Derby. In Houston, any bar or restaurant that treasures “classic cocktails” ought to do an excellent job with your mint julep. A favorite of mine is Branch Water Tavern, a place that’s has shown a special passion for bourbon and likes to use Maker’s Mark. But I also love the juleps served at Haven (Buffalo Trace), at Anvil Bar & Refuge (Four Roses Yellow Label), at Reserve 101 (Woodford Reserve) and at the new Brooklyn Athletic Club (Hudson Baby). That last spirit, appropriately, is the first bourbon ever distilled in the state of New York. Talk about coloring outside the county lines! John DeMers Covering food and wine for more than 25 years, John DeMers hosts “Delicious Mischief” on NewsRadio 740 KTRH. He recently released Follow the Smoke: 14,783 Miles of Great Texas Barbecue.



Styling | Jennifer Sbranti & Amber Lay Photography | Sonny Sbranti

day at the

derby It’s off to the races with an outdoor, Kentucky Derby-themed party. The quintessential soiree of the South is the perfect opportunity to enjoy good food, good friends and the lovely spring weather.


pour a glass

Get the festivities started with a nice glass of wine, perfect for a day at the races.



lovely labels

The difference between a good party and a great party is the attention to detail. Pretty labels can make all the difference in the world.

mint julep

Pay homage to the Derby’s signature drink with these cute Junior Mint julep jars, filled with the minty treats.

The Goods Event Planning & Styling Hostess with the Mostess,

boxed up

Precious planters filled with greenery and rosebuds make for a lovely centerpiece.

Graphic Design Printable party decor and signage by Jennifer Sbranti of Hostess with the Mostess. Photography Sonny Sbranti, Hostess with the Mostess Wine Courtesy of 14 Hands,

nibbles & nosh

Treat guests to an assortment of delicious bites, from finger sandwiches to delicious dips.

oh, so sweet

No soiree would be complete without the sweetest of offerings. These darling pies and cupcakes will certainly do the trick.

dipping delights

Décor Craft materials, toy horses and red icing roses from Michaels, Textiles Muslin fabric used for table runners and napkins from JoAnn Fabrics,

Crudités get a fun twist when served in shot glasses filled with dip and veggies.

march/april • 2013


18th AnnuAl

Keels & Wheels ConCours D’ elegAnCe

lAKeWooD yACht CluB | seABrooK, tX | hoMe oF Keels & Wheels

MAy 4-5, 2013 WorKIng on our $2nD MIllIon For ChArIty the 18th Annual Keels & Wheels Concours d’elegance will be honoring stutZ as the automotive marque and will be featuring Blonde decked and yellow Jacket Boats. tickets are $25 in advance online and $35 at the gate (Kids 10 & under are free). For entry or additional event information, please call 713-521-0105 or go to

gentlemen’s room

For the man who commands the very best


50 • Man Cave | Just Add Water 52 • Driver's Seat | Sedan de Thrill 53 • wealth matters | Fostering Entrepreneurship 54 • High-Tech | Tech Trends 55 • Great Outdoors | One Way Oar Another

march/april • 2013


gentlemen’s man cave cave room man




lone Siamese fighting fish in a globular bowl makes a fine Zen-like desk adornment, but when you’re looking to make a statement, today’s aquarium options make it easy to dive right in.


As proof of the trend, one need look no farther than the antics of Wayde King and Brett Raymer, who run a family business in Las Vegas called Acrylic Tank Manufacturing and star in an Animal Planet reality series called “Tanked.” And to underscore the man cave-aquarium convergence, the pair even took on a project for New York Jets linebacker Bart Scott on the DIY Network’s “Man Cave” show. “That tank was around 500 gallons and 7 feet wide,” says King. “We shipped it in from

Vegas, and it was an interesting build—a little difficult and we had to manhandle it to get it inside. But the hosts Jason Cameron and Tony Siragusa were goofing with us along the way, so it was fun.” In one epic over-the-top design, the pair created a “Jaws”-themed tank for actorcomedian Tracy Morgan, encased in a replica of the Orca: 20 feet long, 5 feet wide, 4 feet tall and filled with sharks, stingrays, eels and garibaldis. “We made a cast of my arm and Brett’s leg

Jeffrey Senske, Aquarium Design Group

Story | Jake Poinier

gentlemen’s room man cave

Get Tanked In this video, Brett and Wade of the Animal Planet’s “Tanked” share the top five aquariums they’ve built…and one of them is in Texas!

the essentials like the sharks chewed it off,” King says. “The tank itself is rounded, so it lets the sharks swim in a circular pattern, which is healthier for them.”

Jeffrey Senske, Aquarium Design Group | Acrylic Aquariums

Big vs. Small, Fresh vs. Salt

Jeff Senske of Houston-based Aquarium Design Group notes that an aquarium doesn’t have to be huge to be impressive. “A 70- to 300-gallon tank is often a much better bet, and you can add it to an existing space without remodeling your entire room,” he says. “With a rimless, open-top design and high-clarity, low-iron glass, you can create an aquascape with a different effect and feel from the acrylic that a big tank requires.” Senske also notes that freshwater tanks can be a better option for many consumers. “For a man cave setting, you can generally do more in a masculine way, compared to salt,” he says. “There’s a wider variety of fish, whereas salt will usually have the same dozen or so characters, like lion fish and tangs. And there are more options for hardscape materials, such as bold driftwood and stones,

to bring in a more manly color palette.” Sustainability is also a factor, Senske says. “Sure, we’ll do live coral reefs if that’s what a client wants, but fresh water is infinitely more practical and lower maintenance over the long term,” he says. “Fish in marine aquariums are scooped up from live, dynamic ecosystems, so only the heartiest survive, whereas freshwater fish are cultivated in hatcheries. Unless you’re a serious hobbyist, it usually makes more sense.” Ideally, a fish tank serves as an artistic expression that will provide entertainment and education over the long haul. “You want something that still interests you after the first six months, which is the challenge with novelty inserts,” Senske says. “Investigate your options and be open minded, and you’ll discover so many cool things are possible.” jake poinier Phoenix-based contributing writer Jake Poinier built a tree house for his then-toddler son back in 1999, but it was far too small to evolve into a proper man cave.

Even a high-tech aquarium doesn’t run itself. And while your filtration systems, chillers, heaters, and other details will depend on your type of tank and environment, these automation tools can up the enjoyment factor while providing peace of mind.

Aquarium cam

Set it up so you can watch the action from your iPad from wherever you are.

Temperature alarms

Get automated alerts if the temperature changes and puts your fish at risk.

Automatic feeder

No need to hire a neighbor kid to feed the fish while you’re gone for a long weekend.

Automatic filler/ overfill alarm.

No one wants to be lugging hoses or wading through a flood, so water accessibility and drains are a must.

march/april • 2013


gentlemen’s room driver's seat

Story | jeff yip


eed proof that Cadillac has managed to hang on to its mojo despite General Motors’ labyrinth of challenges the last few years? Hit the road in the XTS, a brand new model that replaces Cadillac’s DTS and STS sedans. Brace yourself; you may come away amazed. Cadillac’s freshly styled, roomy four-door flagship manages to blend luxury and refinement with a driving experience that’s an absolute blast on public roads. Let’s start with the XTS’s looks. After all, what rightminded car enthusiast is willing to shell out nearly 60 grand (the sticker price of our all-wheeldrive Premium test car was $57,725, including special tri and destination charge; the wellequipped standard front-wheeldrive version starts at $44,995) for a vehicle that’s wrapped in boring sheet metal? As expressed by the XTS,



the angular “design language” of Cadillac’s popular CTS sets a new mark on the “wow” bar. The sculpted facets and pieces look right on the longer (202 inches) XTS body. While the taut lines give the XTS an elegant aggressiveness, the proportions also pack a practical payoff: the trunk offers a whopping 18 cubic feet, four more than the BMW 5 Series, one of the XTS’s competitors. The comparison to the exulted 5 Series sports sedan isn’t too much of a stretch. The cars have nearly the same weight and power. (The German, however, utilizes a twin-turbo six. The American relies on the General’s direct-injection V-6, which in the XTS produces a commendable 304 horsepower on regular-grade gasoline.) The power in the XTS comes on silky and strong, proving that nowadays, if you choose the right platform, you don’t need a V-8.

Driving pleasure comes from a tastefully styled and executed interior and command center. There’s way too much tech in the XTS to list, but highlights include Brembo brakes, magnetic ride control, adjustable heads-up display that incorporates not only the speed, but also on most roads, the speed limit. The instrument panel is a virtual display that gives drivers some latitude in configuring the gauges and readouts. Engineering and design nirvana was also achieved outside, where matching LED accent lighting in the door handles and headlight surrounds is as downright cool as it is purposeful. Unfortunately, one of the areas where the XTS mimics its German competition is its infotainment interface. Dubbed “CUE” (for Cadillac User Experience—cute, eh?), the XTS’s radio, music, media, navigation and phone nerve center is driven via a large, attractive color touch-screen.

But setting up and using CUE proved needlessly time consuming, cumbersome and distracting. We’d like to see Cadillac offer CUE as an option for masochistic Euro-fan boys while making the classic six pushbuttons and volume/tuning knob arrangement standard, saving savvy drivers money and aggravation. (Knobs happen to be great for keeping radar detector power cables off the radio/stereo screens – funny how you take ’em for granted until they’re taken away.) And speaking of wish lists, we know some Lincoln dealers who’d kill for something as good as the XTS in their showrooms, now! jeff yip Jeff Yip’s work has appeared in the Los Angeles Times, San Jose Mercury News, Houston Chronicle and the New York Times, as well as consumer and trade magazines. He’s a second-generation car guy who still has the 1969 Chevy his dad loved.

General Motors

sedan de

gentlemen’s room wealth



Story | Mike Sonnier, Managing Director & Private Client Advisor, U.S. Trust, Houston


ouston stands out as a city that fosters self-employment and supports a culture that embraces the true spirit of entrepreneurship. The low costs of doing business and lighter regulation contribute to an environment where many individuals have more freedom to strike out on their own. With a 12 percent rise in the number of selfemployed workers since 2008, Houston has seen widening economic opportunity across many different sectors along with structural changes to employment models in the energy sector, the metro area’s prime economic driver1. Since 2005, self-employment in the energy sector has grown 35 percent with a remarkable 75 percent for support activities for oil and gas operations2. Economic Modeling Specialist International (EMSI)3 suggests part of this influx could be attributed to land owners cashing in on royalties after leasing their property for drilling, but also to the demand for the increasingly specialized, and often high-tech, services required by that industry. Along these lines, the burgeoning high-tech sector has also seen a substantial increase in selfemployment. With people writing applications, doing technical consulting, and working in the information sector, the number of self-employed Houstonians working in the tech-sector has surged over the past five years4. In some cases this may be young entrepreneurs working on their own; in others it could be older techies who may have lost full-time jobs but are now consulting. This trend of the 1099 economy—one in which employers are hiring contractors rather than full-time employees with benefits—may be a glimpse into the future of economic growth. A recent Forbes article titled, “The Rise of the 1099 Economy: More Americans are Becoming Their Own Bosses” names Houston as No. 1 in big cities where self-employment is growing the fastest. The article says there may not be jobs being created in the conventional sense, but there is still work that has led to a significant rise in self-employment bolstering the notion of the “1099 Economy.” With more than 6 million people living

in the Houston metro area, according to Rice University’s Kinder Institute for Urban Research and the Hobby Center for the Study of Texas, the growth of the city during the past 20 years has made Houston the most ethnically diverse large metropolitan area in the country, surpassing New York5. Because of the expanding diversity, local residents are seeking to invest in a wide range of sectors, boosting self-employment, encouraging entrepreneurship and strengthening the city’s economy overall. At U.S. Trust, many of our clients are entrepreneurs, and they are often the “risk takers.” They live by the “no risk, no reward” mantra, but it is our job to help manage their risk and ensure their portfolio is appropriately balanced and diversified. During the past year, we’ve watched clients slowly gain confidence in the markets as evidenced by the recent rise in stock market prices and less market volatility. Clients are now easing back into the financial marketplace. They are looking to advisors to help decide which new ideas and innovations in which to invest. We listen to their interests and counsel them on opportunities to tap into emerging innovations and their respective sectors. Many local investors are balancing competing goals in the current economic environment, trying to pay down debt, while saving for retirement. Indeed the past few years have been tricky for many local investors. They remain concerned about avoiding unnecessary risk in the face of economic uncertainty and are working closely with their financial advisors to determine what investment strategies align with their goals and personal situations in light of fiscal changes, including new tax laws. Another concern among business-owner entrepreneurs and investors is succession planning and creating jobs today as well as for future generations. According to the 2012 U.S. Trust Insights on Wealth and Worth study, a staggering 72 percent of business owners agreed that they feel a personal sense of obligation to create jobs for others5. With this in mind, fewer than half (45 percent) of business owners have established a formal business

succession plan, including 51 percent of business owners with more than $10 million in investable assets and 43 percent of those with $3 million to $9.9 million in investable assets, and varies by age6. The most common reason among respondents for not having a business succession plan was that the owner had no intention of retiring any time soon, and thus does not need a succession plan, however, most business owners (77 percent) consider it to be an important goal to pass wealth on to their children and heirs7. With this disconnect, it is important for business-owner entrepreneurs and investors to work with an advisor to understand the mechanics and benefits of a formal succession plan to make the most of their business and continue a legacy of entrepreneurship. The number of entrepreneurial Houstonians may only continue to rise. With the housing market on the recovery, gasoline prices down, mortgage rates at record lows and the fiscal outlook somewhat more clarified, the stage is set for possible positive economic surprises. However, investors should always be cautious and take steps to gain greater control of their financial lives, including reigning in spending, lowering debt and planning for an eventual succession of their businesses. 1 Forbes, July 2012, The Rise of The 1099 Economy: More Americans Are Becoming Their Own Bosses 2 Forbes, July 2012, The Rise of The 1099 Economy: More Americans Are Becoming Their Own Bosses 3 4 Forbes, July 2012, The Rise of The 1099 Economy: More Americans Are Becoming Their Own Bosses 5 Rice University’s Kinder Institute for Urban Research and the Hobby Center for the Study of Texas 6 U.S. Trust 2012 Insights on Wealth and Worth 7 U.S. Trust 2012 Insights on Wealth and Worth The U.S. Trust 2012 “Insights on Wealth and Worth” survey is based on a nationwide survey of 642 high net worth and ultra high net worth adults with at least $3 million in investable assets, not including the value of their primary residence. Among respondents, 37 percent have between $3 and $5 million in investable assets, 31 percent have between $5 and $10 million and 32 percent have $10 million or more. The survey was conducted online by the independent research firm Phoenix Marketing International in March of 2012. Asset information was self-reported by the respondent. Verification for respondent qualification occurred at the panel company, using algorithms in place to ensure consistency of information provided, and was confirmed with questions from the survey itself. All data have been tested for statistical significance at the 95 percent confidence level.

This article is designed to provide general information about ideas and strategies. It is for discussion purposes only since the availability and effectiveness of any strategy is dependent upon your individual facts and circumstances. Always consult with your independent attorney, tax advisor, investment manager, and insurance agent for final recommendations and before changing or implementing any financial, tax, or estate planning strategy.Credit and collateral subject to approval. Terms and conditions apply. Programs, rates, terms and conditions subject to change without notice. U.S. Trust operates through Bank of America, N.A. and other subsidiaries of Bank of America Corporation. Bank of America, N.A., Member FDIC. Investment products are not FDIC insured, are not bank guaranteed and may lose value.

march/april • 2013


gentlemen’s room high tech

techtrends Story | Michael Garfield

Ferrari Headphones Anyone who is anyone today must have a signature line of headphones (I’m still trying to negotiate a deal to be someone). But not just Dr. Dre, Ludacris, 50 Cent or, yes, Tim Tebow have their own audio devices—Ferrari has licensed its brand into this industry. Distinctively inspired by the Scuderia Ferrari racing team, the R300 model headphones showcase the aerodynamic air vents and traditional grille incorporated in the GT cars. Active noise cancellation technology reduces unwanted ambient noise and the closed back design seals the ear pads to prevent loss of music dynamics. Robust metal arms and diamond-shaped grille finish ensure durability and give these bad boys a look that stands out. An ergonomic two-way folding design allows for compact storage, including a carry case trimmed in carbon fiber texture for additional protection. The anti-tangle and detachable inline remote cables are trimmed in woven fabric for the finishing touch. You can now own your own Ferrari—or at least these headphones—for $400.

Ion Air Pro WiFi Sports Video Camera I recently reviewed several wearable video cameras, but after seeing no less than a dozen different companies showing these sports video cameras at CES, I full realize that this category is hot, hot, hot. A new model I’ve been using from Ion is probably the simplest one to use and has some cool features. The Ion Air Pro WiFi has a unique way of sharing video to other devices, social networks and cloud storage. It broadcasts a WiFi signal rather than a typical Bluetooth connection. WiFi allows for more than one device to receive and control the small, bullet-shaped camera. It’s waterproof to 30 feet and comes with more mounts and accessories to mention, but the camera can quickly snap or twist onto helmets and bikes of all sizes. A free app for iOS and Android devices provides remote controls for video and still photos. The Ion Air Pro WiFi can shoot full HD video making for incredible action shots. As a camera it has a useful time lapse function and 10 burst shot mode. At $199 it is probably the best wearable camera on the market.


HT’s app list During my weeklong marathon at CES, I utilized some of these apps to keep me going, on schedule and updated with the outside world.


With more than 10 million downloads, Socialcam is an easy way to capture, share and view videos on your mobile devices. Unlike other video apps with a 15-second max for content, Socialcam has no time limits for videos. Try the vintage video filters, custom titles and soundtracks to spruce up your masterpieces.


Yes, another wearable device to monitor your activity. The new Fitbug Air is the first Bluetooth Smart Bug, letting you send and view your activity on your smartphone or tablet. I like the fact there is no need to charge the device as the battery lasts from four to six months. Plus, I saw how many miles I walked at CES (way too many).

Michael Garfield Known as “The High-Tech Texan®” to audiences nationwide, Michael hosts technology and issueoriented talk radio shows six days a week on The 9-5-0. See what he’s up to at

Ferrari | Ion Worldwide


spend the first week of each year walking dozens of miles. Not so much trying to get back in shape, but rather trekking through the cavernous Las Vegas Convention Center looking at nearly 20,000 new products that may or may not hit the market. Here are two gadgets that caught my attention at this year’s Consumer Electronics Show, each within a trendy, hot segment.

oneway Oar Another

gentlemen’s room outdoors

Story | doug pike


t no time through their centuries of history have kayaks and canoes been more popular than now, perhaps because there never have been more places or reasons to paddle them. The low-slung boats served originally as transportation for hunters and merchants. Plastic ultimately replaced animal skins and hollowed trees, but contemporary designs are remarkably similar to those from which our early ancestors chased seals and shipped beaver pelts.

As commercial craft, the slender boats lost out to outboard-powered skiffs and steam-pushed barges. Over time, outside kids’ summer camps interest in paddling slumped nearly to nil. Then gasoline touched $4 per gallon and overnight, like the girls of song at closing time, boats that don’t burn fossil fuel got prettier. Fast forward through several generations of fishing and touring kayaks to a family of boats that can be paddled quietly, almost effortlessly, into

try before you buy Throughout spring and summer, canoe and kayak specialty shops routinely schedule “demo” days at which potential buyers can sample varieties of boat/ paddle combinations. Before you invest, try at least a couple of different boats.

Generally, longer and narrower boats glide smoothly and track well, whereas shorter and wider boats are more maneuverable but require more effort to move through the water.

worlds otherwise unavailable. Texas has thousands of miles of waterways, from ribbon-wide creeks to open Gulf, all waiting to be paddled. And from a canoe or kayak, the experience is uniquely intense. Close, closer, you glide until you almost can touch with your fingertips a bird or fish…or snake or alligator if you dare. The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department offers a vast network of freshwater and saltwater paddling trails. They are well marked, routinely traveled (but seldom crowded), and every turned corner reveals something new. Natalie Wiest, author of “Canoeing and Kayaking Houston Waterways,” highlights paddling opportunities beginning inside the city and spreading outward to include river systems and much of the nearby coast. Thumbing through the book in January, I recognized some old paddling haunts and made note of interesting water yet to be paddled. For years, I’ve somehow missed Buffalo Bayou. And

Find out from outdoors experts on why Fayette County Lake is the best bass place in Texas, especially for kayakers.

Armand Bayou. And a couple of (once) secret coastal fishing spots shared by close friends. The book renewed my interest. Great paddles don’t always begin or end on big water. Even small lakes in and around the city can provide ample solitude, birding and fishing opportunity to justify the minimal effort necessary to launch, propel and retrieve a featherweight boat. Paddling is a silent jog on a soft cloud, a chance to exercise as much or as little as you like while enjoying an endless variety of sights, smells and sounds. doug pike Doug Pike has traveled the world to satisfy his passion for the outdoors. During his career, he has won 100-plus state and national awards for writing, broadcast and photography.

march/april • 2013

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marvels n Story | kathryn hunter

From the awe-inspiring Guggenheim in Spain to the towering Burg Al Arab on the shores of Dubai, the world's most acclaimed architectural wonders are true works of art.

march/april • 2013





©FMGB, Guggenheim Museum Bilbao, 2013, Photo: Erika Ed

Guggenheim Museum Bilbao Unique and otherworldly, Frank Gehry’s Guggenheim Museum Bilbao is an icon of contemporary art and architecture. Smooth shapes armored in gleaming titanium mimic the fluidness of movement and life, reminiscent of a school of fish. The structure’s seemingly impossible curves were achieved via cutting-edge computer simulations. At the project’s outset in 1991, Gehry was 62 years old and technological advances had finally caught up to some of his most ambitious ideas. Before the museum’s opening in 1997, Bilbao was not a common tourist destination, despite the city being Spain’s fourth largest and an important industrial center. Making Bilbao famous almost overnight, the museum has drawn more than 10 million visitors to Basque Country. Like the network of other Guggenheim museums around the world, Guggenheim Museum Bilbao unites

remarkable architecture with great artworks. Visitors come to see the museum’s celebrated collection of mid-20th century to present-day art, and also to view Gehry’s famous building for themselves, a structure whose dramatic design has been accused by critics of upstaging the artwork it contains. Built along the Nervion River in the city’s old port, the museum presents many faces. From the street, the structure is designed to blend with its urban surroundings. From the riverfront on the opposite side, it makes no pretense at modesty, resembling the prow of a majestic boat. And if one were to take a bird’s-eye view from above, the building appears to be the shape of a blossoming flower. Regardless of vantage point, it’s a sight to behold. Avenida Abandoibarra, 2 Bilbao 48001, Spain

march/april • 2013



Porsche Museum


the exception of some exhibit backgrounds, the museum’s interior is a cool, stark white. An immense gallery space of drivable art, the Porsche Museum houses roughly 80 production and racecars, including legendary models such as the 356, 550, 911 and 917. The configuration of the museum gives one a sense of speed and lightness. From the entrance to the exhibition area, visitors can choose to go directly to the museum’s central exhibit or follow a chronological path through the building, experiencing all the key moments of the carmaker’s history, from its start as a small design bureau to the world-renowned brand of the present day. Porscheplatz 1, D – 70435 Stuttgart-Zuffenhausen, Germany international/aboutporsche/ porschemuseum

Porsche AG

Paying homage to its roots, the Porsche Museum is located in Zuffenhausen, the small suburb of Stuttgart, Germany, that has been Porsche’s headquarters for more than 70 years. As sleek and unmistakable as the vehicles it houses, the Porsche Museum immediately catches the eye. The Viennese firm Delugan Meissl Associated Architects designed the bold, futuristic structure, which opened in January 2009. The asymmetrical exterior, reaching a height of about 75 feet, is a bright white, with a large glass front and a contrasting layer of polished metal between the two main portions of the building. The large, upper section of the museum seems to levitate, supported by three V-shaped columns. Below, the base structure contains the foyer, museum store and several restaurants and cafes, and a glass stairwell connects it to the exhibit hall above. Inside, with


Royal Ontario Museum © Sam Javanrouh, 2008 | Royal Ontario Museum © 2008. All rights reserved. | Royal Ontario Museum © 2009. All rights reserved.

Royal Ontario Museum Traditional and contemporary architecture come together at the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto, Canada, one of the world’s leading museums of natural history and world cultures. Completed in 2007, the Michael Lee-Chin Crystal— an ambitious and dynamic extension to the historical museum building, parts of which were built as early as 1914—seems to explode from the front of the museum, a monument of glittering glass that beckons the passerby inside for a closer look. The interlocking crystalline shape, designed by Polish-born American Daniel Libeskind, added 100,000 square feet of exhibition space, a new entrance and lobby, a retail shop and three restaurants. A marked contrast from the existing architecture, the extension was meant to improve and augment museum facilities, but also to give the museum an air of approachability and modernity, a sense that the ROM reflects the present day as well as the distant past.

Clad in champagne-colored anodized aluminum, the structure’s exterior changes according to the conditions outside, shimmering in the sunlight or glowing after dusk under the city lights. Natural light filters in through its many windows to illuminate exhibits. Offering a glimpse into galleries on other levels, intersecting spaces between the structure’s five crystal sections create special atriums. The “Spirit House,” a large void between the east and west crystals with bridges crisscrossing the space above, invites museum visitors to rest and reflect. Like Libeskind’s other famous structures, such as the Jewish Museum Berlin and the extension to the Denver Art Museum, the Michael LeeChin Crystal challenges many conventional ideas. 100 Queen’s Park Toronto, ON, M5S 2C6

march/april • 2013



Where Copenhagen’s historic Frederiksstaden quarter meets the city harbor and the sea, the Danish Royal Playhouse extends out over the water. The new theater, completed in 2008, is Denmark’s center for dramatic art. With its brick, copper and glass design, the structure is at home among the traditional storehouses of the harbor, yet also stands out as one of the city’s most striking contemporary structures. The beauty of the theater’s design lies in its functionality and purity of form. The handiwork of Danish firm Lundgaard & Tranberg Architects, the structure has an air of simple elegance. A wide oak-plank promenade wraps around three sides of the building, providing access to the theater’s large, airy foyer, as well as panoramic views of the waterfront. Three stages offer a seating capacity of 1,000, as well as special lighting and acoustics. The glass roof level floats prominently above, housing


facilities like the rehearsal and dressing rooms, and is in turn topped by the theater’s copperclad scene tower. The building also features many sophisticated alternative energy systems, from thermal active slabs and natural ventilation to systems that repurpose seawater for heating and cooling. The area surrounding the theater is in itself a living stage. Some of Copenhagen’s other popular attractions are nearby, such as the Copenhagen Opera House. By day, the theater’s public promenade is lined with pedestrians, cyclists and sightseers; when darkness falls, theatergoers mill about, and the whole structure shines with light. Even if you don’t have tickets to the evening’s performance, the scene is well worth a visit. Sankt Annæ Plads 36 DK-1250 Copenhagen K

Jens Markus Lindhe | Peter Funch

Danish Royal Playhouse


Burj Al Arab of the steel exoskeleton and the structure’s soaring mast frame the fiberglass sail, defining the building’s exterior. The hightech sail tempers the sunlight entering the building’s many windows and projects a brilliant light show at night. The structure’s interior design is one of spectacular excess. The atrium lobby, said to be the tallest in the world, is flanked by gold columns and features an enormous fountain at its center. The hotel’s 28 double stories contain 202 luxury suites and 6 award-winning restaurants. With its vivid color palette, custom carpets and rugs, imported marble floors, gold leaf embellishments and imaginative waterfalls, Burj Al Arab is evocative of a sultan’s palace or a modern-day Arabian fairytale. Dubai, UAE

Jumeirah International

Dubai’s landmark hotel, Burj Al Arab, is a feat of extraordinary imagination. Built to resemble the sail of a traditional Arabian dhow, the hotel stands at a height of 1,053 feet on a manmade island 919 feet from the shore, where its impressive shadow falls over the water rather than the other resort properties on the beach. Burj Al Arab officially opened in December 2009. No expense was spared in its construction. Reclaiming the island from the sea was a costly two-year endeavor, and erecting the hotel structure took roughly three years. British architect Tom Wright of WS Atkins was responsible for the hotel’s unique structural design. A slender causeway, traveled by the hotel’s chauffeur-driven fleet of Rolls Royces, links the island to the mainland. Visible from virtually anywhere in Dubai City, Burj Al Arab is a national icon. The graceful curve

march/april • 2013


escape enlightened explorer

Storybook cruises N >> for the cruise connoisseur

ew for 2013, A-ROSA Cruises is featuring all-inclusive and beyond-the-ordinary river cruises specifically tailored to North American clients. Watch romantic landscapes of age-old castles, steep vineyards and city skylines drift by as you set sail along some of Europe’s most scenic rivers—the Rhône, Saône, Rhine and Danube—for 7 to 14 nights, experiencing the luxury of life on the water and the history and culture of the small towns and cities along the way. Enjoy a wealth of on-board facilities, from a spa and fitness center, to a wine bar and restaurant. Trips include roundtrip airfare, drinks, food, gratuity, port and air taxes, and a selection of unique shore excursions.


scrapbooking ant to remember your latest trip for years to come?


Photos are often the best travel souvenirs, and a photo book is an easy and elegant means for documenting your favorite sights and memories. offers professionally bound photo books in a wide range of sizes, covers and layouts, with many customizable embellishments and backgrounds. Premium photo books include a leather cover, lay flat pages, and thick, professional-grade paper with a satin finish. Online, follow the “Custom Path” to fully design your book, or take advantage of the “Simple Path” for automatic formatting. With either option, you can easily rearrange photos and add captions. If you’re not satisfied with the finished product when it arrives, Shutterfly will replace your order or provide a full refund.


>> for the lodge lover

mountain retreat


private and picturesque getaway near the small town of Green Mountain Falls, Colo., the Outlook Lodge is the perfect place to slow down and breathe in a little mountain air. Built in 1889, the six-room lodge, newly re-imagined and opened in November, offers an ideal mix of the rustic and the contemporary. The Victorian exterior and wide wrap-around porch are nostalgic reminders of the house’s long history, while inside, modern furnishings reflect the rich colors and clean lines of the current age. When darkness falls, a large outdoor fire pit always provides a warm welcome. Lodge owner Christian Keesee is an avid supporter of the arts, and each room of the lodge contains original works from American artists. With a growing number of artist-in-residence studios and the summer Green Box Arts Festival, the town of Green Mountain Falls is a burgeoning art destination.

A-ROSA River Cruises | Outlook Lodge | shutterfly

>> for the record keeper

enlightened explorer


>> for the beach bum


view B

lue skies and blue water as far as the eye can see...welcome to your room at the St. Regis Bal Harbour Resort & Residences in Miami. Each of the 243 guest rooms and suites in the resort’s three all-glass towers looks out on the glittering Atlantic. Bespoke service complements countless other amenities, from lavish interiors by Yabu Pushelberg, to spacious walk-in closets and outdoor terraces. Enjoy exceptional dining at J&G Grill, the latest in spa treatments at the 14,000-square-foot Remède Spa, and a selection of more than 2,500 wines in the resort’s wine vault. Located directly across from the glamorous Bal Harbour Shops and just 15 minutes north of South Beach, the St. Regis Bal Harbour Resort is perfect for a weekend getaway, family vacation or romantic escape.

>> for the traveling foodie

Caribbean flavor


renada, one of the world’s top producers of spices like nutmeg and cinnamon, is a food lover’s dream. Delve into the culinary traditions of the “Isle of Spice” with Mount Cinnamon Resort’s seven-day Epicurean Spice Experience, offered March 1 to Sept. 30. The program takes an in-depth look at Grenadian cooking techniques and the origin and cultivation of spices on the island, incorporating cookery demos, plantation tours and more. Seven nights of deluxe accommodation in a onebedroom suite are also included. If the flavorful cuisine isn’t enough to entice you to this Caribbean gem, Grenada’s white sand beaches and sapphire seas are ample incentive. Visit the area’s many rainforests, waterfalls and national marine parks, or enjoy fishing, sailing, golf or a sumptuous spa treatment. Grenada’s snorkeling and scuba diving are legendary, and the underwater sculpture garden by Jason deCaires Taylor, doubling as a living reef system, is a popular attraction.

Mount Cinnamon | Lodge at Torrey Pines | St. Regis Bal Harbour Resort

>> for the golf nut

cloud nine L ocated along the 18th fairway of the legendary Torrey Pines Golf Course, the Lodge at Torrey Pines is one of Southern California’s premier destinations. This award-winning luxury hotel offers 170 guest rooms, a fullservice spa, fitness center, swimming pool and hot tub, and two restaurants, as well as an exclusive guaranteed tee time program. From the overstuffed couches and cozy leather chairs of the lodge’s expansive public rooms, take in spectacular views of the golf course and Pacific Ocean. With Torrey Pines Golf Course, the unspoiled forests and sandy beaches of Torrey Pines State Reserve, and La Jolla’s many boutiques and galleries all a stone’s throw away, you’ll never run out of things to see and do.

kathryn hunter Kathryn Hunter is an Austin-based freelance writer whose work has appeared in Texas Parks and Wildlife Magazine.

march/april • 2013


post cards

see & do Barking Rocks Winery A converted rock barn, this winery is located on 4.4 acres just minutes from downtown Granbury. They have six handcrafted premium wines that are sold in 31 states. 1919 Allen Court, Granbury 817-579-0077


estled southwest of the Dallas FortWorth area in the Brazos River Valley, Granbury is the jewel of the Brazos. The city comprises plush golf communities, a thriving wine scene and the picturesque Lake Granbury, a 30-mile-long recreational haven. Fitting with the city’s slogan, “Where Texas History Lives,” Granbury is a prime destination for heritage tourists. Famous names such as John Wilkes Booth and Jesse James spent time here, and the charming Granbury Square was the first in Texas to be listed in the National Register of Historic Places. From great live music to a vibrant city beach to ghost tours, Granbury offers many choices for entertainment. Travel back in time at the Brazos Drive-In Theatre, an authentic 1950s drive-in, which is one of 10 remaining in the state. Fun in the sun can be had at the Granbury City Beach, a white sandy beach adorned with tiki huts, children’s water features and a pavilion.


The historic Granbury Opera House covers all theatrical needs such as musicals, plays and dramas year-round. Originally built in 1886, the Opera House was restored and reopened in 1975. Named by “Frommer’s Travel Guides” as one of the seven best ghosts tours in the country, the Granbury Ghosts and Legends Tour is a must for paranormal and Texas history enthusiasts. The Dallas-Fort Worth region is quickly becoming well known for its wine. Culminating each year is the Granbury Wine Walk, an event featuring the region’s finest wine and culinary offerings. This year’s event kicks off April 25 on the historic square plaza in downtown. Visitors can savor local sips at several locations throughout the city and experience the vast selections of true Texas amenities: authentic wine, food, music and art. Granbury provides visitors an opportunity to experience Texas’s future in the wine industry as well as its rich history.

Revolver Brewing New to the Texas craft beer scene is Revolver Brewing. They produce a line of quality beers by mixing traditional ingredients with untraditional spices and locally sourced ingredients. 5600 County Road 308, Granbury 817-736-8034 Bluff Dale Vineyards Award-winning Bluff Dale Vineyards features a bistrostyle tasting room and impressive views of the vineyards and sloping foothills. 5222 County Road 148, Bluff Dale 254-728-3540

enVision Creative Services / City of Granbury


D’Vine Wine of Texas A winery, tasting room and retail store on the historic Granbury Square where guests can blend their own wine, bottle it and design a personalized label. 107 E. Bridge St., Granbury 817-573-7200 texas/granbury

Tiger Ball Committee CHAIRS Gina and Dr. Devinder Bhatia HONORARY CHAIRS Mary Criner Blake Sheida and Dr. Mohammad Etminan Sheela and Ashok Rao

Jenny Antill

Jenny Antill

STEERING COMMITTEE Divya and Chris Brown Anne and Albert Chao Monjula and Ravi Chidambaram Martin and Kelli Cohen Fein Jo and Jim Furr Leela and Nat Krishnamurthy Judy and Scott Nyquist Y. Ping Sun and David W. Leebron

Paul Hester

Get ready for an unforgettable affair at Yoshio Taniguchi’s stunning new building in the Museum District.

Celebrating one year in the Museum District FRIDAY, APRIL 26, 2013 6:00 pm Reception | 7:15 pm Remarks | 7:30 pm Seated Dinner Asia Society Texas Center | Southmore at Caroline

CONTACT: John Bradshaw, Jr., Director of Development,, Phone 713.496.9904 Asia Society Texas Center | 1370 Southmore Boulevard | Houston, Texas 77004 | Phone 713.496.9901 | Fax 713.496.9989

Jenny Antill

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Feel Good | Eye to Eye Health Buzz | What's New Look Good | ABCs of Beauty Be Good | A Room of His Own His & Hers | No Bones About It

march/april • 2013


live well

feel Good

eyeto eye

Story | Angela ambrose


ye disease becomes more common as you age, but getting early treatment can reduce your chance of permanent vision loss. “Many of the diseases are actually without symptoms so the patients may not necessarily know that they have a problem or a disease until they get to that stage (of vision loss), unless they have an examination,” says Dr. Rishi Singh, ophthalmologist at the Cleveland Clinic. Singh recommends getting regular eye exams every two to three years for the general population and annually for those over 60. Blurring of your vision, difficulty seeing at night or an overall decrease in your eyesight may indicate a serious condition. “The most common cause of blindness in the United States is age-related macular degeneration,” says Singh. “It’s a


condition where the central vision is distorted, blurred or missing.” Your risk of developing the disease increases as you get older. At 60, your risk is 1 out of 8. At 70, your risk jumps to 1 out of 4, he says. Another serious eye condition is glaucoma, in which elevated eye pressure causes damage to the optic nerve. “It slowly eats away at your peripheral vision. Unless you’re going to the eye doctor, you can lose a lot of peripheral vision and not even realize it,” says Dr. Brian Wright, ophthalmologist at Mann Eye Institute in Sugar Land. “Unfortunately, with glaucoma and some forms of macular degeneration, there are no good treatment options to bring back vision once it’s been lost. On the other hand, with proper treatments, we may be able to stop the vision loss from

getting worse. This is why it’s important to catch eye disease in It turns out mom was right. Eating its early stages.” carrots is good for your eyes, as well If you have as consuming green, leafy vegetables. diabetes, you are at The beta-carotene in the carrots and an increased risk for the lutein in the vegetables help you maintain healthy eyes. Simple preventive diabetic retinopathy measures like taking a daily multivitamin if your blood sugar and wearing sunglasses can also is uncontrolled. decrease the risk of eye disease. Diabetes damages the blood vessels of the diabetes, taking steroids, smoking retina and can lead or prolonged exposure to sunlight. to blindness at any age, if not Unlike other eye diseases, properly managed. cataracts do not usually cause Many people in their late 60s permanent vision loss. Cataract and early 70s begin to develop surgery is the most common blurred vision or problems with outpatient procedure in the glare due to cataracts. As the eye’s U.S., according to Singh. When natural lens becomes cloudy, you replacing the natural lens of the may gradually notice problems eye, not only do you get rid of with reading, watching TV or the cataract, but you also have the driving at night. Although most cataracts occur as part of the aging chance to choose the prescription of the new lens, often reducing process, they can also be caused your need for eyeglasses. at any age by conditions such as

a carrot a day

H e a lt h B u z z

live well

moment calcium? of Zen

too much


aking calcium supplements has long been promoted as a way to prevent osteoporosis, but a recent German study suggests that consuming these supplements could significantly increase your risk of heart attack. Researchers speculate that excess calcium from supplements may be deposited in the arteries, contributing to plaque buildup and potentially cutting off the blood supply to the heart and other critical tissues. While the study raises important questions on the effects of excess calcium intake and heart attacks, a direct connection has yet to be established. The 2012 study found that eating calciumrich foods did not have the same negative effect as calcium supplements. In fact, moderate dairy calcium intake appeared to have a mild protective effect against heart attacks. Doctors frequently recommend calcium supplements to increase bone health, especially in the elderly. Check with your doctor before changing your calcium supplement intake.



oga continues to grow in popularity, increasing 17 percent in the last two years, according to a report from the Sporting Goods Manufacturers Association. While many people turn to yoga to strengthen their bodies and improve flexibility, one of its greatest benefits is reducing stress and calming the mind. Investigators from three leading medical colleges suggest that yoga may also help relieve symptoms of stress-related conditions such as cardiac disease, chronic pain, anxiety and depression. They theorize that practicing yoga may help restore balance of the autonomic nervous system and improve neurotransmitters in the brain associated with mood and anxiety.



offee is one of the most popular beverages in the world, and the latest findings may make you feel better about pouring yourself another cup of joe. Older adults who drank two to three cups of coffee per day were 10 to 13 percent less likely to die than those who did not drink coffee, according to a study conducted by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and American Association of Retired People (AARP). Coffee consumption was also associated with a lower risk of heart disease, respiratory disease, stroke, injuries and accidents, diabetes and infections. Surprisingly, the results were the same regardless of whether participants drank caffeinated or decaffeinated coffee. The study was one of the largest to date, involving more than 400,000 participants. Due to the observational nature of the study, a cause and effect relationship was not established between drinking coffee and living longer, but the findings may help coffee drinkers relax and enjoy their favorite beverage with less guilt.

arthritis & Anxiety a

n estimated 50 million Americans have arthritis, the leading cause of disability in the country. Having arthritis increases your risk of anxiety and depression, according to a study published in Arthritis Care & Research, the journal of the American College of Rheumatology. One-third of adults with arthritis over the age of 45 experience angela ambrose anxiety, depression or both, yet only half of them receive help for Angela Ambrose has been a writer for more than 20 years, working for Fortune their condition. The study also showed that anxiety is nearly twice as 500 companies and the U.S. Public Health Service, as well as national magazines, newspapers and websites. She is also nationally certified group fitness instructor and a common as depression in this age group for people with rheumatoid registered yoga teacher. arthritis, gout, lupus and fibromyalgia. march/april • 2013


b a c a b a c vitamin AacBcBbCa ABCscAc Cof beauty live well

Look Good



creme de la creme

Vitamin-enhanced cosmetics can bring a fresh bloom to your skin that lasts all year ’round. Here are just a few vitamin-packed products to get you started.

Lumene Vitamin C Anti-Puffiness Roll-On Eye Serum


sunburn, and tanning as well as chronic UV photo aging. Both are highly effective skin spot lightening agents, and topical vitamin C also increases collagen synthesis in both young and old.” The important caveat here lies in the stability and concentration of these items, especially vitamin C, when considering your purchase of a beauty product touting these benefits. Because antioxidants are vulnerable when exposed to air and light, make sure the vitamin C-enhanced cosmetic in question is provided in opaque packaging, and if possible, look for a concentration Oh, Say Can You C Vitamins perform several different level of 5 percent to achieve better results. functions in the human body. Some have similar properties Top of the Class to hormones in regulating Vitamin A is one of the big metabolism, others help manage winners in cosmetic efficacy cell and tissue growth and differentiation. Still others operate (better known as Retinol) and as antioxidants for skin cell repair, helps fight aging by neutralizing free radicals. It is a true vitamin such as vitamins C and E. According to the Dermatology superhero, with properties that help reduce the body’s Department of Mount Sinai inflammation, boost the immune Medical Center, both vitamins system and, most importantly, “do indeed inhibit the acute regulate skin cell growth and ultraviolet (UV) damage of hese days, vitamins have more swagger than just hanging around the medicine cabinet in Flintstone bottles. They are bonafide biochemical miracle workers, and a few choice combinations mixed in with your cosmetics can really make a onetwo punch against signs of skin aging and sun damage. But beware just any old cream with a few alphabet letters on the label, and remember these tips to really benefit from a beauty routine built around some key vitamin add-ins.


reduce the appearance of wrinkles. It’s usually available in prescription strength, which can cause redness and flaky skin while your skin adjusts to it, or in lower-dosage, over-the-counter skin care products, which can be more soothing in application. Pregnant women should consult their physician before adding in Retinol, as it may pose a risk of certain birth defects. B Young, B Happy There are a myriad of vitamin B derivatives that up the ante as a component of cosmetics, as they have been shown to improve skin and metabolism. These include vitamin B, or niacin and vitamin B5, known as panthenol. While panthenol is a common hair care ingredient, niacin is gaining popularity as a beauty product ingredient for its beneficial properties, including moisture retention and reversing the signs of sun damage.

NIA 24 Skin Strengthening Complex

A fortified cream which visibly reduces the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles by enhancing the skin’s barrier function, accelerating repair and delivering continuous moisture. This product contains a proprietary Niacin molecule called ProNiacin, which is designed to penetrate the skin to stimulate its natural repair processes to fix DNA damage and help the skin to heal itself, and is also said to be particularly beneficial for useful for women and men undergoing chemical peels, laser treatments, microdermabrasion and cryotherapy.

Lumene | NiaDyne Inc.

Story | jessica mebane

Packaged in a convenient roll-on applicator that gently massages skin, this serum was created to moisturize and treat the delicate skin around the eyes. The soothing formula features a blend of Arctic cloudberry and lingonberry, which work together to increase skin’s metabolism, helping to reduce puffiness and fade dark under-eye circles.

Be good

live well


a room of his Story | Mary Jo Rapini


y husband’s birthday is the day after Valentine’s Day so celebrating is a double whammy. Buying him gifts for the two holidays is tough because I like buying him sentimental things for Valentine’s Day and useful things for his birthday. My husband is a practical man; he enjoys working in the yard and fixing things in the house. I encourage this because he has a stressful job and working on things seems to relax him. I’ve been bugging him since the holidays about what he wants for his birthday, but he recently came to me with a big grin on his face pointing to a magazine (Prime Living, in fact!). “This is what I want,” he said, pointing to his dream gift: a “man cave” you could build at home. The man caves featured in the article were incredible. One look and I knew it was the perfect gift! Some were round and hanging from a tree. Some of them were fashioned after elaborate cottages hidden in the trees. I kept looking at the pictures and imagining how they would look in our yard. I looked at him and said, “Wow, we need one of these! We can climb up inside and retreat for days.” His face suddenly changed and he became serious. “Wait a minute,” he said. “The idea of the man cave is I go into it by myself. I go there to retreat, to think and work on stuff.” He went on to say, “I get to eat what I want (I’m vegetarian, he’s not), listen to what I want (he likes ’60s rock, I like bossa nova), and it’s a place only for ‘the man.’ ” The more he talked, the more I realized what a great concept a man cave is. It allows men freedom from being anything other than a man. At dinner that night, we had a lively conversation about the man cave with our friends. I was surprised that more women weren’t open to the idea. They seemed a little jealous that their man would leave or wouldn’t be completely in need of their

company all the time. One of my friends told us that her home is a man cave. She has sons, and she said they all act like barbarians in the home. She felt that a woman’s cave would be more appropriate. The conversation became so animated that my husband conceded and said he didn’t really want a man cave, but he brought the whole idea up because he thought it was funny. I didn’t (and don’t) think it’s funny…I think it’s ingenious. I think a man cave could save marriages, and they would be much cheaper and less destructive than a divorce. Men who need a man cave but don’t build one may end up creating one in their relationship. They achieve this by withdrawing, getting defensive when their partner asks for more of their time, and sometimes abandoning the relationship. Guys need time to be alone. Women do too, but women often prefer the company of friends during their “alone time.” Women are more verbal and frequently include other women in their alone time by chatting online, talking on the phone or through texting. Guys’ alone time looks different; it is alone. My husband takes a trip with his brothers every year to an old cabin in Canada that they’ve been going to since childhood. The best part of his vacation is when they all do their own thing during the day…alone. He writes, fishes, catches bugs and whatever else he wants to do, but it is done in solitude. He is a better husband because of this trip. You can achieve a man cave concept by giving your guy his own space within your home; this will help prevent your marriage or relationship from being sacrificed due to his need for solitude. Here are a few suggestions to help you get started: • Decide where in the home his area or “cave” will be. Guys like to take up a lot of space, so maybe a whole room or part of the garage for him would be best.

• After you settle on a place, let him decorate it. Don’t worry; men’s taste with décor isn’t as expensive as women’s. Guys like caves and can do with minimal stuff….usually.

• Avoid his area. He needs his own place to retreat and if you begin going in there all the time, then there is no boundary. He may become resentful of your invasion. (Guys, if your wife or girlfriend agrees not to invade your man cave, then you will have to agree to clean it up. I know this sort of violates the idea of a man cave, but a roach infestation in the house due to leftover food is not okay.) • Kids should stay out of the man cave unless their dad personally invites them in. I would never help build a man cave for my man if I didn’t trust him. In fact, I wouldn’t share a home with anyone I didn’t trust. We aren’t going to build a man cave this year, but I am going to help make “his space” at our home more comfortable. He wants a new desk for his computer. He chose one that didn’t match the décor, but it is his man cave within our home. Great marriages are built with trust, understanding, and realizing you cannot be all things to your partner. Encouraging each other’s alone time can energize your marriage and make you more appreciative of the person you share your cave with.

mary jo rapini Mary Jo Rapini is a Houston-based psychotherapist specializing in sex and relationships. In addition to being a speaker, author and TV personality, she shares her expert advice Tuesday mornings on Mix 96.5 and Friday mornings on Fox 26 Houston. For information, visit

march/april • 2013


live well

his & hers


bones about it Story | jessica mebane


eepak Chopra once said, “You can free yourself from aging by reinterpreting your body and by grasping the link between belief and biology.” At no point is this aphorism truer than when managing your bone health. And while osteoporosis has been a hot-button issue for women over the age of 50, more and more men are becoming cognizant of their own skeletal issues and how best to maintain strong healthy bones over the long term. Let’s bone up on the facts about the male and female skeletal system to see how they age in similar and not so similar ways, and see if you’re both making wise choices for optimal bone health.

women Women have a lighter skeleton than men, which contributes to more frequent and severe bone breakage, as well as compression fractures, which can be more painful and slower to heal.


While men have heavier skeletons and experience bone loss later in life and with less severity, they also don’t have the rapid bone loss associated with hormone loss due to menopause.

Women typically begin to notice significant bone loss at an earlier age than men, and over a longer period of time.

bone density loss

More men are experiencing some bone density loss, beginning at age 65. Men can also be subject to bone loss as a result of diseases of kidneys, lungs, stomach or intestines.

Women may need to take both bisphosphonate medicine (Actonel, Fosamax) and hormone replacement therapy.


Testosterone drug therapies are recommended, as well as calcium and Vitamin D supplements.

Hip and spinal fractures are the most common bone breaks women experience.


Men experience half as many hip fractures than women, but twice as many rib fractures.


Because men often forget to consider bone loss or osteoporosis until they’ve had a fracture, remember to talk to your doctor about having a Bone Mineral Density test (BMD) if you’ve experienced height loss, change in posture or sudden back pain.

dietary considerations

Some studies show that indulging in moderate alcohol consumption (1 to 2 drinks per day) decreases bone growth turnover, but men must maintain a healthy diet and exercise as well.

Women must exercise, even if only to take a 15-minute walk, which activates the calciumsupporting Vitamin D. Weight-bearing exercise is the optimal defense, as well as limiting drinking and cutting out smoking. Women over 50 also need to ask their physicians for Bone DEXA scans. Protein-heavy meals can actually leach calcium from your bones, and refined salt can inhibit calcium absorption. Consider adding more raw vegetables and put the brakes on salt. Also look for calcium supplements with 1000mg up to age 50, 1200mg after that.



American Heart Association’s Heart Ball


Hilton Americas - Houston • 2.9.13


In February, one of Houston’s most anticipated social events, the American Heart Association’s annual Heart Ball, welcomed 650 guests and raised nearly $1.2 million for heart disease and stroke research. “A Toast to your Heart” celebrated the special 30-year anniversary of the Heart Ball. The venue was filled with red roses and elaborate décor as guests enjoyed cocktails, dinner and dancing to live music. Sharing her story for the first time publicly was Houston philanthropist and author Connie Reeves Cooke, who suffered a massive heart attack at her Lake Travis home in August. Houston Grand Opera studio soprano Natalya Romeniw and pianist Joseph Li closed closed out the evening with a stellar performance of “My Heart will Go On.” Photography | Alexander’s Fine Portrait Design

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march/april • 2013




bliss Two white-washed rocking chairs make for the perfect escape to ease your cares away as you gaze out over a calm sea.


Photography | Stephen Karlisch



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