The Luxury of Choice
Angels Among Us 5 local heroes strive to make Houston a better place
Take the plunge at the Blue Lagoon Spa in Iceland
Party of the Year Itâ€™s all cocktails and cupcakes at this end-of-the-year bash
Style A season of
From lavish cars to brilliant jewels, wrap yourself in luxury this holiday season
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It gives the driver many things, among them the confidence to be the driver. The new Porsche 911. Totally reengineered at its core to not only give confidence, but exude it as well. Its new optional Porsche Doppelkupplung (PDK) allows for incredibly fast shifting, and the new Direct Fuel Injection (DFI) system increases the engineâ€™s output while at the same time conserving fuel. Visit Porsche of West Houston today. Porsche. There is no substitute.
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Five local heroes keep the spirit of community volunteerism alive
bliss in the blue lagoon
Steal away to the wondrous luxury of Iceland’s Blue Lagoon Spa
Dubai: A jewel in the desert and a marketplace to the world
55 60 november/december • 2010
Publisher & Editor-in-Chief Karyn Dean
9 • cocktails & conversation • Where to Go, What to Do All in the Family • Holiday Market • Buzz • Where There’s Smoke • City Q&A • Artistic Visionary • Dream Homes • My Life • Timeless Tastes
Publisher Terry Dean
Managing Editor Michelle Jacoby
34 • connoisseur • PL’s Guide to Discerning Taste Marvels of Monarch • Good Eats • Table Talk • Cultured Cognac • Cocktail Countdown
Editorial Assistant Samantha Edmondson
47 • the gentlemen’s room • For the man who commands the very best True Confections • Superleggera = Superfast • Is 3-D TV for Me? • Speed Racers
Art Direction & Design SW!TCH s t u d i o Jim Nissen, Erin Loukili
68 • pL’s Postcards • Greetings from texas destinations Texas Hill Country • See + Do 70 • live well • Feel Good, Look Good Ohm for the Holidays • Boom. Boom. Stress. • Just Breathe • Stress Relievers • Health News + Events 74 • prime list • Events, Galas and Fundraisers Azuma VIP Grand Opening • Couture for the Cause • Tune Up for Life • Artful Living with Neiman Marcus • Datebook
Sales Manager David Spector
Senior Account Executive Mike Taylor
Account Executive Jennifer Ludlow firstname.lastname@example.org
Marketing/Event Coordinator Jennifer Dean email@example.com
Circulation/ Distribution Brian Stavert
Contact 311 Julie Rivers Drive Sugar Land, Texas 77498 281.277.2333
Editorial Inquiries firstname.lastname@example.org Advertising Information email@example.com www.prime-living.com
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The Luxury of Choice
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Wardrobe from Fashion by Robert Black (fashionbyrobertblack.com); jewelry from Molina Fine Jewelers (finejeweler.com); hair and makeup by Shauna Thibault (shaunathibault. com); wardrobe styling by Lisa Forster (lisaforster.com); photography by Mark Lipczynski (marklipczynski.com).
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.
Here’s what the staff at Prime Living are wishing for this holiday season:
karyn dean Publisher & Editor-in-Chief
Santa, please bring me a zerocalorie cheesecake and a new smart phone.
Santa, please bring me another year of my wife allowing me to watch Texas football every Saturday.
Karyn Dean Publisher / Editor-in-Chief
David Spector Sales Manager
Another healthy and happy year with a better economy for ALL!
A bottle of 2007 Cakebread Chardonnay Reserve and an outer space convertible in light blue!
Terry Dean Publisher
hen I was 10 years old, I asked Santa to bring me albums for my new record player. On Christmas morning, I received “Christmas with the Chipmunks” and Jeannie C. Riley’s “Harper Valley PTA.” That was the year I learned to be careful what I wished for! The following year, fortunately, I received a 10-speed bike and all was right with the world once again. The Santa from my childhood For a complete memories still lives today and now list of all the e represents kindness, selfless giving nominees for th 10 20 g in and thoughtfulness that brings hope iv L e m ri P es to people who need it the most. In ro e H y it n u m Com r this special issue of Prime Living, project, visit ou we introduce you to five amazing website at m. community heroes who epitomize prime-living.co those admirable traits each and every day. From our Prime Living family to yours, hoping your holidays are filled with many blessings and much joy!
Jennifer Dean Marketing
How about another three hours in the day, another two days in the week, and one more day for the weekend? No? Okay, then. I’ll settle for a pair of Christian Louboutin Guerriere boots in a size 6, please.
An extra helping of everything I’m already blessed with. And please bring me an exotic beach vacation.
Michelle Jacoby Managing Editor
Jennifer Ludlow Account Executive
The gift of health and happiness. Oh, and a plane ticket home to Louisiana, good for one weekend every month, all throughout the year.
A year of well-behaved angels, good report cards, health and prosperity.
Samantha Edmondson Editorial Assistant
Santa, please bring me a year of health and prosperity for me and my family…and a big bar of caramel chocolate, just for me.
Mike Taylor Senior Account Executive
The gift of health, happiness and long life, along with the capacity to fully share it with my family. Tom Kircher Graphics
Erin Loukili Art Director
Mountains in Houston for daily hiking!
What every good boy wants for Christmas: a bike!
brian stavert Accounting & Circulation
Jim Nissen Creative Director
From luxury wellness getaways to personal chef services, start off the New Year on the right foot with our special health and wellness issue.
NThe wait is nearly over! Join us for the most exclusive luxury event of the year December 2, 2010 at Million Air Houston “I can honestly say it was the event of the year!” – Attendee of 2009 Gateway to Luxury
“They have set their reputation for hosting legendary events for their exclusive following!” – A Sponsor of 2009 Gateway to Luxury
Prime Living’s 2010 Gateway to Luxury www.bit.ly/gateway2lux Use code PL2010
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9/23/10 5:06 PM
cocktails & conversation.
cocktails & the prime living guide to what's happening now
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Prime Ten | All in the Family Day Tripper | Holiday Market The Buzz | What's New Hot List | Where There's Smoke Houston Deconstructed | City Q&A Arts | Artistic Visionary Design | Dream Homes My Life | Mike Flory Treasures | Timeless Tastes november/december • 2010
cocktails & conversation.
All in the Family
Story | sally j. clasen Illustration | Paul Svancara
Many families observe time-honored traditions to celebrate the holidays. Who hasn’t sung carols around the tree or roasted chestnuts over an open fire? Still, not every activity is plucked from a Charles Dickens novel. Here are 10 strange seasonal rituals: Drink eggnog. This frothy beverage is made with raw eggs, is high in calories and has indiscernible traces of liquor. What’s to cheer about?
Welcome guests to your “crib.” Putting straw under the dining room tablecloth to represent the manger seems normal—until the alfalfa bedding makes it impossible for guests to steady their wine glass.
Play “find the gherkin.” The first child to find the hidden green pickle ornament on the tree Christmas morning gets an extra gift. Makes perfect sense… Host the seasonal trot. It’s important to offset holiday gluttony, however, it frightens others when your dad runs through the neighborhood in his silky red jogging suit. Create a carcass centerpiece. Don’t throw away the skeletal remains of that useful turkey. Spray it with some flocked paint, insert a Santa and you’ve got a decorative table sled! Capture the “warm” memories. It was cute when the kids were little, yet insisting that everyone still wear matching snowflake PJs could be the reason for the adult disdain that appears in the annual family photo.
Break bread as Pilgrims and Indians. Interesting role-play, but the theatrical gratitude is a holiday ruse. Someone at the first Thanksgiving meal was not grateful and decided to ruin it for everyone. Exchange homemade gifts. A thoughtful idea, except it stinks when your gift-giver is a preschooler who can’t sew or be trusted with craft scissors. Repurpose gift wrap. Kudos for being green during a time of excessivness, but isn’t there a limited shelf life for ripped holiday paper? Resolve to not wear white undies. To attract love, wear red; to get rich, don a pair of yellow. Either way, sporting the right colored underwear on New Year’s Eve could bring you some luck.
cocktails & conversation.
get crafty For more bits and baubles to light up your holiday season, visit these local craft fairs and markets
Sugar Plum Market
Story | jean ciampi Photography | Morris Malakoff
sk any native Houstonian and they’ll tell you: There’s only one thing that kicks off the “official” start of the holiday season, and that’s the Nutcracker Market. A tradition since 1980, the holiday event hosted by the Houston Ballet is filled with anything and everything to make your holidays bigger and brighter. Capturing the excitement and festivity of “The Greatest Show on Earth,” the Houston Ballet will celebrate the 30th anniversary of their annual Nutcracker Market with a “Holiday Under the Big Top” theme. The highly anticipated, five-day event features more than 300 national and international vendors covering even more space in Reliant Center than ever before with unique gifts, décor, novelties, gourmet food and more. The Market will be open Nov. 11-14, but shoppers can get a sneak peek on Nov. 10 during
an exclusive private reception and cocktail party as part of what promises to be the ultimate Christmas shopping party. Guests can browse without the crowds, mix and mingle, and hope to hold the lucky raffle ticket for a Mary Nichols handbag and other special treats. The early look has other benefits, as well. Some highly coveted items, like Donne Di Domani’s marinara sauce, will only be found by those who shop early. The to-die-for sauce, made by a group of local Italian-American women, often sells out by noon on the first day. Also on this year’s musthave list is the exclusive Bond No. 9 fragrance in a bedazzled Texas flag bottle, available in a very limited production. In the tradition of European street markets, the Nutcracker Market has developed into a shopping extravaganza and annual tradition that announces the arrival of the holiday season
in Houston. Whether it’s a unique gift, luxurious indulgence or just that something special, it’s sure to be found among the endless booths. Proceeds from the Market and the associated special events, like the Saks Fifth Avenue fashion show and luncheon on Nov. 11 and the Macy’s fashion show and brunch on Nov. 12, benefit the Houston Ballet Foundation. Approximately 700 volunteers work to accommodate the estimated 85,000 people who will come and spend more than $13 million, according to Shawn Stevens, this year’s event chair. In past years, more than $2.5 million was raised to support the ballet over the five-day market and help keep Houston’s aspiring young dancers on their toes.
nutcracker market reliant center 713-535-3271 houstonballet.org
Sugar Land’s annual market offers shoppers a special first look at what’s in store this holiday season. Held Nov. 5-6 at the Stafford Centre Performing Arts Theatre & Convention Center, the 10th annual event features 85 vendors, as well as luncheons and fashion shows. 10505 Cash Road, Stafford sugarplummarket.com
International Quilt Festival
The largest annual event of its kind in the world, the International Quilt Festival will be making a stop at the GRB Convention Center Nov. 4-7 with events and more than 350 classes. More than 1,100 vendors showcase everything for quilters and those who just love to shop. 1001 Avenida de las Americas quilts.com
Junior League Holiday Market
The Junior League of North Harris and South Montgomery Counties will kick off their Holiday Market with a “Martinis and Mistletoe” preview party on Nov. 18. Held at The Woodlands Waterway Marriott, the event runs Nov. 19-21 and is highlighted by Santa’s Gingerbread Workshop with games, songs and crafts for the whole family. 1602 Lake Robbins Drive, The Woodlands jlholidaymarket.org
november/december • 2010
cocktails & conversation.
sheer Brilliance Looking to add a little sparkle to your holiday wish list? Tiffany & Co. has introduced a new—and oh, so stunning— collection featuring rare, fancy yellow diamonds. Inspired by the cuts and shapes found throughout Tiffany’s history, including the famous 128.54-carat Tiffany Diamond, the collection includes the Tiffany Bezet ring, a cushion-shaped yellow diamond pendant ring with white pave diamonds in 18-karat gold and platinum; and mixed-cut yellow and white diamond bracelets in 18-karat gold and platinum. The diamonds can also be found in Elsa Peretti’s Diamonds by the Yard, a collection that launched more than 30 years ago. Every design has a new option: a pear-shaped yellow diamond pendant in platinum or 18-karat yellow gold. Through an agreement with Gem Diamonds’s Ellendale mine in Western Australia, world renowned for the quality of its rough stones, Tiffany has secured the exclusive rights to the mine’s production of fancy color yellow diamonds, which makes these rare gems more accessible than before. Tiffany & Co. is located at The Galleria, 5015 Westheimer Road, with a location in The Woodlands scheduled to open this winter. 713-626-0220, tiffany.com
Bodies in Motion Mother of three and
entrepreneur Heather Erdmann introduces yoga for kids at Pure Body Studio in Bellaire. Featuring dance, song, games, poses and stories that emulate animals and letters, PureKids Yoga helps with coordination, balance and body control. Classes designed for preschoolers to teens and a single class runs $25 to $35. 3865 Bellaire Blvd. 713-660-7873, purebodystudio.com
film PL’s click list Our favorite sites of 2010
Calling all movie buffs! The 2010 Cinema Arts Festival is making its way to Houston Nov. 10-14, bringing with it a bevy of films shown at downtown venues including the Houston, Visitors Center, Discovery Green, Museum of Fine Arts Houston and the Rice Media Center. With 34 events and screenings scheduled, film fanatics will get the chance to see an exciting selection of movies. One hot ticket is “Thunder Soul,” which won the Audience Award for Best Documentary Feature at the 2010 Los Angeles Film Festival. Directed by Mark Landsman, the film is described as a “reverent homage” to Houston native Conrad O. “Prof” Johnson and his work with Kashmere High School’s Kashmere Stage Band during the ’60s and ’70s. The band will perform live following the free screening at Discovery Green. This multimedia arts event, which goes behind the walls of a movie theater by combining live music and film performances on outdoor projection systems, is open to the public. For screening and event info, visit cinemartsociety.org.
© Tiffany & Co | Angela LaMonte | On the Mark Communications
cocktails & conversation.
Happenings Nov. 13
22nd Annual Ice Spectacular The Galleria kicks off the holiday season with the lighting of its 55foot Christmas tree. The Galleria, 5015 Westheimer. 713-622-0663, galleriahouston.com
Sofia van der Dys | Romana Correale | Elaine Turner | More Than You Can Imagine
Roman Holiday In need of a place to get away from the hustle and bustle of the big city? Look no further than Rome Salon and Day Spa located in Houston’s chic new retail and residential development, West Ave. Past the sleek, modern façade, you’ll be transported to an elegant, resort-style sanctuary, where you’ll experience ancient Romeinspired relaxation and beauty rituals, including the Aura Hand and Foot Ritual Experience. Settle back in the luxurious comfort of Rome’s Pedi-Loungers while your hands and feet receive a customized soak, scrub, massage, mask, nail care and polish with SpaRitual products. The spa is also the perfect setting to enjoy the beauty of fine art. In an exclusive collaboration with Gremillion & Co. Fine Art, Rome Salon will feature rotating collection of works by nationally and internationally recognized artists, including Romanoos Abasaltian Mattonen, Andy Warhol, Miguel Angel Méndez and Nicola Parente. 2800 Kirby Drive. 713-526-7663, romedayspa.com
Nov. 25 to Jan. 17 ICE at Discovery Green Holiday activities, snacks, shopping and surprise visits by Santa. Discovery Green, 1500 McKinney. 713-400-7336, discoverygreen.com
Dec. 3 Mayor’s Holiday Celebration The mayor’s official tree lighting ceremony featuring music, a fireworks display and more. Hermann Square at City Hall, 901 Bagby. downtownhouston.org
Italian fashion designer Francesca Romana Correale’s luxury bags recently made their U.S. launch in Houston at Tootsies. The bags were debuted during a benefit for the American Heart Association, which only seemed fitting since her signature red patent leather handle is in the shape of a heart. Made in Tuscany from the finest ostrich leather, the “le Forme” collection comes in white, black and chocolate brown. Three different sizes retail for $1,200 to $2,300. Available at Tootsies or at romanacorreale.com. 4045 Westheimer. 713-629-9990, tootsies.com Exuding the iconic style and grace of Jackie Kennedy Onassis, local designer Elaine Turner’s latest collection pays homage to this American fashion icon. Grab your oversized sunglasses, string of pearls and slip on a pair of the “Paige” glitter flats, which go perfect with skinny jeans or mini skirt. With these little gold sequin numbers you can dance the night away at any soiree. $98. 2439 University Blvd. 713-255-0052, elaineturner.com Don’t let the chill of winter stop you from showing off a killer tan. Bella Bronzer is the latest oversized beauty bronzer for your entire body—from your face to your legs—to help create healthy glow no matter what time of year. It works on all skin types and won’t break the bank at $28 a bottle. Available at More Than You Can Imagine, 2817 Westheimer. 713-668-8811, mtyci.com
2010 Chevron Jingle Bell Run and Walk Shed those extra holiday pounds while supporting the Houston YMCA. Downtown YMCA, 808 Pease. 713-659-5566, ymcahouston.org
Dec. 31 Gloworama New Year’s Eve 2011 Highlights include the H-E-B Art Car Glow’n Roll, live music and light show. Discovery Green, 1500 E. McKinney, and the George R. Brown Convention Center, 1001 Avenida de las Americas. downtownhouston.org Events subject to change. Unless indicated, contact venue for exact show dates and times.
Roseann Rogers Known as Houston’s “Buzz Lady,” Roseann Rogers has been on top of the Houston’s social, fashion and entertainment scene for nearly 15 years. A regular contributor to Prime Living, she is also a TV personality, spokesperson and active philanthropist.
november/december • 2010
cocktails & conversation.
Story | Karl Hauenstein
Rio 24 Cigars & Premier Bar
When the celebration in The Woodlands calls for a San Cristobal Selección Del Sol and a fine brandy or single malt scotch, stop by Rio 24, where the elegant atmosphere is elevated with live entertainment by such acts as Kamil and the Jerry Jones Jazz Band. Don’t miss happy hour Sunday through Thursday, featuring a fine selection of wines, beers and martinis. 24 waterway ave. 281-298-8885 rio24cigars.com
On Feb. 6, 1961, President John F. Kennedy asked press secretary Pierre Salinger to buy as many Petit Upmann Cuban Downing Street Pub cigars as he could find. Salinger came through with 1,200 of the Cigars & Spirits An oasis for cigar and spirits lovers inside fine cigars. The next day, Kennedy signed the trade embargo the loop, Downing Street Pub offers a huge with Cuba into law, making it illegal to buy a Cuban cigar selection of hand-rolled fine cigars, as well as anywhere in this country. The moral hundreds of single-malt scotches and whiskies around the world. Plus, a state-of-theof this story: War is war and politics is from art filtration and ventilation system creates an politics, but the enjoyment of a truly enjoyable environment for smokers and their non-smoking counterparts. fine cigar transcends both. Here are five local establishments where you 2549 kirby 713-523-2291 can enjoy a superior cigar…without downingstreetpub.com breaking the law. Got a hankerin’ for an Arturo Fuente Exquisito or a Cohiba Black Label XV? This is the place to shop for the most popular, exotic and rare fine cigars. And don’t even think about storing these fine smokes in your refrigerator or lighting them with the cheap lighter you used in high school. For these purposes, you’ll need a personal humidor and butane lighter. Check out the goods for a superior smoking experience. 3514 s. shepherd drive 713-521-6478 cigaremporiumhouston.com
Santa Barbara Cigar & Tobacco Shop
Lord Byron’s Cigar Bar
Two bars for different occasions and tastes define this cigar lovers’ shrine in the west You’ve just closed the deal in the West ’burbs: the North Bar is reminiscent of an Houston Energy Corridor and now you’re English Pub with 14 varieties of beer on tap, looking for a victory cigar. Santa Barbara while the South Bar evokes images of an Cigar offers an impressive selection of elite English gentleman’s club complete with a cigars, including God of Fire, Olivia, and mahogany fireplace, plush leather chesterfields Padron. Take a few minutes to savor your purchase in their comfortable smoking lounge. and more than 30 fine scotches, cognacs and liqueurs. Both bars, of course, offer a wide selection of hand-rolled premium cigars. 11693 westheimer 281-293-0609 santabarbaracigars.com 22756 westheimer parkway, katy 281-392-2244 lordbyronscigarbar.com
Michael Wilson | Van Thai
cocktails & conversation.
Houston Deconstructed Get the answers to your burning questions about the Bayou City
Story | Barbara Fulenwider
Galveston County Historical Museum
How did Galveston get its seawall? The historic hurricane of 1900, which killed some 6,000 people, got the island city its seawall. A report made in 1902 by a cityand county-appointed board strongly recommended the city make building a seawall a first priority. Construction on the first three-mile wall from Market Street along Sixth Street to the beach and then along the beach to 39th Street started in October 1902 and was completed in early 1904. During that time, the federal government authorized extending it on from 39th to 53rd Street and that part was finished in October 1905. Another extension was completed in 1921 and the last section of the 10.4-mile seawall was finished in July 1962. It extended almost to Seven-mile Road. Today, the seawall extends to a third of the Gulf waterfront of Galveston Island and the total cost was estimated $14.5 million.
What’s important about Dec. 29? Not much, unless it’s your birthday…or you’re a Texan. Dec. 29, 1845 is when Congress accepted the Texas state constitution, making it the 28th state of the Union. The conditions for acceptance stated that the largest state could not be subdivided into more than four additional states, it would pay its own public debts and retain its public lands, and it had to submit any boundary disputes in which it became involved to the U.S. Five years later, the census taken in 1850 showed Houston had a population of 2,397.
When did free public schools become a reality in Houston? Not until 1870 and 1871, when legislators proposed school acts that were supported by taxation. Houston voters endorsed free public schools in 1876 (Constitution of 1876) and eight schools opened to more than 1,200 students in October 1877. The schools were segregated along racial lines and had 25 teachers who were paid a dime per pupil.
What foundation and group of people raised the money to build the new Alley Theater and Jones Hall? While some used to describe Houston as a cultural Sahara, it hasn’t been for years thanks in large part to the Ford Foundation, which provided grants Houston citizens had to match and did. Today, Houston has world-class venues for worldclass performers.
When did freeways begin being built in Houston? In the 1960s, when the Eastex Freeway, parts of Loop 610 and the Southwest Freeway were all under construction. Frank Sharp, developer of Sharpstown, persuaded neighboring landowners to join him in donating right-of-way for the Southwest Freeway. The donations amounted to $2 million total, but the freeway frontage Sharp and his neighbors got are worth multiples of millions and made southwest Houston an economic bonanza for Sharp and the city.
Have a burning question about life in Houston? E-mail your curious inquiries to email@example.com.
november/december • 2010
cocktails & conversation.
bestbets Tiny Tim and Crumpet
artistic Story | John DeMers Photography | jerry powers
or the longest time, art museums in the western world used their collections to, essentially, pay homage to themselves—to the forms and functions of art as defined by the West, as well as to those handful of ancient cultures thought to have made such art possible. In the 28 years Peter Marzio has served as director of the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston the world of art has changed dramatically. And often as not, Houston has been out front, leading the way. “Art is no longer a one-way street,” says Marzio, who was born in Governor’s Island, N.Y., and served as director of the Corcoran Gallery of Art, as well as curator of prints and chairman of the department of cultural history at the Smithsonian before coming to Houston in 1982. “We don’t treat art like medicine—it doesn’t taste good, but it’s good for you. No, we create a dialogue with the various communities in Houston, and then we build the museum around that dialogue.” Seeming almost as surprised and definitely as delighted by the evolution as anyone else in the museum world might be, Marzio points to MFAH’s remarkable advances in Latin American art as a particularly meaningful step. Reflecting the deep roots of Texas, along with its efforts to gather Islamic art, African art and elements from the often-snubbed world of design at key junctures, he insists it’s been as much about listening as talking— and that’s when the director allows himself a laugh. “It’s hard for professionals to give up their authority sometimes, in order to become more knowledgeable,” he says.
At the Alley, there’s the holiday show…and then there’s the anti-holiday show. The “holiday show,” of course, is the play based on Charles Dickens’s “A Christmas Carol,” adapted and created by Hartford Stage artistic director and Alley artistic associate Michael Wilson. In response to overwhelming audience demand, however, the Alley is again offering what it bills as a “holiday alternative,” the irreverent comedy “The Santaland Diaries” by David Sedaris, adapted for the stage by Joe Mantello. Popular Alley actor Todd Waite reprises his role as “Crumpet the Elf,” who works in a department store during the shopping frenzy.
It’s Nutcracker Season
These have been 28 remarkable years for MFAH and for Marzio himself, since the typical tenure of a museum director is about four years. Still, “28” is only one of the numerals that have attached themselves to the period. Under Marzio’s leadership, MFAH’s annual attendance has increased from 300,000 to 1.6 million and memberships from 7,000 to more than 40,000. The operating budget has exploded from $5 million to $52 million, the endowment from $25 million to $1.1 billion, and the permanent collection from 20,000 to 63,000 works of art. It might be tempting, after seeing too many movies, to picture an art museum as a single huge marble building filled with paintings and sculpture. This is part of what MFAH is today, and certainly part of what it was envisioned to be when it opened its doors as the Public School Art League, the first art museum in Texas, on March 24, 1900. Over the century-plus that followed, though, it has become a multi-faceted setting and multi-layered operation, with not one, but two gallery buildings: the Audrey Jones Beck and the Caroline Wiess Law. Other pieces of the puzzle include the Lillie and Hugh Roy Cullen Sculpture Garden, Bayou Bend Collection and Gardens, Rienzi Center for European Decorative Arts, and the Glassell School of Art. “As we’ve pursued the community approach, we’ve also pursued the encyclopedic approach, and that means we’ve discovered what I call the ecumenical approach,” Marzio observes. “Art has a much broader definition now. It’s not just about our own roots but about understanding humanity.”
Topping anybody’s list of things it just wouldn’t be the holidays without, artistic director Stanton Welch and the dancers of his Houston Ballet launch “The Nutcracker” on Nov. 26. Set in 19th century Germany, the ballet opens at a charming Christmas party at which the mysterious Dr. Drosselmeyer gives his little niece Clara a magical toy that takes her on an unforgettable journey. From the Christmas tree that grows to a towering 40 feet in the first act to the cooks who fly magically through the air in the second act, “The Nutcracker” is pretty enchanting stuff.
Born in the State of Flux/US Now in his 70s, Benjamin Patterson is being discovered by a new generation of artists. This exhibition at the Contemporary Arts Museum marks his first major show, bringing together a multitude of works never before seen in the United States. It also underscores the significant contributions of this artist, whose presence within the dynamic constellation of Flux/ US is palpable.
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Nov. 8 to Dec. 16 Madeline’s Christmas Main Street Theater-Chelsea market, 4617 Montrose Blvd. 713-524-6706, mainstreettheater.com
Nov. 10-14 Cirque Du Soleil – Alegria Toyota Center, 1510 Polk St. 866-446-8849, cirquedusoleil.com/alegria
he Alley opened its 64th season with its fourth flirtation with the dark, violent and surprisingly hilarious world of Martin McDonagh. And while the evening lacked the frightening intensity of “The Pillowman” and the buckets of fake blood spilled in “The Lieutenant of Inishmore” (both recent memorable Alley productions), “A Behanding in Spokane” delivered the demented, over-the-edge sitcom that McDonagh’s fans have come to identify as his trademark. In keeping with now-regular comparisons to filmmakers John Woo and Quentin Tarantino, “Behanding” slammed us into a blood-drenched tale already in motion. A man named Carmichael is holding a young black man and his pretty white girlfriend in a seedy hotel room as some version of his hostages. Yet what he is forcing them to do, via threats of everything from gunshots to burnings with gasoline, is to recover the left hand that a gang of “redneck bastards” removed by holding his arm on a train track 27 years earlier. The man has spent the past 27 years, he tells the couple (and therefore us), searching for that hand, not because he can use it for anything, but because it’s “his.” Despite its altogether sinister subject, the play delivered McDonagh’s occasional bouts of unexpected, almost-Irish poetry, as when
Carmichael recalls his years searching through the “filth lots and flea alleys of this sad, decaying country.” But since none of these images ever worked up a major steam, what we were left with was suspense, long-buried anger and, of course, a thousand and one belly laughs. The latter included two extended set pieces that could have been standup comedy. One in which goofy, perhaps insane, hotel receptionist Mervyn (played with glee by Alley member Chris Hutchison) stopped the show to ask the audience what it thinks about monkeys. The other when Carmichael spent several minutes laughing, cajoling, spitting, snarling and screaming into the hotel phone in a conversation with his elderly mother. It could have been an early Bob Newhart routine, except of course for the violence, hatred and nonstop profanity. As directed by James Black—the Alley member who could have best played Carmichael—talented import Andrew Weems handled the role with seething, under-the-surface passion, in every moment ready to kill someone with the large handgun he kept pulling out of his coat with his remaining hand. Sean-Michael Bowles, in his Alley debut, and company member Emily Neves shined as the young couple, who, in true Tarantino fashion, got into this mess running a scam of their own.
Spotlight: Off the Wall Gallery
To fully appreciate the unique urban eclecticism that Off the Wall Gallery has to offer, you have to visit it yourself. Owner Mimi Sperber has created an environment where each work of art blends artistic elements into a unique creation providing nourishment for today’s urban souls. Artists include Sylvia Angeli, Salvador Dali and Dr. Seuss. The gallery is open Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., and Sunday from noon to 6 p.m. 5015 westheimer #2208 • 713-871-1883 • offthewallgallery.com
Nov. 18 Rienzi’s Porcelain Masterpieces The Museum of Fine Arts Houston, 1001 Bissonnet St. 2:30 p.m. $6. 713-639-7300, mfah.org
Nov. 24 to Dec. 5 Dr. Seuss’ How The Grinch Stole Christmas: The Musical Hobby Theatre for the Performing Arts, 800 Bagby. 713-558-2600, tuts.com
Nov. 26 to Dec. 19 The Heidi Chronicles Main Street Theatre – Rice Village, 2540 Times Blvd. 713-524-6706, mainstreettheater.com
Nov. 26 to Dec.26 The Nutcracker Wortham Theater Center, 501 Texas Ave. 713-227-2787, houstonballet.org
Dec. 3 Jubilee of Dance Wortham Theater Center, 501 Texas Ave. 713-227-2787, houstonballet.org
Dec. 13 A Piper’s Noel Christ Church Cathedral, 1117 Texas Ave. 7:30 p.m. $35. 713432-1744, houstonearlymusic.org Events subject to change. Unless indicated, contact venue for exact show dates and times.
review “A Behanding in Spokane” • Alley Theatre
To Cross the Face of the Moon/ Cruzar la Cara de la Luna Houston Grand Opera, 510 Preston St. 8 p.m. Call for prices. 713-228-6737, houstongrandopera.org
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Yuletide: Holiday Time at Bayou Bend
19th Annual Casa Christmas Home Tour
Dec. 10-11 Guests at this year’s CASA Christmas Home Tour will be dazzled by some of the most exquisite holiday décor and home designs, entertained by area talents, and treated to homemade cookies and hot apple cider…all by purchasing one ticket. This year’s tour will feature homes in First Colony and Lakes of Williams Ranch. Proceeds from the Christmas Home Tour benefit Child Advocates of Fort Bend (CAFB). Hours are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., with a candlelight tour available on Friday from 6 to 9 p.m. For tickets and information, visit cafb.org.
Nov. 18 to Jan. 2, 2011 Known for its annual Yuletide tradition, Holiday Time at Bayou Bend is filled with festive lights, decorations, candlelight tours and special room features that bring historic American celebrations to life. Stroll through 250 years of history to see how our ancestors celebrated with family and friends during the holidays. This year, favorite holiday-themed rooms will be revived, from a celebration of the first national day of Thanksgiving in 1789, to a Twelfth-Night anniversary dinner with George and Martha Washington. There will also be a room decked out in all the trimmings of a 1950s Houston Christmas. Candlelight tours begin on Nov. 26 and will be held from 5 to 7 p.m. on Thursdays and Fridays through Dec. 17. In addition, join Bayou Bend on Sundays in December. Open from 1 to 5 p.m., there will be Victorian ornament-making activities designed for families with young children and workshops in the gardens. Proceeds from the Yuletide: Holiday Time at Bayou Bend help support tours of the Bayou Bend Collection and Gardens, education programs, research, conservation and maintenance. For information, call 713-639-7758 or visit mfah.org/bayoubend.
Child Advocates of Fort Bend | Houston Heights Association | Museum of Fine Arts, Bayou Bend
Holiday home tours bring out the spirit of the season
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Holiday Greetings from the Houston Heights
DIY: deck the halls Story | Regina Dorsett
Each year, the holiday season calls for different, trendy colors and new, innovative ideas for decorating. From soft, muted color palettes to vibrant hues, the use of natural materials are this year’s inspiration. To enliven this year’s décor, we’re seeing a stimulating mix of colors from French blue, shell pink and soft lavenders to a brighter side of teal and fuchsia mixed with chartreuse. Traditional gold has been replaced with platinum and aged gold, mercury and pewter for a more sophisticated, yet antique look. Natural materials are also trending. Burlap has not only become popular in the interior design world, but also in Christmas décor, from ribbon to a simple burlap tree skirt. Various patterns of burlap ribbon with pine cones, magnolia leaves and lemon leaves with opaque ornaments give this season a natural, but modern feel that is sure to appeal to everyone. Christmas trees are also taking on a bold, whimsical look this year. Large decorative elements like substantial stockings, billowing ribbon, enlarged Santas and gingerbread men are being paired with oversized ornaments to take up an abundance of space and give the tree dimension and unique character. It’s become increasingly common to have more then one tree as a focal point in the home during the season. Sugarcoated ornaments, candy-strung garland and ginger bread men garnish a tree in the kitchen, while feathered peacocks and owls adorn a tree in a study. A formal living room or dining room tree is beautiful with sophisticated gold, silvers, coppers and silk ribbon. And children love to have a small tree decorated toward their personality or décor in their bedrooms. Wherever there seems to be a space, a tree is a beautiful element to bring the season alive. Regina Dorsett is the co-owner of Twins Design, a Houston design firm specializing in event and seasonal décor.
Dec. 3-4 Celebrate the holidays with a stroll through one of Houston’s most delightful neighborhoods. Six inviting homes go on tour, dressed in holiday finery with docents on hand to point out the rich history, architecture, distinctive features and decorations of each home. Each year, tour homes reflect the rich architectural tradition of the Houston Heights, which maintains its small-town feel despite its location in one of the nation’s largest cities. This year’s tour includes a 1903 Dutch Colonial-style home on the National Register of Historic Places; a Queen Anne farmhouse built in 1897; a completely renovated 1915 Queen Anne cottage featuring period antiques; and three recently constructed homes, including a stunningly transformed Colonial-style bungalow rescued from neglect. Proceeds from the Houston Heights Association Holiday Home Tour are used to maintain Marmion Park, Donovan Park, and the Heights Boulevard esplanade park. The tour is open 6 to 9 p.m. on Friday and 3 to 9 p.m. on Sunday. For information, visit houstonheights.org or call 713-8614002, Ext. 7.
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mike Community Volunteer
hree-year-olds who were among the first youngsters to sit on Mike Flory’s lap after he donned the jolly red Santa suit for the first time are now nearly 30. While they whispered wishes for special presents, it was really Flory receiving the gift. In his 20s, Flory faced one personal tragedy after another, including the loss of both parents. At a time when he was struggling through the resulting depression, he discovered something special. “I put those kids on my lap, I began to heal,” he says. “I just kept doing it every year.” After three decades, it remains his passion. Since 2004, Flory has worked with Impact a Hero, a nonprofit organization dedicated to providing emotional and financial support for severely wounded and disabled war veterans and their families. Every year since, Flory has brought Santa to life for wounded soldiers at the Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, D.C., and the Brooks Army Medical Center in San Antonio. His own experiences with devastation and suffering give him a special compassion and understanding for the wounded. “These soldiers come back and just want to sit on Santa’s lap like kids. There’s something reassuring and comforting,” Flory explains. “It’s humbling to ask a soldier who’s lost his legs what he wants for Christmas, and he says, ‘To go back to my unit, to fight for American freedom.’ I get so much more from them than they do from me.” Flory also visits nursing homes, rehabilitation centers and children’s hospitals, passing out stuffed bears as part of his Santa Bear Project. He estimates he’s delivered more than 10,000 bears in the past several years. As the years add up, Flory feels he’s slowing down. Each fall, though, he once again feels the tingle to be Kris Kringle. “Most of the stuff I’ve done has been God showing me how to pay back all the blessings I’ve been given. And it’s also my excuse not to lose weight during the holidays,” he chuckles. “Pass the sweet potatoes!”
Story | Jean Ciampi
Photography | mark lipczynski
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Tastes exclusive! prime living
Story | Robin Barr Sussman Photography | Brian Bookwalter
hile food trends come and go, family recipes are timeless. With the holidays upon us, it’s time to bring out our lovingly creased, faded and stained recipe cards that contain family heirlooms in the form of delicious dishes. Think back to those childhood faves we relished at Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s. Chances are you wish you could recreate them just the way your mother, grandmother or aunt did. Just ask Elouise Adams Jones, chef and owner of Ouisie's Table in River Oaks. “I opened Ouisie’s Table in 1973 because I wanted to share the great food I grew up with and because I didn’t want it lost. I wanted others to understand and experience the pleasures of the table like I did growing up,” she says. At her restaurant, Jones serves many of her cherished family dishes like amazing pimento cheese, oyster stew, rich gumbo, cathead biscuits, homemade vinaigrette,
and lemon meringue pie—all her mother’s tried and true recipes. “Mother also made yeast rolls and would always turn some of the dough into divine cinnamon rolls with melted butter dripped over the top. She loved fresh vegetables and had a garden with tomatoes, squash, pole beans, melons and beautiful sweet peas climbing the fence. We had a chicken yard with a big rooster and hens in the hen house. I would go out and gather the eggs. We also had sheep in our pasture next to the house,” Jones says. “Family recipes hold the special memories of my family who survived hard times like the Depression and World War II. My grandmother and her mother grew up in Louisiana and they developed their palate at an early age for oysters, duck with wild rice, rich sauces, gravies, biscuits, fig preserves, custards, veal, butter and lard. They made pies with wild grapes and prepared the wild game brought to her back door.” Growing up, her favorite holiday meal prepared by her grandmother, Lucy,
family e's famed ving.com! See Elouis w.prime-li w w at e ip rec
included roast turkey with dressing and dark, mysterious giblet gravy, scalloped oysters, rice (her grandfather was a rice farmer), green beans, a delicious cold gelatin salad with fruits, green salad with avocado vinaigrette, cathead biscuits with Lucy’s fig and lemon preserves, and last but not least, Damn Eggplant. “It’s called that because my mother could never make it to please my father. It was never as good as his mother could make it. Hence, he referred to it as ‘damn eggplant,’ which my mother would mutter under her breath when serving it to him. And he would mutter it back to her,” she says. Jones finally learned how to recreate the recipe, but her cooks can’t get it right at the restaurant so she serves it at home every holiday. “The slight heat and lemon in the eggplant is addictive and it’s delicious eaten alone or on leftover turkey sandwiches. I’ve never had it anywhere else,” she says.
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Story | Bruce Farr Photography | Brian Bookwalter
In his 1989 inaugural address to the nation, Texas’s own President George H.W. Bush issued a passionate plea for Americans to take up the cause of civic responsibility. “I have spoken of a thousand points of light,” he said, “of all the community organizations that are spread like stars throughout the nation, doing good.” Promoting volunteerism became one of Bush’s pet projects. In speeches and addresses around the country, he often repeated what became known as his “one thousand points of light” speech and, in response, Americans everywhere embraced the idea of giving back to their communities. But now, more than 20 years after Bush issued that stirring call to action, is community volunteerism as deeply embedded in the heart of America as it was when the President advocated for it? To learn the answer, Prime Living surveyed the local volunteer landscape and discovered five community heroes who have made it their mission to give back to the community in diverse ways and means. Devoting themselves to everything from animal rescue, to helping reduce the rate of high school dropouts, to honoring the dedication of Houston’s civil service workers, these local heroes exhibit the true spirit of philanthropy.
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Dedicated Cancer Counselor Having beaten the cancer odds himself, Bill Schultz has spent the past 12 years helping others improve theirs. Twice a week, since he was declared cancer-free, Schultz has been making the 35-mile commute from his home in Rosenberg to Houston’s MD Anderson
Cancer Center, where he volunteers by informally counseling thousands of current cancer patients, survivors and their family members. Affable, engaging and plainspoken to a Texas “T,” Schultz has a gift for connecting with people and putting them at ease, a talent that’s proven highly valuable in his volunteer role. Whether it’s a friendly chat over a cup of
coffee, a reassuring telephone conversation, or simply delivering a newspaper to an ailing patient, Schultz and his fellow volunteers have built an extraordinary force for good in Houston’s medical community. The former telephone repairman says he never dreamed he would end up spending his retirement working with cancer patients, but when he himself was stricken with
pancreatic cancer—one of the disease’s most lethal forms—everything changed. He was one of the lucky ones, he says. Even though the cancer eventually spread to his lungs, he responded well to surgery and chemotherapy, and has been cancer-free for many years. As his health improved, Schultz joined the Anderson Network—a collection of cancer volunteers and survivors who provide a vital, informal counseling service to the medical center. Every day, hundreds of cancer sufferers and their families pass through the center’s hospitality suite, where Schultz and his fellow blue-jacketed volunteers are on hand to greet and comfort them in what is often a fight for their lives or the lives of their loved ones. “We see patients who come in for checkups and they like to see a familiar face,” says Shultz, who typically arrives in Houston at 4:30 a.m. and works until 3 p.m. “Now, somebody comes through the hospitality center and says to me, ‘I’ve got pancreatic.’ And I say, ‘Well, hell, I had that!’ And then we get chitchatting about it. I think it helps them just to have somebody sitting there with them who went through it. It gives them a little bit of hope, I think.” Sometimes it’s just a word or two of encouragement, Shultz says. “We’ll have patients come in who are so nervous and upset. When we tell them that we’ve been through this stuff, it seems to make a difference. It sort of makes my day when that happens. When you put on that blue jacket, well, you feel like you’re representing something. I just get a big kick out of it.”
Passionate Advocate for Education A lifelong passion for education is what has guided longtime Sugar Land resident Lucia Street through several volunteer causes and organizations. “It’s in the DNA of my family. I was raised that way,” she says about the selfless work she does in behalf of raising education awareness. At present, Street is board president of ACHIEVE Fort Bend County, a grassroots, all-volunteer, countywide initiative committed to decreasing the alarming rate of school dropouts. The initiative began two and a half years ago and, just a year ago, gained its all-important 501(c)(3) nonprofit rating.
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“It was a wonderfully great big group of community people who all came together recognizing that the schools cannot do it alone,” is how she describes the group’s genesis. Since then, they’ve been slowly finding their way toward their goal, helping children of all ages realize the importance of staying in school and getting through graduation. “There’s a whole lot more awareness today of the impact that dropouts have on the community, as well as on their own lives and that of their families,” she says. Street explains that some of the group’s many activities include regular “Dropout Recovery Walks” in various school districts, mentoring conferences that encourage businesses to enlist their employees as mentors to school children, and other informationsharing events and meetings. “We’re also building a website where we’re pulling together information on outside community services and support organizations,” she adds. “We’re trying to help counselors, parents, teachers and the kids themselves understand that they have a place to go to find well-skilled service providers for the support they need.” A former schoolteacher, Street also worked for a time in a one-on-one tutoring program in Sugar Land. “Education is definitely my passion,” she says. “So many people today have no idea what kids have to go through. They might have to become the breadwinner for the family, or they might have to take care of their siblings while a parent is working. Add to that violence, drugs and all the other forces at work against them, and it’s clear that they really need some solid support.” It’s a learning experience every day, she says of her volunteer work. “Fort Bend County is a very progressive, positive area, and quite affluent. But when you get down to the dayto-day existence of school kids in one of the other areas, you realize that all children are not equal, and that they do not enjoy equal opportunities to succeed.”
Corridor Rescuer Houstonian Deborah Hoffman might describe herself as being very shy and selfconscious, but that hasn’t deterred her from making a major impact in the lives
and well being of thousands of stray and injured animals that roam the city’s streets. A few years ago, Hoffman, an administrative assistant for Jacobs Engineering, founded an animal rescue organization called Corridor Rescue Inc. Under her dedicated guidance, the organization has grown substantially. Hoffman says she’s been sensitive to the suffering of both humans and animals throughout her life. “It’s always deeply affected me to the point where I actually feel their suffering,” she explains. Beginning with volunteer work for the animal rights movement, Hoffman has lent her support to a number of pet and animal-related campaigns through the years, including animal anti-cruelty, anti-fur and several others. But it wasn’t until 2004 that Hoffman says she was able to personally get involved in “hands-on” rescue efforts for strays. Before she went on her first rescue mission, though, she says she had to overcome the emotional hurdle of witnessing animals’ suffering up close. “You have to understand that it’s very painful to get out there and actually help an injured animal,” she explains. “It’s so much easier to put your head in the sand and not look.” She eventually made a decision to found her own animal rescue group and, over time, Corridor Rescue was born. With her sister-inlaw’s help, she incorporated in June 2009. “When you drive through particular areas of the city, there are dogs chained to doghouses and trees, penned up and living without shelter,” she relates. “On other streets, dogs that are sick and injured are running free. It’s just a dumping ground for animals— they’re everywhere.” Since founding the group, Hoffman estimates that she and her team of volunteers have personally rescued more than 220 orphan animals from the “corridor of cruelty,” as she describes the Houston thoroughfares she targets for her rescue efforts. “We probably have 80 active volunteers on a weekly basis, and we’re approaching 40 foster homes,” she says. In addition to her regular job, Hoffman, a single mother of two teenagers, devotes 40 to 50 hours a week to Corridor Rescue. She tells of one dog she rescued several years ago, a stray she came across shivering in the rain and suffering from a broken leg. “He just haunted me, standing out there like that,” she recalls.
november/december â€˘ 2010
When she was unable to come up with any other solution to help the animal, Hoffman ultimately decided to take the dog home herself. “He ended up being the very first dog I rescued from the corridor of cruelty. He had a broken hip and femur. I named him Cody and he’s still my pet today.” Her passion for the cause is complete. “We owe it to these animals—they have no one to help them. I’m of a mind that this earth is not ours alone. We are sharing it with all the other species and we’re here to protect them. So if, in some little way, I can help protect some of these helpless animals, then that’s my calling.”
Runner for Cancer Research One chance encounter has the power to change your life. That’s the message Sugar Land resident Kevin Kline delivers whenever he speaks about his all-consuming involvement in the Snowdrop Foundation, a nonprofit for pediatric cancer research that he and his wife, Trish, founded in 2006. Kline is a morning radio host for country station KKBQ-FM, also known as 93Q. In 2005, he was broadcasting from the outpatient facility at Houston’s Texas Children’s Cancer Center when he noticed a teenaged girl who walked in and began playing with several young cancer patients. “I thought she was cool to give up her Christmas vacation to come down and volunteer,” Kline says. “But after I talked to her, she told me she wasn’t a volunteer at all. In fact, she was a patient.” The girl, Chelsey Campbell, was then a local high-school sophomore who had a rare and particularly aggressive form of cancer. Although she would persevere to outlive her doctors’ prognosis for the disease, she eventually passed away the following year, but not before forming a close relationship with Kline, who credits Chelsey’s bravery and dignity with providing the spark for his own passionate commitment to the cause of raising research money on behalf of fighting pediatric cancer. “I was a pallbearer at her funeral on the 364th day that we would have known each other, Dec. 14, 2006,” Kline says. “But Chelsey’s legacy—the foundation we started in her memory—was born that June, just
three days after her birthday. It was our 16th birthday gift to her.” Although it’s just four years old, the Snowdrop Foundation has grown considerably since its founding. “Our proceeds go to continued pediatric cancer research at Texas Children’s Cancer Center and also to fund college scholarships for pediatric cancer patients—current and long-term survivors,” Kline explains. “As far as growth, if you take a look at our college scholarships, in our first year, we provided $9,000 to three children. This past June, we gave away 29 scholarships that amounted to $74,000.” In addition to its commitment to research and education, twice a year, in the spring and fall, Snowdrop also sponsors a deep-sea fishing trip for childhood cancer victims. Snowdrop’s growth continues. Kline’s wife has stepped down from her full-time job to devote herself to the organization and increase its volunteer core. “Fifteen months ago we only had a dozen volunteers,” Kline says, “but that list is now well over 100.” For his part, Kline has taken up running ultra-marathons, a physically punishing sport that, symbolically, he says, represents the enormous suffering children with cancer endure every day. Last year, he ran across the entire state of Texas in a grueling effort to bring awareness to his cause. “Our goal and our hope is that, in 10 years, we will become the pediatric equivalent of what Susan G. Komen has become for breast cancer.”
Civic-Minded Restaurateur Contrary to what the popular phrase says, there is, in fact, a free lunch—at least if you happen to be a Houston-area civil servant and turn up at Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse & Winebar in The Woodlands, where Shelli Moran hosts the annual Here’s to You Luncheon. A resident of The Woodlands for more than six years, Moran says she got the idea to pay homage to the city’s civil servants years ago, in the wake of the 9/11 tragedy, when she was working at a Fleming’s eatery in Dallas. “At that restaurant, we decided we were going to attempt to donate all of the
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proceeds from a luncheon held to honor the anniversary of 9/11 and give it back to the community, to the Red Cross and other service organizations,” she explains. When she opened The Woodlands location, she and her business partner, chef Wayne Mason, got involved in hosting several community-related projects, one of which was the luncheon. The idea was as well founded, as it deserved. “We have a lot of very talented and giving men and women in uniform who don’t always get the accolades and respect they deserve,” she says. “Sometimes those jobs are pretty thankless. We count on them during an emergency. But outside of when we need them, we don’t often have much to do with them. I thought it would be nice to be able to say thank you.” Each year, around Sept. 11, Moran and her team invite a wide array of civil servants to enjoy a lavish luncheon “on the house.” “It’s everyone from the EMS teams, the Alpha Omega mounted police, the Oak Ridge Police Department, the Montgomery County sheriffs and constables, right down to the DA’s office staff. We even invite those who assist law enforcement, like 911 dispatchers,” she says. Moran and her staff typically end up with about 150 attendees, but for those who can’t break away from their duties, the staff even packs up food to go. “People trickle in all day and we try and accommodate everyone. Even to the point that if someone comes in uniform at, say, 5 p.m. and asks if we’re still serving lunch, the answer is, ‘Absolutely, we are.’ ” Not only is the event one of Moran’s favorite causes to work on, her employees have gotten into the spirit of it as well. “I have staff members who volunteer to come in and work the luncheon for free, just to be a part of it,” she says. And although she says the luncheon is one of her favorite causes, she spearheads other non-profit projects in the community, as well. Fleming’s also hosts an annual black-tie event that she underwrites, with the proceeds going to the community clinic for the underinsured and working poor, as well as the women’s center for battered women. “Just with this event alone, over the course of four years, we’ve raised more than $1 million,” she says, proudly. “It’s a huge event that brings in a lot of money and brings awareness to organizations that might not otherwise get it.”
HOusTOn’s PREMIER CEMETERy Beautiful Memorial Oaks has provided Houston families with their funeral and cemetery services for the last 50 years. Continuing this tradition, Memorial Oaks has developed 26 of our most beautiful acres, creating our proudest achievement: Reflection Lake Estates. For this new development, the finest landscape architects, developers and designers have created a stunning, awe-inspiring vista and a clear choice for Houston’s most discerning families. Peaceful, tree-lined walkways and the calming waters of Reflection Lake welcome visitors, while bronze and granite monuments will stand in quiet repose alongside the magnificent Texas Liberty Mausoleum and Robert L. Waltrip Memorial Chapel. Once constructed, the mausoleum will
comprise of 8,000 square feet, with premier entombments available for selection. Robert L. Waltrip Memorial Chapel will serve as a quiet escape for personal meditation. Those looking for a truly unique experience will find it in Lakeside Estates, where families have the opportunity to build their own private estate overlooking peaceful Reflection Lake. Regardless of your choice – cremation or traditional burial – Reflection Lake Estates offers a number of memorialization options, including custom monuments and estates. Design standards for new sites will uphold the beauty and serenity of Reflection Lake Estates, maintaining the sweeping grandeur for you and your loved ones.
I would like to personally invite you to call me at 281- 497-2210 to schedule a tour of the new grounds and to discuss special introductory pricing that is available for a limited time. Availability is strictly limited. Please inquire about how you can provide an enduring and majestic legacy for your family in Houston’s premier cemetery development. Sincerely,
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Disclaimer: Mausoleum not available until construction is complete. Anticipated date of availability: December 2010.
the prime living guide to discerning taste
inside: Mixed Seafood Paella Risotto, Tony’s
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Main Dish | Marvels of Monarch Small Bites | Good Eats Table Talk | Dining News Uncorked | Cultured Cognac Entertain | Cocktail Countdown
november/december • 2010
connoisseur main dish
marvels of monarch Story | Holly Beretto Photography | Mark Lipczynski
Houston’s Hotel ZaZa is known for its over-the-top swankiness, its chicly elegant atmosphere a haven for everyone from rock stars to politicians to pretty young things.
It’s also known—and deservedly so—for its fine dining restaurant Monarch, the sort of place where you enjoy cocktails at the end of the day or celebrate special occasions and bask in a cocoon of chic. Monarch has the ability to make you feel like you’re a world away from Houston, even while the food is laced with homey comfort accents. Begin by ordering the Fatal Charm, a cocktail of Jose Cuervo Platino, mango puree, lime juice and orange liqueur. This funky, slightly sweet take on a mango margarita is served with a spicy salted rim on the glass; you’ll love the way the sweet and the spice enhance each other. Share a plate of salt and pepper rock shrimp, done in a light tempura batter and served with ponzu and lemon cilantro dipping sauces. These are plump little popcorn puffs of shrimp, perfect for munching. The deconstructed ahi roll boasts rare tuna tartare, avocado and crab ceviche over sushi rice, and is an inspired take on sushi. The tomato bisque is a wonder, a lovely puree of heirloom and roma tomatoes, cream and herbs. Served with a mini grilled cheese sandwich made of mozzarella, tomato and basil on Ciabatta, it’s a beautiful re-rendering of classic comfort food. The crispy calamari salad is sweet and sassy, with its crunchy seaweed strips, perfectly fried calamari and savory Asian greens.
For your entrée, sample the ginger beef tenderloin, a house specialty, prepared to your liking. This is an East-meets-Houston sort of dish; the juicy, tender beef combining with the ginger marinade, and accompanied by terrific sesame mashed potatoes and grilled broccolini. The Wasabi slather and shiitake demi-glace add up to a dish that ticks all the right taste bud boxes. The seared sea bass is simple and delightful, done with just the right amount of salt and pepper. Bonus: It comes with lobster dumplings and Swiss chard. Don’t pass up the Slice of Ice for dessert, Monarch’s take on an Oreo pie: vanilla ice cream on an Oreo crust, laced with chocolate and caramel sauce. If you really want to kick up your Monarch experience, book the Ultimate Ransom Room, a private dining room where whatever you can imagine can come to life. Known for being a haven for custom five-course dinners and small cocktail parties, the Ransom Room, like so much at the Hotel ZaZa, is where elegance goes extreme. You’ll feel like the center of attention here, which is as it should be. After all, you’re worth it.
monarch, hotel zaza 5701 main st. 713-527-1800 hotelzaza.com
connoisseur main dish
Deconstructed Ahi Roll
Salt and Pepper Rock Shrimp
Monarch Ginger beef Marinade
1/4 cup sweet soy sauce 1 cup regular soy sauce 1/2 cup water 3/4 cup orange juice 1/4 cup fresh ginger 1 tsp minced fresh garlic 1 stalk of crushed lemongrass Shiitake demiglace
1/2 cup dried shiitake mushrooms, soaked and julienned
2 cups demi-glace 1 oz. Aji Mirin Wasabi slather
1/4 cup pickled ginger 1-1/2 cups sour cream 1 tsp wasabi powder 1 tsp pickled ginger juice 8 8-oz. portions beef tenderloin Salt and pepper
Combine all ingredients for the marinade. Pour marinade over seasoned tenderloin in a pan, cover and refrigerate for 2 to 4 hours. For the shiitake sauce, add some oil to a sauce pot and sauté the mushrooms for 2 minutes. Deglaze with the Aji Mirin and add the demiglace. Simmer for about 10 minutes, salt and pepper to taste. Combine all ingredients for the wasabi slather. Add a little to a sauté pan and brown the tenderloins on each side. Transfer tenderloins to a 350-degree oven to desired temperature. Place the tenderloins on plates, then ladle the shiitake demi-glace first followed by a dollop of the wasabi slather. Garnish with sesame oil infused mashed potatoes and grilled brocollini. Slice of Ice
Seared Sea Bass
november/december • 2010
51 Fifteen Bloody Mary
good eats Story | Holly Beretto Photography | Mark Lipczynski
For a new take on the well-rounded meal, table-hop these Houston eateries for some of the best tastes in town.
In a quiet enclave on the second floor of Sak’s Fifth Avenue in the Galleria, 51 Fifteen is the sort of place where the well-heeled relax after a day of shopping and pampering. The elegant atmosphere allows for a space to recharge, assisted by a staff ready to whisk away your every care, simply by bringing you delightful food and wine. Perhaps nothing personifies this experience better than the lobster and lump crab ceviche. This impressive serving is a meal in itself, combining the plump, earthy flavor of the crab with the buttery richness of the lobster, with tangy tomato, lime and avocado hints mixed in. Served with a hefty handful of plantains just perfect for dipping, this is the sort of nosh you’ll find yourself returning to on subsequent visits. It manages to be exactly light enough to be a great start to your meal, while also having a heartiness that makes you feel that this might be all you need. At once a dish of both land and sea, it’s a stunning re-imagining of a classic. Pair it with the Treanna white blend and watch the fireworks explode in your mouth. The wine’s grassy, round, soft notes offer an exquisite accent to the ceviche’s citrus and sea tastes. 51 fifteen 5115 westheimer 713-963-8067
The story goes something like this: A regular patron at Tony’s wanted paella, so he called the restaurant and asked if they would create some for him. As you might expect from one of Houston’s mainstays known for its high-luxury experience, the restaurant said yes. The result is an over-the-top experience that is now yours for the asking…well, at least 24 hours in advance by calling the restaurant. Tony’s paella risotto combines the seafood and rice so well known in this Spanish classic, with the creaminess and rich flavors you expect from an Italian risotto. Beautifully done, this is a feast for the eyes as well as the taste buds. The mussels and clams are briny and plump, the shrimp perfectly prepared and seasoned. Each serving is done with a whole Maine lobster, the meat so rich and wonderful, it almost defies description. Chef Grant Gordon uses seasonal fresh fish in preparing the paella; when we sampled it, the fish was snapper, with crispy skin and a firm flesh. This paella is all about presentation. It’s brought to your table in a bright copper pot and served French style right onto your plate. If that’s not enough to make you feel special, we don’t know what is. tony’s 3755 richmond ave. • 713-622-6778 • tonyshouston.com
Sure, everyone in town has carrot cake that rotates on the dessert menu at some point. Not everyone, however, does it like The Remington. Tucked into a lovely suite of rooms in the St. Regis Houston, The Remington dining experience can be casually elegant in the massive sunroom, or simply tony and quiet in the secluded alcove. This is the sort of restaurant where the experience matters as much as the food—and both food and experience beckon you to sit back and just enjoy. No two ways about it, you’ll do just that ordering the carrot cake. This deconstructed version of the classic is simple and elegant. Three almost bite-sized pieces are arrayed on your dish, with a swath of cream cheese icing and a marvelously fun sculpture of spun sugar to top it off. It’s a playful presentation, one that says, “carrot cake may sound staid and serious, but here it’s much more fun.” The cake itself is a rum-laced wonder, the liquor swirling about inside the flavors of fresh carrots and chopped walnuts. The frosting is light and airy, not too thick, as often happens with carrot cakes. And the spun sugar is just a treat, although you’re left on your own about the proper etiquette for eating it. This rich dessert crosses all seasons and all palates. Possibly one of the more wonderful things I’ve had the pleasure to sample this year, I know the next time I am dining at The Remington, I don’t even need the dessert menu; I’ll just ask for the carrot cake. the remington 1919 briar oaks lane 713-403-2631 stregis.com/houston
november/december • 2010
connoisseur table talk
Side Sips Wine events you don’t want to miss
On Nov. 18, it’s all about French wine as the 27th annual Soiree Beaujolais and Beyond Festival by the French American Chamber of Commerce kicks off at the J.W. Marriott, Westheimer. This is the largest simultaneous French wine and gourmet food tasting in the nation featuring dozens of local restaurants and caterers. For information, visit soireebeaujolaisandbeyond.com.
Righteous New Restos
Ruggles Green recently opened a spacious second location in CityCentre with an organic, all-natural, hormone and preservative-free menu certified by the Green Restaurant Association. The weather is finally ideal to sip organic wine or gluten-free beer on the roomy outdoor patio while dining on healthy salads, creative sandwiches and wood-fired pizza. Highlights include the spicy fish tacos, veggie-nut burger and warm goat cheese salad. Meanwhile, Ruggles Grill, the original location at 903 Westheimer, is now hosting Tuesday Martini Madness featuring $1 martinis from 5 to 10 p.m. 801 Town & Country Blvd. 713-464-5557, rugglesgreen.com The new Ziggy’s Downtown also offers healthy comfort food plus a full bar seven days a week, so there’s no excuse to veer far from a good diet. The trans-fat free menu includes unique dishes such as Ziggy’s breakfast hash (sweet potato hash browns with spicy garlic ground turkey topped with two eggs over medium), local organic lamb burgers and soulful ginger chicken carrot soup—wonderful winter eating. 702 Main St. 713-527-8588, ziggysbarandgrill.com The much-anticipated Samba Grille opened in downtown Houston in September with a slightly less virtuous, nevertheless sizzling menu, which foodies are flocking for. Highlights include paella de marisco, juicy gaucho steak with chimichurri sauce, tender calamari strips, and creamy tres leches cake; extensive South American wine list to match. 530 Texas at the Verizon Wireless Theater Plaza. 713-343-1180, sambagrillehouston.com Samba Grille
Americas River Oaks is still set to open any day now in its dramatic new space designed by Jordan Mozer in the River Oaks shopping center. Michael Cordua’s cuisine will focus heavily on South American ingredients with some new menu items such as inventive tapas, BBQ pork arepas with cabbage slaw, and Ecuadorian ceviche. 2040 West Gray. 832-200-1492, cordua.com. We also anticipate a new opening by Antonio Gianola, the talented sommelier formerly with Catalan’s and Da Marco’s. He and his wife, Melissa, are planning to open a small restaurant early next year with a focus on Old World wines to be located in the Museum District, Montrose, or the Heights. The menu concept will be “wine-intensive-small plates,” according to Gianola.
Rather quaff a cocktail? Branch Water Tavern’s amazing co-owner/sommelier Evan Turner has kicked off a new cocktail series called “Drinking with Evan Turner.” Held the first Saturday of each month, the series will prime you for holiday entertaining with such events as Holiday Cocktails for Easy Entertaining (Nov. 6); The Spirits of Giving (Dec. 4); Prohibition Cocktails...the Classics (Jan. 8); Drinks to Snuggle With (Feb. 5). The $35 tariff per person includes cocktail demos/samples and light bites. Branch Water’s chef David Grossman will also cook a special dinner paired with wines at Ralph Smith’s contemporary photography studio on Nov. 7. Held in the restaurant's courtyard complete with lily pond, the Autumn Harvest dinner benefits Recipe for Success. These dinners have been a smash hit so far, so reserve early. For information, call 713-863-7777. Whether you’re a wine novice or connoisseur, there’s something just for you at the The Wine Conference, a day-long event filled with wine tastings, education and food pairings with Houston’s finest chefs. Held Nov. 21 at the Four Seasons, tickets are available online at thewineconference.com. Lynette Hawkins, owner and chef of Giacomo’s Cibo e Vino, has added Cichetti Caldi!, a new evening-only antipasto menu featuring hot little dishes. Guests can choose multiple little dishes, each paired with a three-ounce pour of Italian wine, to build their own entrée. Ciao. 3215 Westheimer. 713522-1934, giacomosciboevino.com
Delicious Gifts,Delightful Service!!
Central Market Cooking School has exciting classes and events to inspire you this holiday season. On Nov. 14, chef, author and Food Network host Tyler Florence will have a book signing, followed by Alice Medrich, the “First Lady of Chocolate” and cookbook author, on Dec. 10. Also, on Sundays from Nov. 28 to Dec. 19, Cookies: Gingerbread House Decorating will be held. 3815 Westheimer Road. 713-993-9860, centralmarket.com Speaking of haute cooking, Houston will be well represented in the “The Next Iron Chef ” series on the Food Network. Chef Bryan Caswell, owner of local restaurants Reef, Little Bigs and Stella Sola, has been chosen as one of 10 contestants competing for the title of Iron Chef America. Don’t miss the upcoming third season, which concludes Nov. 21. Cook it up, Caswell!
Hello & Goodbye
The latest restaurants to join and leave the Houston dining scene
Openings Red Pier Asian Bistro & Bar Samba Grille The Rouxpour The Devine Affair Hefley’s Ruggles Green CityCentre Arpi’s Phoenicia Deli & Coffee House Flora & Muse Closings Brisa Cocina Mexicana Magnolia Bar & Grill Mai Thai North China Restaurant Aggie Rita’s Niko Niko’s robin barr sussman Robin Barr Sussman is a Houston-based freelance writer who specializes in food, drink and travel. Her work has appeared in Texas Monthly, My Table and Resort Living.
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Cultured Cognac Story | John DeMers
uring the hysteria of these modern holidays, it’s important to enjoy quiet times with friends and loved ones, not only the pre-ordained loud times. I think the French invented cognac for precisely such moments, making a bottle of your favorite exactly what you need to keep handy. I recently shared such a quiet time with a French fellow named Camus. Yes, a surname he shares with the famous and oh-so-serious philosopher-novelist, but the resemblance, happily, ends there. This was a truth I understood most profoundly when I asked Cyril Camus how difficult it is to make a great cognac. “It’s easy to make a great cognac,” he deadpanned, gazing at me over the snifter full of gold that is his region’s stock-in-trade. He surprised me with that one, so he quickly explained with a well-practiced grin. “It’s easy if your father made a great cognac and if your grandfather made a great cognac. And if your great-grandfather made a great cognac.” Tasting the Camus cognacs set before me at Spec’s, it was impossible to imagine any of Cyril’s predecessors doing otherwise. As with all great French wines, making cognac is about terroir and about family. This fact has been obscured a bit in recent
decades, with some of the best-known cognac houses gobbled into multi-product, multihyphenated “luxury segment” conglomerates such as Louis Vuitton-Moet-Hennessy. But you probably won’t convince too many Frenchmen like Cyril Camus of that, hailing from the area 250 miles southwest of Paris that gives this bright, caressing liquid its world-famous name. Fine cognacs are appreciated today, as they have been since the 1700s, in the same way that single-malt Scotches, small-batch bourbons and, yes, even some top-shelf tequilas are appreciated. They are sought and bought and savored, and sometimes allowed to age even more than they already have—age being the primary (if hardly the only) element dictating a bottle’s retail price. The single greatest saying around this area has to be: All cognacs are brandies, but not all brandies can be cognacs. To bear the name, according to omnipresent French law, production methods must meet narrowly defined legal requirements, ensuring strict conformity with a 300-year-old tradition. This distilled brandy is made from wine. But this being France, not just any wine. At least 90 percent has to be Ugni Blanc, Folle Blanche or Colombard grapes, and of these, Ugni
Blanc, known locally as Saint-Emilion, is the most widely used. It must be distilled twice in copper pot stills and aged at least two years in French oak barrels. And naturally, these need to come from either Limousin or Troncais. To cognac lovers, one of the signature pleasures is navigating the arcane shorthands that, on any label, describe the attributes of what’s inside. Most famously, there are the codes denoting a cognac’s age, which of course are established or at least enshrined in French law. VS (Very Special) means the youngest brandy, stored two years in cask, while VSOP (Very Special, or Superior, Old Pale) means aged at least four years, and XO (Extra Old) means anywhere from six to 20 years. A few additional descriptions, like Napoleon, Vieux or Vieille Reserve, simply make sure—even before we toast the holidays with a snifter or three of cognac—we never know for sure what the heck the label is trying to tell us.
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.
november/december • 2010
do me a favor
Ring in the new year with all the bells and whistles, thanks to a selection of party favors and noisemakers. By displaying them in a bowl or vase, they'll easily become part of the festive atmosphere.
cocktail Countdown Styling | Angie Prejean Photography | Mark Lipczynski
With 2010 almost in the history books, it’s time to look ahead and celebrate the New Year with a bang! Break out those tuxes, jewels and furs, and get ready to welcome 2011 with a stylish and sophisticated cocktail soiree filled with fine food, upscale spirits and great friends. It’ll be the party of the year!
Satisfy hungry partygoers with a selection of tasty hors d’oeuvres, such as these petit shrimp salad sandwiches, Yukon potatoes topped with creme fraiche and cavair; and mini chicken tostadas with cilantro and queso fresco.
After the celebration has ended, send your guests home with a special treat for the road. Decadent cupcakes nestled in their own takeaway boxes make for a sweet and memorable ending.
raise your glass
…and toast in the New Year with a bevy of spirits ranging from a refreshing apple martini, to a strawberry-infused champagne, to your favorite glass of wine. No matter your drink of choice, you’ll be saying cheers in style.
Liven up the traditional black and white cocktail party scene with a jolt of candy apple-colored décor. From linens and tableware, to martinis and flowers, this color scheme evokes simplicity and sophistication.
The Goods linens and tableware
Satin green and black-and-white damask linens; white plates, martini glasses and champagne flutes; all available for rent at Linens by Lisa, 210 Brooks St., Sugar Land. 281-498-0021, linensbylisa.com
Red velvet, dark chocolate and vanilla flavors, $3.25 each, $36 per dozen at Sprinkles Cupcakes, 4014 Westheimer. 713-871-9929, sprinkles.com
partyware and favors
Custom arrangements by Flowers by Nino, 5805 Chimney Rock. 281-873-6466, houstonpreferredflorist.com
Kiwi square plates, 24-count each; dessert, $3.49; dinner, $4.99; party hats and favors, $5 to $10 at Party City. Visit partycity.com for locations.
Prepared and provided by The Grove at Discovery Green, 1611 Lamar. 713-337-7321, thegrovehouston.com
Available in gold and multi-colored multi-pack boxes, $7.50 to $9. 1.4G Fireworks, 832-435-2283, gotnoduds.com
Styled by Angie Prejean, owner of Crayon Castles in Sugar Land. Shot on location at the Terrace Pool at One Park Place, 1400 McKinney, in downtown Houston.
november/december • 2010
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Nostalgia | True Confections Driver's Seat | Superleggera High Tech | 3-D TV Great Outdoors | Speed Racers
Lamborghini Gallardo LP-570-4 Superleggera
november/december • 2010
gentlemen’s room nostalgia
true Confections Story | Bruce Farr
f you happen to be of a certain age and disposition, few phrases have the power to stir nostalgic yearnings like that of “penny candy.” For many of us, simply saying those two words in unison can transport us back to a moment in time that seemed simpler and, well, much sweeter. Penny candy, as nearly everyone knows, refers to that category of sweets hailing mostly from the last century, a mind-boggling array of legendary chocolates, mints,
gums, jellies and other candies then found throughout the U.S. on the shelves of countless neighborhood mom-and-pop stores, corner groceries, gas stations and small markets. Kids of that era seemed to possess a built-in compass for ferreting out the stores with the best penny candy counters, turning them into hallowed destinations, which they would then swarm to—singly and in small groups—in noisy daily raids. The concept was as easy as
pie to grasp: one piece of candy cost one penny. The varieties of penny candy one could purchase seemed endless. A short list would certainly include savory black and red licorice in twists and the much-envied “strings;” glistening, red-and-white-striped peppermint sticks; Red Hots, Mary Janes and Smarties; candy cigarettes and red bubblegum cigars; sweet, black wax moustaches and their counterparts, those goofy red lips and white fangs; tiny wax
gentlemen’s room nostalgia
soda pop bottles that you bit the tip off of to suck dry of the sugary juice inside; jawbreakers, root beer barrels, chewy caramel roll-ups encasing creamy white nougat, Tootsie-Rolls, GummiBears; colorful candy dots on long white paper strips; and—not least—those brightly colored, sugar-flecked, half moons of candy watermelon slices. And who could forget the nuttyflavored and nearly unchewable Bit-O-Honeys and chocolaty Baby Ruths (which were actually a nickel)? The list could go on and on. No matter where you happened to live, the routine was fairly standard. You’d run— never walk—to the nearest store, your pockets jingling with copper coins scrounged from piggy banks or shamelessly purloined from your mother’s change purse. In short order,
you would fill a small, brown paper bag with your favorite morsels and then present it to the storekeeper. He (or she) would pour out the contents before you, painstakingly sliding each piece aside with a forefinger while counting aloud, “One, two, three, four…” and so on, until the final bit of candy was tallied. “That’ll be 11 cents please,” was a frequently uttered charge in this former kid’s experience. Sadly, as we all know, the penny candy tradition was too good to last. Inflation and the decline of the penny’s value saw to it that some of the beloved brands began to disappear from shelves as early as the 1960s. Fortunately, though, a penny candy resurgence of sorts has taken place as new stores attempt to capitalize on our collective nostalgia for the penny candies of yore. To that, we say, “Sweet!”
bazooka! One of the most iconic of penny candies, chewy, pink Bazooka bubble gum came individually wrapped in paper that always included a colorful comic depicting the misadventures of the gum’s mascot, the scrappy, eye-patchwearing “Bazooka Joe.” Surprisingly, the name “Bazooka” was adapted, not—as we would imagine—from the World War II-era rocket launcher, but from a double-barreled musical instrument designed by a New York inventor named Bob Burns. In fact, the “bazooka” gun also took its name from the piped instrument.
november/december • 2010
gentlemen’s room driver's seat
Superfast Story | Don Armstrong
3.4 seconds. For comparison purposes, the supercharged ZR1 Corvette stops the clock in 3.9 seconds, significantly slower. Even though the ZR1 model may have a 77 horsepower advantage, the Superleggera is 379 pounds lighter and delivers its 561 horsepower to a full-time allwheel drive set-up. This lightweight Lambo is equipped with a lightning-fast, Formula 1-style dual clutch, auto/ manual transmission. Yes, there is no clutch pedal, just paddleshifters behind the steering wheel and three buttons on the center console that control shifting characteristics. Because the Superleggera is so low to the ground, engineers found it necessary to include a console-mounted button that raises the front suspension to accommodate parking lot speed bumps. This ground-hugging stance, however, is what keeps this 200-mph-plus super car from becoming airborne, along
with its many other aerodesigned body pieces. Although most of us would never consider any Gallardo a grocery-getter, the ride and handling is surprisingly userfriendly and the growl from its rear-mounted 5.2-liter V-10 is barely audible, thanks to throttlecontrolled baffles in the exhaust system. But nail the accelerator and the Superleggera screams to life with enough G-force to plant you firmly in its body-hugging carbon fiber seats. Getting in and out of the Gallardo is a pants-only experience, because your knees will be even with your shoulders, at least once during the exercise.
Once in, however, driver and passenger meld into their respective positions and become one with car. The fully covered, hand-stitched Alcantra leather dash and seats are strikingly beautiful and welcoming. With a $237,600 price tag, the Lamborghini Gallardo Superleggera will get you into the super exotics club with just the price of admission. don armstrong Don’s passion for all things automotive is no secret. His popular What’s Don Driving? TV series garnered rave reviews and made him the new car go-to guy. He is also a member of the Texas Auto Writers Association.
recent trip to a small, white stucco auto dealership in the north side of town put me smack dab in the middle of every 13-year-old boy’s dream—a place where fast, sleek and very expensive cars find new owners. Lamborghini Houston’s finance director Terry Ford invited Prime Living to personally experience what can only be described as one of the finest and fastest hand-assembled cars built today, the Lamborghini Gallardo LP-570-4 Superleggera. The Superleggera (Italian for super light) is 154 pounds lighter than the standard Gallardo thanks to the extensive use of carbon fiber in most of its interior and exterior components. Side and rear windows, along with the engine cover, are made from featherweight polycarbonate. This rear-engine, streetlegal racecar handles a 0-to-62 mph dash in a mind-numbing
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gentlemen’s room high tech
3-DTV for Me? F
The Infinia has built-in Internet access to directly access photos and video from websites like Picasa and YouTube. An interesting feature is its intelligent sensor that automatically adjusts the brightness and color characteristics of the screen based on the lighting conditions in the room. This particular model runs about $5,000, which is about standard for this size screen from a major manufacturer. Prices are expected to drop as more units are released on the market, but it may be several years before we see sub-$1,000 sets like we do standard HDTV models now. The astonishing effects of 3-D TV will grab your attention and undoubtedly bring your entertainment experience to the
next dimension. However, the effects may be too real for some people. For a small percentage of the population, the viewing of 3-D video technology may cause discomfort such as headaches, dizziness or nausea. If you’re ready to upgrade your media room, impress your friends and be awed with a spectacular, new TV viewing experience, mount a 3-D TV on your wall. But keep some aspirin and antacid pills nearby, just in case.
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 HighTechTexan.com.
HDTV sets a decade ago, many consumers may be waiting for the programming to catch up with the technology. irst there was black-andNetworks are beginning to white television and provide more content using Milton Berle was our 3-D technology. The Masters idol. Then color came into and World Cup coverage were the picture and we got to see available for new 3-D viewing, the all-too-vivid colors of the allowing you to almost smell Brady Bunch’s clothing. The 21st century brought digital and high- the fresh cut grass on the course and field. The images definition TV where sometimes are spectacular and the “wow” we see too much of people who effect lasts for months. shouldn’t be on television. Now, Early adopters are rushing to the next frontier has arrived. But get hot new models like the LG do we need it? Infinia 55LX9500. This 55-inch 3-D TV is the latest technology brought to us in living diagonal screen has an ultra-slim design so it can easily hang on a color by several manufacturers. wall. Like most 3-D TV models, Samsung, Panasonic, Sony, LG you’ll need to purchase 3-D and others have recently rolled viewing glasses (yes, you still need out models to let you feel like you’re part of the movie or at the those) and have a 3-D Blu-ray player or a cable/satellite receiver sporting event you are watching. to receive 3-D programming. But like the slow rollout of Story | Michael Garfield
gentlemen’s room outdoors
Racers track is busy, you might not know it’s there at all. From the highway, he checkered flags are the faraway buildings and garages real and so is the racing look out of place among adjacent experience at MSR rice fields, but not so much that Houston, a first-class road course you’d give them a second thought. about midway between Houston MSR Houston’s entrance gate and Lake Jackson. is on a two-lane county road, Now in its fifth year of and the sign out front is about operation, this track and its staff the size of a single plywood have already hosted some of the sheet. Behind that sign and gate, world’s top race teams for tests however, lies a road course that of new cars and drivers. Ganassi, winds for more than two miles Andretti and Foyt, they’ve all and features long, fast straights spent time on this track, as have interrupted by more than a dozen teams from nearly every other highly technical turns. division in the worlds of car and Rather than go empty when motorcycle racing. the “big boys” of racing are Unless you drive by with your away, MSR Houston’s owners windows down on a day when the elected to offer a variety of racing
Story & Photography | Doug Pike
get there MSR Houston offers a variety of racing- and driving-related experiences on a world-class racecourse a short distance south of Houston. 1 Performance Drive, Angleton 281-369-0677 • msrhouston.com
experiences to the public. You and I—for a price—can ride in or even drive a real-deal racecar. After orientation and safety briefings, we can thrill ourselves for an hour or over several days of all-out racing school. If you own a fast car, you can bring it to MSR Houston and unleash it, it’s your car. Learn what it can do. Or, if you’re not brave enough to drive full throttle around the big loop, go karting on a downsized but equally exciting track where MSR Houston again offers multiple options. Rookies can cruise in karts that top out at a relatively tame 48 mph. Beyond those sleds, there are three upgrades, the fastest of which— with your backside just a couple of inches off the ground—are 37-hp Honda rockets that will do 90 mph. Primarily a membership facility, MSR Houston is open
363 days per year and boasts a calendar filled with professional and amateur events. Between races, track time is available to almost anyone. By the way, if you’re driving one of MSR Houston’s racecars and tear it up, they’ll expect you to fix it. Let your conscience—and your wallet—dictate how hard you press that accelerator. It takes a little less than an hour, at posted speeds, to get from downtown to MSR Houston. Or, if you’re in a Champ car and the highway ahead of you is unoccupied, about 20 minutes.
doug pike Doug 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.
november/december • 2010
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Nancy Davidson | Iceland Travel
Story | Nancy Davidson
magine yourself floating on a raft in the bluest water, surrounded by endless sky. You can spend hours just staring at the pillowy clouds, watching them as they float across the horizon. Vapors rise from the nearly 100-degree water while you gaze at mountains in the distance. A massage therapist standing in the water covers you with a blanket, while he works the tension from your shoulders.
november/december â€˘ 2010
You float, weightless, in a vast outdoor bath warmed by geothermal energy, natural heat harnessed from the core of the earth. The water is filled with minerals that are healing for the skin. You cover your body, yes, even your face, with the wet silt-y clay, white mud rich in silica, which will turn your skin softer than you can ever remember it being. You have come to Blue Lagoon Spa in Iceland, straight from Keflavik, the major international airport. While some travelers have stopped there en route to England or Copenhagen for a blissful layover, others unwind here on their way back from a stressful international business trip. You are enjoying the waters so much that you just might make it a point to come back for a soak before your departing flight. To ease your transition, you started out in the Blue Lagoon’s exclusive lounge. Your own private changing room (for one to two people) includes a shower and dressing room. The spa staff advises you to leave conditioner in your hair or wear a bathing cap because while the minerals in the water are a boon for your skin, they leave your hair feeling stiff and crackly. (You’ll need to wash it and use extra conditioner— delicious products including the Blue Lagoon’s miraculous moisturizers all provided in your private dressing room— for the next few days, if you decide to get your hair wet.) When you have steeled yourself for the adventure ahead, you slip out of your robe (you have a bathing suit on underneath) and head outside. After a shocking jolt of cold air, you ease yourself into the hot water and wade through lava caves. The only thing that compels you to leave this mystical water is the lure of lunch at the restaurant Lava, featuring Icelandic foods including smoked fish and meats, the catch of the day and skyr, the iconic extra-thick Icelandic yogurt. (But don’t
Ice Haute Many visitors like to visit Iceland in June when the sun shines 23 hours a day, but Christmas and the New Year are also magical times to visit, when you have a chance to see the Northern lights. On New Year’s Eve, Reykjavik also lights up with huge bonfires, firework displays and exciting nightlife activities.
Don’t worry if you come ill equipped for the weather. It’s easy to find sleek stylish fleece jacket and waterproof pants, designed to keep you warm and dry with a minimum of bulk. Icelandic wool sweaters, sheepskin gloves, mittens, hats and booties, while perhaps too warm for Houston winters, are great for gifts or for other trips to cooler climes.
If you like seafood, you will be very happy dining in Iceland. “Today’s catch is our fish, tomorrow it’s yours,” is a local saying. Icelandic lobsters are smaller than what we typically call lobsters, more the size of langoustines or crawfish, but every morsel is sweet, buttery and easily accessible. There are also plenty of options for those who prefer meat including smoked lamb, duck, goose and even reindeer! Silfur is one of the best restaurants in the city. Appetizers include char with avocado and King crab in lemon foam and saffron shellfish soup, while mains include duck breast with quinoa, apricots, peaches and plum sauce, and prosciutto-wrapped monkfish, while the special game menu may include fried goose and goose liver with cherries, white cabbage and wild cherry honey, and reindeer with Icelandic wild mushrooms. +354-578 2008, silfur.is Perlan is better known for it’s panoramic views than its cuisine, but the elegant revolving dining room atop the city’s water towers is worth a visit for smoked salmon, whale carpaccio or
Icelandic lobster, as well as an impressive wine list. +354-562 0200, perlan.is Described as quirky, eclectic, innovative and experimental, Fish Company is located in the heart of downtown Reykjavik. The international menu focuses on one core ingredient, connecting it to its native land, while using local ingredients. For example, Icelandic lobster is served with Icelandic rhubarb, while Lemon from Brazil features lemon, skate and tiger prawns with a cashew crust served with black bean puree. +354-552–5300, fiskfelagid.is Restaurant Lindin is located on the shore of Lake Laugarvatn in the middle of the famous Golden Circle trio of natural wonders: Thingvellir, Gullfoss Waterfall and Geysir. Specialties include wild game and fresh trout from the lake. +354-486 1262, laugarvatn.is
Hotel Borg is a luxurious Art Deco hotel located right in the center of town within walking distance to the clubs and bars. Built in the 1930s—it was restored in 2007—the fourstar hotel is sophisticated and sumptuously comfortable. The Silfur restaurant is located inside the hotel. +354-551 1440, en.hotelborg.is Hotel Ranga is a four-star property in South Iceland that offers views of Mt. Hekla, mountains, glaciers and a live volcano. It has easy access to the Westman Islands via the new ferry from nearby Bakki, and helicopter trips from the hotel to the nearby volcano on Eyjafjalljökull. hotelranga.is
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worry about losing your bliss. You can dine in your robe!) You have traveled here to Iceland, an island in the middle of the North Atlantic, to get away from it all; and there are few places on earth that offer such a complete contrast to home. To begin with, there’s the temperature, which hovers around 40 degrees most of the year. Then there are the people, who are extremely friendly and open. There are only about 300,000 residents in the whole country (the majority live in the cities and suburbs). That leaves vast swaths of sparsely populated coastal land, lakes and glaciers, fjords and volcanic fields for you to explore, plenty of space in which to decompress. When you’re ready to move on, take the short drive to Reykjavik and check into the Hotel Borg. From the base in the city, many visitors enjoy horseback riding, deep-sea fishing or whale watching, but you decide to spend
the afternoon walking around the streets of this thoroughly modern and chic town. There’s plenty of shopping—fashion-forward clothing and jewelry designers display their crafts in boutiques, as well as museums and gallery. After seeing the diversity of evocative landscapes by Icelandic painters, you decide that you want to tour the island, to experience for yourself the colors and textures of the mineral-rich landscape. Starting at West Iceland with its lava formations, lakes, rivers, woodlands, waterfalls and glaciers, to the Westfjords and East Iceland, including coastal scenery and Vatnajökull, Europe’s largest glacier, in the background. So you hire a tour company to customize a tour for you, including private planes to Lake Myvatn in the North and comfortable four-wheel drive vehicles with Nordic guides providing the local point of view. Throughout the tour you feel calm and serene. You feel like you are floating.
november/december â€˘ 2010
SH OP the World
An international marketplace, Dubai shines brightly in the desert Story | Sue Hauenstein
ocated on the Arabian Peninsula, south of the Persian Gulf, Dubai is the second largest of the seven emirates composing the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Originally a fishing community that prospered from the oil and gas resources of its neighboring Emirates, today it has become a tourist destination for residents of the Middle East, Africa, India, Pakistan and Europe. Downtown Dubai combines a bustling nightlife, high-end hopping, luxury hotels and first-class entertainment with open green spaces incorporating water features. While not your typical getaway for the traveling American, Dubai is a great stopover on a journey to the Far East or South Africa. Moreover, if you’re looking for a getaway with shopping to die for, Dubai is an excellent option. Shopper’s Paradise Known as “the shopping capital of the Middle East” thanks to its more than 70 shopping malls, Dubai is primed to give Paris a run for its money! With endless elite fashion boutiques, the city draws shoppers from all over the globe. The very modern Dubai Mall, with more than 1,200 retail outlets, is the world’s largest shopping mall and the region’s premier shopping, lifestyle and entertainment destination. From fashion to florists and electronics to eyewear, shoppers can find almost anything in this one destination. Home to just about every top designer in the world, along with multiple entertainment venues, visitors need to plan a full day to experience this site. The mall is also home to the largest Gold Souk (marketplace) in the world, showcasing a collection of more than 220 of the region’s most trusted gold and jewelry retailers reflecting a rich Arabic heritage. Unique jewelry pieces are ready-made or handcrafted to the buyer’s specifications.
Located in the Al Barsha district, the Mall of the Emirates has more than 400 shops and over 75 restaurants and cafes. The retail center’s biggest claim to fame, however, is Ski Dubai, the first indoor ski resort in the Middle East. With five runs in varying levels of difficulting, snow enthusiasts will enjoy skiing, snow boarding and more. If you’re looking for more than shopping malls and boutiques, Dubai is well known for its Souk Districts located on either side of Dubai Creek. In sharp contrast to the opulence of the Dubai Mall, haggling is a way of life in these rustic stone marketplaces, where you can find handicrafts, spices, fashion and accessories. Other malls worth a peek are Ibu Battuta, Mercato Mall, Dragon Mart, Marina Mall and the Dubai Outlet Mall. In addition to phenomenal shopping and its rich history, Dubai’s innovative and unique construction projects have drawn world attention. The city is in a constant state of construction with buildings of various shapes and sizes popping up all over
november/december • 2010
gotten enough exercise walking the mall, chill out at the Dubai Ice Rink or relax by the beautiful waterwall, which spans all four Delightful Diversions Although Dubai Mall shopping is floors and replicates the ambience outstanding, it may not be at the of a desert oasis. Want to get the adrenaline top of the to-do list for everyone. pumping? Sega Republic, one of While the shopper in your life the global leaders in high-tech is fulfilling a dream, there are entertainment for all ages, is several alternatives for the nonan indoor theme park located shopper without having to leave inside the mall that offers nine the mall. thrilling rides and more than 150 Aquaculture afficianados will games from cutting-edge motion take pleasure in the tremendous variety of marine life surrounding simulators to virtual experiences. Take a quick trip to At the them as they meander through the Top on the 124th floor of Burj Dubai Aquarium & Underwater Zoo tunnel in the Dubai Mall. Khalifa, the tallest building in Enjoy exotic wonders while the world. Burj Khalifa can sharing the environment with all hold up to 35,000 people at manner of fish, sharks, stingrays any one time. Plan to spend an and other creatures. hour enjoying the astounding, Or take in a flick at the unparalleled views of Dubai from 22-screen Reel Cinemas complex. the observation deck. Avoid long The largest theater in Dubai, waits by purchasing your ticket in the cinema features the latest advance online or in person. international blockbusters as well For something a little as local hits. And if you havenâ€™t different, nothing is more town. The art deco reminiscent architecture is spectacular.
excillerating than a desert safari. But don’t be fooled by the name—this is no ordinary safari. A short 30 minutes outside of Dubai, the roll-barred jeeps climb desert sand dunes and fishtail through the expansive area. Also called dune bashing, this outing is not for the faint at heart. Make sure they stop so you can take a camel ride!
Stay and Play Not to be confused with The Address-Dubai Mall, The Address-Downtown is located across the street from the Burj Khalifa and the mall, in the heart of downtown Dubai. With spectacular views of the Dubai Fountain and the Burj Khalifa, this tastefully decorated property is lavish without the
“bling” pervasive throughout the city. Enjoy international cuisine at any of the seven restaurants, or pamper yourself at the first-class spa. Once you’ve tired of the commotion of the city, take two or three days to immerse yourself in total relaxation at the ultraluxurious Al Maha Desert Resort & Spa. Located in the tranquility
of the desert, 45 minutes from Dubai, this old-style Arabian conservation reserve was created to preserve and protect wildlife. Recreating a Bedouin encampment, this magnificent secluded resort, owned by Emirates Hotels & Resorts, offers 42 individual suites, each with its own private swimming pool.
Eat, Drink & Be Merry! When your destination is a 15-hour journey, comfort is critical. For a trip this long, consider treating yourself to first or business class. Emirates Airlines, wholly-owned by the Government of Dubai, flies directly from Houston to Dubai and offers unparalleled hospitality and service. The food is exceptional. Hostesses deliver cot pads for your comfort after take-off and the seats recline into restful beds. Each seat has its own touch screen offering dozens in-flight entertainment choices. And the swag bags are nice, too!
november/december • 2010
escape enlightened explorer
Luxury in the Cliffs liff dwellers never
Viva la Mexico! ive yourself an early
G Trump This lacing you in one of the New York City’s most exciting
neighborhoods, the Trump SoHo is a 391-room condo-hotel that offers plenty of sunshine inside its 11,000-square-foot spa on the 7th and 8th floors. The sunshine isn’t the only enticing part about the spa, however. The entire experience is exquisitely enhanced by Turkish décor and separate hammams for men and women. In keeping with the tenets of The Spa at Trump brand, every moment of the SoHo spa experience caters to each guest’s desires, expressed through his or her individually selected Trump Personal Intention: Calm, Balance, Purify, Heal or Revitalize. Spagoers also benefit from the highly personalized services of a Trump Spa Attaché who guides them through each step of the experience, from assisting with the selection of a robe, slippers and locker, to preparing infused elixirs and customizing iPod music selections. 212-842-5500, trumpsohohotel.com
Supernatural Santana ooking for something to do in Las Vegas besides slots and a Texas Hold
‘Em tournament? Good news! Legendary artist and entertainer Santana and his band are extending their performance of “Supernatural Santana: A Trip Through The Hits” at The Joint, Hard Rock Hotel & Casino through January 2011. A multi-sensory journey through the band’s career, the show features classic hits spanning “Oye Como Va,” “Black Magic Woman,” “Evil Ways” and “Maria Maria,” The show was exclusively designed for The Joint, which was named “Best New Major Concert Venue” by Pollstar magazine. In the great tradition of Las Vegas’s first rock venue, The Joint’s commitment to rock and roll is unparalleled, and is one of the most sophisticated, intimate and authentic venues in town, complete with an energetic entertainment and gaming experience featuring services and amenities associated with a boutique luxury hotel. For information, visit hardrockhotel.com and supernaturalsantana.com.
present this year by heading to Marquis Los Cabos Resort, located on the southernmost tip of the Baja California peninsula. This luxurious all-suite beachfront resort features a 15,000-squarefoot holistic spa and fitness center. In November, guests who book a minimum of four nights will be treated to a lavish Cranberry-Infused Chocolate Body Wrap. The 60-minute Thanksgiving-inspired spa treatment consists of a body exfoliation with essential oils, a cranberry-infused chocolate wrap and a relaxing massage with chocolate body lotion. A posttreatment snack of chocolatecovered strawberries and cranberry juice is also included. marquisloscabos.com
Andaz 5th Avenue | Royal Mansour Marrakech | Anantara Hotels, Resorts & Spas | Trump Soho-Phillip Ennis Photography
imagined it could be this luxurious. Imanta Punta de Mita, poised to become one of Mexico’s premier sustainable resorts, made its grand debut in March. Perfectly situated on a 250-acre private reserve on the pristine beaches of Mexico’s Riviera Nayarit, this intimate cliff-side property is a 45-minute drive from Puerto Vallarta and provides guests with the ultimate remote getaway. After a long day relaxing in the sun or horseback riding through the jungle, guests can indulge in world-class cuisine and spa services. Offered inroom, by the beach or in the intimate spa facility, treatments include soothing massages, facials and unique pre-Hispanic treatments. imantaresorts.com
escape enlightened explorer
Texas winter Fests november
elding luxury with spectacular natural beauty, Costa Careyes has become one of the world’s most coveted international destinations, offering an unparalleled list of VIP and celebrity visitors who come to celebrate the amazing setting, quality of life and privacy. Located two hours south of Puerto Vallarta Costa, Careyes offers an array of luxury accommodations. The famous villas, commonly referred to as the Castles of Careyes, are architectural wonders that feature six to eight bedrooms, and full culinary and housekeeping staffs. Guests can enjoy land and sea activities, horseback riding, tennis, mountain biking, golf and spa, to name a few. During the Christmas-toEaster polo season, there’s a polo facility, where lavish dinner and cocktail parties unfold in the villas.careyes.com
Grand Street Fall Festival (Whitewright) grandstreetfallfestival.com
Annual Rockin’ Around the Holidays Bazaar (Roundrock) roundrocktexas.gov
Pflugerville Pfall ChiliPfest cityofpflugerville.com/chili
Brazos Valley Worldfest (College Station) brazosvalleyworldfest.org
Mission Hope Craft Show (Archer City) missionhopecraftshow.com
Thanksgiving Invitational Art Show (Fredericksburg) tacef.org
December Sun City Holiday Home Tour (Georgetown) suncitykiwanisgt.org
Luckenbach Fiesta luckenbachtexas.com
Dogtoberfest (Fredericksburg) hillcountryspca.com
Tomball German Christmas Festival – Weihnachtsmarkt Texas Style tomballsistercity.org
Events subject to change. Unless indicated, contact venue for exact show dates and times.
Have Technology, Willhat Travel to pack? iPad? Digital camera? Video camera? E-reader?
Check your technology at the door thanks to the hotel industry’s pursuit to give guests more technology-rich experiences. We aren’t speaking of iPod docking stations in every room, however. Those seem as de rigueur as the VCR was in the 1990s. Here’s what you can expect to see next:
Royal Mansour Marrakech – This property may be made completely by hand by Moroccan artisans and craftsman trained in the traditional arts of carving, silk weaving and mosaics, but there is cutting-edge technology embedded into its nooks and crannies. Every room has a touch-screen wall to control lighting and temperature levels, and in case the personal butler service gets tiresome (though they come and go so quietly via a network of underground pathways), there is a “Do Not Disturb” button. Anantara Hotels, Resorts & Spas – Guests at the Anantara Bophut Resort & Spa on Koh Samui in south Thailand can check out an iPad to read the newspaper, schedule resort activities or book spa treatments. And soon, all Anantara properties in Thailand, Indonesia, the Maldives and the UAE will be plugged in, too. The Wauwinet – This 19th centurystyle luxury resort on Nantucket Island off the coast of Massachusetts is the spot to enjoy technology at its most fun. By offering Flip Video Camcorders, guests can capture the sunsets over Nantucket Bay or footage of the beautiful boats as they arrive in the harbor. Andaz Wall Street and Andaz 5th Avenue – New York City loves to be on the cutting edge and the Andaz properties are no different. Skipping the front-desk notion altogether, these hotels have floating “hosts” who check guests in using mobile tablets. Check-in while sitting on the sofa in the Andaz Lounge with a complimentary glass of wine or, if you’re in a rush, in the elevator on their way to your room. The tablets can swipe credit cards and also create room key cards on the spot.
Choose this treasure for business or pleasure! • Excellent meeting spaces, elegant wedding and banquet facilities • Luxurious spa and 130,000-sq-ft fitness center • 2 golf courses nearby Call now for information about Thanksgiving Buffet, Breakfast with Santa and Sunday Brunches. Just south of Houston on Scenic Clear Lake (281) 334-1000 www.sshr.com
Dear Prime Living, , the lights This holiday season ghter in Texas bri and ger big will be ’re all lit up you If Hill Country. and cheer, pack with holiday spirit p in the RV and up the family, ho nities on the mu com 11 visit the Christmas ry unt Texas Hill Co rne, Burnett, Lighting Trail. Boe Fredericksburg, Dripping Springs, nson City, Joh , aite Goldthw rble Falls, New Kerrville, Llano, Ma mberley will be Braunfels and Wi lidays from Nov. celebrating the ho r’s. Start Yea New gh ou 26 thr end where you and nt wa where you to make time want, but be sure ng the way! for every town alo ha ant – Sam
see + Do Old West Cowboy Action Shoot & Cook-Off
hen it comes to experiencing the holidays Lone Star-style, there’s no other way to enjoy and savor the distinctive flavor of this time of year than with a trip to Texas Hill Country. Welcoming approximately 5 million visitors a year, the area is filled with holiday festivals and celebrations guaranteed to put you in the spirit. The changing seasons have always added to the beauty of Hill Country and winter is no exception. This time of year is mild with a touch of cool air, ideal for viewing the thousands of holiday lights on display throughout the area’s towns, communities and neighborhoods. Hill Country is truly a place like no other and always welcomes its guests with a tip of the hat and a warm “howdy ya’ll.” Each community offers a variety of special events from holiday parades, winter wonderlands and dances, to Old West cowboy action shoots and barbecue cookoffs. A definite must see is the Christmas Pyramid in Fredericksburg. Located in the heart of downtown, the 26-foot tall wooden Christmas pyramid was handcrafted in Germany and made exclusively for this favorite Texas Hill Country town. Although there will be plenty of twinkling lights along the way, you won’t want to miss the Walkway
of Lights in Marble Falls. Imagine the beautiful sight a million tiny, twinkling lights reflecting off the town’s beautiful lake makes. It’s an aweinspiring experience. If a creekside Christmas is on your bucket list, plan on checking off that box after you visit Wimberley. Take a stroll through the quaint shops and art galleries, have dinner with the family and then head off to the local theater or the community Yule log to roast marshmallows. This is sure to be a favorite with the little ones! Located at the crossroads of Hill Country, between Fredericksburg and Dripping Springs, is Johnson City, where their Lights Spectacular is considered one of the biggest shows on the Lighting Trail. In its 21st year, the entire town is bathed in the glow of 100,000 lights twinkling on the Blanco County Courthouse. If you and the family need a break from the RV, each community has a variety of lodging options, including a selection of wonderful bed and breakfasts. And don’t forget the great places to shop, wine and dine. Texas Hill Country is known for some of the best wineries in the state. Happy holidays, y’all!
Wimberley’s Winter’s Eve
Dec. 4 Stroll under the beautiful evening stars and enjoy a little retail therapy with the family. The historic downtown district embraces the distinctive flair of Wimberley’s rustic charm. Wimberley Square 512-847-6544 wimberleymerchants.com
Art for the Holidays Show
Through Dec. 31 The New Braunfels Art League features three galleries with beautiful works of art in all mediums, including oils, acrylics, watercolors, pastels, drawings, photography, sculpture, pottery and jewelry. Perfect for gift-giving season. 239 W. San Antonio St., New Braunfels 830-629-8022 newbraunfelsartleague.com
Johnson City Chamber of Commerce | Trish McCabe Rawls
texas hill country
Dec. 3-5 Celebrate the holidays at Tin Star Ranch, a 370-acre ranch considered to be one of Fredericksburg’s finest attractions. With five guesthouses that capture the feeling of the 1800s and an Old West town featuring exact replicas of historic buildings from the frontier, you’ll feel as if you’ve stepped back in time. 456 Tin Star Road, Fredericksburg 877-782-7379 • tinstarranch.com
for the holidays Story | Sally J. Clasen
he holidays can be the most wonderful time of the year, but they arenâ€™t always the â€œhap, happiest season of all.â€? For some, tidings of good cheer are eclipsed by a dark reality: holiday stress. During the holidays, the pressure from financial strain, social obligations and exhaustive to-do lists ignite feelings of tension and
stress, producing hormone-releasing signals that the mind-body balance is off-kilter and under attack. Common signs of holiday stress include a range of emotional and physical effects: back pain, fast heart beat, fatigue, headaches, high blood pressure, irritability, insomnia, upset stomach, and binge eating and drinking.
boom. boom. stress.
oomers tend to be at high risk for holiday stress because they are often tasked with caring for several generations while managing holiday responsibilities and expectations. Besides over-burdened lives, a primary source of holiday stress is unresolved relationship issues, according to psychiatrist William Reading, M.D., of Stafford. “People are in close corridors and dormant sibling and family conflicts resurface. The same things that were stressful in childhood among family members are still stressful as adults, especially in these circumstances.” Dr. Reading believes that another key factor in holiday stress is an attempt to create an unobtainable experience. “Individuals are as busy as they can be but on top of that, they have set unrealistic goals for the holiday season,” he says. “Stress has to do with a person’s expectation of something, so it is largely brought on by oneself.” To reduce stress and find a healthy holiday balance, Dr. Reading suggests starting from the ground up and examine what it is that you want to do—and get rid of any preconceived notions of what you think is expected. It could be little things, he says, such as decorating a smaller tree and serving a pre-cooked dinner, or establishing a new tradition, like taking a cruise. “Don’t miss the purpose of the holidays. No one is going to die if you don’t do what you—and they—think you should do. If you are tying to please everyone else, you’re going to be dissatisfied,” he says. “Wake up, be conscious of what you are doing and be yourself. It’s a concept that is virtually lost with people most of the time, but especially during the holidays.”
s we reach the climax of the holiday season, we often begin to feel overwhelmed, fatigued, or even depressed. We may even wonder if all the stress is worth it. This year, give yourself the gift of physical and emotional health and wellness by practicing deep breathing. The busier and more stressed-out we feel, the shallower our breath becomes. This creates a vicious cycle of depriving ourselves of the additional oxygen we need to combat stress and keep our immune system healthy. Many studies have shown that slow, deep breathing calms the autonomic nervous system (responsible for our unconscious body functions) and lowers blood pressure. It also helps to quiet the mind and enable clearer thinking. For a quick and easy breathing exercise, sit tall, lifting the chest and letting the shoulders relax down and back. Keep the ears lined up over the shoulders. Relax the belly and let the diaphragm expand as you slowly inhale, for a count of 6. When the lungs are full, hold the breath in for a count of 3. Exhale slowly and completely, for a count of 7 (yes, the exhale should be longer than the inhale in order to release toxins). Hold the breath “out” of the lungs for a count of 2 before beginning the next breath. Repeat 4 to 5 times. Margie Connolly is a certified personal trainer, yoga instructor and owner of My Personal Fitness Studio in Sugar Land.
As you make a list and check it twice, don’t forget to give yourself a healthy mind-body checkup. Here are 10 tips to help manage holiday stress:
Be realistic. Don’t put the entire focus on one day (i.e., Thanksgiving Day). Spread out activities over days and weeks.
Allow emotions. Remember the holiday season does not banish reasons for feeling sad or lonely.
Volunteer. Lend some of your time, like at a local food bank or with your local Meals on Wheels program.
november/december • 2010
An Arterial Attitude Adjustment
f you’re worried about stroke risk, you might want to make some improvements to your contrary personality, according to a study published online in Hypertension: Journal of the American Heart Association in August. Researchers from the U.S. National Institute of Aging studied 5,614 residents of the Italian island of Sardinia to determine the link between negative personality traits and thickness of the intima-media carotid artery, a marker that indicates stroke risk. The researchers measured six agreeableness traits—such as trust and compliance—in patients along with ultrasound results of their arterial neck thickening. Those who scored in the bottom 10 percent of agreeableness and were most antagonistic had a 40 percent increased risk of having carotid intima-media thickness. Interestingly, the carotid neck thickness in female patients was similar to the men, who normally have thicker carotid artery walls.
ove over Botox, there’s a new weapon in town to shoot wrinkles dead in their tracks. German pharmaceutical company Merz announced that Xeomin — its wrinkle-reducing injectable botulinum toxin type A product — has been approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to treat cervical dystonia, a condition that causes abnormal back pain and movements, and blepharospasm, an involuntary blinking or spasm of the eyelids. While Xeomin is not FDA-approved for cosmetic purposes in America, it can be sold legally off-label to combat frown lines, crow’s feet and forehead wrinkles. The anti-aging effects of Xeomin are comparable to Botox, and approximate costs are estimated at $400 to $600 for a standard treatment.
Limit alcohol. Excessive drinking increases feelings of depression.
Socialize. Spend time with supportive and caring people.
Purple Carrots: The Next Superfood
range carrots are a staple of Western diets, but you could start to see more of the purple root variety popping up in produce aisles. Cultivated in ancient Persia for thousands of years, purple carrots have gotten fairly healthy play as a superfood in the last decade, but recent results from a University of Southern Queensland study confirm that the darker-colored vegetable is a free-radical powerhouse. Purple carrots pack up to 28 times more anthocyanins, the antioxidant that creates the purple-red pigment in blueberries and raspberries, than their orange counterparts. In the Australian study, rats showed remarkable recovery from high blood pressure, heart and liver damage and pre-diabetic conditions by drinking purple carrot juice after being fed a high-fat, highcarbohydrate diet for 16 weeks.
Delegate. Let others—children, spouses, siblings— share the responsibility of planning activities.
Simplify traditions. Instead of a fullcourse meal, serve finger foods.
Turn off the TV. Blatant commercialism can fuel expectations.
Health Events Daily
Fitness in the Park Fitness program presented by Academy Sport & Outdoors includes family yoga, Pilates and zumba. Discovery Green, 1500 McKinney. Call for times. 713-400-7336, discoverygreen.com
Start! Houston Heart Walk 2010 Join the American Heart Association for a family-friendly, non-competitive five-mile walk. Sam Houston Park, 1100 Bagby St. 9 a.m. houstonheartwalk.org
Yoga on the Way Home Wind down your day with an hour yoga session overlooking the beauty of the Houston Arboretum & Nature Center. 4501 Woodway Drive. 5:45 p.m. Thursdays. $15 per session. 713-681-8433, houstonarboretum.org
Lung Cancer and Your Quality of Life Workshop on small cell and non-small cell lung cancer treatment. M.D. Anderson Cancer Prevention Building. 9 a.m. 713-792-7128, firstname.lastname@example.org
Nov. 6 Houston’s Out of the Darkness Community Walk Walk benefitting the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. Stude Park, 1030 Stude St. 10 a.m. outofthedarkness.org
Dec. 11 Bayou City Outdoors Holiday Farmer’s Market Ride Hop on your bike and visit farmers markets around Houston, where you can shop for local organic produce. Rice Stadium Parking Lot, Entrance 13A, Greenbriar between University and Rice. 8 a.m. bayoucityoutdoors.com
Events subject to change. To have your health event considered for inclusion in our health and wellness calendar, send complete event information to email@example.com.
Don’t accept every invitation. Nobody wants a party guest that is tired and stressed.
Engage in mood-enhancing activities, such as exercise and sleep. And eat (regular meals), pray (seek spiritual guidance) and love (those you care about).
Orthopedic specialist Dr. David Hildreth has trained many of Houston's top hand surgeons and today is sought for his cutting edge treatment of some of the most common as well as specialized hand, wrist and elbow injuries and conditions prevalent in our society. An associate professor at Weill Cornell University, Dr. Hildreth is board certified by the American Board of Orthopaedic Surgery with Certificate of Added Qualifications (CAQ) in Surgery of the Hand and is among the first in Texas to perform the new needle aponeurotomy procedure as well as injection therapy for Dupuytren’s Contracture. He also offers the newest techniques in arthroscopy, endoscopic carpal tunnel release, and joint resurfacing and replacement.
877-702-MYMD (6963) Sugar Land • Richmond • Katy
Azuma VIP Grand Opening
Azuma on the Lake • 9.21.10
Guests joined Prime Living for a VIP grand opening party of Azuma on the Lake in Sugar Land. The latest restaurant to join the city’s restaurant scene, Azuma offers high-end sushi in a beautiful venue that overlooks the lake on the corner of 59 and Highway 6. The restaurant offered complimentary light bites from the grill, signature sushi and rolls, beer, wine and a specialty cocktail created just for the occasion. But guests didn’t leave empty-handed—each attendee received a gift certificate to come back and visit Sugar Land’s newest culinary gem. Photography | Leroy Gibbins
get on the list at firstname.lastname@example.org 1 Laura Woodcox-Perry, Tonja Oria 2 Karyn Dean, Irena Hixson, Yun Cheng 3 Anna Rieta, Tanya Ortiz, Amanda Park 4 George Muller 5 Will Matthews, Ashley Wyatt 6 Sharon and Tom DeWitt 7 Diane Bruce, Mark Williams
Couture for the Cause
Sienna Springs Resort • 9.25.10
As a kickoff to the Grand Soiree’s collection of stylish event series, Couture for the Cause was a smashing hit! Benefiting the American Cancer Society, the evening included a show-stopping fashion show by Tootsies, fireworks and a pirate ship complete with a plank. Honorary chairs Debbie and Marvin Marcel and Molly and Michael Cooper, along with chairs Susie and Doug Goff and Christen and Dave Johnson, hosted this fun-filled event that featured fabulous grub provided by over a dozen local restaurants and chefs.
Photography | Sienna Plantation
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1 KK West, Melissa Hayslip, Johnnie Wright, Linda Riddle, Sandra Mazoch 2 Cindy and Randy Garbs 3 Susie Goff with MC Sharron Melton 4 Jan Freed 5 Carolyn Williams 6 Lynn Humphries 7 Glory Craft, Christen Johnson, Tania Oria 8 Molly and Michael Cooper with Marvin and Debbie Marcell 9 Larry and Suzie Johnson
november/december • 2010
Men’s Tune Up for Life Event
Memorial Hermann Sugar Land • 9.11.10
Gentlemen revved up their engines and enjoyed a morning of classics at this men’s health expo and classic car show presented by Memorial Hermann. Attendees grabbed a free breakfast at the “fueling station” and tuned up their bodies with free health screenings. Some even got a unique peek at Life Flight, Memorial Hermann’s hospital-based air ambulance. In service 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, Life Flight has flown more than 120,000 missions in Houston and its surrounding communities. Photography | Roswitha Vogler
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Artful Living with Neiman Marcus riverstone â€˘ 10.8.10
It was an evening of glamorous fashion and fine art at the Artful Living with Neiman Marcus event, held Oct. 8 in a luxurious estate by Sterling Classic Homes in Riverstone in Sugar Land. The evening featured gourmet food and fine wines, and kicked off a tour of 3-D artwork by Tracy Lee Stum, who exhibited her latest piece, a stunning waterfall illusion she created inside the home. Also on display was a beautiful butterfly installation by artist Bennie Flores Ansell, which was highlighted by a release of live butterflies that added a dramatic touch to the evening.
Photography | Colleen Lastrapes Photography
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1 Patrick Russey, Torie Halbert, Stacey and Robert Swift 2 Cindy Hesser, Marilyn and Tom Neyland, Tracy Lee Stum 3 Sugar Land Mayor Jimmy Thompson with wife Gay 4 Dr. Dwight Peccora, Yvonne Champion, Sandra Mazoch 5 Sheri Roane, Lynne T. Jones, Grant Roane 6 Matt and Daynor McMenemy, Blake and Julie Swoboda 7 Hallie Radcliffe-Canalli, A.E. Canalli 8 Mike and Laurie Moody, Rocky Lai
november/december â€˘ 2010
Nov. 9 Goodwill Houston Golf Classic Shotgun, scramble format golf tournament benefitting Goodwill Houston. Black Horse Golf Club, 12205 Fry Road, Cypress. 11 a.m. $350. 713-692-6221, goodwillhouston.org
River Oaks Blvd. 11 a.m. $150. 713-314-1331, alz.org/texas
13th Annual John Granato Celebrity Golf Classic United Cerebral Palsy holds this golf classic hosted by John Granato of 1560AM, The Game. Wildcat Golf Club, 12000 Nov. 11 Almeda Road, 11 a.m. $375. Salvation Army Annual Luncheon 713-838-9050, ucphouston.org Featuring news and political analyst Cokie Roberts. Hilton Nov. 21 Americas-Houston, Bike the Bend for Literacy 1600 Lamar St. 11:30 a.m. Support literary programs in Fort $150. 832-201-8026, Bend County by participating in salvationarmyhouston.org one of three noncompetitive bike rides. Foster High School, Nov. 12 4400 FM 723, Richmond. 8 a.m. CASA Christmas Home Tour, Dec. 10-11 Bloom Annual Fundraising 281-240-8181, ftbendliteracy.org Dinner Nov. 5 Benefiting The Women’s Home, Nov. 25 this event honors individuals Una Notte In Italia Turkey Trot and families that have made the Celebrity men’s fashion Jane Cizik Garden Place a reality. Participate in a 5K and 10K runs show benefiting Family or walks, as well as wheelchair InterContinental Houston Near Services of Greater Houston. races. Benefiting Sheltering the Galleria, 2222 West Loop InterContinental Houston Near Arms Senior Services. Dillard’s South. $350. 713-328-1975, the Galleria, 2222 West Loop Galleria, Westheimer at Post thewomenshome.org South. 7:30 p.m. Call for prices. Oak. 7:45 a.m. 713-956-1888, 713-802-7857, familyservices.org shelteringarms.org Nov. 13
Houston Heart Walk Participate in this family-friendly, non-competitive 5-mile walk benefiting the American Heart Association. Sam Houston Park Downtown, 1100 Bagby St. 9 a.m. 713-610-5000, houstonheartwalk.org
2010 Annual Friends Gala Grab your sequins and platforms and celebrate the sounds of ABBA. Benefiting Friends of the CHRISTUS Stehlin Foundation. Westin Galleria, 5060 W. Alabama. 7 p.m. $300. 713-659-1336, stehlin.org
World AIDS Day Luncheon Recognized worldwide, World
Dec. 4 Trafigura Home Run 2010 This10K USATF-certified run benefits Ronald McDonald House Houston. Sam Houston Park, Bagby and Lamar. 8 a.m. 713-795-3585, rmhhouston.org
Dec. 7 Angels of Hope Luncheon & Fashion Neiman Marcus presents a couture fashion show benefiting Child Advocates Inc. Westin Galleria Hotel, 5060 W. Alabama. 11:30 a.m. $250. 713-529-1396, childadvocates.org
Dec. 10-11 CASA Christmas Home Tour In its 19th year, this annual event showcases homes in three of Fort Bend County’s most beautiful neighborhoods. Benefiting Child Advocates of Fort Bend. Call for times. $15. 281-341-9955, cafb.org
Montgomery County Heart Walk Participate in this family-friendly, non-competitive 3-mile walk benefiting the American Heart Association. Northshore Park, 2505 Lake Woodlands Drive, The Woodlands. 8 a.m. 713-6105021, heartwalk.kintera.org
Book & Author 31st Annual Dinner Featuring Tyler Florence, Carl Hiaasen, Jake Silverstein, Marlo Thomas and Isabel Wilkerson. Benefiting the Houston Chronicle’s Readers are Leaders Foundation. Hilton Americas-Houston, 1600 Lamar St. 5:30 p.m. Call for price. 713-362-7904, chron.com
Swing for the Star Golf tournament benefiting Star of Hope Mission. Royal Oaks Country Club, 2910 Royal Oaks Club Drive. Noon. 713-748-0700, sohmission.org
11th Annual Family Portrait Luncheon This year’s luncheon aids the Alzheimer’s Association Houston and Southeast Texas chapters. River Oaks Country Club, 1600
AIDS Day is a day of hope and celebration of life. Hilton Americas-Houston, 1600 Lamar St. 11 a.m. $250 and $500. 713-623-6796, aidshelp.org/ worldaidsday2010
Book & Author 31st Annual Dinner, Nov. 14
Prices listed are for individual tickets. Sponsorships may be available. Event dates, times and prices subject to change. To have your event considered for inclusion in the Datebook, send complete event information to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Child Advocates of Fort Bend | John Lee
Presenting sPonsors Saturday, January 22, 2011 â€˘ Hilton-Americas Hotel Houston
Jan Carson and Virginia Reisman
ABC - Channel 13 Emirates Airlines Saks Fifth Avenue
2011 Winter Ball Chairs
Mary Ann McKeithan honorary Chair
honoring 2011 aBC-13 Women of DistinCtion Susan Boggio Jacqueline Chaumette Lavonne Cox Beth Madison Judy Nyquist
Lisa Richardson Kristi Schiller S. Shawn Stephens Pattie Dale Tye Laura Ward
Woman of DistinCtion amBassaDor
CenterPoint Energy Gittings Locke Lord Bissell & Liddell LLP Momentum Jaguar Northern Trust Bank Tiffany & Co. Benefiting
Philamena Baird For more information, visit www.WinterBall2011.com, Call CCFA at 713.572.2232 or email WinterBall@CCFA.org
5120 Woodway, Suite 8008 Houston, Texas 77056 713.572.2232 www.ccfa.org/chapters./houston
New Year’s Eve revelers welcome 2011 with a creative light display during our photo shoot for “Cocktail Countdown” at One Park Place in downtown Houston. Photographed on Sept. 5, 2010 by Mark Lipczynski.
The stunning result of taking a very different road. At Jaguar Houston Central, weâ€™re dedicated to providing the best automotive experience possible. For stunning results, take the road to Jaguar Houston Central, easily accessible from every corner of the Houston area. The all new 2011 Jaguar XJ has arrived. Call us today to schedule your test drive. Jaguar Houston Central 7019 Old Katy Road, Houston, TX 77024 Phone: (713) 293-6000
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