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LETTER FROM THE EDITOR
LIVING TEXAS AUSTIN, DALLAS, FORT WORTH, HOUSTON, SAN ANTONIO, WIMBERLEY
STYLE TAKE ON SPRING’S LATEST TRENDS
A FEW OF OUR FAVORITE THINGS THINK PINK SPRING-IN-YOUR-STEP SHOES
ROUGHING IT COURSES YOU CAN SWING
HOME TREEHOUSES AREN’T JUST FOR KIDS
ON THE COVER THE MUCH MISUNDERSTOOD MARK CUBAN BY DANIEL RAMIREZ
FEATURE TWO-STEP ACROSS TEXAS
SIP & SAVOR SAN ANTONIO’S MASTER TEQUILA MAKER A MAD AUSTIN PARTY
JET SETTER MEXICO’S RIVIERA NAYARIT & RIVIERA MAYA
ROAD TRIP HIT THE ROAD TO SAN MARCOS
REVIEWS COOKING UP SOME DELICIOUS MISCHIEF HOUSTON RISING STAR STEFANI VARA
A BETTER TEXAN ATTENTION MANAGEMENT BYE BYE HOME OFFICE, HELLO COWORKING! FOUR WAYS TO LIVE LIFE TO THE MAX
Letter from the editor What’s your favorite season? In Texas, my vote goes to spring. There’s so much anticipation for what’s ahead in the year with everything, and everyone, just bursting with energy. Of course, when it comes to energy, it’s hard to beat Mark Cuban. The billionaire owner of the Dallas Mavericks is not only passionate about his championship-winning Mavs, he’s also a hands-on business owner who loves to share his enthusiasm with newly-minted entrepreneurs — as anyone who’s watched him on ABC’s Shark Tank knows. Fleetwood Hicks, the owner of Dallas’ Villy Custom, knows how to swim in Shark Tank. In this issue, he tells us how he not only survived the tank, but also netted both Mark Cuban and Barbara Corcoran as investors in his custom bike shop. Knowing the energetic, entrepreneurial spirit of Mark Cuban, Barbara Corcoran and Fleetwood Hicks is alive and well in Texas (our state is home to more than 2.2 million small businesses), in this issue we’ve packed our “A Better Texan” pages with articles to give you fresh ideas and new perspectives to help you in your own business. Let me know what you think—I always welcome your comments and suggestions.
PUBLISHERS Shawn K Lively and Doug Flatt EDI TOR I A L T E A M EDITOR-IN-CHIEF
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Alexis Alvarez, Aiessa Ammeter, Autumn Rhea Carpenter, Samantha Cook, Sara D’Spain, Stephen Dean, Liz Elam, Keith Ferris, Marge Gomez, Kathy Goretz, Alli Rose Hansen, Hannah M. Hepfer, Fleetwood Hicks, Paxton Kelly, Mike Kordell, Lailani, Peter Longno, Sean Loyless, Tyler Malone, Phil Mansfield, Jessica Newman, Leah Fisher Nyfeler, Dave Pedley, David Pesina, Amy Price, Bonnie Rader, Vanessa Resendez, Brooke Rhea, Julia Robinson, Robert Rodriguez, Philip Rogers, Jennifer Simonson, Krista Sperry, Maura Thomas, Renee Trudeau, Scott Wade ART & PRODUCTION WEB DESIGN
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Texas Lifestyle Magazine is Texas-owned and operated, published by TL Publishing, LLC ©
LIVING TEXAS | AUSTIN
FINDING FERTILE GROUND FOR LIVING ART ARTICULTURE DESIGNS GROWS WITH KICKSTARTER CAMPAIGN
Photo by Articulture Designs
Photo by Julia Robinson
by Leah Fisher Nyfeler
Monique Capanelli didn’t come to her life’s calling with a clear vision and focus; she found her passion for living art by following her heart. About 12 years ago, Capanelli worked tending bar at Louie’s 106, a now-shuttered Mediterranean-inspired bistro near 6th and Congress with a wonderful atmosphere and inspired food. Looking to bring in extra money, she agreed to create floral arrangements for the restaurant’s foyer. “I’ve always been what I call a ‘can do girl,’” Capanelli recalls with a smile. “I didn’t know anything about floral arrangements, but I thought, ‘Sure—I can do this.’” She used interesting items creatively, and one thing led to another; patrons who fell in love with her striking designs became clients. And the personal creative passion she discovered led Capanelli to new studies, changes in employment, and founding her business, Articulture Designs, creating living art through flora. Today, her innovative Austin-based business focuses on interior botanical creations, sustainable landscaping, and wedding and event décor. According to Danté Dominick, Capanelli’s husband and business partner, approximately 70% of the business falls into the interior botanical design sector, but that area is full of amazing diversity. It includes enormous living plant walls (the giant moss walls installed at the Whole Foods Market in the Domain and at the new Shake Shack, part of the Lamar Union redevelopment), furniture (coffee tables, custom desks, and room dividers), and small, affordable art—terrariums, framed living arrangements, and just about anything else a patron can envision. Landscaping allows Capanelli, a certified permaculture designer, to promote sustainable practices, such as water conservation and edible plantings, with a creative eye for long-lasting beauty. Event design includes personal and commercial projects; weddings, catered affairs, and business conventions, such as the 2015 SXSW Festival, can decoratively utilize living plants, such as moss, bromeliads, and succulents, as well as cut flowers and vegetables, to brand, beautify and provide functional space delineation.
For years, Articulture Designs operated out of Capanelli’s south Austin home, and workspace needs have steadily encroached upon the couple’s living space. “We’ve had to be creative in storage and use,” says Capanelli, gesturing to the unique lighting fi xtures chained overhead, simultaneously stored and displayed. A successful Kickstarter campaign that launched in January has provided start-up funds for a commercial garden boutique, design studio, and community space located in south Austin. “There are so many good things happening here,” she says. Big projects need space to grow: the Whole Foods Market wall at the Domain, for example, took four weeks to fabricate, fi lling a rented 3,000 square foot warehouse in the process. Creative forces benefit from fertile ground, and Capanelli is excited about possible community space for workshops, seminars, yoga, and even supper clubs. It’s all part of the sustainable, creative energy that infuses the living works of Articulture Designs. ARTICULTUREDESIGNS.COM VISIT TEXASLIFESTYLEMAG.COM TO GO BEHIND THE SCENES WITH MONIQUE CAPANELLI.
Photo by Articulture Designs
Texas Lifestyle Magazine 9
LIVING TEXAS | AUSTIN
Photos by David Pesina
BIGGER IN TEXAS
NATION’S LARGEST JW MARRIOTT NOW IN AUSTIN by Jennifer Simonson
The latest addition to Austin’s continually expanding skyline is the 34-story JW Marriott hotel at Congress and Second Avenue. When the JW Marriott Austin opened in February it became not only the largest hotel in Austin, but also the largest JW Marriott in the United States and the second largest JW Marriott in the world. While the 1,012-room hotel adds more bed space for Austin visitors, it also adds three new restaurants to downtown’s thriving culinary scene. A burger joint, Italian restaurant and Texas-inspired bistro were designed specifically with Austin and its visitors in mind. Before creating the restaurants, Marriott’s culinary team visited more than 40 local restaurants to figure out what Austinites like to eat. What did they find out? “That Austin is ready for new concepts with unique flavors,” said Juan Martinez, executive chef of all three restaurants. In turn, JW Marriott created three unique restaurants based on food that excites the palate but that have a fun, casual look.
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Osteria Pronto is the most upscale restaurant of the three. It serves classic Northern Italian-style cuisine based on the Emilia-Romagna region. All dishes will be made from scratch. The menu is designed to offer a twist on classic Italian dishes such as burrata campagna, paglia e feino and bistecca fiorentina. A wood-burning stove makes six varieties of pizza. And what is Italian food without wine? Osteria Pronto boasts a large wine list and an experienced staff to help pair that authentic pollo al mattone to the perfect bottle of red or white. Entrees range from $10 to $34. Corner features Texas-inspired cuisine using local ingredients. Pulling recipes from all over Texas, the casual eatery also serves crafted tequila cocktails, Texas wines and a variety of local craft beers. Corner’s spacious outdoor patio overlooks downtown, making it an ideal place for those after-work drinks Austinites love. The menu features a selection of grilled meat and fish as well as fun “Texas” dishes, such as white chicken chili, zucchini cornbread, gulf shrimp and chorizo sopes, and a jumbo lump crab and crawfish stack with a salmorejo sauce. Entrees range from $10 to $32.
Corner relies heavily on local ingredients with 90% of its seafood coming from the Gulf of Mexico, 60% percent of the cheese sourced from farms between Waco and Dallas, and 60% of the produce coming from Texas, Martinez said. The Burger Bar on Congress Avenue combines two great pastimes: people-watching and burgers. The al fresco setting gives visitors the chance to enjoy Austin’s year-round good weather during lunchtime and early evening. The Burger Bar has a walk-up window paying tribute to the food-trucks that once sat on that spot. The menu is limited to burgers, hand-cut fries and shakes, but it is anything but boring and always hopping. The signature Big Mouth Burger is topped with shishito peppers, a BBQ jalapeño jam and zesty white cheddar. A side of queso and sweet jalapeño fries and a decadent peanut butter pretzel milkshake makes a memorable lunch. 110 E SECOND ST | AUSTIN JWMARRIOTTAUSTIN.COM/DINING
LIVING TEXAS | AUSTIN
Photos by Tyler Malone
BANGER’S REIGNS ON RAINEY STREET AUSTIN’S AMERICAN-STYLE BEER GARDEN
by Jennifer Simonson
Dog lovers love Banger’s. Patio lovers love Banger’s. Meat lovers love Banger’s. Beer lovers love Banger’s. Even gluten-free lovers love Banger’s. It seems the only bad press Banger’s has received is when they let Justin Bieber on stage during SXSW 2014, but even that has blown over. The Rainey Street beer garden and sausage house has been a hit since opening its doors in the summer of 2012. With 100+ beers on tap, more than 30 house-made sausages, and 250 seats laid out in long communal-style outdoor picnic tables, Banger’s isn’t a bar, but an “American-Style Beer Garden.” What makes it an American versus a German-style beer garden? “We have more of a country atmosphere and I guess we don’t take ourselves as seriously as they do,” said owner Ben Siegel. Sunday brunch is the highlight of the week. Tables are lined with people drinking from German-style beer mugs filled with Manmosas, a liter of champagne with a splash of orange juice, eating the specialty brunch menu and listening to a nine-piece New Orleans-style jazz band. When the weather is nice, as it is most of the year in the ATX, a wait is almost always expected. Dogs are not only welcome, they are encouraged. With a dog park within the patio and special menu of dog sausages, Banger’s strives to be the most dog-friendly bar in the city.
$800-worth of meat and beer training and must pass Beer College before they get on the floor. Staff members also complete monthly continuing education classes such as “Hops 101” and “How To Break Down a Lamb.” Banger’s boasts the largest beer selection in Austin and third largest in Texas. The constantly-rotating beer taps are organized by style versus flavor. By asking a few questions and serving some tasters, the expert staff can whittle down an indecisive beer-drinker to a Wheaty and Smooth or a Dark and Roasty draft in no time. Selling more food than beer (they make between 1,500 to 2,000 pounds of sausage every week) the in-house chefs honor a sausage-making tradition. Sausages range from the traditional German-style Bratwurst to the exotic duck, bacon and fig sausages to the vegetarian-friendly beet and goat cheese sausage. Banger’s is no longer the new kid on the block, but that doesn’t mean the crowds have slowed down. Sales are up, remodeling is in the works to provide shade for more than 120 outside seats and a kitchen expansion is slated to increase the amount of food produced. What’s not changed is Banger’s serving up the largest variety of beer and sausage in Austin. 79 RAINEY ST | AUSTIN BANGERSAUSTIN.COM
But don’t let the laid back, fun atmosphere fool you. Banger’s takes its sausage and beer very seriously. Each server is put through
Texas Lifestyle Magazine 11
LIVING TEXAS | FORT WORTH
LOVE, MURDER, MADNESS AND MOREâ€Ś Fort Worth Opera by the Numbers
Photos by Fort Worth Opera
By Julie Tereshchuk
Back in 2007, Fort Worth Opera transformed their traditional season into an innovative annual spring festival. The packed 2015 festival schedule includes three mainstage productions: the cutting edge, visceral Dog Days, an age-old story of love lost in La Traviata and Hamletâ€”a timeless tragedy with a modern twist.
2014 ticket sales, which included attendance from three different countries and 33 different states.
The largest number of performers on stage for an FWO performance was for Carmen in 2009.
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LIVING TEXAS | FORT WORTH
21 The number of days staging rehearsals typically begin before an opening night.
The age Wes Mason (who plays the title role in Hamlet) began working professionally on opera stages.
Since the inception of the festival, more than 2,000 years of wardrobe history have been represented on FWO’s home stage at Bass Hall, ranging from Julius Caesar’s era to modern-day America.
The year Talise Trevigne (Ophelia in the 2015 festival’s Hamlet) graduated from Manhattan School of Music.
The number of children who see a Fort Worth Opera performance annually.
Texas Lifestyle Magazine 13
LIVING TEXAS | DALLAS
FRESH FACES AT DALLAS FARMERS’ MARKET By Bonnie Rader
It’s always been the place to go. Back in the late 1800s, Dallas farmers rolled up in their wagons, selling the freshest of produce destined for local tables eager for the best. Now there are great new reasons to seek out the best as you head downtown to the Dallas Farmers’ Market. Building on its centurylong reputation for fresh produce, the market’s new owners are adding four mouth-watering restaurants and a bustling top-flight coffee shop inside The Market. Nestled across the street from The Shed —longtime home to the farmers’ market and the recent recipient of its own makeover—The Market will offer a wide range of sustainable, lifestyle-healthy restaurants making it a destination of choice in the Dallas area. Rex’s Seafood and Market, owned by Rex Bellomy, is a popular destination for seafood lovers, who dine in and shop for fresh seafood to take home at its location in North Dallas. The Farmers’ Market branch of Rex’s will offer the same dine-in/market combination.
Nammi and Coolhaus, two food-truck concepts from co-owners Teena Nguyen and Gary Torres, will come together to offer an intriguing combination of Vietnamese fusion fare and gourmet ice cream sandwiches. The Nammi menu will have a few familiar favorites but also innovative new items with a Southern twist on traditional Vietnamese classics. Coolhaus will have milkshakes, ice cream floats and ice cream bars, along with its “architecturally inspired” gourmet ice cream sandwiches. Each one is named after an architect or architectural style. This dynamic dining duo has innovation down.
NAMMITRUCK.COM | EATCOOLHAUS.COM
Stocks & Bondy comes from Dallas chef Joanne Bondy (formerly chef at the Gaylord Hotel), offering cooks, local chefs and caterers classic and modern stocks and sauces, made from quality, allnatural and sustainable ingredients. Stocks & Bondy will offer a seasonal menu of soups and sandwiches as well as a retail counter. That means all us novice chefs will have the opportunity to wow our friends and family by taking home delectable Stocks & Bondy offerings to complement our own home cooking.
How about an authentic Mexico City taqueria? Taqueria La Ventana is being brought to The Market by Mike Karn’s Firebird Restaurant Group, known around Dallas for restaurants such as El Fenix and Meso Maya. The taqueria will feature an eclectic, funky interior fused with a modern Dallas sensibility. That will translate into a menu that tempts with both everyday handmade Mexican street tacos and also chef-driven gourmet tacos, plus burritos, salads, churos, beers and margaritas.
Italian chef Corrado Palmieri will open the doors to Palmieri Café, an authentic Italian coffee shop offering sweet and savory pastries, gelato and Italian coffees using coffee beans imported direct from his home country. Chef Palmieri is on a mission that will warm the hearts of coffee shop lovers everywhere. This dedicated chef is intent on providing high-quality coffee in a warm and cozy atmosphere while serving up “other fresh indulgences.”
Outside The Market will sit Mudhen, a 5,500 square foot beer garden and restaurant brought to you by Shannon Wynne, the man behind a series of restaurants with flight-themed names, including Fort Worth’s Bird Café, Dallas’ Meddlesome Moth and LARK on the Park. He also clearly knows his beer as he has the Flying Saucer Draught Emporiums too.
14 Texas Lifestyle Magazine
1010 S PEARL EXPY | DALLAS DALLASFARMERSMARKET.ORG
LIVING TEXAS | DALLAS
In his home full of eras, Storage Wars: Texas star Moe Prigoff talks mid-century modern
Photos by Moe Prigoff
By Paxton Kelly
Former Storage Wars: Texas star Moe Prigoff is a collector of contemporary furniture and antiques, as well as a practicing podiatrist who decided to leave his home state of New York and head down south when he completed his medical residency. “I came to Dallas around Christmastime and people were playing golf in t-shirts and shorts,” says Prigoff. “It was mind-boggling to me.” Prigoff has always had a passion for collecting and he’s been doing so for decades. (Since he was 8 years old, to be precise.) From waiting around after pro basketball games for autographs to scouring flea markets for art deco, Prigoff ’s enthusiasm for collecting has yet to waver. Prigoff says, “We are either born with the collecting bug or we aren’t.”
that every fashion style makes a comeback applies to interior design as well. The blending together of what is and what has been can result in a balanced home if styled correctly.
This hobby-turned-occupation has opened many doors for Prigoff, including those of his own gallery, River Regency Modern on Riverfront Boulevard. Asked if the antiquing scene is popular in Dallas, Prigoff enthusiastically replies, “Yes, it’s on fire! Riverfront is an antiquing destination.” Those who doubt the embodiment of modern elements in antiques will never be happier to be proven wrong once they’ve stepped into Prigoff ’s house of mid-century modern collectibles.
Today, homeowners are not looking to be ostentatious with their decor selections, nor are they willing to pay a pretty penny to fill an entire living space. With ongoing trends like resale and restoration, flea markets and local estate sales are diamond mines to those in search of affordable furnishings. “We don’t live as opulently as our parents and grandparents did,” says Prigoff. “Clean, affordable, simplistic, yet well-crafted home furnishings are what today’s buyer is looking for.” He also suggests searching for home decor bargains online. Websites like eBay, Craigslist and online antique malls provide consumers with a convenient way of buying and selling goods at a discounted price, says Prigoff.
The knowledgeable Prigoff explains that the style of mid-century modern came about after World War II, when modern living was on the rise. Furnishings became multi-purpose. The designs were clean, straight lines, easy to rearrange and use interchangeably, which makes the style appealing to modern-day buyers. The idea
Prigoff finds many people want everything to be “matchy matchy.” A home’s theme must accommodate one style and the decor should come from a single era to be deemed aesthetically pleasing. “This could not be further from the truth,” says Prigoff. “A great room setting will have numerous styles and designs all mixed into one, as if they were all meant to meet later in life.” You can achieve a successful eclectic design, so long as the arrangement of pieces aims to create harmony.
1500 N RIVERFRONT BLVD | DALLAS
Texas Lifestyle Magazine 15
Photos by Villy Custom
LIVING TEXAS | DALLAS
Surviving Shark Tank
How Mark Cuban changed my life By Fleetwood Hicks, owner, Villy Custom
I picked up the phone one day at work in 2011 and it was a producer from something called Shark Tank. He told me he’d just read about us in Entrepreneur Magazine’s 100 Most Brilliant Business Ideas for 2010 article, and asked if I’d be interested in being on TV. I didn’t take it too seriously because I’d never seen the show, but I went along with it. That was the beginning of a very cool ride! A couple of months later, I loaded up a few bikes (along with my dog, Villy) and drove from Dallas to Los Angeles for the taping of the show. Although I practiced in front of friends and felt I was ready, nothing can prepare you for Shark Tank until you experience it. Everything seemed pretty smooth until right before they opened the door. Walking down the hallway, I got a glimpse of the sharks. “Stand on the X,” the production folks told me and “get your game face on” for a two-minute stare down. There are no words spoken during those two minutes. It’s just the sharks staring at you, and you thinking about what you’re going to say and how it’s going to play out. There’s no second chances, re-runs, or advice once you get started. They don’t cut and take a break. It’s 100% real and you have to think on your feet. My intention was to try to enjoy it and just be myself, but it got real serious, real quick. Villy wasn’t nervous at all. The first thing he did was lay down, yawn and relax. Mark Cuban hit me with question number one. Then, they all started peppering me with questions. Sometimes, they were talking over each other asking multiple questions at the same time.
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The night before my taping, I told my buddy, Berti, that my goal was to make a deal with either Mark Cuban or Barbara Corcoran. It took overcoming objections and negotiating the deal, but Villy Custom became the first company to strike a deal with the Cuban/Corcoran team…42% equity for $500,000! The past four years have been an incredible journey and it gets better every day. Being on Shark Tank is a phenomenal memory but it was only the beginning. Since then, we’ve been on The Ellen Degeneres Show, The Price is Right, CNN Headline News and we’ve had the opportunity to work with some of the most amazing people and businesses in the world. We continue to make custom bikes for individuals, in addition to designing and building large fleets of custom bikes for companies of all sizes and kinds. We feel very fortunate to have both Mark Cuban and Barbara Corcoran on board. Mark is extremely responsive. He’s been hands-on helping us make web improvements and pushing our focus in the right direction. Barbara is a marketing whiz and always very encouraging. They are both incredible role models for me and my co-workers; money cannot buy that. 1937 IRVING BLVD | DALLAS VILLYCUSTOMS.COM
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Photos by Houston Arboretum
LIVING TEXAS | HOUSTON
Wine with a Side of Barbecue by Jessica Newman
Year-round, the Houston Arboretum and Nature Center invites Texans to explore the outdoors across 155 acres amid a big city. The nonprofit protects plants and animals, as well as educating the public on related topics in a lively atmosphere. It is known for being a great place to take the kids. Now, it’s the adults’ turn to experience a different side of this green haven. Coming this spring, the Arboretum is offering two courses in “Wine Pairings for BBQ Cookouts.” A French wine scholar from the Texas Wine School, Nick Helliwell, will act as the Arboretum’s teacher for the lip-smacking course. Helliwell was born in Australia and grew up in England where he says wine is a typical beverage when grilling meat. While anything other than an ice-cold beer at a BBQ seems strange to Texans, Helliwell assures us that wine and meat pairings have a history of marrying well together. He is setting out to teach our high beer consumption state, ranking 9 out of 50 states for per capita consumption according to the Beer Institute’s 2012 ranking, why we should adopt wine at cookouts. The course is being held indoors in one of the Arboretum’s classrooms with gorgeous views of the outdoor sanctuary. A cookout menu will be served in tasting portions to make wine pairing combinations more accessible. Helliwell will present various wines and match them with each dish, justifying why the pairing makes for perfection. One palatable recommendation he
18 Texas Lifestyle Magazine
makes is a “dry rosé, fruity enough to handle the formidable fl avors of a barbecue” during a hot Texas summer. As for the popular ideology that white wines are for f ish and red wines are for meat, Helliwell points to tannins as the cause. Tannins, most commonly found in reds, are a naturally occurring polyphenol in wine with a notable bitterness that pairs well with dense meats. “Beef ribs in barbecue sauce with a red Zinfandel from California make a perfect pair,” says Helliwell. “Homegrown red Zinfandels have enough structure to handle the robust meat, and plenty of fruit and spice to match the barbecue sauce. The fl avor of the food exalts the wine, and, in turn, the wine enhances our pleasure in the food; a classic pairing.” Not only will guests learn about the theory behind wine paired with BBQ at these classes, but they will also walk away with greater knowledge about the specifi cs of wine pairings for all cuisines. The twohour course accommodates 36 eager sippers and is structured so that novices and sommeliers alike can enjoy comparing and contrasting combinations. The “Wine Pairings for BBQ Cookouts” class is oﬀered at 7 p.m. May 16th and June 17th. 4501 WOODWAY DRIVE | HOUSTON HOUSTONARBORETUM.ORG
The Arboretum hosts “Telescopes and a Night in the Woods” June 20th. The Houston Astronomical Society will lead the class and offer an array of telescopes to get a closer look at the stars we live under. Celebrate the beginning of summer with a night hike through the arboretum’s nature sanctuary, food, beer and wine on the very date of the summer solstice.
LIVING TEXAS | HOUSTON
MOMS Two Houston Mothers Lampoon the Super Mom Race Photo by Krista Sperry/K. Sperry Photography
By Autumn Rhea Carpenter
Motherhood is a competitive sport whose players rarely give each other a break. Unfortunately, the role can be plagued with selfdoubt, frustrations and insecurities. Mothers wonder why they are unable to live up to that late 1970s commercial for the perfume Enjoli where the woman made the bacon, fried it up in a pan and then does today’s equivalent of creating Bento lunch boxes with customized piggy-faced sandwiches. But, help is on the way. And it’s in the form of two Houston moms, writer Alisha Merrick (mom to three girls) and singer Eden Morris (mom to four kids, three girls and one boy). The pair offers much-needed comic relief with video parodies to over one billion YouTube users each month. Their fi rst video, Mom of the Year, a parody of Billionaire by Bruno Mars and Travie McCoy came to Merrick one day while she was driving. She recorded the lyrics on her phone and called Morris to brainstorm parody ideas. They’ve been creative partners ever since. The duo also produced I Just Can’t Clean This Place (after Meghan Trainor’s All About That Bass) and Cool Moms (after Echosmith’s Cool Kids). Once the Laughing Moms have an idea for a parody, they usually write the lyrics quickly if they have a song in mind. Then they work with a music producer in Miami, Ikis Abel of Kantarez Productions, to create instrumental tracks. “Next, we record vocals, usually in our high-tech studio, also known as the master closet,” said Merrick. “We banter ideas for storyboarding throughout the process until we get a clear vision of what we want to shoot for the video. We gather our friends to fi lm, feed them lots of food as payment, shoot with our own cameras, pass the camera around (even our kids sometimes fi lm us), and then Alisha sifts through all the footage and tries really hard to make the lips match the music
20 Texas Lifestyle Magazine
as she edits.” Motherhood can be draining, adds Merrick. “The whole growing a human can forever change your body,” she says. “Though we know these changes are worthwhile, they can also affect your self-esteem. You fi nd yourself saying: ‘Oh, you homeschool all your kids and keep your house clean and have a homemade meal for dinner every night and earn a living off your awesome blog and fit in your pre-kid clothes?”’ Anytime you hear about the lessthan-perfect moments in someone else’s life, it helps you remember “we’re all just doing the best we can,” she says. “We are in this thing called motherhood together, and we hope that our videos can help us accept ourselves and those around us more,” says Merrick. YOUTUBE.COM/ALISHAFOUNDEDEN LAUGHINGMOMS.COM
LIVING TEXAS | HOUSTON
Photos by Houston Art Car
HOUSTON ART CAR PARADE ROLLS INTO TOWN By Autumn Rhea Carpenter
Every spring, the largest art car parade in the world, the annual Houston Art Car Parade, transforms common four-wheeled metal vehicles into outlandish works of art. For veteran art car maven and the district’s first art car teacher Rebecca Bass, the event serves as the ultimate community art project. In 1990, Bass directed 18 students at Edison Middle School to build a parade car called The Body Shoppe, winning the coveted Mayor’s Cup amongst the 60 car entries. “It was crazy stuff for a little HISD middle school art teacher,” said Bass. Since then, Bass and her students at Gregory-Lincoln Education Center, Bellaire High School, Waltrip High School, Sam Houston High School, Davis High School and currently Reagan High School have completed 27 award-winning cars. Bass and her students were even the subject of Art Car: The Movie which shows the steps involved in creating these large-scale canvases on wheels. “I’m the first art teacher that has been hired by a school district as a part-time teacher to create an art car class,” said Bass. “My classroom is a tent behind the school and a truckload of tools. This year’s class is spending their Saturdays and afternoons to create a tribute to Jimi Hendrix’s Electric Ladyland. These young folks still love the guy, and I find that priceless.” Bass’ students find their inspiration in music and Bass guides their choices to make sure it is both recognizable and family-friendly. “I
enjoy incorporating a music theme in our art cars because the kids love it and because it incorporates a little bit of history,” said Bass. “I have 25 years of funny stories about plans that didn’t work so we had to go to plan B or C or completely change the whole idea,” said Bass. “These mostly inner-city kids learn to work together as a team, participate in a community art project and complete a difficult challenge.” Creating an art car requires silicone as glue, spray foam insulation, caulking cement and carved foam. “We weld, create waterfalls, fashion musical instruments out of dryer drums and glue a million small objects into a cool pattern,” said Bass. “The options are endless.” Aside from the pure fun of making a class art car, students gain other transferable skills such as paying attention to detail, mastering problem-solving skills, gaining a better understanding of conflict resolution and seeing the value of teamwork. The students gain a pride in themselves, their school and immediate community. The 28th annual parade happens on April 11th, as 300 bikes and cars roll down Allen Parkway amongst the 300,000 spectators and their impromptu dance parties and colorful costumes. THEHOUSTONARTCARPARADE.COM
Texas Lifestyle Magazine 21
STELLA PUBLIC HOUSE FARM-TO-TABLE PIZZA & BEER LOVE
By Mike Kordell
It was a cold, rainy Saturday afternoon as I ventured through San Antonio’s up-and-coming Southtown neighborhood en route to Stella Public House. When I arrived, the warm glow from a relatively nondescript building cut through the dreary afternoon and beckoned to me. Knowing that some of San Antonio’s best wood-fi red farm-to-table pizza awaited, it was all I could do to get the car parked and make my way inside. Open since spring 2013, Stella has made quite a name for itself in its fi rst two years. The approach is straightforward: fi nd high quality local ingredients and prepare them in a simple and delicious way. To this end, the relative newcomer has aligned itself with a long list of farmers, ranchers, and purveyors to bring its customers the best of what Central Texas has to offer. Upon arrival, I’m greeted warmly and shown quickly to my seat. The space isn’t massive, but it’s cozy with a full bar and a dozen or so tables. The menu is seasonal – evolving throughout the year – and succinct. It’s clear that the focus is on quality, not quantity, and there are enough options to satisfy without being overwrought. First up: pork and lamb meatballs served in tomato sauce and topped with parmesan. The meatballs are juicy and rich and the sauce is rich, tangy, and fresh. A side of country oven bread – cooked in Stella’s wood-fi red grill – is the perfect compliment in both taste and texture.
22 Texas Lifestyle Magazine
Next is the caprese salad, which absolutely shone: local organic heirloom tomatoes, house-made organic mozzarella, hydroponic basil, and Texas olive oil served with a trio of balsamic vinegars. Each of the ingredients is fantastically fl avorful, and the dish itself, perfectly balanced. This salad’s whole is greater than the sum of its parts, and that’s really saying something. The main event: Stella’s artisan wood-fi red pizza, cooked in an Italian Modena oven over Texas oak and pecan. All of the pies sound awesome, but as a pizza fanatic, I know I’m both going to love whatever I order and wish I had ordered something else – such is life. I settle on the wild mushroom pie with roasted onion, pancetta, a four-cheese blend, and topped with a farm-fresh egg. Everything about this pizza is a win. The quality of the homemade dough seems amplified by the wood-fi red Modena oven, the fl avors play perfectly, and the simple preparation really lets the ingredients shine. Stella Public House has wide appeal: from locavores who want to consume high quality, locally produced goods to folks who just want to eat simple, delicious food that’s made with integrity – it checks all the boxes. Proof that when high-quality ingredients meet high-quality preparation, the results can be Stellar! 1414 S ALAMO | SAN ANTONIO STELLAPUBLICHOUSE.COM
Photo by Mike Kordell
LIVING TEXAS | SAN ANTONIO
LIVING TEXAS | SAN ANTONIO
Photo by Mike White/CIA
Photo by Phil Mansfield/ CIA
Photo by Keith Ferris/CIA
NO SECRETS AT THIS CIA: DO YOUR OWN FOODIE RECON
By Mike Kordell
The food scene in San Antonio has, up until the last few years, been best known for Tex-Mex; and what great Tex-Mex it is. But the times, they are a-changin’. No, San Antonio isn’t enacting a moratorium on Tex-Mex (insert collective sigh of relief here!), rather, Tex-Mex is occupying less and less of the culinary spotlight as talented new chefs—both homegrown and imported—have chosen San Antonio as their home base. It may come as no surprise, then, to learn that San Antonio is home to the Culinary Institute of America’s third and youngest campus, which now feeds the rapidly growing food scene. The Culinary Institute of America, founded in 1946, has become one of the most well-known and respected institutions for culinary education the world over, offering both degree and certificate programs, as well as food enthusiast programs for those looking to step up their game in the home kitchen. Many of the chefs shaping San Antonio’s dining scene are CIA graduates. They include, to name just a few, Johnny Hernandez (La Gloria, The Fruteria, El Machito, Casa Hernan), Andrew Weissman (Il Sogno, Sandbar, Big’z Burger Joint, Minnie’s Tavern, The Luxury), John Besh (Lüke San Antonio) and Diego Galicia (Mixtli). The school’s San Antonio campus officially opened in 2010 to much anticipation and has been on a steady growth trajectory ever since. CIA San Antonio specializes in Latin cuisine (not to be confused with Tex-Mex) and functions as the school’s research arm for Latin American food, which brings chefs of great renown to the CIA San Antonio to teach, present, inspire, and showcase their own culinary creations. Specialization aside, CIA San Antonio stu-
dents can expect a top-of-the-line curriculum, a faculty comprised of highly skilled and accomplished professionals from all areas of the food industry, and a campus of unparalleled caliber. Located in the historic Pearl district near downtown, the CIA San Antonio boasts an impressive 30,000 square foot facility outfitted with the latest in culinary technology. The campus is also home to Nao (pronounced Nay-oh), a public restaurant “dedicated to the exploration, preservation, and celebration of the authentic cuisines, cultures, and bounty of Latin America.” The menu changes every six weeks or so and features regional specialties, both food and drink, from throughout Latin America. Chef David Kellaway, the managing director of educational administration and a Texas native, joined the CIA San Antonio faculty just before the grand opening in 2010. Chef Kellaway has over 20 years of industry experience, and, along with the other members of the CIA advisory council, plays a key role in the collaborative vision for the school. As the San Antonio food scene continues to mature and work out its spot on the Texas culinary landscape, expect the Culinary Institute of America’s San Antonio campus to both help further the cause and benefit from it. 312 PEARL PARKWAY | BUILDING 3 | SAN ANTONIO CIACHEF.EDU
Texas Lifestyle Magazine 23
LIVING TEXAS | STATEWIDE
A Luxe Bus Texas Travel Goes Glam 5 reasons to ride By Hannah M. Hepfer
Vonlane luxury motor coaches have inspired tweets like “#notabusbus.”
Riders enjoy legroom.
Texas is a big state — and business travelers need a way to get around. As air travel becomes increasingly wearing, they’re looking for ways to escape the often not-so-friendly skies. Enter Vonlane. The Texas-based luxury motor coach celebrates its first anniversary in May and, in its short tenure, has garnered avid fans that have found another — and they say, better — way to travel between Dallas and Austin. Read on for five reasons to take Vonlane — and why passengers are calling it a “private jet on wheels.” 1. Ride like a rock star The 16-seat buses are designed by Prevost — a luxury coach line favored by big-name entertainers — and with the amenities available, you’ll feel like a celebrity too. Enjoy complimentary food, cocktails, Wi-Fi, and satellite television and radio. Doze off with pillows, blankets and eye masks while nestled in wide, leather seats that have ample room to stretch out your legs. Need a shoe shine, a lint roller or something else? Just ask the onboard steward. They’ve probably thought of it already. 2. Take back your time Use the trip for uninterrupted work time, aided by lap desks and noise-cancelling headphones. “I’m able to get in the zone and just work,” says regular Vonlane traveler Julie Linn. “The three hours flies by.” Traveling with colleagues? Do deals in the six-seat conference room available for rent.
24 Texas Lifestyle Magazine
An onboard attendant serves food and beverages from the galley.
3. Lose the pesky add-ons At $100 each way, Vonlane often beats the cost of flying between Dallas and Austin — and there are no charges for baggage (passengers are allowed three bags and a carry-on) or additional legroom. 4. Indulge your inner procrastinator “It’s a great last-minute solution,” says Vonlane founder Alex Danza. “You don’t have to plan three or four weeks in advance.” The service provides easy booking and cancellation (with an app on the way) and four trips daily between the two cities, five days a week. No need to get there early, either. Arrive ten minutes before departure and step on. 5. Zen out Bypassing TSA, crowded terminals, and the cramped seating of air travel makes for a serene travel experience. “The most common thing I hear from new riders is, ‘I’ll never fly that route again,’” says Danza. What’s next? Vonlane added a Dallas-Houston route April 20th. VONLANE.COM
summer camp grades 2-12
LIVING TEXAS | STATEWIDE
Photo by iFly
Getting Your Windblown Look On By Brooke Rhea
It’s difficult to rival the adrenaline rush that comes from jumping 12,000 feet from an airplane while attached to an Australian skydiving instructor wearing a cow costume. Until a recent visit to the latest iFly facility in Houston, I doubted that an indoor skydive could match that 15-year-old memory of mine. But after spending a Wednesday morning alongside three fellow fliers, I’m a believer. The adventure began with a check-in at a digital kiosk where I signed a waiver and chose my flight plan. For $69.95, I would ‘earn my wings’ which included two flight sessions, training, equipment, instruction and a certificate. The iFly staff greeted each other with boisterous high-fives and our group settled in for a brief training class led by instructor Rory Corrigan. He enthusiastically shared the top three rules of indoor skydiving: relax, breathe and be still. We learned hand signals that Corrigan would use during our flight, since voices are inaudible in the wind tunnel. The signals would remind us to keep chins up, bend or straighten arms and legs and, most importantly, to relax. Corrigan has logged thousands of indoor and outdoor skydiving hours and is also a part-time parachute rigger. “With indoor skydiving, you don’t have to worry about a plane ride or your parachute opening,” said Corrigan. “Plus, you get more free fall time. For me, iFly and customers like you have allowed me to live my dream, so thank you.”
Ready for the Superman stance, we were outfitted in red and blue jumpsuits, ear plugs, goggles and helmets. We gazed at a vertical, clear tube with a 14-foot diameter that rises 50 feet toward the ceiling from the center of the building. Inside the three-story wind tunnel, we observed two skilled instructors perform a series of dives, flips and head stands that reminded me of acrobatic synchronized swimmers. It was finally time to fly and Corrigan signaled me to assume the flight position. As I leapt into the vortex of 95 miles-of-wind per hour, I felt like I had entered the eye of a hurricane, hovering six feet off the gridded floor, cheeks flapping. Corrigan veered me away from the wall as he gallantly smiled and reminded me to relax with the ‘hang loose’ sign. Corrigan twirled me in circles, as we floated toward the top of the tunnel. I felt like a character in Willie Wonka and The Chocolate Factory, floating in the ‘Wonkavator,’ a glass elevator that flies out of the factory. Two minutes later, we descended back into gravity world. As I removed my helmet to reveal a windblown look of epic proportions, my inner thrill seeker was happy. Corrigan handed me my completion certificate with the personal message, “Relaxed the hardest,” and I knew indoor skydiving was for me. Locations in Austin, Dallas and Houston. IFLYWORLD.COM
26 Texas Lifestyle Magazine
LIVING TEXAS | STATEWIDE
Photos by Mark Vorderbruggen
Dr. Mark Vorderbruggen, edible wild plant expert, blogger and research scientist We heard about Mark Vorderbruggen from the Houston Arboretum, one of the places he teaches classes on edible wild plants. Merriwether–as he goes by on his blogs– is one of those intriguing characters that make Texas the great state it is. TLM: How did you come to be foraging for food in a major city like Houston? MV: Collecting wild plants for food was a normal part of my very outdoors-oriented upbringing in Minnesota. When I moved to Houston, there didn’t seem to be much chance to do the sort of outdoors activities (hiking, canoeing, etc.) that I enjoyed but, through constant exploration, I finally found wild areas. TLM: How does a research chemist become an explorer? MV: I knew from kindergarten that I was going to be a scientist. I devoured science books years above my age level. But, I also loved the outdoors. I had a chair stuck way up in a giant Box Elder tree in the woods behind our house where I’d sit and read about stars and atoms then I’d go track animals and nibble whatever was available. My plan was to go into medicinal chemistry but I ended up in the oil industry and loved it. TLM: Is foraging only for hardy, outdoorsy types? MV: You don’t have to head off into the
woods. You can just walk to a bus stop. I walked around my company’s building last week and spotted 18 different edible plants! Foraging is for anyone who wants to learn about nature. You end up caught in Mother Nature’s wonderful web and what you see when you look at the world changes forever. TLM: Is it safe to eat wild plants? MV: People need to keep two things in mind. First, “Is this plant the edible plant I think it is?” Second, “Is there anything about where this edible plant was growing that may have made it unsafe to eat?” The first question requires study and practice (ideally under the direct guidance of someone who’s already an expert). The second needs you to know about the land where you’re harvesting. TLM: Any favorite stories from exploring in Texas? MV: The time I floated down Spring Creek from I-45 to Hwy 59 in a toy raft; paddling Spring Creek from Kuykendahl to I-45 and having an eight-foot alligator charge my canoe; being surrounded by 19 feral hogs up in the Sam Houston National Forest; having a pack of coyotes chase a deer right through my campsite one night up in the Davy Crockett National Forest; showing my daughters the Milky Way stretched out above us as we camped near Enchanted Rock; and spending a few hours in the
woods with a bunch of young kids who had never set foot off of concrete before and watching them change from frightened lumps into wild explorers. INTOTHEBORDERLANDS.BLOGSPOT.COM FORAGINGTEXAS.COM
Merriwether’s Favorites •
Young turk’s cap leaves sautéed in apple cider vinegar infused with wild cedar fronds.
Tea made from the dried leaves of yaupon holly. (Don’t use the berries!) This tea contains all the caffeine and antioxidants of green tea but tastes much better.
Chopped leaves of curled dock and sheep sorrel and a dash of homemade muscadine wine mixed into cream of mushroom soup.
Flowers of the redbud tree sprinkled raw onto a regular salad.
Spicy sea rocket and salty glasswort as a raw nibble at the beach.
Texas Lifestyle Magazine 27
LIVING TEXAS | STATEWIDE
h c n a R stic u R s ’ ler w o F n Kevi An
ion other pass try star’s n u o c a t glimpse a intriguing
By Sara D’Spain
In the last decade, Fowler says his junk gene has grown from an interest into a more serious hobby: collecting historical houses. On his property in Wimberley he currently has numerous old buildings that he has personally transported, including his newest acquisition, a 1905 New Braunfels structure. The Amarillo native has called Austin home for years, enjoying being close to the music scene, but it is Wimberley where he knows he’ll stay. For the past three years, since moving to the 130 acres, Fowler has been grooming part of the ranch and restoring old buildings for a specific purpose: to be open to the public.
“I don’t remodel, I restore,” Fowler says. Currently you’ll fi nd a circa 1800 groom’s cabin originally from Pennsylvania, a bathroom that was used as a sharecropper’s house in La Grange, a dance hall that was formerly a chicken barn on the property, and a bridal cottage from Victoria, built in 1918 by Czech immigrants. The history of each building intrigues Fowler as much as the restoration challenge. He spoke personally with the Czech brother and sister that were born in what is now the bridal cottage. “They gave me their old pictures of the house and they’re hanging there now,” he says. With several existing historical markers, and more in the works, the land itself is also a historical site, recognized by the Hayes Historical Society as the location of the 1840 Battle of Plum Creek.
“It’s my baby,” he says of Rustic Ranch. The ranch opened in September 2014 and has already hosted several weddings and corporate events. “It’s not about making money, it’s my baby to share.”
It’s clear when you hear Fowler speak, he can’t wait to share his treasures with all of Texas. And while there may still be dates available for 2015, the calendar’s f illing fast!
Involved in every step from locating potential buildings across the country, to transporting, to the restoration, Fowler loves being closely connected to each project. He
Tours by appointment only.
28 Texas Lifestyle Magazine
Photo by Laning Photography
He admits he got the “ junk gene” from his dad. “When it comes to antiques, I’m like a woman in a shoe store,” he says. Always on the lookout for treasures while on the road, he’s been known to bring pieces home on the tour bus, like the pull-chain toilet he found in Chicago recently. “The guys are used to it,” he laughs, speaking of his bandmates adjusting to his collections.
does most of the woodwork himself, taking care to remain true to the original building. “It’s my goal that not a single visible board on the ranch is younger than 100 years old,” he says proudly. Even when it comes to the new reception hall – the only newly-constructed building on the ranch – only reclaimed or salvaged wood will be used.
1521 DEER LAKE RD | WIMBERLEY RUSTICRANCHTEXAS.COM
Photo by Laning Photography
Kevin Fowler is well-known for his music and outdoor sports interests, but recently he decided to give Texas a peek into something very personal, and possibly a little unexpected.
TEXAS LIFESTYLE | STYLE
TAKE ON SPRING This spring, don’t wait for an A-ha moment to strike, get out in some of the season’s biggest trends: intense florals, gingham, lightweight leather, Polo’s, sneakers, wide-legged pants, and spring tweed. No matter what activity you’ll be enjoying this spring, you can do it in style!
LEATHER DRESS ILLIA, POLY AND GRACE, AUSTIN | LEATHER JACKET VINTAGE FERAUD, ARCHIVE, AUSTIN | SHOES DOLCE VITA, ASHLINS LTD., DALLAS | PURSE DOONEY & BOURKE, DILLARD’S, HILL COUNTRY GALLERIA, AUSTIN | EARRINGS MARYSOL, JUST ADD JEANS, DALLAS | NECKLACES MARYSOL, JUST ADD JEANS, DALLAS; AND STYLIST’S OWN | BRACELET KELLY WEARSTLER, POLY AND GRACE, AUSTIN | UMBRELLA SAKROOTS, DILLARD’S, HILL COUNTRY GALLERIA, AUSTIN TOP ASHLINS LTD., DALLAS | SUIT VINTAGE CHRISTIAN LACROIX, ARCHIVE, AUSTIN | SHOES ANTONIO MELANI, DILLARD’S, HILL COUNTRY GALLERIA, AUSTIN | EARRINGS VINCA, JUST ADD JEANS, DALLAS | NECKLACE DILLARD’S, HILL COUNTRY GALLERIA, AUSTIN | BRACELET ROBERTO MANTELLASSI, ASHLINS LTD., DALLAS
30 Texas Lifestyle Magazine
PHOTOGRAPHER: PETER LONGNO STYLIST/EDITOR: EDITH HENRY ILLUSTRATOR: ALEXIS ALVAREZ STYLING ASSISTANT: ALLI ROSE HANSEN ASSISTANT: MATTHEW CAMERON ALDINI MAKEUP: MARGE GOMEZ HAIR: VANESSA RESENDEZ MODELS: LAILANI, THE DRAGONFLY AGENCY; ROSIE
TOP GIANNI BINI, DILLARD’S, HILL COUNTRY GALLERIA, AUSTIN | BOTTOMS VINTAGE ISSEY MIYAKE, ARCHIVE, AUSTIN | SHOES DOLCE VITA, ASHLINS LTD., DALLAS | NECKLACE DILLARD’S, HILL COUNTRY GALLERIA, AUSTIN | EARRINGS STYLIST’S OWN |BRACELETS CREW’S OWN | RINGS JUST ADD JEANS, DALLAS
SHIRT SWEET CLAIRE, JUST ADD JEANS, DALLAS LEATHER SHIRT ILLIA, POLY AND GRACE, AUSTIN DRESS SHEMARA COUTURE, DALLAS BELT JUST ADD JEANS, DALLAS EARRINGS MARYSOL, JUST ADD JEANS, DALLAS NECKLACE MY STYLE, JUST ADD JEANS, DALLAS SHOES GIANI BINI, DILLARD’S, HILL COUNTRY GALLERIA, AUSTIN
SHIRT CREMIEUX, DILLARD’S, HILL COUNTRY GALLERIA, AUSTIN | SKIRT VINCE CAMUTO, DILLARD’S, HILL COUNTRY GALLERIA, AUSTIN DENIM SHIRT CHELSEA AND VIOLET, DILLARD’S, HILL COUNTRY GALLERIA, AUSTIN| SHOES SKETCHER’S, DILLARD’S, HILL COUNTRY GALLERIA, AUSTIN | NECKLACES MAYA STAR, AUSTIN | RING MAYA STAR, AUSTIN | BRACELET ASHLINS LTD., DALLAS | EARRINGS MARYSOL, JUST ADD JEANS, DALLAS
SHIRT SWEET CLAIRE, JUST ADD JEANS, DALLAS | JEANS SIGNATURE 8, RUNWAY SEVEN, HILL COUNTRY GALLERIA, AUSTIN | JACKET JUST ADD JEANS, DALLAS | SHOES GIANI BINI, DILLARD’S, HILL COUNTRY GALLERIA, AUSTIN | HAT JUST ADD JEANS, DALLAS | EARRINGS MY STYLE, JUST ADD JEANS, DALLAS | RINGS MY STYLE, JUST ADD JEANS, DALLAS | NECKLACE MAYA STAR, AUSTIN | RING MAYA STAR, AUSTIN | BRACELET ASHLINS LTD., DALLAS | EARRINGS MARYSOL, JUST ADD JEANS, DALLAS
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TEXAS LIFESTYLE | A FEW OF OUR FAVORITE THINGS
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34 Texas Lifestyle Magazine
TEXAS LIFESTYLE | A FEW OF OUR FAVORITE THINGS
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Texas Lifestyle Magazine 35
TEXAS LIFESTYLE | A FEW OF OUR FAVORITE THINGS
Get Moving this Spring By Samantha Cook
Spring is the “Goldilocks” time of year to get moving in Texas: not too hot, not too cold, but just right! No matter how you like to get moving, we’ve got the footwear for you to just do it.
1. WITH A LITTLE DANCING, OLUKAI EMALANI BOOT | $250 | olukai.com 2. AROUND THE HOUSE, VIONIC MEN’S ORTHOTIC SLIPPERS WITH FAUX FUR LINING |$100 | qvc.com 3. TO THE PARK, MONOGRAMMED ISLIDES | $50 | islideusa.com 4. ON A JOG, VIVOBAREFOOT EVO PURE | $100 | vivobarefoot.com 5. TO THE BEACH, OLUKAI KUMU OR KULAPA KAI SANDALS | $80/ $60 | olukai.com 6. TO A SHOW, PRIVILEGE BOOT BY TAOS | $255 |taosfootwear.com
36 Texas Lifestyle Magazine
TEXAS LIFESTYLE | ROUGHING IT
Courses You Can Swing By Robert Rodriguez
The biggest story in Texas golf for 2015 could involve major winners, and we’re not talking about the possibility of Jimmy Walker or Jordan Spieth hoisting their fi rst major championship trophy. Tiger Woods, proud owner of 14 major titles, and two-time Masters champion Ben Crenshaw are both building highly-anticipated golf courses in the Lone Star state. Woods is the lead architect at Bluejack National, a private golf course in the Houston suburb of Montgomery. It is set to open later this year and will be Tiger’s fi rst U.S. design.
Crenshaw, along with his course design partner Bill Coore, is working on Trinity Forest Golf Club in south Dallas. The private layout, which is slated to open in spring 2016, will be the future home of Dallas’ annual PGA TOUR event, the AT&T Byron Nelson Championship. Unfortunately, access to these courses will command deep pockets and deeper friendships. But don’t fret – Texas is a big state with several layouts designed by major winners (including University of Texas alum Crenshaw) that you can play.
The back nine at Palmilla Beach Golf Club offers jaw-dropping views of the Gulf and surrounding dunes.
38 Texas Lifestyle Magazine
Tune up your game Live-Head‘ ’ Putters www.harmonixgolf.com
TEXAS LIFESTYLE | ROUGHING IT
Barton Creek Cliffside
Photo by Traditions Club
Omni Barton Creek Resort & Spa, Crenshaw Cliffside Considered a top-40 golf course in the state, the Crenshaw Cliffside layout is resort-private, meaning only Barton Creek members or those staying at the five-star resort in Austin can play. True to their trademark course design aesthetic, Crenshaw and Coore emphasized the natural beauty of the Texas Hill Country. OMNIHOTELS.COM/HOTELS/AUSTIN-BARTON-CREEK/GOLF
Tom Weiskopf, the 1973 British Open champion, teamed with course architect Jay Morrish to create a scenic layout in San Antonio that once played host to the PGA TOUR’s Valero Texas Open. The seventh hole features the Rattler roller coaster from neighboring Six Flags Fiesta Texas as a backdrop.
Jack Nicklaus has created a dozen courses in Texas – the only problem is they’re all private. One, however, is accessible to the public – Traditions Club in Bryan. While the club is private, non-members can play if they stay in the overnight cottages and casitas. Golf’s all-time major winner co-designed Traditions Club with his son, Jack II, on a pristine piece of land featuring battalions of hardwoods, tranquil water features and elevation changes quite uncommon in the Brazos Valley.
Meadowbrook Farms Golf Club
Palmilla Beach Golf Club
Greg Norman is known more for his heartbreaking Masters defeats than his two British Open championships, but he’s also become a hot brand in other golf ventures, including course design. Meadowbrook Farms sits in the thriving Houston suburb of Katy and is regarded as one of the top public layouts in the area.
Formerly Newport Dunes Golf Club, this seaside course in Port Aransas was designed by Arnold Palmer and may be his best creation in Texas. “The King” took full advantage of the property’s natural dunes, with Gulf of Mexico views prevalent on the back nine.
La Cantera Golf Club, Resort Course
40 Texas Lifestyle Magazine
6132 Highway 290 west Austin TX 78735 512-432-5247 email@example.com
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TEXAS LIFESTYLE | HOME
Aren’t Just For Kids By Paxton Kelly Photos by Kathy Goretz
Did you ever have a treehouse as a child, nestled between the branches of a giant oak tree in your backyard? Was it a place where you could leave your world of parental authority and adolescent pressures behind you, and be alone with your thoughts?
suggested that she get in touch. Davis ended up speaking with a casting director on the project in L.A. who asked why she would want a treehouse. “I thought to myself, ‘What do I enjoy?” says Davis. “I like massages.”
Fast forward to today. Maybe you’re the parental authority now, in dire need of a break from your role forming the next generation. Or maybe work has simply become way too taxing. Whatever the reason, you don’t need to be a child to relive the enjoyment of a treehouse, especially when that treehouse is a spa.
“Pete Nelson’s mastery of carpentry is perfect,” says Davis of the star of the TV show. “He takes care of the trees, doesn’t damage the land and makes sure that it fits in with your lifestyle.”
Located in a country oasis outside Bastrop, run by spunky lady rancher Monica Davis, is the Davis Ranch Retreat. Surrounded by 40 acres of glistening ponds and lavish green pastures, inhabited by sweet-tempered longhorns, the Davis Ranch Retreat is a restored ranch home with three bedrooms, two baths in the main house, the casita out back, and of course, the treehouse. Davis’ vision was to have a space where her guests could enjoy a massage and have a mini spa to use during their stay. The construction of the treehouse spa room was featured on the first season of Animal Planet’s series, Treehouse Masters in 2013, and it’s been the ranch’s main attraction ever since. “Someone had mentioned that a producer had seen Pete Nelson on The Today Show talking about treehouses and they thought, ‘This would be a great reality show,” explains Davis. When producers started calling around to rural areas Davis’ son got wind of it, and
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What transpired at the Davis ranch as result of Nelson’s loving care and attention is a beautifully-crafted mini spa complete with steam shower and dry sauna, and–wait for it–disco lights in the shower. There’s even room for a massage table. After an hourlong massage with one of Davis’ four licensed massage therapists, guests can lounge on the elevated porch and take in the 40-acre view. “Once the show aired, every weekend was booked up,” says Davis. “I’ve had guests from all over the U.S., and even some from Ireland and Italy.” Davis is truly “the hostess with the mostest,” taking guests on tours of the property in her large golf cart, fixing a fabulous breakfast, and generally just being a very interesting person to chat with. “I enjoy meeting people,” says Davis. “One or two couples will stay at a time; one in the main house and one in the treehouse and I go chat with them and we just have a nice weekend together.” 1110 PEACH CREEK ROAD | WAELDER DAVISRANCHRETREAT.COM
Mr. Cuban Suit photos by Disney | Mr. Cuban with the Macericks photo by the Mavericks
TEXAS LIFESTYLE | ON THE COVER
Mark Cuban The Much Misunderstood
By Daniel Ramirez
44 Texas Lifestyle Magazine
TEXAS LIFESTYLE | ON THE COVER
here are hundreds of names you could hurl at Mark Cuban and nearly every single one would likely fi nd reason to cling to him.
And, whether you choose to target him for scorn or praise, it is undeniable that Mark Cuban is a fascinating person, in every sense of the word.
Call him a troublemaker. For his behavior as owner of the Dallas Mavericks, a National Basketball Association team he has taken from doormat to dominant, he has been publicly fi ned for nearly $2 million and suspended for three games.
The history of Mark Cuban and his rise to prominence in the national conversation is well documented. After graduating from college, where he both studied and ran his own business, a few shrewd decisions moved him stepwise from owner of a small computer consulting fi rm to owner and founder of a small webcasting company that garnered the attention and significant buyout fi gure of big business interests. Since then, his business interests have grown and diversifi ed, and somewhere along the way, he realized a passionate dream of owning an NBA franchise, thus giving his fearless nature an incredibly prominent stage. Never satisfied, the improvements Cuban sought for what was one of the worst franchises in the NBA around the turn of the century, were matched by a continuing diversification of business interests.
Call him a blowhard. His opinion on nearly every subject, from racism in the NBA to the national economy or government policy, is at ready command; and usually given a national, if not a global, audience. After his 2013 triumph in a highly publicized case in which the Securities and Exchanges Commission accused him of illegal trading practices, he called government leadership and oversight into question, refusing “to be bullied.” Call him shameless. There is nothing he won’t say or do to live as he sees fit, frequently scoffi ng at authority, whether from the sidelines of the NBA or the boardroom, frequently providing fodder for bulletin boards of rival teams as well as rival businessmen (or, frequently, investigators and reporters). Call him a target. With his high profi le in the Metroplex, as well as in business ventures and on the successful reality show, Shark Tank, it seems that everyone who recognizes his face has an opinion of the man, and most are far from fl attering. But, for every unfavorable moniker hurled at the man, his influence on the world around him is undeniable, as is the fact that an entirely different set of titles applies. Each time he is labeled with negative overtone, you need only look at an adjacent facet of Cuban’s life, change your perspective ever-so-slightly on his character, to see light reflecting in an altogether different manner. In addition to troublemaker, he easily dons the label of philanthropist. For every fi ne he has paid to the NBA, he has given an equivalent amount of money to a charitable cause. For all the times he earns the title of blowhard, the man’s brutal and yet thoughtful honesty is beyond reproach. His opinions are never uninformed and while they may be inf lammatory, they rarely stray from even the harshest realities and never spare his own self from even the harshest of judgments. If you are to call him shameless, you also have to acknowledge his humility. It’s diffi cult to forget the time he disparaged the offi ciating in professional basketball by saying he wouldn’t hire the head of offi ciating to manage a Dairy Queen. The memory lingers because Cuban soon voluntarily worked at a Dairy Queen himself, in humble appreciation of the difficulty of the position and the plight of the blue-collar worker.
His formula for success is, at its most basic, born of curiosity and an insatiable passion. When asked for his secret, Cuban is forthright with his answer, simultaneously defi nitive and inspirational. “Find something you love to do and be great at it,” he says. “I really had no idea how much I loved technology [until] I stumbled on to learning how to program. I didn’t plan on being a ‘tech guy,’ but, once I experienced it and realized how much I enjoyed it, I went all-in.” It wasn’t enough for Cuban to farm out his interests and hire people to produce. His nature demanded he be more handson. “I taught myself to program,” he explains. “I taught myself networking. It started a never-ending quest to learn as much as I could.” It is the confluence of passion and opportunity that he credits with his meteoric success. “If you fi nd something you love to do and you can become good or great at it,” he says emphatically, “in my honest opinion, that’s where business success starts.” And, if curiosity is where it all begins, it is obvious that the next step for Cuban is the most basic of human motivations. “I’m competitive,” he bluntly explains. “It’s not so much curiosity as it is the recognition that if I’m going to be successful in the most successful sport there is – business – I have to always be learning.” His acumen and competitive nature are on constant display in the ABC show, Shark Tank, where he interviews, investigates and decides whether or not to invest in the upstart ideas of an endless stream of would-be innovators, all of whom are striving to be Mark Cuban themselves. Whether in public or private, his keen sense of what is emerging and what will be profitable is reason alone to associate him with the television show’s namesake. But, as opposed to the ‘swim or die’ mentality that spawned the shark metaphor, Cuban’s mantra may very well be ‘learn or die.’ “The good news is that I thrive on learning,” he quips.
Texas Lifestyle Magazine 45
Naturally, while the product of learning so much is an active imagination of what could be, not every idea generated is instantly destined for greatness. Cuban does not merely decide something is worthy of investigating to a logical end and then sprinkle pixie dust and investment capital upon a decent idea to make it an overnight success. Rather, it is a more visceral element he hurls at entrepreneurial endeavors to transform them into profitable ventures. His true investment can be measured in sweat. “Ideas and thoughts are easy,” he explains. “It’s the work to turn them into businesses that is difficult and important.” His risks, therefore, look a lot less like risks and more like something that a significant number of observers would say Mark Cuban avoids – namely, an unfathomable amount of work. It’s no secret that he takes risks in business; and the general opinion might regard him as a bit of a gambler. But the work Cuban does, regardless of the arena, is far less risky than you might imagine. How can the average person incorporate successful risk into their life? “By avoiding it through preparation,” he says. “Most people think that by getting confi rmation that an idea could turn into a business, they have done all the preparation they need
46 Texas Lifestyle Magazine
to do,” he elaborates. ”That is far from the case. There is always going to be someone competing with you.” You have to make the effort to know your industry and business better than anyone, Cuban emphasizes. “When you do, you aren’t taking a risk. You are prepared.” So, although he seems like he may be the embodiment of his NBA namesake and be the defi nitive maverick, it depends, once again, on how you perceive the man. From some angles, he is the modernday Midas, turning dreams into reality and every endeavor into profit with the aid of luck and magic. But there is another facet, involving the time-honored value of sweat equity, preparedness and a foundational work ethic. Cuban isn’t too proud to recognize that fortune has smiled on him, however. The reality lies somewhere between dream state and toil. “Someone had to be the luckiest person alive. I’m just glad it’s me!” It would be remiss to ignore where his ventures have fallen fl at. And Cuban has counsel for those whose own investments meet with a rude reality. “I have failed more times than I can count,”
TEXAS LIFESTYLE | ON THE COVER
Cuban admits. “I’ve made mistakes,” he continues. “But our world changes so rapidly, I would rather be part of what’s next than dwell on what happened.” His failures might not receive the inexhaustible attention that the media pays to Cuban’s behavior or successful ventures, but in these simple expressions, Cuban conveys just how often his dreams met with fury instead of favor and landed with a thud, instead of with thunder. Perhaps, then, it is because of, rather than in spite of those times, he has continued to take lessons from his life and apply them to his future actions. “What I learned in my twenties is to make my failures small and to go all-in and ramp up small successes and turn them into larger successes,” he explains. When your profi le is as public as Cuban’s, the success or failure of taking a chance receives a world of attention and defi nes how the man is perceived. However, it might surprise the public to know what Cuban considers his greatest risks, as well as the endeavors for which he celebrates his greatest triumph. “My greatest risk was getting married,” he says. “I was a confi rmed bachelor when I lucked out and married my best friend, Tiff any. It has easily turned into the best decision I have ever made. We have three amazing kids that changed not only my life, but my perspective on life,” he continues. What keeps Cuban grounded, what fulf ills his present def inition of a highly profitable startup, is just as simple and humble as this naked admission. “My family and friends,” Cuban says. “I have the same friends now as I did long before anyone knew who I was.” It comes as little surprise to anyone who has had lifelong friends that he should elaborate a little more on precisely how his loved ones keep him humble. “They thought I was an idiot back then, and that hasn’t really changed,” he admits. Perhaps it isn’t splashed on newspaper headlines or covered in Forbes or similar publications, but Cuban’s pride in his most successful investment is obvious, as is its effect on his very defi nition of success. Winning is a very different proposal in Mark Cuban’s present than it likely was when he began his journey, especially when one of the titles he now wears proudly is that of Dad. “Family—they don’t care about ‘stuff ’ or fame,” he reflects. “They want to know if we can play Uno or shoot baskets – the things that matter.” He shrugs off labels like visionary or role model in favor of the things he values the most. All else fades away from his regard. About what the world can next expect from him, he is direct and without hesitation. “Don’t know and don’t care. My biggest concerns are the health and future of my family. And then we get to things like the Mavs winning another championship.” After that, he explains, “I just try to enjoy every minute I’ve been given and hopefully something unique will come of it. But I don’t really think about what I am going to do next.” In that one answer, he fl ashes the infi nite complexity of his nature, showing his rebelliousness and his outspoken nature, side-by-side with his honesty and his genuineness. Troublemaker or philanthropist, blowhard or thoughtful, shameless or humble; you can call Mark Cuban whatever you like. Bearing in mind the genuine and uncompromising manner in which he conducts himself, alongside his relentless pursuit of excellence, to say nothing of his renegade mentality or tacit humility, it seems only fair to also confer upon him an irrevocable title – namely, a trailblazer. And every businessman or woman, every dreamer or doer, and certainly every Texan, if not every American, can respect and admire a name like that.
Texas Lifestyle Magazine 47
TEXAS LIFESTYLE | FEATURE
The story of three historic Texas Hill Country dance halls and the people that built them. By Stephen Dean
Texas is a popular place. Wannabe Texans come here for the economy, the people and the lifestyle. And what says Texas more than pulling on a pair of boots and going out dancing in a wood-floored dance hall? In the earliest days of Texas, multiple ethnic groups from Central and Eastern Europe immigrated to the region and combined to produce a new culture. Together with the Mexican, Indian and other groups with whom they shared the region, these European immigrants formed the initial elements of a melting pot that eventually produced the Texas culture we know today. The fi rst buildings raised in these earliest Euro-American communities were often community halls or dance halls. Most of these structures were multi-purpose and hosted a variety of events and associations, but all had one common and defi ning feature: a wooden dance floor. After a second wave of immigration in the late 1800s that reinforced the region’s German, Czech, and Pol-
48 Texas Lifestyle Magazine
Photos by Deb Fleming
ish populations, these dance halls emerged as a dominant feature across both rural and urban landscapes. Thousands of halls were eventually raised across the state, and dancing remained a widely popular, mainstream form of entertainment and interaction for several generations. The good news is that many halls have survived and are still active, and, since about 2000, there seems to be a slight increase or renewal of interest in dance halls as important parts of the state’s cultural heritage. Younger bands are renewing forms of music that previously flourished in the halls, and many performers keep the traditions of western swing, country, and honky-tonk alive. Dances are not as frequent as they were in the early twentieth-century heyday of dance halls, but it remains true that there is more dancing in Texas than in any other U.S. state. If it weren’t for these venerable halls, Texas cultural identity would be significantly different, especially Texas music, as these dance halls are where much of our early music was developed, shared and nurtured.
TWIN SISTERS HALL When: Dances held the fi rst Saturday of each month. Where: About 10 miles south of Blanco, at 6720 S. Hwy. 281, on the east side of the road. Look for the tall Twin Sisters marquee along the fence line. For day and weekend visitors, nearby Johnson City and Blanco provide dining, shopping and lodging. What: One of the oldest traditional dance halls (seven years older than Gruene Hall in New Braunfels), Twin Sisters has hosted a long list of legendary Texas performers from Adolf Hofner and Cliff Bruner to hit-makers such as George Strait. During dances expect great music, a beautiful hard wood dance floor, beer, wine, sodas, and some of the nicest folks around. German immigrant Max Kruger is credited with founding the community of Twin Sisters in the late 1860s. He built a general store that still stands today, although it is currently a private residence. Along with other nearby residents, Kruger helped build the St. Maryâ€™s church and the Twin Sisters schoolhouse. Both of these structures are still standing as well, situated next to each other about four miles from the hall. In 1869, Kruger built the dance hall and community center with an accompanying bowling alley. Nine-pin bowling was a popular form of recreation in those days, imported from Europe. One can still see many of these bowling alleys in Central Texas, and even today there is a regional nine-pin bowling association with leagues and competitions throughout the year. In 1967, unfortunately, the Twin Sisters bowling alley burned to the ground. The structure was rebuilt but is now located in nearby Spring Branch. The land on which the dance hall is located was deeded to the Twin Sisters Dance Hall Association by the original land owner with the stipulation that the hall must host monthly dances. Thus, there have been continuous dances at his hall for 144 years! TWINSISTERSDANCEHALL.COM
ANHALT HALL When: Dances held the third Saturday of each month. Where: 2390 Anhalt Road, Spring Branch. Take Hwy 46 from the Hwy 46/ Hwy 281 intersection 4.1 miles towards Boerne; follow Anhalt Road to the very end and cross the cattle guard to the gate on the left. What: A beer garden and surrounding grounds with ample parking make Anhalt Hall one of the top traditional dance halls in the state. Many of the top names in country music have graced the stage over the years, and this musical tradition continues at present. The hall boasts a dance floor that is one of the most pristine in the state, and kitchen facilities that provide food and a variety of beverages for sale. Anhalt was built in 1879 by German immigrants who had settled the area. Soon after the fi rst settlement, these immigrants formed what is today the Anhalt Farmers Verein (Farmers Association) to share information, provide mutual aid, and prevent cattle rustling. This group still presides over the dances, as it has done for the last 136 years. The Farmers Verein likewise founded the annual Maifest (spring festival) and Oktoberfest (harvest festival). The hall has been enlarged several times and currently has a capacity of over 1,000. This hall is certainly one of the more stunning halls visually, both in terms of size and architectural ingenuity. Its high ceilings are supported by giant arched beams that lend the interior space an almost castle-like feeling. Today, Anhalt Hall maintains its annual spring and fall festivals and hosts both polka and country music during these events. ANHALTHALL.COM
TEXAS LIFESTYLE | FEATURE
“There is more dancing in Texas than in any other U.S. state.” KENDALIA HALLE When: Dances held the second Saturday of each month. Where: 1135 FM 3351 North, Kendalia. What: The dances feature traditional country music which, these days, is always served up with a plate of BBQ included in the price of admission. The dance floor, as you would expect, is a fine hardwood surface, and the hall features open windows on all sides that let the wonderful Hill Country breezes cool your soul. Kendalia Halle was established in 1903 and constructed by German musicians from the area. The hall was built of red fir lumber shipped by train from Oregon to Boerne, then hauled on horsedrawn wagons to the building site in Kendalia. The town’s first buildings after it was established in the mid and late 1880s were a general store, a drugstore, and two churches, and the dance hall
50 Texas Lifestyle Magazine
was erected not long thereafter. The general store and dance hall still stand side-by-side, and just down the street lies a smaller store that is the local go-to spot for beer, groceries and lunch. For most of the twentieth century Kendalia was primarily a ranching community. Today, it has a population of about 70, which swells to about 400 every second Saturday when the dance starts. The hall has recently been remodeled in a manner that respects dance hall tradition, and it continues to host great music. KENDALIAHALLE.COM
Stephen Dean is a co-founder of Texas Dance Hall Preservation and the author of Historic Texas Dance Halls of East Central Texas. He currently resides in Austin where he continues his dance hall research, conducts dance hall bus tours and consults on a frequent basis. texasdancehall.org
TEXAS LIFESTYLE | SIP & SAVOR
Master Distiller Germán González By Sara D’Spain
Germán González wears his signature 13-year-old Panama hat that has a story of its own, and a crisp white guayabera, the look immediately recognizable as his moniker. When we sit down at Bar 1919 in San Antonio, he is delighted to see a bottle of his Tears tequila again; a look on his face like a proud father. Tears has been sold out since immediately after its American debut, and even González doesn’t have access to a single bottle until the next lote, or batch, is opened. When González begins to tell his story, it stretches all the way back to the summers he would spend on his family ranch in Tamaulipas, Mexico. As a young boy, the ranch was a way to escape life in frenetic Mexico City: a country retreat where González would spend time with his grandfather, former President of Mexico, General Manuel Gonzalez. In 1966, when his father, Guillermo Gonzalez Diaz Lombardo first planted blue agave, the nearly 5,000-acre ranch and distillery became an interest. Before long, though, the young González knew the ranch, and more specifically tequila, would be his future. González tells about his father standing up to the Mexican government’s first formal regulation of distilleries in 1974, winning the right to keep his distillery on the ranch in Tamaulipas as opposed to Jalisco as the government required. His father’s brand, Chinaco, grew popular in Mexico, and in 1983 became the only tequila imported to the United States. Soon, González took over and began to envision the future for his family brand, and in 2003 he decided to move to America in order to understand the way we view and drink tequila. After learning that many Americans had experienced a “bad tequila hangover,” he realized the need for a higher quality tequila here in the states. The result was his T1: Tequila Uno.
52 Texas Lifestyle Magazine
Like his father, González used 100% pure agave azul, which creates a smoother, naturally sweetened tequila. It is the added sugars, says González, that gives you the unpleasant experience (read: miserable hangover). T1 is also distilled traditionally, in scotch whiskey barrels, and aged as an anejo: close to three years. When González speaks of barrels, his eyes light up. To the non-tequila master, a barrel is a barrel. But to González, barrels are everything. “Barrels are like women,” he says. “You never know what’s going to happen.” Aging tequila in scotch whiskey barrels gives it the flavor of the scotch as well as the wood itself. But Tears is different. González chose to use not only scotch whiskey, but also sherry and brandy. Just like his analogy to women, he didn’t know what was going to happen, but he had a feeling it would be worth it. New barrels, offering flavors never before experienced in tequila, and also aged much longer, is what sets Tears apart even from T1. Tears is aged five years, making it an extraño; older than the anejo, which had been the former marker for the longest-aged tequila. It was while vacationing in the Florida Keys that González first shared his plans for this new tequila with his close friends, and incidentally also the story of La Llorona. A childhood tale in Mexico, often used to scare children into behaving properly or going to bed on time, it had a lasting effect on González’s friends, as did the anticipation of his new tequila. It was decided then: Tears of Llorona would be the only fitting name. Tears was launched in three cities in May 2014: San Antonio, San Francisco and Charleston. It sold out within 30 days. The next lote, unveiled in March this year, widens its audience by adding several new cities, including New York and New Orleans. For where to buy Tears of Llorona: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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www.sienaaustin.com 6203 N. Capital of Texas Hwy Austin, Texas (512) 349-7667
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TEXAS LIFESTYLE | SIP & SAVOR
Photos by Four Seasons
Go Down the Rabbit Hole at the Mad Hatter Tea Party Tea time just got curiouser and curiouser at the Four Seasons, Austin. Grin like the Cheshire Cat as you step into the downtown hotel’s transformed lobby lounge for your own adventure and a creatively frivolous menu inspired by Alice and her friends. Maximize the fun by fi rst visiting the Harry Ransom Center’s exhibit, which explores the rich 150-year history of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. From facts about the real Alice to a rare fi rst edition of the book, you’ll learn about the Lewis Carroll classic that has delighted generations and inspired artists ranging from Salvador Dalí to Walt Disney. The exhibit is at the Ransom Center at The University of Texas at Austin through July 6th. HRC.UTEXAS.EDU
Photos by HRC
54 Texas Lifestyle Magazine
The tea parties take place in the hotel’s lobby lounge April 26th, May 31st, June 28th and July 5th, 2015. Adults, show your Ransom Center exhibit guide to receive a complimentary glass of sparkling wine. FOURSEASONS.COM/AUSTIN
| (512) 255-2255 RoundRockExpress.com
Photos by Grand Velas Riviera Maya; Grand Velas Riviera Nayarit; JOYA by Cirque de Soleil; nATiVes
TEXAS LIFESTYLE | JET SETTER
Grand Velas x 2: Double Your Pleasure, Double Your Fun By Marika Flatt
When springtime hits in Texas, we start thinking about hitting the beach. And, it’s no secret that Texans love to escape to Mexico’s sun and sand. There are two Grand Velas all-inclusive resorts that you need to know about as you begin to plan your escape. They are like sisters who look very similar but have very different personalities. You’ll love them both and want to visit them often. Vamos a la playa! Riviera Nayarit: The playful, fun sister The Puerto Vallarta and Riviera Nayarit area is a popular beach getaway for Texans of all ages: from families with young kids to college spring breakers to senior citizens looking for some sun. Grand Velas Riviera Nayarit (GVRN) is an all-inclusive luxury resort just 25 minutes from the Puerto Vallarta airport. It is also the only five-diamond all-inclusive resort on the Mexican Pacific coast. GVRN’s “Beyond All Inclusive, Beyond All Compare”
56 Texas Lifestyle Magazine
theme is evident the minute you’re dropped off at the open-air lobby. You’re greeted by a stone sculpture of a magician. Why, you ask? Because that’s where the magic begins! You’re seated on a comfy chair and they bring the check-in to you, along with a cold cocktail and a shoulder massage, of course! The rooms are large, and all referred to as suites. Your bathtub has a window that opens up to the expansive room, offering a view of the ocean since 100% of the suites are ocean-view. The mini bar, stocked with beer and sodas and plenty of unhealthy snacks, is there for your all-inclusive pleasure (and restocked daily). Speaking of food and beverages, you’re spoiled rotten with poolside service all day long; and if that isn’t fast enough, you can use the swim-up bar in the middle of the infinity pool. The concierge service extends to the beach lounges and cabanas. The attendants will make sure you are constantly hydrated and fed.
TEXAS LIFESTYLE | JET SETTER
GVRN’s open-air restaurant, Azul, is where you’ll want to start your day with breakfast (unless you care to enjoy room service), and the beachside seating is the perfect complement to your hearty desayuno (breakfast). You can blissfully enjoy the buffet with such treats as chilaquiles, egg cakes, a tropical fruit bar, fresh-made juice, smoothies, and even stuffed chicken breasts and shredded beef (yes, for breakfast). When it’s time for cena (dinner), you’ll want to take the time to relish a two to three hour fine-dining experience at one of their three AAA-diamond restaurants: Piaf, Frida and Lucca. At Piaf, you will be treated to French cuisine such as an organic flower blossom salad with marinated salmon, citric vinaigrette and lemon granite, followed by blue shrimp marinated in thyme sauce, wild mushroom risotto, veal broth and cognac. Your attentive server will pair international wines with each course. At Frida, you’ll enjoy upscale interior Mexican-style cuisine, such as an enchilada salad with fried sweet corn sunflower seeds in jo-
coque vinaigrette, followed by a Chilean sea bass in smoked pasilla chili sauce with crispy fried chapulines, mussels, grilled chorizo and black rice. As for Lucca, Italian specialties such as black grouper ravioli, clam and saffron sauce with pink pepper shine will please your palette. GVRN is recognized as a “Most Excellent Spa Hotel” by Condé Nast Johansens. If that high praise doesn’t make you plan a trip to the spa, you’ll definitely be enticed by the poolside “Spa Moments.” Massage therapists come around and offer short (approximately three-minute) complimentary head and neck massages, with cool cloths and cucumbers for your eyes. You’ll want many more spa moments after that treat! If you want to venture off the resort there’s plenty to see. A 30-minute drive away is San Francisco, known to the locals as San Pancho, where you can experience a true interior Mexican breakfast in the lush patio of the Hotel Cielo Rojo restaurant. The huevos
Texas Lifestyle Magazine 57
TEXAS LIFESTYLE | JET SETTER
rancheros are a crowd-pleaser and the marlin and quinoa quesadillas and buddha bowl are unique specialties. At the heart of this vibrant town is EntreAmigos, a community center launched by American Nicole Swedlow after she visited the town with her two young boys, then later moved there, inspired by the small village. (Editor’s note: You can read more about EntreAmigos in our online magazine. http://bit.ly/mexicoentreamigos) After you spend the morning in San Pancho, head down the road about five minutes to experience the world renowned surfing town of Sayulito. Try out surfing lessons with well-trained instructors then walk across to lunch at Don Pedros on the beach and try the carne asada, shrimp ceviche and nachos. Anytime of year is a fabulous time for Grand Velas Riviera Nayarit, with December their busiest time as travelers arrive for the holidays. You can find direct flights into Puerto Vallarta from Dallas, Houston and San Antonio. Riviera Maya: The Sophisticated, More Mature Sister A short half-hour drive from Cancun lies the Riviera Maya stretch of beach, which boasts many amazing resorts, each trying to out-do the other with their grand entrances. With its grandiose stark-white wall entrance, Grand Velas Riviera Maya (GVRM) makes a bold statement from start to finish. With lush landscaping, you travel through the thick mangrove-filled jungle to reach this luxurious all-inclusive resort. Like it’s sister resort in Puerto Vallarta, GVRM’s all-inclusive offering includes mini bars and tubs in the suites that open up and allow for an ocean view. One of the draws of both resorts is that guests enjoy the fine dining options at no extra charge, which includes wine and other would-be expensive cocktails. GVRM has three sections, all serving a different tourista. Grand Class is their adults-only, larger-than-life suite option. Ambassador is ideal for families (with the most impressive Teen Club and Kids Club you can imagine.) And Zen Grand is their uber-tranquil section for conferences and those looking for more of a tropical setting versus the beachfront of the other two areas.
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TEXAS LIFESTYLE | JET SETTER
The suites at Grand Class are boldly elegant, appealing to the sophisticated traveler. With a large sleeping area separated from a living area by an entertainment system/mini bar, the room is only outdone by its expansive bathroom and top-notch patio overlooking the ocean. The patios boast a plunge pool, large double lounger and table for outdoor dining. Guests are sure to take advantage of in-room dining on their patio. Each section of the resort has its own pool (with poolside service), bar and dining options, but guests are free to roam and use any of the other sections of the resort. Guests will want to stay at the resort long enough to try out all of the amenities that each section has to offer. The culinary showcase of GVRM is outstanding, with restaurants specializing in their own distinct culture, such as Mexican, French, Italian and Asian to name a few. Among the highlights is Cocina de Autor (the author’s kitchen), a truly unique dining experience. The chef creates tasting experiences that you journey through, starting with various appetizers such as “fake sushi” and a tomato lollipop, moving on to entrees and ending with desserts, all paired with fine wine selections. Plan for a European-style dinner that might take more than two hours. The suites are palatial, the food is award-winning and the views are spectacular. However, the best reason to visit GVRM is their spa. I’ve had the pleasure of visiting spas around the world and this spa is surely in my top three. The therapeutic massage impressed everyone in our group; however, the crown jewel of the spa is their Water Journey. After changing into a swimsuit, you are guided by your personal spa concierge through eight water-based treats. You’ll experience the dry sauna spiked with cinnamon, the clay room where you’ll condition your body, face and hair and the ice room where you will literally chill. Then there’s the menthol steam room, a hot/cold shower, hot/cold plunge pools and a large pool with massage jets for shoulders and neck and the most unique bubble beds for your lounging pleasure. The blissful spa warrants a half-day visit on its own.
There are two off-site opportunities that further enhance an already great visit to GVRM. nATiVes takes you on ATVs through the jungle on a two-hour tour. You make stops at a Mayan ceremonial ground, a traditional Mayan house, a cave housing beautiful rock formations and end the tour with a swim in a cenote, a natural pool formed from a sinkhole with the cleanest, most mineral-rich water you can find. A bonus at the cenote is getting a fish pedicure while the little toe-ticklers swim around your feet nibbling the dead skin away. This is an unforgettable, unique experience in a natural setting. ALLTOURNATIVE.COM/TOURS-EXPEDITIONS/NATIVS.ASP
The Cirque du Soleil “Joya” show is the only permanent international Cirque show around. Awe-inspiring acrobatics and aerial stunts amid great live music and bursts of color impress audiences every night.
Meet the two sisters yourself and get ready to jet set to your next Mexican beach escape.
Texas Lifestyle Magazine 59
Discover something amazing here... your family Rediscover the most important people in your life at the most engaging resort in Texas Experience a vacation destination like no other. Lush, climate-controlled indoor gardens welcome little explorers no matter the weather, while unique seasonal events and celebrations mean adventure is always close at hand. Enjoy fun activities this summer including Paradise Springs resort pool & lazy river and our 12th annual SummerFest featuring the “Summer of Oz.” Texas-sized fun, all in one glorious place!
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TEXAS LIFESTYLE | ROAD TRIP
Hit the Road to San Marcos By Marika Flatt
Photos by Meadows Center
Situated between San Antonio and Austin and home of Texas State University, you’ve probably been through San Marcos on I-35 dozens of times, but have you ever stopped to enjoy a day of fun? Inspired by the PBS show The Daytripper, I finally spent a memorable day in San Marcos. It’s the perfect family day trip or a great way to spend quality time with your significant other. Here’s a sampling for your day of fun: Head to the Meadows Center for Water and the Environment (previously Aquarena Center, near the university campus) to experience the glass-bottom boat tours. Aquarena Springs was a huge entertainment destination a few decades ago (remember the swimming pig?), but has since scaled back. However, the 30-minute glass-bottom boat tours are fun for the whole family (daily, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.). The boats tour over an underground cave, which houses more than 40 species of fish, eight of which are endangered. The water that comes out of the springs is actually three to five times cleaner than the EPA standard for drinking water. The spring pushes out 800 to 1,200 gallons of water per minute. There are also glass-bottom kayak tours and nighttime moonlight tours offered. Prices: kids, $6; 13+, $9; seniors, $7.50; under 2, free.
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201 SAN MARCOS SPRINGS DRIVE | SAN MARCOS MEADOWSCENTER.TXSTATE.EDU/EDUCATION/GLASS-BOTTOMBOATS
TEXAS LIFESTYLE | ROAD TRIP
Photo by Paxton Kelly
After the boat tour, you’ll be ready for a hearty lunch. Herbert’s Grocery and Taco Hut (open 7 a.m. to 10 p.m.) makes my mouth water just thinking about it. This Tex-Mex restaurant has been a staple in the San Marcos area for decades, and they haven’t changed much. It’s a small restaurant so it does get crowded on weekends. Start with a big bowl of queso and try their enchiladas or tacos— basics but pleasers. You really can’t go wrong with anything on this traditional menu. And, make sure you get some fresh-baked tortillas (think thick). 419 RIVERSIDE DRIVE | SAN MARCOS HERBERTSTACOHUT.COM
Photo by Root Cellar Café
River tubing is very popular in San Marcos from Memorial Day through Labor Day. Getting tubes from the Lion’s Club tubing center located in the Rec Hall at San Marcos City Park (open 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.) is your best bet. For $10 per tube plus a $20 refundable deposit (shuttle included), you can have a half-day of fun in the sun. The tubing lasts about an hour and you can take the shuttle when you get out and start the float again, as many times as you want. The float ends with a fun tube chute at Rio Vista Park where a shuttle will be waiting. SAN MARCOS CITY PARK | SAN MARCOS TUBESANMARCOS.COM
Root Cellar Café, as their slogan says, offers a taste of simple elegance and is the ideal stop for dinner. This fabulous restaurant really stands out above the crowd in San Marcos. Located down in an old cellar, the menu is tantalizing, their ambiance is hip and their customer service is impeccable. Start off with a beer from their own batch or one of dozens of wines on their extensive wine list (hence, the wine cellar). The spinach artichoke dip and beer bread with honey butter are delicious starters. Then, don’t miss out on a salad so you can try one of their homemade dressings. And, for an entree, please your palette with the wild mushroom pasta, bourbon pecan chicken or blackened tilapia with herbed risotto. 215 N. LBJ DRIVE | SAN MARCOS Photo by Sean Loyless
Texas Lifestyle Magazine 63
TEXAS LIFESTYLE | CALENDAR
TENNIS CHAMPIONS SHOOTOUT
DALLAS ARBORETUM AND BOTANICAL GARDEN DALLAS
CEDAR PARK CENTER CEDAR PARK
18 SAN JACINTO DAY FESTIVAL & BATTLE REENACTMENT
A NIGHT IN OLD SAN ANTONIO
LA VILLITA, SAN ANTONIO
SIP & STROLL BAYOU BEND
22-25 MOONTOWER COMEDY & ODDITY FESTIVAL
KING WILLIAM FAIR
19 ACADEMY OF COUNTRY MUSIC AWARDS AT&T STADIUM ARLINGTON
AMERICAN AIRLINES CENTER DALLAS
MCMAHAN RANCH SMITHVILLE
CENTENNIAL GALA WITH LYLE LOVETT & FRIENDS PARAMOUNT AUSTIN
42ND ANNUAL STRAWBERRY FESTIVAL PASADENA
MAYPOLE FESTIVAL & PICNIC
GULF COAST ARTS FESTIVAL
DFW DRAGON BOAT, KITE & LANTERN FESTIVAL
FOURTH ANNUAL SEAL LEGACY GOLF CLASSIC
LAKE CAROLYN LAS COLINAS
1-7 WINE & FOOD WEEK
64 Texas Lifestyle Magazine
AMERICAN AIRLINES CENTER DALLAS
ACCORDION KINGS & QUEENS FESTIVAL
150TH ANNIVERSARY JUNETEENTH PROCLAMATION
MILLER OUTDOOR THEATRE HOUSTON
ASHTON VILLA GALVESTON
TEXAS LIFESTYLE | REVIEWS
Close Up with
By Jessica Newman
Stefani Vara is a native Texan and Houston resident setting the stage for young girls to go after their passions. The vibrant recording artist released her first album, Storybook Diaries, in 2009. Since then, she’s released more singles including her latest, All Alone. She’s also a business savvy firecracker who saw the potential in making a web series featuring her family cooking. The Comida Caliente web show put Vara in the Houston spotlight and has opened doors to expanding the brand and starting a new series. Music, fashion, and production are not all Vara’s up to – she’s constantly turning ideas into reality. TLM: How were you introduced to music? Growing up, I performed in my parents’ restaurant, Casa De Vara, joined the church choir and sung at school functions. While attending the University of Colorado I got an internship at a local record label to learn about the business. After graduation, I moved to New York to pursue music Photo by Stefani Vara
professionally, moving back to Houston in 2010 for a clean, creative slate. TLM: Where did the idea come from to start the web series, Comida Caliente? One day, the women in my family were cooking at my grandmother’s house, laughing and having the most hilarious conversation. I thought to myself how great this would be as a show. I wanted to display a celebration of our culture, food, and sisterhood and to break down stereotypes of Hispanics by showing a family who is fun, beautiful, opinionated, and intelligent. My partner and production team out of New York, Twelve18media, and I discussed the idea. Last year, we raised a successful $10K on Kickstarter to debut the family’s eight webisode cooking series, sponsored by Goya Foods. TLM: How can we follow what you’re up to?
Photo by Marco Torres/Marco From Houston
TLM: You seem to turn mere ideas into full-blown businesses - how do you do it?
I started a blog called “Follow My Feet.” The name is universal and references my professional footwear-modeling career; I’m currently working with Keds and a few others. I want to share the journey through my hectic life and travels on the blog.
Plan it, write it down, organize it, find people who believe in it as much as you do and make it happen! It’s all about how hard you hustle.
TL M: A ny more projects you’re working on?
TLM: Favorite places to frequent in Houston?
Comida Caliente shot a new spin-off pilot, Casa De Vara, about the family’s new venture of bottling and selling our “secret salsa” from our old restaurant. I also finished two short films in Houston in the hopes that they may be submitted to festivals. In the future, I am planning a “Follow My Feet” inspirational speaking tour to motivate young adults to pursue their passions.
The Flat, Mkt Bar at Phoenicia, Uchi, Tout Suite; I make special chai latte trips to Catalina Coffee; The Guild Shop, Catholic Charities, and The Blue Bird Circle for vintage clothing finds; Vinal Edge Records; The Pastry War and The Nightingale Room for low-key nights. STEFANIVARA.COM
Texas Lifestyle Magazine 65
TEXAS LIFESTYLE | REVIEWS
Delicious Kitchen Mischief for Foodie Families Plus Tips for Busy Cooks By Doug Flatt
In the lively, often-humorous pages of his cookbook John DeMers recounts how an allegedly shy writer became the radio host of a high-energy, irreverent, no-pinkie-raised food and wine show called Delicious Mischief. “All the recipes are my favorites, but the one I’m asked for most— as in, “Hey John, come to our party. And bring those meatballs”— is the raspberry-chipotle BBQ meatballs,” says DeMers. “For being so easy, it really makes people happy..” More than just a collection of recipes, the book is full of great stories. There’s DeMers’ efforts to make his beloved chicken and sausage gumbo in Marfa, his encounter with stone crab soup in Everglades City, Florida, and, of course, his day-to-day epiphanies
with world cuisines. He’s even hosted one show about Eskimo cuisine with real Eskimos as guests, but none of those recipes made the cut. “Eskimos? They came to the Houston studio as part of a tour promoting Alaskan seafood,” recalls DeMers. “There was a husband and wife, both allegedly fishermen. And their only limitation on the radio was that they didn’t talk. It was not my best show.” The Delicious Mischief food and wine radio show is heard Saturdays on 1070 AM in Houston, 570 AM in Dallas, 1370 AM in Austin and 930 AM in San Antonio. DELICIOUSMISCHIEF.COM
SALSA SHRIMP & TEX-MEX CHEESE GRITS (page 72) I’m a lover of all things shrimp and grits. I travel to the Gulf Coast each year to visit family and actively search out different variations of this southern foodie jewel. To make it healthier, try it without the three tablespoons of butter. I also found a whole green bell pepper a tad too much sweetness, but the Tex-Mex spin to this southern classic was a keeper. For the family, consider cutting out (or reducing) the red pepper. Following the recipe and combining it with Tony Chachere’s seasoning and medium salsa was enough to have my 14-year-old whining about the heat. My boys typically don’t like much heat either, but they overlooked it since they got to eat shrimp.
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TEXAS LIFESTYLE | REVIEWS
SUPER TRIO CASHEW CHICKEN (page 130)
5 Tips for Toque-Wearing Dads
I try to be as sneaky as possible when it comes to introducing green vegetables to the kiddos, so I was intrigued by this recipe because it’s mostly ingredients my kids love (chicken, ginger, soy sauce, rice), but also uses baby kale, spinach and chard.
1. Built-In Sous Chefs
Most nights, I have a limited amount of time to prepare dinner, so I secretly pretend that I’m on the 30-minute clock competing on Chopped. I actually had 25 minutes to dish this up before one of the kids headed out for soccer practice. Success—from start to finish it took me about 20 minutes, but dishes and food flew! I absolutely love this recipe and will add it to my regular rotation. Next time, I’ll reduce the red pepper. My kids devoured it, but did complain about the heat. If you like spicy food, don’t mess with this recipe at all, it’s delicious. CARAMELIZED BRUSSELS SPROUTS (page 150) This is a very simple, yet timeless, recipe. The author makes the discovery that prior to this recipe all Brussels sprouts tasted like bacon to him. Bacon was the reason I loved sprouts but, in the interest of research, I jumped off the bacon bandwagon and gave his pork-less recipe a try. I was skeptical, thinking the sprouts would be very bitter without the fat content of the bacon. Yet, the caramelization, along with the creole seasoning, cuts through the bitterness. Demers made me a believer in bacon-less Brussels sprouts! I didn’t win over my kids with this recipe, but they can be a tough crowd when it comes to green vegetables.
Cooking can be a great time to connect with your kids and teach them a skill they’ll use their entire lives. I grew up helping my parents make breakfast on the weekends. My job was making Orange Julius and it helped foster my life-long interest in cooking.
2. Make It Fun Have a theme—however silly. I enjoy the outdoors, so I make a camping plate with a chicken campfire, broccoli trees and apple tents. The kids love it and it’s a lot more fun eating chicken when it looks like a bonfire! 3. Two Words: Crock Pot Who isn’t overworked these days? Save time by having a handful of crockpot recipes at the ready to throw together and just hit the power button. 4. Throw it On the Grill On Sunday afternoons I’ll throw several meat cuts on the grill to use throughout the week. It makes meal prep a lot easier knowing you have your main protein set. I do the same for veggies. My kids tend to eat vegetables when I can change the texture, so grilling and roasting are great techniques to get them trying something new. 5. Embrace Your Enemy To quote Bill Parcells, “If I’m going to be asked to cook the meal, I’d like to be able to pick out the groceries.” Unfortunately, picking out the groceries is a necessary evil for me. It’s worth moving your work schedule around to go to the store during off-peak hours, like late at night or during a long lunch break. I had to go to the grocery store the day before Christmas and I’m still emotionally scarred.
Texas Frito Pie Frittata
Photo by Bright Sky Press
Salsa Shrimp and Tex-Mex Cheese Grits
Caramelized Brussels Sprouts
Super Trio Cashew Chicken
Photos by John DeMers
Texas Lifestyle Magazine 67
TEXAS LIFESTYLE | VISION
Taking Back the Tip Jar Colin Kendrick and Matt Ott are creating a new model to sustain the live music industry in Austin and beyond.
Black Fret 2014 nominees on stage with Colin Kendrick and Matt Ott at the Paramount Theatre, Austin. Photo by Amy Price
Photo by Dave Pedley
Photo by Dave Pedley
Photo by Philip Rogers
Black Fret awarded its first ten $10,000 grants in November 2014 at the inaugural Black Ball.
second one. Thankfully, we have an amazing team of volunteers, advisors, contractors and sponsors—not to mention our members—on board to help out.”
“The manager of one of our grant recipients said we literally saved their spring tour.”
Making it Work
Starting Out “Our friendship grew in the clubs of Austin, listening to amazing music. It’s a bond we have shared for decades that fuels our actions with Black Fret now. Giving back to our community and helping keep Austin Austin drives us in all our efforts.” “When we started, we weren’t sure we would even find the first 100 members, but now we see a path to our cap of 1,333… Of course we underestimated the amount of work and complexity. We both have day jobs and starting and running Black Fret is like having a
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“There is no such thing as a typical member. We were completely wrong to even think we would have one. We have members from every walk of life, every socioeconomic stratum with musical tastes that run the gamut. The common bonds we see are that they love music, they love their city, they love meeting new people (who become real friends after seeing them at event after event), plus they love a great party. And we throw a lot of them!” The Vision “Creating an endowed institution that will collect $2 million a year to provide support to our musical ecosystem… We will take half
of that and put it in an endowment each year to fund future grants. The other $1 million will fund that year’s grants and provide resources for our events and operations. That means we will be funding over 30 bands every year with grants of at least $25,000. In a decade, it will be over 50 bands a year. And we would love to scale this to the other great music cities of America.” More Info Black Fret is a social and connected community of music fans dedicated to good music, good times and the sustainable success of Austin’s local musicians. Together, members find great bands, gather to see them in intimate shows and award them grants to help them create and perform new music. — Julie Tereshchuk BLACKFRET.ORG
TEXAS LIFESTYLE | WEB EXTRAS
Find these stories and more at texaslifestylemag.com
Photo by Taos
Rocky King Band
Every Tuesday, our well-traveled staff, including Travel Editor Marika Flatt, features a destination in the digital magazine, be it domestic, foreign or definitively Texan, that is sure to jump-start your vacation planning. For a special treat, follow our TLM editor across the pond as she features getaway spots in her native UK. You can also check out a three-part series on skiing in New Mexico. Keep your suitcase and passport handy!
Fans of traditional country music and western swing won’t want to miss our feature on the Rocky King Band. Fronted by fiddler Rocky King of Seguin, you can find the band touring dance halls around the state. Get out your boots and get ready to join RKB fans on the dance floor!
Check our online magazine every Friday for the latest, hottest, trendiest and downright best cuisine our state has to offer. From the Gulf Coast to the Panhandle, we’ve found something for every appetite.
Hallelujah, it’s grilling season in Texas! As you dust off the grills and smokers, we’ll share the best crowd-pleasing products and recipes for the perfect barbecue. Come Memorial Day, you’ll be crowned King/Queen of the Grill!
Photo-journalist Sarah Doliver’s online tour of historic Comfort in springtime will make you want to head out to sample the rich delights of this Texas gem’s stores, cafés, bars and restaurants.
See more of the lush tropical Grand Velas Riviera Maya resort’s pristine white beaches, mouth-watering cuisine and world-class spa in our online photo tour. You’ll also be treated to a night to remember at Cirque du Soleil Joya.
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TEXAS LIFESTYLE | A BETTER TEXAN
is the Most Important Skill for the 21st Century Control Your Attention, Control Your Life By Maura Thomas
“What information consumes is rather obvious. It consumes the attention of its recipients. Hence a wealth of information creates a poverty of attention.” Nobel Prize winning-economist Herbert Simon Managing your time used to be the same thing as managing your attention. If you designated some time on your calendar to attend to something, it was more likely that thing would get done. This was back before the digital revolution so thoroughly changed the way information is generated and shared. In other words, before there were so many distractions. Now, the world is constantly available at our fi ngertips, with the plethora of radio, television, internet, scrolling marquees, skywriting and advertising, not to mention new ways to instantly communicate, and handheld digital devices that are becoming more and more omnipresent. Allocating time to something no longer means that it will receive your attention, and without attention, your time is somewhat irrelevant. Attention creates action, produces quality and facilitates productivity. Attention also has a dramatic impact on your life. What you give your attention to, is what determines your experiences. There are people whose lives revolve around subjects that are barely a blip on your radar. Those people give their attention to those topics, and therefore have experiences around them. And you do the same. And, all of those experiences eventually add up to your life. But most of the time, you don’t agree to give your attention; you are just constantly distracted and reacting to all of those things that are vying for your attention. If that’s true for you, then maybe you do not have as much control over your life as you might like. This is why attention management is today’s most valuable skill. So stop worrying about “time management.” It’s not relevant anymore. Instead, consider attention management. Invest in your focus. Support your attention by minimizing distractions. Single task. Learn to meditate. Shut your phone off sometimes, or at least use the Do Not Disturb feature. Put it on silent, NOT vibrate. Close your office door if you have one. Wear headphones if you don’t. Stop sabotaging your own focus and attention span, and start supporting your ability to control your attention.
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“But most of the time, you don’t agree to give your attention; you are just constantly distracted and reacting to all of those things that are vying for your attention.” As fi lmmaker and one of the 21st century’s most lauded visionaries George Lucas says, “Always remember, your focus determines your reality.” Maura Thomas is an international speaker, trainer, and thought-leader on productivity, attention, and eﬀ ectiveness for clients such as the American Heart Association, Honeywell, Dell, Vistage, and L’Oreal. She is a TEDx Speaker, founder of RegainYourTime.com, and author of Personal Productivity Secrets: Do what you never thought possible with your time and attention, and regain control of your life! She has been featured in hundreds of national media outlets including the Wall Street Journal, U.S. News and World Report, and Fast Company. REGAINYOURTIME.COM @MNTHOMAS
TEXAS LIFESTYLE | A BETTER TEXAN
Why You Should Vacate Your Home Office By Liz Elam
I spent nine years of my life working out of my home offi ce in Atlanta, Georgia. It was in a bright basement, had a door to a garden with a fountain, and chipmunks frolicked around the yard. I hated it. I had moved to Atlanta with Dell and was used to the camaraderie of the Austin offi ce. There was always cake to celebrate birthdays, people to talk to and a group to go with to lunch or happy hour. I was like everyone else. When you fi rst hear you’re going to be working from home you think you’re going to work in your pajamas, have a dog curled up on your feet and you’ll work on your comfy couch. It’s going to be awesome. Instead, my kitchen was clean, I was gaining weight from opening the fridge door and all my laundry was done. The couch didn’t have back support and my dog had an uncanny ability to bark as soon as I got on a conference call. After a few weeks I was bored, lonely, distracted, chubbier and my back hurt. I decided to try the coffee shop scene for some human interaction. What I found was over-priced, over-roasted coffee; background music I didn’t care for; uncomfortable chairs; kids running around and no privacy. If I did score the best seat (the only one next to the lone outlet), I had to ask a stranger to watch my most important pos-
sessions so I could go to the not-so-clean, overused restroom. I felt obligated to purchase food and beverages for sitting at a table for hours on end. I wasn’t comfortable and wasn’t getting the human interaction I craved. I was just getting a noisy space with different distractions and a bunch of strangers. In my dreams, I saw an inspiring space where you could go work on whatever you needed to and work around people you chose to work around. I designed it in my head over and over. It would have meeting rooms, a conference room, comfortable chairs and great free coffee. I’d be able to host events and celebrate birthdays and get that human interaction I craved.
fl avors so try a few and fi nd one that fits your needs. Break out of the isolation, distraction and your pajamas and come cowork—where others are happy, brilliant and productive. Liz Elam is the founder of GCUC (Global Coworking Unconference Conference), which will be held in Berkeley, California in May. She is also a former president of the ground-breaking League of Extraordinary Coworking spaces (LEXC). She fulfi lls her need to design and consult by running Powered by Link. When she’s not traveling to distant lands to spread the word about the future of work, she lives, works and plays in Austin, Texas. LINKCOWORKING.COM
I opened Link Coworking in 2010. It is a beautiful space designed for productivity. And yes, the chairs are all super comfortable, the excellent coffee is free and we get to work around other humans. (And I buy birthday cakes!) I love watching my members come in the door and give a huge exhale. I’m inspired by the people that choose to work at Link. Stop working in isolation and in spaces that weren’t designed for you. There’s a whole new way of working and for the price of a coffee and snack every day at the coffee shop you can join one. It’s called coworking. Do a Google search. There are lots of
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TEXAS LIFESTYLE | A BETTER TEXAN
Live More! Reclaim Your Life: Four Proven Strategies By Renee Trudeau
Ever wonder why some people seem to be able to manage a lot— a demanding job, staying connected to their family, maintaining good health—and still seem relatively calm, centered and even happy? What’s their secret? For 15 years, my coaching team and I have worked with men and women from around the globe on career strategy, work fulfillment, stress management and creating life balance. Here are our favorite tried and true strategies for enhancing work-life alignment:
Know your top priorities and learn to manage your energy. What in life is most important to you? How good are you at managing your energy? What is draining you and what is fueling you? Are you comfortable saying “no” and not over-committing? Create an “absolute yes” list and adhere to it!
Make your self-renewal a priority. By filling your cup first, you’ll have more to give to clients, family and friends; you’re able to function at your optimum and you’ll be setting an example for healthy, balanced living for those around you. Self-care— physical, mental, emotional and spiritual—should be integral to your everyday life.
Build a personal support system. What type of and how much professional and personal support do you need to feel nourished, emotionally healthy and stress-free? Learn to ask for and receive help. Re-evaluate your support needs every three months; these change based on your current life stage.
Be more present in all that you do. Stress and feelings of being overwhelmed are often brought on by dwelling on the past or living in the future. By spending more time living in the present and focusing on what is most important in the here and now, we become calmer and more effective. And, in general, we experience lower stress levels and a greater sense of balance and resiliency. One effective way to be more present is to be mindful about how and when we use technology.
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What strategy speaks to you? Creating work-life balance is an inside-out job. It’s helpful to approach this shift by taking baby steps and surrounding yourself with people who support you and already practice some of these strategies. Be easy on yourself; we don’t create change in our lives by beating ourselves up. We move into new ways of being when we can cultivate self-compassion, curiosity and levity. Renee Trudeau is an internationally-known Austin-based career and work/ life balance coach/author/speaker and president of Career Strategists. Download free self-renewal teleclasses/resources and learn about upcoming events at ReneeTrudeau.com.
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