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Steve, Leticia and J.T. Trauber

Family Alma Mater by Andria Frankfort

The Neighborhood Yard Seeing Castro’s Cuba NICU Babies Halloween Costume Fails Houston, TX Permit No. 2047 PAID US Postage PRSRT STD

Windsurfing Toward Rio

EDITOR’S NOTE Recently we were in a sea of Aggies at NRG Stadium cheering on Arizona State University, where our youngest son is a senior. ASU was getting stomped. Adding insult to injury, every time the UT/Notre Dame score flashed on the Jumbotron, the crowd went wild. Yes, my Longhorns were having a bad night too. I went to The University of Texas at Austin, and Michael went to Michigan State University. Neither one of our sons attended our alma maters, yet I proudly wear my SCAD and ASU Mom T-shirts. Unlike us, many Buzz families seem destined to have their children attend their alma maters. Meet these spirited families – the Russos, Traubers, Kaplans and Schneiders – in this month’s article. Also in this issue, get to know the Gow family – with their neighborhood sport court, they bring family game night to a whole new level. However you say it, Hook ’em, Gig ’em or Fork ’em, here’s to enjoying the game.

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On our cover: Active alumni and donors Steve and Leticia Trauber serve on Rice University boards, and their son, J.T., plays basketball for the Owls. Cover photo by Michael Hart Photography, The Buzz Magazines has made all reasonable attempts to verify the accuracy of all information contained within. Advertising claims are solely the responsibility of the advertiser. Copyright © 2015 Hoffman Marketing & Media, LLC. All rights reserved. Reproduction of any portion of this magazine by any means without written permission is strictly prohibited. Printed on recycled paper. Please remember to recycle.



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Your letters, thoughts, opinions Pleased with Ghost Bike article I was very glad that many “members” were included in the article on Houston Ghost Bike [Ghost Bikes: White bicycles memorialize riders, by Jennifer Oakley, September 2015]. Most of the time when the media does a piece on our group, it is about the people putting the bikes out, etc. Houston Ghost Bike is about the 1850-plus that make up its membership, and those that ride that have no idea that we exist. The few of us that put the bikes out do so for the honor of serving them. We do it for them and their loved ones. We were very pleased with your article. I think that you got the perfect mix of Houston Ghost Bike administration, regular members, victim families, cyclists and friends. It was an excellent and accurate representation. Thank you. Richard Tomlinson Happy and helpful news You helped keep me afloat. Imagine my joy in learning that a few of my entries were finalists in The Buzz Magazines’ yearly photo contest [The Buzz Magazines 2015 Photo Contest, July 2015]. You really buoyed my spirits; notification came just one day after I awoke to rising floodwaters in our home. As dawn broke, we observed fish swimming across our driveway, boats motoring down our street, and helicopters surveying the damage! In the days following Houston’s historic May flood, The Buzz magazine kept the neighborhood informed with late-breaking tweets. It was there that we first learned of vital community meetings and other useful flood recovery resources. Thank you, Jordan (associate editor Jordan Magaziner Steinfeld), for discovering and passing along these valuable neighborhood links, and for your coverage of the wonderful volunteer efforts following the disaster. Jan Buchholtz

Scholar-athletes deserve limelight Great to see all the recognition provided to the “Scholar Athletes” in your SportzBuzz section [by Todd Freed, August 2015]. The picture of Mr. Andre’ Walker, HISD AAD, presenting Rebekah Koehn with her award, set the tone for this positive and uplifting section. Proud parents love to see their children scoring touchdowns, making goals, hitting home runs, sinking that 3-pointer, etc. But when all is said and done, it’s those grades that often win the day (and the many days that follow after hanging


up the cleats and stepping off the field of sports). So a big “Congratulations” to all those recognized for their successes in the classroom – in addition to those on the sports field. And a big “Thank You” to Todd Freed and The Buzz team for prominently highlighting these achievements. With respect to Rania [Mankarious’] good work on the Safety Tool Box report [Back-to-school guide for families, August 2015], my wife (Janet Hildebrandt Dowlearn) said she wished this had been available to her when our children were of school age (vs. college students/graduates). Robert T. Dowlearn

Friendship touches heart Loved seeing the Kvetchers on the cover of my Bellaire Buzz [Let’s Ride: Bicycling in Houston, by Cheryl Ursin, September 2015] and reading the related story. As I recently lost my mother, it was especially heartwarming to read about what Mark Mucasey and the group did for another member who lost his father. I have one word for Mark and this group: Mensches! Arlene Lassin Editor’s note: We are so sorry to hear about the loss of your mother, and we were touched as well by the kindness of the Kvetchers bike buddies. Send letters to Please include your name, address, phone number and email address for verification purposes. Letters are subject to editing for clarity and space. Views expressed in letters do not necessarily reflect the opinions of The Buzz Magazines, and The Buzz takes no responsibility for the content and opinions expressed in them.

What’s your story? We are looking for residents for upcoming articles who: • Love all things fashion. • Spend the holidays with family in a destination spot every year. • Have a baby celebrating his or her first holiday season. • Have compelling, holiday-related stories to share. • Know an interesting neighbor to profile. If this sounds like you or someone you know, please contact us at or 713.668.4157, ext 12.

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NEIGHBORS by Cathy Gordon, contributing writer

Neighborhood Yard At the Gows, everybody plays


hump. Thump. Slow and deliberate like a drumbeat, the cadence echoes down leafy Sunset Boulevard in West University Place. Ears harken to the familiar sound, that of the bouncing ball and the whoosh as it meets net. Springy young legs hustle down the sidewalk to get in on the action. They know just where to go. It’s Game On at the Gow house. “Yeah, follow the sound of the bouncing ball. That’s sometimes how it starts. We’ve had tons of people here over the years, even 2 year olds with neighbors. Even grandpas,” says Audrey Gow, who has raised five yard-sport-addicted kids with husband David. Their lot is sports central, with a large grassy area for football, a full-size gymnast trampoline and an all-weather basketball court that lures game-trolling friends and neighbors like moths to the proverbial flame. “The yard, the house, the big family, these are the best parts of being a Gow. The Gow house is my happy place, and there are many out there without the last name Gow that I know would say the same,” says Rice graduate Lawson Gow, 26, who works for a global venture capital group. He is the eldest of siblings David Jr., 24, Christopher, 22, Sarah, 19, and Wesley, 14. Wesley, a freshman at St. John’s School, plays junior varsity football. Sarah studies psychology and sports administration at Pepperdine University and studies abroad this year in Buenos Aires. Christopher double majors in religion and math at Amherst College in Massachusetts and is captain of its football team with an undefeated 2014 record. David Jr. studies acting at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts. It’s a busy, talented bunch, this lot. But they’re always ready for a little fun when home. Yard sports provide bonding time, Lawson says, and their mom’s hospitality and cooking were the ingredients for a constant flow of amateur enthusiasts over the years. Ahh shucks, says Audrey, modest to the core. She sees their sports court as a blessing to share with others. “Every bit from God.” Dad David is the lifeblood behind this family

WHERE THERE’S A GOW, THERE’S A GAME The Gows’ yard is the ultimate destination for a pickup basketball game. From left: Lawson, Christopher, Wesley, parents Audrey and David, David Jr. and Sarah. Golden retriever Clark is the family’s resident escape artist.

tradition. As a youth in Houston, he played all manner of games in a neighbor’s yard, reveling in the competition and camaraderie. “We played tag, capture the flag, dodgeball, all sorts of things nearly every day of the week,” David says. “That kind of set a precedent. Once we had that lot next door, there were certain intentions. There was certainly an instinct to enable the neighborhood to come on over and play.” His company, Gow Media, owns two Houston sports-talk radio shows, ESPN 97.5 FM and Yahoo Sports Radio 1560 AM. In partnership with Yahoo Sports, the company creates radio


shows syndicated to stations across the country. David also is the announcer for St. John’s School varsity football games. Whether by genes or influence, his kids caught his sports bug. “Yeah, probably a good thing to have all that touch football under my belt,” says Christopher, who played for St. John’s School before Amherst College. “When we didn’t have enough people over for a game, trees would serve as receivers, so if you could hit a tree it would serve as a completion. When you played defense, you tried to stand in front of them and knock the ball down.” (continued on page 10)


PLAY BY PLAY (Top photo) Family friend Mary Cooley Craddock captured a Gow football game in paint, a gift David and Audrey cherish. Craddock’s children spent many a day playing games in the Gow yard. (Bottom photos) The best pickup basketball game around is just outside the Gow family’s door. Lawson, Wesley, Christopher, Sarah and David Gow Jr. (from left) are ready to play.

David Jr. recalls “the tree game” too. “Any sport that you can possibly play on a front yard we have played, and those might even be outnumbered by the number of games we invented,” he says, calling their yard-sport obsession an “icebreaker” with strangers. “Neighbors from three blocks down would trickle in when they caught wind of a game being played.” Sarah, who competed statewide in gymnastics for several years, has fond memories of perfecting her routines on the trampoline. The apparatus was affectionately coined the “Sunset Tramp” by those who knew of its locale on Sunset Boulevard.

(continued from page 8)

“The Gows are kind of a West University legend, aren’t they?” quips family friend John McCarthy, 25, of his “surrogate family.” Now a medical student at the University of Virginia, he figures he owes thousands in food reimbursement. “Oh my gosh, all the meals! And Mr. Gow? Man, that guy is amazing with his running color commentary when you play at their place. Made you feel like you were on TV or something.” Yes, the Gows like to keep it fun. In addition to their dad’s booming, real-time play-by-plays, he would assign participants a professional sports star’s name for the duration of play. “But my dad


decided that whenever my mom would play, she deserved the most female name possible, so her athlete name for every sport became Petina Effeminate,” recalls Lawson. “We’ve had a lot of fun here. It basically became like the neighborhood park,” says Wesley, who has done his fair share of ball retrievals from the neighbor’s yard. There have been other kinds of retrievals as well. Clark, the family’s golden retriever named for Superman’s character, has athletic powers of his own — the ability to escape said yard. “So yeah, we retrieve Clark,” says Audrey. “He’s an escape artist. That’s his sport.”

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NEIGHBORS by Andria Frankfort, staff writer

Alma Mater Going to college, keeping tradition


or some kids, deciding where to go to college started long before their junior or senior year of high school. For some, it happened while they were still in a Pack ’n Play. “There’s lots of blue and orange in my family,” says Debbie Kaplan, whose daughter Brooke has just headed off to the University of Florida. “To say Brooke didn’t grow up as a Gator fan … well, she did.” Brooke, who graduated in May from The Emery/Weiner School, inevitably connected with the Gators growing up. Her mom, grandfather, two uncles and “various cousins and family members” went to Florida. Coming from a small high school, Brooke told her mom, “I’m telling you right now, when I go to college I’m going to a big university and I’m going away.” Debbie says, “She loved her experience here in Houston, but she was ready for a bigger pond.” Florida, with 50,000-plus students, clearly fit that bill. But when it came down to making a decision, Brooke wasn’t immediately sold. Brooke applied to several big, southern, state schools – Alabama, Texas, Georgia and South Carolina, to name a few. And she had a lot of choices. Debbie says, “She knew she wanted a good journalism school and a big setting. Secretly I was like, ‘Yeah, it would be wonderful for her to choose Florida.’ But at the same time, it was a decision she had to make. It was the same with [her dad] Rick, who went to Alabama. So the day she found out she got in to Florida, I had to step back and let her go through the process.” It took a month for Brooke to finally decide. “Yes, I was chomping when she chose Florida!” Debbie says, referring to the “Gator Chomp,” that Florida fans do: Put your arms out straight, one high, and chomp-clap like an alligator. “The whole experience has brought back memories,” Debbie says. “It’s hard because this is her experience. But I’ve had my own experience at the same place, and it’s hard not to put my opinions in, but she’s totally different from me. “I was an RA [resident advisor], I was in the band, I was very involved on campus. I’m still very connected and go to a lot of alumni things and drive around with gators on my license plates. But I have to put into perspective this is her journey, not mine.

GATOR CHOMP Top photo: Debbie Kaplan shows her freshman daughter Brooke the ropes at her alma mater, the University of Florida. Bottom photo: Debbie didn’t wait all the way until college years to take little Brooke to campus.

There has to be a balance between the mom and the alumni who knows the ropes.” Leticia and Steve Trauber share that dilemma. Both graduates of Rice University, along with Leticia’s sister and a brother who currently attends business school at Rice, the Traubers are supremely active donors and volunteers at the university. “I’ve been on the basketball search committee, I chaired a reunion with the Rice alumni association, we’ve both served on the Rice alumni board, I’m on the Rice business school board, she’s on Friends of Fondren [Library].” The list goes on. Steve, who is vice chairman at Citi Investment Bank, and Leticia are fond of Rice not only for the college experience they had there, but also because they met there. “When I was a sophomore, myself and my best friend were on the basketball team,” Steve says. “We were freshman counselors at the only allgirls dorm on campus for freshman orientation. Leticia ended up being one of my best friend’s freshmen, and we got to be really, really good friends. After a year and a half we started dating, and we married two and a half years later.” With that history, was there pressure for their son J.T., now a sophomore, to go to Rice? “I wouldn’t say we were pushing it, but I would say we certainly encouraged it,” Steve says. “I applied to Stanford and thought about Duke, but in the end I thought Rice was the best choice for me,” J.T. says. “I love the city of Houston. I grew up here my entire life. I grew up a big Rice basketball fan, a big Rice football fan.


It already kind of felt like home.” Because he’s here, J.T., who played Rice basketball as a freshman last year, was able to return this year to his high school alma mater, St. John’s School, to be assistant coach for their basketball team. And he generally loves being close to home. “I can stay away from my parents as much as I need to or go out to dinner with them as much as I want,” J.T. says. “Or I can have my mom cook dinner for me on the weekends.” About his family’s involvement on campus, J.T. says, “it’s nice ’cause the teachers know my name, so it’s a good way to start a conversation or meet a teacher.” For their part, J.T.’s parents are thrilled. “We love Rice,” Steve says. “Besides being family, we have that camaraderie of (continued on page 14)

ALL ABOUT OWLS Main photo: J.T. Trauber plays basketball for Rice University, like his dad, Steve Trauber. Inset photo: Leticia and Steve Trauber, here at the 1983 Rondelet formal, began dating while at Rice. J.T. attended the Rondelet last year.

WILD FOR WOLVERINES Top photo: Jamie Schneider is attending the University of Michigan this fall, following in her mom Julie's footsteps. Bottom photo: Back in Julie Schneider’s college days, she and her mom, Brenda Yosowitz, attend a Michigan game together. (continued from page 12) being a Rice Owl in com-

mon. We can all cheer Rice on.” Dede and Steven Russo, she an attorney and he a wealth manager, also met in college, at The University of Texas, but they “weren’t super involved with UT except to be sports fans all these years,” Dede says. So when their three daughters – Allie, now graduated, Lizzie, a junior, and Lanie, a sophomore – all wound up at Texas, the Russos decided to become more active alumni. “We joined the Presidents Council [a higherlevel, charitable, giving group at UT], and this year we’re co-chairs of the President’s Circle,” Dede says. “One of our jobs is to recruit old alumni and try to get more families involved at UT. “That’s one thing that’s unique about UT. Even though the student goes there, they get families involved in different ways. There are lectures in what they’re doing at the different colleges, from the art museums and amazing archives in the library to some of the best professors in the world. It’s been really neat for Steven and I to get involved.” Did the Russo girls feel pressure to go to Texas? “I have to admit that I have pictures of them when they were little in UT cheerleader outfits,” Dede says. “But my sister was buying them TCU outfits at the same time. “We went to football games, so they were very familiar with it. It was easy because it’s only two and a half hours away. But if they had wanted to go somewhere else it would have been okay.”

Dede and Steven say they feel “lucky” that UT mixes both academic and social, and that their girls can thrive in both areas. “For me the most fun has been reconnecting with my friends,” Dede says. “My daughters have made friends with other daughters and sons of people Steven and I knew when we were there. Every time I go to Austin I run into someone at a football game or hotel or restaurant who we knew back in the day. I sound like my mother and say, ‘Oh, I knew their parents!’ But it’s been neat.” Julie Schneider, a retired pediatrician, says the same thing about her daughter Jamie’s decision to attend her alma mater, the University of Michigan. “I’ve reconnected with lots of friends who have kids there already or will be freshmen,” Julie says. “With Facebook it’s been wonderful. They’re looking out for her.” Julie and her husband Peter took Jamie to see Michigan at the beginning of her junior year at The Emery/Weiner School. “I wanted to take her early because if she didn’t like it, I was going to stop talking about it. But if she did, I was going to continue encouraging it.” Jamie loved it. “When I went with my parents it was the first college I ever visited, even before UT,” she says. “I didn’t know what to expect so I was pretty open-minded. We went to a football game, and I thought it was fun. “Then I went senior year and had been to other college campuses. That time I got to stay with my camp friend and that was more of a, ‘Do


I want to go here?’ trip, more of a real experience. It was really fun but also laid back, and I liked that I didn’t know a lot of people there.” Jamie did apply to other schools, but she applied early action to Michigan. The decision wasn’t binding, but she found out in December that she got in. Julie says she knew then that Jamie’s decision was made. “It was one of those days I’ll never forget,” Julie says. “She went on the computer and yelled, ‘Mom, I got in!’ I was so happy and had little tears. Then I went out and got all this blue and yellow and flowers and candy and balloons. “I know this is the right place for Jamie. She’s an overachiever, but I know she also wants to have fun. It’s highly academic, but there’s tons of spirit, Greek life, social, football. I look forward to going back to parents’ weekend in November!”

George Brainard Photography

HOOK ’EM Main photo: Lizzie, Allie, Lanie, Dede and Steven Russo (from left) are dedicated UT Austin fans. Inset photo. Years before they wound up official Longhorns, these cousins were cheering on their team. Top row, from left: Clarke Henderson, Allie Russo, Mary Alex Knight, Meredith Knight, Lizzie Russo; bottom row, from left: Lanie Russo, Mabry Franklin.

SPORTS by Morgan Bernard, contributing writer

Windsurfing Toward Rio Buzz resident aims for Olympics Will Ricketson/US Sailing Team Sperry


arson Crain grew up in the middle of Houston, a city more known for sports on grass than on open, wind-swept water. Yet this Rice University student and St. John’s School graduate is hoping to make his way to the Olympics – as a windsurfer. This summer, after training in Toronto, Carson competed in RS:X windsurf racing in the Pan American Games as part of the U.S. Sailing Team Sperry. He placed sixth overall, putting him one step closer to qualifying for the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Back in the summer of 2000, Carson’s parents, Malinda and Alan Crain, took him and his brother Phillip to Maine, to the Northeast Harbor Sailing School, where Carson had his first experience sailing an Optimist sailboat, a small, single-handed dinghy for children. Sailing came naturally, and he began racing competitively, competing mostly in Galveston. In 2005, Carson was competing in the Texas Youth Sailing Regatta in Corpus Christi when he met Paul Foerster of the 2004 U.S. Olympic Sailing team. Foerster let Carson hold his Olympic gold medal, and at that moment, Carson says, he made reaching the Olympics his life goal. He began to compete in higher-stakes races, traveling abroad, to Holland, for the first time in 2006. Carson switched to the Laser, a more-sophisticated boat used in Olympic sailing events. For three years, he honed his skills and became a top competitor in his age group. In 2011, with his senior year of high school approaching, Carson faced a decision. The Laser is typically sailed by larger athletes. At the time, Carson was a shaggy, blonde 18 year old who weighed 165 pounds. Carson decided to take a huge risk and switch to windsurfing. He’d never done it before, but with his size and ability, he thought it would be a better fit to reach the highest competitive levels in order to keep his Olympic dreams alive. While windsurfing and sailing are similar in concept, windsurfing is a far more physical version of the sport. Most people think of windsurfing, and assume that wave riding is involved, but in racing, that is not the case. In windsurf racing the athlete stands on a board with a sail and uses

SMOOTH SAILING Carson displays the American flag on his sail, as he enjoys the lead in a race.

strength to balance and generate momentum through pumping. Carson’s coach, Kevin Stittle, says his student has natural talent. “Carson is one of the newest and youngest windsurfers on the Men’s RS:X international circuit. He continues to impress the more experienced competitors with his remarkable progress and his determination to be the very best.” Carson trains hard on land to get as fit as possible for competition. His trainer, Hayden Cowie, says, “Carson is absolutely the most dedicated athlete I have ever worked with. He is serious about his workouts, always gives 110 percent and never makes excuses.” Carson’s training paid off, and he was able to make the transition to windsurfing seamlessly, opening a new chapter in his life, full of competition and travel all over the world. With high school graduation approaching at St. John’s, Carson made yet another important decision. He had been accepted to the College of Charleston in South Carolina, known for its prestigious sailing program, but he didn’t want to leave his coach and trainer back in Houston. In June 2012, Carson’s prayers were answered when he received notice of his late acceptance


to Houston’s Rice University. At Rice, Carson could continue his training, while studying sports management and sports medicine. “Choosing to attend Rice pretty much kickstarted my Olympic campaign and allowed me to study what I wanted to study. In two years I’ve only taken three finals at Rice; the rest I took while traveling.” Over this past year, windsurfing has taken Carson to Brazil, Spain, France, Italy, Maui, Holland, Canada, Sweden and his favorite, New Zealand (where he also competed in stand-up paddleboard racing). At the ISAF World Cup in Miami in January, Carson placed first among his fellow U.S. sailing teammates in the RS:X Windsurfing Championships, cementing his place as a top American contender. There is still a long journey ahead if Carson is going to reach Rio next summer. Success at upcoming races in Miami, Spain and Oman would put him one step closer to qualification and, just maybe, an Olympic medal of his own.

MORE ONLINE See this story at for links to Carson’s website, Instagram and Twitter.

Will Ricketson/US Sailing Team Sperry

CRUISING Carson sails past a competitor while racing in Brazil.

NEIGHBORS by Allie Burrow, contributing writer

Not OK? That’s OK Normalizing mental-health struggles


lizabeth Smalling puts people at ease with her kind eyes and a disarming smile. She is an engaged, professional woman in her 30s who also happens to be diagnosed with bipolar disorder. Elizabeth has experienced enough hardship for two people, but you wouldn’t know it by looking at her. After 10 years of struggling with mental-illness symptoms, she is aware of her triggers and coping mechanisms. Her ongoing treatment includes an array of doctors and therapists as well as medication management. Elizabeth speaks with self-awareness. “I’m not bipolar, but I have bipolar,” she says. “I have to know myself in order to overcome that, to know what I like, don’t like, what offends me and what bugs me.” Although Elizabeth is at a stable place in her life now, it has not always been that way. Traumatic experiences in her youth contributed to thoughts of harming herself and preoccupation with her own death at a young age. Elizabeth remembers writing letters to God at age 13. “I was asking God why my grandmother died in the car accident and I didn’t.” Her manic behavior increased as a teenager. “My dad would often find me playing soccer in the living room at 2 a.m. My coping mechanism at the time was to just stay busy. I did every sport and activity,” she says. Once Elizabeth moved out of state to attend college, her manic behavior rapidly increased. In her psychology classes she began to learn about mental illness and gained more self-awareness about her own symptoms. Her erratic and sometimes reckless behavior led to a number of hospital stays, one lasting a couple of months. “Being 21 and living in a hospital, now that’s traumatic,” she says. After years of doctors, medication management, in-treatment programs and a strong support system, Elizabeth has found stability in her everyday functioning and life. At this point, Elizabeth has an episode about once a week. “Recently, I had a work day that ended in stress, and then had to drive in traffic across town to meet a friend for dinner. By the time I got there I could barely order my food. My thoughts were out of control. Sometimes I think

I won’t be able to make it home. And sometimes I don’t remember how I got home.” Her fiancé, Mike Shulak, adds, “She initially gets overwhelmed by reality and then quickly overwhelmed by random, unreal and A GOOD DAY Elizabeth Smalling says she and her fiancé, Mike Shulak, understand o b s e s s i v e each other’s issues. “He gets me even when I drive him up the wall,” she says. thoughts.” to feel safe,” Elizabeth says. Mike says he knows that if Elizabeth says she The topics of depression, anxiety and menis not feeling well she needs an hour or two to tal disorders are gracefully danced around relax and calm down. “She has that zombie look, among family and friends, but the reality is like she’s not present. And sometimes asking too that you can throw a stone and hit several many questions can make things worse,” he says. individuals who are experiencing mental-illFor Elizabeth, recovery is accepting who you ness symptoms. According to the National are, being proud of your successes and learning Institute of Mental Health, about 1 in 5 people from your mistakes. She finds comfort in her over the age of 18 have experienced an anxisupport system. “My dad is really good with ety disorder over the past year. boundaries and has a really kind heart. He’s How many times have we flippantly said, there when I need him,” she says. And her mom “She’s gone postal,” or, “He’s so bipolar?” We knows when to check in, when to give her space don’t always know who is in our company and and when her fiancé has it covered. the struggles being faced. We can choose to stop “He knows my story and I know his. He undercontributing to the stigma around mental illness stands mental illness,” Elizabeth says of Mike. “He and instead talk about normalizing it. gets me even when I drive him up the wall.” Knowledge strips away mystery and misconElizabeth attributes her wellbeing to continceptions. Elizabeth is doing her part by running a ual self-awareness and self-education and knowweekly women’s recovery group focusing on relaing that she has resources. She says she knows if tionships. “Hearing others’ stories helps with my she has a bad day she can turn it into something own recovery. Being of service gives me an outlet. good. When told she is inspiring, she smiles and I don’t feel stuck in my own head,” she says. says, “I’m just a normal person.” She recommends the National Alliance on Stigma around mental health issues often Mental Illness (NAMI) as a resource for inforresults in an uncomfortable silence. Admitting mation. “In order to understand mental illness,” to seeing a therapist unfortunately prompts a she says, “you have to be educated.” laundry list of assumptions and judgments. Maintaining privacy about one’s health is Editor's note: Writer Allie Burrow is a licensed appropriate, but embarrassment or shame clinical social worker who works in mental health. shouldn’t be attached to the courage it takes to seek help. “Mental illness is a part of life. If someone See this story at for doesn’t have it, someone you know does. It’s out mental-illness symptoms and coping skills. there, and we need to do something for people





by Sharon Albert Brier, staff writer

Rumor Has It Preston, Blake and Cash Bied. The cousins swam in the pool and trampolined at Nina’s, with the Boise River and a mountain in the background. Disco bowling one night and rafting during the day are a normal routine on the annual trip, sprinkled with organic food. Escape on all levels. Ellevate, a women’s networking organization, has launched a Houston chapter, with Jennifer Roosth as FAIRY TALE Jennifer Buenik and Nicholas Altman were married outdoors on Avery president. About Island, Louisiana, among oak trees decorated with chandeliers. 130 women execuHeather Baker, Alex Blair, Robert tives gathered at Tootsies West Ave to get to know Smith, Karen Turner-Smith, Dana Kervin, each other and see a “back to the basics” runway Leisa Holland Nelson and Warner Roberts. show. Sushana Castle, Amy Hertz, Liz Crosswell, Lots of friendly bow wows about the tied knot. Misti Pace Krahl, Mindy Fein and Rachel All animals welcome. Each year in Tenenbaum were seen mingling over champagne, celebration of the Feast of St. Francis, St. SlimRitas and Nothing Bundt Cakes. Lidya Francis Episcopal Church holds a Blessing of Osadchey, CEO of Escape Family Services, spoke the Pets. Pet lovers and their animals are welabout a meaningful career with heart, and CEO come Oct. 4 to stand by the statue of St. Francis Lucy Corona, who founded the SlimRitas brand in the south courtyard to receive a blessing from of low-calorie margaritas, gave pointers on growing the Rev. Bob Wismer and the Rev. Stuart a biz. Fulfilling mind and body accomplished. Bates for protection. Lizards, snakes, fish, birds, What’s the hurry? After being together hedgehogs and guinea pigs have heard these for 19 years, animal lovers and Houston philanprayers too. Dr. Benjamin Tharp from Voss thropic staples Bruce Padilla and Shelby Road Animal Clinic will offer advice and Kibodeaux were married. About 250 of their answer questions. Committee volunteers are friends gathered at Harwood Grill in River Oaks Bob and Kay Forker, Mary and John Kenner, to help them celebrate. They both had dogand Steve and Nancy Shomette. themed groom’s cakes, and the crowd was filled with dog lovers, including Hershey Grace, Tena Faust and Tama Lundquist, Laura Stein, See Rumor Has It at for Elizabeth Stein, and Pat and Don Murphy. additional photos. Have some good news to share? Also in the crowd were Mary Ann and David Email us at McKeithan, Kim Moody, Brenda Cheney,


Margaret LeBrun/Margaret Le Brun Photography

Cajun affair. Friends from Houston and Sugar Land gathered at the Marsh House on Avery Island, Louisiana, to see Jennifer Buenik and Nicholas Altman say their wedding vows. The setting outdoors among towering oak trees dripping with chandeliers was out of a fairytale book. Ten minutes before the ceremony was to begin, rain appeared. However just as Jennifer stepped on the aisle with her parents, the sun beamed. Later, four minutes of fireworks shot up as the band Memphis Train Revue played Don’t Stop Believing. The parents of the couple, Donna and George Buenik, Carol and William Simmons, and Mickey Altman, were thrilled to celebrate and see them off to their honeymoon at Jumby Bay. Spoiled for fun. A Vegas getaway for Randi and Jonathan Casada, who caught up with friends at Caesars Palace, was a perfect summer break. They indulged in a limo ride to drive them to Planet Hollywood to see a concert featuring Earth Wind & Fire along with Chicago, the highlight of the trip. They dined at Joe’s Seafood and Steak House and spent a no-brainer day on the second-floor Venus Pool Club (a 10,000-square-foot retreat), the most exclusive oasis at Caesars. The private cabana lounging with high-end sushi and treats made catching rays quite a royal splash. The life. Plantains and bamboo. The smell of coffee and mangos were part of the sensory overload experienced by Merrill and Joe Hafner and Kathy and Terry Hatchet at their stay in the Hacienda Bambusa in Armenia, Colombia. Their trip also included Bogota and Cartagena. Arturo Boada of Arturo Boada Cocina was their restaurant advisor, offering a list of delightful culinary places to discover on their trip. A fave highlight was the most magnificent Catedral de Sal de Zipaquirá, an underground Roman Catholic church built within the tunnels of a salt mine underground. In the moment, their prayers were seasoned just right. House has a pool and tennis court. Tua Smith took her two grandchildren, Reese and Miles Reitman (Natalie Reitman’s children), to Boise, Idaho, to visit her other daughter, Nina, and Gregory Bied and the children,





by Annie Blaylock McQueen, staff writer

Buzz Baby


Buzz Baby is a column about life with babies from the perspective of a first-time mother. If you have baby stories to share, leave a comment under this article at or email


ost parents-to-be envision their child’s birth. The baby arrives, and moments later, they are holding their newborn child, skin to skin, and those cherished pictures are snapped. For some parents, that vision doesn’t always pan out if the baby needs to immediately be taken to the hospital’s neonatal intensive care unit, otherwise known as the NICU. My twins went to the NICU at Children’s Memorial Hermann Hospital. I got to hold them briefly, and, luckily, a nurse took a photo, but then away they went with the NICU team. The worst part for me after that was waiting to see them. I was hit with a tidal wave of nausea from the medicine, so I had to wait many agonizing hours until the nurse felt it was a good idea for me to stand up. The next worst part for me was being discharged from the hospital without my babies. The nursery was done. The diapers were ready. I was no longer pregnant. But where were my babies? Our house seemed extra quiet that night. On top of everything else, my new mother hormones were spinning. I knew they were where they needed to be, but I was heartbroken inside. I remember walking upstairs to see them for the first time. At our hospital, they divided the babies into rooms called pods. Our babies were doing well and were stable so we did not see any of the very sick babies. But I knew they were there. I could feel their presence and the parents’ heartbreak in the quiet hallways. My heart was beating out of my chest as I checked in at the desk. Would I have to see the babies through plate glass? Could I hold them? I was clueless. The room was the size of a typical school classroom with six babies, three on each side. It felt relaxing. Quiet. It was not what I was expecting. I had my own rocking chair. I could breastfeed, hold and rock them. After a week,

they were moved to the “step down” floor, where we even had a private room with a couch. After a few days, and seeing the babies thrive, my husband and I had an epiphany. Wait. This whole NICU thing isn’t so bad. We had a team of experienced doctors, nurses, volunteers and lactation consultants all there to help us. As new parents and parents to twins, we needed all the help we could get. We changed our attitudes and began to view their stay in the NICU as something positive. At night when we slept, we knew we were only eight miles away from them. For other moms, like Elizabeth Canfield and her husband Kyle, an electrical contractor, the thought of having MOTHER LOVE After Rory Bellow went into premature labor on a flight, baby Collins a child stay in a spent time in the NICU. Today, she is 18 months old and healthy. Houston NICU baby boy named Luke. would have been a welcomed opportunity. “I woke up around 4 a.m. not feeling well. We Back in summer 2012, and 29 weeks pregwent to the clinic in Telluride, and they decided nant with her first, Elizabeth, along with Kyle, I needed to go to the hospital in Montrose packed up and flew to Telluride, Colo., for a [Colorado],” said Elizabeth. She was in labor. family vacation. There was no time to (continued on page 24) Elizabeth returned 45 days later, mom to a



TOGETHER NOW Big brother Samuel Sweeney (pictured, first photo, with parents Emily and Ryan holding twins Asher and Jude) was 18 months old at the time of the twins’ premature birth. Jude and Asher (second photo, from left) spent nearly five months in a neonatal intensive care unit. (continued from page 22) think. Luke was coming,

quickly. As they passed through the Dallas Divide mountain pass by ambulance, Luke was born. He weighed 2 pounds, 15 ounces, but was stable and strong. He spent 45 days in the closest NICU to them, which was St. Mary’s Hospital in Grand Junction. “I would go to his room every morning for his first [feedings] and stay until 10 every night,” said Elizabeth. “I would sleep in a chair. It was such a learning curve, [being a] first-time mom and a mother of a preemie.” Elizabeth says her family traveled back and forth to visit. In the end, she found the silver lining. “It was a blessing in disguise that we were so far from home,” said Elizabeth. “It allowed me to concentrate only on Luke. I didn’t have to worry about the house, the dog or anything else.” Early arrival often means a NICU stay until the baby’s “due date.” When mother-of-two Rory Bellow and her husband Beau, who works in commercial real estate, were on a 65-minute flight home from the family ranch, she went into unexpected labor while 30 weeks pregnant with their first child. By the time the plane landed, her contractions were closing in at 30 seconds apart. They rushed to Texas Children’s Pavilion for Women. Minutes after check-in, Collins Julaine Bellow was born, weighing a tiny 3 pounds, 14 ounces, and stretching 16.5 inches long. “It felt like a movie,” said Rory. “Running through the halls on the gurney, lots of yelling, the nurses telling me to not push.” Collins was stable but needed time to grow and spent the next six weeks in the NICU at Texas Children’s. Rory said the initial shock was overwhelming. “The terror of knowing you are going to have a baby so early is blinding,” she said.

From the day Rory and Beau were discharged from the hospital, they spent as much time as they could with Collins. They eventually were moved into a private room (which can happen if the baby is more stable), making things more comfortable. “[At first], we could hold her for a few minutes once a day, but it depended on her vital signs,” said Rory. “I would wait up there because I didn’t want to miss that.” Collins came home happy and healthy after about six weeks. For other parents, like Emily Sweeney and her husband Ryan, managing partner with Streetwise Land Advisors, coping with a child’s stay in the NICU was even more complicated with a toddler at home. Their twin boys, Asher and Jude, were born one day shy of 25 weeks gestation in February 2013 at The Woman’s Hospital of Texas. With their 18-month-old toddler, Samuel, at home, each day they had to juggle. “He was still very little, very needy,” said Emily. Children under 2 were not permitted in the NICU. Samuel was going to have to wait many months to meet his new brothers. So the stunned parents faced their 5-month NICU stay head on. “I remember changing their tiny saltine packet-sized diapers at first and being amazed and terrified,” said Emily. They also accepted help from family and friends. “I didn’t grocery shop for six-plus weeks because my friends took care of it for me,” said Emily. Emily spent her days at the hospital, and Ryan, who was working, spent nights. “In the first several weeks, I was at the NICU almost all of the daytime, and at home for dinner, bath time and bedtime for Samuel. When [they] became more stable, I spent about six hours per day at the NICU and my afternoons and evenings with Samuel. Ryan would visit the twins in the evenings after Samuel had


gone to bed.” After a long 141 days, Jude came home, and nine days later, his twin brother followed. The Sweeneys finally were a family of five under one roof. No more wires. No more machines. No more people. Emily says during her experience, she leaned on two friends who had babies born around the same gestational age. “I always tell people that [being a NICU parent] is a club that you don’t want to have to join, but if you do, you’re glad that it exists because [my friends] were the biggest help.” Anyone who has had a child in the NICU knows how attached parents can get to the nurses. They are the first people you see when you walk in the room. They are the ones who teach you how to change their tiny diapers and feed them. They are the ones who love your babies and treat parents with compassion. Lauren Nikolic, a NICU nurse at Children’s Memorial Hermann, was a comforting presence during our newborn twins’ stay. We’ve stayed in touch and see her from time to time. “I recently took care of a baby who was finally able to wear clothes for the first time,” Lauren told me recently. “He was practically swimming in a preemie-sized onesie, but his mom and dad kept remarking on how big he was. Perspective is everything. I love watching parents get excited over the little things. Watching parents change a teeny tiny diaper for the first time is so special.” So, while our NICU days are moving further into the past, I can still close my eyes and hear the beeping sounds of the machines. I can still smell their fresh baby skin as I held them against my hospital gown (which you are required to wear in the NICU). I can see the nurses burping tiny babies. We are part of the NICU family now, and I will be forever grateful.

Visit our campus to discover how we educate and inspire SCHOLARS AND GENTLEMEN.

Open House: Sunday, October 18, 2015, 1-3 p.m. Admissions Presentations/Group Tours: 9:30-11 a.m. Wednesday, October 7 • Friday, November 6 Tuesday, December 8 • Wednesday, January 6 Wednesday, February 3 Please visit for more information and to RSVP. Walk-ins also welcome. The Regis School of the Sacred Heart 7330 Westview Drive • 713-682-8383 The Regis School is an independent Catholic school where boys become Scholars and Gentlemen in the Sacred Heart tradition.


TRAVEL by Tracy L. Barnett, staff writer

Travel Buzz Castro’s Cuba – Before it’s too late


elly and Carmela Frels grew up in the Cold War era. The Cuban Revolution, the Bay of Pigs, and the standoff with the Soviet Union that nearly led to a nuclear war marked their lives profoundly. For John and Becky Luman, it all amounted to a footnote in history – something you learned about in school, but didn’t fully understand. Now, with the gradual opening of Cuba, both couples took advantage of trips to the island organized through The University of Texas alumni association, the “Texas Exes” – and despite their quite different perspectives at the outset, both couples came away from the experience similarly enthusiastic. The moment attorney and lobbyist John Luman learned of the Flying Longhorns’ new weeklong tour offering, he was on board. “Growing up as a kid, Cuba was right off the coast; it was a communist country, it was Caribbean – which has always been something I’ve enjoyed. It was one of those places that you always heard of as stuck in time, with all those old cars, and you couldn’t go there. And when someone tells you that you can’t do something, you want to do it even more,” John recalls with a laugh. For a long time it’s been possible to travel to Cuba through such people-to-people exchanges, typically organized by nonprofits, church groups and other associations. Attorney Laura Gibson, for example, who is currently serving as president of the Houston Bar Association, and her husband, Bill Ogden, jumped at the chance to join the Executive Women’s Partnership in an organized trip to Cuba in 2012 after having accompanied the group on tours in Turkey in 2009 and China in 2011. Such trips are typically educational, cultural or service-oriented in nature, and still highly regulated; one must request and receive approval from the U.S. Treasury Department in order to travel there on specially chartered flights. Americans aren’t yet allowed to vacation on Cuba’s pristine beaches, as European and Canadian tourists do; they are, however, allowed to explore the magnificent yet crumbling architectural showcase that is Old Havana, walk the

SEASIDE PLEASURES John and Becky Luman steal a few precious moments from their educational tour to dip their toes in the Caribbean at the Villa Yaguanabo beach, Cienfuegos, Cuba.

shady streets and plazas of Spanish Colonial-era cities like Cienfuegos, Trinidad and Sancti Spiritus, and enjoy the musical, dance and artistic offerings of a vibrant culture. Now, with the United States’ reestablishment of diplomatic relations with Cuba, the day is getting closer when any U.S. traveler can jump on a plane and head straight for the Cuban beach resorts, just as they do with neighboring Dominican Republic, Barbados or the U.S. Virgin Isles. Along with that pending change comes a lot of excitement – along with a certain amount of concern. When Kelly and Carmela told friends of their pending trip, the responses they received tended to be in two very distinct categories. “There were those who said, ‘Oooh that’s neat – how in the world are you doing that?’” said Carmela. “Then you have the more conservative environment of people; some think you’re supporting a communist government, giving Castro money – that phrase was used.” She and Kelly, also a Texas alum who followed the Lumans’ example on a 2014 Flying Longhorns trip, are of that generation that saw a Cuba divided, with wealthy and business-class families fleeing the country with whatever they could carry. “We have friends who left Cuba extraordi-


narily concerned about the human-rights violations,” said Carmela. For the Lumans it was similar, but a generation or two removed. “We’ve met many people who have a Cuban base. We know their grandparents had to escape and left everything behind because of the Revolution; understandably, it is very hard for them to get over that.” But their travels found the Lumans and the Frels comparing notes and arriving at the same conclusions. “It was neat to hear Kelly talk the same way I did,” said John. “He was all excited about opening up Cuba the same way we were. My dad was a World War II sailor in the Pacific Islands. We had the same issues there when we first started trade with Japan, but people eventually came around.” Neither the Frels nor the Lumans – nor Laura Gibson, for that matter – are the types of travelers who generally take tours; they like the freedom of planning their own itinerary. But in the case of Cuba, where travel is still heavily regulated by the U.S. government, a package tour can have the double benefit of getting travelers through the red tape, while providing context, and access to places one wouldn’t ordinarily visit: a magnet school for the arts, where travelers watched a professional-level dance performance in the breezeway of (continued on page 28)


PICASSO OF THE CARIBBEAN “Fusterlandia” is an art complex on the outskirts of Havana where Cuban artist José Rodríguez Fuster has used the neighborhood as a canvas for his Picasso- and Gaudi-inspired art. From left are Buzz-resident travelers Bill Ogden, Laura Gibson, Lynne Liberato and James Flodine. (continued from page 26) the decaying Soviet-era

high rise that was the dancers’ school; a neighborhood where residents banded together to clean up mountains of trash and turn it into an art mosaic; another neighborhood that had organized a beautiful organic community garden, as many neighborhoods and villages did when the Soviets pulled out of Cuba in 1989. Already cut off from the Western world by the U.S. embargo, the fall of the Soviet Union threw Cuba into a crisis that they refer to as “The Special Time,” when, cut off from their main source of petroleum and many other industrially produced materials, they were forced to improvise and learn how to make do with what they had, or face starvation. This insider’s view was especially interesting for Becky, a civil engineer and founder of Healthy Tweaks, a business encouraging sustainable living. “They took us to this fabulous organic cooperative farm where you could feed yourself and your family from the harvest if you came and worked. It struck me that we could use some of these sustainable community gardens in urban Houston,” she said. “It was fascinating to see how Cuba had to adjust with their minimized economy.” To Laura, too, what stood out was the warmth and resourcefulness of the people. “The architecture was beautiful, but it was very clear they have been living without a lot of creature comforts for a very long time,” she said. “It made me think of times gone by; the pace of life is much

slower, they don’t have all the electronics, their cars are old – you’d see five men all poring their heads over the engine of a car, working together to figure out how to get it running.” The sense that one has stepped back into another era is overwhelming. The first thing many people notice is the cars – the 1950s-era Chevys and Fords, painted in bright colors and cherished like babies. Newer cars – ’70s and ’80s models – are mostly of Soviet make, and new cars are practically nonexistent. A few miles out into the countryside, farmers are getting around on wagons strapped to mules or oxen. In Old Havana, Laura saw a shop using an 80-year-old printing press to print newspapers. And Carmela marveled at a tiny corner store where the proprietor kept a little blackboard with a list of the goods her store offered and an old vintage brass cash register with one side missing. “She was so proud of her tiny store – she has one package of sugar, one package of flour, one package of salt, and you bought a portion of that. Her blackboard gave the amount of what she could sell you, like you could buy a fourth of a cup of salt.” The Cold War lives on in Cuba, where the billboards carry revolutionary slogans and denouncements of the U.S. embargo instead of ads for hamburgers and hotel chains. And the first, apparently obligatory stop for every tourist is Revolutionary Square, where towering images of Che Guevara and other revolutionaries adorn the sides of buildings.


All of the travelers came away with a deep appreciation for a unique and resilient country, and a more nuanced perspective on what the U.S. relationship with Cuba should be going forward. “The trip changed our view on Cuba, in the sense that they’re really not ready for us to come over there and have at it,” said John. “We’ve always believed that Cuba should be opened and the social and economic transition could take care of itself – but now after experiencing it, from a purely logistical perspective and sensing people are not ready, we’re still for it but think we need to be careful of what we do there not to overwhelm them.” Laura said she came to appreciate the Cubans. “Americans tend to think we are more privileged than most,” she said. “I think the reality is that because of the pace of life we live, we’re missing out on a lot. It makes you jealous in some ways … to see people sitting in an un-air-conditioned room listening to music…. It seems like they’re more thoughtful about what they do, they’re not as rushed... And I can’t tell you how many times I saw people sharing things – they’d run into their house to get something and work together… It’s not about the stuff. It makes you realize, it’s not what you have – it’s how you live.”

MORE ONLINE For links to Cuba tours, see this story at


FOOD by Bonnie McSwain Inamdar, contributing writer

Cooking Buzz The perfect potluck Cooking Buzz is produced in partnership with the Junior League of Houston, a women’s charitable and education organization founded in 1925.


othing puts me in a better mood than the lovely month of October. Temperatures finally start to dip below the 80s, and I burn off the last steam of summer. Candles are lit, coffee shops serve seasonal favorites, and fall boots are finally unveiled. October brings about a seasonal sweet spot – the holidays are just on the horizon, yet the frantic bustling hasn’t yet kicked in. It’s a time to savor the moment with friends and family over long, lazy evenings with delicious fare. If I’m lucky, I will be on the receiving end of a fall gathering invite. When that happens, I turn to no-stress recipes as my contribution to the perfect potluck. The following recipes from the Junior League of Houston cookbook Peace Meals make for a hearty fall menu when served together, or each can stand alone as a single dish. For an easy yet impressive appetizer, I enjoy the Classic Bruschetta al Pomodoro or the Crostini Tapenade. Both use warm, crusty bread as their base, the very symbol of hospitality. They are delicious on their own or make for a colorful spread when paired together. Both the Pomodoro spread and the Tapenade can be made in advance and refrigerated, making the end result very easy to spoon onto warm bread as my guests are arriving. Soup is always a staple in my house, to warm up as the first chilly breeze rushes through the air. Roasted Balsamic Tomato Soup is perfect for light suppers. This robust, flavorful soup takes a childhood favorite into adulthood. Once prepared, it can be transported easily in a crockpot. I like to serve the soup with a grown-up grilled cheese for a nostalgic meal when I reminisce with old friends. Another classic dish is the Farmers Market Lasagna. Don’t underestimate this vegetarian dish – it’s packed with enough healthy flavors to satisfy any carnivore. Although good for any time of year, the unexpected flavoring of nutmeg makes it especially appropriate for late fall. Goat cheese and pine nuts add depth to this recipe,

EVERYBODY LIKES LASAGNA The unexpected nutmeg flavoring in the vegetarian Farmers Market Lasagna makes it a good choice for fall weather.

and a variety of vegetable substitutions make it easily adaptable. I like to make two and freeze one for the hectic holiday nights ahead, or be a hero and deliver one to a sick friend or new mother. October would not be complete without a pumpkin dessert. Pumpkin Bread Pudding turns all things fall – ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg and pumpkin – into a sweet and warm finish. You can’t go wrong with a dish that suggests being served with fresh whipped cream on top. This is sure to be a hit with your favorite ghosts and goblins.

¼ cup extra virgin olive oil 1 teaspoon Balsamic vinegar Coarse salt and freshly grounded pepper Preheat the oven to broil. Arrange the bread slices in a single layer on a baking sheet. Toast under the broiler until golden and crisp. Turn the slices over and toast until the second side is golden and crisp. Rub the toasted bread immediately with garlic and drizzle with olive oil. Combine the tomatoes, basil, olive oil and vinegar in a bowl. Top the bruschetta with the mixture. Season with salt and pepper. Makes about 24 pieces.

Classic Bruschetta al Pomodoro From Peace Meals 1 loaf of rustic Italian bread such as ciabatta, cut into ½ to ¾ inch slices Al Pomodoro: 2 medium tomatoes, chopped 2 to 3 cloves garlic, slightly crushed Extra virgin olive oil ¼ cup fresh basil chiffonade


Crostini Tapenade From Peace Meals 1 thin loaf Italian bread or French baguette, cut into ¼- to ½-inch slices Tapenade: 3 cloves garlic, minced 1 cup pitted Kalamata olives 1 cup pine nuts, toasted (continued on page 32)

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1½ cups fresh parsley 1 teaspoon Herbes de Provence Freshly ground pepper ¼ cup olive oil ½ cup shredded Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese Truffle oil 1 bunch fresh basil chiffonade

(continued from page 30)

Preheat the oven to 350° F. Arrange the bread slices in a single layer on a baking sheet. Bake until lightly golden and crisp. Turn the slices over and bake until the second side is lightly golden and crisp. Remove the crostini from the oven and set aside. Place the garlic, olives, pine nuts, parsley and Herbes de Provence in a food processor; season with pepper. Process until smooth, adding the olive oil slowly while the blade is running. Top each crostini with the desired amount of tapenade and ParmigianoReggiano; broil just until the cheese is melted. Drizzle with truffle oil and top with basil. Serve warm. Makes about 40 pieces.

Roasted Balsamic Tomato Soup From Peace Meals 2 cups beef broth, divided 2 Tablespoons loosely packed brown sugar 6 Tablespoons Balsamic vinegar 2 Tablespoons soy sauce 2 cups chopped onions 8 garlic cloves, whole 4 28-ounce canned whole tomatoes, drained 1½ cups half-and-half Freshly ground pepper Fresh basil chiffonade Note: Look for good quality canned Italian tomatoes; diced can be substituted for whole, but crushed do not have the same full flavor. Preheat the oven to 500°F. Combine one cup of the broth, the sugar, vinegar and soy sauce in a small bowl. Lightly oil two 9-by-13-inch baking dishes. Divide the onions, garlic and tomatoes between the prepared dishes. Pour the broth mixture evenly over the tomatoes and bake for 50 minutes or until lightly browned. Pour the remaining cup of broth and half-andhalf over the toasted tomatoes, dividing equally between the dishes. Allow to cool slightly. Working in batches, puree the tomato mixture in a blender until smooth. Strain the mixture through a sieve into a stockpot, discarding the solids. Heat gently over medium. Finish with pepper and basil. Serves 8.

Farmers Market Lasagna From Peace Meals 8 ounces fresh baby spinach 2 Tablespoons olive oil, plus additional if needed 2 shallots, diced ¾ cup pine nuts 2 cloves garlic, minced 1 pint small cherry tomatoes, halved 2 teaspoons nutmeg Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper

BREAKING BREAD When paired, the Classic Bruschetta al Pomodoro and the Crostini Tapenade make a colorful spread.

8 ounces nonfat ricotta cheese 6 ounces goat cheese, room temperature ½ cup chopped fresh parsley ½ cup chopped fresh basil, plus additional 24 ounces prepared sun-dried-tomato pasta sauce 9 to 12 no-boil lasagna noodles 1 large zucchini, thinly sliced into rounds 1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese Note: Eggplant, yellow squash or mushrooms may be substituted for the zucchini. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Blanch the spinach in boiling water until wilted; remove to a colander and rinse with cold water. Press out the water and blot with a paper towel. Lightly oil the bottom of a 9-by-13-inch baking dish; set aside. In a large pan, heat the olive oil over medium, and sauté the shallots, pine nuts and garlic for 3 to 5 minutes, adding additional olive oil (or white wine) to keep the ingredients moist while cooking. Add the spinach, tomatoes and nutmeg. Season with salt and pepper, and continue to sauté for another 10 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside. In a bowl, stir together the ricotta and goat cheese; add the parsley and basil. To assemble the lasagna, put a very thin layer of the pasta sauce on the bottom of the prepared dish. Next, layer 3 or 4 of the lasagna noodles, half of the spinach mixture, half of the cheese mixture, and half of the zucchini and top with a thin layer of sauce. Repeat the layering, beginning with another layer of lasagna noodles. Finish with a layer of lasagna noodles topped with a thin layer of sauce. Sprinkle the Parmesan


cheese over the lasagna. Bake for 45 to 55 minutes. If necessary, cover the lasagna with foil to prevent too much browning. Allow the lasagna to rest for 10 minutes. Garnish with additional basil. Serves 6-8.

Pumpkin Bread Pudding From Peace Meals 1 loaf brioche or challah bread, cubed 4 eggs 4 cups (1 quart) heavy whipping cream 2 cups sugar 3 cups canned pumpkin puree 1½ teaspoons cinnamon 1½ teaspoons ground allspice 1½ teaspoons ground ginger ¼ teaspoon salt Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly butter a 9by-13-inch baking dish and set aside. Place the bread cubes on a rimmed baking sheet and toast until golden brown; set aside. In a large bowl, mix together the eggs, cream, sugar, pumpkin and spices. Slowly add the bread to the mixture, allowing it to absorb the liquid (do not stir the bread into mush). When the bread is saturated, place the mixture into the prepared baking dish. Cover with foil and bake for 20 minutes. Uncover and bake for 10 to 15 more minutes until crisp and brown. (Top with fresh whipped cream sprinkled with cinnamon for a special touch.) Serves 8. Editor’s note: To buy a cookbook, see or call 713-871-6608.

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by Todd Freed, staff writer

Rusty Graham

SportzBuzz B

ack in 2007, a junior quarterback by the name of Andrew Luck led Stratford to victory over the rival Memorial Mustangs. Of course, Luck is now an NFL superstar, but back at his high school alma mater, the Spartans had gone winless against Memorial since that 2007 game – until this year’s decisive 34-7 season-opening victory over the Mustangs. Quarterbacking the 2015 version of the Spartans is senior Michael Milstead, who posted some big passing numbers in the victory, including three touchdown passes to wide receiver Torin Justice. “It was a great team win,” said Milstead. “Our offensive line gave me a lot of opportunity to throw the ball, and our defense kept putting us back on the field. Also, I just threw it up to our play makers, and they made the plays.” One of the major play makers again for the Spartans this season is highly recruited running back Rakeem Boyd, who is coming off a spectacular season in which he rushed for over 2,000 yards. While Boyd just recently committed to play college football at Texas A&M, the senior sensation is more focused on leading a highly ranked Stratford team to a deep run in the postseason playoffs. “I definitely want to see us make a run at state,” said Boyd. “The Memorial game was a lot of fun and was definitely a great way to kick things off.” Also certainly pleased with the victory was Spartans head coach Eliot Allen. “I have a lot of respect for Memorial,” said Allen. “Hopefully, that type of victory will propel us to a great season. It was a really good win for our program.” In volleyball, the Bellaire Cardinals jumped out to a spectacular start to the season, having won the championship of the Spring Branch ISD tournament, and then finishing in the top 20 among a field of the state’s top 88 teams in the prestigious Pearland tournament. In addition, the Cardinals were ranked 15th in the state one month into the season, marking the highest state ranking in school history. “We have a group of talented, hard working and disciplined kids,” said Cardinals head coach Ap Clarke. The Cardinals’ roster boasts several talented players, including senior outside hitter

RUNAWAY VICTORY Stratford Spartan and Texas A&M commit Rakeem Boyd breaks free for big chunks of yardage in the Spartans’ season-opening victory over Memorial. The victory was Stratford’s first over Memorial since the 2007 football season.

Sundara Chin, who was named the MVP of the Spring Branch tournament. “Sundara is an explosive, 6-foot, left-handed hitter who leads us in kills,” said Clarke. Also leading the way for Bellaire are junior twins Maya and Megan Evans. Maya is a mid hitter while Megan is a setter for the Cardinals. “They know each other so well,” said Clarke. “Megan just feeds Maya perfectly. Maya also leads us in blocking while Megan has great hands and sets the tempo for our team.” Other top players, according to Clarke, include junior libero (defensive specialist) Ella Hawes and senior outside hitter Jade Robinson. “Ella does such a great job getting the ball to our hitters, while Jade is one of our senior captains. She’s an extremely hard hitter and an especially great blocker.” Just before the start of the school year, several local baseball players earned the distinction of World Champions, with the West U Senior League All-Stars winning the Senior League World Series for the second year in a row, and for the league’s third world title. “We’re just blessed with extremely talented kids who grew up in the same general area in West U,” said West U All-Stars manager Chris Sauls. “It’s really pretty incredible. We’re the


only USA team to ever win back-to-back championships and also the only USA team to win three World Series titles. This year’s team is pretty much the same core of kids that won it all last year.” The core of players was led by Jimmy Winston and John Doxakis, who had outstanding tournaments both on the pitching mound and at the plate for West U. Doxakis was the only player in the entire World Series who had a home run in the tournament. Doxakis and Winston are also two of several players on the West U team who play high school baseball at Lamar. Outfielder Jared Burch (Episcopal H.S.) and catcher William James (Strake Jesuit) both had multiple-hit games in the tournament, including several key at bats in the championship-game victory over the Central USA team. Joe Gobillot was the winning pitcher in that title game and was relieved by Jacob Millender. Editor’s Note: Todd Freed is the Emmy Awardwinning co-host and producer of the KUBE SportsZone, which airs Saturday and Sunday at 6 p.m. on Channel 57-KUBE. To submit high school sports news for possible inclusion in SportzBuzz, please email



by Angie Frederickson, staff writer

SportzBuzz, Jr. W

Speed swimmer Seventh grader Brazos Donovan (top photo) earned several medals at this year’s Memorial Spring Branch Swim Conference Meet of Champs. He represented the Afton Village swim team in the boys 11/12 age group and placed first in 25-yard breaststroke, second in 50-yard freestyle, and fifth in 25-yard butterfly. Now a competitive swimmer with Dad’s Club, Brazos began swimming, unassisted, just before his third birthday. He joined the Afton Alligators summer swim team at age 4. He swims five days per week and hopes to join his sister, Peyton, on the Memorial High School swim team in a couple of years. Brazos recently participated in a swim clinic with Olympic gold medalists Ian Crocker and Garrett Weber-Gale.

Sports Photos USA

elcome to SportzBuzz, Jr., a column spotlighting neighborhood athletes in elementary and middle school.

National competitor Abigail Tomaski (middle photo), a fifth grader at Frostwood Elementary, competes on the balance beam at a state gymnastics meet in Rockwall. A competitive gymnast with Stars Gymnastics, Abigail started taking lessons at age 2 and began competing at age 6. Now, she is a level 6 gymnast and practices five days per week, for a total of 23 hours each week. She will travel many weekends this school year for competitions around the nation, competing in floor routine, balance beam, uneven bars and vault. She has a wonderful group of teammates. Abigail hopes, one day, to receive a perfect score of 10.0.

Hitting a winner Second Baptist School fourth grader Preston Bauch (bottom photo) and his mom, Cherie, played in the Houston Racquet Club’s Fourth of July parent/child tournament. The duo placed second, just one point away from the first-place team. Preston began playing at age 5 and is “a natural at tennis,” according to proud mom Cherie. They share a love of tennis as Cherie has played since her childhood and spends almost every day on the court. Preston plays with his mom almost every weekend. When he is not on the tennis court, you can find Preston playing elite baseball, football or basketball. Editor’s note: Send your best high-resolution photos and behind-the-scenes stories about young local athletes, in both team and individual sports, to SportzBuzz, Jr. at Include all contact info, names, ages, grades and schools. Featured athletes must live in Buzz-circulation neighborhoods. Items will be published on a space-available basis.

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Two quick pathways to allergy relief Allergy shots are unique in that they make you less allergic to the pollen, dust mites, mold and/or animal dander you’re allergic to. They do this by helping your body to switch from an “allergic” response, to more of a “tolerance” response. In essence, your body no longer tries to fight off the allergens; instead, it learns how to ignore them. We have to start shots at a safe dose because you’re allergic, but the shots don’t help until you reach a high dose. After we finish building up your dose, you take a “maintenance dose,” usually once a month. Since 1995, The Allergy Clinic has safely performed Rush on over 3,000 patients. This one-day procedure provides very rapid desensitization, getting you to that highest dose, or at least 90 percent of the way, in one eight-hour day, providing quicker relief of symptoms. Rush is a great procedure for those with busy schedules who would find it difficult to come in at least once a week for up to six months, which is what is typically required with more traditional methods of building to the high or “maintenance dose.” But what if you can’t spend the entire day in our office? Or what if you can only come on Saturday mornings? Cluster is also a great option, and is almost as fast as Rush. With Cluster, we essentially do a series of “minirush;” that is, we give a set of allergy shots, observe the patient, then give another set of allergy shots, again observe the patient, and then give a final set of allergy shots for that day. So you spend 1.5 or 2 hours in our office, once or twice a week, for a total of 8 or 9 visits before you reach your maintenance dose. With Rush, we have patients take several medications for three days

beforehand to reduce the chance of severe allergic reactions. With Cluster, you only premedicate with antihistamines. That’s because your immune system has at least 36 hours to process the previous set of shots, so the risk of having allergic reactions to the shots is less. All insurance companies, including Medicare, cover Rush and Cluster, but there are some limitations. For instance, Humana will only cover it if we desensitize the patient to stinging insects, or to drugs (e.g., penicillin); however, Humana excludes coverage for the Rush or Cluster if it is done for airborne allergens, such as ragweed or dust mites. Rapid allergy desensitization procedures such as Rush or Cluster are safe, effective options that are covered well by insurance companies and get your dose of shots where you receive relief much more quickly. No one nose allergies like we do.™ Note: Information contained in this article should not be considered a substitute for consultation with a board-certified allergist to address individual medical needs. David B. Engler, M.D., The Allergy Clinic, 7707 Fannin, Suite 100, Houston, Texas 77054, 713.797.0993, *1200 Binz, Suite 180, Houston, Texas 77004, 713.522.9911,, *Operating as Houston Allergy & Asthma Clinic

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Baybrook/Webster • Champions/Willowbrook TANGLEWOOD/RIVER OAKS BUZZ OCTOBER 2015 37



by Annie Blaylock McQueen, staff writer

Buzz About Town In dedication A private gathering was held at Briargrove Elementary to bless and dedicate a roadrunner mosaic. The mosaic was commissioned by the PTO in honor of the Cochran, Eknoyan and McConn families, who all served in PTO leadership positions for over a decade. Current PTO officers Amanda Fisher and Jennifer Dollinger and principal Eden Jones-Hinds led the ceremony, with Ann and Burke Cochran and children Frances, Thomas and Mary Ruth, Leah and Greg Eknoyan and children Sarah and Will, Susan and Rick McConn and children Margaret, Mary Bass and Pete, and numerous

faculty and staff members in attendance. The Rt. Rev. Jeff W. Fisher, bishop suffragan of the Episcopal Diocese of Texas, presided over the ceremony.

The perfect pairings Hasti Taghi, Lauren Dupuis and Stacy Andell (pictured, from left) mingled at the Women of Wardrobe 12th annual Sizzling Summer Soireé at Tootsies. The evening was emceed by KHOU’s Mia Gradney and featured the Rachel Zoe Fall 2015 collection and a preview of her Resort 2015 collection. Fashionable attendees shopped pieces from jewelry designer Claudia Lobao and Presmer

designer Annsley Popov. Guests nibbled on bites from Paul’s Kitchen, Eddie V’s, Harwood Grill, Armandos, Green Plate Foods, SlimRitas and more. A percentage of the evening’s sales went

Wednesday, October 28, 2015 8:00 am to 6:00 pm Congregation Beth Yeshurun • 4525 Beechnut Find the perfect gift for family, friends, teachers, co-workers and yourself. Fashion, jewelry and accessories, gifts for the home, gifts for your pets, stationery, food, toys and so much more! Check out the BYDS Market Facebook page for more information. For questions contact or call 713.666.1884


Claire O’Malley Shisler

towards helping lower-income women get back on their feet through the non-profit Dress for Success Houston.

A grand slam

When Tressa Roque and John Barzilla (pictured) got engaged to be re-married, they set a date for late July in the Florida Keys. The hustle and bustle of life kept getting in the way, including Tressa’s father spending time in the hospital and their son, Anthony, advancing in baseball season. Post Oak Little League made it to the state finals, and parents Tressa and John cheered on the team during the championship game in Tyler. Some parents turned to them and said, confused, “Aren’t you supposed to be getting married?” The answer was yes and after a quick “team huddle,” they decided to celebrate at the championship game in a special way: with their wed-

ding. Post Oak Little League coach Chris Spears, who’s actually an ordained minister, agreed to officiate right then and there. Tressa’s maid of honor was Sarah Crawmer. Everyone wore Post Oak Little League spirit shirts, shorts and flip flops. Their son Anthony, who’s a fifth grader at St. Michael’s Catholic School, was thrilled.

Rise to shine Some Junior League of Houston volunteers, including (pictured, from left) community vice

president Abigail Swalick Khatiblou, presidentelect Shannon Beirne Weisedeppe, president Mary Margaret Fraser Foerster and membership vice president Jennifer Scheifley Roberts, had an early wake-up call for the 10th Annual Cameron Childspree, benefiting Child Advocates. The volunteers were up bright and early, stuffing backpacks and assisting over 625 children ages 4-18 select back-to-school clothes across nine Houston-area Targets. The participating children, who have (continued on page 40)


fundraiser will be the first event held at the brand new Buffalo Bayou Park, The Water Works, with views of the skatepark, bayou and downtown. Live music will be provided by London Calling, and breast-cancer survivor photos will be on dis-

(continued from page 39) been removed from their

homes due to abuse or neglect, received backpacks filled with school supplies and other necessities for the new school year.

Jump in

A group of Grady Middle School sixth graders gathered at Jennifer and David Dollinger’s home for a pool party to kick off the new school year. The friends, who all attended Briargrove Elementary together, caught up over the excitement of starting the next chapter in their lives together, in middle school. Pictured (from left) are Kane Kinney, Lainie Stone, Christian Zenner, Charlie Dollinger, James Murnane and Jack Stone.

Escape from the heat A group of friends traveled to Woods Hole in Cape Cod in August to have a respite from the Houston heat wave. Ebie and Mike Nametz

invited friends to share their 10-bedroom Cape Cod home on the water. The women filled their days with jaunts to Nantucket and Martha’s Vineyard after exploring the beach and town at Woods Hole and didn’t have time for their favorite pastime, the strategy game of mah jongg, after all. They proclaimed the Nametzes the best hosts ever. Pictured (from left) are Connie Senter, Sharon Maloney, Ebie Nametz, Lili Rubin, Sharon Brier, Vicky Dyer-Smith and Mady Kades. Standing in the back is Mike Nametz.

Eat, drink and think pink Breast Cancer Awareness is this month, so mark your calendars to wine and dine for a cause. Taylor and Grayson Moffatt (pictured, from left) will chair Pink Ribbons Project’s newest fundraising event, Sip & Savor Houston’s Flavors, on Oct. 15 from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. The

nurturing young minds emphasis on individuality

respect for students

focusing on academics

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play from the book Body & Soul: the Courage and Beauty of Breast Cancer Survivors, by Jean Karotkin. Jane Weiner, an artistic director, has choreographed a dance duet as a showcase from the program, Pink Aware, a dance demonstration. Local artist Ange Hillz will create canvas art on site. Tickets are $100 and can be purchased at

Manners matter Sara D’Agostino, Tanya Leiber, Josie Morgan, Louise Carter and Kennedy Hughes (pictured, from left), members of The Junior League of

Dave Rossman

son’s trends on the runway. The fashion show featured looks from Aeropostale, Brooks Brothers, Crazy 8, Gap, Janie and Jack, Macy’s, Monsoon, Peek and Topshop. In the crowd were MD

Houston’s Community Special Projects Committee, worked with some kids at the inaugural “The Polite Bite.” The event paired food and Houston-based etiquette coach Michelle Hollander with the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Houston Youth. The event focused on dining and social graces. Each child engaged in two hours of practical etiquette lessons and practiced writing their own set of thank you notes prepared by League volunteers.

Fashion show for MD Anderson Elizabeth Loeffler (pictured) signed the wall at the Details annual back-to-school event and fashion show hosted by the MD Anderson Children’s Cancer Hospital and The Galleria. More than 100 seats were filled and standing room was packed as retailers showcased trendy looks to help students earn an A+ in fall fashion. Attendees enjoyed the fashion show as pediatric cancer patients, MD Anderson physicians, caregivers, supporters’ children and Page Parkes models highlighted this sea-

Anderson representatives Janet McCloskey, Katrina Burton and Tanya Ellenberg, school program principal Daniel Smith, director of clinical services Dr. Julie Segovia, child life specialist Morinsola Keshinro, director of marketing of The Galleria Andrew Huang, KHOU anchor and emcee Mia Gradney; MD Anderson Children’s Cancer Hospital patients; and Little Galleria Players donor families.

For the pooches Calling all dogs. Get ready for a howl of a good time on Oct. 18 from 2 to 5 p.m. at the Red

Collar Rescue Round-Up fundraiser. Bring your owners (just make sure they stay leashed). There will be food, live music, a raffle, silent auction and more. The fun will happen at the Houston Dog Ranch at 9602 Dalecrest Drive. Tickets are $25 before Oct. 11 and $45 at the door. Tickets can be purchased at The allvolunteer, animal-welfare charity provides res-

cue services, medical care, foster care, training and adoptive placement to stray and abandoned dogs and cats in the Houston area. Pictured is owner Sarah Lu Burrowes with her RCR alumni dogs Chip and Bill. Be seen in Buzz About Town. Send your high-res photos and community news to Items are published on a space-available basis. Also share your upcoming-event listings on


ISTANBUL, NOT CONSTANTINOPLE J.J. Nelson, who is in the eighth grade at The Branch School, has traveled to many countries but was particularly inspired by his recent family trip to Istanbul.

KIDS by J.J. Nelson, age 13

Buzz Kidz O

When you travel, go to Istanbul

ur tour guide walks us through the narrow streets. We come to a park with imposing, time-worn walls standing in stark contrast to the magnificent fountains and a colorful multitude of budding flowers. All this? This is what made my Istanbul trip special. I’ve been to several different countries, including Germany, England, Ireland, Africa, China and, now, Istanbul in Turkey! Istanbul was the first trip in which I took everything in. In the past, I hadn’t realized how rare the opportunity to travel can be. For my family, London is a second home. We stayed there for a few days, then headed off on our trip. We went to Istanbul, where East Asia meets Western Europe, and it was a beautiful mash-up of old and new. Classic art, buildings,

statues and relics exist alongside newer buildings and cutting-edge technology. Then there were the mosques. The mosques are awe-striking structures, examples of superior engineering, completed by masterfully stained glass, stunning art work, giant marble columns and intricately patterned prayer carpets. I especially enjoyed The Blue Mosque. Six castle-like towers line the outside. Two massive domes and many smaller ones are visible inside the walls. As you walk in, be sure to take off your shoes. The women don long skirts and head coverings. A floor of sprawling red carpet and blue tiles greet you as you enter. Look up and you will see a giant chandelier of candles, hundreds of windows, and thousands of blue tiles with messages written on them. The


technological prowess of the builders, using density and expansion to build arches, is impressive. The trip was brilliant, from the gorgeous sights of the mosques and flowers to the beautiful streets leading down to parks. I also can’t go without mentioning the exquisite food. I personally recommend the Turkish pizza. Istanbul was definitely an eye-opening experience. Want to be a Buzz Kid? Email approximately 350 words, a high-resolution photo and caption to Or mail it to The Buzz Magazines, 5001 Bissonnet, Suite 100, Bellaire, Texas 77401.


Bill Olive Photography

DINING GUIDE by Dai Huynh, staff writer

This Month in Dining Still Tony’s, after all these years


ony Vallone darts from the dining room to the kitchen, mentally making notes of everything – from the voluptuous folds of fresh, apricot-tinged Ecuadoran roses at the center of every table to the imported, Umbria black truffles nestled behind a glass dome. Pristine white, purple and fuchsia orchids splash like exclamation marks against the subdued glow of ochre walls at Tony’s in Greenway Plaza on Richmond. It is 10 a.m. on a recent Thursday, an hour before lunch, or what some regulars refer to as the first act at the 425-seat, white-tablecloth restaurant. The second act comes at dinnertime, when the lights dim, the corks of rare vintages pop and Vallone takes center stage. After 50 years, Tony’s continues to exude a cinematic charm. Here, life unfolds and the stories born over five decades still permeate the walls, despite three incarnations. “The early ’60s was such a different world,” says Vallone, in between a food photo shoot for his website. To start, you didn’t have Yelp or food bloggers to market your brand. Diners had little to go on other than recommendations from friends and families along with the occasional restaurant review. But even that was in its infancy – reviews were often penned by the publisher’s or editor’s wife. It was a hobby, not a serious endeavor. But for a struggling Italian-American kid who grew up in Sunnyside, one of Houston’s oldest AfricanAmerican communities, it was about survival. There were many days in the early years of Tony’s when the soft-spoken entrepreneur thought that his tiny Italian joint, originally

Five decades of fine dining Tony’s Restaurant, 3755 Richmond, will celebrate its 50th anniversary with a restaurant-wide charity dinner to benefit Memorial Hermann Life Flight on Nov. 18. For details, call 713-242-4450 or email Sponsorships are available for $50,000, $25,000, $10,000 and $5,000. Individual tickets are $500.

located on Sage Road where Macy’s sits today in The Galleria, was going to go under, even though his overhead costs were low. Vallone was the cook, busboy and, on occasion, the dishwasher. VINO Tony Vallone's walls of wines draw wine connoisseurs from around the world. Back then, Houston Gilot, Pablo Picasso’s artistic muse and Paloma was a steak-and-loaded-potato town. Tony’s Picasso’s mom; a chance meeting with gracious served Continental and Italian cuisines. “I startart patron and museum namesake Dominique de ed doing seafood and pasta,” Vallone recalls. “It Menil, who melted her heart; and still-regularwas being done in Italy for more than a century customer President George H.W. Bush. and in New York, but nobody was doing it here. “Everyone claps until he sits down,” Donna says, There were a few Italian-American restaurants, “and he always smiles and waves.” but not many because the market wasn’t conTony’s tales can easily fill a book, something ducive to it. The first several years, I almost didVallone is penning with wine historian and author n’t make it.” Jeremy Parzen. The part-cookbook and part-memBut you don’t give up on love, and “that oir, tentatively titled Fifty Years of Food and Stories, restaurant is his true love. I truly believe that. is scheduled to be released next spring. He is passionate about it,” says former Houston The trim, dark-haired 71 year old, wearing a Chronicle food editor Ann Criswell. charcoal blue pin-striped suit, scrutinizes an Vallone kept at it, even though some folks wrinoctopus tentacle on a white porcelain plate kled up their noses at a few dishes. Take calamari splashed with cherry tomatoes and a vibrant yel– fried, it has become a restaurant standard. “Back low sauce. “That’s better. We’ve got to show the then, I had to go to a bait camp to buy calamari,” yellow.” Vallone assesses the presentation by he recalls. “Prosciutto wasn’t even allowed into the Kate McLean, the first female chef de cuisine at country.” his flagship restaurant. “She plates well. That’s Then the young man’s fortunes turned important because people eat with their eyes around. Gerald Hines walked into the original first. Kate, you’ve got to do the lamb. The lamb Tony’s on Sage. Vallone refers to the legendary – it is dark – but there will be contrasting colors developer as his “hero.” Hines was opening a on the plate, and it will be great.” shopping center on Post Oak Boulevard, and he The energetic 31-year-old McLean bobs her wanted Tony’s as a tenant. head in agreement and rushes back to the Hines helped Vallone get a loan and encourkitchen to fine-tune more dishes for the photo aged the young restaurateur to take a posher, more shoot. “Are you hungry?” asks Vallone, turning upscale stance. Very quickly, the River Oaks his attention to the photographers. “No? Would crowd made their way to the new Tony’s on Post you like coffee?” Oak, with its decadent lipstick-red walls. For three The courtesy of a professional host takes decades, the fine-dining establishment hosted precedence over the perfectionist. Vallone has countless celebrities and dignitaries. The stories high standards, and dishes would be tweaked are innumerable – from evenings with Frank numerous times during the photo shoot. “There Sinatra to a dinner party for Princess Margaret. is a lot of passion on the plate,” he says. “We Wife Donna Vallone witnessed many need to show that passion.” moments. A few moments stand out: when Donna, a gentle, slender brunette with an Donna, then a former HISD music teacher and easy smile, described her husband of 31 years as recently married to Vallone, met Françoise


Bill Olive Photography

Bill Olive Photography

PERFECTING Tony Vallone, chef de cuisine Kate McLean and sous chef Austin Waiter work on plate presentations for a Tony's website photo shoot.

other things need to be considered, Vallone says. Where the pigs are raised and what they eat impact how they taste. He still prefers what he considers the rich nuances of authentic Italian salami. A half hour before lunch starts, Vallone is conversing in Italian with his food-and-beverage purveyor, Friedel Landa, president of Selected Food & Beverage. The two are in a heated discussion. About 90 percent of so-called San Marzano tomatoes aren’t Italian, Vallone laments. Landa chimes in that there is a company that labels its cans San Marzano. The tomatoes are grown in California and China. Vallone is credited with introducing San Marzano tomatoes to the Houston market. The plum variety has fewer seeds and contain less water, he says, ideal for rich marinara. He even sold them under his own label until they became too much work. He currently uses Luigi Vitelli’s, grown in the Agro Sarnese-Nocerino area of Italy. Since relocating Tony’s to Greenway Plaza on Richmond 11 years ago, Tony’s has loosened its

Bill Olive Photography

an “absolute perfectionist. If it doesn’t turn out right, he’d rather throw it out.” Vallone has mentored many talented chefs who carved their own niche, including Grant Gordon, Mark Cox, Monica Pope, Marco Wiles and Olivier Ciesielski. His former employees often described Vallone as tough, demanding and firm, but fair. Recipes are tested and refined dozens of times before appearing on the menu. But ultimately, at Tony’s, the guest has the final say. Red signs – printed with Quiet Please in white bold letters – hang in Tony’s hushed kitchen along with another: “If A Guest Is Unhappy With A Dish. They Get Another. No Matter What. No Exception!” Tony Vallone believes that “no dish can be better than what goes into it,” and he says he goes to great lengths to procure the best of the bests. “I’m a nut about it,” he says sheepishly. In his opinion, local isn’t always better. Young chefs take great pride in serving local products and even curing their own meats. That’s all fine, but

designer silk tie. Although still low-key and wellheeled, the clientele is getting younger, Vallone says. Generation X and Millennials are ensuring that the restaurant remain relevant. Vallone eyes a young Asian couple dining on hamburgers. At another table, a late 40-something woman savors juicy, warm Blue Point oysters. Today, members of Liza Minnelli’s band wouldn’t have been turned away if they showed up without jackets and ties. (Yes, it happened at the former Tony’s on Post Oak. Her band left, but Liza stayed). The dress code has relaxed. But the precision remains. Tony’s buzzes with conversations at lunchtime. The photoshoot is over and Vallone relaxes at a table near the kitchen – his office — with an espresso-spiked chocolate Atkins shake. He prefers a liquid lunch and a regular dinner. Vallone reminisces about learning to excel at making sauces from chef Edmond Foulard. But his grandmother, Maria Aiello Vallone, influenced him most, he says while his eyes scan the faces of diners and servers’ movements. Vallone is a skilled conductor and improviser. “We have to move. They need the table,” he whispers discreetly, getting up. “The only table left in the main dining room is next to a patron’s ex.” Lunch winds down. Vallone prepares to leave for his other two restaurants – the casual Italian Ciao Bello on San Felipe and the upscale Vallone’s steakhouse near Memorial City Mall, where he will huddle with son Jeff and partner Scott Sulma. Vallone changes his tasting menu daily, but his schedule is predictable. He starts and ends at Tony’s. Vallone will be back for dinner service to welcome guests. “I don’t ever see myself retiring and not working,” he says. “I love what I do. They’re going to carry me out of Tony’s with pasta in one hand and fish in the other.”

MORE ONLINE CULINARY COUPLE Tony and Donna Vallone will celebrate their 32nd anniversary next February.

See this story at for recipes from Vallone, including the classic Tony’s marinara sauce.


Restaurant Listings $ (under $10) $$ ($11-$30) $$$ ($31-$60) $$$$ (over $60) Prices include drink, tax and tip per person Dai Huynh is a James Beard food-journalism award winner and longtime restaurant writer. Her visits to restaurants in our Buzz Dining Guide were anonymous, and she paid for her meals to maintain objectivity. We’d love your thoughts too. Write to with your own dining opinions and suggestions. Also, you can contribute in the Comments section under the online version of this story at

Antica Osteria Regional Italian Neighborhood: Southhampton Antica Osteria, in a vintage brick house, attracts an eclectic mix with its warm, old-fashioned feel. There are Turkish movie stars, socialites, ingénues, young lovers, media types and, even, parents with well-behaved children. The attractions are the well-prepared pastas; spaghetti carbonara lush with cream and pancetta makes the strongest impression, along with abundantly friendly service and a homey vibe. Every meal begins with complimentary bruschetta and ends with a gracious smile. In between, there are simple, satisfying antipasti. Many customers order pastas as their entrées, but for those who must have meat, consider the deftly prepared osso buco – an occasional special – or the grilled angus fillet. Dinner Mon.-Sat. 2311 Bissonnet, 713-521-1155. $$$

Caracol Mexican coastal cuisines Neighborhood: Galleria Hugo Ortega is largely credited with introducing Houstonians to the foodways of Mexico. His namesake restaurant, Hugo’s, on Westheimer captivates with interior specialties, while Caracol showcases Mexico’s lilting coastal cuisines. Ceviches and crudos shine against a snow-white interior dressed with deep-sea creatures by renowned illustrator Charley Harper. Jalapeño and ginger give great spark and crunch to conch, while scallops combined with sweet mango, papaya and lime crudos dance merrily between sweet, salty and tangy. A house favorite is oysters smoked in a wood-burning domed oven, then drizzled with a luscious chipotle butter. The menu leans toward seafood, but there are meatier options, such as bone-in short rib with cocoa nib and roasted duck with pumpkin seed sauce. Lunch & dinner Mon.-Sun. 2200 Post Oak Blvd., No. 160, 713-622-9996. $$$

Corner Table Contemporary American Neighborhood: Upper Kirby

The Paleo Diet – a nutritional regimen centered around eggs, nuts, pasture-raised meat, fresh fruit and vegetables – is no longer a fringe movement. It has charged into the mainstream, spawning how-to books and glossy magazines. There are restaurants inspired by Paleo, including Corner Table, a multi-faceted space that boasts a luxe wine room reminiscent of France's Louis XIV era, a live-music lounge and a cozy mixology room with a speak-easy vibe. At the center is the restaurant, which shines even brighter with a culinary rising star at the helm. Currently, Corner Table's kitchen is under the watch of New Orleans transplant Brandon Lampert, whose signature dishes include rainbow trout with brown lemon butter and pistachio. Another crowd favorite is braised short ribs with French onions and potato au gratin. Lambert – who worked for James Beard Awardwinning chef John Besh and Food Channel iron chef Masaharu Morimoto – has a soft spot for Cajun and classical French, elements that can found throughout the menu. Lunch & dinner Mon.-Sat. 2736 Virginia Street. 713-5689196. $$$

Dolce Vita Pizzeria Enoteca Italian Neighborhood: Montrose The two-story Dolce Vita, with its pleasant patio, helped to set the standard for artisanal wood-fired Neapolitan pizzas paired with an excellent, all-Italian wine list. Granted, since opening in 2005, Dolce occasionally stumbles, but when it’s in top form, diners can anticipate beautifully crisped, lightly charred thin-crust pizzas along with suavely prepared appetizers and antipasti choices, such as fried artichokes, a parsley salad tossed with pancetta, egg toast with black truffle and shaved brussels sprouts showered with sharp pecorino cheese. And hats off to chef-owner Marco Wiles for introducing countless Houston diners to such unique creations as the Zucca, a pizza topped with butternut squash, pancetta, red onion and smoked buffalo mozzarella, not to mention the addictively pungent Taleggio cheese pizza crowned with spicy arugula, sweet pears and truffle oil. Lunch & dinner Tues-Sun. 500 Westheimer, 713-520-8222. $$

Hugo’s Regional Mexican Neighborhood: Montrose Tex-Mex was the game in town until risk takers such as Hugo’s owner-chef Hugo Ortega set out to educate Houstonians about the food of his motherland. Many traditional Mexican establishments have failed, but not the highceiling, palatial Hugo’s, with such comida tipica as a soulful off-the-menu oxtail soup, earthy moles and snapper tamales fragrant in banana leaves. Perennial favorites are the wood-grilled rib-eye steak and baby pig roasted in banana leaves, not to mention pan-fried grasshoppers,


which taste like popcorn and are delicious when paired with a blanco tequila. The crown jewel is Hugo’s Sunday brunch – a majestic cornucopian spread, worth every peso. Lunch & dinner Mon.Sun. 1600 Westheimer Road, 713-5247744. $$$

Izakaya Wa Authentic Japanese Neighborhood: Memorial You can tell a lot about a restaurant by the diners. In this case, about 80 percent of the customers at Izakaya Wa are Japanese. Here, they can savor the true flavors of home without flying home. No wonder. Kubo-san is in the kitchen. Hajime Kubokawa is revered by chefs around town. There is artistry in how he wields the knife. His expertly sliced sushi and sashimi melt on the palate. But at Izakaya Wa, he has left the sushi bar in the very capable hands of business partner Akira Asano. Instead, Kubokawa is in the kitchen prepping homey noodle soups, stews and izakaya, or Japanese tapas of grilled and fried meats and vegetables, best enjoyed with friends over good, cold beers. Food by Kubo-san can be a revelation. Simplicity defines Japanese cookery, and he has mastered its succinctness. Want to learn about real Japanese food? Here is your chance. A great perspective is the rotating halfand-half lunch special, consisting of a rice dish and a noodle dish – a rare duo offering in the U.S., but common in Japan. Lunch Mon.-Thurs. & dinner Mon.-Sun. 12665 Memorial Drive, 713461-0155. $$

North Italia Modern Italian Neighborhood: Galleria area Following the success of True Food, Phoenixbased Fox Restaurant Concepts has launched another winning venture with this reasonably priced Italian eatery, where community dining is part of the appeal, along with homemade pastas and pizzas. A soaring space with bulbous overhead lighting and well-coiffed customers, North Italia manages to captivate and nurture our love affair with Italian cooking. Dishes to try include the seasonable vegetable salad, the highly touted bolognese, fig-and-prosciutto pizza, ricotta gnocchi with braised beef short ribs with horseradish crema, and Italian donuts. Call ahead for reservations or avoid peak hours if you hate to wait. North Italia, with a view of the kitchen behind floor-to-ceiling glass, is packed and loud during prime times. But that's part of the fun. Lunch & dinner Mon.-Sun. 1700 Post Oak Boulevard, Suite 190, 281-605-4030; $$

Pass & Provisions Inventive modern fare Neighborhood: Fourth Ward A duo eatery in one space – white-tablecloth Pass and bustling Provisions. Pass is a caviar affair, while Provision serves casual edibles, including smartly donned sandwiches and bil-

Kenn Stearns

bathed in garlic butter, particularly satisfying wrapped in homemade corn tortillas and a dollop of lush guacamole. Breakfast, lunch & dinner Mon.-Sun. 4624 Irvington, 713-695-8757. $

Teppay Japanese Restaurant

CARACOL One good choice at Caracol Mexican Coastal Cuisine is the Camarones al Diabla with sauteed shrimp and zesty morita pepper sauce.

lowy pizzas with such toppings as kale with pork sausage and duck confit with potato and pickled currants. There are some crossovers of dishes and kitchen playfulness between the two menus. Provisions, lunch & dinner Mon.-Sat; Pass, dinner only. 808 Taft, 713-628-9020. $$-$$$$

Pizzeria Solario Neopolitan pizzeria Neighborhood: Highland Village When it comes to the Neapolitan pies at this cheery spot with patio seating, there are no tricks, just good techniques: a fiery 800degree wood-burning oven that chars the edges of a bubbly, soft-bottom pizza (you can request a crispier bottom). The creamy mozzarella and garlicky white sauce are made in house. Try the Appolonia with soppressata salami, black pepper, parmesan cheese and an egg on top. The pizza margherita is satisfyingly direct, simply spiced with vibrant plum tomatoes, mozzarella and organic basil. Lunch & dinner Mon.-Sun. 3333 Weslayan, 713-892-8100. $

Post Oak Grill Gulf Coast classics Neighborhood: Tanglewood Happiness exists in a bread basket at this popular outpost for business lunches. The basket usually cradles oven-fresh biscuits fragrant with green onions, bacon and cheddar cheese. One really isn’t enough; nor is two or three. Slow down, though, or you’ll fill up before the perfectly grilled rainbow trout arrives, glistening lightly with butter-caper sauce. Polo

Becerra is a classic chef with a timeless approach of keeping ingredients simple and clean, with just a sheath of sauce to elevate the flavors of beef and seafood. Lunch & dinner, Mon.-Sat., 1415 S. Post Oak Lane, 713993-9966. $$$

The Republic Smokehouse and Saloon Texas barbecue Neighborhood: Midtown The 2007 demise of Williams Smokehouse, which occupied a wood-paneled cottage in Acres Homes, left a void. Williams’ meaty, tender, oak-smoked pork ribs never disappointed. Now the folks behind Hearsay and Mr. Peeples have lured Cedric Williams, the youngest of Willie Williams' three sons, to fire up its stateof-the-art pit at Republic Smokehouse and Saloon in Midtown. Against a fancy honkytonk backdrop and red neon lights, Cedric continues to honor the family tradition with his blend of seasonings, which also can be found at Kroger stores. Give his gigantic 1.5 pounds of slow-smoked beef short ribs a try. Lunch & dinner Mon.-Sun. 1910 Bagby Street, Suite 100, 832925-8871; $$

Teotihuacan Tex-Mex originals Neighborhood: Northeast Houston Diners pack in day after day for grilled steaks, chiles rellenos and flautas in a room decorated with festive streamers. Co-owner Silvia Galvan applies soy sauce and black pepper to make fajitas and juicy sirloins with grilled onions. A must try: grilled shrimp,

Japanese Neighborhood: Galleria If the yardstick for Japanese food is sushi and sashimi, then Teppay is serenely fresh, with clean, briny flavors. This intimate nook offers grade-A seafood at reasonable prices, made even more enjoyable by the lack of pretense even when packed with well-heeled diners. Meanwhile, the kitchen in back is plenty busy, churning out a home-kitchen menu that has sustained Japanese families and fans of lacy tempura shrimp and crispy pork katsu for more than a decade. The chawan mushi egg custard with seafood is ethereal, fragrant with real yuzu citrus from the chef’s garden. Come early for dinner; this spot, with its nourishing, opaque, miso-rich broth, fills up quickly. Lunch & dinner Mon-Sun. 6516 Westheimer Road A2, 713-789-4506. $$

Quattro Contemporary Italian Neighborhood: Downtown Talented chef Maurizio Ferrarese brings the flavors of his native Italy to Quattro at the Four Seasons Hotel. The dining room is an elegant affair. Just as engaging is the adjoining Vinoteca Quattro bar where downtown workers unwind over Italian beers, wines and Italian small plates during happy hour. Breakfast, lunch & dinner Mon.-Sun. 1300 Lamar, 713-2764700. $$-$$$$

Underbelly Upscale Texas eats Neighborhood: Montrose Underbelly chef-owner Chris Shepherd’s menu is a touchstone of the nose-to-tail movement. The Oklahoman is known to haul a whole hog through a roomful of diners, and his passion is mirrored by a striking woodcutting of a snout at the entrance. Family-style offerings include a pork roast with smoky sweet cornbread. Another piglet rendition is spicy kimchi stew. Shepherd shares his fondness for Asian cuisines with sweeping touches here and there – all of which are satisfying against an airy, modern, Texas Hill Country setting, with maple wood communal tables, fresh wildflowers and a wall of homemade preserves. Lunch & dinner Mon.-Thurs. & dinner Fri.-Sat. 1100 Westheimer Road, 712-5289800. $$$

MORE ONLINE See for all reviewed restaurants. Use our restaurant finder to search by area, cuisine and price.


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Sammy, age 17, Shih Tzu, Indian Bayou My name is Samantha, but mostly I’m called Sam or Sammy. I was my human dad’s surprise present on his birthday in 1998. I was the second dog in the house then as I had a Cavalier Spaniel brother, Tucker, who was a year older than me. He died four years ago, and I miss following him around and bothering him. Even though I am 17 years old now, I still look like a young dog. Other than losing my sight, I am still very healthy and enjoy exploring outside when it’s not too hot. My favorite place in the house is my bed. Old dogs like me need our rest. I am truly honored to be featured in The Buzz. Thank you very much. Got a cute critter? Email a picture of your pet with approximately 150 words to or mail it to The Buzz Magazines, 5001 Bissonnet, Suite 100, Bellaire, Texas 77401. Featured pets receive two passes to Rover Oaks Pet Resort. Each pass can be redeemed for one day of lodging in a Bunk House Suite, 25 percent off your next grooming appointment or 25 percent off one obedience training class.

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Playing at the dog park

Ashley Madison anyone?

In our last four issues of The Buzz, we looked at “doggie daycare,” or social play that is now offered by many pet-care facilities. Those issues focused on (a) why doggie daycare is a great activity for your pet, (b) choosing a good facility and (c) starting out on the right paw. Some pet owners, however, prefer to take their canine companions to public dog parks because they are free and accessible. If you take your pet to a dog park for social play and fun, remember that your dog’s safety should always be your primary concern. Here are some tips: • Your pet should be fully vaccinated as required by the City of Houston and your veterinarian. The rabies tag should be worn at all times. • Know the rules that are published for each dog park that you visit. • Stay close to your pet. Always remain in clear view, supervise your pet’s activities and keep him/her under your voice control. • Carry a leash with you so you can leash your pet if necessary. • If your pet shows any sign of unsocial behavior, put your pet on leash and leave the park immediately. If other dogs in the park are not being social, and their owners are not being responsible, consider leaving and returning at another time. Or choose another park. Learn more at the Houston Dog Park Association, We wish happy adventures for you and your dog, no matter where you play. Rover Oaks Pet Resort, 2550 West Bellfort, Houston, Texas 77054, 713.662.2119,

With the recent event where Ashley Madison customers’ names were released to the public, there has been much talk in the press about adultery and it ending marriages. In Texas, adultery is one of the fault grounds for requesting a divorce from a court. However, it may not have the financial sting that people who have been cheated on would like when it comes into play in deciding the split of assets. Texas law dictates a presumption of a 50/50 split, and many factors can be used, such as adultery and difference in earning income, to get a larger split, but in reality the courts cannot order one person to receive an unfair majority of the estate just because of fault. If they do, there can be an appeal of this ruling for an abuse of discretion by the judge. However, adultery can be used to negotiate more of the estate, so if you find out that your spouse has been a member of Ashley Madison and need answers on what this means in your divorce, contact a family law lawyer to get your questions answered. K. Nicole Voyles, a partner at Jenkins & Kamin, L.L.P., a full-service, boutique, family-law firm, has been recognized as a Super Lawyer for 2014 and 2015 and Texas Rising Star by Texas Super Lawyers for 2008, 2011, 2012 and 2013. Jenkins & Kamin, LLP, Two Greenway Plaza, Suite 600, Houston, Texas 77046, 713.600.5500,



by Andria Frankfort, staff writer


Back Porch

Halloween costume fails


’m guilty of it. Getting an idea into my head and pulling out every stop to make it happen, doable or not. Perfect example: the Halloween costume. My youngest daughter came to me three years ago with the idea to dress up as a human candy corn. Of course I loved it and immediately took on the challenge. For an entire October our dining room table was covered in needles and orange, yellow and white fabric. I don’t sew. But somehow that costume came together and made us both proud. That’s my one success. Others, as Carrie Vallone put it, were “epic fails.” Also not a seamstress, but creative in her own way (she owns Molasses Candy Paper Design Studio), Carrie decided her then-baby, now-12-year-old daughter Grace should dress up as Olive, the family beagle, for her first Halloween. “It was so pathetic,” she says. “We walked around the neighborhood, and everybody was like, ‘What a cute cow!’ I even made a little dog collar for Grace that said ‘Olive’ and took Olive to walk with us. But nobody got it. “In the pictures, Grace looked confused and grumpy with this hat on with these floppy ears. She really did look like a cow.” Later on, when Grace was 3, Carrie made her a Pebbles (the character from The Flintstones) costume. “That one actually was simple. I just jaggedly cut some fabric and tied a little bone in her hair. She went down the street in one of those little plastic ‘bubble’ cars and it looked like the Flintstones.” Karen Edelman’s Pebbles costume wasn’t so well received. Same as Carrie and me, Karen “just had a vision in my head” for the costume.

Worst-Costume Contest Show off your “worst” Halloween costume. Send pictures of your failed costumes to The winner will receive a $50 gift card from Halloween Express. See for more details.

“Anya was about 3, and her hair was just so short and white and curly.” It seemed like a perfect fit, simple enough. “I made the costume with bath rug-type fabric,” Karen says. She added a “real Nylabone dog bone” to Anya’s hair. Around the neighborhood, “I could tell people were saying to themselves, ‘That costume looks like my shower mat!” But the fuzzy cave-girl outfit wasn’t the problem. “Every time Anya rang a doorbell and a dog came to the door, she was so low to the ground that the dogs OFF THE MARK Aiden Buchman was dressed as a Hershey's Kiss, but his would start sniffing her dad says he wound up looking more like a silver Pope. head. Then they’d try to When Aiden Buchman was 2, his parents take the bone out of her hair! What was I thinkbought him an awesome-looking silver Hershey ing? Who would have thought dogs would actuKiss costume. “We thought it would be so great,” ally want a bone from her head? Jason says. “But it wound up looking like he was “It was all Party City after that.” dressed as a silver Pope.” Another vision: Kelly Evans’ quest to make There are those who have a little more skill – her then-3-year-old daughter Abby a Belle and a little more success – with costumes, both princess costume. “I had just taken up sewing,” homemade and outsourced. “I made many Kelly says of the time she and her family were Halloween costumes in my day, and I have the living in Rochester, Minn. “I was going to be a piles, bins and boxes of fabric scraps, pattern crafty and frugal mom and make her a Belle cospackages, thread spools, ribbons and buttons tume, because what’s better than a homemade galore to prove it,” says Halloween superstar princess costume? Tiffany Smith (whose decorations were featured “I waited until Abby and our newborn twins in the October 2012 Buzz). were asleep and went to work on this costume, A few tips from Tiffany, based on experience: which was way above my skill level. I worked on “Mario Bros. hats are harder to simulate than that thing every night for two weeks, only to finone might think. Face painting really IS an art ish it and realize I had sewn it inside out and and requires a level of talent I do not possess made a yellow satin nightmare! despite all my efforts and initial denial. Yes, you “This was before Amazon Prime, so I had to CAN turn your child into a three-headed drive 70 miles to the Mall of America in Longhorn fan with UT stocking caps, pillow Minneapolis to buy a Belle costume at the inserts, pantyhose and eyes and mouths cut out Disney store.” from a magazine!” But store-bought doesn’t always equal victory.


The Tanglewood/River Oaks Buzz - October 2015  
The Tanglewood/River Oaks Buzz - October 2015