Nancy and José Veltran

February 1, 2004 by  
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His and Her Makeover

by Jessica Rossman

Less than two years ago, Nancy and José Veltran were consumed by romantic, weak-in-the-knees, get-all-squishy-inside honeymoon bliss. As newlyweds, Nancy and José were having the time of their lives. They were way too busy just being madly in love to worry about life’s little details, such as what to wear or fixing their hair. The return to “real life” with hectic schedules and two careers in the bar and restaurant industry hadn’t helped either.

Judging by the disapproving looks on the faces of hair designer Mario Romero, fashion master Todd Ramos and lifestyle guru Fadi Armanious, Nancy and José’s lifestyle had not only caught up with them, it had run them over. “Nancy looked like she had a fight with a bottle of Clairol … and lost,” confesses Ramos in hushed tones with an eyebrow raised at an alarmingly sharp angle. “And I’m sorry,” pipes in Armanious, looking both ways conspiratorially, “but I was just scared of José’s eyebrows.”

Nancy admits that they had maybe, slightly, just a little bit, begun to “let themselves go” after the wedding; and José concedes that he had gotten a bit “shaggy” lately. But eyebrows that actually struck fear in a grown man? Clearly, they had no idea how serious the situation had become, but they found out in a hurry.

The day began at Romero’s Avant Garde Spa, Hair and Makeup Studio for plucking, preening and general remodeling. Nancy thought that “basically, we’d get new haircuts.” She was wrong. Together, they were mani’ed and pedi’ed. Nancy learned to apply dramatic going-out makeup, and they each got a happenin’ new ‘do. Coif king Romero rescued Nancy’s color from that experiment in red-headedness, taking it back to her natural brown, with layers to add fullness. Although it was never conclusively determined whether or not a bowl was placed over José’s head for his previous haircut (“then parted right down the middle,” Ramos hastens to add), Romero gave José a super-chic Tom Cruise-style do. Now he’s sleek and definitely shag-free.

And then, they attacked those eyebrows. Some people remember where they were when President Kennedy was shot. Or where they were when proposed to. Anyone who has ever had anything waxed remembers precisely where he/she was the first time someone yanked hair out by the root in the name of beauty.

José, brave soul and team player, was on camera, being filmed for Fox 26’s coverage of their makeover day, trying as hard as he could not to “squeal like a girl” during his maiden eyebrow wax. After the smarting and stinging and redness subsided, and the urge to squeal dissipated, José’s a convert! “It really wasn’t that bad,” marvels an incredulous José. “I never would have thought about doing that on my own, but without a doubt, I’m doing it from now on.”

Primped and polished, waxed and coiffed, it was time for some stylin’ new duds. Ramos outfitted José in a versatile Claibourne suit from Foley’s Downtown, casual enough to wear with a fitted T-shirt yet fine enough to pair with a tailored shirt and tie. Ramos then decked Nancy out in a deep burgundy Carmen Marc Valvo dress from his boutique Couture. He completed the look with matching pointy heels and evening jewelry, also from Couture. Now that they were stylin’, it was time for a little quality time with Armanious.

To Armanious, it was immediately clear that Nancy and José needed a little refresher crash-course on getting steamy. With Valentine’s Day right around the corner, it was back to school for Nancy and José.

With help from The Four Seasons’ Tiffany Kendall, Armanious swept them straight to a candlelit table for two in The Four Seasons’ private wine cellar dining room. Strewn rose petals and a chilled bottle of champagne greeted them. Although José admits to “inhaling the food” as soon as it arrived (one’s first wax is notorious for the appetite it works up), he slowed down long enough to learn how to sweep Nancy around in a sultry table-side waltz. He even, under Armanious’ discerning eye, discovered how to feed his wife strawberries with a dessert fork without so much as a drip of whipped cream landing anywhere unintended. Nancy confirms with a happy sigh, “It was beautiful! A true Valentine’s Day fantasy date.”

Feeling like newlyweds all over again, Nancy and José vow to keep up their new and improved looks. And why shouldn’t they? As José puts it, “We look like superstars!”


Love at First Sight

February 1, 2004 by  
Filed under Edit

Love Doctor


In this issue dedicated to Valentine’s Day, love and romance, it is a good idea to ask the expert about that indescribable feeling that can lift us to the moon when we’re in it or pull us down to the dredges when we’ve lost it. So H Texas turned to Dr. Luis Salinas who is a professor and author on the subject.
Salinas has been teaching undergraduate and graduate sociology courses on marriage and the family for 21 years and is particularly interested in multicultural approaches to the subject. He has published extensively in the area and is a nationally acknowledged expert in the field.

Q: Is there such a thing as love at first sight and, if so, what are the odds of its lasting? A: Because love is such a complex matter, it is not likely that it occurs at first sight, although there is attraction at first sight, which may subsequently lead to love.

Q: Do opposites attract
A: Mostly on magnets. Homogamy, the word used to describe human attraction of people with similar interests, is the name of the game for humans. The more homogamy there is, the more likely humans will stay together and experience a successful relationship. Only one study supports the “complementary-needs theory,” and it is regarded with suspicion in the academic community.

Q: Does living together before marriage help or hurt the marriage?
A: It depends on the motivation for the cohabitation. If cohabitation is to “try it before you buy it,” there may be more commitment anxiety, which would therefore be more likely to hurt a subsequent marriage. If cohabitation is done for economic reasons, i.e. buying a house rather than paying for a wedding, it is more likely to help a marriage.

Q: Should relationships between same-sex individuals be legal?
A: These relationships have existed in our society for a very long time. They have just not been able to avail themselves of the many legal benefits afforded to the married. Many of the arguments against these are the same as those that backed the anti-miscegenation laws (laws prohibiting interracial marriage) until the U.S. Supreme Court struck down state laws in the late 1960s. After same-sex relationships become legal, they will be another of those events that become an accepted part of society, much like women’s suffrage and mixed marriages. Same-sex marriages have been legal in some European countries for years, where the only apparent effect has been the strengthening of the Euro.

Q: So many high-profile people – rock personalities, movie stars – are having children before, if ever, getting married. Does this affect the children in later years?
A: Being a celebrity by itself places many stresses on a person. A child of a celebrity or celebrities experiences most of these stresses, as well. For these individuals, the marital status of the parents is very likely a small problem compared to these other stresses.

Q: How long should a couple date before having sex?
A: Couples should wait until some type of relationship has developed. Sex then has a context in which to occur and is more likely to be not just more fulfilling but also augment the relationship. Otherwise, it is just lust.

Q: How does a person know when he or she is in love?
A: As Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart said about pornography, “It is difficult to define, but I know it when I see it.” The rush felt by the endorphins engulfing the body is difficult to miss. This is why love is called “chemistry.”

Q: How does a person know when it’s over?
A: A person knows it is over when there are no feelings for the other person. Even negative feelings for the other party indicate that the emotional entanglement is not over. A more tangible sign is when the ring is pawned.

Q: Men and women are getting married later today than they were a generation ago. Does later marriage promote happier and longer lasting marriages?
A: Men are getting married at about the same age they were 100 years ago, after dipping significantly halfway through the last century. The difference is that they are now marrying women two years younger rather than five years younger. This homogamous trend has been associated with higher marital satisfaction and lower divorce.

Q: What are the primary social causes of breakups?
A: Liberalization of social norms, divorce models, individualism and the Social Goal of Happiness. This is why the United States has the highest divorce rate in the world. It has become more accepted to be divorced. There are more divorce examples that serve as role models for others. Modern concerns about being happy and “what is in it for me?” also drive individuals to break up.

Q: What is romance, anyway?
A: This is very difficult to operationalize. It is difficult to plan. It is also so individual. Unfortunately, it is media-driven for most people. What they see in a movie or a commercial is what becomes romantic for them.

Q: What are the three most important qualities of a lasting marriage?
A: Clear communication, respect and patience.

Q: Any benefits to being married?
A: Many research studies have found that married people are generally healthier and happier than the single, divorced or widowed. Married people are ill less frequently and recover faster. They do tend to have a healthier lifestyle, consequently, they do live longer. The security afforded by marriage also has considerable and consequential advantages for emotional well-being, particularly for women.
Dr. Salinas can be e-mailed at


Houston Dating

February 1, 2004 by  
Filed under Edit

Dating 101

A primer for dating in the Bayou City

Tracy Boulware, Suzanne Layton, Chris Ware

Valentine’s Day is upon us, and, really, are we ever ready for it – the day or the devotion? While we are on the topic of love, spending time with a sweetie comes so quickly to mind. What do we enjoy together? What will make him/her feel special? It’s hard to get it right; just look at divorce rates and relationship therapists’ appointment books for a quick reminder. It doesn’t always work out, but who doesn’t want to put that little extra oomph into making it perfect – at least for a night? With such a diverse cultural community, so many job opportunities (at least before the shambles of Enron) and close to four million people in the Houston area, dating in Space City should be a breeze. When you add in the fact that Houston is home to some of the best dining, one of the largest cultural arts centers, a slew of museums and galleries and some pretty fantastic pro sports teams, options for dates in Bayou City abound.

Single City

Who doesn’t hate being single at Valentine’s Day? It’s such a commercially driven holiday, and it feels intended to make those that are alone feel more so. Valentine’s Day reminds parties-of-one that the only hope of getting your socks mixed with another’s is if you go to the laundromat. Which brings us to another question: “Where should I pop by if I am interested in meeting someone?” Isn’t that the answer that all singles are looking for.

1340 W. Gray, (713) 522-5152
Your everyday sports bar mixed with every bar game you could imagine seems to swell with ex-frat boys and girls-next-door. With ping-pong, pool, air hockey, trivia and fabulous pitcher prices, Tavern is a pretty happening little spot that rakes in the midtown/Montrose/downtown dwellers just out to have a little fun after work.

The Social
3730 Washington Ave., (713) 426-5585
A little more swank and a little more posh, yet trying a little harder as well, this South Beach (not the bar, but the Florida hot spot) transplant can fit the bill for the place to be and be seen. You’ll see some cooler clothes, rock-star hair and a bit of that you-should-know-who-I-am attitude, but you’ll also see some pretty people shuffled in with cool kids hanging out on the patio, enjoying Houston’s winter weather and drinking some great cocktails.

Red Door
2416 Brazos, (713) 526-8181
Midtown clubs are on the rise – thanks to the Post Properties and downtown reconstruction – and this is definitely one of the most happening. While it’s not set up for dancing, you can do almost anything you want here. It’s got a downtown/out-on-the-town feel, great view of the skyline, neat-o décor and people on the lookout.

Dating 101

A primer for dating in the Bayou City


First Date Definites

The first time you hang out it should be as casual as possible, and the spot you pick should be conducive to conversation. Picking a comfy spot can prove tricky because you want to impress your date with your superior knowledge of the city and in-the-know way of pulling things off. First dates equal first impressions, and you want them to be good, right?

Last Concert Café
1403 Nance, (713) 226-8563
If you can find a love, you can find this place – they are both a bit difficult, but worth the trouble. Hidden in the warehouse district, this fun spot’ll show your date you have a hippie’s soul. A tiny Mexican food place starts off your journey, but groovy music outside in the sand pit tops off the night. This is the kind of place where you kick off your shoes to hula-hoop, sit and chat while listening to some chill music and sip on super-strong frozen sangrias.

Onion Creek
3106 White Oak, (713) 880-0706
A great place for a day or night date, Onion Creek offers some scrumptious sandwiches, coffee, tea, wine and beer. Sitting outside or in, this place pulls a little Austin into the hang-out feel of the Heights – it’s the perfect combination for titillating conversations.

La Carafe
813 Congress, (713) 229-9399
They knew what they were doing more than a century ago when this future bar was first created. It’s got the ambiance of New Orleans, a juke box that?s killer, an intimate upstairs and wine and beer that can get the conversation flowing. La Carafe is a bit romantic in that historically Cool with a capital “C” kind of way.

The Whole Nine Yards
If your love is the kind that won’t fade, here’s an idea that will impress. Keeping that spark alive can be difficult when schedules and kids and everyday distractions keep lovin’ on the back burner. Communication strengthens the relationship, and thoughtful gestures are endearing; so, put some effort into making this special. Remember that love letters are delightful and can be a fabulous way to invite your lover to spend time with you.

St. Regis
1919 Briar Oaks, (713) 840-7600
Book a room at the St. Regis for an evening without kids, distractions or worries. Staying the night at such a posh place is an easy way to get away from it all without going out of town. Head to the intimate wine cellar dining room for a romantic interlude. Or simply order room service from the ever-amazing Toby Joseph at the Remington, and then unplug the phone and remember why you fell in love.

Dating 101

A primer for dating in the Bayou City

In the Groove

OK, so you’ve been dating a little while, you know what each other’s jobs are, but you aren’t going to go naming your children together. Just remember, in the beginning there was attraction, now take a bite of that apple and see where it takes you.

Continental Club
3700 Main, (713) 529-9899
An Austin transplant (not that H-town isn’t cool enough, but if it ain’t broke -), this relaxed concert spot serves beer in the can, boasts shuffleboard and offers bingo with the El Orbits on Mondays. Pick out your favorite old-school, pearl-button western shirt and listen to some up-and-coming blues, country, rockabilly and rock. The back room has pool, a bar, Atari and a little less noise for talking.

The Dog Park
Buffalo Bayou at Waugh
A great way to see if you are compatible is to let your pups meet and see if they can get along. An afternoon at the dog park can be romantic in its own right. There are myriad doggies running amuck, forty Frisbees flying overhead and plenty of antics to get you both a-chuckle. Bring some sandwiches, a blanket and plenty of water, and get to know each other. And don’t commit the ultimate dog park faux “paw” and forget the baggies.

Mad Potter
1963 Gray, (713) 807-8900
They’re all over town, and there’s a reason for it. Combine your creativity with a gift for your date. Decorate anything you wish, a plate, mug, kitty bowl; and get to know each other over your artistic palettes. They say, “It’s the thought that counts,” and painting something for your lover is almost as cool as serenading him/her with an original song.

Dating 101

A primer for dating in the Bayou City

Tom Flynn, Susan Baldwin


Whether you’ve planned a morning date or last night’s events just extended until the morning, brunch is a real winner in the creative date realm. Brunch is also a great way to fit a date into busy schedules, and it can start a full day of togetherness off on the right foot.

250 W. 19th St., (713) 863-7500
Shade has a lovely, yummy, light brunch – as people discover it, they’ll fall in love with it. It’s new, which makes it cool, but the chef has transplanted from everyone’s favorite – Daily Review. The feel is quaint, in that relaxed Heights-y way that ensures days started off here end in happiness. If it really goes well, shop the 19th Street circuit for a couple hours.

Mockingbird Bistro & Wine Bar
1985 Welch, (713) 533-0200
The fried calamari here is superb – really, one of the best in town. Breakfast or lunch, brunch at Mockingbird is a perfect pick for a special date. The feel is a bit medieval, or is that the leftover feel of the building’s old inhabitant, Quasimodo? Richly pamper your love for a reasonable price here.

The double date can be a hard trick to pull off. You don’t want the girls chatting away while the boys watch sports on the tube, you don’t want uncomfortable silences, well, you don’t want a ton of things. What you do want is a fun, relaxing time had by all.

Alabama Ice House
1919 Alabama, (713) 528-6874
This is such a great place to spend the afternoon on a fabulous-weather day. It’s outside and can be a bit sweaty, but the glacial beer will melt away any anxieties, the horseshoes will get everyone involved and the people-watching is fantastic. Bring your dog on a leash and take up residence at one of the many picnic tables.

7620 I-10 West, (713) 263-0303
The whole place can seem a little daunting, but walk in the doors, take a left, go up the stairs and bowl to your heart’s content. The rock’n’bowl atmosphere here takes bowling up a few notches on the cool scale, and the food and beverage bar right behind the lanes will help to catapult it even higher. Bring your kids and let them run wild in the arcades while you bowl strikes with the other pair of ‘rents.

Frisbee Golf
Buffalo Bayou
Is anyone really good at this game? Frisbee golf is a great way to spend a laid-back day. Pack the car with a few of your favorite Frisbees, an ice chest and a blanket for the party. Buffalo Bayou has a Frisbee golf course, but just about any park can be converted into a course with a creative mind.


Romantic Travel Houston

February 1, 2004 by  
Filed under Blogs, Travel Blog

Romantic Travel

Top Five Romantic Spots for You and Your Sweetheart

#1: Hana, Maui, Hawaii Hana feels like the Hawaii you dream of – relaxed and beautiful. The air is full of sounds of the surf crashing onto the lava-lined shore, birds singing and horse hooves carrying couples on romantic sunset rides. The Sea Ranch Cottages at the Hotel Hana-Maui deliver one of the most romantic experiences available anywhere. We recommend rooms 217 and 218, where your sole view is the ocean. That’s right, from your private spa, the only sights to behold are waves crashing over the rocks and moonlight dancing on the water. Here, ultimate amenities combine with this picturesque town to create a fabulous fantasy. Vegas-style hotel towers, prominent throughout most of Hawaii, are replaced by spacious cabins carved into mountain slopes overlooking the ocean. Well furnished with native teak and wicker furniture, the cabins boast hardwood floors, spacious bathrooms and giant private lanais, many with built-in spas. This place is all about relaxing your way.

#2: Salt Cay, Turks and CaicosThe nearly deserted sandy white beaches on the island’s coastline make this one of the most romantic escapes anywhere. If you dream of a beach that is totally isolated from the rest of the world, it’s on the island of Salt Cay and it’s at a beach resort called The Windmills Plantation. Here, they beckon you to check your worries at the door and focus on what really matters: each other. There are no cell phones, no televisions and no room phones. Nothing invades the peace and quiet (and romance).

#3: Punta Mita, MexicoFour Seasons at Punta Mita, about 30 minutes away from Puerta Vallarta, spells romance. If you seek privacy and quiet coupled with luxury, you’ll find it here. This tropical paradise is nestled on an unspoiled coastline of white-sand beach. The resort is a perfect getaway for couples with its romantic sunsets and luxurious rooms. The setting is superlative, offering polished service, luxurious amenities, abundant recreational opportunities, fine dining and spacious suites. For a memorable meal, a private dinner can be organized on “the rock” in the middle of the ocean. The dinner is reserved for one couple per evening and is a set meal from the chef.

#4: Paraiso de la Bonita, Mexico“Paraiso de la Bonita” means “the beautiful woman’s paradise,” and this adult-only resort has paradise down to a science. This intimate beach resort is nestled on the secluded sugar-white beaches between Cancun and Playa del Carmen on the Mexican Caribbean. Each suite is individually decorated in an eclectic and elegant style. Plunge pools on the first floor get romance off to a heated start. The all-marble sunken bathtubs make having a soak a must. Most people come to Paraiso to enjoy a sunny day on a sandy beach and a cold margarita with a hot lover.

#5: Telluride, ColoradoHot tubs and snow are a perfect combination for love. The close proximity of an outdoor hot tub is absolutely necessary when choosing a place to reside while in Telluride. The Cascades is the newest “it” spot for a plush stay, and it has a great hot tub. For a phenomenal view, stop by Allred’s, the only restaurant perched above Telluride. Through picture windows, watch the setting sun reflect on the mountains to create an Alpine glow of purple, pink, yellow and white. Catch a glimpse of beauty, a bit of warmth from a hot toddy and a bit of lovin’ from your ski bunny.


Baylor College of Medicine

February 1, 2004 by  
Filed under Edit

Baylor College of Medicine


Baylor College of Medicine

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