5 Ways to Change Your Step-Family to a Chosen Family this Holiday Season

December 14, 2018 by  
Filed under Blogs

By Sue Hawkes 

The holiday season is always lauded as important family time. There are extended-family dinners, gifts to exchange, and cross-country treks to each other’s homes. All in all, this sounds like a wonderful time of year, right? Well, for blended families (who now make up over 50% of US households), spending this time together isn’t so easy. There are schedules to coordinate, feelings to manage and different traditions to somehow join together. The pressure of the holidays is enough for anyone; a step-family holiday can be even more difficult. When my husband and I spent our first holiday season together we were a few months into dating and had three teenagers between us. This led to a few less-than ideal situations, and I promised myself that I would find ways to make our new holiday celebrations truly feel happy and festive.

Nine years later, I’m proud to say our family is bonded and looks forward to our holiday time together every year. It took work from all of us, and now we are truly a chosen family instead of a step-family. Read below for practices to create your own chosen family this season.

CREATE NEW TRADITIONS

It can be difficult to continue old traditions when your family looks different than it used to. Instead of looking at the past and always comparing how things used to be, do something totally new. One of my favorite holiday traditions was looking at the Macy’s Department Store decorations on its fifth floor. My husband and I took his girls to do this that first holiday, and they did not enjoy it because all they could focus on was the holiday traditions they were no longer doing. Now, we’ve created a new tradition of going to a concert together. It’s always a highlight and something we look forward to every year.

We’ve also created a “Seafood and Sweatpants” night in place of Christmas dinner. When we sat down and were creating new traditions as a family, we discussed what was important to us about celebrating; the kids landed on comfy clothes and really delicious food. Our new tradition was born! Every year we join together in our sweatpants, eat a delicious meal and play games late into the night. There is lots of laughter and the pressure to have a fancy, picture-perfect holiday meal goes away. It’s a little out of the box, but it’s exactly what we want.

BE OPEN ABOUT YOUR FEELINGS

The holidays can be a hard time emotionally for everyone and holding it in and pretending to be fine will not make it easier. Talking openly and sharing your feelings will not only address the awkwardness, but also bring you closer in your relationship. Ask for what you need and encourage children to do so as well. This not only helps manage the holiday but is also a great life-skill to model for them.

A few years after my husband and I started dating, I moved into his house. While it seemed a normal progression in the relationship to us, his daughter had been away at college the previous year and took it very hard when she returned home for the summer and I was now living there. Our relationship became strained, and when she returned to college we didn’t speak for a few months. As the holidays came closer, I decided I was not going to go to Christmas celebrations pretending everything was fine. I asked her to come over for a talk and we had a very open conversation about what our relationship would look like and what the underlying problems were. It was tough, but our relationship became much better once we were able to share our feelings and point of views. Happily, we’ve moved on from that period and are now very close. It can be tough to let go of what past holidays looked like and understand that things will never be the same. There is grief associated with this, and that may be especially difficult for children to express. Acknowledge that things are different, and then focus on talking about the new things you can embrace and look forward to.

DON’T STICK TO THE DAY

It can feel important to celebrate the holidays on their “official” calendar day, but really this is just a made-up expectation. It’s who you spend the holidays with that really matters, and that may mean that you celebrate on a different day. For blended families, this is especially common because children may have more than one house to go to on the “official” holiday. Taking the pressure off of splitting the day and needing to make the rounds creates a more enjoyable celebration for everyone. We hold our extended family Christmas get-together the first Sunday in December to ensure that all our family can be there. We also celebrate Christmas as an immediate family on a different day every year. Sometimes it’s December 25, and sometimes it’s December 27. We do this so that the kids don’t feel pressure to cram everything into one day. We find a low-pressure day when we can focus on simply enjoying time together.

In addition to letting go of the importance of celebrating on the official day, remember that every year is different. As much as we’d like them to, the holidays won’t look the same every year. Life happens and those changes impact how we celebrate. Marriages, breakups, births and deaths all impact what our celebrating looks like. Some years might be really different- let it go and embrace what you can.

With the holiday season in full swing, remember to approach all family situations with love. Turning a step-family into a chosen family is difficult work, and also so rewarding. Creating new traditions, communicating openly and managing expectations will help you enjoy a holiday that reflects you and your family as you truly are- blended and beautiful for it. Happy holidays from my chosen family to yours.


More than just a bestselling author, Sue Hawkes is a keynote speaker, Certified EOS Implementer, Certified Business Coach, WPO Chapter Chair, award-winning and globally recognized seminar leader, and an entrepreneur. She is  CEO and Founder of YESS! – Your Extraordinary Success Strategies, and brings over 25 years of experience to her clients and has designed and delivered dynamic, transformational programs for thousands of people. 

Hawkes is also a wife, mom of three and bulldog owner. She likes to stay active in her free time and get out of her comfort zone through adventure travel. Connect with her on TwitterLinkedInInstagramYouTube, and Facebook.


Photo by rawpixel.com from Pexels

Say Aloha to Pokeworks Pearland

December 8, 2018 by  
Filed under Blogs, Dining, Foodie Events

WHAT: Pokéworks, one of the fastest growing poke concepts in the country, has opened the doors to its newest location in Houston at 2630 Pearland Parkway, Suite 110. To celebrate, the ocean-to-counter spot will feature a special “buy-one-get-one free” offer on all poke bowls, burritos and salads all day during its public grand opening event. In addition to exclusive giveaways and prizes, the first 50 guests in line with enjoy a coveted Pokéworks branded coconut.

WHEN: Saturday, December 8, 2018; 11:00 am to 9:00 pm

WHERE: 2630 Pearland Parkway Suite 110, Pearland, TX 77581  

EAT: Inspired by sustainable, seasonal and natural ingredients, Pokéworks is committed to utilizing responsibly-sourced seafood while preserving our oceans. The menu offers “Poke Your Way” where guests can build an original poke burrito, poke bowl or poke salad from the concept’s customizable menu. Protein selections range from fresh ahi tunasalmon and albacore tuna, to sous vide chicken, scallops, shrimp and organic tofu. After selecting the base, guests can choose from a variety of Hawaiian-inspired mix-ins and toppings like masago, seaweed salad, pickled ginger, spicy furikake and sauces like umami shoyu, wasabi aioli, and spicy ginger.

The Henderson

December 6, 2018 by  
Filed under Features, Travel Blog

What do you get when you put Turks-and-Caicos-like beaches, a splash of Southern hospitality and a touch of New England-style-coastal-town feel in a blender? You’ll find out soon…

by Amanda Altman


I’m sitting on the beach—not on a chaise lounge, though there’s no shortage of ’em—but the actual beach. The sand is blindingly white, and feels more like silky cake flour than grainy particles of aged rock. The water is that murky mix of shimmering green and clear blue; if you stare at it for too long like I’ve been doing for the past hour, you’ll be transported to a trance-like state. It’s early May, and the sun is warm and bright, the air is casually breezy. Waves crashing and sea birds shrilling aside, it’s eerily quiet as a chipper waitress comes to take my order. I’ll have a bloody Mary, extra spicy, extra celery, thank you very much.

Not quite sure where I’m at?

Well, after two drinks, neither am I.

But then I turn around and it comes back in waves. No, I’m not on some remote Caribbean island named for some saint I can’t really pronounce. No, I’m not jet-lagged on the shores of Sicily
or Sardinia.

“Is there anything else I can get you, ma’am,” the chipper waitress asks, when it hits me harder than when I fell off my paddleboard a few hours earlier. I’m in America, less than a two-hour flight from Houston. I’m at The Henderson in Destin. That’s in—wait for it—Florida.

ROOM TO THE RESCUE

If you’ve never been to Florida’s Northwest Gulf Coast, you might not believe that such beaches exist in the States, let alone in the South. At the The Henderson, a Salamander Beach and Spa Resort, the Southern hospitality you’ve come to expect gets an unexpected twist. Despite having your usual creature comforts, the resort feels nostalgically reminiscent of a New England-style coastal town, almost like you’re on the set of a Nicholas Sparks film. 

Admittedly, The Notebook isn’t for everyone, but The Henderson decidedly is. Thanks to shingled roofs and steep gable rooflines, the drive up to the entrance makes you wonder if you’re about to enter a time machine. But when you step foot in the lobby, with its “new smell” smell and aesthetic that conjures up images of a luxurious ski lodge in Aspen, it’s obvious that you’re in 2018.

The not-even-two-year-old property feels intimate—but not too intimate—decked out with local artwork and housing 170 guest rooms, with views ranging from beach to garden. I opted for one of 16 Spa Rooms, which don’t spare any detail, from the super-plush beds, porcelain bathtub, spa-grade products and huge closet, to the yoga mat and gear. There’s an outdoor space, where you can sip your Nespresso in your robe, and maybe even dine on a bento-style breakfast box from room service. Trust me, you’ll want to move in.

#BEACHLIFE

After unpacking literally (my luggage) and figuratively (my stress from home) in my room, followed by a quick meditation, I hoist myself up from the thick mattress and out the door, beach bag in tow.

But first…coffee.

Following a quick stop at the free java and tea service in the lobby, I head outdoors to find two large outdoor pools—one cabana-clad pool for adults only (hooray!), and one with a lazy river for the kids. There’s also a sprawling, green-grass-covered lawn with games. I quickly learn that, although little ones are welcomed, you don’t even notice them at The Henderson.

After some poolside lounging and reading, I get restless. I can’t wait another minute to step foot onto the sand and inhale the salty ocean air. The Henderson isn’t directly on the beach, but it’s just a three-minute jaunt to their private beach area, where you can seamlessly arrange for beach sets (chairs, umbrellas, towels) and water activities (kayaks, boogie boards and paddleboards). Speaking of seamless, that’s exactly how I’d describe their staff; it’s the rare place where each and every employee seems genuinely happy to be working, and their service reflects that.

If you’re not keen on the water, you also have the option to rent a bicycle and tour the area, or hike the 200-acre preserve right next door. Off-site, you can arrange for a fishing trip (Destin is The World’s Luckiest Fishing Village, after all), tee up on Arnold Palmer–designed courses, shop for bargains at the nearby outlets and more. Just make sure to drop the kids off at the resort’s day camp first (score!).

STILL FULL

I’m getting hungry just thinking about all the stuff to do at The Henderson. The good news is that there are eight places to dine or grab a drink, ranging from fine dining to beach eats.

Primrose, the resort’s crown jewel, lives up to the hype. From the artful sushi to the huge, family-sized paella and the best dessert I’ve ever had—think chocolate lava cake covered in torched marshmallow—I certainly don’t leave hungry. Also amazing: the customized cocktails and attentive servers at Horizons, the spot with more casual bar service. Although I don’t have the stomach for Sprinkles, the aptly named ice cream parlor (too. much. marshmallow. cake.), it looked super fun for kids and adults alike.

A NEW-AGE SPA EXPERIENCE

With all that indulging, I was thankful for the fitness scene at The Henderson. There’s a spacious workout area with ample cardio and weight equipment, and workout classes at the movement studio. The outdoor spin area with breathtaking beach views is pure Instagram gold.

Post-workout, I clean up in the experiential shower at the world-class Salamander Spa (complete with a Himalayan salt room and hydrotherapy area, too). There’s a touchscreen that allows you to customize everything from the water pressure to the music and lights. Then, I bliss out with the Tibetan Bowl Ritual, ($140 for 50 minutes), which combines vibrational energy work—via traditional singing bowls made from a variety of metals, including gold—and massage. Although I was a bit skeptical of its purported benefits, it was somehow intensely anxiety-relieving and energizing at the same time.

By the end of my long-weekend-stay, although I certainly didn’t want to leave the Ryan Gosling vibes behind, I feel recharged and ready to head back to reality, where I certainly know where I am at all times. Until next time, Destin. H

Holiday Gift Guide

November 25, 2018 by  
Filed under Features

As the holidays approach, H Texas Magazine offers this list of some sweet stocking stuffers.

For the Health Nut

A better-for-you sweet snack, Nature Nate’s Honey Co. www.naturenates.com is packed their 100% Pure, Raw and Unfiltered honey into the perfect pouch for snacking. Nature Nate’s Honey Packets are a great allergy-friendly and delicious sweet treat kids will love to see in their stocking come Christmas morning.

 

 

 

For the Wine Lover

Savino Connoisseur Wine Saving Carafe

  • Designed to maintain fresh wine for up to a week
  • Float rests on top of the wine preventing oxidation
  • Carafe and lid are made of high-quality flint glass
  • Plastic float is BPA free and is designed to very stringent dimensions
  • Lid with rubber seal prevents spills
  • Holds a standard bottle of wine (750 ML)
  • Fits in most refrigerators (10.5 inches tall)
  • Available in glass or plastic, for outdoor adventures
  • MSRP: $49.95 (glass), $24.95 (plastic)

 For the Man Who Loves Quality

The editors of The Robb Report have created a unique gift box for men: Robb Vices. This subscription box gives you a monthly dose of luxury. Robbvices.com

 

 

 

 

For the Book Worm

1,000 Books to Read Before You Die by James Mustich (October 2; $35.00) has been 14 years in the making with a thousand great books to get lost. It’s a 1,000 page shelf talker curated by a literary expert. You’ll want to read every book Jim discusses. www.workman.com

 

 

 

For the Entertainer

Dos Ron 8 Year Rum is your spirit of choice a fine whisky, scotch, or bourbon? Then you will enjoy the golden hues, exotic aromas, and diverse flavor notes of Dos Ron. Forget Jim, Jack, or Johnnie…Instead, opt for a gift with distinction, character, and sophistication. The rich taste of Dos Ron 8 Year Rum is great on the rocks and also blends well with cola, fruit juice, or your favorite mixer; while the bountiful, complex flavor profile of Dos Ron 16 Year Rum strike the perfect balance of heat and smoothness and is best enjoyed neat or on the rocks.

 

Semi-Precious Agate Coaster Set

Semi-precious Agate Coaster Set’s classic design makes the perfect gift. Named after the Portuguese word “stone”, these coasters are authentically created from pure, semi-precious agate. Each coaster is hand- polished in Brazil and protected by rubber feet on the underside.  (Note: due to the natural variation of the stone, color and size may vary; retail $80.)

 

 

For the Sportsman

The Texas Flannel Sport Shirt is the perfect button down no matter where the cooler Texas winds take you. These made-in-Texas shirts feature a hidden button-down collar and corner-cut sleeve cuffs. The Texas flannel fabric is a lightweight, super soft, pure cotton that is stitched together by third-generation shirt makers in west Texas. From the ranch-house to the clubhouse, our Texas flannels are tough to beat. Exact same fit as the Standard Sport Shirt—not too slim, and never boxy (available in Field, Club and Ranch; $99.50). www.Texas-Standard.com

  • Made in Texas
  • Hidden button-down collar
  • Rugged 100 percent brushed cotton fabric
  • Designed with a length that also wears well untucked
  • Discrete front-pocket logo tag
  • Cut true to size: not boxy or too slim

For the Boot Lover 

The perfect gift for all of the important women, men and children in your life, Miron Crosby’s handmade boots are a memorable gift they can wear for years to come. Offered in a variety of styles, the luxe line of boots are hand-lasted in Texas at a 160-year-old manufacturer where master artisans with decades of experience cut, last and stitch every pair by hand. Concierge design service allows clients to customize any boot with an array of colored leathers and threads as well as personalize with monograms. Clients can even inscribe a personal message to the interior shaft of the boot!

For the Dreamer

Give the gift everyone has on their wish list…more SLEEP! The Dreampad is a clinically proven and researched Smart Pillow that actually helps its users shut down for a good night’s sleep! It’s a perfect gift choice for anyone who has a hard time falling asleep or staying asleep, or those who travel frequently and find themselves struggling to get shut eye in hotel rooms and unfamiliar spaces. The Dreampad plays music through a patented method which triggers the body’s relaxation response and signals your body and mind to relax. Through the app, you have access to 10 different song choices, volume control and length of play.  Once your head is relaxed on the Dreampad, the music travels internally signaling your body’s natural relaxation response so you can ease into a great night’s sleep!

The Dreampad is available in a variety of sizes to fit every sleep style, including Memory Support, Firm Support, Medium Support, and Slim Support (Great for Travel). Retails between $129 and $179.

For your Girlfriend or Bestie

Athleisure is all the rage… especially in H-Town where we really can wear leggings anywhere! These cute sets and lightweight mats from Manduka make for a great gift for your girl

friend or your best friend. They are easy to wear and look chic while working out. Prices range from $52–$128.

 

Switch2Pure Grand Opening November 8th & 9th

November 7, 2018 by  
Filed under Events

Grand Opening on Thursday, November 8th from 1-7pm
Come celebrate with Switch2Pure and sip on matcha lemonade, adaptogen-infused drinks and biodynamic wine and enjoy vegan treats while you check out the brand-new space. Switch2Pure will have personalized, mini facial and skincare consults, a gift with purchase and the chance to win an amazing giveaway prize (that you won’t want to miss!).
PYT Grand Opening on Friday, November 9th from 3-7pm
Calling all boss babes! Pop by after work to mix and mingle at the Switch2Pure PYT grand opening. Sip on matcha lemonade, adaptogen-infused drinks and biodynamic wine and enjoy vegan treats while you check out the brand-new space. Switch2Pure will have personalized, mini facial and skincare consults, a gift with purchase and the chance to win an amazing giveaway prize (that you won’t want to miss!). Plus, don’t miss hearing Estela speak at 4pm about wellness, her journey to founding Switch2Pure and the gift of giving.
Guests can pop-in at anytime to join the festivities, shop the edit of luxurious, effective, clean beauty and chat with founder and head purist, Estela Cockrell, or schedule a private consultation at popup@switch2pure.com.

Uchi, Montrose

October 22, 2018 by  
Filed under Blogs, Dining, Foodie Events

Best Japanese Happy Hour: Uchi, Montrose

With a name that literally means “house,” the Uchi crew is sure to make you feel right at home with their daily Sake Social Hour. Though this often-frequented lower-Westheimer restaurant is known for their sushi, don’t miss their innovative specials and drinks starting at 5 p.m.

uchihouston.com

Stack Burger, Downtown

October 22, 2018 by  
Filed under Blogs, Dining

Best Burger Deal: Stack Burger, Downtown

Burgers, banh mi sandwiches and breakfast tacos—what’s not to love? Stack Burger’s mouthwatering patties aren’t the only thing this downtown hot spot has going for it. The building is covered in an intricate tapestry of graffiti art, making it the perfect place to snap a picture-perfect selfie on your lunch break.


stack-burger.com

Houston History Bus, Downtown

October 22, 2018 by  
Filed under Blogs, Community

Best Way to Learn Houston History: Houston History Bus, Downtown

Not all history lessons take place in a classroom. Hop on board the city’s one-and-only yellow-school-bus-on-wheels for an in-depth exploration of downtown. The owner and operator, a resident historian for KHOU, personalizes each tour for 20 seat holders, primarily focusing on the city’s founding, the Texas Revolution plus some local street history for good measure.

The Latest Cold + Flu Fighter

October 11, 2018 by  
Filed under Blogs, Health & Wellness

Although past studies have indicated that endurance sports (like that marathon training you’re pondering) put strain on the immune system, a new analysis in Frontiers in Immunology is flipping the script. We know that during intense exercise, infection-fighting immune cells increase 10 fold in the bloodstream, drop to low levels afterward and finally return to normal hours later—a finding that was previously interpreted as a sign of immune suppression. But now researchers speculate that this cell-turnover timeline is impossible, meaning that the “destroyed” cells (that were thought to have regenerated just hours later) can’t be replaced that quickly. Moreover, these “lost” cells actually end up in other more infection-prone parts of the body like the lungs. So it turns out that all exercise, and that includes the intense stuff, is good for immunity. One last thing, though: Make sure you’re balancing your marathon-training schedule with plenty of low impact, flexibility exercises like Pilates or yoga.

—Amanda Altman

International Smoke

October 11, 2018 by  
Filed under Dining, International Smoke

Wonder what’s burning in Citycentre? It’s the wood at International Smoke where they smoke and grill meals over open flames.

By Tom Flynn • Photos by Shannon O’Hara

International Smoke is owned by a couple of foodie celebrities, Celebrity chef Michael Mina and Food Network star Ayesha Curry (who happens to be married to Golden State Warriors star Steph Curry). The restaurant initially received bad social media reviews from pouting Houston Rockets fans still burning (pun intended) from the season ending defeat delivered by the Warriors. After some research, the reviews were proven unfounded and the only bad thing about Steph Curry is that he plays for the Warriors instead of the Rockets. Still, Ayesha ruffled some feathers when she opened a business in H Town.

Believe it or not, it smells like smoke in the restaurant. High-flying flames in the big open kitchen add some ambiance to the lofty interior as cooks run up and down the line flipping meat. Stained concrete floors, brick and cement pillars (some with graffiti) and dark, comfortable furniture contrast nicely with the fires.

The beef comes from 44 Farms just north of Austin where they’ve been producing prime and choice Angus cuts of meat for over a century. We order some, shaking. The Waygu Shaking Beef appetizer is cooked tableside in a cast iron dish with an Asian sauce. It’s accompanied with lettuce leaves, pickled carrots and radishes, fresh jalapeño and fried peanuts. Diners pile the beef on the lettuce, add a little sesame ginger sauce and roll their own lettuce wraps. The dish is fun, interactive and delicious, $16.

The Asian influences continue with Korean Smoked Short Ribs. It’s a large portion of meat served over sticky rice with a side of cold kimchi. The bone-in ribs are coated in a barbecue rub and Korean barbecue sauce and smoked until the exterior looks and tastes like burned end brisket. Inside, the meat is tender and juicy, $36. In contrast, the smoked sausage plate was just that, three types of sausage, mashed potatoes, stone ground mustard and an interesting dollop of fennel jam; $26. We ordered Green Papaya Slaw to lighten up our meal, plus another batch to take home, $9.

The menu is pretty extensive. Charcoal grilled oysters, clams and shrimp; steaks and lots of ribs; redfish on the half shell and fried snapper; duck wings, chicken and more. Most appetizers are $15–$20; entrees $30–$50 and sides $9–$15. There was one Cabernet Sauvignon for $55 (which was good), the rest were $100–$400. Fall is here and they have a large patio to hang out on. If it’s too hot or cold, you can enjoy the large, indoor bar.

Even though I’m a big Rockets fan, I’ll be back to International Smoke. Hopefully I can throw a Rockets victory party there at the end of this season; I’ll invite the Curry’s. H

On the Menu

October 1, 2018 by  
Filed under Features, On the Menu

A Reason for the Season

The latest restaurant trend to source local, sustainable ingredients is gaining steam. Here’s how to implement it in your Texas kitchen.

Story and recipes by Tom Flynn

Seasonal ingredients locally sourced from sustainable suppliers are the future for restaurants, at least according to Current’s executive chef, Richard Mendoza, who preaches on creating ecologically sound menus. I’ve heard the sermon. Sitting at his desk wearing his tall chef’s hat with his feet flat on the floor, he spits fire and brimstone rhetoric on the sins of the food business. To paraphrase him: “Thou shalt not order product from California and waste hundreds of gallons on fuel having it delivered to Texas. Thou shalt not support a supplier who spits emissions into the air, or harms our streams, lakes or oceans. Thou shalt not serve aging and wilting ingredients that rode on a truck from afar. Thou shalt honor world-classic dishes created from fresh local ingredients.” Amen, brother.

I travel all over the world researching our “On the Menu” features. The kitchen at the Westin in The Woodlands (in which Current resides) is the most professional I’ve ever seen, from the facilities to the staff and processes. I spent an afternoon listening to their culinary philosophy and cooking secrets. When it came time to practice the recipes I learned, I realized how true they were to the chef’s philosophy. I ventured out to the beach, snagged a couple redfish and harvested crabs from my traps. I purchased dairy products, corn, edible flowers and shallots from Central Market. Virtually everything else came out of my garden. Get ready for a fresh, real Texas meal. H

Dinner with H Texas (Left to Right): Yennie Handika, Stephanie DiCiro, Vicki Dill, Thomas Gruber, Jasmine Chen and Marian Jacob

Tomato Burrata Salad

Place a mound of Burrata cheese in the center of a plate. Cut a variety of heirloom tomatoes into slices or wedges and scatter around the cheese, making sure not to overcrowd. Season the tomatoes and cheese with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. Drizzle lemon-infused extra-virgin olive oil and white balsamic vinegar over the tomatoes. Garnish with micro arugula, basil and edible flowers.

Lump Crab Cake with Creamed Corn and Romesco Sauce

Traditionally, Romesco sauces are pepper and tomato based, but this one is all about the peppers. A combination of roasted red bell peppers and dried ancho chiles makes for some rich, smoky notes that pair surprisingly well with the sweet crab and corn.

For the creamed corn:
3 ears corn
3 cups heavy cream
2 tablespoons olive oil
¼ cup diced red onions
½ cup diced green bell peppers
salt and pepper to taste

For the sauce:
3 red bell peppers
¾ cup vegetable oil|
½ cup almonds
1 loaf white bread, cubed
3 garlic cloves
½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
2 tablespoons Red wine vinegar
1 small shallot
1 (1-ounce) package ancho chiles, rehydrated
salt and pepper to taste

For the crab cakes:
3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 celery stalk, minced
¼ yellow onion, minced
4 fresno peppers, seeded and diced
½ green bell pepper, diced
½ tablespoon minced garlic
2 cups fresh bread, cubed
½ cup mayonnaise
2 tablespoons Old Bay seasoning
2 tablespoons chopped parsley
2 tablespoons minced chives, plus more for garnish
1 pound jumbo lump crab

1. Make the corn: Shuck the corn, and then remove the kernels and set them aside.
2. Place the corn cobs and cream in a pot over medium-low and and simmer for 20 minutes.
3. Meanwhile, warm the oil in a skillet over medium and sauté the onions, peppers and reserved corn kernels for 3–5 minutes. Strain the cream and add to the skillet. Allow to reduce and thicken to your desired consistency. Season with salt and pepper.
4. Make the sauce: Roast the bell peppers over an open flame, cover, steam, then peel off the skin. Warm the oil in a skillet over medium and lightly toast the almonds, bread, garlic and pepper flakes. Place the roasted peppers and skillet mixture (including the oil) in a blender and puree with the remaining ingredients, adding water if needed to thin. Season with salt and pepper.
5. Make the crab cakes: Warm 1 tablespoon oil in a pan over medium and sauté the celery, onions, both peppers and garlic, until translucent. Remove from the heat and let cool.
6. Combine the bread, mayo, seasoning, parsley, chives and cooled vegetables in a bowl until incorporated. Gradually add the crab, being careful not to overmix and break up the crab. Shape the mixture into patties. Warm the remaining oil over medium-high and cook the crab cakes on both sides until golden brown, about 2 minutes.
7.
Serve the crab cakes with the creamed corn and Romesco sauce on the side, garnished with chives.


To get more On the Menu recipes and a speciality cocktail check out the Top Doc 2018 issue.

Scott M. Brown

September 27, 2018 by  
Filed under Brown, Scott M., Top Lawyers

Scott M. Brown

Family Law

At Scott M. Brown and Associates, success in the courtroom is not something that’s taken lightly. Whether it’s a matter of family law, including high-asset divorce and complex child custody battles, criminal law or personal injury, Scott M. Brown and his team are steadfast in their commitment to achieving the best possible outcome for their every client. “Our number-one goal is to help our clients achieve success with their legal problems,” says Brown, who’s board certified as a family law specialist through the Texas Board of Legal Specialization, a distinction held by less than one percent of the attorneys in Texas. A 2016-2018 Texas Super Lawyer®, Brown also holds the highest possible Avvo rating.

SCOTT M. BROWN & ASSOCIATES
17210 Mercury Dr.
Houston, TX 77058
281-488-1918 • sbrownlawyer.com

Pablo Nossa

September 27, 2018 by  
Filed under Nossa, Pablo, Top Lawyers

Pablo Nossa

Immigration Law

With eight years of experience, Pablo Nossa became a lawyer to help people. “What I love most about my job is client interaction and knowing that I’ve had a positive impact on their lives, having contributed in some part to making the world a better place,” he says.

Clients are always the top priority—Nossa is available to his clients 24/7, giving them personable service at all times. The Nossa Law Office prides itself in being a client-centered business, “working with people first, not numbers,” he adds.

Nossa obtained his degree from the University of Texas at Austin School of Law, also receiving a BA in Political Science and Latin American Studies. He has been named as a part of Super Lawyers Rising Star, Lawyers of Distinction and Houstonia Magazine’s top lawyers 2016 edition.

NOSSA LAW
1415 North Loop West, Ste. 905 Houston, TX 77008
713-599-1633 • nossalaw.com

Brann Sullivan

September 27, 2018 by  
Filed under Brann Sullivan, Top Lawyers

Brann Sullivan Trial Lawyers, PLLC

Personal Injury

Through a combined five decades of successful personal injury trial law practice, Scott Brann and Roger Sullivan have garnered expertise that makes the difference between getting what clients deserve or settling for something less than fair. In its second year, Brann Sullivan looks forward to continuing and expanding that strong tradition.

Scott received his law degree from South Texas College of Law, magna cum laude, and is licensed by the Texas, Florida, and U.S. Supreme Courts. He has held the AV Rating from the Martindale-Hubbell Peer Review Ratings system for 30 years, recently earning the AV Preeminent rating. He is a lifetime member of the Million and Multi-Million Dollar Advocates Forum.

Roger earned his law degree from Texas Tech University School of Law. His accolades include Rising Star by Texas Super Lawyers in 2015 and 2016; Houstonia Magazine’s Top Houston Lawyers for 2015; Texas Super Lawyer in 2017; and National Trial Lawyers’ list of 2016 and 2018 Top 100 Plaintiff Lawyers.

Both are Board Certified in Personal Injury Trial Law and members of the American Board of Trial Advocates.

BRANN SULLIVAN
602 Sawyer St., Ste. 700
Houston, TX 77007
713-BS-TRIAL • BStrial.com

Romero, David & Paola

September 27, 2018 by  
Filed under Romero, David & Paola, Top Lawyers

The Romero Law Firm PC | Family Law & Immigration Law

David and Paola Romero are client-focused divorce, custody and immigration lawyers. They believe that loyalty and commitment to clients’ cases separate them from other lawyers. David and Paola bring their years of education and experience to help clients obtain the results they desire, by working with each client to present the court with what it needs.

David is a Fellow of the State Bar of College, and Paola is Member of the State Bar Immigration Section. They provide professional representation while maintaining a comfortable rapport with their clients.

THE ROMERO LAW FIRM, PC
17041 El Camino Real, Ste. 209
Houston, Texas 77058
281-220-1067 • attorneyromero.com

Bain & Bain PLLC

September 27, 2018 by  
Filed under Bain & Bain PLLC, Top Lawyers

BAIN & BAIN PLLC | Civil Litigation

Bain & Bain PLLC, established in 1994, is a boutique law firm specializing in civil litigation, alternative dispute resolution and appeals. The firm’s attorneys are also arbitrators and mediators with a success rate of over 90 percent.

At Bain & Bain PPLC, the attorneys know that success is dependent upon frequent and open communication with clients, and include them in every major decision in their case. They have built their reputation by providing clients with straight answers, analyzing their situation and outlining their legal options so they can make the most informed decision possible.

The firm’s two shareholders Joanie and Bruce Bain, have more than six decades of combined legal experience in state and federal courts. They are trained negotiators and effective litigators who put their experience to work for their clients. Bruce has been named as one of Houstonia‘s Top Lawyers 2017, Top Attorneys of North America 2016-2017 and  Who’s Who Top Attorneys in Texas 2017 by the Dallas Morning News. Joanie was also selected as one of Houstonia’s Top Lawyers 2017.

Bain & Bain PLLC
10810 Katy Freeway, Ste. 102
Houston, TX 77043
713-629-6222 • bainandbainlaw.net

Greco Neyland, PC

September 27, 2018 by  
Filed under Greco Neyland, PC, Top Lawyers

Greco Neyland, PC | Criminal Defense

Greco Neyland, PC is a criminal defense law firm practicing State and Federal criminal defense. With a full legal staff of attorneys, paralegals and investigators with offices in Houston, New York and Los Angeles, the firm has the reputation, experience and resources to provide effective legal representation and get great results.

The attorneys with Greco Neyland, PC have years of experience trying cases to juries across the state of Texas and in Federal Courts. Managing Partner, Dustan Neyland (standing) and Senior Associate, Ben Pearce (seated) are both located in the Houston office. Call us today at 713-972-1100 to schedule a meeting to discuss your case.

Greco Neyland, PC
701 N. Post Oak Rd., Ste. 425
Houston, TX 77024
713-972-1100 • greconeylandtx.com

Simon Law Group, PLLC

September 27, 2018 by  
Filed under Simon Law Group, PLLC, Top Lawyers

Simon Law Group, PLLC | Immigration Law

If you’re in need of an immigration lawyer with personal experience, look no further than Simon Law Group PLLC. Helmed by dynamic husband-and-wife team Sebastian Simon and Aseel Saqer Simon, the full-service immigration law firm specializes in family-and employment-based immigration, necessary visas, business and investor visas, naturalization and citizenship, deportation defense and asylum. The attorneys and staff work with clients worldwide in English, Spanish, Arabic and Malayalam.

Sebastian Simon, a native of Chile who underwent the arduous process of immigrating to the U.S., has more than a decade of experience practicing immigration law. Bringing her legal corporate background and cultural upbringing to the practice, Aseel Saqer Simon focuses on assisting employers, entrepreneurs and investors with their immigration needs. The couple takes pride in identifying solutions for families who have chosen the U.S. to make their dreams come true.

Simon Law Group, PLLC
1111 N. Loop W., Ste. 1111
Houston, TX 77008
713-839-0639 • simonimmigrationlaw.com

Mary E. Ramos

September 26, 2018 by  
Filed under Ramos, Mary E., Top Lawyers

Mary E. Ramos | Family Law

At the helm of the Ramos Law Group, PLLC, which specializes in all aspects of family law, Mary E. Ramos is known as the gladiator of family law. From adoptions, divorce litigation and child custody to high-asset property division and more, the firm provides exceptional service and insight to each and every client. “From the first time I stepped into a family courtroom, my role as a family law attorney was clarified. I couldn’t see myself doing anything else with my life. Few people get the opportunity to do what they love every day, and I am blessed in being able to pursue my dreams as an advocate,” says Ramos, who’s Board Certified in Family Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization with more than 12 years of experience.

Together with her seasoned associates, Jessica Mikell and Lindsey Lewis, Ramos is a firm believer in continuing education. To that end, the team is active in various legal organizations, with Ramos maintaining membership in the Texas Bar College, which warrants four times the education requirement for all attorneys. Membership is an honor bestowed to less than 10 percent of Texas attorneys.

RAMOS LAW GROUP PLLC
1214 Miramar St.
Houston, TX 77006
713-225-6200 • ramosfamilylaw.com

Fighting for Houston

September 25, 2018 by  
Filed under Features

Houston Texans cornerback Kareem Jackson isn’t just battling for wins on the football field. The family man also spearheads the Kareem Jackson Foundation, which aims to help cancer patients and their loved ones live a better life.

by Rima Jean • photography by Nicholas Nguyen

Kareem Jackson is channeling his inner Tyson Beckford for a photo shoot at Discovery Green, when he calls out, “Modeling is hard. Harder than playing football.” Considering how easy he makes playing football look, this isn’t surprising in the least coming from the quiet, humble Jackson.

Jackson, 30, grew up in Macon, GA, and developed a passion for football in high school. He was recruited by the University of Alabama, where he played cornerback for the Crimson Tide. In 2010, Jackson was drafted by the Houston Texans, and he’s been here ever since, now in his ninth season. Lately things have been especially busy: He and his wife, Amber, recently closed on a house in Florida so his family could be close by during training. They’re also expecting their second child, a girl, in June. Their first, Kaylen, is two.

In Fighting Shape

Despite having his hands full, Jackson stays game-ready between seasons with cardio. Lots and lots of it. Early on in the off-season, Jackson starts off by running a few miles on the treadmill. He progresses to sprint work, hills, and then to speed workouts. “I never want to have to get back into shape,” he says. “I want to stay in shape, even when I’m not playing football.” Admittedly, this can be difficult, especially considering his penchant for sweets. “I love fresh-baked chocolate chip cookies…and any kind of fruity candy, like Skittles, Sour Patch Kids…and Krispy Kreme doughnuts. Yeah, those things give me a hard time, for sure.”

Luckily, he enjoys the process of burning off those extra calories. “You gotta have fun with whatever you’re doing. Sure, you gotta put the work in, so you may as well have fun doing it.”

A Family Man

Off the field, Jackson dabbles as an entrepreneur with his clothing line, Fly Guy (flyguyshop.com), which features high-end lounge and streetwear for men. The line, Jackson says, is for men “who like to make a statement with their wardrobe.”

Jackson also spends his leisure time enjoying everything Houston has to offer: He loves hanging courtside at Rockets games, which he does often, or going bowling with buddies. He’s also no stranger to the city’s restaurant scene (see “Kareem’s Favorite Houston Eateries” below).

He admits to being a homebody, however, and prefers spending time in his “man cave” with friends, his three dogs—an Argentine Dogo, a French bulldog and a Chihuahua—and above all, with his family. “My little girl is growing every day, learning new words every day,” beams Jackson. “I don’t want to miss that. My family is definitely my priority.” A quick scroll down his Instagram feed, teeming with photos of him, his wife and his daughter smiling from ear to ear, is proof enough.

Conquering Cancer

Perhaps the second-biggest contribution of his time goes into his campaign against cancer, a cause very close to Jackson’s heart. “I started the Kareem Jackson Foundation a while back, but it’s really taken off recently,” he says. “My mom is a two-time breast cancer survivor and my sister is a leukemia survivor, so I guess you can imagine what my childhood household was like. I decided that once I was in a position where I could help people and families affected by cancer, I would jump at the opportunity.”

As Jackson’s brand grew, he was able to conceive his dream and the foundation took off. The foundation hosts a variety of fund-raisers each year, with the money raised going directly toward various programs that raise cancer awareness and provide educational, recreational and healthy-living initiatives for families affected by breast cancer and childhood cancer. Such programs include Christmas in July, which provides gifts to kids battling cancer and their siblings; the Pretty in Pink VIP Luncheon, which honors breast cancer fighters and survivors; and Texan for a Day, which provides families of children battling cancer with a free VIP day at the Houston Training Camp at Reliant Stadium. On May 22 Jackson and his teammates are teeing up at Topgolf Houston-Katy with a live and silent auction; the proceeds will go toward these initiatives. (For more information, visit kareemjackson.org.)

Jackson’s charity efforts don’t end there—the Texans cornerback is also active with the Candlelighters of Texas Children’s Hospital, a group that provides emotional, educational and practical support to families of children with cancer. “I do a lot of work with them every year, too,” Jackson says. “Anything to keep families from going through what we went through.”

Looking to the Future

In terms of his football career and the upcoming season, Jackson is optimistic. “The locker room has been pretty upbeat. We went through a lot last year, a lot of injuries, but at the end of the day, we all have the same goal. Getting our guys healthy again is definitely a priority. We’re putting last year behind us and looking forward to this year.” He smiles. “We just want to win.”

“Houston is home,” Jackson says definitively. “I love it here. It has so much to offer. This will definitely be home for me and my family when I’m done playing ball.”

As long as the modeling days are held to a minimum. H

Kareem’s Favorite Houston Eateries

“I’m a huge foodie,” Jackson admits. “And Houston’s got so many great choices.” Here, his top picks.

  • Willie G’s
  • Steak 48
  • Killen’s STQ
  • Blaze Pizza
  • Zaxby’s

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