The Born Experience

Our great state has birthed some memorable figures—and some we wish to forget, too.

by Lynn Ashby


WHAT DO SAM DONALDSON, NOLAN RYAN AND DWIGHT EISENHOWER HAVE IN COMMON? No, they were not brief members of the Trump cabinet. They were all born in Texas. So were Debbie Reynolds (El Paso), Joan Crawford (San Antonio) and Tommy Lee Jones (San Saba).

Actually, the entertainment industry is filled with our former neighbors: Carol Burnett (San Antonio), Gary Busey (Goose Creek), Cyd Charisse (born Tula Ellice Finklea in Amarillo), Spanky McFarland (Fort Worth), Steve Martin (Waco). And what would the musical world be without Texans? Willie Nelson (Abbott), Trini Lopez (Dallas), Selena (Lake Jackson). And although Larry Hagman (Fort Worth) didn’t sing, his mother Mary Martin (Weatherford), did. Who can forget our favorite singing Longhorn, Janis Joplin (Port Arthur) or the Big Bopper, aka Jiles Perry “J. P.” Richardson, Jr. (Sabine Pass). We also have Beyonce (Houston), Ernest Tubb (Crisp) and Tommy Tune (Wichita Falls). Ragtime composer Scott Joplin (Texarkana) was reintroduced to millions in The Sting. 

Speaking of films, Humphrey Bogart never did say, “Play it again, Sam” in the 1942 film Casablanca. The line, “Play it once, Sam,” was from Ingrid Bergman. Sam was played by Dooley Wilson, who was born in Tyler. Notice that you never see Sam’s fingers on the keyboard. That’s because he was a drummer.

The military has more than its quota of Texans. While Admiral Chester Nimitz (Fredericksburg) commanded the Pacific Fleet in World War II, General Dwight Eisenhower (Dennison) commanded all Allied troops in the European and African Theater.

An interesting story about Ike. He thought he was born in Abilene, Kansas, where he grew up, and put down Abilene as his birthplace on his application to West Point. When Ike became a famous five-star general, a lady in Dennison thought she remembered babysitting little Ike at the Eisenhower home there. (I’ve visited the house, a tiny, humble place.) Ike was surprised to learn he was a native Texan. 


The most decorated soldier in World War II was Audie Murphy (Kingston). He could also be listed in the Hollywood category because, after the war, he made more than 40 movies and a TV series. This military thing is traditional, according to the Western Monthly Magazine in October, 1838: “…the Texians being entirely a military people, not only fought, but drank, in platoons.”

Nobel laureate John Steinbeck, in Travels With Charley observed: “Among other tendencies to be noted, Texas is a military nation. The armed forces of the United States are loaded with Texans and often dominated by Texans. Even the dearly loved spectacular sports are run almost like military operations. Sectional football games have the glory and despair of war, and when a Texas team takes the field against a foreign state, it is an army with banners.”

While it is interesting to learn that so many famous people hail from the Lone Star State, it is also interesting to learn that most of the founders of Texas came here from other places. Sam Houston and Stephen F. Austin were born in Virginia. William B. Travis and James Bonham came from South Carolina. James Bowie was from Kentucky. The Alamo defenders came from 20 states and six countries. There were only 11 native Texians at the Alamo and they couldn’t speak English. Twenty-two of the defenders just appeared, and no one knows where they were born. 

At San Jacinto, the Texas Army came from 24 states, 11 countries, and Texas. The only native Texians were 30 Tejanos from San Antonio. “A scene singularly wild and picturesque presented itself to our view. Around 20 or 30 campfires stood as many groups of men: English, Irish, Scots, Mexicans, French, Germans, Italians, Poles, Yankees, all unwashed and unshaved, their long hair and beards and mustaches matted, their clothes in tatters and plastered with mud. A more savage-looking band could scarcely have been assembled.” Some things never change. 

All these newcomers give fresh meaning to the bumper sticker; “I’m not from Texas, but I got here as soon as I could.” This also includes Dr. Michael DeBakey (Lake Charles), Walter Cronkite (Saint Joseph, MO) and Roger Clemens (Dayton, OH).

Getting back to those who were born here, the Texans have rather dominated the evil media, especially the TV news. We have Dan Rather (Wharton). Then there are Bob Schieffer (Austin) and Scott Pelly (San Antonio). Lou Dobbs is not from Childress, but from “Childress County.” When it comes to athletes, we can’t list them all. Nolan Ryan (Refugio), Ben Hogan (Stephenville), A.J. Foyt (Houston), most of the NFL, Roger Hornsby (Winters), “Babe” Didrikson Zaharias (Port Arthur) and a newly pardoned Jack Johnson (Galveston). Incidentally, Johnson fits into a sub-category:
BOI. That’s Born On the Island (of Galveston).
The BOIs are very proud of that, although most are descendants of Jean Lafitte.

Only two U.S. Presidents were born here, Ike and Lyndon Johnson (Stonewall). Since Jim Hogg, most of our governors were Texan-born. George W. Bush was an exception (New Haven, CT). In other areas, we have Dr. Denton Cooley (Houston), former U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor (El Paso), H. Ross Perot (Texarkana), Katherine Anne Porter (Indian Creek), Howard Hughes (Houston), painter Robert Rauschenberg (Port Arthur) and Gene Roddenberry (El Paso). 

Who was the first white female to be born in Texas? It could be Mary James Long, or maybe not. On December 21, 1821, Jane Herbert Wilkinson Long gave birth to Mary James on Bolivar Peninsula, and throughout Jane Long’s life she claimed to having given birth to the first white baby in Texas and was called “The Mother of Texas.” However, censuses between 1807 and 1826 reveal a number of children born in Texas to Anglo-American mothers prior to 1821. Stephen F. Austin is called “The Father of Texas,” and he once romanced Jane Long. Hmmmm.

Finally, also born in Texas were Bonnie and Clyde (Rowena and Ellis County, respectively), and Barrow and David Koresh of the Waco siege fame (Houston). Let’s assume they forged their birth certificates. H

Dr. Ravi Somayazula

Dr. Ravi Somayazula
Plastic Surgery

Among the most trusted Board-Certified Plastic Surgeons in Houston, Dr. Ravi Somayazula has become one of the go-to experts for breast and body plastic surgery, as well as non-surgical procedures. Over the last decade, Dr. Ravi’s dedication to excellence has been discovered by many patients from around the world, which is why he has so many 5-Star Google Reviews, making him one of today’s most sought-after plastic surgeons. Dr. Ravi’s practice is set apart from his peers by his emphasis on patient education and a gentle, calming bedside manner. He understands that superior cosmetic surgery is a process, beginning with an in-depth consultation and highly personalized treatment plan. Using state-of-the-art techniques, precision, and an innate understanding of both anatomical and aesthetic proportions, Dr. Ravi works intently to achieve the best results. The goal at Body by Ravi Plastic Surgery and Aesthetics is to provide excellent results in a warm, caring environment that is responsive to each patient’s unique goals and needs.

If you are considering an aesthetic procedure accompanied by compassionate care and natural-looking results, look no further than Body by Ravi Plastic Surgery and Aesthetics. Schedule a complimentary consultation with Dr. Ravi to discuss your personal goals.


Body by Ravi Plastic Surgery & Aesthetics
9230 Katy Freeway, Ste. 520
Houston, TX 77055
281-242-1061 • bodybyravi.com

Lisa M. Treviño, DDS, FAAPD, DABPD

Lisa M. Treviño, DDS, FAAPD, DABPD
Pediatric Dentistry

At Cornerstone, we take pride in providing our very best for you and your children. Caring for their unique needs comes naturally to us, after all, we’re parents too! From lasers to orthodontics, your child is sure to get the latest and greatest there is to offer. Call today!


Cornerstone Kids Dental
17059 Stuebner Airline Rd.
Spring, TX 77379
281-444-3999 cornerstonekidsdental.com

Aesthetic Dentistry Associates

Aesthetic Dentistry Associates
Cosmetic, Implant and Sedation Dentistry

For more than thirty years, Aesthetic Dentistry Associates has been serving the Greater Houston community by providing a full range of general dentistry services with an emphasis on cosmetic, implant and sedation dentistry.

The doctors at Aesthetic Dentistry Associates are committed to patient comfort and care. “Before we begin the journey to improved health and happiness with our patients, we must first do what is all too often missing in the patient experience: listen!” says Dr. Umansky. “By investing in the latest technology, we not only provide our patients with the treatment they need, but are also fully invested in our relationship with our patients to deliver the care they deserve.”

Aesthetic Dentistry Associates has developed a special focus on sedation dentistry. Dr. Umansky explains, “Drs. Nikmard, Goldsmith and I are all certified to provide both oral and intravenous sedation. This gives our patients confidence that the procedures we perform—whether it’s a full-arch replacement of teeth in a single day with the All-on-4® system, a smile design with porcelain veneers or a routine cleaning—can all be done with a customized approach to patient comfort.”

EDUCATION AND ACCREDITATIONS:

Andrew Goldsmith, DDS Marquette University School of Dentistry; General Practice residency at the University of Colorado; Diplomate in the International Organization of Implant Dentistry; Fellow in the International Academy of Laser Dentistry; Fellow in the Academy of General Dentistry

John Nikmard, DDS University of Texas San Antonio Dental School; General Practice Residency at the Long Beach Veteran’s Administration Hospital

David K. Umansky, DDS University of Texas Dental Branch Houston; Master in the Academy of General Dentistry

Pictured left to right: Dr. Nikmard and Dr. Goldsmith


Aesthetic Dentistry Associates
6818 Atascocita Rd.
Humble, TX 77346
281-446-4700 • aestheticdentistryassociates.com

Vladimir Tabakman, DDS, MS

Vladimir Tabakman, DDS, MS
Orthodontist and Diamond Invisalign Provider

As a leading orthodontist in Houston, Dr. Vladimir Tabakman is on a mission to change lives with orthodontic treatment by giving people a smile they’re proud to show off and the confidence that comes with it. With two locations, Houston Orthodontic Specialists offers personalized, cutting-edge care to patients—from kids to adults—with a focus on exceptional customer service, a family-friendly atmosphere and stunning results. It’s recommended to have your child’s first orthodontic checkup by age seven.

Dr. Tabakman’s dedication to his field and patients shows. He’s been voted among the top orthodontists in Houston by H Texas magazine every year since 2007. He’s also an award-winning Invisalign provider for his breakthrough orthodontic treatments with the system of clear aligners.

Dr. Tabakman earned his Bachelor of Science degree in biology at the University of Houston and obtained his Doctor of Dental Surgery (DDS) degree from the University of Texas at San Antonio. He completed his orthodontic residency at the University of Detroit Mercy. Since graduating, Dr. Tabakman hasn’t stepped back from education as he’s a believer in the importance of lifelong learning—for medical professionals in particular. He continues to attend conferences, take classes and publish his own research in scientific journals. His practice is informed by the latest research and he incorporates proven, innovative technology in order to ensure the absolute best results for his patients.

Outside of his work and volunteer efforts, Dr. Tabakman can be found spending time with his wife, daughter and son, traveling, playing sports and just enjoying life.


Houston Orthodontic Specialists
houstonortho.com

BELLAIRE
5001 Bissonnet Street, Ste 105
Bellaire, TX 77401
713-667-6000

WEST HOUSTON
1510 Eldridge Pkwy, Ste. 114
Houston, TX 77077
281-752-4222

Brett A. Murphey, DDS

Brett A. Murphey, DDS
Cosmetic Dentistry

Dr. Brett Murphey and his skilled team have been pushing the envelope and leading the way in cosmetic dentistry for more than a decade. Patients include prominent figures, models, entrepreneurs and businessmen and women from all over the world with two things in common. They know that their image is critical to their self-confidence, success and perhaps most importantly, they are looking for a dentist to listen to their needs and earn their trust.

At Woodlands Family Dental, techniques are focused on bringing out your brightest and most beautiful smile.


Woodlands Family Dental
Two locations in The Woodlands
281-681-9600 • WoodlandsDental.com

 

Mitchell C. Mactier, DDS

Mitchell C. Mactier, DDS
Cosmetic & Family Dentistry

Dr. Mactier and his team welcome you to experience the difference they offer! It’s not often that you’ll find such a warm, welcoming dental office whose goal is to exceed your expectations. Dr. Mactier is a graduate of The University of Texas School of Dentistry here in Houston. He is recognized as being a highly skilled, compassionate dentist with a heart for service. Call today to experience the difference.


WEST U Family Dental
3173 W. Holcombe Blvd.
Houston, TX 77025
713-766-9600 • WestUFamilyDental.com

Clear Lake Dental Care & Implant Center

Clear Lake Dental Care & Implant Center
Comprehensive Dentistry

Whether a patient needs routine care or full mouth rehabilitation, Dr. Das and Dr. Pham use the latest techniques and technology in order to provide the best possible patient experiences. Extensive education and experience in implant and sedation dentistry makes it possible for the team at Clear Lake Dental Care to offer life changing solutions to patients. “Sedation dentistry allows us to help so many people that have postponed dental care because of their fear and anxiety,” says Dr. Das. “Our greatest reward is to hear how a new smile has changed our patient’s life.”


Clear Lake Dental Care & Implant Center
202 W. Medical Center Blvd.
Webster, TX 77598
281-972-6742 • clearlakedentalcare.com

Gloria H. Giraldo, DDS

Gloria H. Giraldo, DDS
Smile Sonrisa Dental

Dr. Gloria H. Giraldo has dedicated her life and love to dentistry. She earned her general dentistry degree in 1992 in Bogotá, Colombia. After practicing in her native country, she moved to Chicago with her husband where she obtained her Doctor of Dental Surgery (DDS) degree in 2008 from the University of Illinois at Chicago. 

To further pursue her vision to improve dental health in the community, they relocated to Houston in 2009 to start her practice. With hard work and a passion to educate her patients, she created a concept of a true patient-dentist connection and opened Smile Sonrisa Dental, a welcoming, friendly office environment equipped with advanced dental technology. The carefully assembled staff is there for you and your family from your child’s first trip to future orthodontic care to preventative exams for years down the line. Whatever your dental needs, the friendly, bilingual and family-oriented team can help you achieve a healthy mouth and beautiful smile. 

Dr. Giraldo’s mission is to help people attain a healthy smile through outstanding service, an exceptional team, and above all, by creating extraordinary, lasting relationships. Offering not only general dentistry for adults but also dentistry for kids, cosmetic dentistry, implants, periodontics, endodontics and orthodontics. Dr. Gloria Giraldo and her group of experienced dentists are confident that patients will receive quality care for all their oral health needs—where you become part of the Smile Sonrisa family.


Smile Sonrisa Dental
2406 Gessner Drive, Ste. A
Houston, TX 77080
713-465-4155 • smilesonrisa.com

Mina Tabatabai, DDS

Mina Tabatabai, DDS

Pediatric Dentistry

As a Houston native, Dr. Mina Tabatabai is honored and excited to be named as one of Houston’s Top Dentists. At the age of 15, Dr. Mina decided she wanted to be a pediatric dentist and create a fun atmosphere where children felt comfortable visiting the dentist. She is a proud alumni of the University of Houston Honors College and obtained her Doctorate of Dental Surgery (DDS) and Pediatric Dental Residency Certificate at Howard University. She fulfilled her goal of providing outstanding dental care and sharing her positive spirit with her patients by establishing Minali Dental. Her colorful office is filled with toys, games, and technology to help make the experience more pleasant for each of her patients.

Gentle, personalized, and quality dental care is the mission at Minali Dental. As a mother of two sweet boys, Dr. Mina understands parent’s concerns and strives to ensure everyone is well-informed before each procedure. Dr. Mina practices conservative dentistry by treating every child as if they were her own. Parents are comforted because they are welcome in the treatment rooms and children see the same dentist at each visit. Conscious Sedation and Nitrous certified, Minali Dental has the resources to ensure a safe and healthy experience. Upon their first visit, patients become part of the Minali Dental family.


Minali Dental
7700 Fulton St., Ste. A
Houston, TX 77022
832-422-5792 • minalidental.com

Angela Tran, DDS, MS

Angela Tran, DDS, MS
Orthodontics

Dr. Tran is a native Houstonian who graduated from Duchesne Academy of the Sacred Heart. After receiving her Bachelor of Arts from Texas A&M University, Dr. Tran earned her Doctor of Dental Surgery graduating Summa Cum Laude from The University of Texas Dental School at San Antonio. She went on to earn a Master of Science and her Orthodontics Specialty Certificate from the University of Texas Dental Branch at Houston. Dr. Tran is a board-certified orthodontic specialist who treats children, teens, and adults. Her treatment philosophy integrates state-of-the-art technology set in a warm and welcoming environment. She provides traditional braces, clear braces, Invisalign, as well as options to shorten treatment times.


Embrace Orthodontics
1398 Eldridge Parkway, Ste. 210
Houston, TX 77077
281-920-0455 • orthoembrace.com

Five Fitness Tips to Keep Introverts Moving

January 16, 2019 by  
Filed under Blogs, Health & Wellness

While about one-third of the U.S. population describe themselves as introverted, many of the most popular workout options (i.e., exercise classes, fitness groups, competitive sports, etc.) may appear to exclude those more stimulated by “alone time.” But since perception doesn’t always equal reality, the Aquatic Care Programs offers some advice for helping introverts achieve fitness goals on their own terms in the press release below.


Finding a workout routine that fits your personality is one of the key ways to achieve optimal results, says Humble physical therapist Ankit Bhatia. And, that holds particularly true for introverts— those who may be uneasy about joining a gym or a fitness class due to crowds of people, loud music, or the seemingly prying eyes of other members.

“If you have a more introverted personality, joining a gym, exercise class or workout group may not be your cup of tea, but that doesn’t have to hold you back from achieving fitness or weight-loss goals,” said Bhatia, physical therapist of Aquatic Care Programs in Humble. “Fitness opportunities are everywhere, and it’s important you commit to a path that’s comfortable and successful for you.”

It’s been estimated that one-third or more of the U.S. population falls at least partially into the category of “introverts.” This doesn’t necessarily equate to shyness, though, Bhatia says.

An introvert is more likely to find many social or group interactions draining. In contrast, they are generally more stimulated and energized by personal or alone time.

With this in mind, Bhatia offers the following advice to help introverts achieve their fitness goals:

Exercise Solo: If you’re more comfortable by yourself or just don’t feel like dealing with crowds of people at the gym, simply consider fitness options you can do on your own—options like running, swimming, cycling or going for a walk. As exercise itself is energizing, so too is alone time for an introvert’s spirit.

Use the Buddy System: A misconception about introverts is they always prefer being alone. The truth is, introverts enjoy spending quality time with close friends, and this can be beneficial when exploring various fitness options. Bringing a buddy to the gym or a fitness class can make the experience much more positive than going alone.

Seek Inner Focus: Introverts are known for “living in their heads,” so to speak, and often this breeds a level of creativity and personal reflection they find stimulating. So, consider types of exercises known for benefiting the body as well as the inner spirit—activities like yoga, Pilates, tai chi, stretching, deep breathing, etc.

Arm Yourself with Headphones: Sometimes, you just can’t beat access to the space and equipment a fitness club can provide. So, if you just can’t turn your back on the gym, make the experience easier with a good set of headphones. Not only can you choose your own audio motivators (i.e., music, podcasts, books, etc), but simply wearing headphones can help ward off unwanted conversation.

Stream at Home: Streaming at-home fitness apps have come a long way over the last couple of years. Services like Peloton, Aaptiv, ClassPass, etc., offer professional-level streaming workout programs (and equipment, in some cases) for at-home fitness. Bhatia, however, offers a bit of caution before starting one of these programs.

“While some at-home programs can be good, they can’t provide immediate feedback about incorrect form, movement deficiencies and weaknesses in strength and flexibility that, over time, can lead to discomfort, pain or injury,” Bhatia said. “So if you try one out, I highly recommend you first get assessed by a physical therapist to ensure any new workout regimen is going to be safe and lead you toward your actual fitness goals.” —Ankit Bhatia, PT, DPT, MS, ACSM-HFS


About Aquatic Care ProgramsWith two locations, in Humble and Houston, Aquatic Care Programs is dedicated to the advancement of Physical Therapy through innovative aquatic and land based rehabilitation. Our licensed Physical Therapists provide individualized, personal therapy programs specifically designed and monitored to meet each patients rehab needs.  For more information, visit www.aquaticcare.net.

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

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

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