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!

Bring this ad to your appointment for a free gift! (While supplies last.)

Cornerstone Kids Dental
17059 Stuebner Airline Rd.
Spring, TX 77379

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. His office now offers convenient digital consultations for patients.

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

5001 Bissonnet Street, Ste 105
Bellaire, TX 77401

1510 Eldridge Pkwy, Ste. 114
Houston, TX 77077

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 •

Angela Tran, DDS, MS

Angela Tran, DDS, MS

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 •

Bringing Her Babies Home

November 4, 2019 by  
Filed under Features

A look at one mother’s struggle with the Brazos County Court System

THERE WAS RINGING IN HER EARS. Her heartbeat was audible, palms sweaty, the air had been sucked out of her lungs. She looked up at the woman on the bench in a black robe speaking to her. Alyssa could feel her lips moving, but words were not coming out. In fact, she couldn’t hear anything except the ringing in her ears even though the world was still moving all around her. Was she dreaming this nightmare? She blinked. One sentence she managed to catch right before her body decided not to participate any further, “…children are immediately awarded to father, instanter. That means right. This. Minute.” The judge’s condescending remark was overkill.

Alyssa opened her eyes and looked out the law office window. Houston attorneys Marcela Halmagean, Principal Attorney at the law firm M Halmagean Pllc and Meredith Parenti, a senior appellate attorney, were looking at her as if they were waiting for a response.To Alyssa, the flashback of that day, October 18, 2018 was still with her as it has been every day since her nightmare began.Halmagean finally spoke, “You mean to tell me that your husband admitted to putting a gun to his head 10 to 20 times, in front of you and the boys, and the Judges in Brazos County, TX, still named him “primary” of your children?” Alyssa quietly replied “yes,” tears threatening to spill over.

On March 5, 2018, her husband, Ephraim, had stormed out of their apartment, leaving Alyssa and their two babies behind. For as long as she continued to live in that apartment, she never changed the locks and her husband never returned. Two weeks after he left, he filed for divorce. Life with two boys under the age of three and both diagnosed with autism had its challenges, there was no question about that, but Alyssa had never imagined the horror that was still to come.

Alyssa’s husband had money. Alyssa did not. Alyssa’s husband has a PhD. Alyssa does not. After he filed for divorce, Alyssa still waited for him, hoping he would go through therapy and come back to her a changed man…he did not. Eventually, after several months of waiting, Alyssa filed her own petition and agreed to mediation. After a failed mediation over the summer and roughly three unusually long October days of testimony, Associate Judge Wendy Wood Hencerling of Brazos County Court at Law 1, ordered that her babies be taken away from their mother on that very day.

Through haze and disbelief, Alyssa remembered Judge Hencerling’s justifying her extreme ruling on “indicia of parental alienation.” And on that day, October 18, 2018, the Court’s ruling was only a temporary one (she was still breastfeeding the youngest). Alyssa remembered asking herself, How long will these temporary orders last? How will the boys fare without her, the only stable, permanent figure in their lives? Before she was able to process her thoughts, her two boys were immediately retrieved by law enforcement at the residence where they were staying and handed over to their father. Before that day, Alyssa remembered when she and the boys had fled their apartment in fear of their lives…she remembered her husband finding them and beating on the door demanding his guns. He had many guns in the home with Alyssa and the boys and now, he was handed over both children, but Alyssa wasn’t allowed to come within 200 feet, not even if they were on their deathbed. Alyssa wrapped her arms around her, her breasts throbbing again. She finally broke down in tears. She couldn’t help but still wonder how her youngest needing to be breasfeed would be cared for. Halmagean looked up from her computer screen where she had been clacking away for the last 20 minutes, trying to make sense of the case. She remained composed and rational. If she was in shock at hearing Alyssa’s comments, she didn’t show it. “You mean, the Court mandated a black out period of 90 days? You mean to tell me you weren’t allowed to see the children for 90 days? No contact with the children? No Facetime? No supervised visitation? No information provided to you by the husband whatsoever?” Alyssa nodded and kept sobbing unable to respond.

After a few minutes, Alyssa explained that the Judge allowed her to reunite with her children on January 18, 2019, about a month before she met Halmagean and Parenti. The Court’s Orders were on paper and Alyssa’s lawyers were looking at them. An unsupervised Standard Possession Order was set to start on January 18, 2019. It was a soul-crushing lifetime away for a mother who had never been apart from or spent a single night away from her babies. Just four days before January 18, 2019 when Alyssa’s standard possession was to begin, Judge Hencerling’s custody evaluator appointment, Kim Arredondo, PhD, wrote and submitted a sworn affidavit riddled with lies and half-truths. She had a problem with Alyssa getting to see her children. In her affidavit, she complained to the court that the pool at the residence where Alyssa was staying was a problem despite the locks, child gates, and adult supervision. She also raised a false concern about the children’s Texas Children’s Hospital diagnosis and accused the doctors of issuing diagnosis and performing medical procedures on the children only because Alyssa requested them to do so. When deposed by Halmagean, Arredondo would admit to deleting evidence from her interviews with Alyssa’s witnesses, failing to speak with the husband’s therapist, Dr. Larson, and spending a disproportionate amount of time talking with the husband’s lawyer and the Amicus in the case—another Judge Hencerling’s appointment. In that deposition, she also admitted that she charged Alyssa more than $1,000 for a visit to Alyssa’s new home, a visit which never occurred; and that the husband’s severe porn addiction and his putting a gun to his head 10 to 20 times by his own admission were never matters of any concern to her. Alyssa kept repeating to Halmagean that it’s all about the “indicia of parental alienation” that mattered to the Court and to Arredondo.

On January 15, 2019, the lawyer for the husband filed an emergency motion to stop Alyssa’s upcoming standard possession orders and used Arredondo’s affidavit in support of the emergency motion. The Court signed off on it and defeated, Alyssa’s then lawyers withdrew from the case. What are the odds? “Chozer k’mo boomerang” roughly translated to English means “it comes back like a boomerang” or “what goes around comes around.” Alyssa still can’t stop wondering what she ever did to be punished this way. She speaks fluent Hebrew; she met and fell in love with him; she married him in his country, Israel; they were happy back then…or so she recalls.

From the day the nightmares began, October 18, 2018 through June of 2019, Alyssa has seen her boys a scarce 30 hours spread out over 10 supervised visits. During those visits, her rights were constantly reduced without hearings or an opportunity for her to be heard. They called her a “Munchausen by Proxy” mom. They accused her of faking her own autism. They had to say something to take her babies away. But, the kids are still autistic and are still non-verbal. To hide these facts, the Court ordered her to only eight hours of supervised visits a month and for those hours she has to pay about $4,000. She can’t afford that nor does she have the resources to live. As of September 20, 2019, Alyssa has not seen her children and her children have not hugged their mother in over 105 days and counting. What average American parent can afford to spend $4,000 per month to see their children?

This case was so unbelievable that Halmagean and Parenti, agreeing to take the case pro bono, and Wayne Dolcefino with Dolcefino Consulting and a decorated journalist, decided to run a few stories on the case. His reporting shone a light on the conflict of interest between the Amicus attorney, Jana Foreman, and the lawyer for the husband–Foreman used to be an associate attorney for the husband’s counsel. Alyssa, a mother with no history of drug or alcohol abuse and no criminal background, is a victim of what appears to be a “good ol’ girl” network in Brazos County, TX. Money rule and Alyssa has no resources. But why? How? How does a Judge, who admitted on record that she wants to throat punch litigants, that’s aligned in her personal life with Arredondo (once charged with food stamps fraud), the husband’s attorney, and the Amicus, get away with it all? How are they not removed from the bench? “It comes back like a boomerang” or “what goes around comes around.” How and why? Time may help healing but not in Alyssa’s case. H

Photo captions from top to bottom: Alyssa has been left with nothing but photos and memories of happier days; Alyssa is continuing to fight for custody of her boys.

Bailey Cowan Heckaman PLLC

National Reach. An Honest, Texas Approach.

Bailey Cowan Heckaman PLLC (BCH) is a national litigation practice with a reputation for turning hard cases into meaningful results for clients. Whether the case arises from catastrophic injuries on a Houston freeway caused by trucking company negligence, or from a Navy veteran’s wrongful death from fatal asbestos exposure, or from major pharmaceutical companies targeting state tax dollars to increase drug sales, BCH has been repeatedly called upon and delivered substantial victories for our clients.

We have the resources and experience to take on huge corporations—we literally do it every day. We’re courtroom tested. We’ve taken cases all the way to the United States Supreme Court to fight for our clients—and when we’ve done so, we’ve been successful. Above all, we value honesty, hard work, and service to clients. Learn more about our honest, Texas approach at

Bailey Cowan Heckaman PLLC
5555 San Felipe St., Ste. 900
Houston, TX 77056
713-425-7100 •

Noel A. Suniga & Amanda Waterhouse

Immigration Law

Noel A. Suniga handles complex immigration litigation such as Removal/Deportation Defense, Bond Hearings, Asylum, Withholding of Removal, Convention Against Torture Claims, Cancellation of Removal, Deferred Inspection, Stay of Removal, Orders of Supervision and provides Gonzalez Olivieri LLC’s clients access to a profound depth of wisdom. Attorney Suniga’s extensive experience in Motions to Reopen & Reconsider, VAWA Claims, Adjustment of Status and Consular Processing contributes to Gonzalez Olivieri LLC’s successful handling of these type of cases. Attorney Suniga’s first rate work before the Immigration Courts in Texas, the Board of Immigration Appeals, USCIS, the US 5th Circuit Court of Appeals and his prior experience as Prosecutor in New Mexico greatly benefits Gonzalez Olivieri LLC’s clients in achieving positive results. He is admitted to the New Mexico bar, the US District Courts of the Southern, Northern, and Western Districts of Texas, and the U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals.

Amanda Waterhouse is an experienced immigration attorney with over 12 years of practice in the field. She is a Senior Immigration Attorney with Gonzalez Olivieri, LLC and supervisor of the firm’s associate attorneys. She received her Juris Doctor from the University of Houston Law Center. Ms. Waterhouse is a member of the State Bar of Texas and has been admitted to the US Supreme Court, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, and the US District of Court for the Southern District of Texas. She is also a member of the College of the State Bar of Texas and a frequent speaker at conferences for the State Bar of Texas and the American Immigration Lawyer’s Association. Difficult cases are Ms. Waterhouse’s specialty and she has successfully represented thousands of clients in cases before the US Department of Homeland Security, the US Department of State, and US Citizenship & Immigration Services over the course of her career. Her dedication to advocating for immigrants is evident from her pro bono work and her limitless determination to seek justice in every case.

Gonzalez Olivieri LLC
2200 Southwest Freeway, Ste. 550
Houston, TX 77098
713-481-3040 •

Brann Sullivan Trial Lawyers, PLLC

October 22, 2019 by  
Filed under Brann Sullivan, Top Lawyers

Personal Injury

IN 2017, SCOTT BRANN AND ROGER SULLIVAN JOINED FORCES WITH THE SHARED VISION OF ACHIEVING THE BEST POSSIBLE OUTCOMES FOR THEIR CLIENTS. Brann Sullivan|Trial Lawyers brings a formidable combined five and a half decades of personal injury litigation experience to work on clients’ behalf. In their first two years practicing together, Scott and Roger have assembled a strong team of professionals who are making that vision a reality every day, obtaining millions of dollars in settlements for the firm’s clients.

Scott received his law degree from South Texas College of Law and is licensed by the Texas, Florida, and U.S. Supreme Courts. Roger earned his law degree from Texas Tech University School of Law. Both are Board Certified in Personal Injury Trial Law and both are proud to have been elected to membership in the American Board of Trial Advocates. Over the years, they have earned numerous awards from a variety of professional organizations recognizing their accomplishments.

Amid the ever-changing world of personal injury litigation, Brann Sullivan|Trial Lawyers remains steadfast in our commitment to fight for our clients against powerful interests. We work hard to make sure that our clients secure a fair process that delivers just compensation for the harm they have suffered.

602 Sawyer St., Ste. 700
Houston, TX 77007
713-BS-TRIAL •

Greco Neyland, PC

October 22, 2019 by  
Filed under Greco Neyland, PC, Top Lawyers

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 (right) and Senior Associate, Ben Pearce (left) 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 •

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 immigration, nonimmigrant visas, business and investor visas, naturalization and citizenship, deportation defense and asylum. The attorneys and staff work with clients worldwide in English, Spanish, and Arabic.

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 •

Scott M. Brown

October 17, 2019 by  
Filed under Brown, Scott M., Top Lawyers

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.

17210 Mercury Dr.
Houston, TX 77058
281-488-1918 •

Jared R. Woodfill

October 17, 2019 by  
Filed under Top Lawyers, Woodfill, Jared R.

Attorney at Law

FOUNDING PARTNER JARED WOODFILL IS A DYNAMIC COURTROOM TALENT WITH BROAD LITIGATION EXPERIENCE IN FAMILY LAW, BUSINESS LITIGATION, PERSONAL INJURY AND ISSUES INVOLVING CONSTITUTIONAL QUESTIONS. Mr. Woodfill is a 1990 graduate of the University of Texas and received his law degree from St. Mary’s University in 1993 where he was cum laude graduate. He is active in Houston-area community issues and served as Chairman of the Harris County Republican Party from 2002-2014. Mr. Woodfill has tried hundreds of cases around the country and handled numerous appeals.

Mr. Woodfill is licensed to practice in Texas and New York state courts, as well as the District of Columbia Court of Appeals, United States Court of Federal Claims and U.S. District Courts for Northern, Southern, Eastern and Western Districts of Texas and the U.S. Courts of Appeals, Fifth Circuit.

In 2015, Mr. Woodfill was named Local Person of the year by Fox 26 Roundup. In 2016, 2017, and 2018 Woodfill was named one of the Houston’s top lawyers by Houstonia magazine. He has also received the TRL Defender of Life Award, Texas Values’ Kelly Shackleford Award, San Jacinto Republican’s Patriot Award, and Vision America’s Local Hero of the Faith Award.

Woodfill Law Firm and its team of lawyers and paralegals guide each client through the legal process with passion and attention to detail utilizing modern technical trial practices. The firm utilizes state-of-the-art technology, powerful graphic presentations and the latest trial science techniques to achieve favorable results. Mr. Woodfill’s commitment to superior client service is reflected throughout Woodfill Law’s attitude, philosophy and our approach to the law- that’s why people turn to Woodfill Law Firm.

3 Riverway, Ste. 750
Houston, TX 77056
713-751-3080 •

Leka Gajula, MD

Leka Gajula, MD

Dr. Leka Gajula is a board-certified Gastroenterologist (Diplomate) specializing in the treatment of digestive diseases like indigestion, heartburn, gas/bloating, irritable bowel disease, constipation, diarrhea, anemia, rectal bleeding, stomach, intestine and colon problems, swallowing disorders, hepatitis, pancreatic problems and more. She performs gastrointestinal endoscopy, colonoscopy and other procedures at several Houston area hospitals. Dr. Gajula completed her residency in Internal Medicine at the University of Illinois, Chicago and her Fellowship in Gastroenterology from the University of Texas in Galveston. Dr. Gajula has published several articles in prestigious, peer-reviewed journals.

At Colon Liver Gastro Consultants, Dr. Leka Gajula’s practice offers comprehensive treatment options relating to all aspects of gastroenterology such as reflux disease, Barrett’s esophagus, ulcer disease, diarrhea, abdominal pain, celiac disease, irritable bowel syndrome, inflammatory bowel disease, hemorrhoids, constipation and cancer screening. She has two offices, one located at Methodist Hospital Sugar Land and another in West Houston/Katy, Texas. The staff is highly competent, considerate, bilingual and ready to assist patients with all of their gastroenterology needs. Dr. Gajula can perform in-house hemorrhoid banding procedures to treat hemorrhoids; she also has an infusion suite in each office.

281-565-1009 •

16651 Southwest Fwy., Ste. 370
Sugar Land, TX 77479

2222 Greenhouse Rd., Ste. 900
Houston, TX 77084

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

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

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.


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.


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.


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 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.


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.


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!).


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.


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.

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.

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