About Janelle Romano

Janelle Romano joined the Interfaith team in 2018. She is originally from the Midwest, but has lived on the East Coast and in Mexico. Janelle relocated to The Woodlands four years ago with her husband and three children and they now consider Texas home. She is a graduate of both Purdue and Southern Methodist University and enjoys spending time traveling with her family and giving back to the community.

Wings, Wheels & Heels – Angel Reach

Angel Reach’s Wings, Wheels and Heels Gala on March 30th was a record-breaking evening raising over $900,000 to benefit Kinship families, youth who have aged out of the foster care system, and those at risk of homelessness. The more than 400 guests in attendance dined, danced and were touched by the moving testimonies of two youths shared during the evening.

The fabulous event was chaired by George Lindahl and Stephanie Milstead, and the major sponsors included George and Kristi Lindahl, Charles and Lori Maurice, GeoSouthern Energy Partners, Rushing River Foundation and Mike and Carol Watford.

Highlights of the evening included an amazing silent auction filled with fantastic items. The energetic live auction was led by legendary Auctioneer Ralph Mcingvale and included vacation homes, sports and spa packages, best day of your life package donated by Lonny Soza and Post Oak Motor Cars, and a stunning 4-diamond angel necklace valued at $25,000 which was donated by Kristi and George Lindahl. The events also included a lively “Heads or Tails” game, with the winner receiving use of a Maserati for the weekend!

The mission of Angel Reach is to break the generational cycle of abuse, neglect, and homelessness to improve the lives of community youth and individuals in foster care. To learn more visit: www.angelreach.org

The mission of Angel Reach is to break the generational cycle of abuse, neglect, and homelessness to improve the lives of community youth and individuals in foster care. To learn more visit: www.angelreach.org





Night of Hope – Love Fosters Hope

The 6th annual Love Fosters Hope Gala which raises funds to bring hope and healing was held earlier this month at The Woodlands Resort and Conference Center. The focus during the Night of Hope was the children and teens in foster care that Love Fosters Hope serves. One in 5 teens in foster care will become homeless after the age of 18. Less than 3% will earn a college degree and 71% of young women in foster care will be pregnant by the age of 21. Love Fosters Hope helps young people avoid becoming one of these statistics and claim the lives they deserve.

Speaker and author Derek Clark, also known as the Rapping Dad, shared his amazing story of overcoming a childhood of abuse, and guests were dazzled by the amazing voice of Christina Wells a 2018 semi-finalist on America’s Got Talent.

Love fosters Hope offers year-round programs including mentoring, residential treatment outreach, an emerging leaders program, summer camps and more. They have helped nearly 3000 children since 2001.

Love Fosters Hope is a non-profit organization bringing hope and healing to abused, abandoned and neglected children and teens in foster care. To get more information visit: www.lovefostershope.org




Coffee Talk in The Woodlands

Coffee with a friend is like capturing happiness in a cup.” – Unknown

Coffee has been described as a hug in a mug. I definitely need a few of those caffeine-infused hugs each day. There are now a growing number of quaint locally-owned, coffee shops popping up in The Woodlands. Whether you need a cup of java to jump-start your morning or end your evening, one of the many neighborhood offerings can fill your cup. Thankfully, just as we all have our double pump preferences for our coffee, each of the locations has its own personality and “perks” to satisfy your caffeine craving.

Levure Bakery & Patisserie– Now with 2 locations in The Woodlands. This coffee shop with a European atmosphere is known for amazing pastries and freshly baked bread.

Try: Cappuccino and the amazing croissants


Blue Door– A philosophy close to our heart…building community. Located on the Waterway, Blue Door offers seriously good coffee and is perfect when you are out for a stroll – you may even bump into a celebrity! Brad Paisley did an impromptu acoustic set at The Blue Door on his last trip to The Woodlands.

Try: Iced Latte or Café Mocha


3rd Gen Coffee– An urban-industrial feel with incredible coffee selections for the serious coffee connoisseur. Definitely the hippest cup in town.

Try: Espresso Macchiato, Cortado or the Nitro Cold Brew


Momentum– Millennials and hip moms both regularly make the trek here off the Grand Parkway for their attention to detail and love in every cup – and the avocado toast!

Try: Latte with one of their special syrups


Copper Coil– Featuring drive-thru craft lattes and BYOM specials, it is the perfect spot for your joe-on-the-go. Located on 1488.

Try: The Beloved or The Flannel


Hebrews Community Coffee– The coffee that comes to you. The Hebrews Community Coffee vintage café trailer can be found regularly at Deacon Baldy’s, local congregations, and your own special event. They recently provided amazing coffee for the staff at Interfaith.

Try: Cold Brew


The Kitchen– Perfect for a business meeting or a quick cup with a friend. The central location, spot-on joe, and excellent service make The Kitchen a constant in the rotation.

Try: Latte with Oat Milk


The Wheel Kitchen– If you don’t mind a bit of a drive, The Wheel Kitchen is a lovely spot on the outskirts of Creekside Park (off Hufsmith-Kuykendahl Road). The farm-to-table food and outdoor patio in a beautiful, serene setting is worth the effort.

Try: Bullet Coffee or the Iced Matcha

So the next time you are procaffeinating (the tendency not to start anything until you’ve had a cup of coffee), or just want to catch up with a friend, check out one of these local options for your caffeine fix.

Texas Tree Top Adventure in The Woodlands

Just in time for spring, a new outdoor aerial adventure taking advantage of the beautiful, natural wooded setting of The Woodlands is set to open. The high ropes course, TreeVentures will offer nature lovers and thrill seekers alike an unparalleled physically and mentally challenging adventure up in the “canopy” of the trees.

Families, teens, scouts, and team building groups are all likely to find this a welcome addition to the numerous hiking and biking trails available in our area, several of which pass directly by the course. TreeVentures is not meant to be a quick trip, rather a destination excursion or a day trip, that will entice guests to stay and linger in the serene setting of The Woodlands after the 3-hour block on the course. Located on the campus of The Recreation Center at Rob Fleming Park, the course is nestled among 1,800 acres of the George Mitchell Nature Preserve. The location includes an entertaining wooden playground structure (free for families), and large picnic grounds complete with cornhole and horseshoe games.

Guests enter the course by crossing on an elevated boardwalk, check in and get fitted for the safety equipment at the treehouses, then head out on the four-story wooden structure complete with rope netting, 55-gallon drums, etc. Various levels of difficulty are presented as participants traverse a series of poles, cables, and other elements. The Woodlands Township has invested heavily in the safety features and training of the staff as well as the structure itself.  With a maximum capacity of 73, they are focused on the quality of the experience, rather than the number of individuals that come through the course. “Our goal is not to get as many people as we can into the park. We hope to provide an outstanding outdoor experience that will leave guests delighted and eager to return for another adventure,” shared Christopher Nunes, Director of Parks and Recreation, The Woodlands Township.

While they believe TreeVentures will be a local favorite for Woodlands residents, they are also hoping to use the park to lure visitors from other areas, “we are hoping to attract and extend the stay of visitors to the area. We see Tree Ventures as a potential new draw to the area that will benefit the businesses and the community as a whole due to additional tax revenue from visitors,” stated Nunes.

Texas TreeVentures is a wonderful embodiment of George Mitchell’s vision of blending nature with development for The Woodlands.  Don’t miss your chance to try out the course that is set to open this month!

Details :

Open Year-Round

Reservations Advised

Weight limit- 275 lbs


Cost- $40 online, $45 on-site (prices are discounted for younger children)

More details are available here:



Art N Fashion 2019

Fashion and philanthropy joined forces at the second Art N Fashion event benefitting local charities at Glade Arts Foundation this week. The New York fashion-themed event featured stunning looks from Max Mara and Norton Ditto Pret-a-Porter Couture. Guests donned their party chic attire to support Angel Reach, Glade Arts Foundation, HOPE, Operation Pets Alive and Yes to Youth!

After walking the red carpet, guests mixed and mingled while visiting exclusive designer booths and dining on spectacular food compliments of TRIS. The theme for the evening was Couples for Causes. Dr. Ann Snyder served as emcee, Jacki Kilgore was the auctioneer, and Manny Patel was the DJ. Thanks to the generosity of the partnering sponsors including Designer Divas, Simran Rihal, Kink Team Luxe, Vander Dys Jewelers, Yee Plastic Surgery, Tris, Norton Ditto, Max Mara, and Neiman Marcus among others, 100% of the proceeds went directly to the five non-profit organizations to benefit their programs in our community.

Art N Fashion was the vision of Kashay Mendes, owner of Designer Divas. The idea was conceived as a way to benefit multiple charities and celebrate fashion and art in the process. This year’s event was in Ms. Mendes’ words, “epic” due to two fundamental changes in Art N Fashion. The event moved from a daytime fashion show to an evening event. Another new addition was moving from female community models to featuring couples in the fashion show who were passionate about supporting the causes featured. The men fully embraced the challenge and really brought the fun and laughter to the amazing show, helping raise substantial funds for the designated charities. “I love to make changes in causes, but also in people as well, I want to touch as many lives as possible- to make a difference. It was so amazing to watch the couples bond and evolve in this process.”

Dr. Brian & Shirelle Chimenti

Karen Mixon, Alison Yee, Elisabeth Stavinoha

Bruce & Diane Kink

Dr. Lucian & Patti Rivela

Mike & Ally Seder

Herndons walk for HOPE

Teresa Alici, Haydar & Ebru Kustu

Heidi Hite and Bobby Davis

Larry & Rhonda Salerno, Sean & Tracey O’Neal

Marina Silver, Monette Smith, Tammy Schroeder

Kashay Mendes, Elvira Graham

Dragos Tapu

Lisa Fifield, Triston Fifield, Michele Till

To learn more about the charities featured at Art N Fashion visit the following links:

HOPE- www.willherndon.org

Angel Reach- www.angelreach.org

Operation Pets Alive- www.operationpetsalive.org

Glade Arts Foundation- www.gladeartsfoundation.org

Yes to Youth- www.sayyestoyouth.org

Round Top is Calling…and I Must Go

If you have been looking for a reason to sneak away with your friends for a “Girlfriend Getaway”, we have the perfect excuse…Round Top Spring Antiques Fair is happening April 1-6. Conveniently located only 90 minutes from The Woodlands it is quick enough for a day trip, but also offers plenty of options to shop and linger for multiple days. Whether you have made the trip before or are a Round Top rookie we have some tips to make this an unforgettable trip for you and your gal pals.

Round Top is home to one of the largest antique fairs in the United States and features more than 350 dealers. The fair spans over 11 miles and happens twice per year (Spring and Fall) with the most well-known spot being Marburger Farms. In the past few years, Round Top has become a household name due to the popularity of Joanna Gaines and the TV show phenomenon Fixer Upper. I have ventured to Round Top twice previously, but have always found it a bit overwhelming, so much so that the first time I left without making a single purchase…and my husband will attest to the fact that doesn’t happen often. So this time I enlisted the help of several seasoned Round Top veterans to guide us all to the locations and the sights filled with the best finds and the tastiest bites.

What girlfriends in the know say…


For higher-end pieces and fun experience, the following are a must:



Market Hill offers an amazing upscale “cafeteria” style lunch and dinner as well as a fun option to grab a bottle of wine or champagne to accompany the excursion!


A small tent of French antiques, jewelry, and amazing hats! This is where the Frenchie guest houses are located. Last year they offered charming lunch boxes that you could pre-order to shop and eat on the go!


Marburger is more European and high-end pieces, so if you are looking for “deals” save your time and money and hit the stops like Paul Michael, Blue Hills and La Bahia (the first stop). I have always had good luck scoring some unique, reasonable finds there.








For amazing food, don’t miss Royer’s. It is incredible and there will definitely be a wait, but it is worth it! If you want the best pie (and coffee!) in the world, they have Royer’s Pie Haven around the corner.




The Vintage Round Top also has really helpful information and suggestions:


For More Information!




Getting away with girlfriends offers advantages beyond pure entertainment. According to Dr. Elizabeth Lombardo, author of A Happy You: Your Ultimate Prescription for Happiness, “medical studies show that the bond between women is critical to mental and physical health.” So if you can’t escape for a week to the beach or Vegas with your girlfriends, a quick trip to Round Top may just do the trick.



The Rotary Club of The Woodlands’ “Evening of Elegance” Raises Nearly $250,000 for Rotary House

Long-time residents Michael and Vicki Richmond honored for their contributions over the past 35 years to The Woodlands community

The Rotary Club of The Woodlands recently hosted the inaugural Evening of Elegance benefitting Rotary House, the flagship service project of the Club.  Rotary House provides low-cost housing for families receiving medical treatment at one of our local hospitals.

The 2019 co-chairs for the Evening of Elegance were Becky Shannonhouse and Linda Head. “This year’s theme emphasized the Rotary International motto, “Service Above Self” so it was a natural fit that we honored Michael and Vicki Richmond for their many years of service to our local community,” said Becky Shannonhouse.

“This memorable and entertaining evening was well attended, the sponsors and the guests were extremely generous in their contributions to our Club’s Rotary House project, and I can assure you a good time was had by all!” – Becky Shannonhouse

“We were so pleased to have the support of PurePoint Financial as our Presenting Sponsor for the second year in a row,” added The Woodlands Rotary President Ryan Mathes.  “Combined with the generous donation of $15,000 by Michael and Vicki, as well as the support of so many of the businesses and hospitals we have provided the foundational funding for the future of Rotary House.”

Rotary is a worldwide organization of business and professional leaders that provides humanitarian service, encourages high ethical standards in all vocations, and helps build goodwill and peace in the world. The Woodlands Rotary Club was chartered in 1975 and offers many different avenues of service for its members. More information can be found on the website:  www.woodlandsrotary.org.

The Rotary Foundation is a 501(c)(3) non-profit, and the proceeds from the event are solely for the benefit of Rotary House. Rotary House is a Community Service provided by The Woodlands Rotary Club to out-of-town families and patients receiving extended medical treatment in the Woodlands Area. For more information, including donating, please visit rotaryhousetw.org.

Rotary President-Elect Randy Kruchten, Evening of Elegance Co-Chair Becky Shannonhouse, Rotary Immediate Past President and Evening of Elegance Emcee Judy Larson Olson

Honorees- Michael & Vicki Richmond

Zach Richmond and Rachel Mulkey

United Way of Greater Houston -“Women Who Rock” Luncheon

United Way of Greater Houston -“WOMEN WHO ROCK” Luncheon Raises Funds For Young Mothers Childcare Scholarships

A crowd of nearly 800 United Way supporters listened and laughed as Texas native Melissa Radke shared her story of connecting with women across the country through social media, ultimately leading her to write her first book. Held at the Woodlands Waterway Marriott Hotel, the 6th annual United Way “Women Who Rock” luncheon raises funds to support Young Mothers Childcare Scholarships which allow young women who are committed to pursuing secondary education to provide their children with quality childcare while they attend school.


“We believe education is one of the best ways to break cycles and create new legacies that can be passed on for generations,” said Anna M. Babin, president, and CEO of United Way of Greater Houston. “The United Way Women Who Rock luncheon is a fun and inspiring way to rally the community around the important cause of helping young mothers pursue their education goals.”


Funds raised from last year’s luncheon provided scholarships to 15 Montgomery County women for the 2018-19 school year. Scholarship recipients attended Lone Star College campuses in Montgomery, Conroe, and Kingwood, along with Sam Houston State University and Chamberlain School of Nursing.


“I knew finishing school to get my bachelor’s degree was necessary to give my daughter a better life,” said Taylor Contreras, a scholarship recipient who shared her story at the luncheon.


“United Way’s support of young women receiving scholarships goes well beyond paying for childcare,” said Melissa Young, chair of the United Way Montgomery County Regional Council and CEO of Corporate Incentives. “United Way THRIVE offers financial coaching and mentoring that allows these young mothers to make the most use of their degrees and careers.”


The application cycle for the 2019-20 school year begins in early April.


About United Way of Greater Houston

United Way focuses on strengthening our community by developing children and youth to their full potential, creating strong families and safe neighborhoods, sustaining senior independence and rebuilding people’s lives in times of crisis. Last year, United Way of Greater Houston touched the lives of nearly 2 million of our neighbors in the Bay Area and in Fort Bend, Harris, Montgomery, and Waller counties. For more information, please visit, www.unitedwayhouston.org.



Taylor Contreras, Melissa Young

Melissa Radke, Back Row: Melissa Young, Ellie Pfahl, Laura Lea Palmer, Megan Crowl, Courtney Galle, Peg Welbes, Front Row: Jennifer Stefero, Clare Simmons, Jeanne Toth, Michele Kooken, Judy Rhodes

Ms. Kooken, Ellie Pfahl, Peg Welbes, Michele Kooken

Holly Gruy, Laura Lea Palmer, Gil Staley, Ashely Byers

Tiffany McLeod,  Bob Earl


The Woodlands Weddings – Ben and Cassi

As the gorgeous spring flowers begin to bloom, love (and weddings) is definitely in the air! We can’t help but swoon at a beautiful love story. We will be featuring occasional weddings with ties to The Woodlands on the website of The Book The Woodlands. Enjoy our first story, Ben and Cassi. 

Photography Courtesy Jenna McElroy

Connections to The Woodlands 

I graduated from The Woodlands high school; my parents still live in the Woodlands. Ben is from Iowa!  

How it all Began 

We met through work at Ben Taub county hospital in the Med Center. We are both medical device reps and were working for the same company at the time. Ben moved from D.C. to Houston and was visiting his accounts in the territory. We met in the Urology Operating Room during a procedurenot the most romantic place in the world ? 

We officially started dating a few months after meeting and have been inseparable ever since! We dated for almost a year and a half before we got engaged.  

Proposal & Engagement 

Ben proposed to me on the beach in Galveston, a place that was very special to us. We spent a lot of time in Galveston with my family, and one of our first dates was a day down in Galveston. We had a Friendsgiving with some of our friends and family at a beach house, and Ben and I went on a walk before everyone ate dinner. He gave me a beautiful card, got down on one knee and made me the happiest person on this planet. When we walked back to the house my family and friends from out of town were all there.  

We were engaged for 11 months. Wedding planning wasn’t stressful at all because our event planner,  Jen Lowrance took care of EVERYTHING. It flew by! 

The Big Day- Wedding & Highlights  

We got married at Chapel in the Woods at Woodlands Church. Our reception was at Chandelier Grove. It was the most beautiful, incredible day of our lives. It was beyond my dream wedding.  

A memory that was so special was our last dance. The guests went outside for our sendoff, and we had one last dance just the two of us in the barn. It was really emotional and probably the only time all day we got to slow down and take in everything. 

It was incredibly moving to get married in the church where I grew up. My family has found a home and a church family there since we moved to The Woodlands in 2006.  

Honeymoon and Happily Ever After 

We currently live in the Heights in Houston, and we went to Antigua for our honeymoon at a beautiful place called Cocos Hotel.  


If you would like to have your Woodlands Wedding featured on the website for The Book The Woodlands, contact jromano@woodlandsinterfaith.org 


The John Cooper School- 30th Anniversary ‘Moondust & Meteors’ Gala

It was an out-of-this-world experience for the approximately 450 guests who attended the “Moondust & Meteors” John Cooper Gala earlier this month at The Woodlands Waterway Marriott Hotel. The evening included Big Board and Live Auctions, dinner and dancing, as well as larger-than-life cosmic stiltwalkers and Cooper student aerial artists performing on rings suspended from the ceiling.

2019 “Moondust and Meteors” Gala Committee:  Back Row L to R: Louise Blanchard, Katherine Navarra, Jenny Mayo, Anna Marie Johnson Teague, Lisa Katz, Jenny West, Denise Lipar. Front Row L to R: Erin Hinch, Ally Seder, Karen Shea, Amy Hadra

Thanks to Cooper alum Tony Valderrama, JCS Class of ’07, guests “walked on Mars” using virtual reality technology that Tony helped develop while working at NASA. In addition to taking a photo with an astronaut spacesuit loaned to Cooper straight from NASA, there were also roaming photo booths that captured memories of the festive evening.

Gala Co-Chairs Ally Seder and Karen Shea were thrilled with the enthusiasm and support for this year’s anniversary event. “With your support, we can continue to transform lives through exceptional education,” said Seder. Shea concurred, saying, “It is your generosity that guarantees our continued success.”

Head of School Michael Maher welcomed current families, alumni and alumni families, students, faculty, staff, administrators, and friends of the school before giving a brief overview of the progress and growth of the school during its 30-year history. Although net proceeds are still being determined, Big Board and Live Auctions raised approximately $240,000 for the school.

Established in 1988, The John Cooper School is an independent, college preparatory school for students in Pre-K through Grade 12. www.johncooper.org

2019 “Moondust and Meteors” Gala: Michael Maher, Head of The John Cooper School, thanked Gala Co-chairs Karen Shea (left) and Ally Seder.

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