Elevate your Holiday Décor

Courtesy of Charbonneau Interiors, Nancy Charbonneau

Typical holiday colors are always nice to use in your holiday décor, but incorporating a mix of beautiful metallics can add a touch of glamour and sparkle that will make your home feel more lavish this holiday season. Copper, bronze, warm gold and antique silver are beautiful metallic tones to bring in to complement autumn colors. Adding in metallic elements adds to a surface for subtle reflection, warmth, and sophistication.

This table highlights warm colors of bronze, copper and antique silver. Candles immersed in metallic glitter set the tone for a beautiful table of fresh greens and flowers in the season’s colors.

This mantle, done in silver, gold and a metallic champagne are a soft reflection of the season. A touch of crystal was brought in to reflect the metallic surfaces. Adding in metallic ribbons and the lights from the garland enables the mantle to sparkle even more brilliantly. Take metallic accents outdoors also! This outdoor living mantle garland was adorned with silver metallic leaves and a fun metallic banner.

A Christmas tree adorned with silver and gold is a classic pallet for a beautiful reflection of the season, and can tie into other metallic elements in the home such as furniture pieces and lighting fixtures. Layering a combination of metallics together on a tree adds dimension and depth to the tree by providing a reflective source for light to play on.

We hope your season Sparkles!

Nancy Charbonneau is an award winning ASID interior designer who is passionate about connecting who her clients are to how they live in a beautiful and personalized way. Nancy has been involved in the field of Interior Design for over 25 years and has worked on numerous design projects around the world with her talented team. Nancy calls her trademark style eloquent, and is passionate about weaving grace and ease into every design.

Designing the Perfect Holiday Menu 

Article by: Chef Ruben Campos, Jasper’s The Woodlands 

Prime Rib for the Perfect Holiday Menu

Prime Rib is something that is not too traditional, but is a great way to impress, and feed a hungry crowd. Horseradish Sour Cream is a must.  I like to build around that with more traditional sides. Seasonal vegetables are a great start. I like to go with root vegetables in the winter (brown sugar glazed carrots, roasted parsnips, loaded baked potatoes) Getting the kids involved and teaching them family recipes is something to look forward to. We always had tamales in my house. Not so traditional, but a staple in my household, being from Houston, and the kids love to help with those. 

Setting the table with items passed down from generations is something special. Grandma’s placemats, table runners, crystal, were all things that I have seen that were passed down and at the table for the holidays. 

A centerpiece made with Poinsettias, small votive candles and maybe even adding some pinecones (also a staple in most of our yards) are great to use to give the table that traditional Christmas feel.  With the red already there, just adding some gold accents and some of those family heirlooms will make the table come together. 

*Content provided by Jasper’s The Woodlands

Challenge Air for Kids in Conroe

“The human spirit prevails over any physical or mental obstacle. After a day with Challenge Air, no height seems unreachable…all it takes is desire and truly, the sky is the limit!” – Rick Amber

The 9th Annual Fly Day will be held on Saturday, November 9 at the Conroe North Regional Airport. The event which is open to the public is designed to change the perception of special needs children through the free gift of flight. “We see many kids and families’ lives changed by this event,” stated Kevin Griffin, Chairperson of Challenge Air for Kids. The event which requires a year of planning will see nearly 120 kids experience flight, including 80 children for whom this will be their first time up in the air.

Founded in 1993 by Naval Aviator Rick Amber in Dallas, Texas, Challenge Air for Kids now holds 12 events across the United States each year. Amber flew over 100 combat missions in Vietnam and became a paraplegic when the jet he was flying crashed during landing on the aircraft carrier USS Hancock. Amber went on to break many barriers for the disabled including winning a USTA National Tennis Championship. It was during teaching a wheelchair tennis class to disabled children that Amber was inspired to share his love of flight with children who had physical challenges. Challenge Air for Kids provides the gift of flight to children ages 7-21 with disabilities of all types.

Local sponsors for the event include Chennault Flying Tiger Academy, Chick-fil-A, and Culver’s among others.

For more information visit: www.challengeair.com or contact Kevin Griffin at kevin.griffin@cafkcxo.org

20 Years of Heroes

Article by: Missy Herndon 

In 1999, in celebration of the 25th Anniversary of The Woodlands, an initiative was started to honor our local Hometown Heroes: individuals and businesses who exemplify the values of our great community. A Hometown Hero is a positive role model, usually with an extensive history of volunteerism who has sacrificed personal gain to achieve noble goals. Some may have received special awards or recognitions; others may have brought positive recognition to our hometown. All are leaders, who have shown courage and strength, who have been nominated by their fellow neighbors and peers.

Mr. George P. Mitchell inducted the first class of Hometown Heroes over 20 years ago at the very first Celebration of Excellence Gala. Since that time, 133 individuals, businesses, institutions and non-profit organizations have received this honor. All of this has been made possible through the generosity of The Woodlands Development Company and The Woodlands Villager. This year, we are excited to add seven more Hometown Heroes to our distinguished list of honorees! Once again, we celebrate these individuals and organizations, along with all of our Hometown Heroes at The Woodlands’ Celebration of Excellence Gala, which will be held on Saturday, October 5, 2019, at The Woodlands Waterway Marriott.

Nominations for Hometown Heroes open every year, mid-May, and are selected by a committee of Hometown Heroes from previous years.

Please join me in congratulating our 2019 Hometown Heroes.

JERISSA BELSHA, MD

Dr. Jerissa Belsha is a native Texan, born in Lockhart, Texas to a loving family where her parents worked as a school teacher and principal for the local elementary school. After graduating high school as valedictorian, she went on to attend Texas A&M University, graduating first in her class with a Biomedical Science degree. She completed her medical degree and pediatric residency at the University of Texas at Houston, where she was awarded Intern of the Year and served as Chief Resident. During her medical training, she was able to volunteer with World Medical Missions in Papua New Guinea, serve at HIV clinics in Botswana and Romania and gain valuable experience through a medical internship in Beijing, China.

After residency, Dr. Belsha joined a pediatric hospitalist group caring for newborns and sick children in north Houston hospitals. In 2015, she joined the local practice called Agape Physicians and has been caring for the children of The Woodlands community ever since.

Dr. Belsha has been described by her friends as a “quiet leader.” Her reach among charitable causes is considerable throughout the greater Houston area. Each year, she coordinates a group of 20 women to put together over 200 stockings for Houston’s Little Footprints program. To benefit Love Fosters Hope, Jerissa helps organize a family field day to benefit foster children within the organization and along with her husband, mentored two teenagers, helping to fulfill a need in their lives for parental figures. She is an active volunteer for many area charities including Interfaith, The Will Herndon Research Fund, Love Fosters Hope, Giving Goes Glam, Free the Captives, Montgomery County Food Bank and A Dress for Barbara.

Outside of The Woodlands, Jerissa has a passion to help others and served as a physician on numerous medical mission trips to Honduras and Costa Rica through The Woodlands United Methodist Church. In her most recent mission trip this past spring, she encouraged several friends to join her where they were able to serve over 700 patients in the course of three days. Her love of others is evident in all she does within her medical practice, throughout the community and most importantly with her family; husband, Thomas and their two children, Emma and Logan. Residents of The Woodlands since 2010, The Belsha Family embodies the spirit of giving.

MARY-LOU E. FITCH

Mary-Lou Fitch arrived in The Woodlands in 1989 and hasn’t stopped working in support of the community ever since. Mary-Lou was instrumental in forming many organizations in The Woodlands area including Class Act Productions, Grogan’s Point Residents’ Association and The Woodlands Orchestra. Mary Lou has been an active volunteer with a number of local groups, including Meals on Wheels, The Woodlands Pavilion Partners Wine Dinner, Cypress Woodlands Junior Forum, National Charity League – The Woodlands Chapter, and CASA. She has served on The Planning Committee for The Celebration of Excellence Gala since inception and regularly volunteers for Interfaith of The Woodlands driving senior neighbors to their medical appointments. She has also served as a former Board Member at MCYS and in various other roles with the organization.

Most recently, Mary-Lou joined the American Heart Association’s Circle of Red, volunteering for their Go Red Luncheon. She is also a member of The Montgomery County Republican Women and has served on their board as Vice President of fundraising. She loves her community and is always willing to help out, hosting many fundraisers and events in her home. Mary-Lou has called The Woodlands her home since 1987 and doesn’t plan on slowing down any time soon, adding to her 30 years of volunteering and service. In her spare time, Mary Lou enjoys traveling to visit her four grown daughters and six grandchildren.

STEPHEN C. HEAD, Ph.D.

Stephen C. Head, Ph.D. became the fourth chancellor of Lone Star College (LSC) in 2014 after thirty years of service to LSC. Located in the north Houston metropolitan area, LSC is one of the largest community colleges in the nation. His priorities are student access, equality, success and completion; academic quality; workforce programs in alignment with community needs; and collaborative agreements with educational, business, civic and charitable organizations. He views the college as a critical contributor to the social, cultural and economic well-being of the community. His values include operating the college on a sound, fiscally conservative model based on data, efficiencies, accountability, and common sense. He emphasizes transparency, ethical behavior and a culture of high expectations and achievement. Dr. Head is active in a number of local, state and national organizations that support the community college mission.

Dr. Head and his wife, Linda, both work at Lone Star College and reside in The Woodlands. They have four successful children and three grandchildren.

ALEX SUTTON

Alex Sutton serves as Co-President of The Woodlands Development Company, a division of The Howard Hughes Corporation. He holds Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Civil Engineering from Rice University and a Master’s in Business Administration from The University of Houston.

Alex is a Licensed Professional Engineer, a Certified Public Accountant and has authored a number of technical papers and articles, holding two patents for computer-aided management approaches to managing public works systems. His responsibilities at The Woodlands primarily focus on project and land development and commercial activities. He and his family moved to The Woodlands upon joining The Company in 1994.

His civic and industry involvement includes service as the current Chairman of The Interfaith Board of Directors, Chairman of the North Houston Association, Director, The Montgomery County Foundation, Director, The Woodlands Economic Development Partnership, Director and Past Chairman, Montgomery County Youth Services, Director, The Woodlands Area Chamber of Commerce, Director and Secretary, The Woodlands Township, and he is a Member of the Urban Land Institute. An Eagle Scout, he was named The Tall Timbers District’s 2012 “Good Scout” honoree.

Alex and his wife Sharon live in The Woodlands Town Center and are members of The Woodlands United Methodist Church. They have four adult children and six grandchildren, four of whom reside in The Woodlands.

JOSH URBAN

Josh Urban moved to The Woodlands in 1994 with his family. An avid runner, there was not a week that went by that most people would not see Josh and his brother, Gabe, running throughout The Woodlands on their daily long runs. This commitment led Josh to finish 2nd in the Houston Marathon, with his brother not far behind.

Urban began his tenure with Memorial Hermann in 2000 as an administrative fellow reporting to Dan Wolterman, former President and CEO of Memorial Hermann Health System. From there, he went on to Memorial Hermann-Texas Medical Center, working his way up from Director of Hospital Operations to Chief Ambulatory Services Officer. In 2008, Urban joined Memorial Hermann The Woodlands as Chief Operating Officer under now-retired CEO Steve Sanders. Just five years later, he assumed the position of CEO. In that time, he has managed expansion and renovation projects in excess of $250 million and led the hospital’s pursuit of Level II Trauma designation. In addition, Urban has been instrumental in creating a culture of excellence, which has been recognized nationally in the areas of quality, patient safety, and patient satisfaction. Under his direction, Memorial Hermann is the third largest employer in Montgomery County, with over 2,500 employees in the community.

An IRONMAN himself, Josh was a major influencer in bringing the Memorial Hermann IRONMAN Texas event to The Woodlands which has generated revenue close to $14 million for The Woodlands community during each of the last nine years.

A 2011 graduate of Leadership Montgomery County, Urban currently serves on the boards of multiple business and civic organizations, including The Woodlands Area Chamber of Commerce, The Woodlands Area Economic Development Partnership and Interfaith of the Woodlands. He resides in The Woodlands with his wife and son. In his spare time, he enjoys running, fishing, hunting, and travel.

MARKET STREET THE WOODLANDS

Market Street The Woodlands, established in 2004, has been providing The Woodlands a center for an exquisite shopping experience, a variety of fine dining establishments, a movie theater and green space where visitors can relax and enjoy the company of others. In these 15 years, they have become the go-to destination for retail therapy, as well as community events.

Market Street has committed themselves to The Woodlands community in many ways. They lend their support to dozens of area non-profit organizations; not only with sponsorships dollars but also by encouraging their employees to serve on their boards and various committees. Additionally, Market Street is known to connect their tenants with charitable organizations, helping to raise awareness of local causes and increase philanthropic support. Their Change for Charity program selects one non-profit organization for each quarter of the year as the beneficiary of the coins collected through the street parking meters. Since the program began, customer donations have exceeded $200,000.

Their Central Park area features a green space, performance stage and splash pad, giving families and visitors a beautiful place to gather. This area is also home to many events Market Street produces including their Spring and Fall Concert Series, Spring Fine Arts Show, Holiday Tree Lighting and Grand Chanukah Celebration. They have also generously hosted local events such as The Woodlands 4th of July Parade, The Woodlands’ Car Club Cars & Coffee For a Cause, the annual HEB Wine Walk, Cultural & Heritage Festival, Ten 4 Texas Road Race, and the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s Light the Night Walk, which bring hundreds of people together for fellowship and comradery.

LEADERSHIP MONTGOMERY COUNTY

Leadership Montgomery County (LMC) is dedicated to developing and enhancing the current and future leaders of Montgomery County by preparing emerging and existing leaders to understand local issues, grow their leadership skills, and connect with others to better serve Montgomery County.

LMC’s core program is a class of business and community leaders that spans nine months between September and May. Throughout this time, participants learn through sessions on Infrastructure, Education, Government, Public Safety, Economic Development, Healthcare, Serving Our Community and Leadership Development. The LMC program promotes knowledge, awareness, and insight into our community, providing an educational forum and leadership development opportunities for participants.

Leadership Montgomery County originally began as Leadership Conroe, launched in 1987 through the Conroe/Lake Conroe Chamber of Commerce. In 1995, through a collaboration with The Woodlands Area Chamber of Commerce, the program evolved into Leadership Montgomery County. Since that time the Greater East Montgomery County Chamber, the Greater Magnolia Parkway Chamber, the Montgomery County Hispanic Chamber, and the Montgomery Area Chamber of Commerce have also become partner chambers, as LMC transitioned into a nonprofit of its own. True to its original mission, LMC has been shaping strong leaders throughout the community, producing more than 850 graduates during the past 32 years.

LMC graduates continue to grow as leaders through alumni lifetime learning offerings including educational programs, social activities, and opportunities to give back. LMC alumni can be found throughout the community serving as nonprofit board members, political leaders, CEOs, and much more.

 

 

Volume IV of The Book The Woodlands

We are excited to introduce the 6th Issue of The Book The Woodlands!

The new cover of The Book and new companion The Wish Guide were unveiled last night at the exclusive launch party. A heartfelt thank you to our presenting sponsor, Jasper’s for the amazing food and hospitality, and our event host, Market Street for the fantastic site! We are truly grateful to all of the Ad Partners and guests that joined us to celebrate this beautiful publication that provides funding for Interfaith’s many programs and services. Be on the lookout for your copy of The Book which will be arriving in mailboxes within the next week.

Interfaith Celebration of Excellence Gala Honors 20 Years of Heroes

The Woodlands Celebration of Excellence Gala, themed “Twenty Years of Heroes,” was held at The Woodlands Waterway Marriott Hotel & Convention Center on Saturday, October 5th.

The 20th annual event, chaired by DeAnn Guidry, was dedicated to honoring the 2019 Hometown Heroes while also celebrating the nearly 130 heroes that have been nominated over the past twenty years. The highly anticipated annual event raises money for crisis assistance in South Montgomery County.

Upon arrival, more than 600 guests entered a beautifully decorated ballroom filled with intricate lighting and ornate floral arrangements. Pianist, George Ruehle, entertained the guests while they enjoyed the silent auction and cocktail reception.
Alex Sutton, Chairman of Interfaith’s Board of Directors, and Missy Herndon, President and CEO of Interfaith of The Woodlands welcomed guests and celebrated the Honorary Event Chair, Waste Connections, Inc. Interfaith’s service and mission were made evident by each individual who continued to take the podium.

Hometown Hero Attendees at 2019 Gala

Since 1999, when the original class of 25 Hometown Heroes were honored in celebration of The Woodlands’ 25th Anniversary, Interfaith has recognized outstanding individuals and organizations in the community by presenting them with the title of Hometown Hero. Touching videos played on the screens, reflecting the generosity of the 2019 Hometown Heroes. Each Hero was awarded a medallion, a Congressional Commendation presented by United States Congressman Kevin Brady, and a Senate Proclamation from Texas State Senator Brandon Creighton. The Hometown Heroes for 2019 are: Jerissa Belsha, MD, Mary-Lou E. Fitch, Stephen C. Head, Ph.D., Alex Sutton, Josh Urban, Market Street The Woodlands, and Leadership Montgomery County.

The event offered a fantastic live auction and fund-a-need opportunities that featured numerous luxurious experiences including a VIP trip to Disney, naming rights to the longest pedestrian bridge in The Woodlands Town Center, SEWELL for all Seasons, and various other unique items. Thomas Markle Jewelers provided a Tudor watch that one lucky winner was able to claim in the raffle.
Interfaith typically serves over 1,500 clients in crisis monthly, with those numbers expected to increase as the Holiday Season approaches. Gala guests were among the first to view a video testimony from a client who fell on hard times and utilized the many programs and services at Interfaith to help her and her children get back on their feet. The impact of this storytelling was felt throughout the room as attendees were asked to lend their support.

“We are so grateful to live in a community that shows up to celebrate and support each other,” says Herndon. “For 46 years Interfaith has walked alongside our neighbors in crisis. No matter the magnitude, we step in to help families rebuild. Being able to offer hope in the midst of devastation is only possible through the generous donations we are blessed to receive. We are forever grateful to our donors.”

Interfaith of The Woodlands is a nonprofit social service agency providing programs and services to meet the needs of The Woodlands and the surrounding area. Interfaith provides basic needs assistance and special programs to families experiencing a financial crisis, and supportive service through care and wellness programs to senior adults 62 and over, in addition to many community programs dedicated to improving the lives of individuals in need. For more information on Interfaith’s programs and services or to become a volunteer, please visit woodlandsinterfaith.org or call 281-367-1230.

 

 

Hope Soars at Spirit of the Woods Gala

Nearly 500 guests gathered at The Woodlands Waterway Marriott for the Spirit of the Woods gala benefiting Texas Children’s Hospital The Woodlands recently. Guests were treated to highflying acts and daredevil drops all in support of the outreach and care Texas Children’s provides to underserved families in the community.

Michelle Riley-Brown addressing the nearly 500 gala guests to share the remarkable milestones from Texas Children’s Hospital The Woodlands since opening in 2017

Michelle Riley-Brown, president of Texas Children’s Hospital The Woodlands, provided updates on the hospital’s successes since opening in 2017, including the remarkable milestones of completing 351,000 patient visits, more than 86,100 emergency center visits, and 18,787 surgeries. She also commended the astounding generosity of The Woodlands community, which – through this gala – helped raise more than $800,000 to care for the area’s most vulnerable children.

The stunning event honored Missy and Wayne Herndon who are an integral part of the community and continue to make a lasting impact on Texas Children’s. The gala was made possible by Stacey and Steve Bourque, as well as the dedicated gala committee.

Eric and Denise Lipar

Inspiring artwork by Will Herndon auctioned live during the event

Janet Wong and Brooke Schmidt

Texas Children’s Hospital The Woodlands leadership team: Ketrese White, Dr. Paul Sirbaugh, Ivett Shah, Michelle Riley-Brown and Dr. Jeffrey Shilt

teve and Stacey Bourque; Wayne, Missy, Magnus, Will, and Steele Herndon

Highflying act by Antigravity

Guests take in the festivities at the Spirit of the Woods gala benefiting vulnerable patients cared for by Texas Children’s Hospital The Woodlands

Content Provided: Chinh Phan

How Good Nutrition Slows Cognitive Decline

Your brain needs a variety of nutrients in order to develop and function properly. Almost everything you consume will directly or indirectly affect your brain. There is much evidence to suggest that what we do for the brain now can have a big impact on how it functions in the years, even decades, to come. A healthy diet has the potential to alter our brain health and mental function. Thereby delaying or protecting against age-related cognitive decline. Nutrition gives the brain the tools and building blocks it needs to perform vital actions like thinking, making memories, and repairing cell damage.

In order to be sure your brain has all the nutrients it needs to work properly, eat a wide variety of whole foods. This includes good sources of protein, lots of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, nuts, seeds, fish, and other sources of healthy fats. A healthy diet that is low in fat and high in essential nutrients reduces the risk of memory loss, helps prevent strokes and boosts alertness.

OMEGA-3 FATTY ACIDS
The healthy fats, omega-3s and omega-6s, found in salmon, walnuts and kiwi fruit, provide many benefits. This includes improving learning and memory and helping to fight against such cognitive disorders such as dementia. Omega fatty acids are essential building blocks for the cell membrane of brain cells. They seem to reduce inflammation in the brain, as well as warding off the cognitive decline that often comes with age.


B VITAMINS
The B vitamins, particularly B12, B6, and Folate (B9), are critical for the cellular energy metabolism in the brain. B12 is important for a cell process called methylation, a basic chemical process that all cells, including brain cells, require to thrive. B12 also protects against age-related atrophy of brain cells and against damage to the brain’s white matter, which allows brain cells to communicate with each other. Without enough B12 in the brain, memory impairment sets in and gradually gets worse, leading to dementia. You can find Vitamin B6 in the highest quantities in potatoes, bananas, chickpeas, and oatmeal. You can find Folate in leafy greens, citrus fruits, peas, and beans.


PHYTOCHEMICALS/FLAVONOIDS
Phytochemicals are chemicals derived from plant sources that may help your memory. There are a number of types of phytochemicals. However, a key group that often acts as antioxidants is the flavonoids. You can find it in plant-derived foods like blueberries, apples, citrus fruits, and black and green tea. These compounds provide a multitude of health benefits to the body and brain. In addition, they play important roles in repairing damage in the brain by increasing levels of antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds that reduce damage to cells in the brain.

ANTIOXIDANTS
The brain is highly susceptible to oxidative damage. Antioxidants and essential fatty acids help to protect your brain cells from everyday damage and age-related decline. Some studies have found that extracts from blueberries, strawberries, spinach, and blackberries have a strong antioxidant capacity. They may reverse the normal cognitive changes and memory problems that accompany the aging process.

CURCUMIN
Another type of flavonoid is a compound you may not have heard of, curcumin. You can find it in a common Indian spice and offers protection to the aging brain. Curcumin, nicknamed “The Spice of Mental Life”, is from the root of the tumeric plant. It benefits the brain by providing protection against neurological disorders. As an antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and anti-amyloidal agent, curcumin can improve cognitive function in patients with Alzheimer’s disease.


VITAMIN D
In addition to supporting bone health, vitamin D serves important functions in brain health. It is thought to protect the brain against cognitive deficits that come with age. Vitamin D also influences certain proteins that help in neuron growth and development and is involved in many other important aspects of brain function like synaptic plasticity, learning, and memory.

The best way to preserve our mental health in the future is to nourish our brains in the present. How we eat now can dramatically affect our brains. More and more evidence shows that people who maintain good nutrition throughout life have less risk for cognitive decline and other brain diseases as they age. It’s never too late to reverse some of the effects of poor nutrition. Also, the choices you make today will influence your body and brain in years to come. This shows that changes in diet can enhance cognitive abilities, protecting the brain from damage and counteracting the effects of aging.

At Avanti Senior Living, the Avanti Green Kitchen offers meals with no grease or oil and no fried food. Meals include the freshest ingredients, no pre-made foods, taking into account the requests of the community. Find out more on the Avanti blog at: https://www.avanti-sl.com/

Content provided by Avanti Senior Living

Ushering in Fall and Embracing Seasonal Décor

As the fall season comes to fruition it seems only fitting that we transform our homes into a place of warm color schemes and comfortable textures. Combine these with some deep scents of baking and cooking, and you capture the magical formula of cozy. Because you must ask yourself, “what is it that we are truly trying to create in our homes?” It’s a place of comfort, a place that you feel safe and secure. A place where we can escape the mundane activities of the world outside the home. This space isn’t just created for your enjoyment, it is to welcome others into it and share. To give them access to a space of comfort and security while they are in your home.

Just as there is a changing of the seasons outside we too express the gearing up of the holidays indoors. It symbolizes the fact that we have made it through another summer, another start to a school year, and another transition of our lives. This is the season where families and friends are the focus.

Fall gives us a color pallet rich in variety, offering choices for each individual’s discerning taste. The length of the decorating season should run from September 1st until December 1st. It’s important to let autumn linger in your home. Do not rush into the next season of home decor, let your home radiate the true presence of the season we are in. There is a universal acceptance to rush Christmas décor in a home. The urgency that is placed on bringing the Christmas season into a home is a misconception. A reminder that Thanksgiving is a holiday of gathering and welcoming others should be granted permission to hold a significant presence in a home.

When it comes to outdoor decorating:
Garnish your doors with wreaths and your porches with real and faux pumpkins. Incorporate hay to create dimension and height. Scarecrows are always a fun choice as are metal signs. When buying be sure that your outdoor décor can withstand the elements. Polyurethane spray is always a good buy from your local hardware store. Applying this will help items with color avoid becoming sun-bleached by the end of the season.

Hosting opportunities:
With so many opportunities to host friends, use this season to reconnect with those that are important to you.

One idea is to host a Sunday football party. The time of day is perfect because it allows your guests the morning for church or other plans, and they will be able to leave at a decent hour to prepare for the start of their next week. Be sure to pre-set the table for snacks. Fill trays of appetizers and have several bowls of chips. Having everything done before guests arrive will mean that you can enjoy them while they are there.

Another idea could be to host a progressive dinner in your neighborhood. Each house is in charge of a different stage of the meal. Choose three other families or friends in the area and pitch the idea to them. Appetizer, Salad, Entrée, and Desserts. Draw out of a hat to assign the respective courses. Choose a genre of food and let the rest be the choice of each hosting home. Opening your homes in the fall season will help remind you of all that we are truly thankful for during this season.

Interior Decorating:
Set the stage of your social gatherings by having swags of magnolia leaves on your staircase or mantles. Swap out your family pictures, change them to pictures that are set outside. Use pictures from years gone by of Halloween and Thanksgiving celebrations. Be sure to incorporate throw pillows and throw blankets. Layering your home creates depth. Have some pumpkins around inside your home too. Candles help to set the tone and the fragrance of your home, the season has amazing scents to choose from like apple strudel and pumpkin spice.

Color Trends of the season:
Navy, coral, spice and rich burgundies are all extremely popular. These colors are easy to find in wall art, lamps, pillows and accessories.

Quick Home Transformations:
There are several ways to completely transform your home without buying a lot. A set of lamps will dramatically change the space. You can update your home and replace lamps that might not be the look you’re currently trying to achieve. Another quick and easy way is to buy four throw pillows. You will be amazed by how much new pillows on your sofa or chair can change the look.

Remember your home is a reflection of who you are. You are the creator of the space, you share a part of your story each time someone is welcomed into your home. From the furniture you have to the color of your walls, it all leads back to you. This season of autumn invites you to open your home and let the love you have inside flow to others whom you welcome in. I wish for all of you to have a home filled with joy this season and to embrace the true meaning of the season as I also personally reflect with much gratitude for all that it is and always has been for me.

Happy Fall Y’all and Gobble ‘til you Wobble!

Author: Mallory Allison Dale is the owner of Laurie’s Home Furnishings in Tomball, Texas. Laurieshomefurnishings.com.

Technology with Heart

The power of positive thinking just became a real-time reality thanks to a new app that sends uplifting messages of support to those experiencing a difficult time in their life. Caring Band, created by Woodlands husband and wife team Lindsay and Charley Donaldson, is both a light up wristband and accompanying mobile app that allows anyone going through a challenging time to receive messages of strength and hope. The Caring Band app which launched this summer allows users to pick from a list of carefully preset messages to send to those they care about as often they come across their minds, such as ‘You’re on my mind’; ‘I just prayed for you’ and ‘Cheering you on today’. “The Caring Band app is a place for family and friends to send real-time notifications of love and support,” says Lindsay, co-founder and chief caring officer. “Often when a family member or friend is going through a hard time, you sometimes feel reluctant to reach out as you don’t know what to say. “With Caring Band, it’s done in a way that allows you to brighten their day without having to worry about what to write and without any pressure on the recipient to reply.” The connected wristband can be set to light and/or pulse to notify the band wearer when new messages are received. Using Bluetooth technology, the wristband wirelessly syncs to your smartphone to bring the power of positivity to life. “When you give someone a Caring Band, they will be uplifted each time their wristband lights up knowing that someone is sending positive thoughts and cheering them on,” says Lindsay.

The launch of the Caring Band app comes after the Donaldson’s were moved to do more after seeing several of their friends and family go through difficult times. “Like many others in the same situation, we did as much as we could, but always left wanting to do more, explains Lindsay. “Caring Band is unique in that it is not meant to replace a phone or smartwatch. “Together with the wristband, the app is designed to do one thing and one thing only, to lift the spirits of the person wearing it.”

One such recipient of the Caring Band is 11-year-old Sydney Hunter, who was diagnosed with Sarcoma, a rare type of cancer, in March of this year. Sydney, whose family lives in the Woodlands, is recovering from surgery to remove a golf ball size lump from her leg. Since her devastating diagnosis, Sydney had the opportunity to try out the Caring Band wristband and app. She has had incredible support from people all over the world sending her messages to cheer her on throughout her battle. “It’s amazing, I love it,” says Sydney of Caring Band. “It’s such a blessing to have so many people sending me messages. To think that sometimes people I don’t even know are supporting me is pretty cool.” Some of Sydney’s messages via the Caring Band app that have helped her stay strong are ‘Hugs to you today’, ‘I just prayed for you’ and ‘Thinking of you’. “It’s so heartwarming to know someone somewhere is praying for me at that moment. It’s been so awesome to have that kind of support,” she says. Sydney, who has just entered 6th grade, was thrilled to be able to start the school year with her friends following her latest surgery to remove the tumor this summer. “My friends at school are always nice to me, but since I got the Caring Band, I’ve been really grateful for the extra boost the messages have given me.”

Sydney Hunter

The Caring Band team has been busy distributing a number of prototype bracelets to pilot the product and gauge the initial response. “The feedback we have had so far has been extremely positive,” says Lindsay. “We are receiving wonderful responses both from those wearing the wristband and receiving messages via the app as well as those sending the messages.” Caring Band has also partnered up with a number of local non-profit groups to distribute wristbands and to raise awareness of the product. The Canopy Center, based at Memorial Hermann in the Woodlands, as well as cancer support charity Can Care, and The Tyler Robinson Foundation (founded and managed by members of the band Imagine Dragons), are among the first recipients of Caring Band wristbands. These three charities are involved in supporting cancer survivors, caregivers of survivors and help to enhance the quality of life for those affected by cancer. “We are delighted to be partnering up with these wonderful organizations to spread the Caring Band love,” says Lindsay. The Caring Band app is free to download now on IOS and Android platforms, while the Caring Band wristband will be ready to order in early 2020.

Pre-orders will be taken soon via the website: www.caringband.com. To receive updates and notifications on timings for pre-order, you can follow Caring Band on Instagram and Facebook.

Author: Jennifer Taylor

Jennifer Taylor joins the writing team at Interfaith following a career in journalism and public relations. Originally from Scotland, Jennifer moved to The Woodlands in 2012 having lived and worked in Asia for 5 years. She enjoys running, traveling and spending time with her husband and their two boys.

 

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