Inspiring Mom Winner

Inspiring Mom Winner Gayle Fisher, founder of Special Need Sibs was nominated by her friend Dawn Candy. Dawn highlighted some of Gayle’s inspiring qualities in her nomination.

“I would like to nominate my friend Gayle Fisher. She is a mom of two beautiful humans. Her son is autistic and Gayle works with him every day to teach him how to experience life and live every day understanding consequences for all behaviors and responses. She is patient, kind and loving and shares her experiences with other moms and families so they know they are not alone.

She inspires me every day watching her raising her children and encouraging other families to be loving, accepting and kind to each other.”

Candy shares that Gayle started a nonprofit in our community specifically for siblings of special needs children to make sure they have the opportunities to enjoy being kids, the opportunity to make new friends and find the support they need to navigate feelings as a sibling of a special needs child.

Gayle Fisher, The Book Inspiring Mom Winner said about being chosen as the winner, “Raising kids who thrive needs the Village, the whole team.  We share our ups and downs, joys and sorrows, victories and challenges. Together. With humor and humility. There really is no other way.”

Thank you to Dawn Candy for your nomination and Gayle Fisher for providing inspiration to The Book The Woodlands readers. Both women will be receiving a gift certificate for Shop at Market Street.


New Class of All-Star Volunteers Takes Shape

It is no surprise that an organization that aims to make such a profound impact on our community requires many dedicated volunteers. Trained, consistent volunteer pools are required to fulfill our mission of never saying no to someone in need. As a result, Interfaith began a program called Interfaith All-Star Volunteers in 2011. The Interfaith All- Star Program is a year-long volunteer program for high school students in which they complete at least 40 hours of volunteer service with Interfaith Programs and Services. To date, 386 young adults have served as All-Star Volunteers.

“Being part of the work Interfaith does has been the best volunteer opportunity I have found. There are so many different areas in which to volunteer. By working with Interfaith, you know you are impacting the community and reaching so many lives. I have developed interests I didn’t know I had because of the many different opportunities offered from gardening in the community garden to stocking the food pantry to working with seniors at Bingo. I am so thankful to be part of an organization that touches so many lives.” Mary Claire Corell, past Interfaith All-Star Volunteer

The Interfaith of the Woodlands All-Star program is exclusively for teens 14-18 years old in high school or entering their freshman year. The program runs June-May and gives teen volunteers access to all Interfaith volunteer opportunities but has requirements and prerequisites to participate. Potential candidates for our All-Star program must sign up to attend the annual orientation in June and then volunteer in at least four different areas of service with the aim of completing 40 hours within the service year to receive a certificate. This is a student-led program which means it is completely up to the student to sign up for shifts, communicate with the coordinators, keep track of volunteer hours, etc.


Missy Herndon, President and CEO shared, “the All-Star Program was created to share volunteer opportunities for high school students to serve together within all areas of Interfaith’s community programs. For 45 years, Interfaith has used service as the common bridge to build community and bring people together. Our All-Star program encourages our local teens to give back and establishes that everyone can make an impact on our neighbors and community. “

For more information about the Interfaith All-Star Program, please contact Sarah Mundy at 832-615-8220 or

Woodlands Franchisee Named Among Top 50 in the US

Woodlands entrepreneur and The Book The Woodlands Ad Partner Mary Beth Motisi is the essence of hard work and integrity having just been named as one of the top 50-franchise owners in the country.

Mary Beth is the owner of the Online Trading Academy (OTA) Houston, and is a shining example of where sheer determination and strength of character can lead you in the business world, having been selected out of thousands of nominees for the esteemed place in the top 50.

The accolade of ‘Franchise Rockstar’, awarded by the Franchise Business Review, is a valued benchmark of success for Mary Beth. “I was surprised and thrilled as it was totally unexpected,” says Mary Beth on the news of her achievement. “It’s very touching to have received that level of respect from my Franchisor.”

Franchise Business Review analyzed over 27,000 franchisee surveys across more than 300 leading franchise brands. Each entrant is given a score based on business excellence, community engagement, and franchise leadership skills. The top 50 are the best of the best in franchising today. “There are so many fantastic success stories out there; it was painful to narrow our list down to just 50 Rockstar Franchisees,” said Michelle Rowan, President of Franchise Business Review.

OTA is the world leader in financial education for investors looking to build life-changing skills designed to aid investments in the financial and real estate markets. Courses are geared toward individual investors or traders, novice or experienced, who want to learn how to use similar tools and trading techniques as the professional traders on Wall Street.

Students as young as 13 up to 92 years of age, learn under the guidance of experienced traders in an interactive classroom setting with extensive online education resources.

“Being a student at OTA changed my life and I wanted to bring that same opportunity to others,” explains Mary Beth. “The beauty of the markets is that there is an equal opportunity for everyone. I have been a Franchisee for 9 years and every year I am amazed at the innovation put forth by this organization to build on our students’ success and network development.”

In October 2018, Mary Beth was the recipient of the highest honor awarded to an OTA team member, the Above and Beyond Award, which is given to network members who make a major contribution to the entire Online Trading Academy business.

Online Trading Academy Chief Operating Officer, Gene Longobardi, hailed Mary Beth as a credit to their entire system. “I am so proud of Mary Beth and all she and her team have accomplished in Houston”, he said. “She knows her students first-hand because she engages regularly with them to support all of their educational needs. It would be hard to imagine a more deserving candidate for this recognition.”

Yet success has not come without trials for Mary Beth. Her life changed drastically at the young age of 14, when her father suffered a stroke and her parents sold their home for a single-story condominium. Mary Beth was forced to mature quickly and made the decision to move into her own apartment upon graduating high school. She began working as a Manager Trainee at McDonald’s when she was 20 years old, which turned out to be the most valuable education she could have ever received. “I worked really, really, really hard,” says Mary Beth. “College could not have compared to the work experiences, and the specialized education McDonald’s provided.”

In 2000 Mary Beth got involved in the stock market. She suffered a big loss in the beginning, so was eager to learn more when she came across Online Trading Academy. After graduating with much success from the OTA program, the VP of Business Development, Ralph Loberger called her and offered her the opportunity of a lifetime.

“We met for lunch and the next thing I knew, I was moving to Texas from Wisconsin as the new owner of the Houston Franchise,” she says. “Moving across the country by myself was an adjustment and starting a new business without the support of your family and friends by your side was very difficult.”

After her many years of hard work and personal development, Mary Beth shares some of her tips for making your business work.

“Someone once asked me ‘what makes you successful’? My reply was “you need five things – good common sense, a strong work ethic, good people skills, high standards, and a good coach. You have to dig deep, learn and master the skills you need and have love and passion for what you do.”

“I am proud of the community and fellowship we have among our staff, students and network,” says Mary Beth. “I not only received the opportunity to build an amazing business, but I also gained a loving family. I love who we are, what we do, and how we do it.”

To learn more about OTA Houston, visit:

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.


Getting Fit for Glam Wrap-Up

To close out our series on Getting Fit for GGG, we thought our models deserved a little hydration and recovery session for all of their hard work! Thank you to THRIVE Drip Spa in Market Street for pampering our models and helping restore their energy and glow for GGG. Both models, Amy Torres and Perisha Burnham had recently been traveling, over multiple time zones – so the timing of the visit couldn’t have been better.

The THRIVE Intravenous (IV) Drips deliver vitamins, minerals, and amino acids directly to the body for maximum absorption. All of the drips are administered by registered nurses and you receive the same hydration from one 30 minute drip as drinking 2 gallons of water.

Here is what Interfaith Community Model Amy Torres shared about her experience:

We were greeted and immediately taken back to their beautifully decorated IV area. The RN explained our IV drip options which ranged from benefiting the immune system, weight loss, beauty, muscle recovery and more. I decided to go with the Myers Drip which helps boost the immune system. The entire process took about 30min and almost immediately I felt significantly less fatigued and energized. This feeling lasted all day…no jet lag for me!

In addition to IV vitamin therapy, Perisha also received a cryo treatment. The Cryo Chamber is cooled to temperatures between -160℉ to -220℉. Sessions range from 30 seconds to 3 minutes. Cryotherapy gives your metabolism and immune system an immediate boost, burning 500-800 calories per session.


Here is a little about Junior League Community Model Perisha Burnham’s results from her trip to THRIVE:

First things first: Yes, it was cold. Lol! However, it was not at all unbearable.
The chamber begins with warm air and slowly the temperature declines giving your body time to adjust to the cooler air.

I suffer migraine and tension headaches. The evening before our trip to Thrive, I had a terrible migraine and woke with some symptoms still lingering. My cryo session helped to relax my tense neck and shoulder muscles and by the end of the day, I was back to normal.

This is probably the quickest recovery I have ever made from a migraine–mine usually last a few days.  I believe the Myers IV and Cyrotherapy session had everything to do with me feeling better so quickly.

If you want to look, feel and perform better, you definitely need to visit our friends at THRIVE! Also, don’t forget to get your ticket for Giving Goes Glam to see these fabulous ladies walk the runway for fashion and philanthropy on April 5, 2019, at The Woodlands Waterway Marriott Hotel!

To learn more about THRIVE Drip Spa please visit: or call 281.343.DRIP

Philanthropy, Fashion, and Fitness: Gearing Up for GGG!

I am so excited to be walking the runway as a community model for Giving Goes Glam next month. I believe the foundation of every fashionable ensemble begins with fitness—a blended balance of physical and mental wellness.

Our inner strength shines through in everything we wear and how we interact with others, so when I began this fitness journey, I decided my goal would be increasing my confidence. I’m happy to report visiting the following fitness studios provided me with an opportunity to reach that goal a thousand times over!


Wicked Core:

Low Impact, Mega Sculpting

The Wicked Core studio is based on the large fitness method which combines strength-training, Pilates, and cardio. At the start of each class, each participant selects a mega-reformer machine for the 45-minute workout. Deb, our instructor, was a motivating machine! Throughout the entire class, she was our champion—cheerleading, checking each person’s form, and offering modified versions of each exercise.

I love that Wicked Core is a low impact, yet high-intensity program. The focus is to use slow and deliberate movements to lengthen and strengthen your muscles. You can feel the burn, irrefutable proof that you are challenging your body to change. At times, I even felt my muscles twitch (in a good way, lol!). In fact, one of the Wicked Core mottos is “Embrace the Shake!”

What is extremely unique about Wicked Core is the vast array of exercises that can be performed on the mega-reformer. A participant in my session shared that she had attended over 100 classes and found each to be unique and challenging. This is exciting news for me because my body easily adapts to workouts. It’s critical for me to change my routine if I am looking to trim down, firm up, or simply build my endurance.

What I Love About Wicked Core:

  • It’s beginner friendly! It takes no time at all learn to adjust to using the mega-reformer.
  • Wicked Core has two locations: Creekside and Spring Creek. Your membership includes access to both!
  • The Wicked Core App makes it easy to select the class that best suits your schedule.
  • The variety in exercises, instructors, as well as modifications to decrease/increase intensity = you and your body, will never get bored.



 Personal Goals, Group Support 

Located in the heart of The Woodlands, Orangetheory fitness studio seamlessly combines personalized coaching in a supportive group atmosphere. From the moment I booked my initial class, my personalizedprogram began—I received a call from my Coach Jessica welcoming me to the studio!  First timers are asked to arrive a few minutes prior tothe start of their first class for a complimentary program tutorial. Jessica created a workout program based on my fitness goals and taught me how to operate the three stations used in class: treadmills, rowing machines, and the weight room. While working out, my performance was trackedwith color-coded heart rate technology. Every participant’s first name and heart rate, and zone color appeared on a big TV screen in the fitness area– along with every other class participant. The colors correspond with your workout intensity as follows:

  • Blue zone: the living is easy
  • Green zone: trying but not dying
  • Orange zone: challenging and uncomfortable
  • Red zone: all-outmax!

The “theory” behind Orangetheory Fitness is that if you spend 12 collective minutes in orange or red zones during class, you’ll reach the threshold for an afterburn effect, where you “keep burning” additional calories for a day after the workout.

What I Love About Orangetheory:

  • The ability to create a personalized program based on specific fitness goals.
  • The Orangetheory heart rate monitor is a visual reminder to try your best.
  • The positivity from the trainer and class participants created a cohesive atmosphere. We’re all rooting for each other to make it to “orange”!
  • It’s fast and efficient–you get an amazingworkout done in an hour.


RIDE: Indoor Cycling

Sheer Excitement, Cycling Bliss

From the moment I walked through the door of RIDE, I felt like a member of their tribe.

The staff members and Ambassadors led the check-in process, greeting everyone by name and at times referencing a detail from the participant’s last studio visit. You immediately got the sense that they knew their people—and wanted you to become one of them!

Rideis a rhythm-based indoor cycling studio. Each class features a curated playlist with various beats per minute and aligns with the principles of high-intensityinterval training (HIIT) which trains different muscle groups and switches between fat burn, endurance, and metabolic conditioning. HIIT produces an “afterburn” effect – allowing your body to continue to burn calories after you have completed your workout.

There are a variety of classes on the weekly schedule to select from, including themed “rides” like Hip Hop Hump Day, Rodeo, Drake vs. Travis Scott, All The Feels Friday, and more.

Each participant must wear cycling shoes with either SPD or LOOK Delta cleats. If you are like me and do not own a pair, no worries, shoes are available to rent at the front desk. After check-in, each cyclist places their personal belongings in a locker and heads to the studio. Staff members are on-hand to help with making adjustments to your seat, handlebars, and to helpyou snap your shoes onto the pedals. I was also pleased to find that in advance each bike had been draped with clean towels and dumbbellsfor the arm workout. These may seem like small details, but I reallylike how they removed the guesswork and setup for locating all the extras. We were able to get straight to our workout. A+ client service!

My class was on a special day—my instructor Taryn’s birthday! Taryn was an amazinginstructor, andher love for spinwas infectious. I honestly did not think I would be able to pick up the skills required to have a dance party on the bike, especially in the first class. However, the music selection, instruction, and soft DJ style ambient lighting makeit easy for riders to feel the beat.

What I Love About RIDE:

  • Neither spin class experience or a sense of rhythm is required. Seriously, don’t be scared. As a matter of fact, Ride is a great way to learn those skills.
  • Great location in Hughes Landing! Easyparking and great places to hang out before or after class. (Yes, after class! There is a dedicated shower for use at the studio).
  • The sessions are so engaging and interactive; Ride does not feel like exercise; it’sjust fun. I could not believe I was in the studio for 45 minutes!
  • The company culture is amazing. The staff works as a cohesive unit, andother members are genuinely kind.

-Perisha Burnham

Perisha has lived in The Woodlands with her husband and two children for five years. She has a passion for community service and enjoys volunteering with several local charities and organizations. Perisha will be representing the Junior League of The Woodlands on April 5, 2019, as a community model for Giving Goes Glam

Destination 30A- A Woodlander’s Guide to the Emerald Coast

If you live in Texas or really anywhere in the South, you have probably seen the iconic round blue and yellow “30A” sticker adorning cars. Many know exactly what it stands for and some may wonder what this place called “30A” is all about and why it has a strong enough following for people to slap a sticker on their car to showcase their love for it.

30A is a 19.1 mile stretch of beach communities along the Emerald Coast of the Florida Panhandle, arguably the most beautiful span of beaches in the U.S. The pristine blue and green waters rival the Caribbean and the pure white sand is like no other in the world. The iconic 30A is a gem in its own right and offers unique and quaint communities throughout. Each one of these communities stand alone with their own distinct personalities, yet will always share one common denominator, the magical blue and green waters that fade into the white powder sand.

Many potential 30A visitors are overwhelmed by the decisions to make before booking their trip due to the numerous options including how to get there, where to stay, what to eat and what to do. Good news! I have some great insight to help you make your 30A experience memorable enough to slap a sticker on your car when you leave!

How to Get There…

If you choose to fly, 30A is a quick 1.5-hour flight from Houston to Panama City.  Once in Panama City, you have a 30-minute drive to 30A. The airport is small and easy to navigate. There are plenty of Ubers and rental cars available at Panama City Airport.

If you decide to make the 9.5-hour drive to 30A from The Woodlands, you know that a few stops will be necessary. However, they don’t have to be painful. Most rentals along 30A are from Saturday to Saturday which means the traffic coming and going during the peak season is a sure thing, especially as you get closer to your destination. So for most of you renting during that period, this information can make your trip just a bit easier.

Leave early and make it to Baton Rouge for an early lunch. There is a great spot just off the interstate, rightfully named City Pork (Hollydale location). Call ahead and order lunch to go. They offer easy lunches that meet Louisiana flavor standards, trust me, I’m from New Orleans, and I approve. They will conveniently package it for you to take on the road.

Once you arrive in Mobile, you are guaranteed to feel the “beach traffic.”The mobile tunnel is a dreaded landmark for many seasoned beachgoers. It is slow moving and can add up to an hour to your trip if you get there at the wrong time. Avoid rush hour and try to plan your trip to arrive in Mobile as early as possible. If you choose to split the trip, I suggest staying overnight in Mobile at The Battle House Hotel and doing a quick tour of the U.S.S Alabama in the morning (you can’t check in to your beach house until 4 pm anyway). The battleship deserves a walkthrough. We took our kids to this museum last year, and our kids still talk about it today and bonus, our kids can’t ask what that ship is all about every single time we pass it.

The upside…once you get through Mobile you are only 2.5 hours from your happy place! To ease the last leg of the trip, Texas’ beloved destination/gas station, Buc-ee’s is in your future as they just opened their first out of state MASSIVE establishment about 30 miles east of Mobile so HOLD IT!

And before you know it, there it is…the highly anticipated exit 85! The last leg of your trip! You are only 30 minutes away from your vacation. Your kids are hungry, and you are thirsty. Don’t bother with the grocery stores on Saturday because everyone else is. We order pizzas from Pizza by the Sea (there are several locations) and pick it up on our way in town. You’re welcome!

So now you know how to get there. The other big question is, “where am I staying?” While 30A offers endless options that are sure to provide everyone with their “perfect spot,”it is helpful to be well versed on your options.

A Few of the Popular 30A Communities

Watercolor Beach

This resort planned community is ideal for the active lifestyle. Here you can take advantage of the miles of walking and biking trails that preserve the nature and beauty of the woods. Western Lake, the county’s largest natural dune lake calls Watercolor it’s home offering stand up paddle boarding, canoeing, kayaking and fishing. Additionally, there are several beautiful wooden footbridges that crossover Western Lake and are a photographer’s dream come true! Watercolor also offers a children’s summer camp, five community pools, a lazy river and a beachfront beach club that is currently under renovation and is slated to be complete this summer. Be sure to stop at Fish Out Of Water for an ocean view lunch or dinner and make sure you order the warm pimento cheese!

Grayton Beach

The local vibe is alive and well in this eclectic community. Here, the locals will welcome you with open arms, sandy feet, and a cold beverage! This beach allows permitted vehicles to drive right on the beach adding to its laid back attitude. A coastal dune lake borders one side of this town offering the chance to jump on a paddle board and cruise through the still waters that often connect to the Gulf of Mexico. Off the beaten path, you can enjoy the unique Shops at Grayton Beach. Stop in for breakfast at Black Bear and treat yourself to a piece of art from one of the local galleries. Grayton is home to Chiringo, a fun and festive beach bar and restaurant that has been known to turn into an energetic nightlife scene. On rainy days, grab the kids and head to Shards for a fun glass art project that you can take home as a souvenir.

Blue Mountain Beach

Considered one of the less-developed communities on 30A, Blue Mountain Beach still attracts many visitors for this very reason. This area happens to have the highest elevation along Florida’s Gulf Coast, allowing breathtaking views. The famous Blue Mountain Creamery is a must for an afternoon treat.  Grab dinner at Stinky’s Fish Camp for the perfect family-friendly night out. If there is a wait, head over to Stinky’s bait shop for a drink and live music to pass the time. You can’t leave Blue Mountain without visiting the ultra-popular Justin Gaffrey art gallery. Here you will discover the vast mediums Justin uses to express his vision. His work is truly unparalleled.


This cozy community is picture perfect. The quaint cottages wrapped with white picket fences, cobblestone streets, and unique storefronts give you the feeling you are walking through a movie set, and you are! The famous Truman Show starring Jim Carrey was filmed here and released in 1998. Seaside offers a surreal environment that has its visitors coming back for more year after year. From the movies under the stars to the unique book store (Sundog Books) and the town grocery (Modica Market), one can’t help but be drawn to this town. Breakfast at Great Southern Cafe and dinner on the rooftop deck at Bud & Alley’s is a must!


Alys Beach

Here, the brilliant-white homes and villas are what allows Alys to hold the bragging rights as being the most striking community along 30A. A stroll down this iconic stretch flanked with tropical palms will stay with you forever. Lunch at Georges is always a good idea. Finish off your evening poolside at one of the most beautiful outdoor restaurants in the area, Caliza with luxurious cabanas and where coastal cuisine is taken very seriously. Alys Beach has high standards, and it shows.


Rosemary Beach

Flickering lanterns and wood planked pathways guide you through this charming community. Rosemary offers one of the larger shopping experiences on 30A including the popular hidden Lantern Bookstore, Willow Clothing, and Patchouliesto name a few and of course, the obligatory visit to the Sugar Shack will be on your daily agenda. New to this area is Pescado that offers highly sought after seats on their deck with breathtaking views. Be sure to plan ahead to partake in this unforgettable experience as reservations are almost always necessary and it is an adult only establishment.


Wanting more?


30A truly is a way of “vacation” life, and for some, it’s a way of “real” life. If you decide you want a piece of this paradise to call your own, the local realtors are as warm and welcoming as the beaches that drew you here. Stop by The Beach Group and ask for James Watts. His team is the best in the area and can help you find your happy place.

Other 30A “Must Do’s”

Take a surf lesson with Austin Magee at Austin Magee Surf School in Seaside.

Hike through the Point Washington State Forest.

Visit Eden State Park and Plantation.

Charter a deep sea fishing trip off of Grayton Beach.

Take a paddleboard yoga class at the Boathouse in Watercolor.

Visit one of the many Farmers Markets.

Book a trip during Songwriters Festival, Seeing Red Wine Festival and Watercolor’s Christmas festival.

Grab a blanket and head to the beach for the sunset…look for the green flash.

Rent bikes and explore the towns around you.

I hope this helps to make your 30A experience an unforgettable one that will keep you going back for more and when you go, you will understand why most people can’t say they have only visited 30A once.   There is a reason why my family and 3.5 million visitors call 30A their vacation spot every year…go find out for yourself!


Courtesy Christine Mitchell Photography

Nicole Murphy

Owner, Mersea Watercolor

Nicole Murphy has lived in The Woodlands with her husband and two children for 14 years. She is passionate about giving back to several local charities where she is highly involved. Nicole enjoys traveling to her beach home in watercolor Florida with her husband, children, and friends.

Getting Fit for GGG – Amy Torres

The second installment in our Getting Fit For GGG series features community model and Interfaith of The Woodlands exceptional volunteer, Amy Torres. Amy and her husband Tony, and their three children moved to The Woodlands four years ago from Kansas City, Missouri. Amy jumped right in, getting involved at Interfaith and making a positive impact, serving as a chair of Giving Goes Glam on two separate occasions.
Here are the highlights from the fitness programs that Amy sampled on her quest to Get Fit for GGG:

Pure Barre

I started my fitness trials at the Classic Barre class at Pure Barre centrally located in Hughes Landing. I loved it. As a physical therapist, I know the importance of building the “foundation” muscles: abs, upper back, lower back and glute muscles. Although most exercises involved my full body, Pure Barre concentrated on the primary foundation muscle groups. I left there definitely sore but feeling longer and leaner.

Favorite Benefits:

  • Any fitness level can participate; always a way to increase the challenge or modify to make easier depending on one’s ability
  • I liked how they break down the class into stages: warm up, arms, thighs, glutes, abs, and stretch
  • The instructor walks around correcting technique to maximize workout and minimize injuries -was exhausted but felt longer abs, and leaner when I left


Next on my fitness circuit was the 30:30 class at DEFINE. The class included 30 minutes of spin and 30 minutes of barre. What a workout! The spin portion was not your typical spin class: The instructor, Gelena “G”, incorporated abs, arms and back exercises, which I thought was a nice addition. Just when I thought my lungs and legs couldn’t take anymore, we moved directly into barre work. The instructor was intentional about incorporating full-body exercises throughout and correcting my posture and alignment when I wasn’t doing something correctly. I was sweaty and exhausted at the end but I LOVE it, and I will definitely be back! I decided to stay for a yoga class after, and it was exactly what my tired muscles needed. Although we did heat the muscles up again, I was feeling so stretched out afterward that I was no longer sore.

Favorite Benefits:

  • I love that Define has a variety of different types of classes so you can change up your routine to avoid overuse and workout boredom
  • The instructor not only gave verbal but physical corrections by correcting alignment to decrease injury and maximize benefits
  • They have fantastic merchandise for purchase for both men and women. Great place to get gifts!

REACH Stretch Studio

My final fitness experience was with REACH Stretch Studio. I went in with a stiff neck from sleeping wrong and tight hamstrings from a tennis match the day before. My therapist took me through a quick evaluation and then got right to work. The stretches consisted of multiple repetitions of differing positions from my ankles to neck – always pushing to the point just before the discomfort point. I left feeling much looser and with less overall body pain. This therapy would be highly beneficial for anyone, including those who sit most of the day for work or for a competitive athlete.

  • Beautiful new studio, centrally located in The Woodlands
  • A knowledgeable therapist who personalized my session based on my individual needs
  • The appointment was quick- 30min sessions; therefore not hard to fit into my busy day
  • The after stretch hydration drink was an excellent way to finish

Amy Torres is a community model for the 2019 Giving Goes Glam Fashion Show and Luncheon. She will walk the runway on April 5, 2019, on behalf of Interfaith of The Woodlands. As a licensed physical therapist and active volunteer, she loves a good workout! She lives locally with her husband of 20 years, Tony and their three children. 


Sustainable Fitness, Attainable Goals

Now that the new year has arrived many of us are falling in line with the goal and intention setting that litters our social media feeds.  From diet to fitness, it’s easy to get caught up in picture-perfect ideals – aiming to mold our bodies, and maybe even our lifestyles, to look like the highlights of an influencer’s Instagram story.

There’s nothing wrong with having aspirations and goals.  They’re necessary for personal development and growth, but following a plan that isn’t a fit for your needs can lead to burnout, discouragement, and the abandonment of your pursuits.  The last thing you want to do when embarking on a fitness journey is set yourself up to feel further behind than you did when you first began.

The Woodlands is saturated with gyms large and small, boutique fitness studios, groups and clubs that all have their own way of helping you achieve your goals.  When it comes to deciding where you’re going to spend your time and energy here are some things to consider:


This one gets overlooked, but it’s a critical half of the equation for success:  whether it’s a motivating and encouraging instructor or trainer, a friendly and knowledgeable front desk person, a fellow client, or a combination of all three, whom you surround yourself with has a big impact on your ability to see a goal through to the finish line.  If the instructor’s style of motivating doesn’t suit you, or you don’t feel confident coming forward with a question about your membership, or the participants in your class or fellow gym attendees create an environment that makes you feel belittled rather than inspired, it might be time to reconsider where you’re putting your effort.

Find a community that encourages, motivates, inspires, and challenges you to pursue your physical goals.  That type of positive energy will work its way into other aspects of your life and ultimately make getting to the gym or studio not just something you want to do, but something you feel like you need to as well.

Method + Results

There might be a few hundred ways to get your heart rate up, tone your muscles, and increase your flexibility.  Discover something that works for you in all three categories and you’ll be in your best shape in no time.  When trying out different fitness methods in the pursuit of building a sustainable fitness routine ask yourself these questions:

  1. Can I see myself doing this 3-5 times a week without getting bored or overly fatigued?

  2. Do others who work out here just do this, or do they incorporate other methods into their lifestyle?

  3. If I dedicate myself to this method for the long-term, am I going to achieve the results that I’m after?

If the answers to these questions work well into your overall picture of what you’re trying to achieve for your lifestyle, it’s likely that the fitness method you are choosing is one that you will be able to stick to.  The results you garner will be more than enough to keep you motivated, and you’ll feel a good return for the time, energy, and resources you invest.

My hope for you in 2019 is that you discover a supportive environment that inspires you to achieve your goals, and sets you up for a level of success that will follow you for the rest of your life.

Gelena Scally- Gelena “G” Scally has lived in The Woodlands for five years where she owns and operates boutique fitness studio DEFINE: The Woodlands. She is passionate about connecting with her community by helping them achieve their health and fitness goals.

Resolutions for Good Financial Planning

As we enter 2019, some may be left wondering “where has the time gone”? For many of us, taking stock of the previous year, vision planning, and goal setting for a new year is par for the course. The first of the year is when we tend to get serious about mapping out our physical health and fitness or becoming more involved with our communities and families. For those of you thinking about assessing your financial wellness, this article is for you! This topic can seem overwhelming and complicated, seeming like an intimidating goal to set in the new year, but we assure you, that is not the case.

When you find yourself at a point where life is kicking into high gear, i.e., your career is taking off, income is growing, children develop busy schedules; these competing priorities can really take a toll on you and your budget.

It’s the perfect time to make sure you are taking care of the basics that will take your finances to the next level. If you are examining your spending in the New Year or creating/re-setting your budget, follow this simple tip: The 20/60/20 Rule.  Allocate your income as such: 20% savings/investments, 60% essential expenses (housing, insurance, debt), and 20% discretionary expenses (entertainment, clothing, personal care). Any time you find it difficult to save the allocated 20%, your essential or discretionary spending may be off. The rule can be applied in most households, no matter your household income.

When considering goal-based investing, break your goals down to how much money you will need and when you will need it. This will allow for more strategic investing options. Goal-based investing also allows you to more closely monitor progress and adjust your approach as time goes on.

Short-term goals (1-2 years): Safety is important. You want to know your money is accessible when you need it. Such as an emergency fund or a medium-sized purchase.

Mid-term goals (2-10 years): Safety is important, but to reach these goals, you need your money to work a little harder and grow for you. Think: new furniture for the house, a new car, or a new home.

Long-term goals (10+ years): Growth is critical since these goals are often the most expensive and the most important. Starting now and leveraging the power of time to compound your money can help maximize growth. Most commonly funding college tuition or starting a business.

Retirement: Maximizing your savings is critical to ensure you can fund a retirement that may last more than 30 years. No matter how you envision your retirement, with a clear vision of your goals, you’ll be more likely to achieve them. From a saving perspective, your greatest tool is time. You’ve likely heard the phrase “save early and often”. What you probably haven’t heard is “diversify where you are saving”. A 401(k) and IRA, in our opinion, are staples in any retirement plan, but relying exclusively on them can leave you short if you look to retire prior to age 59 ½ or with too much taxable income in retirement. When saving for retirement, consider working to balance into Taxable, Tax-Deferred, Tax-Deductible, and Tax-Free accounts.

It’s time for a gut check: are you on track to achieve your goals? Even if you’ve been diligent about saving, it can be hard to measure your progress against specific goals, especially if you save mostly in one giant investment “bucket”, such as your 401(k) or a general savings account.

A good financial plan will map out all your goals and should show you not only how you are tracking to meet your goals, but also the options available to you if you are short on meeting them.

A solid financial plan should focus on protecting what you’ve built so far while also planning for the future. Lack of protection can put your entire plan at risk and you’ve worked too hard to get you and your family where they are today. Think about the goals you have. They likely require money, and most are funded by your income; the biggest asset you have in your working years. Here’s how you can help protect it:

Protect your Growing Paycheck: Having disability insurance coverage through your employer is a great start, but group plans may offer only a fraction of the benefit you need to protect your lifestyle. Evaluate your current coverage and consider closing any gaps with individual disability income insurance.

Revisit your Life Insurance: Review your coverage to make sure it is right for what you want it to protect. Work with a financial professional to help you understand what amount is appropriate for you and what type of life insurance best fits your needs.

Update your Estate Plan: Take time to review your beneficiaries, wills, trusts, and powers of attorney to make sure they’re still appropriate.  Especially if you have:

Married, had kids or accumulated significant assets

Divorced or become widowed

Become part of a blended family

Received an inheritance

Started a business

If stepping up your financial wellness is your New Year’s resolution, you have already won most of the battle. Financial planning is not just about sacrificing fun and money today so that you will have more later, but rather a holistic approach to balancing your need for future goals and your desire to “Spend Your Life Living”. Focus, surround yourself with a good team and be patient because the financial goals you set today will build and maintain your future financial wellness.

*Sponsored Content
Devin Greer and Andrew Snyder are Financial Advisors in The Woodlands. Both native Texans, they serve their clients and help them dream their best life, define it precisely, and deliver them into reality through a premier financial planning and wealth management experience.
This publication is not intended as legal or tax advice.  Financial Representatives do not give legal or tax advice. Taxpayers should seek advice based on their particular circumstances from an independent tax advisor. All investments carry some level of risk including the potential loss of principal invested. No investment strategy can guarantee a profit or protect against loss.
Northwestern Mutual is the marketing name for The Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance Company, Milwaukee, WI (NM) and its subsidiaries. Devin Lacy Greer and Andrew Michael Snyder are Insurance Agents of NM and Registered Representatives of Northwestern Mutual Investment Services, LLC (NMIS) (securities), a subsidiary of NM, broker-dealer, registered investment adviser and member FINRA ( and SIPC (

Devin Greer
AR License: #11123192
Andrew Snyder
AR License: #8666816



2018 Letter from our Editors

As we wind down 2018, we would like to express our sincere gratitude for your partnership in The Book The Woodlands. The Book was created to highlight the incredible people, businesses, and happenings in this amazing community we call home, as well as raise necessary funds for the programs and services of Interfaith of The Woodlands. Your partnership truly makes a difference in fulfilling Interfaith’s mission to serve our neighbors who come to us in their time of need.

Interfaith of The Woodlands has been able to make a huge impact in our community in 2018 with the help of your ad partnership. We are happy to share your ad in part benefited:

· 35,227 individuals for crisis assistance

· 29,406 seniors through transportation, activities and Holiday gifts

· 2,745 children for school supplies

· 18,823 neighbors for food assistance

· 3,777 individuals for clothing vouchers

Your support is appreciated not only for what it helps us achieve but also for the generosity it reflects.

Thank you again for investing and believing in Interfaith for the past 45 years as we work together “To build a more loving and caring community through service.”

We wish you a beautiful holiday season and a blessed 2019!

Missy Herndon, President & CEO Interfaith of The Woodlands

Janelle Romano, Managing Editor The Book The Woodlands

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