Woodlands Wedding – Smouse & Martin

Taylor grew up in The Woodlands after moving to the area in the third grade, and remained in the area until going off to College Station to pursue her degree from Texas A&M University. Cullen first became familiar with The Woodlands during college when he traveled to the area to meet Taylor’s family. Together, they spent many weekends in The Woodlands during their courtship.

How did you meet?

Cullen and Taylor met through mutual friends near the end of their senior year at Texas A&M University. Their first date was an interesting one. It was Chilifest weekend and Taylor decided to come home early. She then proceeded to ask if Cullen would cut his workout short, leave the gym, and take her to get Chick-fil-A. He said yes. It was on that night that they knew there was potential. The rest of the night they spent watching Taylor’s favorite movie and talking about their future together. As a very tall girl, it’s not often you meet such a tall man!

From then on, Cullen and Taylor made it a point to see each other as often as possible and attend the remainder of their date parties together. Upon graduation from A&M they had some decisions to make because they knew the rest of their relationship would be long distance. Initially they decided to end things and focus on their careers, but it didn’t take long to rekindle their love and see how the long-distance relationship would work. It worked out!

 

Courtship/ Adventures:

After graduation Taylor moved to San Antonio, TX to work for H-E-B as a recruiter, and Cullen moved to Quantico, VA for Marine training. In the 7 months Cullen was in Quantico, they were only able to see each other twice! Taylor visited for the Marine Corps Birthday Ball, and they were able to explore Quantico, Baltimore, and Washington, D.C. It was during those tough months that they grew closer and began to realize this was leading to marriage. After Cullen completed training in Quantico, Taylor hopped in the car, and together they drove to his next duty station in Pensacola, FL. While Cullen was in Pensacola, they were able to see each other more often. They took trips to Destin with Taylor’s family, spent time on the beach in Pensacola, and were even able to go to the Austin City Limits Music Festival back in Texas. After Cullen’s nine months in Florida, he was stationed in Corpus Christi, TX. Finally, their cross-country relationship became just a 2-hour drive. While Cullen was in Corpus, they were able to see each other almost every single weekend, often taking trips to Austin, San Antonio, The Woodlands, and Dallas. After a year of bliss, Cullen moved again and was stationed at Marine Corps Air Station New River, in North Carolina. Cullen and Taylor bought a house together in the small town of Sneads Ferry, NC (population 9,000), which is just a stone’s throw from the beach (her choice) and even closer to the golf course (his choice).

Proposal:

Cullen and Taylor planned to spend a weekend in Austin, TX to attend Austin City Limits (ACL) for Cullen’s 24th birthday with Taylor’s brother, Tucker, and his girlfriend, Abby. After staying out late Friday night at the festival, Cullen woke everyone up early on Saturday to go meet his family at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center. Following a battle with rain, Cullen was finally able to show Taylor around to a beautiful (yet muddy) archway under the trees overlooking the gardens. Both Taylor and Cullen’s families came out of hiding and watched as Cullen got on one knee. With tears in her eyes Taylor said yes!

Engagement:

After getting engaged, Taylor was excited to start planning the wedding of her dreams. She only visited two wedding venues. The first venue was beautiful, but was not part of her vision. Then she drove on-site at Balmorhea with her parents, she knew this was the perfect venue almost immediately. At the time, Cullen was stationed in Pensacola, Florida, so Taylor was able to give Cullen a virtual tour of the property to get the thumbs up, and we booked right on the spot. After this, it was time to start planning the details. There were three big things that Cullen and Taylor really wanted for their big day: a live band, great food and a great videographer to capture the big day. COVID-19 caused their engagement to last longer than planned, but in the end, it was all worth it.

Wedding:

Cullen and Taylor planned their wedding for May 23, 2020 (the weekend of Memorial Day). A few months before the wedding, COVID-19 rocked their world, as they had to navigate through re-planning the wedding for a new date. Cullen and Taylor were able to manage getting all of their vendors (except one) on their second wedding date, August 29, 2020. Taylor and her bridesmaids got pampered by the hair and make-up team and drank champagne while getting ready. Cullen and his groomsmen were able to grab brunch at the Toasted Yolk, before getting ready at the venue. One hundred and sixty-seven of their closest family and friends joined them to celebrate their unity. This was by far the most magical day that they still cherish to this day. It truly was the best day of their lives.

 

What were the most special highlights for you of your wedding?

The most special highlights of their wedding day were the simple moments that they will cherish the most. They did a first touch where they shared personal letters to one another. The few moments that they spent together right after the ceremony when it really set in that they were married! Plus, the ride to the hotel in a getaway car where they reminisced on the magical night. Getting to see all of their closest friends and family come together under one roof to celebrate our marriage was truly the best experience ever. The live band and beer burros were a hit also.

What memories/highlights include a connection to The Woodlands?

Cullen and Taylor have many memories in The Woodlands. From many golf outings at The Woodlands Country Club to exploring many of the restaurants in the area or the car shows. One of their favorite memories was the first Christmas they spent together with Taylor’s family. They traveled through The Woodlands looking at Christmas lights sipping on some hot chocolate and traveled to the Houston Zoo lights. The Woodlands is where Cullen really got to know Taylor’s parents and brother. The Woodlands is at the top of their list of locations to settle down and start a family.

 

Where will you go on your honeymoon?

Due to COVID-19, Taylor and Cullen were unable to honeymoon following their wedding. They are currently planning a tropical honeymoon in the summer of 2021 to celebrate one year of marriage.

Where will you reside?

Taylor & Cullen currently live in a small beach town in North Carolina called Sneads Ferry. Cullen is stationed at Marine Corps Air Station New River, so this is where they will reside for the next few years, until they move onto a new duty station. Eventually, after the military, they do have plans to settle down in The Woodlands to start a family.

 

Local Vendors:

J Low Events

Donut Junkie

C&S Transportation

Striking Stems – Tomball

Photos courtesy of Rebecca Harris Photography

 

Countdown to Giving: Day 5

Canopy: Your Second Family During the Holidays, and Year Round

“You have cancer.” Three words that will forever change your life and thrust you into a world of shock, confusion and fear. We hope the next three words you hear will change this, allow you to exhale, and feel a sense of hope and comfort: “Welcome to Canopy.”

Canopy Cancer Survivorship Center is a caring community of optimism, healing and empowerment, nestled on the campus of Memorial Hermann The Woodlands Medical Center. A first-of-its-kind cancer survivorship center in the greater Houston area, Canopy enhances the quality of life for individuals affected by cancer and for those who support them during their journey. When you walk through the doors of Canopy, you are no longer fighting cancer alone. You are greeted with warmth, and the wisdom and compassion of so many who have battled cancer before you.

Every visitor to Canopy is referred to as a guest. Regardless of where a person is in their cancer journey, or where they may be receiving medical treatment – a patient, a long-time survivor, a friend, a relative, or a care provider – everyone is a guest at Canopy and welcome to receive support and services.

Canopy offers an average of over 50 programs every month to hundreds of the guests, and at no cost to the individuals receiving the services. Cancer treatment is costly, complex and time-consuming. Canopy eliminates barriers by providing all services free of cost, in one location, and by professionals who are knowledgeable about the cancer treatment spectrum. The unique variety of programming and services seamlessly work together to fulfill the wellness needs of the guests – emotionally, physically and socially.

Canopy operates solely on philanthropic funds. Community support is critical for Canopy to ensure that services and programs continue to be provided to the guests that need them the most.

Certainly, 2020 has been a year where we have all been encouraged to keep our distance. It’s become easy to feel disconnected and isolated, especially during the holiday season. This year, more than ever, we hope that people seek and find comfort at Canopy. We have some fun holiday activities planned for guests and their families virtually, and guests are always welcome to come by and visit us to see the Canopy Christmas tree and decorations, and to pick up their annual Christmas ornament that brings comfort to so many during the season.

Teresa Jarbor, a guest at Canopy, has used several of the programs and services, and thinks of it as a safe haven and second family, especially during the holidays. “During the holidays, it’s the chance to be with people that understand how you feel and celebrate another year. I’ve met so many people during this process,” she shared. “I’m going to miss the festivities and getting together. It was the support of being around other survivors that gave me so much encouragement – some of these women are 20-year survivors! I knew I was not alone, that’s what I love about Canopy. We are all survivors and fighters, together.”

Want to learn more about Canopy Cancer Survivorship Center? Interested in making a donation to help make programs and classes possible for community guests and cancer survivors? Simply visit cancer.memorialhermann.org/canopy or call 713.897.5939 to get started.

 

*All photos taken prior to the Covid-19 pandemic.

 

Countdown to Giving: Day 11

Recipes from the Ferester Collection

The holiday season is the perfect time to share and try new recipes. From special breakfast items to holiday cocktails, we’ve picked a few of our favorites from years past to share with you. We’ve included a champagne punch, a fun drink to share at your next holiday party…apricot strudel and cinnabons rolls, just as good for breakfast as they are dessert…and protein porridge, which can be prepared ahead of time, perfect for this busy season when breakfast needs to be easy to prepare and packed with protein. Enjoy!

Champagne Punch

3 bottles ginger ale

1 large can lemonade

1 pint peach brandy

2 bottles Champagne

The night before making the punch, freeze 1 bottle of ginger ale in a bowl. Mix lemonade, peach brandy, and remaining two bottles of ginger ale. Pour into a punch bowl and add two bottles of champagne. Add frozen ginger ale.

Apricot Strudel

2 cups flour

2 sticks butter, softened

1 cup sour cream

10 oz. jar smooth apricot preserves

Combine flour, butter and sour cream and knead into pastry dough. Divide into 4 even portions, place on a plate and cover in cling film. Refrigerate overnight or for several hours. Roll out one portion of dough on a floured tea towel till 12 x 14 rectangle, using lots of flour as the dough is thin and sticky. Spread with preserves. Roll up like jelly roll. Repeat with the other three portions. Bake on an ungreased pan or cookie sheet at 350 for 30-40 minutes, until golden brown. Cool completely and slice.

Cinnabon Rolls

½ cup warm water

2 pkgs. active dry yeast

2 Tablespoons sugar

3.5 oz pkg. Instant vanilla pudding mix

½ cup butter, melted

2 eggs, beaten

1 Tablespoon salt

8 cups flour

½ cup butter, melted

2 cups brown sugar, packed

2 Tablespoons cinnamon

 

Frosting:

8 oz. cream cheese, softened

½ cup butter, softened

1 teaspoon vanilla

3 cups powdered sugar

1 Tablespoon milk

 In a small bowl, combine water, yeast and sugar. Stir until dissolved, then set aside. Yeast should bubble. In a large bowl, make pudding mix according to package directions. Mix until slightly thickened. Add ½ cup melted butter, eggs, and salt and mix well. Add yeast and blend. Gradually add flour and knead until smooth. Place in a large greased bowl. Cover and let rise in a warm draft free place until double in size, about 1 hour. Punch down and let rise again, about 45 minutes. On a lightly floured surface, roll out to a 34” x 21” rectangle. Spread ½ cup melted butter over the surface.

In a small bowl, mix brown sugar and cinnamon, then sprinkle this mixture over top of the dough. Starting at the long edge of the dough, roll up very tightly. With a sharp knife, cut dough into 1 or 2 inch rolls  depending on how large you want your cinnamon rolls to be. Place rolls onto foil-covered (for easy clean-up) baking sheets, 2 inches apart. Cover and let rise in a warm, draft free place until doubled. Bake at 350 for 15-20 minutes. Remove when golden brown.

 Combine all frosting ingredients and mix until smooth. Spread on warm rolls. Serve warm.

Jamie Oliver’s Protein Porridge Mix

This is a fantastic porridge mix. Make up a batch, store it in a sealed glass jar, and have it ready to go whenever you want a quick, wholesome meal!

For the mix:

2 cups rolled oats

¼ cup dry quinoa

⅓ cup flaxseeds

¾ cups walnuts

¾ cups pumpkin seeds

¾ cups almonds (whole or sliced)

1 tsp vanilla extract

 

To make the porridge:

 ⅔ cup milk or your favorite non-dairy milk

¼ cup berries, mashed if desired

Nuts for topping

Honey for topping

Place all ingredients into a blender and blend until consistency is like a coarse almond meal. Store mix in an airtight container until ready to use.

To make a serving of porridge, combine 1 ¾ cup of the mix with ⅔ cup milk of your choice in a small pan. Cook for 4-5 minutes over medium heat, stirring frequently. Take off heat and add berries, nuts and honey as desired.

 Nearly 40 years ago, these recipes and more made up a cookbook…a cookbook that marked the beginning of Beth Ferester’s real estate career. Before the world of social media marketing – Beth went door to door hand delivering these books as a way to make personal connections with people in the neighborhood. Beth is now seen as a matriarch in real estate – ranking in the top 25 realtors in the Greater Houston area every year since the early 2000’s. In the past year, Beth has brought some of these recipes back to life through her giving back coffeehouse next door to her real estate office, Lovebeans. The team makes these homemade cinnamon rolls every weekend, and the full version of this cookbook is available in the merch store. Come out and visit us in Creekside!

8522 Creekside Forest Drive Suite D-101, The Woodlands, TX 77375
www.Ferester.com
www.LovebeansCoffeehouse.com
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CollaborEIGHT Dinner Series Features Two Powerhouse Chefs in The Woodlands

The last CollaborEIGHT dinner prior to the pandemic brought together two powerhouse chefs in The Woodlands, Chef Austin Simmons of TRIS and Cureight, and relative newcomer to the area, Chef Stefano Ferrero of Zanti Cucina Italiana, for a remarkable evening of spectacular food and atmosphere.

Jo Anne and Troy Johnson

Butter Poached King Crab

As Chef Austin stated when the meal began, “If you leave here hungry tonight, it is your fault.” I think it is safe to say, no one left hungry and not a single person could consume another bite by the time the evening concluded. As is the format for each of the CollaborEIGHT dinners, both chefs present four courses served with wine pairings. The meal began with a refreshing Shellfish Ceviche with Shrimp Cracker by Chef Austin that was absolutely sublime! The Langoustine Caviar Risotto paired with “Artesis” Cotes du Rhone Blanc by Chef Stefano was out-of-this-world and another highlight of the evening. There was no shortage of meat either as Chef Simmons, recently named “Best Chef” by the Houston Press and who has become a local expert in the field of meat aging and exceptional cuts of beef, showcased his knowledge and skills.

The savory Dry Aged Beef on Truffle Ravioli by Chef Austin, and Braised Beef Cheeks by Chef Ferrero left guests needing to adjust their belt buckles. Each course delivered titillating flavor combinations that delighted the taste buds. The obvious respect and mutual admiration between the chefs was a wonderful complement to the outstanding display of food and technique.

Chef Austin puts the finishing touches on his Dry Aged Beef on Truffle Ravioli

Braised Beef Cheeks

“While The CollaborEIGHT Dinner Series helps highlight many well-acclaimed chefs to our guests at TRIS, our team benefits the most from these events,” stated Chef Austin. “Providing an eight course dinner experience to a large crowd is always a big task, that we achieve working as a team. We all see these collaborations as an opportunity to learn from each other in the kitchen.”

Jonathan Hitchcock; Alejandro & Majo Pelaez; Elvira Graham; Lonny Soza; Matt & Christin Allphin; Silvia Gonzalez; Pedro Cajiga; Santiago Pelaez, Zanti Founder & CE0; Haydar Kustu, Director of Business Development & Marketing, Black Forest Ventures/TRIS

Chef Austin looks on as Chef Stefano prepares the Langoustine – Caviar risotto for service.

Chef Stefano Ferrero, originally from Piemonte, Italy, has fond memories of cooking with both his father and grandmother prior to attending and graduating with a degree in gastronomy from SPAI University of Lugano where he had the opportunity to work with distinguished chefs from different backgrounds. Chef Ferrero comes to The Woodlands as Head Chef at Zanti, the namesake of Founder and CEO Santiago Paleaz. Chef Ferrero and Zanti Cucina Italiana are already making their mark on The Woodlands culinary scene in spite of opening only a year ago, and were thrilled to be invited to collaborate with Chef Austin.

Pistachio Profiterole

Key Lime Tart

Do not miss the opportunity to attend a CollaborEIGHT dinner when they resume, although I have a hard time imagining how it could top the collaboration between Chef Austin and Chef Ferrero.

Chef Austin Simmons and Chef Stefano Ferrero

For more information or to make a reservation at TRIS or Cureight: triswoodlands.com; cureightwoodlands.com, and for Zanti Cucina Italiana:  zanticucina.com.

Article by: Janelle Romano

Stylish Servant Leaders

Welcome to The Book The Woodlands’ first men’s fashion editorial! Autumn is upon us as The Book launches and that means it is time to add some depth to your wardrobe with layers. Look for variety in detailed textures, prints and pops of color to break up the usual monochrome closet.

For this edition, Interfaith has chosen four men who have served our community to model the top fall trends. Combined comfort with style has been a key trend in men’s pants and will continue rolling into 2020. Nothing makes a better statement than flattering, well fitted pants—slim is in! Rest assured that “not-too-baggy” and “not-too-tight” can be achieved comfortably with just the right amount of stretch in your trousers and jeans.

Stylish Servant Leaders

 

MIGUEL

Miguel Lopez serves as the Executive Director for the Lone Star College Small Business Development Center. He is a proud veteran, having served in The United States Marine Corp as a machine gunner (1986-1990). He has been involved in and served in leadership roles with numerous non-profit organizations throughout his years in the Woodlands, Texas where he has been a resident for 25 years. Miguel is a former Vice President of The Woodlands Lions Club, as well as an Ex-Officio of The Woodlands Area Chamber of Commerce and the Lake Conroe Chamber of Commerce. He has also held leadership roles on the Montgomery County Hispanic Chamber, South County YMCA, March of Dimes and South County Community Clinic among others. He recalls his kindergarten teacher spending an extra 15-30 minutes here and there with him to learn English, that is when he first felt the power and results of someone giving back and assisting him. Miguel also finds it easy to get involved when there are so many in our community and county who also want to help and give back. Miguel’s advice for someone who is looking to get involved with a group or non-profit; “find something you believe in, something you are passionate about…then immerse yourself in it.”

 

WILL

Will Murphy spends his days listening, understanding and focusing on client’s needs as Private Wealth Financial Advisor and Managing Director of Investments at Wells Fargo’s Private Bank. His mission is to develop and implement strategies to help his clients grow, manage, preserve and transfer their wealth focusing on the four cornerstones of wealth: Investments; Liability Management; Non-Portfolio Risk Management; and Trust and Estate Planning Strategies.

The Murphy’s moved to The Woodlands following the devastation of Hurricane Katrina in 2005.  Bringing a strong educational background, advanced training and a commitment to ongoing professional development, Will and Nicole made a home here raising their 2 children, Madelyn and Billy. The Murphys are mainstays in the philanthropic community, as they both actively sit on Boards, attend, chair events and support numerous organizations including Interfaith of The Woodlands, HOPE: The Will Herndon Research Fund, The Woodlands Christian Academy, Beyond Batten Disease Foundation, and Texas Children’s Hospital. When not in The Woodlands, the Murphy’s enjoy their little piece of Heaven in Watercolor, Florida where they summer and spend holidays.

IAN

Ian J. Ramirez is an internationally trained opera singer who has sung across the globe from Portland, Oregon to Stuttgart, Germany. He has sung with Opera Stuttgart, Portland Opera, the Marlboro Music Festival, the Dayton Philharmonic Orchestra, and Musica Sacra of Cincinnati, among others. From opera to operations, Ian serves as the Venue Director of Madera Estates, a Spanish and European inspired luxury wedding and event venue located in Conroe, Texas.

In his spare time, Ian operates a private voice studio, sings as tenor soloist in The Woodlands United Methodist Church choir, and serves on the boards of Interfaith Young Professionals and the International Live Events Association Houston Chapter. A native of The Woodlands, Texas, Ian graduated summa cum laude from the University of Cincinnati, College‑Conservatory of Music, where he received his bachelor’s and master’s degree in music. He has received awards from the National Opera Association and a Career Opportunity Grant from the Oregon Arts Commission. In 2018, Ian was named the Man of the Year through the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s Man & Woman of the Year campaign, as well as PR Luxury Media’s Do-Gooder of the Year. Most recently, he was named in Houston Business Journal’s 40 Under 40.

BRET

Bret L. Strong is the founder and managing shareholder of The Strong Firm P.C. which was formed in 2004.  He has been a resident and an active community leader in The Woodlands, Texas for over 30 years. Bret spent 11 years with Shell Oil Company in the areas of contracting, finance, and information services prior to becoming licensed in the legal field and establishing his practice in The Woodlands in 1996.  Bret and his team at The Strong Firm P.C. are proud to collectively support many wonderful charities and organizations in The Woodlands community including Interfaith of The Woodlands, Leadership Montgomery County, Yes to Youth – Montgomery County Youth Services, Montgomery County Community Foundation, Education for Tomorrow Alliance, CASA of Montgomery County, Meals on Wheels Montgomery County, The Woodlands Chamber of Commerce, Montgomery County Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and the Conroe/Lake Conroe Chamber of Commerce as well as involvement in numerous local schools fundraisers, sports and athletic events. Bret is proud to remain strong in The Woodlands community.

On Miguel

Cotton Cashmere Cable Crew Neck Sweater $128

Unbutton Down Shirt $88

Italian Brushed 5-Pocket Pant $148

On Ian

Satin Tuxedo Bowtie $78

Tuxedo Shirt $168

Capstone Italian Wool Tuxedo Jacket $550

Jetsetter Stretch Italian Wool Tuxedo Pant $300

On Will

The M-Flex Golf Polo $68 

The Tartan Golf Windbreaker $108

Highland Tour Golf Pants $128

The Clubhouse Stretch Belt $78

On Bret

Premium Shirt Made With Liberty Fabric $128

Jetsetter Stretch Italian Wool Blazer $400

Selvage Stretch Jeans $198

Colored Edge Belt $68

Many thanks to Will Murphy, Ian Ramirez, Bret Strong and Miguel Lopez for being an example of gracious giving and selfless service in our town. And much appreciation to our menswear retailer and ad partner, Bonobos at Market Street, for styling and creating the looks on our models. Bonobos is focused on delivering well fitted clothing while staying current with the fashion and accessories trends. Our local Guideshop offers personal styling to help fit and build the perfect wardrobe. If what you are looking for is not currently carried in the store, have it shipped for free directly to your door. From suiting to golf attire, Bonobos is sure to please the most style conscious man for all seasons.

Happy shopping!

Fashion Editor: Elvira Graham of fashionrowe.com
Photography by: Katy Cox

 

Lasting Legacy of David Vetter

David’s life has not been forgotten as his legacy lives on in his hometown of Shenandoah and neighboring community The Woodlands. Not only has he been an inspiration in science and medical progress, but David Vetter touched hearts of people all over the world with his courageous spirit amidst unimaginable challenges. His impact far outreaches our community affecting lives throughout the United States and beyond.

Delivered into a “bubble,” or isolator, at birth in 1971 to protect him from illness, David was born with Severe Combined Immunodeficiency Disease (SCID) which left him without an immune system to fight off even the smallest of sicknesses. Only the 6th “germ-free delivery” in the world at the time, a common cold or virus could have taken his life. Loving parents, David and Carol Ann, knew their child needed to have normal life experiences and so the isolated area, or bubble, grew with him. He lived, learned, ate meals alongside family and played – all within his bubble. He became very close to his medical team who spent a great deal of time with David, including the late Dr. William T. Shearer, who led his care team and blazed trails for pediatric immunology. David’s life was spent inside the germ-free zone, however, human interaction was so important to him. “He showed such affection and love for his family and others. He had a huge capacity for loving and caring,” his mother, Carol Ann Demaret says.

David Vetter endured a life filled with obstacles, but he always looked on the bright side and found joy in his close bond with his family, including his older sister, Katherine. David cherished connections with others and made even the smallest interactions special. “One year at Halloween, he wanted to give out candy instead of dressing up, so he’d reach in his gloves which extended outside his space to give candy to other children,” says Carol Ann. His world was expanded when NASA designed a customized suit resembling a space suit protecting him so he could venture outside of his enclosed unit. Previously displayed in The Smithsonian, his famed suit and David’s brave story continue to be remembered by so many.

David chose to live life to the fullest and grasped every opportunity presented to him. A student in Conroe ISD, teachers would visit his home or Texas Children’s Hospital weekly for his education. Occasionally, a teacher would bring a small group of students to visit David and teach a lesson as though he was in a classroom setting. “I felt that everybody had something unique to offer David. He was very inquisitive and enjoyed visitors,” Carol Ann says.

Not long after David’s death in 1984 at age 12, Texas Children’s Hospital approached David’s parents about an idea to create The David Center, honoring their son, with the hope that children born with compromised immune systems would have a place to be treated. They agreed and in addition, approved the preservation of his cells for research. “I didn’t realize the importance at the time, but I trusted that it would be for generations to follow. They are still testing David’s cells,” she says.

Javier Chinen, M.D., Ph.D., Chief of The David Clinic at Texas Children’s Hospital The Woodlands, became involved with the clinic even before it expanded to Texas Children’s Hospital The Woodlands in 2016. “It is not a secret that part of David’s legacy has been its essential role in the public awareness of SCID. This awareness has promoted the research leading to the inclusion of SCID in the U.S. newborn screening panel for inherited diseases,” he says. The David Center and The David Clinic are within the Allergy and Immunology division at Texas Children’s Hospital where Carol Ann is a regular volunteer.

Carol Ann began advocating for SCID newborn screening in Texas after joining the Board of Trustees for the Immune Deficiency Foundation following David’s death. “My prayer when David passed away is that the bubble had burst for all time,” she says. And that prayer has been answered over the years. Texas followed many other states adding SCID to the panel in 2012 with early diagnosis of key importance. Now, every state has added the SCID to their newborn screening panel. Today, children with SCID do not live in isolation, and families often turn to stem cell transplantation for treatment with gene therapy in current development. “At Texas Children’s Hospital, we are part of these worldwide efforts and actively receive infants with SCID for diagnosis and treatment,” Dr. Chinen says.

During David’s life, the media protected his last name and he was referred to as “David.” So, in 1990, when David Elementary opened honoring his name, the community rallied around the family and took it a step further in commemoration. David’s Dream Run and David Day have been meaningful traditions at the school for 26 years. A community-wide 5k event, organized by the David Elementary PTO, David’s Dream Run raises crucial funds for The David Center and The David Clinic.

Tamara Herod, Committee Chair for David’s Dream Run and David Elementary School parent, says, “This event is mostly about teaching our students the importance of helping others and honoring David’s life. I believe they will carry the compassion and awareness they learn from this event with them throughout their lives.” David’s Dream Run rallied 1,000 participants for this year’s race and raised a record $43,000 going to The David Center and The David Clinic. Walls adorned with the students’ artwork line the clinic halls and demonstrate the David Elementary School commitment to teach their students kindness, compassion and service. “This event has raised funds that advanced our research in SCID. We are very thankful for the community support of the research focused on improving the care of SCID patients,” Dr. Chinen states.

Each year on the day prior to the run, Carol Ann visits the students at David Elementary. The day has lovingly been named David Day, when Carol Ann speaks about David’s life as well as how the fundraising event helps others. “They ask so many questions from his favorite color to many other things. I always want to end on a positive note. I don’t want the children to be sad about David. I think the children will carry the spirit of David throughout their lives,” Carol Ann says.

Residents in The Woodlands continue to be touched by David’s memory in various ways – whether they are driving down David Memorial Drive in his hometown of Shenandoah, having a child attend David Elementary School, participating in David’s Dream Run or visiting Texas Children’s Hospital The Woodlands where The David Clinic resides. “I’m overwhelmed by the community’s continued embrace and support of David’s memory,” Carol Ann says, “He would be pleased to know his sacrifices were not forgotten. His gallant life and death have meant something to the world.”

Article by: Mindy Jones

Farm Fresh Foods

The farm-to-table restaurant culture is bursting onto The Woodlands culinary scene with wholesome food and the freshest local products in high demand. 

Food lovers are savoring the inventive fusion of local and seasonal goodness from the abundance of quaint bistros and cafes that are popping up all over The Woodlands area. Whether you’re in the center of town or keen to explore the wider countryside that surrounds us, a healthy, farm fresh bowl of goodness awaits.  

From boutique cafes to the more established culinary names in the area, all of these restaurants embody the belief that healthy food can be delicious and flavorsome. They pride themselves on using only locally sourced ingredients and the freshest seasonal products.

And what’s more, these eateries continue to build on a cause close to our hearts too – community involvement. As well as sourcing as many products from the nearby area as they can, many of these homegrown diners know what it means to give back to the community by using small, local businesses to handcraft much of their décor. These restaurants also aim to be as environmentally conscious as possible by composting and recycling.

Each of the cleverly crafted menus will help you on your way to becoming a seasoned health foodie, while respecting the community and environment that allows us to enjoy the healthiest fare to our hearts desire.  

Here is our list of the top farm-to-table and ranch-to-fork fare in The Woodlands area that will satisfy any palate and keep you coming back for more.

TRIS 

TRIS sits in the heart of The Woodlands and is the definition of fine dining incorporating the ranch-to-fork philosophy. Executive Chef Austin Simmons and his talented team at TRIS treat loyal customers and new guests with the perfect experience through upscale food and drink, artful service and finely tuned hospitality. 

Whether you’re looking for a casual business lunch or a high-end dinner, you can rest assured that you are in good hands at TRIS with an artfully crafted menu featuring some of the finest cuisine in Texas.

TRIS honors its passion for true ranch-to-fork fare by partnering up with Unique Meats, a family-owned business and premier provider of exotic meat from the best ranches across South Texas. The team at Unique Meats pride themselves on the quality of their meat, which starts with free-range ranches where the deer are raised on grass and free of steroids and medications. Unique Meats ensure their meat is delivered humanely from the field direct to the table.

TRIS now has a new exclusive steak program with HeartBrand Ranch,  a beef company specializing in bringing 10-year-old beef to consumers. Heartbrand Ranch, recently featured in Texas Monthly and The Wall Street Journal, is carving out a market for cuts from more mature animals. The ranch, headquartered in Harwood, Texas, is an Akaushi cattle ranch dedicated to breeding superior beef. TRIS was one of only a handful of restaurants nationwide to receive a portion of the first 10-year-old cow and is now proud to be bringing Woodlands consumers an exclusive steak experience.

Try: Chef’s Burger. Two smashed Akaushi Wagyu patties, bacon jam, American cheese, iceberg lettuce, English muffin

The Wheel Kitchen

Serving up farm fresh food since October 2016, this charming eatery is set on a lush area of farmland on the outskirts of The Woodlands and has become a top favorite on the farm-to-table scene.

Serving and catering for both breakfast and lunch, the menu items feature only homemade, organic or farm-raised ingredients. It’s easy to feel right at the heart of the real food movement here with plates that change with the seasons and beautifully crafted dishes bursting with the freshest local products. 

Try: The Wheel Buddha Bowl. Seasonal roasted vegetables, a spinach blend, organic brown rice, quinoa, roasted chicken breast and an herbed chia yogurt sauce.

True Food Kitchen

With a philosophy that food should make you feel better, not worse, True Food Kitchen ‘celebrates a passion for better living’.

Featuring a passionate team of chefs, restaurateurs and a doctor of integrative medicine, the True Food philosophy envisions healthy, fresh food that packs a whole lot of punch without ever sacrificing an ounce of flavor and taste.

The central Woodlands location offers an extensive menu that caters for all lifestyles including vegan, vegetarian and gluten-free.

Try: The Ancient Greens Bowl. Miso sesame glazed sweet potato, turmeric, charred onion, snow pea, grilled Portobello, avocado, hemp seed. With your choice of any protein. 

 

Flower Child

A vision of ‘healthy food for a healthy world’, Flower Child burst onto the fresh food dining scene, opening their Lake Woodlands location in April this year.

Flower Child offers dine in and takeout options, with a promise to nourish mind, body, and soul.

Beautifully crafted plates and organic drinks made from scratch help bring the concept of a happy plate to life. Using only farm fresh ingredients from close to home, the restaurant aims to cater to all tastes from paleo and vegan to kids and just plain hungry!

Try: The Glow Bowl. Spicy sweet potato noodle, bok choy, zucchini, onion, jalapeno, shiitake mushroom, coconut milk and sunflower butter.

Herb & Beet

Head on over to Herb & Beet’s new Sawdust location for a true taste of Texas. Its handcrafted menu changes seasonally to offer the best of the area’s produce all year round.

This fast-casual restaurant has partnered with dozens of local farms to bring the freshest farm food to The Woodlands area. With a three-tiered focus on food roots, sustainability and staff appreciation, Herb & Beet honors its environmentally friendly approach from the ground up, from its expansive patio garden to its efficient kitchen equipment. 

Try: Hickory Smoked Cobb Salad. Crisp romaine lettuce, grilled chicken, avocado, house smoked bacon, tomato, blue cheese crumbles, deviled egg, and smoked poblano dressing

The Kitchen

Another popular choice in The Woodlands culinary scene is The Kitchen. Formerly known as Hubbell & Hudson Kitchen, the restaurant first began serving meals to Woodlands diners back in November 2010.

Kick back in a relaxed, casual setting as The Kitchen brings its executive chef Austin Simmons’ culinary vision to life. Offering hot and cold sandwiches, live oak wood grilled meats, burgers and farm fresh vegetables, The Kitchen also offers a 65 item salad bar and eight homemade soups daily. 

Try: Oak Grilled Mahi Mahi. Ginger soy glazed, butter whipped potatoes, grilled asparagus, arugula and cilantro.

Fielding’s Local Kitchen + Bar

A firm fixture in The Woodlands Village of Creekside Park, Fielding’s Local Kitchen + Bar, is a popular restaurant known for its quality of local-sourced ingredients. Working with 44 Farms in the Houston area, as well as small wineries and craft brewers, the restaurant is the epitome of farm-to-table creativity. 

The impressive, ever-changing menu features steaks that are hand cut and beef that is dry-aged on the property. The kitchen makes its own pasta and bakes all of its breads and pastries daily. 

The restaurant also pays homage to the environment from which it receives its array of succulent ingredients, having been built using as many repurposed and energy efficient materials as possible. Part of its bar is made of reclaimed whitewashed wood and all booths and bar stools are recycled leather. They even have a filtering water system for cooking and drinking water.

Try: 12oz 44 Farms, Texas
Prime Ribeye. Dry-aged 40 days. 

Bellagreen

Hailing itself as ‘the greenest restaurant in Texas’, Bellagreen is an American bistro for the new age. Every item is made from scratch in their kitchen, located on Research Forest. Bellagreen aims to deliver the most flavorsome tastes as possible by using the freshest and finest local ingredients. The kitchen is more than happy to modify items on an individual basis to align with any dietary choice whether it’s gluten or dairy free, to vegetarian, keto and paleo.  

Bellagreen also reinforces its Green Philosophy by focusing on reducing its ecological footprint through water-saving devices and alternate power sources. By practicing exactly what they preach, Bellagreen’s green practices keep them in harmony with the environment. 

Try: Honey-Fried Goat Cheese & Arugula Salad. Baby arugula, fresh jicama, almonds, raisins, shaved carrots & mango, tossed with mango ranch dressing & topped with parmesan cheese & a honey-fried goat cheese medallion.

Veggie Village Part 3 – Bob Dailey

Master Gardener Spotlight- Bob Dailey

Bob Dailey grew up on a rice and cattle farm in Louisiana. When he was ten years old, Bob told his father that he would never go in the garden when he became an adult. Not surprisingly, Bob grew up to love gardening and shared his affinity for gardening with his six children. Bob became a master gardener in 2005 and subsequently retired and moved to The Woodlands in 2006 with his wife. Mr. Dailey was awarded the 2014 Outstanding Master Gardener in Texas. He has been instrumental in the development and operations of Veggie Village and also serves on the board of the Special Angels.

What does becoming a master gardener entail?

The master gardener course consists of 90 hours of instruction by professors from Texas A&M and other universities as well as other experts in their field, followed by a one-year internship and a minimum of 30 hrs. of community service each subsequent year. I usually do about 200 hours of community service per year including talks and writing about gardening.

What have you enjoyed most about being a master gardener?

I have enjoyed working with others and teaching individuals how to grow safe, healthy food, as well as to take care of the earth and be good stewards of the environment.

What have you enjoyed most about your involvement with the Veggie Village Gardens?

Working in the Veggie Village adds a profound layer to the equation. It is actionable by the community involved in the gardens – adding another layer of caring, giving to provide for people in the community. The people who work in Veggie Village are inspirational and unparalleled.

How do you see Veggie Village evolving?

I hope that as the population grows, that Veggie Village will also expand its footprint to keep up with the demand to serve the community.

Bob shares his passion for lawn and garden information online here.  You can view his interview of Interfaith of The Woodlands Volunteer Manager, Sarah Mundy here recently on all that the Veggie Village does locally. For more about Bob and his account of the many deatils of lawn and

Veggie Village Part 2 – Volunteers

Veggie Volunteers

How does the Veggie Village produce such an abundant harvest of crops? Volunteers have played a crucial part in the development of the Veggie Village since its inception. The operation of the Veggie Village gardens is led by Lori Schinsing of Interfaith. However, as Lori says, “the Veggie Village volunteers are like no other- they are a second family.” Not only were volunteers instrumental in securing the funding and development of the gardens, they continue to be the primary source of operational labor. Veggie Village relies heavily on a consistent base of committed, knowledgeable, caring volunteers. Three times per year (January, June and September) Veggie Village holds an All Hands Day where they enlist not only the help of their regular 30+ volunteers, but also the help of local National Charity League (NCL) and National Charity Roundtable (NCR) member volunteers to help remove and chop up remaining crops for compost, clear out the gardens and spread the compost.

In addition, a mutually beneficial relationship has developed between the Veggie Village gardens and local Girl and Boy Scout Troops. The Wendtwoods Learning Garden regularly hosts scout troops and exposes them to the sights, tastes, and sounds of the garden as well as the concept of food insecurity and giving back. As scouts grow, they have also become important sources of volunteers. Eagle scouts created and installed rainwater harvesting systems at both gardens in The Woodlands. A girl scout working on her gold award created a living teepee in the Wendtwoods Learning Garden complete with sensory areas where children can climb inside, read and be surrounded by nature. Additionally, scout troops have helped build raised beds to make both gardens mobility accessible.

Many of the recurring volunteers are garden advisors, including master gardeners, individuals who have been through an extensive certification process and are required to complete a minimum of 30 hours of gardening-related community service each year. The master gardeners and garden advisors have been invaluable in imparting design expertise, instruction, irrigation and composting knowledge to the operations of the gardens. The garden advising team meets monthly to address issues related to the garden and also helps Veggie Village gardeners by hosting workshops and assisting with their harvest. All of the volunteers, regardless of their role seem to have one thing in common, passion. Lori Shinsing, Veggie Village Director stated,

“We are passionate about what we do, what we are growing, and what happens at Veggie Village.”

One of the most beautiful aspects of the Veggie Village gardens is that in addition to the wonderful benefit of producing healthy, organic food for our neighbors in need, the gardens provide an opportunity for many who would not otherwise be able to be of service to the community. It is truly remarkable to find a program that does so much good on so many levels. Veggie Village harvests more than just produce, it offers hope for a harvest of a better tomorrow for us all.

Women Empowering Women Featuring Rachel Hollis

Rachel Hollis, author of the New York Times bestseller “Girl Wash Your Face”, brought her inspirational message of empowerment to the sold-out crowd at the Interfaith of The Woodlands’ Women Empowering Women luncheon on February 1st at The Woodlands Resort. Donning a “love for you” t-shirt, Ms. Hollis, had the audience cheering and dancing to her message of self-acceptance and celebrating one’s God-given gifts.  

The Women Empowering Women luncheon, presented by CHI St. Luke’s Health, was the 6th Annual event hosted by the Interfaith Community Clinic, that serves as a medical home for many Montgomery County families. “The enthusiasm for this year’s speaker was remarkable, and very quickly we realized we would have the opportunity to share about the clinic to a whole new audience in addition to our current supporters,” Missy Herndon, President, and CEO of Interfaith Community Clinic. 

Ms. Hollis championed the Interfaith Community Clinic, rallying the 730 guests to contribute to support the clinic’s efforts, and led by example donating back her entire speaking fee to the cause. As a result, the event raised $325,000, shattering the previous luncheon record.  

Rachel Hollis, photo courtesy Derrick Bryant

Junior League of The Woodlands – Rene Romano, Louise Blanchard, Jenny Shirley, and Shonna Spear

WEW Committee: Darin Mittlestaedt, Georgianna Syal, Emma Simms, Missy Herndon, Anita Phillips, Michelle Kink, Dr. Sakina Davis, Jessica Kemp-Park Not Pictured: Kelly Hull, Lee Fackler

Ella and Jo Anne Johnson

Michelle Kink, Jordan Coronado, and Leslie Hogan

Presenting Sponsor CHI St. Luke’s Health with Clinic Director, Anita Phillips

Guest Singer, Cannon Brand entertains audience during coffee and desserts.

Ladies of Southwestern Energy wear T-Shirts honoring Hollis

 

The Interfaith Community Clinic, established in 1996, is a nonprofit Health Care Center providing medical and dental care as well as counseling and patient service assistance to the uninsured and underinsured in Montgomery County. The Interfaith Community Clinic staff, comprised of experienced professional medical and dental volunteers, see over 10,000 patients annually for preventative care and minor illness treatment.

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