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Ahhh… Spring!

Lady Bird Johnson Wildlife Center 

I am more than ready for spring in Houston. This season is truly unique to our city and I am excited to share some of my favorite things about this time of year with you.

In addition to warmer weather, we welcome back the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo. Who can resist a chance to break out their boots, drink a cold one and eat something fried?! Hang on to your cowboy hats - there is more to it than that, which will be explored in this issue.

Mardi Gras is not just for New Orleans! There are plenty of ways to celebrate the festive holiday here in Houston. The indulgent “Fat Tuesday” acts as a kickoff, if you will, for the Lent season, the 40-day period leading up to Easter. Lent can be observed by abstaining from meat, fish, eggs and fats, or the things you consider to be indulgences (looking at you wine and chocolate!), until Easter Sunday. I find that Lent is a great way to challenge my willpower as I refocus my priorities. And hey, it is not too bad for my diet either!

I hope you will join me in celebrating the spirit of the spring season here in Houston.

Jana Phillips Houston Hip & Haute

Houston Happenings

Spring means new clothes! Check out the new trends at www.NeimanMarcus.com

Kick up your boots and head to the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo happening Monday, February 25th – Sunday, March 17th. The whole family will enjoy this 21-day event with carnival rides, plenty of food, rodeo style entertainment and an impressive concert lineup.

Azalea Trail 

Welcome spring with River Oaks Garden Club’s 84th Annual Azalea Trail Friday, March 1st - Sunday, March 3rd from 11am-5pm. The trail will showcase some of the city’s most impressive residences and gardens in the prestigious River Oaks neighborhood. Tickets are $30 with entry to all seven locations, or $10 for an individual location. Proceeds from this event will go to several Houston area charities. Please visit www.riveroaksgc.org to learn more.

Sleep Show® Comes to Houston
with Ticket Giveaways!

National Sleep Foundation’s Sleep Show at the George R. Brown Convention Center Mar. 8-10 focuses on all things sleep! Get your tickets now. Learn about the latest in sleep health, sleep product trends and almost 100 educational talks by renowned industry experts, including pediatrician and “Happiest Baby” founder Dr. Harvey Karp and “Sleep Doctor” Dr. Michael Breus. Link to full speaker schedule here. Find cool sleep technology and gadgets, such as Somnox sleep robots, Embr personal thermostat; TimeShifter for jet lag and the SleepScore app. Parents can find baby-related products like the Baby Shusher. You’ll find a full showcase of mattresses, bedding, pillows and more from Serta, Philips, Bed Bath & Beyond, Tempur-Pedic, Mattress Firm and Gallery Furniture.

Four HHH readers will get a chance to win 4 tickets to Sleep Show. Be the first to mention #SLEEP SHOW on our Sleep Show Instagram post, and tell us in one sentence why you want to attend the expo. You must tag #houstonhipandhaute. We will get in touch with winners and provide an access code to the tickets later this week.



Kick off spring break with Levy Park as they host headliner Sarah Grace and the Soul, If You Have to Ask, and the Matt Service Ensemble, along with DJ Mohawk Steve. The afternoon of live music begins at 1pm on Saturday, March 9th and will include food and beverages for purchase from vendors Auntie Anne’s, Balls Out Burger, Coffee Q and Smoothie Strong.

Houston Grand Opera’s artistic and music director, Patrick Summers, will sign copies of his new book, The Spirit of This Place: How Music Illuminates the Human Spirit, at Brazos Bookstore on March 10th. The book, a series of essays exploring the role of art in society and individual lives, may be purchased in advance, as well as on the day of the event. Cost to attend the event is free and the book retails for $25.


Tony Award winner Idina Menzel will headline the Theatre Under The Stars 50th Anniversary Season Gala on Saturday, March 23rd at The Post Oak Hotel. The evening will also honor past Chairs and Presidents of the TUTS Board of Directors from 1968-2018. 

Houston Parks Board celebrates their fifth annual Bayou Greenway Day on Saturday, April 6th at Mason Park. The family-friendly event presented by Noble Energy celebrates the Bayou Greenways 2020 project, completing a 150-mile network of connected parks and trails along Houston’s major waterways. Visit http://www.bayougreenwayday.org/ for more information.

Houston Grand Opera presents Mozart’s Don Giovanni
as the first offering in their spring repertoire. The show will run from April 20th - May 5th at the Wortham Center will be sung in Italian with projected English translation, and is appropriate for all ages.

Dash Market Founders and Dealers

Make sure to save the date for the DASH Spring Market from May 2nd-5th. The weekend will give attendees the chance to shop over 80 unique dealers selected by the DASH founders who travel to home markets across the country. Get your tickets now at dashhouston.com/tickets

Houston Philanthrophy

I had the pleasure of joining 700 Houstonians with their hearts in the right place at the American Heart Association’s 36th annual Houston Heart Ball on February 16th. American Heart Association raised $2.3 million to fund its research and education programs that will change communities and ultimately save lives from heart disease and stroke. The magical evening included a gourmet dinner, cocktails and luxury live and silent auctions featuring unique packages ranging from a four-day trip to New York City to experience Hamilton on Broadway to an exclusive dinner deemed the Diamond Dinner by Tenenbaum Jewelers. Entertainment by Georgia Bridgwater Orchestra kept party-goers on their feet as they danced the night away.

Guests on the Heart Ball dance floor

Over 650 guests gathered on Saturday, January 19, 2019 at the Hilton Americas for 2019 Crystal Ball Winter Ball, chaired by Cyndy Garza Roberts, Dr. Sippi Khurana, Shawntell McWilliams, all former Women of Distinction and Honorary Chairmen Mary Ann and David McKeithan. The Winter Ball was the culmination of ABC13’s Women of Distinction presenting the class of 2019. Everyone was celebrating as the evening brought in over $760,000. All the major sponsors including Tootsies, Gittings and Tenenbaum were thrilled with the results. Benefiting the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation, the Winter Ball honors 10 Women of Distinction and one Ambassador who have supported the community through volunteerism. This year’s honorees were Farida Abjani, Marilyn DeMontrond, Gaynell Drexler, Jo Lynn Falgout, Carolyn Faulk, Melissa Juneau, Dr. Kelly Larkin, Sneha Merchant, Claire Thielke, Jerre Williams and Merele Yarborough, the 2019 Ambassador. Honored Hero Sarah Cornelius shared her journey with Crohn’s demonstrating the importance of the funds raised at the event and generated a standing ovation from the crowd. The evening was led by emcees Art Rascon and Melanie Lawson, herself a former Woman of Distinction. The evening was orchestrated by event producers Ellie Francisco and Niki Smith.

Lots of high fives for Chairmen Wallis Marsh and Hallie Vanderhider for successful first-time event, Conversation with GridIron Greats with over 350 people at the Post Oak Hotel on Friday, January 25, 2019. Wrapped into the night was the presentation of the 2018 Lombardi Award, presented to an NCAA Division 1 football player, regardless of position, based on performance and leadership honed by character and resiliency. The highly anticipated naming of the Lombardi Award winner from the seven finalists was presented by two-time Super Bowl Champion Tony Casillas. The announcement brought the crowd to their feet cheering for Ugo Amadi, Safety from the University of Oregon. NFL Hall of Fame Quarterback Joe “Joe Cool” Montana and NFL Hall of Fame Defensive Back Ronnie Lott were both inducted as Lombardi Fellows. Montana and Lott, players on multiple San Francisco 49ers Super Bowl Champion teams were joined by Co Captain of the Super Bowl XXIV team, Spencer Tillman in a lively conversation led by award winning Fox Sportscaster Tim Brando. Sports Radio 610 talk show host Sean Pendergast emceed the evening. Football star power continued following the interview as awards were presented to one of the most recognizable voices in college sports Legendary Broadcaster, Tim Brando, Legendary Coach Bob Stoops, whose 18 year record of 190 and 48 at the University of Oklahoma made him winningest coach in school history, and College Coach of the Year Jeff Monken of Army for his leadership in building a successful team with integrity, honor and respect. The Lombardi Foundation is recognized for leadership, commitment and determination on the football field and in the medical field for victory over cancer through research and treatment especially for children. The event raised over $300,000. Proceeds support cancer research and treatment organizations including Texas Children's Cancer Center, University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center and Harris Health Cancer Treatment Centers.

The Junior League of Houston
hosted its 71st Annual Charity Ball, Fire & Ice, and raised $750,000 over the course of two nights to fund the Junior League’s Community Program and volunteer initiatives. Guests enjoyed each elegant evening featuring incredible decor, food, drinks, fabulous live and silent auction items such as an eight-day wintry getaway to Telluride at a home located in Mountain Village that sleeps up to 10 people with a $500 Southwest Airlines credit; an in-home private dinner in Houston for 10 with acclaimed chef Drake Leonards of the Cajun-Creole brasserie, Eunice; and a three-night getaway in an ocean view, two-bedroom villa overlooking white sandy beaches and beautiful sunsets at Las Verandas Hotel & Villas in Roatan, Honduras. Partygoers also danced to live music from The Guzzlers.

2019 Charity Ball Committee 

Lupe Tortilla, founding sponsor of the Clays Classic, hosted its annual fundraiser for the fourth consecutive year on Tuesday February 5th at the Greater Houston Gun Club and raised over $165,000 in proceeds. Lupe Tortilla owners Judson and Peter Holt hosted guests for some friendly competition for a good cause, and the day was locked and loaded full of shooting games and a multi-course clay shooting competition. Attendees were treated to a Tex-Mex lunch and silent auction with items like a custom William Henry knife, a bottle of Pappy Van Winkle 12-year-old Bourbon “Lot B” and a George Strait signed guitar. After the games, guests enjoyed a cocktail reception with live mariachi music and bites and libations from Houston favorite Agricole Hospitality and Roma, as well as nitrogen ice cream from The Freezing Point. Since its inaugural year, the Clays Classic has raised over $750,000 for the PTSD Foundation of America and Camp Hope.

PTSD Director of Operations, Ron Youngblut, PTSD Executive Director David Maulsby, Ron Henefenger

Where to celebrate Mardi Gras and Lent in Houston?

No need to head to New Orleans with plenty of ways to celebrate Mardi Gras in our own backyard:

Have your King Cake and drink it too with Mardi Gras-inspired drinks from PJ’s Coffee at Launch in the Royal Sonesta Houston. Take your pick from a Zulu Iced Coconut Mocha, King Cake Latte (hot or iced!) or King Cake Protein Velvet Ice.

Have a piece (or two) of King Cake from Acadian Bakers. The local bakery sells around 4,000 each season, so you know they are the real deal.

While technically not in Houston, Galveston is a short drive with plenty of spirited parades and entertainment. Visit the website for more information.

If abstaining from meat is in your Lent protocol, you will be in good company at these local staples:

Those seeking seafood will find solace at Goode Co. Seafood’s two locations on Westpark Drive and Katy Freeway. The menu includes Campechana Extra (shrimp and crab), a mesquite-grilled salmon filet for $24, whole flounder served with fried onion strings and a light Creole cream sauce for $29, ½ lb ($14) or 1 lb ($23) of boiled Gulf shrimp and the Gulf Coast Po-Boy served on toasted homemade French bread. Diners have the option of having their sandwich stuffed with catfish, oysters, shrimp, flounder, or mix it up with a combo. A mesquite option is also available.

Diners in your party still consuming meat? Satisfy all with a trip to a classic cafeteria. In addition to their beloved combos and platters, Luby’s is serving a stuffed catfish combo for $11.99, stuffed crab combo for $8.99 (also available a la carte for $2.99 each), seafood pot pie LuAnn for $8.49 and shrimp, corn and jalapeno cake combo for just $9.49. Enjoy these deals from March 6th - April 21st. Make sure to grab a Jell-O.

If you find yourself in the Galleria area leading up to Easter, make it a point to stop at Fountainview Fish Market. The restaurant’s plates are a steal with most meals under $10. The lower prices do not seem to indicate a sacrifice in taste according to fabulous reviews on Yelp! If you are adventurous, or fond of a great deal, put this place on your must visit list.

Houston Rodeo -Howdy!

Where can you eat a fried Oreo, cheer on a cowboy as he fights to remain on a bucking bull for eight seconds and catch a live performance from a top artist in the music industry? For many Houstonians, this is an obvious answer - the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo.

While the concert lineup does favor country artists, and rightfully so, there are a few top 40 hitmakers you are likely to recognize such as Cardi B and Panic! At The Disco. A trip to the Rodeo without a bite to eat may very well be a sin in this town. However, should you feel compelled to forgo traditional fare, local eateries are also getting in on the fun:

Revolve Kitchen + Bar (located in Hotel Derek) is serving the Dean & Peeler Steak Dinner special, a grilled 12 oz. locally sourced Dean & Peeler ribeye accompanied by smoked cheddar mashed potatoes, grilled asparagus and “rocket-fuel” BBQ sauce for only $29.

For a more casual meal, Papa John’s and Ronnie Killen of Killen’s Barbecue have teamed up to create the Killen’s Barbecue Brisket Pizza. The limited-time pizza featuring smoked brisket and housemade barbecue sauce, onions, pickles and plenty of mozzarella cheese and crispy bacon is available until Sunday, March 31st at all participating Papa John’s locations as well as at NRG Park. The rodeo-inspired pie is sold in large-size-only for $17.99.

Burger lovers rejoice! On the Kirb is offering the Houston Cowboy burger featuring USDA certified organic grass-fed beef for just $17 from February 25th - March 17th.

Houston Cowboy Burger
Photo Credit: Duc Hoang

The 21-day event gives plenty of time to flaunt your Rodeo best, but may also pose the question, “what do I wear?” Here are a few things to keep in mind as you raid your closet:

Build your outfit from a great fitting pair of jeans and cowboy boots.

Top off your look with a cowboy hat from The Hat Store. The family-owned store has been fitting and hand shaping hats for over 87 years.

Make a bold statement with designs from J. Landa. The Rice Blvd jewelry store even has a curated collection to make selecting the perfect accessory a breeze.

Visit some of the city’s best local retailers! Abejas, Emerson Rose and Tootsies are great places to start your Rodeo shopping spree.

Looking to snag something unique or save a little money? Test your luck in a thrift store. Houston Life’s Derek Shore and Courtney Zavala recently scored rodeo-ready pieces on their thrift store trip each with a $25 budget. You never know what unique finds you may come across or how much you may save.

A guide to the best happy hours in Houston

Where to celebrate the happiest of hours? Cheers to these great deals:

Do your work hours make it hard to enjoy the typical 3-6pm? Poítin has the happy hour for you! If you do not mind a night cap, the restaurant offers a reverse happy hour menu Sunday through Wednesday from 9pm to close. The menu is the same as their regular happy hour menu and includes $3 off bar snacks, $2 off draft beer, select glasses of wine for $5 and a rotating selection of $8 cocktails.

Cocktails at Poítin

Raise a glass, margarita lovers, this deal is for you! Montrose mainstay Pistolero’s has killer deals including $4 house margaritas and sangria Monday - Friday from 4-8pm and Saturday and Sunday from 12-8pm. You will not feel guilty ordering a snack with several appetizers available for only $6. Someone call Cinderella - their best deal begins at the stroke of midnight when you can enjoy $3 margaritas until 2am. Every night. Let their neon sign double as a photo opp and reminder, “one tequila, two tequila, three tequila, flooorr…”

For those who love wine, and small bites, Oporto Fooding House & Wine is the place to go. The Midtown restaurant serves their happy hour menu that includes carafes of wine for only $25 and plenty of tapas dishes with gluten-free and vegetarian options Monday - Friday from 3-6:30pm. The atmosphere is also a winner making this spot ideal for a happy hour you would like to segue into dinner.

If you have any ideas for HHH, a business, event or anything else you would like to see in an upcoming issue contact us at houstonhh@gmail.com

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