Welcome, everyone, to Out and About – here to catch you up on what’s happening in the Lake Houston area!

I sure hope you’re all ready for Christmas, because it’s right around the corner!

A few of us got together to throw an Empty Stocking Toy Drive for HAAM just in time for their Christmas distribution. It was so much fun serving cocoa and homemade cookies at HAAM’s resale shop on Loop 494 to so many giving people who dropped off gifts. Denise Krieger (dressed in a Mrs. Claus apron), Gina Remmes (in an elf costume) and Gwendolyn Condoleo Crawford (armed with bright red pom poms) waved down passersby while Mark Linabury, with a Santa hat and beard, played Christmas tunes. Lynn Fields (also in an elf costume, complete with flashing lights) dished out cocoa while Cynthia Calvert pinned gift cards to the Byron Bertrand Christmas tree. Seriously, these people are always ready and willing to help out our community – they are AMAZING! A very special thank you to Ginger Bertrand, who, despite a very tight schedule, donated a car load of gifts and multiple gift cards. And Rebecca Noel, Ginger and Byron’s daughter, who teaches macaron-making classes at Central Market, for the dozens of absolutely gorgeous macarons! Millie Garrison, executive director of HAAM, was delighted at the volume of donated toys waiting in the HAAM truck for distribution. Tracy Zacek and Billie Prince, Black Cat Junction’s manager, were absolute troopers helping us get set up, collecting all the toys and staying late to tear down. Thank you so much to everyone who donated! We collected over $2,000 in gift cards and cash as well as almost a half a truck full of toys. Some of the familiar faces that stopped by were Ellen Delap, Devon Alexander, Rita Hansen, Belinda King, Donna Lewis, Fran Fennie, Cathy Ariola, Tony Austin, Diana Van Horn, Brenda Miller and Denise Stokes. I know there were so many more of you that drove through to drop off – next year maybe we’ll have cookies bagged for takeout!

Crazy Gift Night at Lynn Fields’ house was an absolute hoot! Throw in an Ugly Sweater contest and it was just a perfectly silly, fun night for the girls to get to wind down mid-week in the middle of the Christmas rush. The “buy in” to the game was three gifts – a regifted gift you didn’t know what to do with, a funny handmade gift, and an actual inexpensive Christmas gift. Between stealing gifts, switching gifts, and laughing so hard, one could end up with three nice gifts, three crazy gifts, three regifts or a mixture. Lynn’s dining table had a mountain of deceptively wrapped gifts as well as some yummy nibbles including Lynn’s stuffed jalapenos with bacon (I couldn’t stop eating these), cheesecake cones and Jill Coogan’s absolutely famous egg salad. Geralyn Sullivan won a really nice bottle of champagne for her truly ugly sweater, but Gina Remmes was a close second with her Fireball-inspired sweater. Judy Luquette-Gollub got every gift she wanted to keep stolen by someone else. I can’t wait for next year’s party!

Stilettos, hosted by Danell Fields, was held at Amedeo’s for the December meet up. A great crowd was on hand to hear State Representative Dan Huberty, who had delayed his flight back to Austin in order to speak to the group. Guests were delighted to each come away with a prize. Drawings included a Coach purse, a Brighton purse, jewelry, two faux fur jackets, Texas flags from Dan Huberty, U.S. flags from Congressman Ted Poe, wines, face filler and Botox certificates, facials and so much more! Mark Linabury recently ruminated over starting a parallel group called “Loafers” – maybe in the new year? Watch this space! Some lively faces in the Stilettos crowd were Kelly Paull, Lynn Fields, Danielle Stevens, Elly Meade, Shannon McIntyre, Pam Mcgiver, Terri Wendt, Louis Guthrie, Ann Lapeze and Karen Fennel. Danell says the January meet up will be a cooking class – can’t wait!

Gina Remmes hosted her annual Christmas Ornament exchange and Ugly Sweater Party and it was such a huge success the party didn’t break up until after 1 in the morning. This time, Lynn Fields won the prize for the ugliest sweater while Shelly Paul won for most creative. Robin Purgahn, whose birthday it also was, brought her lovely mom along. Poor dear just wanted to hold onto the Christmas egg nog glasses she picked out at the gift exchange, but they kept getting stolen by someone else! Much hilarity ensued throughout the evening among the guests which included Joan Clinton, Julie Martin, Rita Hansen, Jill Henderson, Tracy Gibbs, Leslie Flake, Kathleen Labbee and Deborah Prucha.

Twila Carter hosted the book club, Bookends, at her beautifully holiday-decorated home for their annual Christmas get together. Guests brought books and school supplies for River Pines Elementary which will ensure each Pre-K and Kindergarten child will receive a book as a gift. We served some delicious nibbles – deviled eggs with jalapenos and fried chicken skin, ham salad puffs, chicken pesto skewers, turkey and melted brie sandwiches with mango ginger habanero sauce, roasted vegetables and a variety of Christmas cookies. Diane Blanco, Carol Covey, Julie Payne, Lisa Ryan, Shirley Drew, Marjo Stach, Vicki Stansifer, Chris Zenker, Sandy Turner, Mary-Claire Turner, Claudette McKee, Elizabeth Chapman, Kathy Adkins, Beth Higgins, Diana Rutherford, Kathie Gentry, Cathy Reading and Judy Thigpen had a fabulous night!

Gwendolyn Condoleo Crawford and Karen Bevil hosted a Holiday Open House at 4 U Med Spa which also included a HAAM Empty Stocking Toy Drive. Guests had a chance to nibble on delicious snacks, sip some wine and learn about some of 4 U Med Spa’s services like new anti-aging treatments, bioT hormone therapy, weight loss options, Botox and more. There were also some fantastic door prizes up for grabs. Guests included Cynthia Calvert, Millie Garrison, Devon Alexander, Mary Manifold, Brenda Miller, Maryanne Fortson, Irene Lalla, Karen Sartan, Chris Salazar, Heather Barclay, Juliana Ibanez, Deborah Kelly and Kelly Paull.

I wish you all and your families a Very Merry Christmas full of love and family (and food!) and I hope to see you Out and About in 2018!

Cherrie Ledoux
Author: Cherrie LedouxEmail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.